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Disney's Animal Kingdom: Discovery Island

Dominated by the enormous Tree of Life, Discovery Island is considered by most guests to be the most memorable part of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Originally, this island was located in the middle of Bay Lake (near Fort Wilderness), but guests complained about its obscure location and found it too difficult to walk to. So Disney Imagineers moved the Island and built the rest of Animal Kingdom around it, both making it easier to reach and helping to justify the $50/day admission price.

Discovery Island is intertwined with trails on which guests can see miniaturized kangaroos, swimming gophers, and lost tourists.

The Tree of Life
This incredible structure, rising sixty stories into the air, looks, to the untrained eye, like a sixty-story-tall tree. Up-close inspection reveals that its surface is carved with the images of millions of animals. In fact, Disney claims that one of every species on earth is depicted here in actual size (although perspective might lead you to believe otherwise). As a tribute to the power of nature, the Tree of Life is formed from actual wood. In preparation for its construction, a special crew was sent to completely clear 85 acres of pristine Amazon rain forest, and all of the plant matter was shipped to Florida where it was processed, compressed, lovingly carved, and assembled with care into the amazing structure you see today.

It's Tough to be a Bug!
This insect-themed 3D movie, sponsored by Volkswagen, uses characters from A Bug's Life to demonstrate how difficult life is for insects. Parents should note that this is a particularly intense experience: stinger-like "ovipositors" in theater seats are used to enhance a discussion of tarantula-killing wasps, one scene features spiders that are released from the ceiling onto guests, and the battle between a swarm of bees and the cast of Cars -- filmed up close and in slow motion -- turns many a stomach.

Discovery Riverboats
An enjoyable way to take a relaxing cruise through the river around Discovery Island. Best enjoyed when they are open. Which they aren't.

Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade
One of the highest energy parades in all of Disney World, Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade is a colorful, musical, character-filled tribute to all the people who have spent their lives "jammin'" human habitats into unspoiled jungle. It somehow manages to be at once incredibly fun and intensely preachy -- and when it's over, you'll walk out of the park dancing your guilt away!


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