Earth Day and 25th Anniversary Celebrations at Disney's Animal Kingdom

By Holley Long

This April 22 is Earth Day, an annual event to raise environmental awareness and show love to our beautiful planet. It’s also the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort’s Animal Kingdom. While it has the usual thrill rides, Animal Kingdom is a unique theme park in that it offers its guests a chance to connect with nature and animals they wouldn’t otherwise encounter. 

The park certainly has a lot to celebrate, and throughout the month of April, there are a lot of ways guests can celebrate, too. 

Image by Walt Disney World

Special Activities

Animal Kingdom, of course, has year-long attractions that explore and honor wildlife, like Kilimanjaro Safaris and the Conservation Station, but there are a few added activities guests can only experience during the Earth Day Celebration:

  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station: This 25-minute class teaches participants how to draw popular Disney characters. Featured characters change throughout the year, but for the month of April, in honor of Earth Day, budding artists can add sketches of their animal favorites to their collection, like Dumbo, Terk from Tarzan, Crush or Bruce from Finding Nemo, Tigger from Winnie the Pooh or Simba from The Lion King. 

  • Wilderness Explorers: Nature-inspired challenges test the skills of future Wilderness Explorers, letting them earn badges for completing self-guided activities like animal observation—and from April 16 through April 23, explorers can earn the limited-time Earth Day Nature badge! To get started, pick up a Wilderness Explorer handbook from Troop Leader locations throughout the park. 

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park Trivia: This month, knowledge-lovers can learn interesting facts about the Animal Kingdom theme park by playing trivia through the Play Disney Parks app. It’s a great way to find out new things about the park—and pass time while waiting in long lines. 

In addition to these activities, on Earth Day there will be a special show in front of the Tree of Life, which will honor the day and the anniversary of the theme park. 

Treats and Drinks 

Disney World is always putting out limited-time dishes and beverages for special occasions, and this month has seen delicious options. 

Alcoholic Drinks and Mocktails

Animal Kingdom has no shortage of fun drinks to quench the thirst of guests. Honey Bee Citrus Blonde Ale and other beers are available at select locations throughout the park, but guests will find many of the specialty cocktails in Discovery Island, including the strawberry lemonade-based Fizzy Flamingo (served at Flame Tree Barbecue) and the blue-hued, cotton-candy flavored Viva Gaia Tonic (served at Pizzafari). Both of these drinks can be served with or without alcohol. 

Guests over 21 can also enjoy the Gin & Bitters Cocktail from the Nomad Lounge. The gray-hued drink of Cruxland Gin, bitters and soda water (as well as a lemon wheel, honey syrup and sugar “bees”) is inspired by the “fence” of beehives African farmers use to protect their crops from elephants, without harming the creatures.

Gin and Bitters Cocktail at the Nomad Lounge (left) and Viva Gaia Tonic at Pizzafari (right)

Image by Walt Disney World


For those with an incessant sweet tooth, there’s plenty to delight. The Gorilla Falls Sundae (found at Tamu Tamu Refreshments in Africa) includes a brownie, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, trail mix, and a white chocolate image of a silverback gorilla. 

Over in Discovery Island are a few treats, including the strawberry and guava-flavored Flamingo Cupcake (available at Flame Tree Barbecue) and Bee Hive Mousse (available at Creature Comforts). Last but certainly not least is the Elephant Cupcake, a graham cracker cake with pineapple filling, topped by a miniature white chocolate elephant statue (available at both Pizzafari and Restaurantosaurus in DinoLand U.S.A.). 


Bee Hive Mousse Dome at Creature Comforts (left) and Rum and Pineapple Cocktail at the Dawa Bar (right)

Image by Walt Disney World

Savory Dishes

Along with drinks and sweets, the Earth Month treats include some good lunchtime options. Over at Terra Treats in Discovery Island is the roasted mushroom and leek pizza, a plant-based offering that’s also topped with Impossible meatballs and truffle oil. 

Guests who dine at Tiffins, a popular restaurant at Animal Kingdom, can enjoy a special dish of Szechuan Noodles, which has grilled King Trumpet mushrooms, Japanese eggplant, sugar snap peas, Napa cabbage, charred corn, marinated cucumbers, Chinkiang-sesame sauce and garlic-chili oil.

Bee Mini Cupcake (left) and a Variety of Plant-Based Items (right) at Tusker House

Image by Walt Disney World

More Ways to Celebrate 

Animal Kingdom has more ways to celebrate Earth Day and the park’s anniversary. During the celebration guests can have Disney’s PhotoPass team capture their memories and add special Earth Day effects to the images. Guests can also snap pics at Earth Day photo ops, like a National Geographic photo frame outside the park entrance. 

Disney is also selling merchandise for the celebration, including a limited-edition Earth Day 2023 Trading Pin. The pin is available to shop now, but other items specific to the anniversary will be in store on Friday, April 21 (when the merch hits the shelves, look for it at Island Mercantile, Discovery Trading Company, and Mombasa Marketplace). 


Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great place to celebrate nature, learn about wildlife, and enjoy thrilling rides and experiences, so visiting the park during Earth Month just makes sense! If you have the chance, stop by the park this month and hang out with all of Disney’s furry friends—and ask a cast member how you can help in their efforts to take care of the planet.


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