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Tree of Life


The Tree of Life is Animal Kingdom's primary weenie, taking the role of Cinderella's Castle at the Magic Kingdom. However, it's primary appeal is the intricate "carving" work on the trunk and roots, depicting 315 different animals. At least that's what Disney claims - I haven't yet counted them all. Inside the Tree of Life is the 3-D movie It's Tough to be a Bug!.


In the original park concept, the weenie was to be a multi-level carousel that looked something like a fountain ringed by animals. The ride had three tiers, the top of which was a hub-and-spoke ride like TriceraTop Spin. A picture can be found in The Imagineering Field Guide to the Animal Kingdom as well as at Walt Dated World.

Maybe it's just us, but the picture brings to mind the big elephant act in Dumbo.


The Tree of Life is yet another Imagineering marvel that could consume a large amount of time, but usually doesn't because people are rushing from one side of the park to the next. Still, while going through the Discovery Island trails, it is well worth taking some extra time to look at the animals. Some of the most impressive carvings are the horse, the owl, the tortoise, the elephant, the shark (up high), and the bat.

Touring Tips

  • Around the back side of the Tree of Life, the animal carvings extend down to the tree's roots, where you can get a close-up view.

Hidden Treasures

  • Look around the back side of the Tree of Life for a few "peep holes" set more or less at eye level in the roots of the tree. Viewed from the correct side, they highlight particular animals on the tree.


Hidden Mickeys

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