Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Walk in the Park: WDW Edition - The Tree of Life

By Krista Joy

Construction walls around the Tree of Life in Disney’s Animal Kingdom have been removed. The 145-foot-tall structure with its 103,000 leaves - has been the iconic symbol of the park since it opened in 1998. But now, it’s got some new roots! You’ll also find a widened walkway the next time you visit Discovery Island. Let’s take a walk around the tree to discover some new animal friends and visit some old favorites in this week's Walk in the Park article...

Disney is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the offerings at Walt Disney World's fourth theme park, which has often been accused of being a "half-day park" in the past. Disney's Animal Kingdom has always closed earlier than the resort's other theme parks, partly because of the need to protect its animal residents from excessive noise. However, Disney is now working to install a new night-time show, and will begin opening the park until late.

The show will be hosted around and above the Discovery River and will feature live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery. Confirmed to be named "Rivers of Light", it is also expected to include the illumination of the iconic Tree of Life. That will involve replacing all 103,000 artificial leaves on the tree with new ones that light up. The new, expanded Tree of Life has been unveiled at the park recently and which we'll see in a moment, however, it is unknown if this larger tree currently includes the technology that is being installed on the larger tree structure to prepare for this show. Only time will tell but all these new additions are certainly a welcome change to what is already a truly beautiful park!

Let's have a look at those new roots:

Krista Joy is a former Disney cast member, current head author at and a co-host for the Disney Parks Podcast. She was born, raised, and has never lived any where else but in the heart of Orlando Florida. Not knowing what it’s like to be away from Walt Disney World for very long – the magic has truly become a part of who she is. Krista’s Disney dream is to bring magic and fun to the every day lives of her fellow Disney fans – while sharing some laughs along the way. She is very grateful to Keith and the team at for helping her to make this dream a reality! You can read more about Krista at

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