Poster advertising Magic of Disney's Animal Kingdom

Watch Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Before Your Next Disney World Vacation

Alright, take my title with a grain of salt. If you’re not a big animal fan, I wouldn’t expect you to watch 18 episodes of a television show about animals. But if you’re remotely interested in how Disney cares for its elephants, manatees, gorillas, and more, then I can’t recommend this series enough.

Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom provides a behind-the-scenes look at the animals who live at Walt Disney World and the Cast Members who care for them. After watching, I wanted to move to Florida so I could help raise babirusa piglets, but I didn’t. I’m totally unqualified.

The show is great by itself, but watching can also help you plan a better Disney World vacation. It doesn’t have to only be about Flight of Passage and Kilimanjaro Safaris!

The Macaws

I always had a passing interest in Animal Kingdom’s Winged Encounters. And I mean that literally. I’d watch the Macaws swoop in, but it was always while passing the Tree of Life on our way to some other attraction. After watching the episode about these parrots, I made it a point to stake out my spot right down in front. And I’m so glad I did.

Winged Encounters macaw at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Winged Encounters macaw at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Winged Encounters macaws and Cast Member at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Katelyn was featured on the Macaw episode
Winged Encounters macaw eating a peanut at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom
Winged Encounters macaw at the Tree of Life in Disney's Animal Kingdom

I always assumed these birds flew in from a facility that was close by. Nope. Their home, called “The Catch”, is a couple of miles away. Since they are free flight, they’re trained to head to the Tree of Life and back home. Katelyn and her team detail how that’s accomplished. It involves a lot of peanuts. Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom gave me an all-new appreciation for an attraction that was “just there” before.

The Rhinos

More recently, my family went backstage at Animal Kingdom to pet a rhinoceros. The tour, called Up Close with Rhinos, is relatively cheap. I’d have paid a lot more since every dollar goes to conservation efforts.

Our rhino was named Lola. She’s a sweet, BIG girl. Each group in my tour was given a few minutes to pet her through a paddock fence. At one point her baby Logan came over. The Cast Members called everyone away from the paddock. If you watched season two, episode nine, you know why. Another adult rhino got a little rough with Logan, and Lola charged in to put a stop to it. But she was a sweetheart the day we saw her.

Since there is no photography on the backstage tours, here’s a picture of the white rhino paddock taken while riding the Wildlife Express Train.

Rhinoceros paddock in Animal Kingdom's backstage area

The Galápagos Tortoises

Discovery Island Trails are a hidden gem at Animal Kingdom. Located at the base of the Tree of Life, the trails lead you through the tree’s roots, waterfalls, and numerous animal viewing areas. One of those areas contains Galápagos Tortoises, which were featured in the fifth episode of season two of the series.

Cast Members prepared a cake for the 10-year-olds. Phantom, Dracula, Mummy, Frankenstein, Wolfman, and Creature were crawling all over each other to get a piece. It’s one of the funnier scenes on the show. We love hanging out with these monsters every time we visit the park. They provide a much-needed calm.

Discovery Island Galapagos Tortoise walking out of the water
Discovery Island Galapagos Tortoise getting checked out by Disney Cast Member

Conservation Station

Finally, we love popping over to Conservation Station as often as we can. Many of the medical procedures featured on the show are performed in the Station’s Veterinary Treatment Room, in full view of park guests. If you find the room empty, don’t worry. You can always go outside the Station and pet some goats.

Veterinary Treatment Room at Conservation Station

Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom features so many animals and their stellar caregivers. Take some time on your next Animal Kingdom park day to look for these TV stars. And they’re not just in Animal Kingdom. Magic also showcases critters from EPCOT’s Sea Base Aquarium, Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Disney’s Vero Beach. I highly recommend the show. 10 out of 5 stars.

Need help knowing when you can reserve Disney World tours? Our reservation calculator will make sure you’re ready when your booking date arrives.