Each theme park at Walt Disney World has an icon. At Magic Kingdom, it’s Cinderella Castle, which you can book a night in. At EPCOT, it’s Spaceship Earth, the giant golf ball. Over in Hollywood Studios, it’s the Tower of Terror, but will soon be the Sorcerer’s Hat again. Well, Animal Kingdom will need a new park icon as we just learned that the Tree of Life has died.
Each of these park icons serves an important purpose, to give the park a distinguishing feature. Disney relies heavily on these icons when it comes to maps, marketing, and more. Not only is it sad that the Tree of Life is dead, but it also puts Disney in a tough position from a marketing standpoint. We will cover their plan with the Tree of Life now that it is dead.
The Tree of Life Dies
We reported nearly a year ago here that the Tree of Life was dying. This amazing tree was brought over to Animal Kingdom back for the park’s opening in 1998. It stands at a staggering 145 feet tall, with hundreds of detailed carvings in the tree, making it one of the most amazing park icons ever. Also, it’s estimated to be anywhere from 2000-2500 years old.
Back a year ago when they discovered it was dying, Disney began working with the USDA to treat the tree and save it. However, those treatments were unsuccessful. The tree continued to die and is now officially dead according to an internal source familiar with the matter. According to our source, the tree’s death can primarily be attributed to “climate change”.
In fact, they are surprised the tree survived as long as it did in Florida. The Florida climate is much different than the climate in Africa and Australia where they are commonly found. The cold winters in Florida as well as the humid summers made it a tough environment for this tree to survive in. On top of that, climate change has had a huge impact on it. Despite their best efforts to save the Tree of Life, it has officially died.
Tree of Life Replacement
Disney will dig up the Tree of Life at the end of the year and move it to an offsite location where it will decompose from there. However, Disney has plans to replace the Tree of Life with a new tree. That’s right, Disney is going to ship in another Baobab tree from Africa to replace the Tree of Life that just died. They will also hire hundreds of artists and sculptors to recreate all of the sculptures that were on the original tree.
It’s expected to cost nearly $10 million to ship a new tree from Africa as well as get it resculpted. They are also expecting it to take 3 years to get this new Tree of Life planted in Animal Kingdom. What is really cool is Disney will use dirt from the decomposed Tree of Life to help plant the new tree. This truly speaks to the Circle of Life nature of Animal Kingdom and fits nicely.
In the meantime, Disney will use Expedition Everest as the park icon. After all, it’s the tallest ride on all of Disney World property, making it the perfect park icon. This is especially fitting with the announcement that they are fixing the broken track on the ride. While Animal Kingdom will be sad for a few years without the Tree of Life, people are excited that it will eventually make a return.
What do you think of the Tree of Life dying? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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