April 22, 1998 was the opening day of Animal Kingdom, which makes it the newest park at Disney World. In fact, Animal Kingdom will be celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2023. Rumors are now swirling that Animal Kingdom may be closing permanently after its 25th anniversary.
We will break down these new Animal Kingdom closing rumors and leave you with our conclusion. To start, the rumors are allegedly based on the poor financial state of the park. After spending hours digging through Disney’s financial documents, it’s evident that Animal Kingdom is the most expensive Disney park and brings in the least revenue.
Animal Kingdom is the largest of all Disney Parks around the world at over 500 acres. The cost per acre is astonishing as well as the day to day costs. The Kilimanjaro Safaris is the main reason for the high costs. This attraction is 110 acres. That’s larger than the Magic Kingdom! It’s also home to 34 species of wildlife. Disney spends a ton of money feeding and taking care of these unique animals.
When Walt Disney built the Jungle Cruise, he wanted it built with animatronic animals. He did for two reasons. First off, it would guarantee guests always saw animals during the ride since real animals tend to wander around. It was also far less expensive. Walt Disney had no interest in using real animals because he knows the cost of upkeep is astronomical. He may have been on to something.
It’s not cheap to take care of Okapis, Wild African Dogs, and other animals you can see on the Safaris. They’re also struggling to add animals to the safari due to supply chain issues. Because of that, they started dressing cast members up as animals, which we reported on here. There are clearly many issues with Kilimanjaro Safaris.
We are seeing many other issues at Animal Kingdom as well. The Yeti still doesn’t work on Expedition Everest. That was an expensive mistake. Primeval Whirl has been demolished. The worst problem of all though, The Tree of Life is dying! We reported on that here. Animal Kingdom has nothing going for it right now.
Many guests also see Animal Kingdom as a half day park as well. Disney recognizes this, which is why most days it’s only open until 8:00 PM and sometimes only until 5:00 PM. It typically closes hours before the other Disney World parks. According to attendance stats from Disney, Animal Kingdom is the least attended park of all Disney Parks around the world!
This is the worst combination. Animal Kingdom is open the shortest and has the lowest attendance, thus bringing in the least amount of money. It’s also the biggest and most expensive park to operate. Those two issues combined are the reason there are so many rumors popping up about Animal Kingdom closing in 2024, after the 25th anniversary.
While we are not able to confirm any of these rumors with internal sources, this does seem to be a big problem and Disney is aware of it. We would not be surprised if Disney starts closing attractions and sections of the park due to the low attendance and demolishing it, like we are seeing with Dinoland USA. It’s likely Kilimanjaro Safaris would be the first area of the park to close.
At this point we can only speculate what will happen, but if we had to bet the house, we would bet it on Animal Kingdom closing in 2 years for good. We think Disney would level the park and build a brand new theme park. We don’t know the theme, but it could be the 5th theme park Disney has been teasing for years.
With Bob Iger back in charge of Disney, we may see an announcement about the future of Animal Kingdom at Destination D23 in Orlando in 2023, if not sooner. Usually when there is a Disney rumor going around as strong as this one, it’s likely true. Our suggestion is to enjoy Animal Kingdom while it is here. It will likely be closing in 2024.
What do you think of this Animal Kingdom closing rumor? Do you think Disney will close this park? Let us know in the comments below!
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