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Disney's Animal Kingdom focuses on three broad classifications of animals: those that exist in today's reality; those that did exist, are now extinct (i.e., dinosaurs); and those that only exist in the realm of fantasy. In the original design for the park, the animals of legend once had their own section.

The original design for Animal Kingdom included a section called the Beastly Kingdom (possibly spelled as "Beastly Kingdomme"). It was a land devoted to creatures of legend and mythology. Beastly Kingdom was in fruition before Camp Minnie-Mickey was built as another tenant when the park opened.

Beastly Kingdom had featured mythical animals such as unicorns, dragons, and sea monsters. The land used to feature realms of both good and evil creatures. The bad side was dominated by Dragon Tower was a ruined castle home to a greedy fire-breathing dragon who horded a fabulous treasure in the tower chamber. The castle was inhabited by bats who planned to rob the dragon of his throne and riches. They enlisted the guests' help in their scheme and whisk them off on a thrilling roller coaster ride through the castle ruins. The climax of the ride was an encounter with the evil dragon himself, resulting in a nearly-barbecued train of guests. Next the little stone bridge on the left side of the woods was The Three Billy Goats Bridge. Finally Reign of Fire had a 30 tall foot robotic version of a dragon snapped it's jaws scratched it's jaws flapped it's wings and belched smoke and fire as guests flew at 50 miles per hour.

The good side of this land was a home for Quest of the Unicorn, an adventure which sent guests through a maze of medieval mythological creatures to seek the hidden grotto where the unicorn lived. Next the Hippo/Gator Ride took guests whirling past the famous hippo elephant and alligator dancers from Fantasia. Finally, the Fantasia Gardens attraction was a musical boat ride through animal scenes from Disney's animated classic, Fantasia. The ride featured both the crocodiles ostriches elephants and hippos from "Dance of the Hours". And the Pegasus, fauns, and centaurs from Beethoven's "Pastoral."

Remnants of this former area were seen when the park opened and are still seen to this day:

  • The parking lot contains a section named "Unicorn."
  • The silhouette of a dragon appears in the Animal Kingdom logo.
  • There is a dragon-shaped stone fountain near Camp Minnie-Mickey.
  • A detailed dragon head statue sits atop one of the ticket booths at the park's entrance. (The other four booths are topped by an elephant head a lion head an antelope head and a triceratops head.)
  • Blasts of fire was spewed from a cave at the edge of the water in Camp Minnie-Mickey. Burnt suits of armor were just outside the cave entrance, and when boats passed this scene in the now-closed Discovery River Boats attraction, guests were told by the boat's captain that the fire was created by a fire-breathing dragon inside the cave. This scene was seen from Discovery River Boats attraction and the Camp Minnie-Mickey bridge for several years.
  • One of the McDonald's Animal Kingdom-themed Happy Meal toys was a winged purple dragon. (It was similar to Madam Mim as a Dragon in The Sword in the Stone).

As Expedition Everest features the mythological yeti, a creature that does or does not exist, the park now features at least one attraction based on each type of animal (living, extinct and legendary). As to Beastly Kingdom's future, Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde said in 2000: "We had a vision and now it's become another place holder. We have all kinds of ideas and all of them fit with the theme of Beastly Kingdom. I am even convinced there was a Beastly Kingdom."

Past attractions[]

Past restaurants []

  • Loch Ness Landing

Past shops[]

  • Mother Gooses Cottage Shop

Sources & External Links[]

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