Disney's Animal Kingdom closing Rafiki's Planet Watch

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

Rafiki’s Planet Watch, including the Conservation Station, are closing to the public, Walt Disney World has confirmed. The final day for theme-park guests to visit the area will be Oct. 20, a Disney spokeswoman says.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

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Jeff's avatar

That's a bummer. I know the kids love the petting zoo over there. I wonder what the actual cost of operating that area is, because the back half of that building is the animal hospital, which isn't going anywhere, and is essential to the operation of the park. I had a tour once... that's a state-of-the-art veterinarian facility there.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

ApolloAndy's avatar

Interesting. Most of the Disney sites I've been tracking in anticipation of our trip in December have been saying it's "going seasonal" rather than a total closure. On the plus side, the one time we went back there in '09, it felt like a total waste of time. I mean, I get that kids love a petting zoo, but the overhead of waiting for the train in both directions for an average/above-average petting zoo did not seem like a good value.

Last edited by ApolloAndy,

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

When I worked at Animal Kingdom, Rafiki's Planet Watch and the train were our "go-to" suggestions when families were looking to get indoors and out of the crowds on busy days. I would imagine the facility will remain as-is, minus the guest experiences. As for the train, it wasn't nearly as good as the Magic Kingdom train, but I hate to see it go.

Does that include closing the train? That park is already short on attractions. I always thought the train should run by more animals like the one at Busch Gardens. It is a short ride that looks at a lot of berming and backlot (animal) buildings.

Jeff's avatar

Short on attractions? I totally disagree. I could easily spend a day there. The walk through zoo attractions alone would take a half day.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

I agree with Brett. It seemed like a missed opportunity that the train basically looked at nothing while you were in this monstrous wildlife park.

Disney has revised their initial announcement. Rafiki's is still closing next month, but will reopen in Spring 2019


Jeff's avatar

Smart move. It's not just something else for guests to do, but it offers a kind of transparency that's important when your have animals in your care. BGT has one of these, too.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

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