This Cast Fast Facts card was given to Walt Disney World cast members throughout 1995 to assist in answering guest questions regarding the newly-announced Disney’s Wild Animal Kingdom.
In February of ’96, the name would be shortened to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and would open just over two years later, on Earth Day (April 22) of 1998. As the largest park ever built by Disney, the Animal Kingdom centers on various aspects of the natural world, while placing a large focus on plant and animal conservation. At opening, the park was divided into the following five lands, with the 145-foot Tree of Life serving as the park’s centerpiece: The Oasis, Safari Village (renamed Discovery Island a year later), Camp Minnie-Mickey, DinoLand U.S.A., Conservation Station (later re-branded Rafiki’s Planet Watch), Africa, and Asia.
The front of the Cast Fast Facts card shows the park’s original logo, which it retained despite the name-change and although original plans for a land based on mythological animals was scrapped during development (note the dragon). The back provides the following information:
CAST FAST FACTS…Disney’s Wild Animal Kingdom
Announced on June 20, 1995
Opening Date: Spring 1998
Size: (500 acres) The Biggest Disney Theme Park Ever!!
Location: 3/4 mile West of Blizzard Beach
Park Elements: Thrill Rides, Exotic Landscapes, Close Encounters with Wild Animals…The Tree of Life: 14-stories tall/50 ft. wide at the trunk.
What Animals Will Guests See? On opening day there will be more than 1,000 different species, most of which will inhabit an open 100-acre African Savannah.
Where are animals in the Park coming from? The vast majority were born in zoological parks. The only animals that will come from the wild are those that are orphaned or rescued.
Conservation Commitment: The park will have more than 150 threatened animals involved in the international Species Survival Program. An advisory board comprised of many of the world’s leading conservationists is guiding Disney’s commitment to develop worldwide conservation efforts.
Conservation Station: The information headquarters for guests who want to get involved with conservation organizations worldwide.
This unique cast-member publication, dating to the announcement of Walt Disney World’s fourth theme park, represents one of the company’s most ambitious projects ever, which culminated in what is now one of the top zoological parks worldwide.