After being around Walt Disney World for Magic Kingdom and Epcot’s milestone anniversaries the past two Octobers, I am looking forward the 15th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This one holds a different meaning to me than the other two. While MK and Epcot were frequently visited by my family and I on our summer treks from Connecticut to the sunshine state… I was actually living in Orlando when the Animal Kingdom opened. I can not believe I have been here for close to half my life now, and the anniversary of DAK gives me a chance to reflect on that. I moved to Orlando in the fall of ’97 to attend the University of Central Florida. I remember the newscasts, billboards, fanfare and of course… the TV commercials. If you lived in Orlando at that time, you will forever remember Nahtazu!

Whatch a Nahtazu TV commercial here

Another early DAK TV commercial

DAK Central Park celebration

Montage of media clips from DAK’s opening day

Here are a few of the details of what’s planned for the park’s 15th anniversary:

  • Special opening ceremony – Meet at the Tree of Life at 8:40 a.m., to hear from Josh D’Amaro, Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment; and Joe Rohde, Senior Vice President of Walt Disney Imagineering Creative. Make sure you arrive early for this!
  • Earth Day “Party for the Planet” festivities – Special interactive activities that focus on animals and nature will take place throughout the park from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Artists and other vendors will present their work on in Africa and on Discovery Island, with their work available for purchase.
  • Opportunity to purchase special 15th anniversary merchandise, available in limited quantities.
  • Special food & beverage.

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The Disney Parks Blog promises to have more details on Party for the Planet fun, food & beverage and merchandise closer to the event date. However, we do have a peek at a few special items already:

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Artist Javier Soto has created this one-of-a-kind sculpted 9″ Vinylmation Yeti

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This Open Edition pin for $7.95 was released on April 4th

DAK_15th_LETreePin

Retail Price: $12.95
Edition Size: 2000
Release Date: April 22

DAK_15th_LEHingePin

Retail Price: $12.95
Edition Size: 2000
Release Date: April 22

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom 15th Anniversary Mystery Pin Set
Retail Price: $16.95 (2 mystery pins per box)
Edition Size: Limited Release
Release Date: April 22