When you first come to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s likely that the most stunning thing you’ll notice is the Tree of Life. This is Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s most recognizable icon, and it happens to be located on a place called Discovery Island.
Discovery Island is the main hub of the entire Animal Kingdom. Imagine it as the center of a wheel, with the spokes being the other areas of the park. In fact, Discovery Island is the starting point for all of the park’s attractions except for Rafiki’s Planet watch.
In addition to being the place where the animal magic begins, Discovery Island is surrounded by animal enclosures, where visitors can see black crowned cranes, kangaroos, lemurs, and more. If you’re in the mood to do some shopping, the park’s largest gift shop is located here, as are two of the major restaurants if all of that exploration makes you a bit munchy.
Discovery Island was actually called Safari Village at the onset, given that Discovery Island was the name for the small zoo located in Walt Disney World’s Bay Lake. When Bay Lake closed in 1999, Safari Village inherited the name.
Generally speaking, this is the place where you will start your adventures into the animal world, and after spending some time taking pictures of the Tree of Life and visiting with the kangaroos, you’ll likely depart as quickly as you arrived. However, Discovery Island is where it all starts – and you’ll no doubt find it a pleasant place to return once your safari is over!