Disney Animation fans itching for a creative outlet will want to grab a pencil, pad of paper, and pith helmet, because today The Unofficial Guide is taking you on a virtual safari to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where we’ll hop aboard the Wildlife Express train to Conservation Station and learn how to draw Disney characters with video lessons direct from the Animation Experience attraction.
Currently, all theme parks, cruise lines, and other attractions are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We at The Unofficial Guides hope all our readers and their loved ones, as well as all attraction employees, remain healthy and safe. Without intending to trivialize the current crisis, we will continue to post positive stories about the parks, in hopes of bringing their magic into your home as a welcome distraction during these trying times. For the latest updates, read our guide to cornoavirus and the theme parks.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is all about sharing the real-life stories behind our favorite anthropomorphized animated characters, and no place in the park does that better than Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Many Walt Disney World visitors are completely unaware of this seldom-advertised edutainment attraction secluded in parks furthest corner, and the entire complex has been closed during certain seasons. But those who do climb aboard the Wildlife Express train to Conservation Station will discover delightful opportunities to get hands-on and face-to-face with some fascinating creatures, as you are about to discover in today’s virtual visit.
The journey to Rafiki’s Planet Watch begins in Harambe Village, where the Wildlife Express railroad departs every few minutes. During the trip to and from the complex, guests get a rare behind-the-scenes peek and the animal care areas that support the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride.
Check out the complete Wildlefe Express experience from your own couch with this round-trip POV video:
Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll hike through the winding wooded Habitat Trail before arriving at Conservation Station, the heart of Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
Just outside the Conservation Station is one of our favorite overlooked gems at Animal Kingdom, the Affection Section petting zoo.
The inside of Conservation Station features some interesting veterinary exhibits that are worth checking out. We especially like the display of dining options provided for the inhabitants.
However, the real reason we’re here today is for the Animation Experience. Originally found at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in the now-defunct Magic of Disney Animation attraction, this popular interactive class was brought back a few years ago at Animal Kingdom, where it allows any guest the opportunity to draw an animated character just like a real Disney artist.
Showtimes for the Animation Experience are posted outside. You’ll want to arrive early because the classes often fill up.
Ok, now is the time to grab your art supplies and follow along with this lesson in how to draw Simba from The Lion King, direct from the Animation Experience at Conservation Station in Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
How did your drawing turn out? If you enjoyed that, don’t stop now: Disney has an entire library of over 40 drawing lessons available for free on YouTube:
For all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, or to plan your family’s trip to Orlando, check out The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World with Kids 2020. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe to our YouTube channel and sign up for our newsletter here. Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.