Yesterday, Jan. 5, 2014, Camp Minnie-Mickey, a section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom that’s been around since the park’s opening day, closed to make way for the Avatar expansion.
Camp Minnie-Mickey was originally supposed to be temporary, as the Phase 2 expansion of Animal Kingdom was going add a land called Beastly Kingdom in its place, but when that project got canceled, the land stuck around. A reminder of what almost was could still be seen up until the closing day. As you crossed the bridge to Camp Minnie-Mickey, you could look down at the river on the right and spot a running waterfall coming out of a rock formation shaped like a dragon.
Throughout its years at Animal Kingdom, Camp Minnie-Mickey served as a place to meet Disney characters and take in a couple of shows. One, Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends, ran off and on until 2008. The other, Festival of The Lion King, continued to entertain guests daily until closing day. Eventually the theater space for Pocahontas was used as stroller parking for the Lion King show.
Festival of The Lion King will be on hiatus while the new theater is being built in the Africa section of the park. The interior of the new theater will be similar to the old one, with air conditioning and the same audience capacity. Rumors say the show may undergo some changes during the downtime. You can watch the final showing of Festival of The Lion King in its original Camp Minnie-Mickey theater here:
Over the next three years, the area will transform into the world of Avatar as Pandora comes to life. You can read more about it and see some concept art for the area on our blog.
Festival of the Lion King Photo Gallery: