Home Disney World Animal Kingdom’s Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Conservation Station to close

Animal Kingdom’s Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Conservation Station to close

Opening date set for Rafiki's Planet Watch

The Wildlife Express Train, Rafiki’s Planet Watch and the Conservation station Cast Members have been informed that the location will close.

The closure of Rafiki’s Planet Watch will occur on October 21.  The location is the host for Veterinary care, Doc McStuffins & Rafiki character meets, The Song of the Rainforest, Animal Encounters Up-Close Interactions, Affection Section and It All Started with a Mouse.

Doc McStuffins and Rafiki meet and greets will be eliminated September 29, 2018.

All these experiences, along with the Wildlife Express Train which takes you to and from Rafiki’s Planet Watch will close .  Rumors has stated that it would move to a seasonal operation, but that will not occur.

It’s possible that Rafiki could offer a meet in the main part of the park, but a new dance party is coming in January, so it’s unknown what will happen to him in the interim.  Doc McStuffins will continue to meet in Hollywood Studios.

Rumors have swirled for a while that the area could be used for a new Zootopia themed area.  That’s just an unconfirmed rumor at that point, but it does appear that the area will be redeveloped for guest use in the coming years.

Managers are stating that the area could reopen in Spring of 2019 after several months of redevelopment.

What do you think of this change?


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  1. We have two days scheduled for AK in June 2019 & I was really looking forward to taking my 5 & 3 year old daughters to that area. It looked like something they would love. This makes me sad that we won’t get to experience it.

  2. Here is my idea. Zootopia section replaces Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Conservation Station at Animal Kingdom. The train that takes you there becomes the monorail, and they do something like Hogwarts express at Universal where through screens in train you see the city of Zootopia as you approach it. There, a permanent meet and greet with Nick, Judy, and other characters. As for the ride, I am thinking something like the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey where its a rollercoaster with on screen characters (4D) And you are solving a case, and it’s different every time (possibility of 5 cases). The script would be different each time, 5 different films and plots.

    Food — Big Donut, Jerry Jumbeaux’s Cafe, Judy’s Salad Bowl (for the vegetarians) and Nick’s WildeTimes (for the meat eaters).

  3. That’s a shame. I don’t visit the area every trip since I don’t have little kids anymore but loved seeing the train go by while I ate in Harambe Dining area.
    I’ll have to adjust my AK plan next week so I can go to that area one last time.

  4. Our family will miss the train ride and if anybody knows what I’m talking about…. the educational/informational pictures on the bathroom stall doors on the island.

  5. When I went last year it was a nice break from the simulation of the rest of parks. A chance to touch some animals. We saw a female lion having her yearly checkup and she was just on the other side of the glass. You’d never see that in a zoo. I also got a great set of selfies with a random goat that decided to join the shot on the bench with my son and I. She posed, I’m quite sure. LOL

  6. Why do the Disney planners close ALL the good stuff? I enjoyed the train ride and the quiet of this area. So many interesting things to see.

  7. Such an incredible bummer. We always made this an hour or two of our AK visits. It was such a perfect activity for my older daughter with autism who needed that low-key break in the middle of the day. Was such a perfect way to slow down the pace and sensory input of a Disney visit for a little while. Rafiki once spent a ton of time with her showing her all the drawings in his tree and letting her show off her Lion King and Lion Guard knowledge. I’m glad we have those memories but I hate to see it go.

  8. I hate this. I was planning a huge part of our visit to that area. My daughter had become obsessed with Lion King and Rafiki as of recent and was born and raised as a Doc fan. I’m so sad she won’t be able to meet either now. I don’t have a park hopper and we are only doing AK and MK. I wish they would at least keep them there until they permanently close the station. We are coming on the 5th. Gosh, I’m praying that maybe this plan gets thwarted somehow!

  9. it’s just one more classic being destroyed with something not as good put in its place. Disney is making me sad with these changes

  10. While Disney World takes eons of time to build new attractions and rides, why can’t they give ample notice of closings? To those of us who love the doomed attractions, it would allow us to plan “one more time”!

  11. We will be there on the 29th (hopefully) depending on the Auto Train. I’m sad to see it go but happy that 3 of my grandchildren will experience it.

  12. Disappointing. We planned some of our AK day in Nov. around this area. This was part of the educational experience that Walt would have wanted.

  13. Im upset about this. I loved this part of AK. Why does everything have to be a “ride”? This was a nice relaxing way to let lunch settle. And, I loved petting the animals. Seems like they’re straying away from the initial meaning behind AK.

  14. I highly doubt this is true. The only medical facilities for the animals is there and I don’t see them building a new animal hospital elsewhere. Plus the petting area is popular. The seasonal idea is far more feasible.

  15. Oh no This makes me sad. I really enjoyed the different atmosphere (much more quiet, peaceful & slower paced) as well as the up close & personal animal encounters. If Raciki does start meeting elsewhere, I’m sure his que will immediately double from what it always has been Oh well, time & change ❤️ I’ll miss you Rafiki’s Planet Watch!

  16. I’m not surprised, because it never seems too busy when we go, but I’m disappointed. We always enjoy this area, and sometimes it’s a nice getaway from the busier areas of the park.

  17. I hate to hear this. It was a great area for younger guests to enjoy themselves at AK. We were there the first week of September and watched a procedure that was being done on a mandrill. Lots of fun and learning took place.

  18. Oh, this makes me sad! I loved going here with my kids, especially when they were little. Glad we got to experience it last May since we won’t be back before it closes.

  19. I hate this. We didn’t make it to this area last year and was looking forward to seeing it November. I wish they would at least wait until the end of the year. Makes me sad.

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