(Update: Some sources now say Rafiki’s Planet Watch will not be closed permanently. It is only going down for a refurbishment. I cannot find a good source to confirm or deny this but we can hope it is not going away.)
According to the Orlando Sentinel Rafiki’s Planet Watch will be closing soon! There have been rumors for a while and now it is happening. Disney has not announced any replacement yet but animal care facilities will remain open (for animal care not to the public.)
I hate to see (almost) anything closed at Walt Disney World but it happens. Sometimes for a very good reason and sometimes for a less good one. So why is Disney doing this? And what will become of the land? I can only speculate but read on for my thoughts (and share yours too!)
What is Rafiki’s Planet Watch?
If you have to ask do not feel bad. Many guests have either never heard of it or never taken the the time to experience it. Why? Because there are no rides or shows in this part of the park and you have to take a train ride just to get to it.
So what is Rafiki’s Planet Watch? Planet Watch is listed as part of the Africa Section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Guests must ride the Wildlife Express to get to it.
The area has three different sections (although only two make it onto the map.)
The first section (which Disney lists on its website but does not place on the maps) is Habitat Habitat! It is really just the trail that leads to the rest of Rafiki’s Planet watch but you can meet some animals and learn a little bit about conservation.
The next section is Conservation Station. Here you can get a small view into the veterinary services Disney has for all the animals at the park (I once saw a giant tortoise getting some surgery done.) There are a few educational exhibits and a chance to meet Rafiki.
The third and final section is Affection Section which is really just a petting zoo. Not trying to be mean just being honest.
Then you have to catch the train back to the rest of the park.
Want to know more? Check out this video.
Why would Disney close Rafiki’s Planet Watch?
I hate to say this but most people probably consider it too boring. Many people come to Disney to be entertained not educated and Rafiki’s Planet watch falls way to far into the education camp.
So what do the do? They skip this part of the park and if they are skipping this part of the park why would Disney want to spend the money to keep it up?
Will it be replaced?
I would love to say yes but the truth is I do not know (I called Joe Rohde but he has not returned my call yet.) When you consider that Disney just abandoned River Country when it closed it is entirely possible the this area will just be closed to guests (although the veterinary center will no doubt stay open.)
That being said there has been a rumor for some time that Zootopia was coming to Animal Kingdom in some form and this could be the start of a new expansion. I hope so at least!
Learn more about Zootopia rumors (one one about Indiana Jones) here.
My thoughts on Rafiki’s Planet Watch
Call me a nerd but I like Rafiki’s Planet Watch. I may not visit it every time I go to the Animal Kingdom but I enjoy it. Of course, I am a nerd who loves to learn. I will even ask cast members questions about the animals
So what do you think? Is it time for Rafiki to go or not? Let me know in the comments or join us at Unofficial WDW Guide.
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