Discovery Island

When visiting Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom the first thing you are bound to notice is the Tree Of Life which sits on the back center of Discovery Island. The Tree Of Life is also the park’s icon and a true beauty it is. Of course it is a ‘Disney Imagineering Tree’ and we all know that means it is constructed and not grown. The skeleton of the tree is an oil rig base, the leaves are a vinyl type product and the bark is of course concrete. The most unique part of the tree are the 366 animals including a Hidden Mickey carved into the trunk by artisans over an 18 month perion but much more on the carvings a bit later.

The oil rig base was used so that the Tree of Life could house the only E-Ticket attraction on Discovery Island, ‘It’s Tough To Be A Bug’. All the characters from ‘A Bugs Life’ make appearances in this delightful  3-D presentation. The only caution I would give is that some of the special effects are a bit intense and may scare those who are afraid of insects. The show itself as well as the queue are a true visual experience.

I may be a rebel here but I consider the Discovery Island Trails to be one of the finest experiences in this section of the park. As you stroll along the trails you get a very up close look at the carvings on the Tree Of Life.



I think the photos tell you why the Discovery Island Trails fascinate me but there are also lots of little tropical foliage displays and yes there are some animals along the trails also. After all, it is Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

There are some shops on Discovery Island. Surprised? The shops are the Island Mercantile specializing in Disney themed items, Disney Outfitters for the more upscale stuff, and the Beastly Bazaar where you will find the required Safari type clothing.

There are also two quite decent counter service locations on Discovery Island, Pizzafari and the Flame Tree Barbeque. Pizzafari serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner items while the Flame Tree Barbeque serves only lunch and dinner. The food at Flame Tree Barbeque is especially good.

When you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom be sure to make some time for Discovery Island and the Trails located there. It will be a very rewarding experience. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!





  • Christina C

    Love this guide to the Discovery Island at the Animal Kingdom! I’ve learned some facts that I wouldn’t have otherwise. Can’t believe the tree is constructed from an old oil rig! The more you know! Great guide, very informative!