BREAKING: Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Close in October

Cast members at Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom were informed this morning that the area will close permanently next month. Disney has yet to announce the closure.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch, along with all of its meet and greets (which will actually end earlier on 9/29), exhibits and more (as well as the Wildlife Express Train) will close forever on October 21st, 2018. Reportedly, some experiences from Planet Watch will find a new home elsewhere in the park. As for the veterinary facilities, they will be remaining in service and the animals that call Planet Watch home will not be leaving Disney World just yet.

It is unclear if the closure is a budgetary decision or making way for future expansion of the park.

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Yolanda
Yolanda
2 years ago

It’s all budget. We heard about this recently. Disney’s demand has gone down. They don’t realize, it’s because they’re cheapening out their product. But…the executives keep cutting. Many Disney guests will go no matter how horrible it is. They keep a smile on the face while we cast members laugh behind their backs. They’d pay to stand in a long line to be flogged and thank us for it. Them cutting areas creates more demand for other areas of the park. Plus Rafikki didn’t sell anything to speak of. A no no in modern Disney. Any attraction that doesn’t sell… Read more »

La’Trel
La’Trel
2 years ago
Reply to  Yolanda

They sold stuff there. The stand is outside right across from the enterance to the petting zoo.

Aaron G
Aaron G
2 years ago
Reply to  Yolanda

Disneys demand has not gone down in a long time. Its continuing to go up. The only reason they are making these budgetary decisions are due to budgetary strain in the 3rd quarter with many new projects in the works. They are only doing it to meet projections in 3rd quarter 2018. Nothing is stopping them from bringing them back or replacing them with new things in 4th quarter 2018 and beyond.

Aaron G.
Aaron G.
2 years ago
Reply to  Yolanda

Their demand has not gone down, it continues to go up. They only made these budget cuts to meet 3rd quarter 2018 projections as a result of budgetary strain from numerous experience improvements and projects across all of their parks. Nothing is stopping them from replacing them with something better, refurbishing them, or bringing them back in 4th quarter 2018 and beyond.

Amelia Guiden
2 years ago
Reply to  Aaron G.

I absolutely agree with you. There are attractions that work & there are some that do not. I visited this attraction many times and compared to most Rafiki’s Planet Watch is not as interesting. I think by Disney adding Pandora to AK, they’ve created a smooth transition. Disney is doing great & continues to improve!

Natasha Walker
2 years ago
Reply to  Amelia Guiden

Amelia I agree with you in regards to it not being as interesting. We have gone the last two years and each year my 4 kids ages 8-13 all voted to NOT do the wildlife train ride, they rather ride more thrilling rides and quite honestly the entire attraction we can get at our local zoo in Houston so they do that stuff several times a year anyways including the train and petting animals.

Steve Ratay
Steve Ratay
2 years ago

Surely Walt never meant to inspire or educate his guests . . . what a shame.

TJ
TJ
2 years ago

Thinking maybe Zootopia

Steve A
Steve A
2 years ago
Reply to  TJ

God I hope so.

I never liked Rafiki’s Planet Watch anyways. Who wants to touch a bunch of dirty animals and then eat a meal afterwards. There’s enough germs in the park as it is, with all the kids and adults that sneeze without covering their mouths.

Besides people can just go to a petting zoo in many of Americas rinky dink towns.

Steve A
Steve A
2 years ago
Reply to  TJ

I hope so

Good riddance to Rafiki’s petting zoo.

I don’t understand who would want to pet a dirty animal and then go eat lunch. The parks are already unsanitary as it is with all of the kids and adults sneezing and not washing their hands.

Bom Trady
Bom Trady
2 years ago

First Big Thunder Ranch, now Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Disney is actively pushing goats out the parks.

Jeff
Jeff
2 years ago

Finally.
Let’s get something in there that’s not just a “one & done”.

Walt would approve.

Justin
Justin
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff

My money is on Zootopia. Rumor is that’s coming to where, Shanghai? And it’s IP enough for them to put it in.

Indy Jonze
Indy Jonze
2 years ago

one of the worst decisions yet. probably the last true education areas in the parks

Linda
Linda
2 years ago
Reply to  Indy Jonze

Totally agree. I was there last month and enjoyed it tremendously. Always something to learn and a beautiful quiet break from the rest of the park. Besides, you get to play with goats!

Liam
Liam
2 years ago
Reply to  Indy Jonze

Unfortunately this generation doesn’t care to learn about anything

Jill
Jill
2 years ago

How can I adopt one of the goats???

Matt
Matt
2 years ago

I love how everyone just goes negative saying this is a terrible decision.
Disney has not made an official announcement about it.
and it says in the article that it is unclear why it’s closing. The whole place could just be getting a major refurbishment, keeping some of the same themes just not called Rafiki’s Planet watch.

Brent
Brent
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt

I wish I could be as hopeful as you.

Ben
Ben
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt

Ha! I don’t mean to be rude, but you must not have been following Disney’s decisions for very long if you’re that hopeful.

Karen
Karen
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt

I was just there on Sunday, and it is closing, verified it with a cast member who was as unhappy as I and my family are that it’s closing down.

PanicAtTheDISco
PanicAtTheDISco
2 years ago

I love the overreaction from some comments already. Just cause it’s closing doesn’t mean nothing will go there. It might be expansion. These people are probably the same people who overreacted when Camp Minnie Mickey was rumored to close. How did that turn out? How about we just wait and see here

David
David
2 years ago

Zootopia land to be announced at Destination D in November. Stay tuned!

Justin
Justin
2 years ago
Reply to  David

BINGO. I can smell this a mile away.

Zoonopia
Zoonopia
2 years ago
Reply to  David

Ugh. I guess it makes sense, but I wasn’t a fan of the movie so I can’t say I’m excited about it.

Natalie
Natalie
2 years ago

When I worked at DAK we were encouraged to tell guests about Rafiki’s. It was never very popular, but visiting there and seeing all DAK does to help animals is what really made me fall in love with the park. I personally don’t think Disney should be building anything new in its place until they can stop with all the budget cuts, but I’m not educated in business so…

Dave
Dave
2 years ago

If not Zootopia, maybe it will become a Wakandan Outreach Center with Black Panther and Shuri meet & greets.

Charlie
Charlie
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave

Black Panther might not be allowed due to the Universal “East of the Mississippi” Marvel rights. They are having to do some clever rewording with the GotG coaster at Epcot just so they can use the IP.

keith
keith
2 years ago
Reply to  Charlie

East of the Mississippi most likely wouldnt apply since Universal doesnt use Black Panther. They cant called it Marvel, but Black Panther (and Big Hero Six, and Dr. Strange, and Graudians of the Galaxy) can be using in “attractions” (like the movie show at Hollywood studios and various meet and greats)

Ursula
Ursula
2 years ago
Reply to  keith

Actually Universal does have a picture of Black Panther which is why he did no meet and greets at WDW like Dr Stange and Guardens which are not in Marvel Superhero Island at all. Disney is really going to hate that Simpsons mural with every character in Universal after they close on Fox

keith
keith
2 years ago
Reply to  Ursula

I’m is not sure the murals would stop Disney from using Black Panther or Wakanda. Although its been a few years since I was there, I recall seeing Dr. Strange on one of the murals ( I think w the 1940s Cap.) And he is still used. The question would be is a mere picture in two places enough of a use to deny Disney access to the character. And if not BP himself, that wouldn’t stop Wakanda or Shuri being used…. I am not sure would want to litigate that A better argument for Universal would be that he… Read more »

keith
keith
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave

My family and I always like Rafiki’s – but it was out of place. Thematically it was jarring … going from Africa to seeing the back stage just felt wrong. Zootopia would make little since (but neither does Avatar really) since we are dealing with “real” animals. However, a re-themeing to Wakanda would make sense. You wouldnt have to do much on the back lot; it would synergize with the Marvel phenomen (a movie with a billion dollars), would fit in with Africa, meet Black Panther and other characters and the train ride could be converted to something like the… Read more »

Wendy Mealing
Wendy Mealing
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave

Yas

Aaron
Aaron
2 years ago

Out of all the WDW news, this is legitimately the only thing that’s ever pissed me off. For us, it is the most enjoyable part of DAK…it’s quiet and there was a lot to do. Hell even the train ride was a lot of fun. Really hoping they keep it around in some form. Retheme as a Zootopia area could be cool. I’m calling dibs on the “scoop on poop” bathroom signs.

Michael
Michael
2 years ago

This was a waste of space, I hope they come to their senses and put in Mystic Point.

RebeccaMcK
RebeccaMcK
2 years ago

It would be nice if the It All Started With A Mouse show could expand a little and even replace the Up birds show. We just watched your old video of that show from RPW and it’s better than the Flights of Wonder replacement.

dusty
dusty
2 years ago

if true it is very sad. my wife & I enjoyed our visits & the train ride.

Tom Lonely Goat
Tom Lonely Goat
2 years ago

No more Special Goats… :(

JEANNETTE SANCHEZ
JEANNETTE SANCHEZ
2 years ago

Zootopia would be perfect for Animal Kingdom. And some attraction with Zootopia Characters. I would like Zootopia land to be announced at Destination D in November. Because I love Zootopia. I hope it will be official.

Captain Planet
Captain Planet
2 years ago

Planet watch is my job! I’m sure that Disney is closing this giant empty air conditioned building with not one solar panel that you can only get to by riding an ineffient fossil fuel train because they care so much about the planet. First straws and plastic lids are removed but not bags then freeing goats and not dolphins. I’m super impressed or really sarcasic.. The power is yours

Bob Jedi
Bob Jedi
2 years ago

The animals from the petting zoo will be repurposed at Yak and Yeti!!!!