Island Mercantile, a souvenir gift shop near the entrance of Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Discovery Island, has closed half of the store for refurbishment as cash registers are moved.
Island Mercantile Under Refurbishment
After you enter Disney’s Animal Kingdom and pass through the Oasis area, you will cross a bridge and stand face-to-face with the park’s iconic Tree of Life. From there if you turn left, you can spot Island Mercantile, a retail shop with various souvenir offerings.
On our most recent stop to Island Mercantile, we noticed that half of the store was closed to customers and blocked off with black pipe and drape. According to our sources, this is most likely because Disney is changing the store’s layout.
For now, Cast Members stand guard to make sure that guests don’t wander into the area of Island Mercantile that is under construction.
Back in 2021, Island Mercantile added Mobile Checkout making it easier for guests to purchase items without waiting in lines at the register to pay.
Baby Mandrill at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The change at Island Mercantile isn’t the only new thing happening at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They are also celebrating the birth of a baby mandrill monkey, named Saffron, at Kilimanjaro Safaris born on July 24.
Baby Saffron weighs less than three pounds and could almost fit in the palm of your hand. Despite Saffron’s small size, mandrills are the world’s largest species of monkeys. Dr. Mark Penning, VP of Disney Parks’ Animals, Science and Environment division, wrote on Disney Parks Blog that Saffron is currently sticking by her mom Hazel and nursing in the treetops of their habitat. Mandrill mothers assume most parental responsibilities.
Saffron is a sister to Ivy, who was born two years ago. Saffron is nearly the size of Hazel now, as seen in the photo above.
Rafiki from “The Lion King” is a mandrill, which have colorful blue, red, and pink faces and yellow manes. According to Penning, each mandrill’s coloration and pattern is unique. No two strands of hair are the same. Saffron will develop her unique coloration as she fully matures, which takes three to four years.
The colorful backsides of mandrills help the family groups follow each other through the dense forests of Africa.
Mandrills are a vulnerable species, with only about 4,000 left in the wild in Africa. Saffron’s birth is part of Disney’s ongoing work with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. Read about more recent animal births at Walt Disney World:
- Two Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra Foals Born in Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Closer Look at Newborn Cotton-Top Tamarin Monkey Twins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- PHOTOS: Meet Walter — The Newest Red River Hog Piglet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Yellow-Backed Duiker Calf Born for First Time in 20 Years at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Disney Conservation Fund
Disney Conservation is committed to saving wildlife and building a global community inspired to protect the magic of nature together. Since 1995, Disney Conservation has directed more than $120 million and the expertise of their dedicated teams to support organizations working with communities to save wildlife, inspire action, and protect the planet.
The Disney Conservation Fund is focused on saving wildlife for future generations through grants to leading conservation organizations working together to stabilize and increase the populations of at-risk animals including butterflies, coral reefs, cranes, elephants, gorillas, monkeys, and sea turtles. A Disney conservationist works with each organization to identify where Disney expertise can also play a role in reversing the decline of these animals and their habitats.