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Are attractions disappearing?! Every time we blink there is something new happening at Walt Disney World. Over the past few weeks the rumors have been flying around Rafiki’s Planet Watch over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. One day it is closing forever and the next it is reopening in Spring of 2019. Don’t worry Lt. Judy Hopps will get to the bottom of this one!

In mid-September we heard from a few cast members (employees) that Rafiki’s Planet Watch would be closing on October 21, 2019, with no confirmation it would re-open. It was a sad day for many Disneyphiles, as Rafiki’s Planet Watch is one of the last remaining educational attractions at Walt Disney World. The attraction takes guests on an in-depth look at the different animals habitats from around the world, and takes you behind the scenes on how Disney cast members care for them. Guests board a train and at the end of the ride is the conversation station where you hang out with the animals and meet your favorite Lion King characters. Hakuna Matata!

 

Lt. Hopps Investigates Rakifi's Planet Watch
Lt. Hopps Kicking-Off Her Investigation – Photo Credit

 

By late September we got confirmation Rafiki’s Planet Watch would be reopening in Spring 2019. Disneyphiles rejoice! Is this temporary closure just a regular refurbishment or could more be happening? Let’s tagalong with Lt. Judy Hopps on her investigation!

 

Meet and greet that was at Rafiki's Planet Watch moving to Discovery Island -
Photo Credit – Disney Parks Blog

 

NEWS FLASH!!! Lt. Judy Hopps got us some intel, lets she what she’s found! On September 20th, Disney Parks announced the Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party staring Rafiki and Timon will begin January 18, 2019 on Discovery Island at the Animal Kingdom. Hmmmm, our first clue! The meet and greet that used to be at Rafiki’s Planet Watch is moving to Discovery Island.

 

Rafiki's Planet Watch Sign
Entrance to the Wildlife Express

 

LIVE REPORT!!! We just got a page that Lt. Judy Hopps is reporting live from the Animal Kingdom, let’s listen in! “Hi everyone, Judy here, I’m investigating the scene at the Animal Kingdom to see why Rafiki’s Planet Watch is closing and I found something pretty surprising!” What’s did you find Lt. Hopps? “No one” No one? Like no guests? What does that mean, Judy? “Well I spoke with a cast member and they said none of the guests have been going to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.” Why? Why are the guests not going to the attraction, Lt. Hopps? “If I had to guess, I would say it’s because of the train that is required to make the trip out to the attraction.” Ahh, it’s too much of time commitment to ride the train?! That’s great information, Lt. Hopps! Thank you!

Well folks it looks like we could be seeing a change happening at Rafiki’s Planet Watch based on the information Lt. Judy Hopps found for us. BREAKING NEWS!!! Wait one second folks it looks like Lt. Judy Hopps may have another loin’s tale to tell! We’re hearing rumors that Rafiki’s Planet Watch could be rethemed around Zootopia? Ahhh! Now we see why Lt. Hopps has her “ears” to the ground on this one!

The retheming of Rafiki’s Planet Watch to Zootopia would make sense for multiple reasons. First, Zootopia is a successful Intellectual Property (IP) that Walt Disney World has yet to incorporate into the parks. Secondly, Disney likes to test concepts and rides before making large investments for them at Walt Disney World. Case and point, the addition of the Tron coaster to the Magic Kingdom (currently at Shanghai Disneyland). Lastly, if the Zootopia IP is successful Disney could easily expand to a more immersive Zootopia land, as one of the “expansion” pads (areas of unused land set aside for future development) within the Animal Kingdom is next to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

Can you image the awesome rides Disney could create around Zootopia? The blog post is already writing itself!

For now, we will need to wait and see what Disney does with Rafiki’s Planet Watch. If it switches over Zootopia it may be our first hint of things to comes. Luckily we have a short wait!

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