This week, Disney's Animal Kingdom Park celebrates its 22nd anniversary in a park empty of guests. It was also planned to be a massive celebration to include honoring the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the 25th anniversary of the Disney Conservation Fund.


The birth of DAK is an interesting story.

Disney MGM Studios opened in 1989 and was an overwhelming success demanding an immediate expansion of the new park.

CEO Michael Eisner was preparing to make an announcement that the 1990s would be the "Disney Decade" that would include new themed entertainment venues and attractions.

Eisner was keenly aware of things that might compete for tourist revenue, so Disney MGM Studios was meant to undercut Universal's announced plan to build a movie oriented theme park in Central Florida and Pleasure Island that also opened in 1989 would undermine the popular Church Street Station with its themed nightclubs and shopping opportunities.