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Rafiki’s Planet Watch To Close In Disney’s Animal Kingdom – When Will It Reopen?

October 19, 2018

It wasn’t that long ago that Disney released a statement that Rafiki’s Planet Watch will be closing in Animal Kingdom. Since then, they have added to that statement. They are now stating this area of the Park will be closed starting October 21, 2018, but they have plans to reopen in Spring 2019.

While that sounds like good news to Guests who adore this educational area of Animal Kingdom, unfortunately Attractions that move to Seasonal Status don’t usually hang around long.

Stitch’s Great Escape comes to mind. While still listed on Walt Disney World’s website as “temporarily closed”, it’s been years since I’ve personally seen this Attraction open as Stitch’s Great Escape and not a Stitch Meet-and-Greet.


Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Tucked away in a corner, near Kilimanjaro Safaris, I can see how it would be easy to forget this area of the Park even exists.

In fact, I planned on revisiting Planet Watch on my latest Trip. One of those reasons was to get photos for this very post. But, after exiting Kilimanjaro Safaris, we were so hungry we decided to eat some lunch, saying that we would “come back” when we were done. That never happened. I lost count of all the times we planned on “coming back”, but we get caught up doing something else, we never make it back.


Among the Attractions closing…

  • Wildlife Express Train – takes you on a relaxing 5-7 minute trip to and from Africa
  • Affection Section – a petting zoo with a variety of animals, including goats and sheep
  • Conservation Station –  interactive displays, science center, and behind the scene Veterinary Treatment viewing area
  • Habitat Habit! –  an outdoor discovery trail, teaching you about animal conservation


Budding Veterinarians, like my son, has always loved this “land” of the Park. He loved to marvel at all the work the Veterinarians were doing to ensure that the animal in their care is comfortable and well taken care of.

This is real veterinary care, not for show, so this area will still be fully functional, although the area will be closed to Guests.

We also loved having a Meet-and-Greet with Rafiki. After all, the place is named after him, so how could he not be there? And since it was never really busy when we went, it was always a nice short (and air conditioned!) line to meet him.

More recently, Doc McStuffins has also been greeting little Guests, in between her very important appointments of fixing her friends.


New changes?

Not much is being said about the reopening, including an exact date, or if anything will be changed during its down time. There are rumors swirling around about a possible re-theming and/or a name change, but without Disney confirming or denying these rumors, they remain just that.

How do you feel about the closing of Rafiki’s Planet Watch? And what do you think this area will look like when it reopens next year?

Related Post: Who Says That A Walt Disney World Trip Can’t Also Be Educational? is not authorized or endorsed by, or officially connected with The Walt Disney Company, or any of their affiliates. For official Disney information, visit

Hawaii Destination Specialist

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