Animal Kingdom Update: A New Amphitheater (PART 1)

Animal Kingdom's major expansion continues to bring changes to one of the most beautiful Disney theme parks ever created. While very few attractions will be added by the opening of Pandora (the two AVATAR-themed rides may be all the park will receive in the next few years), plenty of new shows, stores, and restaurants are added, enhancing the overall Guest experience. As usual, let's take a look around the park to check on the progress that has been done so far.

Welcome to Disney's wildest theme park:

The expansion of Disney Outfitters continues:

The Flame Tree Barbecue:

The expanded awnings look nice:

Work is "well underway" to continue expanding the awnings:

This is all that has been done in the past few weeks:

Back to the Tree of Life:

The temporary bridge installed on top of this small pond was recently removed:

A secondary fence will soon be installed behind the Tree of Life:

The marks on the ground roughly form this shape:

The installation was completed in a nearby area:

On the other side of the island, the expansion of Island Mercantile continues:

The new restaurant behind Pizzafari is slowly taking shape:

AVATAR's future entrance:

In Africa, some new props have been added around the Harambe Theater District:

A closer look:

Enjoy these beautiful restrooms:

Future pathway to Pandora - The World of AVATAR:

The rest of Harambe:

The new Harambe Market:

Some trees directly behind the park's icon were recently removed:

What is the purpose of these? The mystery remains:


  1. The Mystery Box is a RFID reader so they can track who is moving where within the park via your Magic Band or your ticket.

  2. Thanks! We were sure it was RFID-related, but we were not sure what was its real purpose. Tracking Guests? PhotoPass+ related?

  3. The photopass thing is creepy! We never once touched our magicband to one of the Mickey symbols that display pictures at the end of rides. One time during our 10 day trip we had our picture taken at dinner and the photopass cast member used the band to save it. When we got home, I got an e-mail from Disney telling me to check out my pictures. So, I logged in expecting to see our dinner picture. It was there, but EVERY SINGLE RIDE PICTURE was also there sorted by day and even time! Again, we never once "saved" the picture by touching our band. I get that the band can tell them where you are in the park, but the fact that they know what ride vehicle your in is super creepy. Its very accurate as well because on rides like Buzz Lightyear, there is not much space between those cars, but yet all the pictures are there. Makes me wonder what else there are tracking that we don't even know about.

  4. What else CAN they track, anon? What are you so worried about? They can't listen in on your phone calls any more than anyone else in the world can. Your credit card information has always been at risk anywhere you use your card. Disney is a much larger and more reputable company, and has far more to lose by being lazy with your personal information.

    Don't like it? Don't use your magic band. That's right, you don't even have to use it. The card they give you can't be tracked in the same way the magicband can, and therefore the card can only identify you when you tap it to a reader.

    Relax, for crying out loud. I bet that anyone who knows your name could go online right now, and after a few minutes of Googling, find out where you live, where you eat, places you've been, who your friends are, when you went on vacation, etc. Disney knows far less than that, and is tracking far less than that. They don't care about you PERSONALLY. They track your position for things like rides to hopefully sell you things. They're not laughing as they watch you pee in your own home. Chill. Your entire life is far less private than you think it is, and Disney's magicband tracking while you're in the parks is the least of your concerns.

  5. I be more worried with what you put on FB then what the magic bands are doing. Like when people tag themselves at a location with other people you making other people know your away or out. I'm looking forward to using my band next year as now I won't need to carry anything with me a round Disney.

  6. Ignorance is clearly bliss...

  7. I don't like how they have let the grass grow up on the Harambe beach.

  8. Was there yesterday and the park is looking amazing with all the walls coming down. Heard a few people upset that their are still many walls up but personally didn't see THAT many besides Rivers of Light area.

    Maybe I missed recent posts but what are the secondary fences for? Expanding walking space? Anyone have any info on that?

    Btw, ate at Flame Tree BBQ yesterday and the new set up is simply amazing. There is so much more room to spread out and you can breathe while ordering!

  9. The RFID can track your bathroom usage and time as well. So don't stay in the bathroom longer than needed ya know! ;-) LOL

  10. The MagicBands can't be "tracked". Each seat on every photo-op ride has an individual reader. That's how it knows where you're seated. It's listed as one of the conveniences of the MagicBand in it's sales material so it really shouldn't have come as a surprise. It's no different than a credit card company "tracking" you. If you buy something at Target, Visa obviously knows you're at Target. It's not hard for them to figure it out, you just told them you were there. Anywho, this RF reader is most likely for the new closed captioning project.

  11. I can't believe the complaining. I wished it worked this well when I was there last year. I lost a few photos and some ride photos did not show up. Maybe next time. The automated feature is better than dealing with a CM. I hated the surly CM at Space Mountain that insisted that my wife already claimed the photos. That woman wasn't my wife.

  12. First: That is a 2.4ghz 60 degree sector antenna, its operations WIFi and has nothing to do with Magicbands.

    Second: The ride photo match is done by facial recognition (far more interesting than tracking where an RFID shows up).

    Third: The RFID chip inside the Magicbands requires an external source of power to make the chip transmit its unique ESN. This is why you have to hold it to the mickey head at the park entrance/FP entrance/point of sale, instead of just walking in and being tracked.


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