RUMOR – More Budget Cuts Coming to Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom

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Disney's Animal Kingdom - Sign at Main Gate
Disney's Animal Kingdom - Sign at Main Gate

With Disney’s fiscal year over and unannounced price increases suddenly appearing this week, it would also appear that at least one Walt Disney World Park is going to see even more cutbacks.

It’s being rumored that Disney’s Animal Kingdom will see even more budget cuts. Previously it was announced that Rafiki’s Planet Watch would be closing for the season, and that the human actors would be removed from Rivers of Light.

Now we’re hearing word that Animal Kingdom will cut its operating hours to trim even more of the “fat,” with rumblings that similar cutbacks will soon happen to the other parks as well.

Here’s more information from Theme Park Tourist of what Guests can expect soon at Disney’s Animal Kingdom…

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Kilimanjaro Sunset Safaris, which brings guests on a nighttime adventure on a slightly different route with evening lighting will be temporarily going away, with this attraction now closing around dusk at 7:45 PM in October and then moving to an even earlier 6:30 PM closing in November. Though we don’t know if this will continue into the holiday season, right now this seems like a pretty safe bet, as Disney looks to cut costs in the wake of low attendance this fall.

In addition to the earlier closure of Kilimanjaro Safaris, there will be some adjusted hours at other attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this fall as well. The Maharajah Jungle Trek is cutting both morning and evening hours, with this walk-through attraction now opening late at 10:00 AM, and closing early at 5:00 PM. Similarly, the nearby Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is also now opening late after the park opens at 9:30 AM, and closing even earlier at 4:30 PM. Finally, even though the weather has remained warm in central Florida, Kali River Rapids will be opening later this fall at 9:30 AM, and will be closing at 7:30 PM.

It seems as if Animal Kingdom is cutting back on its much hyped nighttime activities, which are a fairly recent addition (2016).

The cutbacks come after other cost-cutting measures across the Walt Disney World Resort, such as the removal of the Citizens of Hollywood from Hollywood Studios and the closure of Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial in Magic Kingdom.

The cuts Disney is making are relatively painless ones (for the Guests, anyway) but there is word that more are coming. And some might be much more noticeable.

Why is Disney World Cutting Costs and Raising Prices?!

It would seem that the results of Disney’s 2018 fiscal year (which ended on September 30) are driving both the cuts and price hikes. Clearly Disney needs to free up some cash going into 2019, and we’ve been speculating it might have something to do with the Fox acquisition and the launch of Disney’s streaming service.

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There are also reports that while attendance at Walt Disney World started off strong in 2018, it declined severely in the Fall.

This, on top of Disney agreeing to give its (remaining) Cast Members a raise over the next few years.

Whatever the reason for the cutbacks and price increases, Guests (and Cast Members) will be feeling the pinch in the months to come.

Stay tuned to The Kingdom Insider for more news and rumors as we hear them.

[Source: Theme Park Tourist]

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I've loved Disney as long as I can remember. As a former newspaper editor, web developer, and Disney comics freelancer, I'm able to combine that experience into writing about Disney online. I'm also the co-host of a Disney fan podcast called 'Pirates & Princesses.' Opinions mine.

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