Today In Disney History ~ August 4th
The Tree of Life is a 145-foot (44 m) sculpture of a tree at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort. It debuted when the attraction opened on April 22, 1998. Baobab is the common name for each of the nine species of tree in the genus Adansonia. The generic name honours Michel Adanson, the French naturalist and explorer who described Adansonia digitata. Of the nine species, six are native to Madagascar, two are native to mainland Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and one is native to Australia. One of the mainland African species also occurs on Madagascar, but it is not a native of that island. It was introduced in ancient times to south Asia and during the colonial era to the Caribbean. It is also present in the island nation of Cape Verde. The African and Australian baobabs are almost identical despite having separated more than 100 million years ago, probably by oceanic dispersal. Baobabs reach heights of 5 to 30 m (16 to 98 ft) and have trunk diameters of 7 to 11 m (23 to 36 ft). The Glencoe baobab, a specimen of A. digitata in Limpopo Province, South Africa, was considered to be the largest living individual, with a maximum circumference of 47 m (154 ft) and a diameter of about 15.9 m (52 ft). The tree has since split into two parts, so the widest individual trunk may now be that of the Sunland baobab, or Platland tree, also in South Africa. The diameter of this tree at ground level is 9.3 m (31 ft) and its circumference at breast height is 34 m (112 ft).
Inspired by the mythical tree of the same name, the Tree of Life features 325 carvings of existing and extinct animal species on its trunk and surrounding roots.
Engineered from a refitted oil platform and based on the natural forms of baobob trees, the Tree of Life is located on Discovery Island, roughly in the center of the park. Its leaves are made out of kynar. At the structure’s interior base is a 400-seat theater that hosts It’s Tough to be a Bug!, a 4-D film attraction based on A Bug’s Life.
The Tree of Life Awakenings is a series of projection mapping shows that debuted on May 27, 2016, as part of the park’s new nighttime operating hours. A media preview of the show was presented on April 19, 2016. Four presentations are featured throughout the evening:
- A playful deer and a watchful hawk.
- A hummingbird and flowers.
- A red fox in a winter setting.
- Animal imagery inspired by Pocahontas, Bambi, Dinosaur, Tarzan, Finding Nemo, Avatar, The Jungle Book, and The Lion King.