This month, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will mark its 20th anniversary at Walt Disney World Resort. The park, which opened as “a new species of theme park” on April 22, 1998, continues inspiring and educating guests of all ages today through the magic of nature. For Disney Parks Merchandise, this milestone occasion was the perfect opportunity for creating an unforgettable collection of merchandise inspired by the theme park’s iconic centerpiece.
“We mixed earth tone colors with images of animals and icons reminiscent of the beautifully sculpted animal carvings found on the breathtaking Tree of Life,” explained Cody Reynolds, Senior Creative Director with Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media Creative Group.
From a banshee at Pandora – The World of Avatar to a Baobab tree from the Kilimanjaro Safaris attractions, artists drew more than 50 stylized animals, icons, and graphics for an artwork style guide. Merchandise developers referenced this guide when creating items to ensure the overall assortment had a consistent look.
Artwork on a t-shirt and matching water bottle captures the park’s tremendous transformation during the past 20 years and includes nods to attractions from opening day to the more recent other-worldly additions of Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage.
“Guests love merchandise that commemorates significant moments in time,” said Katie Thompson from Global Merchandise Strategy at Disney Parks Merchandise. “This new merchandise builds on the success of recent theme park anniversary collections, and offers something for everyone looking to celebrate at Animal Kingdom throughout the upcoming year.”
Designed to complement each other, merchandise offered includes a mix of apparel for adults and kids, home décor, accessories and other collectibles such as trading pins or jewelry by ALEX AND ANI.
On select products, the merchandise team added hidden surprises in the artwork. A closer examination of drinkware reveals images of tiny ants strategically placed for guests to discover.
Island Mercantile in Disney’s Animal Kingdom serves as the headquarters for the 20th anniversary assortment. Select products may also be found in shops throughout the park or via Shop Disney Parks.