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February 7, 2000

Disney To Open New Animal Kingdom Lodge In 2001

Lake Buena Vista, FL -- Magical moments overlooking the serene beauty and splendor of a 30-acre African savannah will soon await guests at Walt Disney World Resort's newest adventure-theme resort -- Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

When it opens in spring 2001, just southwest of Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge will treat guests to a vacation world rich in culture and natural wonder. The 1,307-room, five-story oasis resort features deluxe facilities and luxury suites wrapped in the romance of a journey through time.

Designed by Peter Dominick, of Disney's Wilderness Lodge fame, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge will recreate the feel of a South African game reserve lodge. Rooms will follow the kraal African village design, a semi-circle concept, offering many guests a view of close to 100 grazing animals and 130 birds on the property's private savannah.

Like Disney's other resorts, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge will have a distinctive theme carried throughout its architecture, landscape and interior designs. "We're trying to capture an image that is not only symbolic of Africa but is culturally relevant," said project manager Jim Kwasnowski of Walt Disney Imagineering.

The visual treat will begin on arrival. Guests will enter the lobby on the third floor of the resort, greeted by the rolling 30-acre plain unfolding before them through one of the resort's largest picture windows. From this window, guests can walk along the elevated kopje, or rock outcropping, and enjoy a nearly panoramic view of roaming animals and flowing streams.

Throughout the rest of the lobby, guests will find examples of authentic architecture and design, from thatched ceilings to golden tones reflecting the richness and diversity of an African landscape. Rich wood tones surround a large mud fireplace and natural lighting will celebrate dawn and dusk with features that accentuate spectacular sunrises and sunsets. At night, incandescent lighting will resemble the light of twinkling fire-flies and soft-glowing campfires.

Accommodations, offered in a range of sizes, are finished in rich tapestries and vibrant colors. Guest rooms feature jewel tones and hand-carved furnishings. A "Royal Suite" reaches new heights with a domed, hut-like living room fit for a king.

Complementing the guest accommodations is a festive marketplace shop as well as flowing swimming pools. Children will enjoy great adventures of their own in Simba's Clubhouse play area.

Culinary traditions abound at the featured family restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Guests will discover "a taste of Africa," rich in the flavor of multi-cultural influences. The cuisine will be a blend of Malaysian, Indian, Chinese and French with a dash of English served with a hint of classical flair. The menu reflects the perfect blend of sweet and savory international tastes, from the roasted peanut soup of Ghana to the spicy richness of New Orleans gumbo.

The addition of Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge brings the number of Disney owned and operated resorts to 18 in all. Property-wide there will be 28 resorts offering more than 25,000 guest room accommodations.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge will be located just a short drive from Disney's Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort's fourth and newest theme park, featuring wild exotic animals, dinosaurs and favorite Disney characters in spectacular shows and exciting attractions. Disney's Animal Kingdom opened on April 22, 1998.