The Oasis Exhibits

Animal Kingdom has The Oasis, which enchantingly puts one in a "jungle" mood, and draws one forward to the "Tree Of Life."
Animal Kingdom's Oasis
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Leave the urban world behind and enter a lush tropical garden filled with exotic birds and animals. Look out for the Parma Wallaby, tree kangaroo, giant anteater, sloth, Chinese deer, exotic birds, and more

Gateway to the Animal Kingdom  If at all possible, take the time to really enjoy the Oasis. It is one of the most beautiful and relaxing places in all of Walt Disney World.

The Oasis is the first experience of every visitor to Disney's Animal Kingdom. When you pass through the turnstiles there are many paths ahead...each runs through the Oasis and ends at a wide bridge in front of the Tree of Life. The paths twist and turn, meet and separate, as they wind you through a lush forest where you can find many different species of animals.
 Though passing through quickly is enough to serve the purpose that Disney intended...a gateway into the Animal Kingdom where you leave the real world behind and enter a different one....a slow exploration is needed to truly appreciate the beauty of this area.

It does take some time to carefully explore the meandering paths of the Oasis. There are many sights much worth seeing, such as waterfalls and a sort of cave. The whole area is cool and shady, which can be a relief especially considering that shade is scarce in much of the Animal Kingdom park. Each animal area is open glass, but the creatures are often among foliage and difficult to spot. This can be fun if you're up to playing a game of spot the animal. There are signs by each place telling you what lives there so you have a clue what to look for.

As far as recommending the Oasis....its sort of a moot point. If you are going to see anything at Animal Kingdom you have no choice but to pass through it. The best times to do this are if you are entering the park in the afternoon, or when you are on your way out...if you try to stop and check things out in this area at park opening you may be overrun by the crowds that are rushing off to Animal Kingdom's headliner attractions. But do try to take at least a few minutes as you pass through to truly appreciate this area. You will be happy you did.

The Oasis: An Enchanting Buffer From Reality

The trick Disney uses with each of it's theme parks, is to create the illusion that one has stepped into a different world. A world where the mundane worries of everyday life are far removed, and one can immerse themselves into the elaborate, Disney-created fantasy. From the moment one passes through the turnstiles, the illusion begins. Each park has it's own painstakingly custom-made portal that draws you in further with each and every step. With Magic Kingdom it is Main Street, leading up to the fantasy creation of "Cinderella's Castle," in Animal Kingdom it is The Oasis, which enchantingly puts one in a "jungle" mood, and draws one forward to the "Tree Of Life."

The Oasis differs in two major ways from the traditional aesthetic lead-in to a theme park. One of the ways it differs it that it is more subtle. The nature of the exhibits, (and I do mean "nature"), unfortunately, is conducive to them being easily overlooked in the mad dash to be first in line at "Countdown To Extinction." The other way that The Oasis differs is in the fact that it is literally alive. It is alive with tropical plants, exotic birds and other small animals.

In actuality, one could almost describe The Oasis exhibits as a mini-zoo of sorts. Disney has done a bang-up job of creating the atmosphere of a tropical paradise, with the exhibits landscaped to resemble the animal's natural habitats as much as they possibly can. However, at times the greenery is so dense and lush that some of the animal life can be difficult to spot. It is rather like a luxurious stroll through a tropical jungle setting, complete with grottoes and waterfalls. It does an effective job of creating a "buffer zone" between the park, and the real world.

Like Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, The Oasis opens one half hour before the official opening time. Come early and take your time in order to have the opportunity to view as many of the animals as possible as the animals will disappear into their surroundings then often reappear moments later.

The plant life includes orchids, many vines, and several different varieties of trees in bloom. The entire area is beautifully landscaped in a way that is wild, yet pleasing to the senses.

Fitting into the theme, there is also a version of "The Rainforest Cafe," located in the proximity of The Oasis area. We did not visit the restaurant, so I will have to leave that description to other reviewers. However, I will note that the inclusion of this particular restaurant in this particular location, was an ingenious bit of planning on Disney's part.

I would not advise browsing The Oasis first thing after the park opens, while lines are building up at the other attractions. However, I would definitely suggest setting aside some time to leisurely browse through a little later in the day, or as mentioned before, doing so before the park gates officially open. The only downside to this is everyone else will be doing it at that time as well. The optimal time would be about mid-morning, or late afternoon to avoid times that the animals may be hiding in the shade.

Definitely do make a point of browsing The Oasis exhibit area, it is a refreshing and educational experience that is well worth taking time out for!

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