Exploring Anandapur: Backstory of Asia at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Backstory of the Disney Parks

Anandapur Township Map Disney's Animal Kingdom

Asia was the first land added to Disney's Animal Kingdom after it opened. It opened taking inspiration from much of southern Asia, creating its own unique kingdom that was even given a history expressed with hidden details throughout the land.

The land is set in the fictional kingdom of Anandapur, founded in the mid 16th century. It consists of two townships that are featured in the land, Anandapur, the former royal city, and Serka Zong, an outpost at the edge of the Himalayas.

The kingdom was initially ruled by a royal family who controlled most of the early history of the country.

After initially being founded by Anata who wanted to live in harmony with nature, it would come into control of rulers who did not share their ideals.

The early royal family, notably the Maharajah were responsible setting up elaborate hunting grounds to trap wildlife to allow for easier hunting. All of this was led by King Bhima Disampati who built this exclusive hunting retreat. Eventually this would lead to his own demise as he would be killed on his grounds by tigers.

The palace would later be expanded by Bhima's brother but the hunting would cease.

The entire complex would be abandoned when the British took control of the country as a colony, as fitting with what happened to much of actual Asia.

They would bring tea trade to the area turning the town of Serka Zong into a tea colony. To support this they would build a rail line to transport supplies to and from the tea plantations they set up within the colony. All of this would be done through the Royal Anandapur Tea Company.

The rail line would be built through the Forbidden Mountain, against local legend, and would suddenly be forced to stop under mysterious circumstances.

Eventually the British would leave the country in 1948, and Anandapur would gain their independence once again.

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck Disney's Animal Kingdom

Following their independence, the people would begin to alter their country to better fit the ideals of their original founder Anata. The kingdom would become an ecotourism location specializing in showcasing animals and natural wonders.

The former royal palace was turned into an elaborate nature preserve and opened to the public as the Maharajah Jungle Trail, notably featuring tigers and an aviary.

The surrounding forests would become protected, although the locals would have to continually fight against illegal logging efforts and the damage that they caused to their ecosystem. To counter this a local woman set up Kali River Expeditions as a way to earn money off the land without destroying its natural resources.

A hotel opened with a restaurant known as Yak and Yeti.

The main draw to the land was explorations of the Forbidden Mountain on the old tea rail lines. They were converted by locals into explorational tours of the mountain. The offices of the tea company became a tourism office to plan excursions into the mountain. Although eventually, they would fall victim to the same problem the Royal Anandapur Tea Company ran into in the mountain, with operations being interrupted by an angry Yeti, even after shires were dedicated to it to attempt to prevent attacks.

Up Bird Theater Disney's Animal Kingdom Disney World

Even the Up themed bird show is fit into the overall backstory, with Russel positioned as a visitor who came to learn in Anandapur. As with other bird shows that have taken place in this land

Asia at Disney's Animal Kingdom feels lived in, and has a story to go along with that fictional history. Every building is repurposed, sometimes multiple times, and it feels like it went through a journey to get to where it is now.

Anandapur isn't just a backdrop to Disney attractions, it is a fictional ecological oasis that is imperfect but presents a way forward that preserves nature while still allowing humans a place in it.