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Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life is Truly Amazing

Disney World wanted to create an iconic centerpiece to their Animal Kingdom Theme Park. The resulting product - The Tree of Life is nothing short of amazing.

The Tree of Life projects proudly 145 feet into the air with a full set of natural looking leaves. It was built to withstand hurricane force winds and it houses a 420 seat theater within it's trunk.

It's trunk consists of the core structure of an oil drilling platform and a series of diminishing diameter pipes are used to create the complement of branches. But beyond the architectural breakthroughs that were used to create this icon, I believe that the most amazing aspect is the intricate carving of 325 animals into the trunk and branches.

According to "The Imagineering Field Guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom", a team of eight Imagineering sculptors, led by Zsolt Hormay applied the final layer of plaster and carved the animal figures. Each sculptor could carve roughly one medium sized animal per day, although often there would be more difficult areas that would take two or three sculptors several days to complete. After the sculptors came the painters who added the final treatment to each of the figures.

Again, the results are amazing. This is a work of art that took over two years to complete.

It is interesting to learn that the final look of the tree was based upon a bonsai that was on exhibit at Epcot during the Flower and Garden Festival.

Ultimately, every time I see the Tree of Life, I catch myself staring at the animal carvings. Each time I try to discover a new creature that I hadn't noticed on previous visits.

Click on the included pictures to get a better view and see how many you can identify. You'll be amazed how many there really are.

As I have mentioned before, the magic is in the details and this is where Disney World really excels.

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