It's a bittersweet birthday for Disney's Animal Kingdom. The wildlife-themed attraction opened on Earth Day in 1998 -- 22 years ago Wednesday morning -- and this is the first time that guests won't be coming to celebrate its birthday milestone. Disney World remains closed, as it has been for more than five weeks to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.
However, the real surprise here as Disney's Animal Kingdom blows out 22 birthday candles in an empty room is that it continues to be the most recently opened Disney theme park in Florida. Disney World turns 50 next fall. Disney opened four theme parks in its first 27 years, but none in the final 23 years before its golden jubilee. The world's leading theme park operator could use a new park, perhaps now more than ever.