Discovery Island combines a profusion of tropical greenery with whimsical equatorial African architecture. Connected to the other lands by bridges, the island is the hub from which guests can access the park’s various themed areas. A village is arrayed in a crescent around the base of Animal Kingdom’s iconic landmark, The Tree of Life. Towering 14 stories above the village, it’s this park’s version of Cinderella Castle or Spaceship Earth. Flanked by pools, meadows, and exotic gardens populated by a diversity of birds and animals, The Tree of Life houses a theater attraction, It's Tough to be a Bug!, inspired by the Disney-Pixar film A Bug’s Life.
As you enter Discovery Island over the bridge from The Oasis and the park entrance, you’ll see The Tree of Life directly ahead, at 12 o’clock. The bridge to Asia is to the right of the tree at 2 o’clock, with the bridge to DinoLand U.S.A. at roughly 4 o’clock. The bridge connecting The Oasis to Discovery Island is at 6 o’clock, the bridge to the future Avatar land is at 8 o’clock, and the bridge to Africa is at 11 o’clock.
Discovery Island is also the park’s central headquarters for shopping, dining, and services. Here you’ll find the First Aid and Baby Care Centers, plus FastPass+ kiosks. For Disney merchandise, try Island Mercantile. Counter-service food and snacks are available, but there are no sit-down eateries—the three full-service restaurants in the park are the Rainforest Cafe, to the left of the main entrance; Tusker House Restaurant, in Africa; and Yak & Yeti Restaurant, in Asia.
Also in Discovery Island...
Discovery Island represents a mythical mash-up of styles the Imagineers describe as "vernacular equatorial architecture meets Hawaiian shirts and Mexican folk art". Notice that every available surface is covered with decoration. That decoration isn't random either. Nature has influenced the designers with each store featuring a theme. For example, the Island Mercantile is decorated with animals that migrate and work. Animals with stripes and spots have taken over Creature Comforts. Over at the Disney Outfitters, this upscale shop features elegant animals from the six directions - north, south, east, west, above, and below. Beastly Bazaar is populated with fresh and seawater animals. On a creepy note, Flame Tree Barbecue's beautiful pavilions are decorated with both predator and prey.
Discovery Island is a land in balance. Nature and humans are work together to create a beautiful and meaningful place. Dominated by the Tree of Life, a primary design objective was to have the tree canopy rise entirely over the roofs of all buildings in the park. The park's design guidelines and building code took into account natural changes to the landscape from the start and state that no building shall be higher than the surrounding foliage. In the rare case where operational demands require something tall, that part of the building is camouflaged with greenery.