AttractionsWalt Disney World (FL)

Conservation Station at Animal Kingdom Has Reopened, with a Drawing Class

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After a lengthy refurbishment (October 22, 2018 to July 10, 2019), the Animal Kingdom’s Conservation Station area is now reopened. With a few minor changes, plus a new drawing class, it’s substantially the same, but much cleaner. And yes, the goats are still there!

Conservation Station is reached by taking the Wildlife Express Train directly from Harambe, in the Africa section of the Animal Kingdom. The train ride is a pleasant five-minute jaunt. Once you’re there you’re free to roam around any of the areas at your leisure: a petting zoo, a shop, veterinary care areas, and a new addition – a drawing class.

The Animal Care Rooms

Much of this draw of this attraction is the animal care rooms – actual veterinary stations where they treat animal residents of the park. Some of this is routine check-ups, some is care for wounds or illness, and all of it can be viewed by the public. Other animal care rooms focus on animal feeding strategies or other health issues.

During our visit we watched a wounded tortoise get a check-up. When she arrived under care several months ago, her shell was cracked and she had only partial use of her back right leg. They fitted her with a “crutch” on the underside of her body so she wouldn’t have to put as much weight on the leg. She’s healing nicely now and may be able to return to the wild soon.

The Drawing Class

Similar to the animation class that ran at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for many years, there is now an animation drawing class at Conservation Station. Currently, there are classes offered nine times per day. It’s included with admission. We saw Simba, Ed the hyena, and Rafiki classes during our visit; the characters vary throughout the day. During the class, every participant is given a clipboard lap desk to use. Instruction is on projectors at the front of the room, led by a cast member. The adults and children in our party all loved the classes and already have plans to go back.

You can buy a frame nearby for $39.99, but otherwise you’ll just have to carry your paper with you.

Affection Section – the Petting Zoo

Affection Section is the area where you can walk among live creatures, mostly goats. Guests can pet and brush them, or just sit with them. For me, this is an oasis of calm in the middle of the Disney chaos. The animals are remarkably tame and even the smallest children can get up close to the animals without fear. This goat is named Willis.

The Store

The shop at Conservation Station is a standard Animal Kingdom gift shop, with some basics, but mostly African-themed items. There’s also a cooler with some snack items and a seating area if you want to take a break or have a little picnic.

The Bathrooms

Conservation Station is removed from the rest of the park, but there are bathroom facilities in the main building. These have been spruced up during the refurbishment and feature lovely depictions of animals on the tiles, as well as some educational information inside the stall doors.

Did you miss Conservation Station during its refurb? Is it new to you? What do you think of the drawing class? Let us know in the comments.

Photos: Christina Harrison

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

10 thoughts on “Conservation Station at Animal Kingdom Has Reopened, with a Drawing Class

  • Aliceinwonderla

    That poop info is awesome.

  • The author says there are no reservations for the new animation class – but it is available to book as a FastPass+ expereince

    • Erin Foster

      There are FastPasses for the drawing activity. But there are lots of seats and given the location of the Conservation Station, my guess is that it will rarely be at capacity. You shouldn’t burn a FP on this. There are no FastPasses for other parts of the experience.

      • Penny Thomas

        I have a fastpass booked for it next week… a must do for my kids

      • Listen to Erin. It’s a drawing class in a remote, inconvenient-to-access area of the park. It will never be full. You should totally do it, and will have a good time, but using an advance fastpass on it is a total waste.

  • this is very much blah for me. when i heard they were closing that area, my hope was for a total overhaul with a whole new area. a character meet oasis or zootopia themed area would be awesome. but a drawing class to me seems like a big waste of valuable park time, just my opinion. i’m a litte surprised so many people are so excited about it. since the mk rr will be closed when we go, we may ride this train there and back, but probably not even get off. the vet window is always the most interesting part of this area.

    • Excited is a strong word, but the drawing classes are fun. Not necessarily a must-do for a first-time visitor, but it’s enjoyable and interactive and leaves you with a free souvenier of the experience. Since these are no longer offered in DHS (due to the animation pavilion becoming the SW launch bay), it’s nice that they’ve been resurrected in a location that needs more offerings to lure people onto that train.

      • to each their own, and that’s fine, didn’t mean to sound snarky if that’s how it was interpreted. this will just be a skip area for us now. aside from the actual train ride, there is no draw there for us now (no pun intended). when it was closed for so long, i really just expected a whole lot more than this.

      • If you’ve never done it, you should try it if you’re there! We have so many character drawings we did at HS framed and hanging in my office. None of us are artists by any means, but we have some great drawings! It’s a free souvenir, and only takes about 20 minutes or so. We’ve done the classes on Disney Cruise Line as well. It’s fun to watch your character unfold.

    • Amelia Bowers

      Some people are more interested in doing other things than just riding rides. I don’t care to learn to draw but I have two very artistic grandchildren and a very talented son in law in the art department. I can see the draw to such an area for some folks. Walt always gave me the impression that he wanted everyone to enjoy their visit. This would be new activity that parents could do with their children that they normally wouldn’t do. I agree it is a needed area. That area has always been more laid back than the rest of the park. It is a wonderful place to unwind and truly just enjoy time together. Just my opinion.


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