Time FrameReopening July 11, 2019
Rafiki's Planet Watch, The Wildlife Express Train and The Affection Section had their last day of operation on October 21, 2018 before closing for a lengthy refurbishment.
When the area reopens on July 11, 2019 it is expected to receive a few changes including "The Animation Experience at Conservation Station" as well as a "celebration of all things Lion King".
June 10, 2019: The Disney Parks Blog announced a new offering coming to Rafiki's Planet Watch called The Animation Experience at Conservation Station. Inside Conservation Station guests will learn about the Disney history of wildlife animation and get the opportunity to illustrate a Disney character.
With the summer release of The Lion King, many of the character illustrations will come from the animated classic. The characters that guests will illustrate will vary in each session and Fastpass+ will be available tomorrow for dates beginning July 11th.
March 24, 2019: On Episode 212 of the Disney Dish Podcast, Jim Hill and Len Testa discuss the Zootopia rumor for Disney's Animal Kingdom and speculated that it would be 4-5 years away.
March 19, 2019: The Disney Parks Blog announced that Rafiki's Planet Watch, The Affection Section and the Wildlife Express Train will reopen this summer.
The area is expected to see some enhancements as well as a "celebration of all things Lion King".
January 22, 2019: The Disney Parks Blog announced that a Zootopia themed expansion is coming to Shanghai Disneyland.
October 21, 2018: Head Imagineer of Disney's Animal Kingdom, Joe Rohde posted to Instagram that he was in Orlando for 36 hours. In a follow up post he stated, "Sometimes it might seem a little silly… But very important decisions are made in some very short periods of time… And you kind of have to be there for that period of time."
October 21, 2018: Rafiki's Planet Watch had it's last day of operation before closing for refurbishment until Spring 2019.
September 28, 2018: WDWMagic.com is reporting that Rafiki's Planet Watch is expected to reopen in Spring 2019.
September 21, 2018: WDWNT.com is reporting that Rafiki's Planet Watch will close permanently on October 21, 2018. The meet and greets are expected to have their last day of operation on September 29th as previously reported, the remainder of the area including the Wildlife Express Train will have it's last day of operation on October 21, 2018.
No replacement has been named at this time.
September 15, 2018: WDWMagic.com user Rteetz is reporting that Rafiki's Planet Watch will change to seasonal operations beginning on September 30, 2018. Character meet and greets and the Wildlife Express Train are also expected to change to seasonal operation as part of this change.
June 17, 2018: On Episode #167 of the Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish Podcast, Jim Hill mentioned that Disney is conducting surveys for a Zootopia attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom. He indicated that the survey takers are asking guests that are experiencing the Donald's Dino-Bash Meet and Greets in Dinorama.
March 6, 2018: On Episode #149 of the Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish Podcast, Jim Hill mentions that Disney is still looking at Zootopia as a replacement for Rafiki's Planet Watch.
June 17, 2017: On the recent episode of the Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish Podcast, Jim Hill mentions that the next planned addition for Disney's Animal Kingdom is Zootopia replacing Rafiki's Planet Watch.
January 10, 2017: On Episode #230 of the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast, guest Jim Hill indicated that after AVATAR opens Disney will look at Rafiki's Planet Watch as a destination for a new Zootopia themed area.
July 1, 2015: On Episode #82 of the Unofficial Guide's Disney Dish with Jim Hill, he indicated that Imagineering is hoping that the upcoming film Zootopia will be successful. If so, they can use it as an intellectual property as part of Rafiki's Planet Watch.