The Tree of Life may be the icon of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but it isn’t the only notable tree in the park. In fact, one tree that is sure to be familiar to many Disney animation fans can be found just a train ride on the Wildlife Express away at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Tucked away inside Conservation Station, Grandmother Willow from “Pocahontas” can be found hosting the “Sounds of the Rainforest” exhibit.
At the entrance to the exhibit stand a large cutout representing the talking tree that served as Pocahontas’ mentor and spiritual guide in the 1995 film. On your way in, be sure to take a look among her branches and roots to discover some small animal displays featuring reptiles and insects. Behind Grandmother Willow is a series of booths, each containing several pair of headphones. However, the real show doesn’t begin until the lights in the booth go out.
Using the process of binaural sound, guests can hear rainforest noises all around them including up-close encounters with monkeys, snakes, jaguars, and, of course, rain. This being a part of Conservation Station, the presentation also features the sounds of chainsaws and trees falling, representing the current plight the rainforest experiences due to deforestation. Narration throughout by Grandmother Willow explains the importance of these environments and that’s its not to late to help them. While the exhibit may be only a small diversion compared to attractions elsewhere in the park such as Expedition Everest or Kilimanjaro Safaris, fans of “Pocahontas” should definitely keep an eye out (and an ear open) for Grandmother Willow when they visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch.