History Behind the Tree of Life and It’s Tough to Be a Bug

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0524ZZ 0240GD 742x493


History Behind the Tree of Life and It's Tough to Be a Bug

The Tree of Life.  Where do I begin?!  It is so beautiful and massive sitting in the middle of the Discovery Island section of the park and is a popular spot for all guests to take a quick picture.  In fact, some people may not actually take the time to really stop and marvel at this massive structures beauty before moving onto those thrill seeking rides!

We know that the Pandora and Expedition Everest are calling your names, but did you know there is a ride located in the roots of the tree?  That’s right!  It’s tough to Be a Bug is tucked up inside the giant Tree of Life, but how?!

The Imagineers had a tough construction ahead of them when creating this masterpiece.  First, the Imagineers had the challenge of figuring out how to create the Tree of Life to be strong enough to withstand Florida’s Hurricane Season!  Imagineers eventually settled on using the base of an oil rig to form the structure of the tree, which will provide the necessary strength, but it also left enough room to allow an attraction to go underneath the tree.

Imagineers took 18 months to create this structure which stands at 50 feet wide at the base and approximately 145 feet tall.  The structure contains thousands of branches and over 100,000 man-made leaves that measure a foot each.  Of course, we all know the Tree of Life also features hundreds of animal carvings on the trees trunk, which could take hours to investigate all of the carvings on the tree!

The Tree of Life has been standing tall since the opening of Animal Kingdom on April 22, 1998, which has also contained the attraction It’s Tough to be a Bug in 4D in the roots of the tree.  The attraction features many of the characters from the original Pixar movie A Bug’s Life, such as Flik the ant.

However, the opening of It’s Tough to Be a Bug was unusual for Disney as Disney often creates attractions based on movies after they become popular.  It’s Tough to Be a Bug was actually debuted before the movie was released, which premiered 7 months after the attraction’s opening!

What is even more fascinating is the fact that Pixar was not yet owned by Disney in 1998!  Instead Disney and Pixar had a close partnership which allowed Disney to add the attraction to the base of the tree.  Disney would eventually acquire Pixar in 2006.

Let’s take a closer look inside this fun and unique attraction.  The queue to It’s Tough to Be a Bug offers many visual stimuli as you make your way through several of the long bug tunnels weaving throughout the root structure.  The queue to this attraction allows guests to take a closer look to many of the animal carvings featured as guests make their way down into the base of the tree!

Once you reach the entrance guests are given 3D bug eye glasses to watch the show, which make for a fun photo-op!  While you are in the waiting area look around at the posters parodying theatrical productions featuring various bugs as the stars of the show!  You might even recognize a few titles, such as Beauty and the Bees (“Be Our Guest!”)!

It’s Tough to Be a Bug is a good show to go see if you are looking for a quick escape from the heat and humidity.  The show only last 8 minutes long, but there is often little wait to see the show.  The attraction does offer Fastpass+, but we don’t recommend using one unless you have already used your 3 allotted passes and just want to go straight into the attraction to cool off. Warning, the show is kid-friendly but may be frightening to young children with the 4D in-seat surprises or evil bugs that appear during the show.

Did you learn anything new about the Tree of Life today?  Tell us in the comments!

History Behind the Tree of Life and It's Tough to Be a Bug 1

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Jessica Jones

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