As you leave the asphalt plain of the parking lot and approach the entrance to Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, things take a turn for the wilder. Earth tones predominate, as the pavement seems to give way to earthen paths and trees overhang the walks. Unlike Disney's other theme parks, where clear paths end in highly visible icons, at Animal Kingdom the way ahead is curving, with its treasures hidden. The Oasis is designed, not to send you racing ahead, but to slow you down, allow you to relax, and unfold in small discoveries.
Guest Relations, located here at the entrance, is the place to stop for information (including the park guide for persons with disabilities) and Lost & Found. You'll also find an ATM, the Kennel Club for your pet, and rental lockers clustered around the entry.
Garden Gate Gifts is your stop inside the park for stroller and wheelchair rentals, film processing, and package pick-up.
Animal Displays. You often see visitors racing through this area on their way to the rides and that's a shame, as the patient visitor wandering its twisting pathways is presented with numerous small animal enclosures. Sometimes you have to take a moment to examine an area to find an animal inhabitant nestled among the foliage or taking advantage of their natural camouflage. You can go up one side on the way in and down another on your way to the exit, but be aware that, if you will be leaving the park after dark, you won't be able to see much on the way out.
Rainforest Cafe. Dominating the entrance to Disney's Animal Kingdom is this large restaurant, part of a larger chain that also has another location at Downtown Disney. Outside it looks something like a rocky terrace shrouded in waterfalls, inside it's a jungle of faux plants and animatronic animals where "thunderstorms" occasionally break out.
The food isn't exactly earthshaking, but the pretension level is high with environmental conservation messages scattered through the menu.
The Rainforest Cafe is often open later than Disney's Animal Kingdom and may be entered from both inside and outside of the theme park. You don't need to visit the park or have a theme park ticket to eat here. There's also a gift shop with Rainforest Cafe logo items. Call ahead for reservations.
Outpost. This souvenir stand outside park gates is your first and last chance for Disney's Animal Kingdom logo items.
The Oasis feeds directly into Discovery Island.