Time FrameOctober 21, 2018
The last day for meet and greets at Rafiki's Planet Watch is September 29, 2018. The remainder of the area as well as the Wildlife Express Train will have it's last day of operation on October 21, 2018 before reopening in Spring 2019.
No additional announcements have been made on the area and it is unknown if all aspects of the area will return upon reopening.
Rumors of it changing have circulated for years. The latest rumor has characters from Zootopia coming to the area but any replacements should be considered Blue Sky at this point.
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.