You make a very good point, reading about AK I mean.
Early on there was a Disney Animal Kingdom Guidebook. We purchased it and have loved AK from the beginning.
The park is an amazing feat of subtlety. Every single aspect of it is created for a particular purpose, either to invoke the atmosphere of an African village, or to respect the culture of a society other than Western (or American) so on and so forth.
The incredible work that goes on behind the scenes with the animals is legendary and ground breaking. It was the zoologists of AK who broke the code for elephant language and brought us new understanding of those fantastic animals.
Their work goes on in with all of the species represented there. The habitats are just that, habitats to replicate with great authenticity, the animal's natural home. The habitats are set up for the animal, not the guest, so that is perceived as a detraction by some. (I can't SEE the monkey)! That sort of thing.
To be sure, many folks on holiday aren't into all that sort of thing and that is perfectly fine.
We love AK, it's an "animal EPCOT" to us. :D