Day 03 At Animal Kingdom
When you come from New York City, the city that has a zoo in all five borough how can you really get excited for yet another zoo? You see one lion; you’ve seen them all. Am I right? WRONG! You can’t see a lion while riding along a safari ride experience with rhinos, cheetahs and giraffes! I don’t think the city would give out permits for that! OMG was I wrong about this place. The bus pulls up and drops you off in what seems like a desolate, mediocre grassy/woody area. From the parking lot, nothing really peaks over the tree line (except the cranes working on the expansion area where The World Of Avitar will be). You enter the gate (after using your PhotoPass+ of coarse) and trek through a junglish pathway which breaks into this wide open space and the first thing you see beyond a walking bridge is the Tree of Life! Amazing! You just rode a bus from Lake Buena Vista, dropped off in a jungle parking lot and walked right into Africa!! ARE YOU SERIOUS! What sets this ‘zoo’ apart from any other zoo is that they disguise the zoo by the construction of a themed park. And another awesome plus about this park is their lack of amusement rides. It really focuses your energy on learning about the lands and animals. Instead of waiting in lines to go on roller coasters, you’ll spending that 45 mins walking through the Maharajah Jungle Trek getting up close with the closest living dinosaur on Earth (Komodo Dragon); follow the Tiger path as they pace around their habit; or hang with some bats. All of the Adventures are alluring and most of all the animals don’t look out of place. Disney paid special attention to the details and the free flying macaws flying over head back by Asia is amazing as they sore right above you! All of the Animal Kingdom cast members are versed in their animal knowledge. Don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Top 3 Animal Adventures:
– Kilimanjaro Safari’s
– Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
– Maharajah Jungle Trek
What kind of rides can you look forward to if your too cool to hang with your parents while they monkey around with the tamarin monkies? You’ve got an awesome roller coaster at Expedition Everest hunting the Yeti; Ride the rapids down Kali River (be aware, you WILL get soaked!); Or go back in time and save the dinosaurs from extinction on DINOSAUR.
The park doesn’t offer an immense amount of shows, but this is because of all the time you’re going to spend exploring the animals. The park is only open until 7:00 PM. So unless you walked in the park when the gates open, you’ll be pressed for time if this is your first visit and you expect to see it all. You ARE going to miss something. We missed the Wildlife Express Train over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. If you’ve got the time, than I would suggest checking out;
Top 3 Entertainment:
– Finding Nemo: The Musical
– It’s Tough To Be A Bug
– Festival of the Lion King
Looking to snack out or brag a plate? There’s a nice buffet of options and all menu’s are strongly created around the wild. You’re not going to find spaghetti and meat balls here, but you will find bbq ribs, turkey legs, half a chicken with rice and beans or even Asian inspire honey chicken or salmon. The option to grab a bite around each country are small, but worth trying. It’s a true taste out of the wild. Leaving the park and don’t know where to eat dinner? I suggest heading over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge: Jamba House and eat at Boma. An AMAZING African’esk inspired buffet. HOLLLLY! The flavors that this buffet offered were insane! Wen you think buffet, you immediately think stale, over cooked, room temperature food. Far from it-
Last Minute Tips:
– You walk a lot. If you can find the means to store a water container or maybe an extra couple bottles of water you filled up at the resort it would be wise. Although there’s a lot of top coverage, walking around and the heat will make you thirsty quite often.
– Got a 5-12 yr old child who would be interested in a park wide exploration? Stop by the Wilderness Explorers right before you cross the bridge into Discovery Island and find out how they can earn free souvenirs and explore the park in a different way.
– The only park you’ll find out of this world, really exotic fashion in both regular and Disney garb. You can find really nice clay beaded African bracelets, bush dresses or even that safari helmet with the Disney logo.
– Trying to save some money? Pack your kids a safari themed trail mix (nuts, dried fruits, pretzels, oreo cookies, bagel chips, etc..) . It’s an adventure mom/dad. Don’t pack a peanut butter and jelly. Jelly is in short supply on the Savanah.
That’s what I think, but you don’t have to take my word for it. I hope it inspires you to put on your walking shoes and your exploration hat and head into the Animal Kingdom to see just how capturing the lands truly are. The park is currently in a stage of expansion. It’s about to get a whole lot bigger and more wild! Be sure to stop by and say hi to Doug & Russell from Up and ask him about his Wilderness badges 😉
Also, make sure to catch up on all our latest Walt Disney Wednesday posts:
12- Walt Disney Wednesday’s (Typhoon Lagoon and Epcot)