Welcome to my third blog post about my trip this past year to Disney World, where I was a first time visitor. I've already talked about the parks Hollywood Studios and Epcot, that you can find on this site. Today I am going to talk about my husband's favorite of the four parks Animal Kingdom. When I was there, I had probably said it my favorite as well. However, after reflecting on my trip to write this blog, I am torn between it and Magic Kingdom for the number one spot. To me, Magic Kingdom had more to offer, but Animal Kingdom is more adventurous and has animals! As before, I will be giving reviews of the food we ate, shows we saw, and the rides or attractions we rode.
I am starting with food because we really only ate at one place in this park, the Tusker House. This is one of those character dining experiences. Its a buffet and reservations well in advance are recommended. We figured while there we should do one character dining and chose this one because it came with tickets to the River of Lights show. Plus if we were going to interact with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy; the safari versions of them seemed the funnest. We had a lunch reservation for around 11:30 and that worked out well for us. We were at the park when the opened and other than my Joffrie's coffee, we ate nothing. We were pretty hungry by the time our reservation came around. It started to rain around 11:00 and we went there to wait, but were lucky enough to get seated early. We also got there around a time when they were transitioning from breakfast buffet to lunch buffet. It felt like brunch as we got to sample breakfast items before they took them away, and then got to enjoy the lunch offerings. Which was a nice variety of food inspired by global cuisne. Staff was great, food was tasty (my husband still raves about the scrambled eggs), and we got this picture with Mickey!
We only took in two shows while there, again shows were never our primary focus. However, these two were probably my favorite out of all the ones we did see.
Festival of the Lion King
This show takes place after the first movie ends where the kingdom is celebrating Simba and his reign as king. They basically recounts the story by singing the songs to the movie. The performance with the song has some characters in costume (such as Timon), some characters are puppets/animatronics; but the most is done by actual people in some beautifully inspired African garb. The choreography is great and the audience interaction make it a show worth checking out.
Photo of animatronic Simba taken by Wanderer Steve.
River of Lights: We Are One
This show takes place at night on the water. You are seated on the stone stands facing the water, while you watch these pods that float on the water, move around emitting and changing colors, water fountains explode out of them, and images are projected across the lake. The focus is on the animals around the world and how we are all connected in one circle. It shows the good and the bad of nature and how we are responsible to help take care of this planet and its creatures. I know there are some mixed feelings on this show, but I enjoyed it a lot. It had lights, water, and animals. What's not to love?!
Photo taken by me on my iPhone.
This park had some good rides. To me none of the rides at Disney were super big adrenaline thrills like you may find at a Six Flags or Cedar Point. This park probably had ones that were probably the highest thrills you may find (though in my opinion none of them are bad if you had that sort of thing). Here are the ones we did.
I have no desire to hike Mt. Everest, so riding this themed roller coaster is the closest I will ever come. I enjoyed this roller coaster with its mountain them and even a Yeti. There is one part where you go backwards, a warning if you are not into that sort of motion. I am still trying to figure out why all hair ties though at the top of the ride.
Flight of Passage
When we were there, this was the most popular ride in all of the four parks. The wait times were super long. We were going to wait after our big lunch as we figured why not wait 2 hours for a ride then and let our food digest. After constantly checking the app pretty much constantly that day in the morning, we were able to snag an afternoon fast pass. This ride is based on the movie Avatar. If you have seen the movie, its a ride simulation to make you feel like you are riding the back of a mountain banshee. When you get past the intital "test" room, you are strapped on this electronic type motorcycle. Then you lean forward and the screen in front of you takes off. You really do feel like you are flying. Disney even goes so far as to have the wind in your hair or the light splash of water. Some compare it to Soarin at Epcot, but trust me its so much more and is 10 times better. This is coming from someone who loved Soarin as well. Worth the wait time if you can't get a fast pass. A must if you have never done this park.
Also note that sometimes motion stimulate screen rides I can't do because they can make me motion sick. Did not happen here.
Photo outside the ride in the Pandora area taken by Wanderer Steve.
Na'vi River Journey
This is a boat ride where you float through the river landscape of the planet Pandora from the movie Avatar. It's located next to Flight of Passage. The ride is relaxing and offers some nice scenery to make you feel you left our planet. The wait times on this can get long. To me its one of those try to do early when the wait times aren't bad. That is what we did. It was our first ride in the park that day. To me if the wait time is more than 45 minutes, its not worth it. That or try and snag a fast pass, but I wouldn't waste a good fast pass on this; there are better options.
Photo taken by me on my iPhone.during the ride.
Kali River Rapids
This is one of those rapid tube rides. You sit in a big round tube and go through river rapids, waterfalls, and things geared to try and get you wet. We wore a poncho and it wasn't too bad. I think some guests on the tube encountered more of the water than others of us. Normally I love these type of rides at parks. However, this one just didn't impress me. It didn't have a lot of rapids and seemed more like a river float than a rapid ride.
This was my favorite ride in all of the four parks. I guess maybe its not a ride per say as it is an experience. You are loaded into a big army type truck and driven around Disney's animal preserve. This is Disney's version of an African safari and it does not disappoint. You get to see all kinds of wildlife just roaming around, and sometimes even things like the giraffe's may get close to your vehicle. We did it twice and the second time we did see animals we didn't see the first time. I was actually impressed how the same "ride" was different both times. I heard its worth experiencing it a night as well, but didn't have a chance this trip. Maybe next time!
Photo taken by me on my iPhone.
In this ride you sit in the back of a jeep and are transported back to the dinosaur age. As you trek through the jungle you feel every bump and turn like you are off-roading on this ride. Of course you encounter a few dinosaurs along the way back to this time. Overall I found it a cute ride. Its not the best this park has to offer but I enjoyed it overall. Its not one that I would wait a long time for or waste a fast pass on. However, if the wait time is low and you are in the area, go for a spin.
Finally we did partake in one of the animal walks and cannot remember which one. I know we saw a tiger in one and another one we were in a rain forest type setting and had some interesting varieties of birds. The nice thing about this park is there are lot of places to just walk around and explore.
That was all we did that day and this was the last of the four parks we visited. We flew home the next day and it was a great end to our adventure. Check back soon for my post on the Magic Kingdom!
Photo from Stephanie Klepacki on Unsplash.