Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Our Disney Vacation - Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom, in a nutshell, is a fancy elaborate zoo. There are a decent amount of rides - the Expedition Everest coaster and a small carnival area - but if rides are what you really want this park is probably not for you. Little C loves animals so I knew we had to visit some kind of zoo while on vacation and if you're gonna do it, might as well go all the way!

The park has 4 main sections of animals: Discovery Island, Asia, Africa and Rafiki's Planet Watch. What's cool about the park is the animal pens are incorporated in a way that makes it not feel like a traditional zoo; there aren't large signs pointing to the animals making it really obvious they're there. There are also plenty of trees and bamboo plants to keep you in the shade and tuck the animals in a little better.
Rafiki's Planet Watch features monkeys and a petting zoo while Asia, Africa and Discovery Island have trails that lead you past most of the animals in the area. My favorite part (and I think Daddy's and Little C's) were the 2 bird areas in the Africa and Asia areas. At the beginning you pick up a bird guide card (about the size of a placemat) and use it to help you identify the various species you spot. The thing about this area is, the birds are free to fly and roam as they please (there is netting above and doorways at either end so the birds stay in their areas). So don't be surprised to find birds diving right past you!

The one thing you HAVE to do if you visit Animal Kingdom is take the Kilimanjaro Safari. It's about a 20 minute ride through Disney's own African savanna. It is so well made you honestly feel like you're just driving through a natural habitat where all the animals can roam freely wherever they wish. There are no super obvious dividers to keep the lions away from the zebras or anything like that. Add that to the fact that you may run into animals hanging out right beside your safari jeep - so close you could seriously almost touch them - and you can see why this is my don't miss experience. This was Little C's favorite part of the park too, aka the bumpy ride!

Giraffe's happily munching away while we ride.
Is that a rhino at the side of the road? Of course it is!

You could just pretend you were in Africa! ...if it weren't for the lack of blistering heat :-)

It's Tough to be a Bug: 4D show based on "A Bug's Life." It was cute and the wait wasn't long even without a fast pass. However, Little C was no a fan. She didn't want to wear the 3D glasses (not surprising) and got very freaked out when it became dark and loud.
Festival of the Lion King: Awesome show! There's a little audience participation mixed with your favorite Lion King songs, enormous elephant and giraffes and some Cirque-style tricks and performers.
Finding Nemo - The Musical: Unfortunately we didn't make it to this show, Little C fell asleep for a bit after lunch! If anyone's seen it I welcome comments!

Recommended fast passes:
1. Kilimanjaro Safari Ride
2. The Festival of the Lion King
3. Expedition Everest if you're into roller coasters/ a character meet & greet if your kids are into that

For more information, visit Disney's official Animal Kingdom page.


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