What We Love Most About Disney’s Animal Kingdom
We’ve finally arrived at Walt Disney World! We’ve traveled the world from Shanghai to California, and now we are finally at the Vacation Kingdom of the World. Our first park to celebrate in our series is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Joining me is Jenn and Jase as well as Madison.
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Entry & Oasis
We enter Disney’s Animal Kingdom into what is the least impressive entry. No Hollywood Boulevard. No Train Station. No Spaceship Earth. Just a jungle trail ahead of us. and it takes us on a road to discovery.
But before we head down that trail a big part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the presence of Rainforest Cafe at the entrance. Most people don’t remember the big falls that were once there.
Do you go left or right when you enter? How about when you exit? Here’s the road least traveled, and I take it any time possible.
From here we emerge into Discovery Island and the great Tree of Life.
Do you have a favorite animal in Oasis or Discovery Island. For me it’s the winding back trail that takes you past the kangaroos.
Here’s a favorite character found in Discovery Island. It’s Kevin from the film Up.
Flame Tree Barbecue is a favorite restaurant. Perhaps over Tiffins. But because of the heat, evening is my favorite time to enjoy it.
Dinosaur, or CTX as old timers know it has a little corner of my heart. It’s no Indiana Jones Adventure, but this is an original day one attraction to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They keep tweaking it so it has improved over time. And who can say no to being in the presence of Phylicia Raschad?
Probably the worst food in the park–maybe in any of the parks (close tie to Cosmic Rays). but I love the crazy theming of Restaurantasourus. I consider it a lucky day when I get to dine in the airstream trailer.
Lots of memories bringing my children to The Boneyard with its dinosaur dig-site playground.
If there is one salvageable part of the area of the park most likely to mirror South of the Border, it would be Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures, which existed long before the rest of Chester & Hester’s with its’ awful parking lot carnival came into town.
Favorite scene in Finding Nemo–the Musical is this scene with Crush. I never see this show without becoming emotional at the end of it.
Onto Asia, which houses truly one of the best thrill rides in the Disney parks. But the best part of Expedition Everest is the immersive theming, which takes you to an entirely different place.
Speaking of theming, Kali River Rapids is shear fun, but the theming in the queue is truly amazing. That’s good, because the standby line can be incredibly long.
A little corner to Asia that I love is the seating area adjacent Drinkwallah.
Even if you can’t find a tiger, the architecture, theming and story behind this palace in ruins almost makes up for what you may not be able to enjoy seeing in terms of animals.
Whether it’s getting out of the heat of the day, or enjoying a meal into the evening, I highly recommend Yak & Yeti Restaurant. I especially enjoy the views on the second level.
This moment is no longer in the current show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure, but it’s a cool view of the owl heading straight to my daughter Jennica.
On the way to Africa I love the little trail that moves off to the side past several bubbling brooks. This little corner was for many years a dedicated smoking area, but now it has returned and is genuinely a way to get away from it all.
You haven’t visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom if you haven’t been on Kilimanjaro Safaris. But there’s a few things that are my absolute favorite.
The best part of this little segment of Kilimanjaro Safaris was the driver playing the radio, where the song Hapa Duniani played. You can find the song here if you would like to hear it again.
If you get a chance to see a lion…especially one that isn’t asleep…it’s a great day.
These waterfalls/grotto toward the end of Kilimanjaro Safaris are amazing and inspiring. It’s almost like a time machine that carries you back into the real world.
Jason mentioned his love of giraffes. They are truly amazing.
I love the Wildlife Express train that carries you to Rafiki’s Planet Watch–more than I love Rafiki’s Planet Watch! The only part that bums me out is seeing backstage holding areas for the animals. It does nothing to the experience and is less inspiring than seeing a movie sound stage building at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
These Asian huts on the way back from Conservation Station is the perfect answer to the kind of theming that is needed for this journey.
The emotional highlight of the day is the Festival of the Lion King. There is a reason why this is the best show in Walt Disney World. You will have missed an important experience in the park if you don’t see this show.
Pandora: The World of Avatar
It’s on to Pandora: The World of Avatar. The mountains here are breathtaking.
I love the standby queue for Avatar Flight of Passage almost as much as the attraction…though if I had a FastPass, I wouldn’t turn it away.
Also, in some ways I love Na’vi River Journey even more than Flight of Passage (I know, I’ll probably get hate mail). The only problem with this attraction is that there isn’t more of it. It could be a Pirates of the Caribbean in its own right.
The problem with the Shaman is that there aren’t more like her.
They took the Cheeseburger Bao Buns off the main menu, but you can still order them–and you should! You should also order everything else on the menu.
Very funny is the way to describe the Pandora Utility Suit Demonstration. Not always running, but stop and check it out if it’s happening.
The details are amazing–such as in this flora.
And as day turns to night, it’s even more amazing.
Best Time: Night Time
Speaking of night…that’s the best time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, largely because it’s not so hot. The new holiday lights throughout the park are great.
But the decor is still beautiful year around.
The projection shows are stunning. You really must stop and take the time to see them.
Nighttime along the lake is equally stunning, especially as crowds get ready for the evening show.
Considered by many to be the lesser of all evening shows, it’s still a beautiful show and provides a great reason to stay and enjoy the evening.
Stay tuned to more posts, videos and podcasts of Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the days to come. Meanwhile, please subscribe to our podcast, to our YouTube Channel, and if possible send us a positive rating on iTunes. Thanks!
Has all this chat made you hungry for a Disney adventure? Now is the time to dream and plan for your future travels. Be sure to reach out to David Zanolla, owner and agent of of Out The Door Travel, LLC to make arrangements. There’s no cost–but it could save you a lot of time–and even money–especially when you put it in the hands of someone who really knows Disney and travel. Call today at 309-863-5469 or reach out to him via firstname.lastname@example.org