When planning your Walt Disney World vacation, do not discount Animal Kingdom as just a zoo! We almost made that mistake!! I should have known that Disney would not do anything half-way, but I never would have guessed this would be one of our favorite parks!
At first glance, it seems like there isn't a whole lot to do in Animal Kingdom. But, DO NOT WRITE IT OFF! We found a ton to do! In fact, we ended up coming back here on our last vacation day (and we still didn't do absolutely everything).
When you walk into DAK (Disney's Animal Kingdom), you walk into The Oasis. This area is lush and tropical, with a few animals to adore. This area opens up to Discover Island, which showcases the Tree of Life.
Similar to Cinderella Castle, the Tree of Life is the epicenter of Animal Kingdom. From this area, you can branch out into many different lands: Africa, Asia, DinoLand USA, and Camp Minnie-Mickey (although, I was told this area is closed now and being renovated for the new, AVATAR Land. I know, I don't get that, either! I won't be covering Camp Minnie-Mickey since it's a thing of the past. It was a super cute area, though!) You'll want to spend some time exploring the Tree of Life and it's intricate animal carvings.
The Tree of Life houses a cute little 4D show called It's A Bug's Life! It can be a tad scary for small kids, but Carter fell asleep in it and Olivia loved it! I mean, who can resist these awesome, fashionable glasses?
The two major attractions in this park are Kilimanjaro Safaris (in Africa) and Expedition Everest (in Asia). You'll want to head to one of these first thing! (And although the FastPass situation has changed since I was last at Disney, from what I understand, I would schedule the other attraction for the afternoon.)
African Village of Harambe
This attraction is set in an African village that is very real looking and sounding! The thing I love most about Disney is the ability to be completely immersed in the environment. The buildings, the entertainment, and the music all convey the experience of being in an African town.
Kilimanjaro Safaris takes you on a journey through the Savannah. The sights are amazing! I could not believe we were so close to these amazing animals!
Africa also has a really great animal exhibit called the Pangani Exploration Trail. This guy is worth it alone!
Asian Village of Anandapur
The major attraction here is Expedition Everest. It is one of our favorite coasters in all of WDW! The premise of this ride is that you are going on an expedition through the Mt. Everest. Beware of the Yeti, though! The ride to the top of the mountain is a lovely scenic trip. Once you reach the top, however, you get a surprise!
There's only one direction to go from the top...
Another fun ride here is Kali River Rapids. I do not like getting wet on rides, but this was a great ride!! In fact, Olivia and I rode 2 or 3 times in a row!
Also in Asia, is the Maharajah Jungle Trek. It is an animal exhibit similar to the Pangani Exploration Trail over in Africa. My favorite animals of this trail are definitely the tigers, although I didn't get great pictures of them.
The street entertainment is pretty great here, too!
This area completely surprised me! It seems a bit out of place here in Animal Kingdom, but it is fun, nonetheless!
Primevil Whirl is a fun coaster, but it is for taller kids and adults only. This is more of a carnival-type atmosphere. Triceratops Spin is a good ride for the younguns.
Dinosaur is a dark ride here, but I don't recommend it. I just wasn't too impressed.
What you should do, however, is see Nemo, The Musical! This is a show unlike any other. The characters from Nemo are large puppets, animated and voiced by live actors, who are also on stage.
It's a bit of a longer show, but it is cute! A tip for those with younger kids: There is a section at the top just near the exit where you can go if your child is a little restless. Disney thinks of everything!
Planet Watch is an area we did not make it to. You can read more about it HERE, if you are interested.
Bonus Tip: Along with some snacks, make sure to grab some fun animal masks to take along! I found these at the Target Dollar Spot!
COMING SOON: AVATAR Land! Although I think this theme is stupid for Animal Kingdom, I have not seen the movie. It could be fabulous! The plans sure do look amazing! Check them out HERE.
|Image from WDW|
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