During our fortnight stay in Disneyworld, we only managed to visit Animal Kingdom once and that is something I regret. I wish we could have had more time to go back and visit a second time. It is an absolutely stunning park and so calm and chilled in comparison with the other three theme parks. If you love animals and exploring different cultures, this is definitely a park worth visiting.
We went to Animal Kingdom on our third day. We had been feeling unwell the previous two days so this was the perfect park to ease us back into our Disneyworld adventure. It took maybe 15 minutes to get to from our hotel. Animal Kingdom is probably one of the most remote areas of Disneyworld because of the environment required to suit the animals' needs. You almost feel like you've come out of Florida and headed to the jungle.
We had an early reservation for breakfast at Tusker House, a character dining experience with Mickey Mouse and Co. The restaurant is located almost at the very back of the park within the Africa area. It is definitely worth a visit as the food was amazing as was the character interaction.
Within the Animal Kingdom there are 6 areas; Oasis, Discovery Island, Africa, Rafiki's Planet Watch, Asia and Dinoland USA. During our visit, there was some construction work going on so the attractions within each area may have changed slightly.
When you clear security and walk through the Animal Kingdom entrance, you arrive at Oasis. This is a really calm area with lots of fenced areas housing different exotic animals and birds. Because it was so early, we didn't really see very many animals or birds. We did a warthog and a lizard of some variety but everyone else was feeling quite shy.
As you exit Oasis, you come face to face with the Tree of Life. This is an amazing tree carved with animals. A great photo spot! There are a few shops and restaurants, and you can also sign up to be a Wildnerness Explorer. You have to complete challenges around the park which will earn you your Wilderness Explorer badges. Just like Russell in UP! We didn't do this but I think I would have done it if we had gone back for another visit. You can go through the Discovery Island Trails to see what animals you can spot. We saw lots of birds! We also visited the It's Tough to be a Bug interactive show which we felt was well worth a visit as it was really fun!
Africa is an amazing area to visit; you really do feel like you could be on the streets of Africa as you stroll past the shops and restaurants. There are quite a few attractions here and the amazing Festival of the Lion King show. We didn't make it to see the show even though we full intended to. Time just ran away from us between doing things and going to our Fastpass bookings. I saw it when I went to Florida around 15 years ago and it was amazing! We had a Fastpass for the Kilimanjaro Safaris which we were glad of because it was really busy. We booked an early slot as we were told this was the best time to see the animals and we managed to see quite a few. We also went on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail where we saw gorillas, meerkats, hippos and zebras. I think the meerkats were our favourites.
Rafiki's Planet Watch
From Africa, you can take the Wildlife Express Train over to Rafiki's Planet Watch. It's a short train ride where you can see behind the scenes of the animal enclosures. It's really interesting! When you disembark at Rafiki's Planet Watch, you will find the Habitat Habit, Conservation Station and Affection Section. We also met Chip and Dale there. Within the Affection Section, you can get up close with goats and sheep, grooming them and petting them. The kids loved this. The Conservation Station is indoors so it's a great place to visit when it's really hot or if it's pouring with rain. There is a vet area where you might see some of the animals being treated and lots of areas with interesting facts and information on the different animals in the world. We loved the little pods you could go into and listen to information on different animals. I can't remember which one we chose but it was nice to sit down in the dark for a little while.
There are two quite popular attractions within Asia; Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids. We had a Fastpass for the river rapids and my advice for these would be to take a towel because you are going to get soaked. It doesn't matter where you sit on the ring, you will get wet. When we came off, we decided to walk round the Maharajah Jungle Trek to dry off. During this trek we saw the beautiful tiger. She was stunning. Husband braved Expedition Everest himself and said it was great! Definitely a Fastpass ride if you can get one because it was really busy.
There were a few closed attractions when we went to Dinoland USA. Primeval Whirl was one which I'm glad about because I think it might have made us sick! We went on the TriceraTop Spin which is a nice, gentle ride. The kids also had a play in The Boneyard. It's a big soft play style area except it's all wood and metal. The kids loved it and it gave us the chance to sit down. We managed to get a Fastpass for DINOSAUR. Now, when we went on this with Charlotte, we thought she might freak out because it's a simulator ride, in the dark, with lots of flashing. Well, she loved it and wanted to go on it again. We didn't have time to do it again because your Fastpass lasts for an hour and, although you can only ride once, you can't book another Fastpass until that hour is up.
You can read more about Animal Kingdom here and watch our vlog here.
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