* Prices may differ from that shown
Of the four Walt Disney Studios parks we visited, Animal Kingdom was my favourite. I was kind of surprised by that because last time I visited (albeit nearly ten years ago) I thought it was pretty lame and didn't have much there. In the time since my last visit, they have obviously done a lot of work and expanded it and it has paid off because it now makes for a great day out. As is always the case with these huge theme parks, it is split into a number of different areas . . .
===Oasis and Discovery Island===
As you enter the park, the first place you come to is Oasis which is basically the habitats of various animals. The area is laid out kind of like a rainforest; in fact there is a Rainforest Café here if you are already hungry! The paths are all really wide and well paved and the enclosures are almost like little gardens where you can spot things like giant anteaters and exotic boars as well as parrots that chatter away. I enjoyed walking through and thought that it made for quite a unique way of entering a theme park.
Discovery Island is actually an island surrounded by the man-made Discovery River. It is the area from which all the other zones pan out so is a great meeting point and the place to come if you are lost and want to find your way. The main feature of the island is the massive (artificial) tree of life, which comes complete with huge roots and is quite impressive.
There are two are attractions here. First there are the Discovery Island Trails, which are in and around the roots of the tree of life. The roots make caves and areas that are filled with animals like giant tortoises and cotton top tamarinds. The second attraction is It's Tough To Be A Bug, which is a 3D show housed right in the middle of the roots of the tree. I can't recommend this show enough, even if you aren't a fan of the film because it is excellent and a lot of fun. The auditorium fits an awful lot of people in, so even if the park is extremely busy, you won't be faced with unbearable waits. I'll not spoil the fun in case you are going to see it but it isn't just a 3D film, it is so much more and well worth a visit.
There are a number of themed food stalls in this zone where you can snack foods like pizza (from Pizzafari) and corn dogs (from the Beastly Kiosk), but not really anywhere for a proper sit down meal unless you head back to the Rainforest Café.
===Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa and Rafiki's Planet Watch===
These three areas are much more about learning about and seeing animals than any kind of rides per say, but that's not to say you can't have a lot of fun here all the same.
At Camp Minnie-Mickey, you enjoy the Festival of the Lion King show, which kids will absolutely love because it features all of the main characters. It is full of singing and dancing and includes lots of popular songs from the film. It lasts about half an hour I would say so is good for a nice sit down to recharge the batteries and even have something to eat. You can also meet mickey and Minnie themselves outside, although expect queues even at quiet times. There are plenty of places nearby to pick up an autograph book as well!
The Africa zone features more places to see wild animals and is worth a visit if this is your thing. We didn't actually go on either of the trails because it was raining by the time we got to this point and we thought the animals might be hiding away. There are two options here; the first is a walking trail and the second involves getting on an open air safari vehicle. On the walking trail you can expect to see plenty of exotic fish and birds as well as a troupe of gorillas. There is also a hippo viewing area. On the safari trail you'll see the big hitters like elephants, lions and giraffes all roaming freely. There are a couple of actual restaurants in this area both of which are all you can eat buffets and one of which is hosted by Donald Duck and his pals.
You can get an express train between Africa and Rafiki's Planet Watch. The trains leave every five to seven minutes and it is worth doing this because the area is tucked away right at the back of the park. Here you'll find Conservation Station which is a neat little place filled with hands on interactive activities that teach whilst you play. It is a fun way of learning about the natural habitats of the animals and how they are cared for. There is also another walking trail where you can see tamarins in their play area. Finally in this area there is a petting yard which includes a rather random selection of rare but domesticated animals from around the world that you can play with.
This was probably my favourite area of the park because it combined the animal trails with a number of quite fun rides. When we first got there, we wandered around the Maharajah Trail which was worth going to because you can see the park's resident tigers in their huge enclosure. There are glass covered viewing areas so when the tigers walk past you are really close. There is also an aviary that you can walk through and see the birds flying freely. You can also see the surprisingly ugly Komodo Dragons and there is a fruit bat cave that is full of huge bats - I had no idea they got this big to be honest! Don't worry though they are surrounded by thin nets so they can't get you!
There are two rides in this part and both of them are quite good and worth going on. The Kali River Rapids have a minimum 38 inch height restriction and basically involve you going 'white water rafting in the Chakranadi River'. You will get absolutely soaked though it is fun - we actually had ponchos which came in very handed because they stopped us getting as soaked as the other people in our eight man raft.
The second ride Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, which is a roller coaster housed in a splendid reconstruction of Mount Everest. It is a lot of fun - not a mega thrill-seekers ride because there are no loops or anything like that, but it goes backwards and forwards and very quickly, plus there are a couple of big dips. If you dare to open your eyes at the top of 'Everest', you'll get really good views not only of Animal Kingdom - but of the other Disney parks in the distance, so you can spot Cinderella's Castle and the Epcot ball in the distance. There is a height requirement of 44 inches, but I'd say that younger kids would probably like this one if they have a dare devil streak in them.
There are a few themed dining options in this zone and they suit most budgets. You can get a snack from the various stalls or you can sit down and enjoy Pan Asian food in either the Yak and Yeti Restaurant or, slightly cheaper, Yak and Yeti Café. WE didn't have time to stop for a sit down meal, but if we'd had the time, we'd have probably stopped here because it looked pretty good and smelled lovely.
This is the final zone you get to if you walk in a clockwise direction around the park and is dedicated, as you can imagine, to all things dinosaur related. The whole area has a bit of a carnival fair feel to it, which I thought was bit strange considering the theme, but it did mean it felt quite fun.
This zone is suitable for children because there are lots of things that they will have fun exploring, such as The Boneyard, which is a maze type thing that they can run around and explore. There is also a Finding Nemo show, which is a musical show that combines puppetry and live action. It is only on a certain times during the day, so it is worth having a look at the timetable you get with your ticket to plan your visit. Finally for youngsters, there are the Fossil Fun Games, which are carnival type games like hook a duck where you can win Disney themed soft toys - these cost about $3 each though so not good if you are on a budget.
For thrill seekers, there are a couple of rides, although they aren't massively exciting - more like the tame Disney version of thrill seeking! First of all, there is the Primeval Whirl, which is a spinning roller coaster that has a minimum height restriction of 48 inches. To be honest, I didn't like this one - it made me feel a bit queasy spinning around and going up and down at the same time - plus it felt like I was going to get whiplash at one point! The other ride is DINOSAUR, which is quite good if a little cheesy. There is a minimum height requirement of 40 inches and it is very loud and dark in places so it is probably a little too frightening for younger visitors. The ride is a sort of simulator thing, but the car you are in moves around a track. It is very hard to explain, but it is quite fun - but like I said before, a little cheesy and tame.
There are again a few themed restaurants in this area where you can grab huge portions of basic food like burgers, hot dogs, fries and turkey legs from places like 'Restaurantosaurus' and 'Dino-Diner'! Very clever indeed.
The last thing I will say about this place is that you should look out for the meet and greet area tucked away at the side of one of the shops, because this is where you can meet Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore. They are here all day (although they take ten minute breaks now and then) and there is often a queue to see them, but they seemed to spend a good while with each child, so it is worth the wait if your kids are fans.
The park is open at different times depending on the season, but it tends to be around the 9am to 7pm mark. Some rides open later than others, but you get a schedule with your entry ticket that tells you if there are any rides that open later, close early or not open at all and these are updated daily. It is worth picking up a map as well because between the two things, you'll have all the information you need to plan your day properly, including show times and characters meet and greets.
It is hard to pinpoint how much a ticket for the park is, but we paid £100 per person for a day ticket that allowed us unlimited access to all four of the Walt Disney World parks (Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Epcot). It isn't cheap, but you do get a lot for your money. We found that a day was enough for us to have a look round all the parks and go on the rides that we wanted to, but we went in October when it was relatively quiet and there were lots of things that we weren't bothered about spending a lot of time on. The daily price for entry goes down the more days you visit and if you buy a two week pass, it can be as little as £15 per day for an adult, with slight reductions for children. It generally is much cheaper to buy a ticket for your stay in advance from one of the many hundreds of ticket vendors on the internet.
The park operates a Fast Pass system, which is a free system where you can go to the most popular rides and pick up a ticket with a time slot on for when you should return to the ride and go to the front of the queue. It is a good idea especially in summer when the park gets very busy, but bear in mind that time slot you get can even be a few hours later so it may mess up your planning!
There are lots of hand sanitiser machines around the park, especially where the animals are, so it is easy to keep clean.
Parking for the park is $14 per day and this allows you access to any of the parks' car parks during the day, you just have to show your receipt as you enter. The car parks are all names after animals that you find in the Animal Kingdom, so it is easy to remember where you are parked. It only takes about ten minutes to walk to the park entrance from the car park, but there is a little train that travels between the two regularly throughout the day and is free to use if you can't manage the walk.
They have a complimentary package delivery service where you can buy anything from any of the shops throughout the park and then pick them up at the collection point by the entrance. You have to leave it at least three hours but it is quite handy if you see something in a certain place and you don't want to have to carry it around with you all day.
If there is anything else you need to know, you can visit www.disneyworld.disney.go.com
Animal Kingdom is one of four Disney theme parks in the Walt Disney World Resort, Florida; the others being Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Animal Kingdom was the last of the four theme parks to be built, it opened in 1998. There are also water parks, shopping areas, sports arenas and all sorts of entertainment going on in Disney World. The idea behind Animal Kingdom was animal conservation; both children and adults will enjoy seeing the many 'wild' animals that are dotted around the park. Animal Kingdom may well be on the bottom of most people's lists when deciding which of the four Disney parks to visit but it is definitely worth a visit. It is the biggest of the four parks, as it is essentially a conservation area, and it has its own unique charm.
I visited Disney last year in September/October which meant it was hot but not too hot and there were practically no queues. Most rides had a 5 minute wait, so much better than going in the height of summer when you can expect to wait at least an hour.
The theme park is split into seven areas; unlike Magic Kingdom, the areas aren't that different from each other. That is simply to do with the theme, the whole park is themed 'animal', they couldn't really differentiate the seven areas that much. I didn't see that as a problem, it was harder to work out where I was but that is nothing a map can't fix.
Oasis serves as the entrance to the Animal Kingdom. It is a small area that has toilets, information and all the other helpful bits and bobs you might need before you set off exploring the park.
There is an attraction in Oasis, The Oasis Exhibits. This is your first taste of the many animal viewing areas; here you can see anteaters, boars, ducks, macaws and many more animals. Pick up a park map as you enter Animal Kingdom and you can see the many animal viewing areas labelled with a paw print.
There are a couple of shops in Oasis if you're on the hunt for souvenirs. They sell gifts featuring many different Disney characters dressed for safari. Personally, I think the gifts for sale in Animal Kingdom are some of the best available when compared to the other parks' offerings.
The one dining option in Oasis is actually half in and half out of the park, so you can enter the Rainforest Cafe without paying admission into the park or after entering the park.
The centrepiece of Discovery Island and Animal Kingdom as a whole is the Tree of Life. The tree is 44 metres high and 15 metres wide and there are 325 animals carved into the side of the tree trunk. It isn't actually a real tree but it is impressive nonetheless. Discovery Island connects all but one of the sections of the park (Rafiki's Planet Watch being the one you can't get to directly); it is the hub of activity.
There are only two attractions in this section of the park:
Discovery Island Trails
You can walk around the Tree of Life which is surrounded by animal viewing areas. Try and spot all 325 animal carvings on the tree! This may sound like a boring attraction/park but it really depends on what sort of person you are. If you hate zoos, Animal Kingdom may not be worth the admission fee but if you're interested in seeing some animals you've never seen before, then this is the place for you.
It's Tough to Be a Bug
This is a 3D show featuring the characters of the hit Disney Pixar film A Bug's Life which is in the bottom of the Tree of Life. I didn't get to see this as it was closed, which I was gutted about. It was one of the main attractions I wanted to see at the park :(
Discovery Island has four dining options, none of which I visited but all of which looked and smelled yummy:
Flame Tree Barbecue (ribs, chicken)
Pizzafari (pizza, sandwiches)
Safari Barbecue (turkey legs, chicken)
There are plenty of shops in this part of the park, definitely worth taking a look if you have a spare dollar or twenty.
Dinoland has a variety of attractions for both kids and adults:
Finding Nemo - The Musical
A 45 minute musical based on the hit movie Finding Nemo. It's done in a puppet style, so you can see the people controlling the puppets of Nemo, Dory etc. but they are also in costume as well. It is excellent! Expect there to be quite a queue so get there early to get close to the action. I was sat about half way up the theatre and had a great view, I think you'd enjoy it wherever you were sat. Collect the show times as you enter the park to ensure you don't miss out!
This one throws you about a bit; it is like a cross between a waltzer and a small roller coaster. There are two roller coasters going at the same time but in opposite directions, both layouts are the same. It's an ok ride, don't go on it if you're feeling a little queasy though.
This is a dark ride which is another one that jerks you about a bit. It's alright, maybe starting to look a little old, but it's entertaining. I find it amusing how rides like this are all frantic and you're right in the middle of the action and...it ends. Just stops, always seems like a little bit of a letdown but hey ho.
Another version of the classic Dumbo ride (Magic Kingdom). You get to move the dinosaur you're sitting in up and down while it spins in a circle. These rides never get old.
I didn't go on the following attractions:
The Boneyard (play maze)
Fossil Fun Games (carnival games)
The following are the dining options in Dinoland U.S.A.:
Restaurantosaurus (burgers, hot dogs)
PetriFries (fries, drinks)
Asia turned out to be one of my favourite parts of Animal Kingdom (mainly for the Yak & Yeti restaurant!). The attractions are:
Kali River Rapids
You get wet, very wet. Make sure you put your valuables in the centre holding of the raft otherwise you may be leaving the ride with a broken camera. Good way to cool down on a hot day.
Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
From the outside this looks like a huge scary ride but it actually doesn't do a lot. Walking to the ride you can see parts of it but the rest is covered by a massive fake mountain; the bits I saw made me think I would poo me pants but it was actually a bit of a letdown. It is the biggest ride in the park so you might want to have a ride on it.
Flights of Wonder (bird show)
Maharajah Jungle Trek (walk through animal viewing location)
Onto the dining, the Yak & Yeti Restaurant is amazing! It serves pan-Asian cuisine and it is gorgeous. I had duck with an orange wasabi glaze served with rice and vegetables and a mango pie for dessert. Excellent food. To be honest, I didn't have a bad meal the whole two weeks I was at Disney World. The standard of food is excellent, it may be expensive if you're not on the Disney Dining Plan but it is worth it for a special treat. You do have to book early for most if not all sit down restaurants in Disney World.
Other dining options in Asia:
Yak & Yeti Local Foods Cafes (honey chicken, sweet & sour pork)
Anandapur Ice Cream
Rafiki's Planet Watch
I didn't go to this part of Animal Kingdom unfortunately; I only visited the theme park for one day which is nowhere near enough time! I'll go through the attractions in this area:
Wildlife Express Train
You have to board this train in Africa to get to Rafiki's Planet Watch and then get a train back. Trains come every 5-7 minutes.
Habitat Habit! (animal viewing area)
Conservation Station (interactive exhibits, animal encounters)
Affection Section (petting yard)
A safari vehicle takes you around an African savannah where you can see elephants, lions, rhinos, giraffes and gazelles. I couldn't see that many animals on the trek, it does obviously depend on whereabouts the animals feel like roaming as to what you see. You will see something but it might be a long way from where you are.
The other attraction on offer in Africa is:
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail (gorillas, hippos and more)
Dining options are as follows:
Tusker House Restaurant (buffet)
Donald's Safari Breakfast at Tusker House Restaurant (breakfast buffet)
Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery
Harambe Fruit Market
Tamu Tamu Refreshments (burgers, sandwiches)
Going by the name you may think this is a children's play area but it isn't. There are plenty of opportunities for kids to meet their favourite characters and there is also one of the best shows in the Disney parks:
Festival of the Lion King
This is a great show featuring some of the best characters and songs from The Lion King. It really is a must see! As with the other shows, pick up a times guide on entering the park so you can plan your day and not miss out on any of the shows.
Meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy and Chip N Dale. I think they were all there, all dressed up ready for safari. Even though we were both 21, my girlfriend and I queued up for autographs and pictures. If you've got some time to spare take your kids along, they will love it! The greeting trails are located next to the Festival of the Lion King so lines tend to be longest just after a performance has finished. If the show is currently on you should be lucky and have little to no queues.
The other attraction in Camp Minnie-Mickey is:
Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends (children's show with live animals)
The dining option is:
Camp Soft Serve
Worth a Visit?
Yes yes yes. You definitely need more than one day though. I made the mistake of thinking there wasn't much there so one day would do it. Although there aren't loads of attractions, you need time to walk around the park looking at the different animals. Also the shows take up a good chunk of your day too. The more time you can spare to go to Animal Kingdom, the more you will get out of it. Don't miss Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade which goes from Africa and around the Tree of Life (see times guide for more information).
Animal Kingdom should take up a couple of days of your Disney World holiday and will be well worth it!
If you want to have a glimpse at full restaurant menus and prices, check out this link:
If you are staying at a Disney Resort I would recommend the Dining Plan, it does seem expensive but it's so much easier when you are there. You do save money by being on the plan; the amount you save depends on what Dining Plan you choose. Pick the expensive items like me and you'll save a packet ;)
More information can be found here:
Also posted on ciao under the username shabbating.
Animal kingdom is the newest of the Walt Disney world parks in Orlando -
although to say newest is stretching it a bit, it has been open for over 10
It is a lovely animal themed park that all centres around a huge 'tree of
life' that stands in the centre - this is really pretty and has animals all
carved into its roots and its bark... you can spend ages trying to pick out
all the different ones. Around the tree of life are various themed areas,
all containing different things. For example, 'Asia' has the newest ride
'expedition everest' and the 'Kali river rapids', whilst in the Africa area
you can go on the 'Kilimanjaro safari'. Dinoland has rides for the little
ones. Camp Minnie Mickey is my favourite area though, because here you can meet all your favourite Disney Characters (all dressed in suitable safari gear) and can watch the 'Festival of the Lion King show' - an amazing Lion King themed performance of singers, dancers and acrobats.
The weather in Orlando is usually great all year round, making this park a
lovely treat to walk around. Disney are of course prepared for high
temperatures and all the shops and restaurants are fully air conditioned
and there are lots of places the whole way around to stock up on drinks and rehydrate - plus there are plenty of toilets after all that fluid intake!
Disney also accommodate for all their guests in all of their parks -
disabled access is great in the parks and in the shows etc, and whilst all
of the shows are sang and performed in English - they do have headsets that you can wear to hear them in different languages - this is especially useful in the dark 3d shows like 'it's a bugs life' in the discovery island area (which, by the way, is cool).
The car park to this park is huge, meaning that you may not be parked very close to the entrance - but Disney provide a shuttle trolley that take you from the end of the row of cars in your line to the entrance and back again. Please note that you have to fold down buggys before they will let you take them on this shuttle.
Another highlight for me is the music - at regular places around the park
you'll notice that its playing the melodies to the lion king, which is one
of my favourite films of all time so I love it (but if you hate that film
it could be a little annoying).
Day passes to animal kingdom usually cost $79 for adults (which is anyone 10 year+) or $68 for children aged between 3-9. Under 3s go free. You can buy multipass Disney tickets that will last for 5, 7 or 14 days but these vary in price dependant upon where you buy them (think £200+ though).
There is something at this park for everyone and if you have time you
should really make the most of your Disney pass and visit it. Whilst most
Disney parks would take you days to complete - after a day in animal
kingdom you can pretty much feel like you've seen a good proportion of it
(queues permitting) and its not too stressful a day.
Great park. Great day. Great place!!!!
The fourth park to built at Disney World, Disney's Animal Kingdom was built in 1998. Animal Kingdom is so far the largest park of them all. At 500 acres in size, the majority of the park is made up of roaming lands housing the many animals that Animal Kingdom has to offer.
Animal Kingdom is also the first Disney park to be purely focused on Animal Conservation, which is the reason it remains to be my favourite Disney Park. Although the rides are not as ferocious as the other parks, (I'll touch on that more later) you get a real feeling that the animals are truly loved and very well looked after. Not only do they look healthy and happy, but they are housed in huge enclosures that give them enough freedom to roam about. The park also houses a very large conservation team that are on call at all times.
Whilst there a vet at Rafiki's Planet Watch showed everyone an X-Ray of a snake that a groundsman had found on a golf course that has swallowed a golf ball, the vet they proceeded to tell us how they removed it and was able to release the snake back into the wild. Which is only a small part of the great work they do at Animal Kingdom.
Whilst walking around Animal Kingdom you can't help but get a feel for how open the park feels, gone are the glass enclosures with millions of people staring into the glass each day that you normally find at a 'Zoo' and in its place are rolling plains, only reached by 4x4, this way it captures the feeling of a real life safari, and you get the excitement of possibly seeing an animal in its 'almost natural habitat.' Its a feeling that regular Zoos just don't have.
The Park is made up of 7 different areas, each decorated in a style relating to what it is:
The job of Oasis unlike the other areas stands as the entrance to Animal Kingdom. Here stands the many ticket booths, the entrance turnstyles, customer services and a giant cafe named 'The Rainforest Cafe.' Here both customers of the park and others can enjoy a bite to eat or a drink without actually having to enter the park. An area that every customer has to pass before entry into the park, here you will be able to see Wallabies, Giant Anteaters and Ducks among others.
2. Discovery Island:
Discovery Island is the centre of the park, an area where the many pathways feed out to the other parts of the park. Discovery Island is also home to the famous 'Tree of Life' a huge Tree which really is an amazing sight. With many animals carved into the 'bark' and the puzzle of trying to guess whats what, it really is a sigh to behold. An unmissable experience if your visiting Orlando. Whilst here you can either check out the kangaroos and lemurs or check out 'It's tough to be a bug,' a 4D movie that will no doubt have you laughing along.
3. Camp Minnie-Mickey:
More of a rustic feel here, Camp Minnie-Mickey is what you'd imagine any american summer camp to look like. Here you can either snap up an autograph from the most famous Disney characters around or catch 'Festival of the Lion King,' a musical show inspired by the popular movie 'The Lion King.' Although not as much to see here as some of the other areas, it's still a great place to see and one I would recommend if only to get those coveted autographs!!
Animal Kingdom tries to capture the feel of both living creatures and those that are extinct. Here clearly the main focus is of those extinct. With more of a fairground feel, here you can see a crocodile and a tortoise, focusing more on animals that are evolutionarly linked to the Dinosaurs. Here there are a few smaller fairground rides, such as The TriceraTop and the Primeval Whirl. It's also home to DINOSAUR, more of a rollercoaster than the others, but by no means as big as the ones you see at the other parks. You can also catch a showing of Finding Nemo - The Musical at the Theater in the Wild, one that can't be missed!
In Asia you are able to catch a show called 'Birds of Wonder,' although I'm not biggest fan of birds and you can almost taste the cheese, it was actually a really great show to sit through. Seeing how well the birds are trained, and will do the silliest thing with the slightest movement of hand, it really is an amazing thing to see. One of the most enjoyable experiences I had in the park!! For those of you who love to be soaked and then have to walk around the park for the rest of the day like me, will love Kali River Rapids, on going on a similar one in Busch Gardens, I wasn't expecting to be thrilled, but it was in fact pretty good!! Obviously I got soaked, but I for one was not expecting the waterfall we fell down!! It was far higher than I'd have expected and made the ride what it is!! Asia is also home to Expedition: Everest. Now I can't fully comment on how good this ride was, as we didn't get chance to go on it, but being a fairly new ride, and being the parks only roller coaster, I must say it does look pretty good!!
The main attraction here is the Kilimanjaro Safaris, here you take a 4x4 out to the plains, giving you the possibilty of seeing various animals in as close to their natural habitat as you can get without going to the real Africa. Yes the 'tour guide' is the cheesiest person you'll meet, but it all adds to the adventure!! The chance to see Giraffes, Lions and Hippos so close up, with no barriers is truly amazing.
Next up in Africa is the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, here you get the chance to get up close and personal with Gorillas!!
7. Rafiki's Planet Watch:
Finally there is Rafiki's Planet Watch, only accessible by train. Its split into 3 sections, Habitat Habitat, the Affection Section and Conservation Station (no I'm not joking.) Here you get the chance to learn about the work they are doing to protect the endangered species, the great work the many vets are doing on the injured animals they both keep and find around the various disney parks and resorts, and a chance to get up close and personal with animals in order to stroke and pet them!! A really interesting place!
As with other Disney parks, Animal Kingdom gives you the option of getting a free fast-pass ticket in order to bypass queues. All you need to do is find a fast-pass ticket machine, located all around the park, enter your park admission ticket and your fast-pass is allocated to you with the times in which you can go and not have to queue. A must-have for the Disney parks as you can sometimes find yourself waiting for up to 75minutes for certain rides!!
Disney's 5/7/14 Day Ultimate Ticket (Ages 10 and Up): £210
Disney's 5/7/14 Day Ultimate Ticket (Ages 3-9): £183.00 (for UK guests only)
At the moment Disney is doing an offer in which you can get a 14 day ticket for the price of both the 5 and 7 day ticket.
Although I still am wary of any place Zoo, Park etc that houses animals for the pleasure of others, I can't help but think that the great work that the conservation team at Animal Kingdom do, outweighs the negatives. After numerous visits by the local police and the United States Department of Agriculture they to this day have never found that any of the animals are at harm or being mis-treat in anyway. Although Animal Kingdom isn't a park full of scary rides, it has something the other parks lack, a feel of true nature and serenity. Sure its packed with people, and has bustling parades at all times of the day, but the setting of the park, the people and animals give it a great feel that the other parks lack. One for the old, one for the young, and definately one for families.
~All information received from both the Animal Kingdom Website and the Park Map I picked up on my last visit.~
Disneys Animal Kingdom was opened in 1998 and is the newest of the Disney Parks in Orlando and it also covers the largest area although a lot of this is not area that is accessible to the public.
This is an ideal park to tackle as your first attempt at Disney as it is easier to navigate and it is simple to fit everything into your day. Like all Disney attractions it is spotlessly clean with plenty of toilets and rest areas when you need to take the weight off your feet.
The difference between this and the other Disney Theme Parks is evident as soon as you enter. The atmosphere is more natural with lots of trees and less of the garish colours and frantic activity that you associate with Disney. Even the footpaths are made to look as if you are walking on forest trails with imprints of leaves and animal footprints set into the concrete. The huge "Tree of Life" structure is in the centre, this artificial tree has hundreds of animal sculptures cast into the trunk and it is a delight to spend a few quiet minutes seeing how many you can spot.
The Africa area is the one that most people arrive at first. Decorated to look like an African village with native musical groups and lots of chances for interaction for children the area is always buzzing with activity.
Asia has a great feel of the Himalayas about it and houses the awe-inspiring "Everest". Dinoland is a complete contrast; it is loud and frantic and is more like an American fair of the 1950s. Rafikis planet watch is reached by train and allows animal interactions. Camp Minnie-Mickey is the setting for the Lion King and also allows character meet and greet.
This is a general overview of the areas and each contains various attractions.
If exciting rides are your thing then there are several to choose from:
Expedition Everest is a white-knuckle ride bringing you to a close encounter with the Yeti. The theming in the waiting area is fantastic and there is also a single rider queue which moves quite fast. This is probably one of my favourite rides in the whole of Disney and you get fantastic views from the top too.
Kali river rapids is a raft ride that is great fun, guarantees that you will get wet and also introduces education aspects about deforestation. Be prepared for the forest fires as they are really hot.
Kilimanjaro safaris takes you on a jeep ride across huge animal enclosures. Arrive early to see the most animals, look out for the lions lying on their air-conditioned rock! Ensure everyone remains seated or the driver does have to stop because of the danger of children being thrown from the jeep. Queues build up here very quickly in the morning so we usually head straight this way.
Dinosaur is a fast, dark and very noisy ride back in time. Personally I find this the worse ride in the whole of Disney as it is so violent and noisy I don't get chance to actually enjoy the ride but everyone else seems to think it is fantastic.
There are some slightly slower rides in Dinosaur land, particularly the Triceratops Spin and Primeval Whirl. Under the Tree of Life there is a 3D presentation of Its Tough to be a Bug. There are extra effects and I have seen children leave crying but my family have always thoroughly enjoyed the film.
There are several walking trails with guided notes that take you past some fantastic animal enclosures and lovely theming that are certainly worth doing. The bat area is very impressive.
Animal Kingdom does offer some good shows which are ideal when you need a break but arrive early as seating is limited and they are very popular:
Finding Nemo replaced the Tarzan show, this offers wonderful costumes and music and is a truly enchanting trip through Nemos world.
Festival of the Lion King celebrates the film in a colourful spectacle with all the film favourites. Some children get to be involved and it is great family show.
Flights of wonder is an educational display of birds that fly very close over your heads. Set in a shady outside arena this is a pleasant place to stop.
The highlight of the afternoon is always the Mickey's Jammin' jungle Parade. This colourful parade of Disney Characters all dressed for a safari is brilliant. The floats are all animated by the drivers and the characters interact far more with the crowd than in any other Disney parade. The music is infectious so make sure you have got yourself a shady viewing spot to enjoy this spectacular.
The dining opportunities are not great in this park, mainly fast-food type places. There is a Rainforest Cafe at the entrance. The shopping activities are more interesting with items to buy from around the world.
The park closes early because of the animals so there is no firework or evening displays. This works fine as I find that we have usually exhausted the activities here by late afternoon anyway, it is probably the only park that lets you complete all activities without needing a return visit. It makes a nice change from some of the busier parks and has some educational value too. Certainly a park that is worth visiting.
The Disney Animal Kingdom is an amazing park themed on animals and all the Disney animal films. It works the same as the other Disney parks with rent-a-looker shop etc. With loads of restrooms, helpers (if you stand around for to long staring at a map somebody with run up and ask if the can help you, its really nice), water taps etc. Oh and fast passes, I didn't mention them in my last review. You take your tickets to the entrance of which ever ride and enter them into a small machine. They then give you a fast pass ticket with a time on them (which is when they are valid). You get one ticket per park ticket and you line up in a different line which is shorter because they only give out a certain amount of tickets for season. It helps loads with popular rides.
Back to Animal Kingdom. You walk through a massive entrance with animal kingdom engraved in to a wooden arch. In the centre of animal kingdom there's a massive tree with animals engraved into the wood (it's really detailed). You can see it from nearly the entire park. If you go under the tree there's an amazing show called "It's Tough to Be a Bug." It's a 4D show which is where you can feel and smell things as well. It's one of my favorite shows in the entire Disney Park.
Yet again the park is split into different lands called:
-Discovery Islands-the middle.
-Africa- has an amazing safari.
-Rafiki's Planet Watch.
-Asia - has one of the main rides, kali river rapids.
-DinoLand U.S.A- all themes on dinosaurs.
You have to walk straight on a from the oasis to Discovery Island which has all the main shops and restaurants in. it also has the tree of life and my favorite show:" It's Tough To Be a Bug".
All the different places come off from the discovery island. So if you go to the first left you come to camp Minnie-Mickey where you can meet all the characters in all the safari outfits. Also there's an amazing Lion King Show, which has made me really want to see the London shows because it was that brilliant.
Left to the camp is Africa. In Africa there's a massive safari with real animals which are roaming free. Also there's an explore trail which you can go and see the gorillas. It yet again has plenty of restaurants and shops.
Left from Africa is Rafiki's Planet Watch. You go on a train ride which shows you behind the scenes so you can see some of the safari again and some of the pens the animals go in at night. Then you can walk around a reserve which has loads of birds and information in it.
Then Left from Rafiki's Planet Watch is Asia. Asia is one of the biggest lands in animal kingdom. In Asia is the newest ride Everest which is a massive rollercoaster in a man made mountain which you can see even when you're not in the park. Also there are the Kali river rapids. In Asia there are the tigers and an exploration trail.
Finally, there's DinoLand. It's obviously themed around dinosaurs with rides all about the past.
It's one of the best parks in Florida with amazing animals.
Hope it helps xx :D
I used to think that Animal Kingdom was my least favourite park in Orlando. However on recent visits I have spent more time there and have now realised that the park has a lot more to offer than I realised.
At the entrance to the park there is a small shop and a Rainforest café. The entrance itself is covered with brightly coloured flowers, which makes for excellent photographs. I have also found that quite often there are characters around the entrance (animal related ones of course) the most recent one was Rafiki from the Lion King. As it was quiet around the entrance he was hiding behind bushes etc and generally being a bit more interactive than the characters are in crowded areas.
When you enter the park you walk through a small section of "rainforest" where there are various animals to look at. Once you clear this area you come out to a bridge that crosses over into the main area of the park. The centre point of this is the tree of life. The tree of life is made out of concrete and has hundreds of animals carved into it. The leaves were all individually fastened on. An interesting fact I once heard about this tree is that it was made from a modified oil rig. Inside the tree is one of the parks best attractions - a 3D show called its tough to be a bug. This is quite a funny show based on the characters in Bugs Life. The show is good but if you have any kids that are scared of spiders or the dark etc it might be worth checking it out before you go on it! Ive seen lots of kids come out crying.
The rest of the park is devided up into lands - Dinoland USA which has a dinosaur theme - it has a couple of rides suitable for most ages. It has some good shops and a playground for smaller kids (Dino dig or something I think). It also has a character dining restaurant which has Donald Duck and friends for breakfast. There is Camp Minnie Mickey which is also aimed at children with various shows and character meet and greets. Africa which has the Kilimanjaro Safari's which is excellent! In my opinion its best to do this ride early in the morning when its cool as there are more animals around. In the section where the lions are they are usually lying on a rock - I found out that this is because the rock is air conditioned! (Only in Disney!!) The final section of the park is called Asia - this has my favourite rides. Kali river rapids - which shows the effects of deforestation whilst on a fun rapids ride - be warned you can get VERY wet! The newest attraction here is expedition everest - essentially a run away mine train type of ride that also goes backwards. The Yeti also makes an appearance on this ride!
The animal kingdom also has some fabulous shops! Full of different nick nacks and clothes. I could spend ages looking through all the different bits and pieces.
Everyday there is also a parade (I think about 3pm) that is quite good - lots of characters and really lively.
The Animal Kingdom is a fabulous park to visit and it shouldn't be missed. Even if your like me and think well im not that into Animals - it still has something for everyone!
Disney's Animal Kingdom opened in April 1998 . It is the last Theme park to be made at Walt Disney World (So far) The park is located on the left edge of Disney World so when it was being built it was hidden from most guests. This meant that Disney was able to hide the park until they wanted to announce the project.
Walt Disney loved animals and used time in this TV shows. To carry his visions Walt Disney Imaginers planed a park dedicated to animals and the environment.
Before Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World did have a small island dedicated to animals (Discovery Island) located in the middle of Bay Lake near the Magic Kingdom. When the animal Kingdom was opened all the animals were relocated and the Island closed to gussets.
The animal kingdom, like most Disney parks are split in to different lands. The park has 7 lands:
Oasis - All guests must pass through this land to get to the rest of the park. This land could be considered as the opening credits. It has many small animal inhabitats for small animals.
Discovery Island - This is the main hub of the park from here you can choose which land to visit. This area also is the home of the parks emblem, The Tree Of Life. It is covered in 325 carvings of all type of animals. Also they may look live leaves on the trees but they are artificial leaves which make the tree look in lush condition all year round. Also under this great tree is It's Tough to be a Bug! A 3D film with the cast if It's A Bugs Live. This show is great for adults and Children alike.
Camp Minnie-Mickey - Where you can meet all the Disney characters and see the lion king show. This is a long show but us one you must see.
Africa - This is an area dedicated to the country with shops and restaurants. The main attraction in this area and one of the best rides in the park is the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Take a trip through a massive savannah filled with all type of animals. Tip for this ride is to do it in the morning as the animals are most active.
Rafiki's Planet Watch - Board a train which will take you down to this area. It is an area dedivcated to conservation and educations. This is not the best part if the park but is very educational.
Asia - This area was added on 1999. It houses another of 2 of the parks best rides. Kali River Rapids a wet rapid ride with many fun thing to see. Hint - You WILL get wet. Also Expedition Everest a fast roller coaster that goes backwards as well as forwards as you run away from the Yeti.
Dino USA - An area dedicated to the dinosaurs. This area has loads of kids rides as well as Dinosaur, escape from extinction. A fun but bumpy ride through time. Tip - this ride may be too scary for small kids.
This is another great park created by Disney and would recommend to anyone. The ticket prices are live most Disney parks, around $50. Well worth it.
This year was my first visit to disney's Animal Kingdom. I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of rides etc but knew that I would not be disappointed by the beautiful standard of service and experience as you never are in Disney Parks.
The entrance to Animal Kingdom is very impressive, a hugh sign proclaims your entrance with a flourish!!
On entering the Park I immediately noticed it was less frenetic than the other Parks, which after the pace of the previous few days was such a relief.
My family split up to start with so that my husband and one of my daughters could go ride Expedition Everest before it got too busy.
One of the very best things we did together was ride the Kali rapids - I warn you, you will get soaked but it is such a good laugh its worth it! And lets face it, in the glorious Florida sunshine it does not take long to dry out.
You should also check out the Lion King show - the performers are amazing and it is inside in an air condtioned theatre.
The Animal Kingdom Park is my most favourite of the Disney Park's - It combines nature and rides (of sorts) and also shows and still enables you to go and see some of the Disney Characters in dress.
It's easy to find your way around (with a map) and there are plenty of opportunities for some cool air-con action if you get too hot!!
I particularly enjoyed the Lion King Show, absolutely incredible and with all the Songs that we know and love from the Film. I also loved the Beauty and the Beast Show which I hope is still there next time I go - It's soppy and romantic and beautiful.
Everytime I hear Phil Collins it reminds me of the Tarzan Show - And the way they get the Audience involved with everything.
I also very much enjoyed being a kid again and seeing all of my favourite Disney Characters - I have some great Photo's.
It's not exactly cheap to get in, but totally worth it when you do. Be careful of the Car Park though as that can get awfully confusing - It might be worth taking a little pad and pen so that you can quickly jot down where you've parked, it will avoid looking silly when you can't find your car at the end of the day!!
Would definitely recommend, for children and adults alike.
As animal lovers, this is our favourite park, it is essential that you get there early and try to catch sight of the animals before it gets too warm.
Everybody make a beeline for the Kilimanjaro Safari's in Africa, but unless you can garantee being one of the first there, take avantage of the fast pass system. These are very easy to use tocket station, next to the rides main entrance. This will give you a ticket and 1 hour time slot to return, where you will barely have to queue. Then you can go off and go on a less popular ride.
A really handy tip, once you are in the 1 hour return time for your fast pass, you can get the next fast pass, ready for another irde.
For us the main rides are the Safari, Pangani Forest Exploration, which has some fantastic sights and the fish are amazing. Expedition Everest, one of Disney's scariest rides, well worth the wait.
Kali River rapid, be warned you will get wet! The tree of Life has a real fun show, It's tough to be a bug, inside. Festival of The Lion King is another show well worth a look and Dinosaur, another quite scary but great ride.
Dinoland USA is a great area for younger children.
Take your time and look at the scenery and plants throughout the park, they are incredible, it really feels like you are in a forest at tmes.
We have very recently come back from Florida and i have so many reviews to write on our wonderful trip. I have chosen to start with some that stand out the most for both goodand bad reasons and I hope they will all help with planning your vacation.
We visited Disney's animal Kingdom towards the end of the first week of our holiday. We were over the jet lag and ready to do some real Disney trekking and thought we would visit the anmimal Kingdom as it is the newest park in Disney World built in 1998. None of our party has been there before so we wasnt sure that to expect at all.
It was an extrememly hot day and we got there about lunch time because we were getting up increasingly late. On arrival like the other 4 parks you have to pay $12 to park on top of you park entrance fee. The car park is not really anywhere near to the park and transport from the car park to the park is laid on. The parking system is so well oragnised though as with all the disney parks and we parked in a car park labelled with an animal name. We were directed there at every step by about 20 parking attendants. Very easy.
When we got into the park we were not surprised to see that is was quite quiet as all the parks that week had been, we went at the end of May. The pathways were shaded and we were pleased with this because of the heat but we were soon to learn different.
It seemed to take us asges to get anywhere worth going to. The park seemed quite hard to navigate around even with the map and there was so much walking. Everybody got tired very quickly and we soon realised that actually it was only the entrance to the park that was shaded and everywhere else was in the pure sunshine.
We cued up about 20 minutes to ride the Kilimanjaro Safaris and were impressed with this. It was great to get up close and personal with some animals including lions, elephants and zebras even if it was slightly scary. They are very well planned and aparently no 1 safari is the same. Other attractions we made it to see was finding nemo the musical which was great for the little ones and very well produced etc, well worth and visit and Lion King the musical which is a MUST SEE as it was just fantastic. They had some wonderful acrobats who really made the show and it wasn't too long so the kids didnt get bored. The costumes and make up was excellent.
Unfortunately we didnt get to do a lot more than this. I May/June time the parks shut at 6ish so time was short. We was also very hungry as there seemed to be less places to grab something to eat in this park and cues were extremely long and burgers were extremely expensive!! There is a rainforest cafe withing the park though which is handy because prices here are reasonable for what you are getting.
I have heard that the other rides here are fantastic though and I am dissappointed that we didn't get to see more of this park!!
If you do visit be sure to go and see the tree of life because it is absolutely beautiful and kind of unmissable but if you do miss it be sure to find it.
This is a lovely park to walk around within the massive area known as the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
Essentially a safari park (and I think built to rival the Universal group's Bucsh Gardens over in Tampa Bay), there is a good mix of nature and thrilling rides.
The focal point of the park is the so-called Tree of Life, a huge man-made sculpture etched with just about every kind of animal you can think of. It's amazing to look at when you see all the detail - you see something new each time you visit. Inside here is a 3D attraction called "It's Tough to be a Bug". This is hilarious - you get 3D specs on your way in and take your seat in a big theatre. The show is all about how tough it is to be a bug with us humans not respecting them or realising the important jobs they do for the planet, we just squash them! It's very funny and there's lots of moments that make you jump and scream such as when huge spiders drop down from the ceiling above your head (not great for me!) and a dung beetle throws stuff at you. It's funny to watch everyone dodge the non-existent flying dung!
Other attractions at Animal Kingdom include:
The Kali River Rapids - a ride where you sit in a big, round raft and get chucked around in the river, go under waterfalls and get SOAKED! It's okay though: Florida is so hot that you dry off relatively quickly. Still, there's a stall when you get off the ride selling Disney towels and they sell loads of them!
Dinosaur - on this ride you get in a "time travelling" car which takes you back to the time of the dinosaurs; you end up bringing one back with you and he wrecks your car throwing you around and stuff. He also appears in the souvenir photo they take which you can buy on your way out of the ride. (All the rides do this in all the parks).
Expedition Everest - for anyone who's been to Disney and knows the ride "Big Thunder Mountain", this is very similar: just a big higher and faster. It doesn't go upside down. It's a ride through the Himalayas and you meet the Yeti.
Kilimanjaro Safari - this is a jeep tour of the park, where you get to see all the animals. Well you do if you go early. We took this ride in the middle of the day and we didn't see much as the animals all go off somewhere shady (unlike the tourists!) I think you need to do this ride as soon as you get to the park in the morning, before the animals all go and hide for the day.
Of course there are many more rides and attractions than this, this is just to give you a taste of the sorts of things to expect.
Being a zoo type park, you can visit the Conservation Station and learn all about the conservation work Disney are involved in; there are also things like the Maharajah Jungle Trek (my personal favourite) where you can see animals including the beautiful Bengal Tigers. I could've watched these majestic creatures all day - they're so beautiful. One was lazing around, occasionaly swatting away a fly with a huge paw; one was trotting up and down; a 3rd was very playful (he was the youngest) and was leaping around like an enormous kitten. He leapt across a massive gap in their huge enclosure at one point and made it look so effortless. You could see the powerful muscles in his hind legs as he jumped. Amazing. (I'm a bit of a cat fanantic; I love 'em all).
I enjoyed this park very much; I prefer it to the main park, The Magic Kingdom, as I feel that is geared much more towards little kids (though I do love Cinderella's castle).
Highly recommended if you're off to Florida.
ANimal KIngodm is the newest park at walt disney world resort in flordia, and is basically a glorified zoo, not in a bad way though as it is excellently done. The main attractions are the newst roller coaster Expedition Everst, Kilimanjaro safaris, dinosaur and then the shows which are the best out of "the world". The newest coaster EE takes you through "mount everest" and takes you into a cave where you are confronted by a yeti, at this point the roller starts going backwards and ou go through the ride again backwards until you are again met with the yeti and you go the right way agian. This is an excellent ride and cant be faults, everything was well though out from the queing line to the ride.
The kilimanjro safaris is a ride in a jeep round a savannah of giraffe crocodiles zebras lion rhinos hippos and elephants it gives you a great look at all the animals and is not to be missed, best to visit this attraction in the early morning hours as this is when the animals are most active.
Dinosaur is an excellent ride, although i did find it very scary, it is based on the film named the same and takes you back in time to when the dinosaurs existed and your mission to bring backa certain type of dinosaur, you are then chased by a carisaurus (trex like thing) and back to the begining again.
The shows are the best in the park with the lion king and finding nemo, i dont want to write too much on these as i dont want to spoil them but these are not to be missed
For british visitors there are a number of options availbale to you for buying tickets, the best value for money option is the 14 day ultimate ticket which gives you unlimited access for 14 days into all of the disney parks including the water parks and disny quest (large in door amusement area) loacted at down town disney!prices start for this ticket from about £244
Animal Kingdom is the newest of Disney's four major theme parks in Florida. Opened in 1998, it offers a mix of animals and conservation messages, plus several rides adding up to a fantastic Disney experience. The park, like most Disney parks is comprised of a central "tunnel" entrance, in this case called the Oasis, followed by several lands coming off a central hub.
This is the area where you arrive when you first get to the park. It is a tree covered area where you can see lots of different species of animals. Most people (and I would include my family in this statement) tend to rush through in order to reach the more popular rides quickly, but if you care to stop and look you could see deer, parrots, iguanas and more.
This area is the hub of the park from which there are paths to all other lands. Discovery Island is home to the Tree Of Life which is the symbol of the park, a huge carved tree covered in carvings of hundreds of different animals. We had great fun trying to spot as many animals as we could; some are only visible close up, others only visible from a distance. I defy anyone to be able to find them all!
Inside the Tree of Life is the 3D cinematic show IT'S TOUGH TO BE A BUG! based on the film "A Bug's Life". This is a great show and a truly interactive experience. I don't want to give too much away as it's best you don't know what's going to happen!! Apparently the bugs are too much for several children but ours were aged six and eleven when they travelled and they weren't scared in the slightest.
As the name suggests, this is a land devoted to dinosaurs and it includes THE BONEYARD, a huge adventure playground themed around dinosaur fossils. Be careful to keep a close eye on your children in here - it's easy to lose sight of them, especially when it's crowded. The major ride in this area is DINOSAUR. During this ride you are suposedly on a tour of a Dinosaur Institute; however, one of the scientists asks you to help with his plan to go back in time to help capture a dinosaur. A frenzied ride ensues, including danger, dinosaurs and doom. It's quite fun and great for children who love dinosaurs - but our six year old was terrified! There is a height restriction on this ride anyway (3ft 4) so smaller children cannot ride.
The final area of Dinland USA is a small amusement park called CHESTER AND HESTER's DINO-RAMA. Apparently, this was built to look deliberately tacky and includes a ride called TRICERATOP SPIN - essentially the Dumbo ride with dinosaurs and the PRIMEVAL WHIRL, a small rollercoaster with spinning carriages. The kids loved this one and early in the morning were able to ride it several times in a row without getting off. It may not be suitable for people who have motion sickness though and again there is a height restriction (4ft)
Dinoland USA is also home to a new(ish) show FINDING NEMO - THE MUSICAL, which apparently combines puppets, musuc and dancing, although I can't say how good it is as it wasn't open when we last visited.
One of the two lands named after a continent and styled to look like a genuine African town. The major ride here is KILIMANJARO SAFARIS, which begins like a genuine safari ride on a jeep with a tour guide. As the animals are all apparently free to wander about (though cleverly contained by hidden ditches and fencing) each ride is different and you never know what you might see. We were transfixed by a giraffe that came so close to the jeep we could almost have touched it. Supposedly, cooler times of the day are the best to see plenty of animals. As with all Disney rides though there is a twist and a plot line... but I'm not going to spoil it for you by telling you what it is.
Africa also contains the PANGANI FOREST EXPLORATION TRAIL, a self-guided walk where you can see many more animals, including gorillas and hippos.
From Africa, you can catch a train to RAFIKI'S PLANET WATCH, a small area that I think is missed by many people. It was virtually deserted when we were there. It comprises of a small petting zoo where you can touch a range of farm animals, an area called HABITAT, HABITAT where you can learn about tamarins and a CONSERVATION STATION where you can see actual animals from the park being cared for by the park vets. On the day we were there they were carrying out an operation on a duck and my husband had to be practically dragged away, he was so enthralled!
The second land named after a continent. This land contains the show FLIGHTS OF WONDER, a showcase of extremely talented / well trained birds. It's a nice rest to take the weight off your feet but be warned that during summer it's very hot!
The KALI RIVER RAPIDS is more or less what the name suggests, a raft ride through rivers and waterfalls. You will get wet and at least one person (It was me!) will get absolutely drenched. It's quite nice to cool off in the summer and you soon dry out but I would imagine it's nowhere near as pleasant in the winter months! Another ride with a height restruction (3ft 6)
Asia also has a walk through exploration trail called MAHARAJAH JUNGLE TREK. Again, this is self-guided so you can go as slow or fast as you want and the many animals include antelopes, bats and gibbons.
The newest ride in Animal Kingdom is Expedition Everest, a rollercoaster ride with an encounter with the Yeti. This ride was still in the process of being built when we last went to Florida and I can't wait to go back and try it out! (Height restriction 3ft 8)
**CAMP MICKEY MINNIE**
The final land in Animal Kingdom, this area doesn't have any rides but it does have one of the best shows in Disney, FESTIVAL OF THE LION KING, complete with singing, dancing, puppets, huge characters, audience participation and all the songs from the hit film. Oh, and what noise DOES a giraffe make?
If you have autograph hunting children, you might want to make a beeline for the CHARACTER GREETING TRAILS where you are guaranteed to meet Mickey, Minnie, Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore, plus a selection from Disney's animal based films. These change regularly but we met Chip and Dale there, plus Kenai and Koda, the bears from Brother Bear and Donald Duck in his safari outfit.
**WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO?**
As I've already mentioned, a lot of children enjoy meeting characters and collecting autographs. This was very well managed in Florida, with children queuing for their turn. Look out for a picture of Mickey's hand on the park map to indicate a Meet and Greet. The major one is at Camp Mickey Minnie but we also came across Lilo and Stitch and King Louie and Baloo in other areas of the park. There are also several to be found at Rafiki's Planet watch, including Rafiki himself. Some characters just wander randomly as well. Watch out for them! We saw Pocahontas looking at snakes at the Conservation Station and Jane from Tarzan hanging around the park entrance. Some of the most memorable photos we have are of our daughter with characters and aged 10 she is still just as keen to collect autographs.
The park also has a daily parade, the Jammin' Jungle Parade. I can't comment on this tough as both times we visited it was cancelled due to the thunderstorm that appears to occur daily in Florida in August. Disney parades are usually pretty good though if you like that kind of thing... and if you don't the rides are quieter at these times anyway.
If shopping is your thing there are several shops there to choose from, mostly filled with disney merchandise, but with a safari twist.
**FOOD & DRINK**
There are several places to eat here from the cheap and cheerful burgers at RESTAURANTASAURUS to the more expensive RAINFOREST CAFE. It is possible to take in your own food though I believe it's not encouraged. There are plenty water fountains. Take a refillable bottle or two - you'll need them.
**HINTS AND TIPS & OTHER INFO**
This is a park where it pays to be here early. Not only does it make it easier to get on the major rides, the animals are more active when it is cooler.
The park closes earlier than the other parks so that animals can go to bed. Even so, it is usually possible tobe able to do everything in just one day. We did go twice during our trip, but because we wanted to not because we needed to.
Use your FASTPASS entitlements. Everyone can use their tickets on the major rides to get a Fastpass. By putting your ticket in a machine by the ride it gives you a ticket with a time slot on it. Keep the ticket safe, go and do something else and come back when it's your time and you'll be able to ride with a substantially reduced waiting time.
Animal Kingdom doesn't have a lot of shade so be careful with sunscreen. One of the best tips we were given was to take a hand towel, soak it in water and wear it round your neck. You may look a bit odd but it keeps you deliciously cool!
Do the more popular rides first before the park fills up. Walking trails and meeting characters can wait until later in the day.
Overall, this was one of my favourite parks in Florida. It had a nice mix of entertainment and education and it was great to see so many animals. It felt like a quite relaxed day and it was a great introduction to Florida for us. I would thoroughly recommend visiting to anyone, young or old!