DISNEY’S ANIMAL KINGDOM
My most anticipated Disney World theme park, Animal Kingdom, definitely was more exciting than I had expected. From adventure-themed rollercoasters to interactive shows, Animal Kingdom has it all. Although it wasn’t my absolute favorite park as I thought it would be, this is a park that should not be missed when visiting Walt Disney World…but often is. Do yourself a favor and make this a day-trip!
There are two important things to keep in mind when visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
1. This park is known for their incredible shows.
2. It’s the biggest Disney park. In other words, prepare for a lot of walking.
- My favorite thrill ride was Expedition Everest for its brilliant theming. Be sure to ride this roller coaster twice, once in the front row car and enjoy the queue without a fastpass – the queue is SO neat with all of its Nepal/Tibet history, Everest memorabilia, and adventurous backpacking supplies. I could have explored that room for an hour!
- For those that love animals and an open safari experience through “East Africa”, Kilimanjaro Safaris is not to be missed!
- Dinosaur is also a fun, albeit terrifying dark ride. If you enjoy the Indiana Jones attraction in Anaheim, you’ll dig this – it’s the exact same track.
- If you’re like me and yearn for a more relaxing experience after the thrill of Dinosaur, Na’vi River Journey is a quietly immersive experience in Land of Pandora. Guests hop into boats that slowly transport you to the magically lit world of Pandora, complete with brilliant animatronics!
- Flight of Passage is also an absolute must-do and I highly recommend getting to the park super early and following the massive crowds to this popular attraction first thing. When I visited during the first week of December (a slow week for Disney), they opened Animal Kingdom at 7:20 in the morning -40 minutes prior to official opening. The huge crowds all scurried over to Flight of Passage, where we waited in line for a mere 20 minutes. 2 hours later, the wait time was 3 hours.
The best show at Animal Kingdom, as anyone will tell you, is the Lion King show. This exciting and jaw-dropping stunt and musical performance has everything from circus performers, crazy talented singers and Timon and Pumba themselves! Alex and I couldn’t believe our luck when we met a fellow cast member who gifted us front row center seats and a chance to meet the performers after the show. They even picked us out of the crowd to excite the crowd in their fun warm-up act! The show was, indeed, magical and of course I got emotional during the Circle of Life number. (Doesn’t everybody?!) Normally, it’s best to arrive to the Lion King Show super early or even obtain a fast pass for the performance. Either way, this is not a show to be missed! We also loved the It’s Tough to Be A Bug 4D show. It’s creative, entertaining and if you love wildlife, it brings you up close to them!
Other than the famously known Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Animal Kingdom park has never been known for its standout dining experiences. That was until Tiffins. For those who love the life of an adventurous vagabond, you MUST experience this magical haven. Inspired by adventure and exploration, Tiffins fully immerses you into a world of art, travel, and authentic culinary dishes from across the world. Start your experience at the circular outdoor patio Nomad Lounge, where you can browse travel journals filled with photographs and written observations of the Imagineers’ and animal experts’ research and documentation across Africa and Asia, while surrounded by nearby canopies, lush trees and waterfalls. Inside the main restaurant are three dining rooms, each filled with artwork and photographs taken from all corners of Asia and Africa. Their globetrotting menu of Indian, South American, and African dishes were completely worth the price tag, and we savored every bite, before cancelling our dinner reservation for Jiko later that day. Tiffins was that extraordinary. Be sure to take some time to browse all the wood carvings from Bali, the photographs from Africa, and the colorful drawings and sketches that the Imagineers artfully designed. All part of the research to recreate their experiences at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.
If you enjoy travel vlogs and want to see what we experienced, check out our video from our day!
A few of my favorite images from my Animal Kingdom photo diaries…