Disney's Animal Kingdom

Florida Guide > Disney Parks

Our children are 4 and 8 and we had a wonderful day out at this park. Having visited once before when it first opened a couple of years ago, we were wary as we did not find it that enjoyable, but it was Easter Sunday and you are warned that on main Bank Holidays to stay away from the parks as they can be horrendously busy - so we figured as this was not as popular, we'd give it a go! We were lucky and as the staff told us "it was a slow day".

We arrived early and went straight to Camp Minnie and Mickey. As the Lion King show had just started, the camp was deserted and the kids had their photos taken with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto, Daisy Duck, and Chip and Dale in the space of 30 minutes! To my 4 year old this is what Disney is all about - the characters. Professional photographers took their photos with Mickey and we bought these at the end of the day $12.95 for the first and $9.95 for subsequent ones.

We then queued for a short time for the next Lion King show, which was spectacular. Simba arrives on his float, together with Timon and Pumba and some huge elephants and giraffes. The stage is set for 30 minutes of great music, energetic acrobatics from the "monkeys" and all round entertainment. (At this point, may I add that if you ever get the opportunity to see the musical currently running in various cities, do so - it is amazing and our whole family from 4 to 60 loved it!)

I had gone to Kilimanjaro Safaris to get the fast passes prior to the show and we went straight from Camp Minnie & Mickey to Africa - only took us 10 minutes!! The park is quite small in comparison to other Disney parks so getting between areas is quite leisurely. The safari was wonderful. We had a great guide who keeps you entertained with jokes and keeps you informed of all the animals that you see and we saw lions, elephants, deers, vultures, rhinoceros and many more. It was about 80degrees that day so the animals seemed to be out but in during the hotter months, it is suggested that you get to the park as soon as it opens (ie 6/7am) and you will see the animals before they go into the shade. You are driven around on a truck which is a little bumpy but a fairly gentle ride.

The Pangani forest Exploration Trail is a nice stroll through the forest. Lots of birds to see and hear, brightly coloured fish to see and the gorilla asleep in the grass. 21 years old and obviously fed up with everyone staring at him, I had to feel sorry for him but I guess if we didn't go and visit these kinds of places then they wouldn't be brought to them, but all around the park they assure you how much research and help they give to the animals and on the whole I think this is true.

It was then off to Rafikis Planet Watch on the Wildlife Express Train - a small train ride that takes you around the back of the park where you see where the animals are kept at night etc. A lovely part of the park for youngsters. They can pet and stroke the goats, sheeps, cows in the Affection Section, but I have to say the longest time was spent washing their hands under the elephant water tap and drier!!

The Conservation Station is full of great facts, skulls of animals, videos etc and is highly educational - you can watch a snake being born and find out what each animal likes to eat.

We went back to Africa on the train to eat, plenty of places to eat in the park, including a MacDonalds. Usual Disney burgers, hot-dogs etc at around $6 a meal and then we sat in the Dawa Bar and had cocktails while the kids had their icecream sundaes. What more could a family ask for?

After lunch we set off for Asia. As it was getting near parade time, we just explored the Maharajah Jungle Trek - the Tigers are magnificent but I shall miss the bats on my next visit.

The park currently have booklets for the youngsters and they have to complete a task in each part of the park and they get a stamp and once all the stamps are filled in, they get a Rafiki stamp. It kept them interested all day and the puzzles came in handy at the restaurant that night.

The parade starts in Africa and indeed finishes back there too, so we got a great spot in the Dawa Bar and stayed there and watched the parade twice - the kids thought this was so exciting to see it twice. Very colourful parade.

Then it was time for "Tough to Be a Bug" which is a short funny 3D show. You have to walk through/around the tree of life to get to the entrance so it's fun spotting the animals that are engraved into the tree. The show was too scary for my 4 year old but it is good and well worth the usual wait - although we didn't have one.

On our way to Dinoland there is a Character greeting spot and we got to cuddle Winnie the Pooh, Tigger and Eeyore.

At Dinoland USA we fastpassed onto the Primeval Whirl - waltzers in the air! If you like thrill rides, it's a good one but not the worst. Worth fastpassing though as it is a busy ride. The Boneyard Playground was great for the kids and they can get wet if they want to! Fossil Fun Games is carnival-style fairground style of fun - but you have to pay but you will see myriads of people walking around with strange looking animals/dinosaurs that can be won here. There are a few rides here and we also went on the Tricera-Top Spin which is a leisurely ride and enjoyable for the very young ones. We didn't manage Dinosaur as it was nearing 7pm and the park was closing, but this is supposed to be a good ride with a height requirement of 40" but you can fastpass this too.

A great day and we arrived at 10am and left at 7pm and we still need to go back. It has much improved and they have added extra rides and I thoroughly recommend this park.

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