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Disney’s Animal Kingdom

 

 

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

 

Walt Disney World’s  Animal Kingdom with its 1700 animals representing 250 species is dedicated to nature and conservation.  It is the largest Disney theme park and the largest animal-themed park in the world covering more than 500 acres.  Disney’s Animal Kingdom is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, meaning they have met or exceeded the standards in Education, Conservation and Research.  This is a beautiful theme park with its great attention to nature.  There are fantastic shows and attraction and some great dining locations as well.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park is divided into 7 areas:

  • Oasis
  • Discovery Island® area
  • Camp Minnie-Mickey
  • Africa
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch® area
  • Asia
  • Dinoland, U.S.A.® area

 

 

The Oasis

The Oasis – As you pass through the entrance gates you are surrounded by lush tropical paths, waterfalls, streams and tropical wildlife.  This tropical retreat sets the atmosphere for this beautiful theme park.   Be sure to watch for the tree kangaroo, sloth, wallaby and several species of exotic birds in this natural habitat setting.  There are several small shopping area here as well as the Rainforest Cafe Restaurant.  The trails go to the left or the right but both will meet at the bridge that crosses over into Discovery Island.

 

Dining

 

Rainforest Cafe – This is a part of the national chain of restaurants.  It is a themed restaurant with plants, waterfalls, and special effects and animatronic animals that give you the feeling of eating in the rainforest.  This location is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is an entrance outside the Animal Kingdom so you do not need a park admission ticket to dine here.

 

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Discovery Island

 

Discovery Island serves as a hub area for the Animal Kingdom.  The centerpiece of this island and the Icon for Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life. This massive man-made tree is 145 ft tall and contains over 325 animal carvings that 20 artist engraved into the limbs, trunk, and roots of this tree.  It is an awesome sight to see.    From Discovery Island you will be able to venture into the other lands of the park. In clockwise order Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia, and DinoLand USA. On Discovery Island there are two attractions to explore.

 

Attractions

It’s Tough to be a Bug

  • It’s Tough to be a Bug –  Located inside the Tree of Life this 3D interactive movie brings to life the stars from the movie Bugs Life.  It is a clever film using special effects and audio-animatronics.  There are some scenes that could frighten some young children.  There is usually not a long wait for this attraction and the queue line winds around the base of the tree so take time to enjoy the animal sculptured into the tree.

 

  • Discovery Island Trails –  These are beautiful walking paths and trails around the base of the Tree of Life.  These paths are beautiful landscaped and contain several viewing areas for small animals such as lemurs, kangaroos, a giant Galápagos tortoise and other wildlife.  There are many places for photos and you will blown away by the beauty of nature

 

Dining

 

Pizzafari – This is a counter service restaurant serving cheese and pepperoni pizzas, chicken caesar salad, antipasto salad, or a hot italian sandwich.  Water, soft drinks, beer and wine are also available as well as a selection of desserts.

 

 

 

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  Camp Minnie Mickey

Camp Minnie Mickey – This is a fantastic meet and greet area for meeting the Disney characters.  There are several wilderness trails that lead to a covered meet and greet area for each character. One of the best live show at Walt Disney World “Festival of the Lion King” performs here as well. This is a beautiful area with a lot of photo opportunities.

 

Attractions

 

Festival of the Lion King

Festival of the Lion King -This is one of the best stage shows at Walt Disney World.  It is a Broadway class production based on the award-winning Disney animated classic, The Lion King.  The colorful costumes, the energetic music, and the talented performers make this 28 minute production one of the best.  The show is performed in an enclosed air-conditioned amphitheatre that seats 1450 guests in four sections of metal benches that surround the stage. It is a very popular show and it will be a good idea to arrive early.  Shows are performed throughout the day so be sure to check your times guide for the performance times.

 

 

  Character Meet and Greet Trails

Character Meet and Greet Trails – These trails leat to a covered area where one or more characters will be waiting for autograph and photo opportunities.  You can expect to find several of the characters like Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Pluto.  There are signs posted at the beginning of the trails identifying which characters are present.  Also you may see additional characters around the Camp Minnie-Mickey area.  We have seen Lilo and Stitch, Thumper, Miss Bunny, Timon, Pocahontas, and Rafiki in the area as well.

 

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Africa

Africa – As you enter Africa you are transformed to the village of Harambe. Harambe is Swahili for “come together”. The village is a combination of a number of some of the favorite places in Africa discovered by Disney Imagineers while on a scouting  trip for Animal Kingdom’s Africa.

Attractions

 

Kilimanjaro Safari

Kilimanjaro Safari – Your expedition begins as you climb aboard an open sided safari vehicle and venture out on an exciting expedition through the wildlife preserve. This attraction is for guests of all ages and provides the chance to see African animals as they roam the 100-acre savanna. Guests will have the chance to view the common African animals including elephants, giraffes, zebras, antelope, gazelles, crocodiles, monkeys, hippos, lions, cheetahs, warthogs, ostriches, black rhinos, storks, pelicans, flamingos, and wildebeests.  The ride can be a bit bumpy as it crosses rickety bridges, rocky hills and rivers—but you’re rewarded with spectacular animal sightings.

Since animals have minds of their own, no two Kilimanjaro Safari experiences are the same. You may even catch a glimpse of one of the many baby animals that were recently born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park.

 

Pangaini Forest Exploration Trail

 

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – As you leave your safari expedition follow the signs to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. This walk-through tour is designed to inform and entertain and can be enjoyed at your own pace. Pangani, which means, “place of enchantment”, is the perfect description of this 5 acre habitat  that offers a magical look at some of Africa’s most interesting inhabitants. Follow the trail that takes you into a lush, tropical forest in the heart of Africa where you can explore a variety animal friends. Here are some of the inhabitants along the trail. Colobus Monkeys, Okapi, Naked Mole Rats, Hippos, Gerenuk, Meerkats and the Western Lowland Gorilla.

 

Lilly, An Endangered Western Lowland Gorilla and Her Mother, Kashata, By: Gene Duncan

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Rafiki’s Planet Watch

Rafiki’s Planet Watch – The only way to reach Rafiki’s Planet Watch is by train.  Guest board a unique train called the Wildlife Express.  Along the way guests get the chance to see a little of the Animal Kingdom backlot, including animal holding buildings for rhinos and elephants, and giraffes. The trip takes about 7 minutes from Harambe Station.  Once you arrive there are three areas to discover. Habitat Habit, Conservation Station, and Affection Section.

Habitat Habit! As you leave the train station you will take a short walk to the Main building.  This path is called Habitat Habit and it is where you  can see cotton-top tamarin and learn about the efforts to protect these endangered primates in their natural homes. Along the way, guests can also learn how to provide animal habitats in and around their own homes.

Conservation Station  This is the main building and it showcases the various conservation efforts supported by the Walt Disney Company. It also gives a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s animal care facilities, including a veterinary examination room complete with a two-way communications system so the veterinary staff can answer guest questions.

Affection Section  This is where you have the opportunity to interact with the animals. At first, it appears to be the usual petting zoo variety of animals, but you’ll discover that they are exotic breeds of sheep, goats, deer, pigs, etc.

This is a very nice trip back behind the Savanna and very educational as well.  There are usually a few characters around inside the main building as well.

Wildlife Express Train

 

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Asia

Asia – This was the first expansion area added to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, first opening in 1999. Like Africa, the section’s attractions are part of a fictional place, the kingdom of Anandapur (which means “Place of many delights”).

 

Attractions

 

Maharajah Jungle Trek

Maharajah Jungle Trek – The Maharaja Jungle Trek is a zoological nature walk similar to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, but with an Asian setting and Asian animals. This is one of my favorite trails at the Animal Kingdom. Take your time hiking the trails that take you by the Bengal Tigers and the Giant Fruit Bats. Disney does a great job with their theming and landscaping and you quickly forget you are in the middle of a theme park in Florida. You will enjoy this trail full of unusual animals and beautiful landscape.

 

Kali River Rapids

Kali River Rapids –  This attraction is themed as a rafting expedition along the Chakranadi River, courtesy of “Kali Rapids Expeditions”. In keeping with Animal Kingdom’s message of conservation and environmental protection, the theme of this attraction deals with illegal logging and habitat destruction. For those looking to cool off on a hot day Kali River Rapids will not disappoint you. When you see the numerous signs that indicate that you WILL get wet, believe them! Sometimes you may come out soaked.

 

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest – Climb aboard a railway car for a full-steam-ahead adventure bound for Mount Everest. Your trek across the treacherous terrain of the towering Forbidden Mountain begins with a few scenic twists and turns, then sets out on an ascent towards the summit. Expedition Everest is a high-altitude, high-speed, roller coaster train ride for big kids, teens and adults and  home of the inhospitable snarling beast, the Yeti. The excitement begins when it’s discovered that the train tracks end in a twisted wreck of metal. From here, the train moves backwards and forwards through darkness, frigid canyons and treacherous caverns. This attraction is exciting and well themed. Not to be missed!

Flights of Wonder

Flights of Wonder -The Flights of Wonder is a 25-minute show takes place in the Caravan Stage, an outdoor amphitheater. It is a very entertaining show and great for the entire family.

Though the cast changes on occasion, the Flights of Wonder show may include birds from these species:

  • Abyssinian Ground Hornbill
  • American Bald Eagle
  • Augur Buzzard
  • Barbary Falcon
  • Eurasian Eagle Owl
  • Gray-Crowned Crane
  • Harris Hawk
  • Ibis
  • Indian Runner Ducks
  • Macaw
  • Pigeon
  • Seriema
  • Toco Toucan
  • Yellow-naped Amazon Parrot

 

 

Dining

 

Yak And Yeti –  The Yak & Yeti Restaurant provides fine table-service dining during lunch and dinner. Situated at the base of Mt. Everest in the small town of Anandapur , this grand old house turned restaurant sets out adventurous meals of Asian cuisine that combines flavors from China, India and Nepal. Reservations suggested.

 

 

 

Flame Tree BBQ –  Enjoy a counter service meal of barbecue chicken and ribs or delicious pork sandwiches. Flame Tree BBQ’s outdoor seating has some of the best views in the park, with its tables on terraces down on Discovery River with a beautiful view overlooking Expedition Everest. Some of the seating areas are covered. Some of our favorite foods in the park.

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Dinoland USA

Dinoland USA – Travel back in time more than 65 million years ago at DinoLand U.S.A., which lies in the Southeastern corner of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. DinoLand U.S.A. features fun for all ages – including several unique rides, a live show, play area, carnival games, eateries and specialty shops.

 

Attractions

Triceratop Spin

Triceratop Spin – This would be the Dumbo attraction of 65 million years ago.

 

The Boneyard

The Boneyard – This is an interactive playground area for children 4 and up. There are lots of things for children to climb on, over, around, and through. Kids can discover the bones of Tyrannosaurus rex, triceratops and others from the dinosaur age. Great place for kids to use up a little energy.

 

Primeval Whirl

Primeval Whirl – Take a trip through time on Primeval Whirl, a roller coaster in the DinoLand U.S.A.  This ride invites big kids, teens and adults to go for a whirl in a spinning “time machine” car for dinosaur-themed excitement and thrills. In addition to sudden dips, hairpin turns and tight curves, this coaster spins each car on its own round-and-round path. You never know which way your car will twirl as you race around, making this ride a new experience each time.

 

Dinosaur

Dinosaur– The mission: Go back 65 million years to capture a mild-mannered dinosaur without getting caught in the jaws of the angry, carnivorous and hungry Carnotaurus. Then you have just 60 seconds to escape! The attraction begins in the Dino Institute Discovery Center, which is designed to give you the feel that you are in a natural history museum. Murals and displays around the room as well as a short presentation about how the asteroid came and wiped away the dinosaurs are all in preparation for your journey through time. Through a short presentation you find out that the institute has a new high-tech vehicle that is designed to take you back to the time that dinosaurs roamed the earth…the vehicle is called the Time Rover. In the presentation you learn that Dr. Grant would like to defy rules and send you back the time period just before the asteroid hit, he actually wants you to bring back an Iguanodon. Soon after speaking with Dr. Grant you are rushed into your Time Rover and before you know it you are one with the Dinosaurs. Trekking through forest-like areas with sightings of dinos in the area you are not in any real danger yet. That is until a huge Carnotaurus starts chasing your Time Rover. All of the sudden you are starting to lose power. Losing the power along with a few other set-backs you start to feel as though you may not be making it back home anytime soon. After a sudden burst of speed rushes you back to the present, monitors show that you did indeed pick up that Iguanodon. Warning: The ride vehicles are very rough and the dark scenes and loud noises may not be suitable for everyone. One of our favorite attraction at the Animal Kingdom and one we will tag: Not to be missed!

 

 

Finding Nemo – The Musical

Finding Nemo – The Musical – Finding Nemo – The Musical captures the heart, humor, characters and story from the Disney·Pixar animated film Finding Nemo and adapts them into a mesmerizing 30-minute Broadway-style musical stage show. The performance is for audiences of all ages in the air-conditioned Theater in the Wild in the DinoLand U.S.A. area. The innovative lighting, sound, special effects and stunning  theatrical puppets—some as large as cars—make Finding Nemo – The Musical a must “sea” production.

 

Dining

 

 

Restaurantosaurus –  Restaurantosaurus features fast-food favorites—hot dogs,  burgers, fries, salads—for lunch and dinner in a dinosaur-centric restaurant adjacent to an ancient archeological dig site in the DinoLand, U.S.A. area.

 

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