Friday, August 24, 2012

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is Disney's latest theme park at Disney World. It opened in 1998 and is known for its care of endangered animals and its strides in land/animal conservation. My daughter absolutely adores this park! She is an animal FREAK!

As soon as you walk through the entrance, you are surrounded by animals. They line the walkways and there are various stopping points for you to read about them or ask a cast member (All Disney employees are called cast members).

There are 7 different areas around the park that have to do with a different spot on the globe. My kids favorite area is Asia because that is where the Expedition Everest ride is. Don't get me wrong, I love a good roller coaster. However, my stomach can't handle it like it used to. I went on it once and that was enough for me! The kids go on it several times in a row and always seem to keep their lunch!

If I had to pick just one attraction to see, it would have to be the Kilimanjaro Safari Expedition. You get into big open air safari trucks and take a trip through the African Savannah. You get to see all kinds of animals in their natural habitat (you and they are protected, of course). We saw a lion, elephants, hippos, an over eager ostrich (we were too close to her egg), warthogs, giraffes, zebras, antelopes and so many others that I cannot even remember them all. There are pictures and names of all the animals in front of all the seats on the truck. Disney has done a fantastic job of recreating the African Savannah for these animals, many of whom would have been poached years ago. While on this ride, you may actually be able to stop some poachers!!!
Seriously, I don't know why I cut his head off!

I want to say these are Kudu's but I can't remember for sure.

Probably the most famous aspect of this park is the Tree of Life. It is a huge man made tree that stands so tall, you can see it from just about anywhere in the park. Underneath the tree, is the It's Tough To Be A Bug attraction. This is one of those 3-D attractions with a few surprises thrown in. Be warned that this can be very scary for the youngest children. I took the twins when they were 4 and even though my daughter liked it, my son is still scared of it and he's almost 13! He will kill me for posting that! It is very cool though and, if your kids are a bit older, please don't miss this one. The line cue is entertaining in itself because, as you wind around the tree, there are all kinds of animals carved into the roots. It's fun to see who can identify the most. Before you know it, everyone in line around you will be playing too!

Eating at the park is pretty easy. There are several restaurants on site and Rainforest Cafe is here too. It sits right at the entrance and they are open for breakfast. Years ago, I had the best banana french toast there. If you have little ones, you can't go wrong at Pizzafari or Restaurantasaurus. If you are looking for a character dining experience, try Tusker House. It has a buffet with African influence in the food. Don't worry, there's no "weird" food.

There are 2 must see stage shows that I would recommend however I have only seen one of them. Everytime we have gone, we just haven't been able to get to Festival of the Lion King but I have heard wonderful things about it and everyone who has seen it, enjoys it. The other show is Finding Nemo-The Musical. This is so adorable. Even hubby liked it. Live actors play the parts and they really bring the movie to life. The costumes are great and the songs will stick in your head all day! Big plus? The theater is AIR CONDITIONED!!!!

Another fun section for the little ones is Conservation Station and the Affection Section. You take the train to Conservation Station where you get a behind the scenes look at how the park cares for the animals. At the Affection Section, you get to pet goats, chickens, lambs and other little animals. Be careful where you walk or you'll be cleaning poop off your toddler's shoes.

There is so much else to see at this park. Please visit Animal Kingdom for lots more info!

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