Disney's Animal Kingdom
Disney's Animal Kingdom is Walt Disney World's newest and biggest theme park. Yes, I did say this is the biggest of the parks. It's true in terms of acres. The safari itself is the size of The Magic Kingdom. There is a lot of walking to be done here, so wear comfortable shoes.
The Animal Kingdom is full of Animals (imagine that). There are also some good shows and a couple of really good rides. Let's go ...
Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom
The Oasis is the entrance area to the park. All of the other Disney World parks have shops right inside the gate. Not here. The Oasis is a buffer between the outside world and the animals on the inside. It's a great way to begin.
The Camp Minnie Mickey area of the Disney World Animal Kingdom is full of places to get autographs from Disney characters and see a really top-notched show.
- Festival of the Lion King - Sing and dance with Simba and the gang.
Take a trip back in time to the period when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
- DINOSAUR - take a trip back in time to retrieve an authentic dinosaur.
- Finding Nemo - The Musical - See a Magical presentation taken from the original stage show.
- The Boneyard - A play area for the small ones built around dinosaur fossils.
- Fossil Fun Games - Carnival games fun for all ages.
- Primeval Whirl - A spinning roller coaster.
- TriceraTop Spin - An outdoor flying adventure. It spins real fast.
Discovery Island is the center of Disney's Animal Kingdom. The Tree of Life dominates the whole island. This is the central hub of the park. Food, and shopping are everywhere, what's that I smell?
It's Tough to be a Bug! is the main attraction. You get to be an honorary bug for a day. Whoopee!
- It's Tough to be a Bug! - A 3-D show (yes, you have to put on your "bug" glasses) about life as a bug.
- Discovery Island Trails - Around the Tree of Life you will find several exhibits of different animals.
Take a trip to the village of Harambe. This is Disney's reproduction of an African village.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris - This is the main attraction in Disney Animal Kingdom. Explore Africa, complete with live animals, on a Safari ride through the savanna.
- Pangani Forest Exploration Trail - A walking tour where you'll see birds, fish, gorillas and hippos.
Rafiki's Planet Watch is the "green" section of Disney's Animal Kingdom. You can actually see animals being cared for and there is a petting area for the kids.
- Habitat Habit - Exhibits that talking about sharing the planet with animals.
- Conservation Station - See how animals are trained, fed and cared for.
- Affection Section - A petting area for children.
- Wildlife Express Train - The only way to get to Rafiki's Planet Watch.
Come to the Kingdom of Anandapur (place of delight) home of the Maharajah's Palace. The Palace is crumbling and inhabited by tigers and other creatures. The ruins are typically Disney and are very detailed and realistic.
- Flights of Wonder - Watch as the most majestic creatures perform wondrous feats.
- Maharajah Jungle Trek - See tigers and bats and other animals in this walk through adventure.
- Kali River Rapids - Take a trip down the raging rainforest river. Caution, you will get wet.
- Expedition Everest - Disney's newest roller coaster is a thrilling trip into the land of the Yeti.
This park doesn't have a lot of dining options. For most of the year, the park closes at 5:00, so dinner isn't a big meal. Over the last couple of years, Disney has been adding dining options to the parks menus. Check out some of the offerings.
- Tusker House - "Awaken the Day" at Donald's Safari Breakfast buffet. You can also get a unique lunch and dinner buffet here.
- Flame Tree BBQ - quick barbeque in a colorful setting.
- Yak and Yeti - Chinese food in the shadow of Expedition Everest.
- Rainforest Cafe - Dine in a tropical rain forest.
- Pizzafari - track down some pizzas
Secrets of Animal Kingdom
Do you know where the lions from Kilimanjaro Safari come from? You'll be surprised. Check out Dad's Walt Disney World secrets page to see some of the most interesting facts about the parks and more.
Disney World makes Christmas time special. Even at Animal Kingdom there are lots of special touches that celebrate the holidays. One of the most imitative is Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade. It takes the afternoon parade and turns it into a African celebration of Christmas.
Preview of coming attractions
Disney hass announced that the next land at Animal Kingdom will be an Avatar based land. It will have rides and entertainment based on the blockbuster movie Avatar. James Cameron (director of the movie) is leading Disney's Imagineering team as they design the new area. Disney World's biggest park is getting bigger.
Behind the Scenes
If you want a VIP guided behind the scenes tour of the Animal Kingdom, check out the Wild African Trek. It's a hiking tour through the Pangani Forest overlooking the Safari ride and the Savannah complete with foot bridges and riverbeds full of hungry crocodiles (keep a look out for Captain Hook). This 3 hour adventure is offered daily at 1-407-WDW-TOUR.
Making a plan to tour the park is pretty easy. While it's the biggest park in area, it's the easiest to maneuver around because there isn't any easy way to criss cross the park. While Dad normally recommends using a touring plan from Touringplans.com, it's not really needed for this park.
For Dad and Mrs. Mom's Disney Palooza 2012, Dad has a plan to complete all the rides before the parade. It's a pretty basic plan, but you might want to see what Dad has in mind.
See for yourself
Come and see all the animals for yourself. They are calling your name right now. Just go over to Dad's Destinations to Travel page and let my partners get you started on a Perfect Vacation. Get started today!
Dad's Bottom Line
Disney's Animal Kingdom is growing into a great theme park or the best zoo on the planet, I'm still not sure which. What ever it is it's a great place to spend a day. The Safari is absolutely not to be missed. Where else can take a trip around the World, see exotic animals, and see the culture of parts of the globe that are far away, all without leaving Florida? What a concept.