Gone are the days of Animal Kingdom opening at 10am and closing at 5.30pm. Since Pandora opened in May 2017 Animal Kingdoms popularity (and opening and closing time) has grown, once one of the quieter parks it is now one of the most popular.
Animal Kingdom is beautiful, it is filled with wonderful plant life, beautiful animals and fantastic rides. I love AK, it is a perfect mix of everything you might want in a day out at a theme park, it doesn’t even feel like you are at a theme park. There is so much to do, I could spend days here exploring and still not have done everything.
Pandora is one of AK’s top lands and also in any park, it is possible the most immersive too. When you step in to Pandora you are sucked in to the world of Avatar. You don’t feel like you are in Disney’s AK. Flight of Passage is the biggest draw to the land. It is a simulator right that can only be described as Soarin’ on steroids. It is so real and breathtaking, I find it a bit to intense. Navi River Journey is the other attraction in the land and it is a slow moving boat ride that is a little underwhelming. It does however have the most realistic animatronic I have ever seen. Satu’li Canteen is the best (I think) counter service on property, the meals are filling and a great cost for the portion size you get. You pick your protein, base and sauce. There are also some instagrammable photo ops with some colourful drinks from Pongu Pongu, there is a green beer and a sweet, fruity slush drink called midnight blossom. I will always get one of these when we go to that land, take a photo and add to instagram. I will also purchase and pineapple lumpia, a deep fried spring roll filled with pineapple and cream cheese.
(Blueberry dessert in Pandora’s quick service dining location)
Dining in Animal Kingdom is a pleasure too. A mix of great counter service options, like Harambee Market or Flametree Barbecue. Both offering different and amazing macaroni cheese and fried chicken. And some top notch table service locations like Tiffins, which offers African inspired meals, if the prices are to steep the Nomad Lounge is the lounge connected the restaurant offering bar snacks similar to the meals in the main restaurant. Yak and Yeti is probably one of my favourite table service restaurants. It is a mainly Asian inspired meals, such as noodles and sushi which I love.
The Festival of The Lion King is spectacular it is about 30 minutes long and all the songs from the original animated movie. There are colourful costumes and fantastic dancers. The tumbling monkeys always make me laugh with their cheeky behaviour. The Finding Nemo show is around 45 minutes long and has original songs written for the this show. It tells the story of Finding Nemo with puppets. I did like it but felt like it took a big chunk of my day away. If you are planning on going, go to one of the lunch time show times, that way you get out of the hot Florida sun, miss the rush of people going to eat.
The safari is a delight, seeing different animals from Asia and Africa. There are also walking trails which you walk round at your own pace, see different animals and there are cultural experts dotted around ready to talk about the animals should you have any questions. Gorilla Falls homes gorillas, hippos and a bird sanctuary. During one visit to Gorilla Falls we were watching the gorillas an extremely passionate cast member started talking about how in the wild the gorillas are being killed by humans just for ‘being in the way’ because they wanted the substance called coltan is used to make batteries, this story has never left me, the way the lady spoke and what she said. I for one will now recycle my batteries and encourage other to too. The Maharajah Jungle trek is my favourite walking trail of the two, there are some newly born tigers which I feel extremely close to, the mother was pregnant when we visited last September and when we revisited in the November the cubs were born and being looked after offsite, the cultural expert showed us video footage of the cubs and I fell in love. When we revisit this year the cubs will be nearly a year old and I can not wait to see them. There is also a lovely bridge with some bunting which looks I love. It is one of my favourite locations in Disney (along with inside Be Our Guest restaurant).
(Maharajah Jungle Trek)
You can take a little train up to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. There is a little petting zoo where kids can pet and feed the goats. Doc McStuffin recently started a meet and greet here. You can also see how the animals in the park are looked after and cared for. Rafiki’s Planet Watch is now opened seasonal.
(The Tree of Life).
AK’s does not host a firework show, due to the close proximity of the animals. It instead has floats on th water, water projections and calming music being played. It is not as spectacular as HAE but it’s still amazing. August 2018 they introduced the Rivers Of Light dessert party which looks incredible. We will be attending next month. The Tree of Life also has a projection show displayed intermitantly after night falls. It is not a show as such but certainly worth watching the tree come to life as you walk past.
What is your favourite thing to do in Animal Kingdom? Where do you like to eat or grab a snack? Have you done the new dessert party? Let me know in the comments.