Animal Kingdom is something wholly different than you would expect from Disney. There is a lot more reality within the park than the fantasy you’ve fallen in love with at the Magic Kingdom. Granted, attractions like Flights of Wonder and the Kilimanjaro Safaris combine the natural world into a well-themed attraction, but Animal Kingdom lacks the additional Disney attractions that would keep you wanting to come back for more. It felt like though the themeing was well done, there were only a few star-studded attractions in the park, and then you were left wondering where the rest of the thrilling attractions were.
Here’s our Animal Kingdom thoughts:
Expedition Everest was a favorite. Madison could not get enough of it and kept asking to go on it again and again. Does anyone know what all those hair elastics are thrown for at the “edge” of the ride? What is the meaning of them? Why hair elastics? The Everest theming blew us away — how cool are all the details below?
Lion King Festival
Lion King festival was more of an extravaganza than we expected. It was quite a show that kept us all wide-eyed throughout with the fantastic singing, impressive acrobatics, dancing, and a fire dancer. It was a very colorful and upbeat show and there was not a bad seat in the house. The colorful costumes, the characters, the props… everything was WOW! All memorable key moments in the Lion King movie became alive before your eyes. We were completely dazzled with this performance.
Pandora and The Tree Of Life
Pandora – The World of Avatar was incredible. The themeing is magnificent; it truly captured the feel of the movie. With Fastpasses hard to come by for the big attraction, if you want to go on it, once the gates are open have somebody RUN to get a spot in line. Unless you stay at a Disney resort, do not count on getting fast passes for the major rides, Disney guests are provided advance booking opportunities which typically consume all the fast pass time slots months in advance. We were lucky only having to wait an hour and a bit, whereas we have seen the lineup reach three hours. The ride is one of the coolest rides Disney has and is an ultimate experience; it was easy to see why the ride is in such demand after getting on the back of a banshee for a high-octane ride over Pandora. But, though the ride is worth a wait, I sure wouldn’t wait three hours for it.
The carvings in The Tree of Life as well as seeing it lit up were both incredible. Disney really never misses a beat with how to impress.
Up! A Great Bird Adventure
This was a very kid-like show, but the birds were a hard animal to keep the kids entertained with. The birds did fly around a bit, but for the most part, watching them on the stage from the stands was boring for our kids five and under. The show also features Russell and the Dog from Up, and I felt that actually takes away from the show. The host spends so much time interacting with the characters that it becomes the focus. There are a few meandering storylines that get started…. but don’t go anywhere. It was hard to follow and we walked away with very little conservation and bird knowledge.
Kilimanjaro Safaris is a unique attraction, allowing Guests to see animals from all over the world in one place and as Disney likes to claim, “behaving in their natural ways”. Perhaps we are jaded from being on a real safari, but the adults were not very impressed with the experience; it just made us want to have a real safari experience again. The kids loved it, which is really what counts here though.
Character Photo Opportunities
We loved the variety of character photo opportunities at Animal Kingdom. While our kids aren’t old enough to appreciate the classics like Launchpad and Scrooge McDuck, it really took us back to our childhoods and had us giggling with glee. There were not many characters around, but those that were, we had not yet seen, so that was exciting for us.
We allowed for two days at Animal Kingdom and even with kids, we were done before the second day was over. If you do not have kids in tow, I’d recommend spending one day at Animal Kingdom to be able to see the highlights.