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I’m not quite sure what I thought I was getting into as we agreed to do the Ultimate Animal Kingdom Touring Plan for the first time. I was pretty positive it wasn’t going to be that bad, whether you love or hate Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park you can agree that it doesn’t have as many attractions as say, Magic Kingdom. But what I wasn’t prepared for is just how an Ultimate Touring Plan can change your view of the park.
Who’s we? Simply a group of fabulous people who, after a late night out at Disney, agreed to get up at the crack of dawn and run through Disney’s largest theme park. I think we were all there for different reasons. Henry was our ultimate touring enthusiast. Fred wanted to confirm that one could see everything in Animal Kingdom before the parade. Ed just wanted to do an ultimate touring plan with Henry so bad he couldn’t see straight. I wanted to prove I could do it in flip-flops. And our beloved Kim wanted to spend the morning with us with the thought she would be leaving around 11am. For the record, she stayed.
As a “newbie” to this whole experience, I went in thinking I knew how to tour the park. I was wrong about knowing what to do and thankfully we had Henry as our guide. In fact, I dare say the ultimate touring plans differ a bit from what you may find in your regular “Dumbo or Die” experience.
I also will quickly state to those thinking of trying out an ultimate touring plan, this is serious business. At one point I heard Henry state we had five minutes to eat lunch. I smiled at his “joke”. But five minutes and ten seconds later I was running to Kali River Rapids throwing grapes in my mouth faster than you can say “You’re gonna get wet!”
As we entered the park, our first task was to catch the opening show. I’ll let you in on a secret; we missed a little bit of it. If you are attempting an ultimate touring plan you should be there a good bit before park opening to not only catch the opening show but also be towards the front of the mass of people getting ready to go on the safari. This holds true even more so, I would imagine, for the ultimate Magic Kingdom plan.
As soon as they allowed, we were racing towards the Safari. And the racing didn’t really stop for almost 7 hours. Except, of course, for the ten minutes when Dinosaur ate Ed’s sunglasses and we had to wait for a cast member to find them.
What have I learned from an ultimate touring plan? That I really have not seen all there was to Animal Kingdom until that day. It sounds crazy, but there have been many times that Ed and I have left the park stating that we had done all there was to do. I was wrong. Very wrong. Okay, so the touring plan required grown adults to go down the slide in the Boneyard and would I do that on my average trip? Probably not. But did you know how many performances go on during the day at Animal Kingdom? I didn’t. And with the touring plan we saw them all. As much as you are racing and running and eating french fries on the go during the ultimate touring plan, as funny as it sounds, it also helps you stop and smell the roses. It helps to appreciate (albeit for only five minutes) the little things you may miss on your “average” day touring. I can’t even begin to imagine all that I have not seen at Magic Kingdom and we are DVC Members who come five times a year!
So the advice from a newbie to a newbie? Try one of these plans. But you are going to have to take it seriously. Have an idea of what route you are going to take through the park and some variances in case something you didn’t expect happens. Wear comfortable shoes and pack a bag with water and snacks. Yes, I survived in my flip-flops, despite Henry’s dismay, but I’ll state here I would never wear them for the Ultimate Magic Kingdom Plan. Use your time during shows or standing in line to refresh, drink and have a snack. It helps, believe me. I snuck some major goldfish during Finding Nemo: The Musical despite the no food warning! And finally, take it seriously but also have fun! During the day we played games in Dinoland and dug through the gravel in the Boneyard.
I saw performances, took a picture with Goofy and danced to the Village Beatniks during the Animal Kingdom Touring Plan. And these were some of my favorite parts of the day! I also wanted to mention that I am really glad I had a chance to do the Animal Kingdom Ultimate Touring Plan before the Magic Kingdom. It has gotten me into the mindset of just how exhausting the Magic Kingdom one would be and has left me more prepared for when Ed and I take it on. Because we will take it on!
So here are the official stats, and to confirm Fred’s thoughts, everything in Disney’s Animal Kingdom can be done before the parade! Listed by Attraction, In, On, and Out.
Opening Show 8:45
Kilimanjaro Safari 8:57, 9:01, 9:20
Triceratops Spin 9:30, 9:31, 9:33
Primeval Whirl 9:33, 9:47, 9:51
Dinosaur 9:55, 10:03, 10:08
Dinoland Game, 10:20, 10:24
Nemo Musical 10:30, 11:09
Tropicals 11:09, 11:14
Boneyard 11:16, 11:18
Dig Site 11:18, 11:20
It’s Tough to be a Bug 11:22, 11:33, 11:42
Camp Minnie-Mickey Character Trail 11:49, 11:56
Festival of the Lion King 11:58, 12:00, 12:32
Expedition Everest (FP) 12:41, 12:48, 12:52
Flights of Wonder 12:53, 1:27
Village Beatnicks 1:48, 1:53
Kali River Rapids 1:55,2:01, 2:04
Maharaja Jungle Trek 2:13, 2:16
DiVine 2:19, 2:24
Cam Cam Congo 2:26,2:28, 2:40
Wildlife Express Train 2:42, 2:45, 2:47
Audio Show 2:52,2:55
Affection Section 2:55, 2:57
Habitat Habit 2:57, 3:01
Wildlife Express Train 3:02, 3:03, 3:07
Pangani Exploration Trail 3:11, 3:18
Tree of Life 3:25
So are you a newbie anxious to try an ultimate touring plan? Would you try Animal Kingdom before Magic Kingdom? Leave some comments here and let us know!