When I first started with Touring Plans I was surprised to hear the least popular park on the blog is Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I say that because any given day if you ask me what my favorite park is I will either answer Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom depending on my mood. I find that Animal Kingdom is consistently different and I have the opportunity to take beautiful photos, making it a park I visit quite frequently! The below photos were all taken this morning. (Believe me – it would look way better if I was pulling out old photos!! :)) Let’s get on with our visit to Animal Kingdom!
It was beautiful this morning. When I parked my car at 8:30am the thermometer said it was only 72 degrees outside. With the 90+ degree weather we’ve had for the last few months this felt amazing! As I walked in I noticed that the large bus sign had been removed and replaced with sandwich board signs advertising the new Downtown Disney bus route.
Continuing on to bag check you can see the first sign that crowds were low and it was going to be a great day:
After this we made our way up to the turnstiles and waited for the park opening at 8:45am. It opened at 8:45am right on the dot and we headed towards the Kilimanjaro Safari, of course stopping for the obligatory Tree Of Life photo.
Along our route to the Safari we checked in on the progress of the new Festival of the Lion King theater. It is coming along:
I can’t wait to see this new theater open! Before riding the Safari we, of course, stopped to pick up fastpasses since we knew we would want to ride again. We had decided early this wasn’t going to be a roller coaster day so using fastpasses for an extra safari was an easy choice.
And then we were off for the standby line of what I think is my favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World! Here are the animals that I was able to get great photos of while on the ride. We saw many more than are actually featured here:
This is why we always head straight for the Safari in the morning! The animals are all wake and roaming. Going even an hour later during the warmer months can mean that you miss lots of them. After the ride we had some time to kill before our fastpass window opened so we headed over to the Pangani Forest Trail. Again here are the animals that were feeling photogenic!
Notes on these photos – that is the laziest Meerkat I’ve ever seen. While it was still performing its “lookout duties” it was doing so from the equivalent of a La-Z-Boy. Also, apparently Gorillas eat off of frisbees? When we reached the end of the trail it was 10am and time to cash in our fastpasses. I noticed it had gotten warmer and had a feeling this one wouldn’t be as good as our first ride. Taking a look at the photos below you can see I was right.
I included the photo of the Rhinos because I found this is what most of the animals were doing by 10:30am! Our earlier safari was much better but I didn’t want to give up just yet so we headed over to the Maharajah Jungle Trek hoping to catch a few animals before they escaped the heat. As you can see from the photo below this didn’t quite work out as I had hoped!
The only animals I found that were still out were the birds:
At this point we decided that if it was too hot for the animals it was too hot for us! We took the the log way out and hopped on Dinosaur once with a 10 minute wait. As we headed toward the exit I snapped a quick photo of the wait times. At 11am the longest line was 20 minutes:
One last note on our way out was that there are no longer turnstiles to exit Animal Kingdom! There was just a big gate manned by a single cast member. I stopped to ask if this was permanent and it sounds like they will be fully converted to Magic Bands very soon and no longer require a turnstile to exit.
I hope you enjoyed this morning tour of Animal Kingdom! In just a couple hours you can see so much at this very unique park. I hope you will take some time to go wild at Animal Kingdom on your next visit. It’s a jungle out there! 😀