Posts Tagged ‘Animal Kingdom’

The Best of Walt Disney World for Babies

by on March 1, 2016

TouringPlans logoWelcome to Part 1 of my new blog series – The Best of Walt Disney World! Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the top picks in attractions, entertainment, and experiences for various groups of travelers visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks.

How is this going to help me with my planning, you ask? Great question! Here’s how…Maybe you’ve always traveled to “the most magical place on earth” as a couple and now you’ll be taking your new baby, maybe this time grandma and grandpa will be joining you, or maybe this is your very first visit. No matter who you’re traveling with, I’ve got you covered with The Best of Walt Disney World series! And here’s how it will work…In each post, I’ll give you a rundown of the must do’s from each park along with some key information about that particular attraction or experience and a link in case you are looking for even more in-depth details.

Now that we’ve gotten all of the basics out of the way, let’s begin Part 1 of The Best of Walt Disney World with the tiniest of travelers – babies!

So if this is your first time taking a baby with you to Walt Disney World, you may have heard people say there is no reason to bring them. They won’t be able to ride anything! Let me reassure you that is simply not the case. There are plenty of things for baby to experience at Walt Disney World. In fact, as long as there isn’t a height restriction, your little one is permitted to ride. My youngest son has been enjoying a wide variety of attractions and shows at the parks since he was just six months old. Please read on for a full list of The Best of Walt Disney World for babies!

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Movies to See Before Your Disney World Vacation

by on February 28, 2016

image

Ready for a Disney Movie Marathon?

When counting down a trip to Walt Disney World, there are a number of things that need to be done from deciding how many suitcases to take, to setting a souvenir budget, to breaking in that new pair of walking shoes. But for me, there’s one more thing that I always have to do when counting down those last few anticipation-filled days, and that’s refreshing my memory and getting in the Disney spirit with a few movies! Kicking back with some popcorn to revisit a classic Disney flick, or even checking out a film for the first time, will only add to your overall Disney World experience. So go pop some popcorn and get ready for a movie marathon with my list of movies to see before your Disney World Vacation!

But first, let me explain how I came up with this list. Naturally, I included a number of Disney animated classics, even though it was really really hard to narrow down my favorites; but just so you know, I based my selections on what films I felt were represented the most at Walt Disney World or a huge part of Disney World history. Secondly, my list is not just Disney animated films, but also live-action Disney films and non-Disney films which are either represented in the parks or, again, played a big role in Disney history or as Imagineering inspiration! But as always, if you feel that I missed an important movie, or would simply like to add to the list, please do so in the comments.

Okay, are you ready for the list? Here we go…

Photo - Disney

Photo – Disney

Cinderella

Disney’s first princess film since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella is one of the most beloved and important films Walt Disney ever made. The film’s release in 1950 was so successful that it revitalized the Disney Company after World War II and kick-started the decade in which we would get the first Disney Park: Disneyland. Why you should revisit Cinderella before your Disney World retreat is because the Magic Kingdom’s castle is called Cinderella Castle! Inside the castle, a sparkly mosaic tells Cinderella’s story and there’s even a themed restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, where guests meet Cinderella herself and dine in a medieval, fairy tale setting. Characters from Cinderella are also known to meet guests around Cinderella Castle and throughout Fantasyland; and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa offers a special character meal at 1900 Park Fare where Cinderella, Prince Charming, and her dysfunctional family meet with guests as they dine. All in all, Cinderella is an important film at Walt Disney World and is definitely worth a watch before you pass through the park turnstiles.

African Queen by IMDB

Photo – imdb.com

The African Queen

Why is this film my first pick? Well, believe it or not this 1951 classic, starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn, inspired the Disney Park staple, The Jungle Cruise. Walt Disney saw this film himself and wanted to recreate the experience in his upcoming Disneyland Park. Although, he planned for guests aboard his boats to see live wildlife on the shores, just as the characters in The African Queen did! Of course, live animals wasn’t exactly doable at the time, nor would they be willing to appear and entertain when a boat passed by every few minutes; and so, the plan for live animals was scrapped in favor of one of Walt’s newest innovations: audio-animatronics. Walt’s vision for an attraction where guests could be entertained by live African wildlife was finally realized in 1998 when Kilimanjaro Safaris opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. In this way, The African Queen technically inspired two attractions at Walt Disney World! This is why I encourage anyone going to Walt Disney World to check out The African Queen. While I’ve always loved the Jungle Cruise, seeing the film which inspired it gave me a whole new appreciation for this classic attraction. Tip: Look for The African Queen poster on Sunset Boulevard at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Animal Kingdom AtMousePhere: The Music of DinoLand U.S.A.

by on January 18, 2016

And here we are! After almost two years of Walt Disney World AtMousePhere, we have come to our final post. We’ve done four parks and 22 articles, and it’s been a lot of fun to dig into the rich history and deep connections the music creates in the parks.

Photo courtesy Brian McNichols

Photo courtesy Brian McNichols

To wrap up our series, we are going to take a look at perhaps the most divisive area of the Animal Kingdom, DinoLand U.S.A. Some people enjoy its kitchiness, and others can’t stand how much it contrasts to the rest of the park. I don’t spend all that much time in this area, but can appreciate the backstory. (It’s meant to be tacky!)

The music of DinoLand U.S.A. contains a lot of pop and rock music, which can be heard generally around The Boneyard play area and Restaurantosaurus. The music is based around dinosaurs and extinction (remember, the original name of the Dinosaur attraction was “Countdown to Extinction”), and some of it will definitely be recognizable.

Listen carefully, and you can hear that it supposed to be akin to an underground radio station, taken over by a couple of the interns who work at the Dino Institute nicknamed “Digger” and “Bonehead.”

Photo courtesy Disney

Photo courtesy Disney

Here’s a nice list, if you’re curious:

  • “Dancing with the Dinosaur” by Steven Curtis Chapman
  • “Ugga Bugga” by Barnes and Barnes
  • “I’m A Little Dinosaur” by Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers
  • “Watch Out” by Barnes and Barnes
  • “If I Had a Dinosaur” by Raffi
  • “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by R.E.M.
  • “Sweet Dinosaur of Mine” by Barnes and Barnes
  • “Brontosaurus” by Cheap Trick
  • “Walk the Dinosaur” by Was (Not Was)
  • “Godzilla” by Blue Oyster Cult
  • “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood & The Destroyers
  • “Grazing In The Grass” by Friends of Distinction (part of the chorus is “Can you dig it?”)

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Christmas Day at Animal Kingdom

by on December 30, 2015

Christmas Day at Animal Kingdom

Enjoy Christmas Day at Animal Kingdom without getting out of your pink bunny pajamas. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

No matter which park you pick, the Christmas holiday is one of the busiest times to visit Orlando. But if you must attend a Walt Disney World theme park during the peak travel system, I discovered that you could do worse than spending Christmas Day at Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom may seem like a strange Christmas Day selection, since the park is positively Scrooge-like in the seasonal cheer department when compared to the other WDW parks. There’s nothing at Animal Kingdom on the scale of Magic Kingdom’s Holiday Wishes, DHS’s Osborne Family Spectacle, or Epcot’s Holidays Around the World; there isn’t even an Animal Kingdom Christmas parade anymore.

But that lack of seasonal draws made Christmas Day at Animal Kingdom a great idea, if your plans included enjoying attractions without asphyxiating in capacity crowds. This may change after Avatar arrives, but as the least-attended Walt Disney World park Animal Kingdom was a relative oasis for those seeking a smidgen of elbow room.

On my way into Walt Disney World property on Christmas morning, road signs advised that the Magic Kingdom was closed. Over at Animal Kingdom, however, there were acres of empty parking spot. Since this lot is the easiest of the four parks to get in and out of, consider using it when heading to one of the other parks on peak days.

 

For Christmas 2015, the entrance to Animal Kingdom was decked out with the usual giant tree, and new security scanning stations. Unless you are one of the few folks randomly selected for scanning, the new procedures appear have little to no effect on your entry speed.

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Underrated Attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park + Video

by on December 29, 2015

Photo - TouringPlansFor this week’s Trivia Tuesday, I’m going to discuss some underrated attractions found in Animal Kingdom park at Walt Disney World.

Enjoy these posts? Check us out on Facebook and YouTube for more!

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The 12 Days of a Theme Park Christmas

by on December 24, 2015

Everyone has their favorite Christmas traditions. For some it’s a dramatic reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, while for others it is the 24 hour marathon of A Christmas Story. Many of us enjoy reading the famous poem 12 Days of Christmas, even going so far as to figuring out how much all those items would cost (imagine if they were bought at a theme park!) This year we are starting a new tradition on the blog with a look at the 12 Days of a Theme Park Christmas. Get close to your loved ones, slip on an ugly sweater, drink a big sip of egg nog, and let’s begin with…

TWELVE CLOSED ATTRACTIONS

DHSActivities

This is a busy time for the Disney Dump as many attractions have been added to the pile. A great time to invest in construction walls though!

ELEVEN BANISHED BUBBLE GUNS

bubbleguns

Guns have been completely banned from Walt Disney World, even the bubble guns.

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Trivia Tuesday: Animal Kingdom Attractions + Video

by on December 15, 2015

Photo - Katie McNair

Welcome back to Trivia Tuesday! Today, I’m going to give you the 411 on Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

For more videos and posts, check us out on Facebook and YouTube.

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25 Drinks of Christmas – Day Thirteen: Himalayan Ghost at Thirsty River Bar

by on December 13, 2015

We’re back with everyone’s favorite theme park advent calendar: a daily countdown of our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld building anticipation to the Big Day. 

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY THIRTEEN: Himalayan Ghost at Thirsty River Bar (Animal Kingdom)

HimalayanGhost_glover

The Himalayan Ghost at the Thirsty River Bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)

The latest drink on our countdown comes from the newly opened Thirsty River Bar at Animal Kingdom. Located in the former home of the Expedition Everest Fast Pass distribution area, the Thirsty River Bar offers a wide range of cocktails (including decent non alcoholic ones such as the wonderful Pink Lotus and Flying Yak), bottled and draft beers. It also offers a good selection of snacks you wouldn’t expect to find at a bar including edamame and  – believe it or not -sushi. Our drink recommendation is the Himalayan Ghost. A refreshing fruit punch taste that is almost too smooth for its own good as the vodka will have you feeling quite content walking around Disney’s best themed park.

Ingredients: Snow leopard vodka, guava, and Odwalla lemonade

ThirstyRiver_Glover

Himalyan Ghost. (photo by Brandon Glover)

ORL695_1

Thirsty River Bar. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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A Thrill Junkie’s Guide to Traveling With Wimps

by on December 9, 2015

COASTERS_Everest2Allow me to get one thing out there at the outset: I love my family, and traveling with them is one of my favorite things in the world to do. With that said, however — and I say this lovingly — my daughter is not the bravest kid around, and my wife likes to stick to rides that are tame enough that you could step off of them without harm if need be. I, on the other hand, love thrill rides — the taller, the faster, the better. Much though I love spending time with my crew in the parks, I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when I sadly shuffled towards the queue to see Voyage of the Little Mermaid whilst Twilight Zone Tower of Terror beckoned and mocked me in the distance…

Sooooooo, you want to spend time with your family, but there are thrill rides waiting to thrill you. Whatever shall you do? This article will hopefully offer some ideas for getting your thrill-fill without stranding your family to sit on a bench while you ride. Tips after the jump!

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10 Ways To Have Free Family Fun At Disney World

by on December 7, 2015

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure

Enjoying a little free family fun!

Walt Disney World can be expensive. You know that, I know that. But what if I were to tell you that there are lots of ways to add some magic to your Disney World vacation for absolutely free? That’s right folks, I’m going to share with you 10 of my favorite ways to have family fun around the resort without spending an extra penny.

So without further ado, let’s enjoy some free family fun and save some money!

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Location: Magic Kingdom

The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an enchanting interactive game where you use spell cards at magic portals to defeat Disney villains. Kids and gamers alike love this experience, especially because they can collect and keep the spell cards.

A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas

Location: Magic Kingdom

During A Pirate’s Adventure join Captain Jack Sparrow on an interactive adventure raiding hidden treasures throughout Adventureland. There are five different missions, each taking about 20 minutes to complete. There is no time limit on the missions, so they can be started and stopped at your leisure. This is a lot of fun for the whole family and each adventure sets off some exciting special effects scattered throughout Adventureland; especially great at night.

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