Posts Tagged ‘Animal Kingdom’

Wild Africa Trek РAn In-Depth Review of the VIP Backstage Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on July 9, 2014

Disney describes the Wild Africa Trek as ‚Äú[a] privately guided VIP expedition offering close encounters with exotic African wildlife in their native habitat.‚ÄĚ In other words, the Wild Africa Trek is a tour that builds upon the experience of Kilimanjaro Safaris by taking you to areas of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve that you may have seen on Kilimanjaro Safaris, but only from afar. This article takes an in-depth look at the Wild Africa Trek experience, details the cost associated with the tour, responds to possible FAQs from those considering the tour, and, ultimately, attempts to the answer the question: Is the Wild Africa Trek worth its cost?

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: June 26, 2014

by on June 26, 2014

Hi everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re starting somewhere a little¬†unconventional, an overpass leaving Disney property! This sunset was too amazing not to share, and this is truly how it looked. I just snapped the photo out my¬†car window with a typical point and shoot camera. No editing wizardry here! Any week that starts like this has to be a good one, right?

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Next, let’s head to Animal Kingdom for the bulk of our updates this week. First up is the new Macaw Fly Over. I didn’t go into this expecting a lot, but we totally loved the show. I’d go out of my way to see it. While it’s over quickly, it’s amazing to see all of those lovely birds flying together. I know my video can’t do it justice, but if you’ve never clicked on one of my videos this is the one to start with! Make sure you check this out on your next visit.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Harambe Nights at Animal Kingdom

by on June 14, 2014

HarambeNights_logoThis week‚Äôs¬†SATURDAY SIX¬†covers Six Reasons We Love Harambe Nights at Animal Kingdom.¬†When Walt Disney World announced its newest hard ticket event, Harambe Nights, we at the Saturday Six were a bit skeptical. At a starting price of $119.00 per person, this party is expensive even by Disney standards. However, we are big fans of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party¬†as well as¬†Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and faithful readers will remember that we recently debunked the rumor that Animal Kingdom was a half day park, so a party at the Animal Kingdom is right up our alley.

Harambe Nights, itself, is a celebration of the 20th Anniversary of The Lion King,¬†one of Disney’s all time greatest films. The centerpiece of the entire party is The Lion King: Concert in the Wild, a retelling of the classic story using a celebrity speaker, an orchestra, film clips, dancers and more. Does Harambe Nights justify the price tag? We’ll talk about that more at the end of the article, but we can safely say that the party delivers the goods, and here are our top six reasons why…

# 6 – Walk Around Characters

HarambeNights_MickeyMinnie

Both the Halloween and Christmas parties at the Magic Kingdom have character meet and greets that often draw huge lines. With time limited at the party, spending 30 minutes, one hour, or even two hours in line to meet Jack Skellington or the 7 Dwarfs is a big commitment. For Harambe Nights, there were several characters (including Mickey and Minnie in tradition African garb, Timon and Rafiki from The Lion King, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) that were roaming around meeting guests, just as many people remember them doing in the years before meet and greets became so structured. This was a refreshing and unexpected surprise.

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Observations: June 1, 2014 Lion King Reopening

by on June 5, 2014

Jambo, Everyone! Welcome to our look at the very blustery opening day of the¬†Festival of the Lion King. When FastPass+ were released just a couple days before, I jumped at the chance to see this show return after a six month closure. Unfortunately, I was only able to reserve the last show of the day. Around 1pm I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to head to the park and attempt to get into the 2pm show through the standby line, even though it was drizzling outside. The new theater looks great and fits in perfectly with the rest of Harambe.

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I arrived at the theater at 1:45pm and hopped in the line. It wasn’t as long as I’d expected, but I noticed people were only¬†trickling in a few at a time. When I was closer to the podium, I was advised that only standing room was available for the show. I didn’t remember this from the old theater, so I decided to check it out for you guys. Basically, Disney is¬†allowing guests to stand on the staircases around the seating areas and at the very back of the theater. I was pushed off to one side, so my photos didn’t turn out at all. The below photo will give you an idea what this view is like. Full disclosure: this is an older photo from the previous theater.

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Observations: May 17, 2014 – a 2 park feature!

by on May 20, 2014

Hi Everyone! ¬†I had the best Saturday of park hopping and I wanted to share some observations¬†with you. ¬†My day started when we parked at Animal Kingdom at 8:45am. ¬†While we were walking in we noticed it was much more crowded than we’d expected. ¬†Umm… oops… your trusty host had forgotten about Extra Magic Hours! ¬†I was so delighted to get a Fastpass+ for the Kilimanjaro Safaris¬†at 9:05am that I hadn’t paid attention. ¬†Well, we decided to walk back and check the wait time to see if we could sneak on then use the Fastpass+ for a second ride. ¬†Luckily, it wasn’t too crowded. ¬†We were able to pretty much walk on the first time but 30 minutes later we were so glad we had the Fastpass for a quick second ride! ¬†The line was already very slow moving for standby.

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Interactive Games at Walt Disney World

by on April 4, 2014

When you only have a few days to spend at Walt Disney World sacrifices have to be made. With so many shows and attractions to experience I think the interactive games in the parks are one of the first things to be cut. However, some of these are worth the time to explore. Today I’ll be ranking these from “lowest priority” to “can’t miss” and sharing a little bit of information about each. All of these games are included in your park admission so take notes on what you’d like to play on your next visit!

IMG_1714#4 – A Pirate’s Adventure: Just because this one came in 4th doesn’t mean it isn’t tons of fun! The reason I ranked it low is because the missions take very little effort, it’s short, and it seems to be targeted more for smaller children. Located in the Magic Kingdom this game is played entirely in Adventureland. It’s very easy to pick up a map and start a game. Simply stop by the sign up station located just past the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Once there you’ll be able to choose your mission and grab a map just by swiping your park admission ticket. Even if you don’t want to play grabbing a map is very quick and they make a nice, free souvenir. Captain Jack will surely sign your treasure map and that would look great in a scrapbook! If you decide to play you’ll be sent to a location on your map to start your mission. You can expect each mission to take about 15 minutes to complete. During this time you’ll visit 5 or so locations and experience 30-45 seconds of activity at each stop. There’s nothing needed from you with this one, you’ll just be watching the story unfold. You aren’t missing a ton skipping A Pirate’s Adventure but if you have an extra 15 minutes why not stop by? Especially if you have little kids they might just love it!

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More Adventures with Disney World Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+: DHS & DAK Edition

by on March 22, 2014

Welcome back to the continuing saga of Walt Disney World’s recent roll-out of Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+ privileges to the general public. As explained in our last episode, all WDW annual passholders should now be able to make up to 7 days of FastPass+ reservations within the next 30 days through the My Disney Experience website and apps. Last time, we looked at how I set up my first week of FastPass+ selections, and saw how my first intinerary turned out at Epcot (TLDR: not perfect, but pretty good).

For this followup, follow me to Walt Disney World two least-popular parks for examples of how advance FastPass+ may (or may not) work to your advantage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios FastPass+

Much like my day at Epcot, I arrived at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios parking lot a little after 1:00 p.m.

Advance FastPass+

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Things We Wish Theme Park Fans Would Stop Complaining About

by on February 1, 2014

This week‚Äôs¬†SATURDAY SIX¬†looks at¬†Six Things We Wish Theme Park Fans Would Stop Complaining About. It’s hard to believe that in a land full of fantastical theme parks, luxurious hotels, and wonderful memories filled with pixie dust that people could have anything to complain about. But they do. In fact, after a thorough investigation the Saturday Six staff has compiled a list of 548,321 complaints, and that’s just in the Florida parks. Today we’re going to look at the six of most prevalent complaints and say “STAHP!”

StarbucksMickey

If you thought Talking Mickey was a hit, wait till Barista Mickey makes his debut….

# 6 ‚Äď ‚ÄúThey are building too many Starbucks‚ÄĚ

Out of nowhere, Starbucks has seemed to have taken over the theme park world in Florida. The first step in theme park world domination for the coffee brand? The beloved¬†Main Street Bakery at the Magic Kingdom. Starbucks then moved over to Epcot and replaced the Fountain View Cafe, complete with a hidden Communicore logo to appease the hardcore fans. Two more Starbucks are coming to Downtown Disney, and it is rumored that locations will be opening up at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom, as well. Not to be outdone, the Starbucks location over at Universal’s CityWalk¬†is moving from its second floor No-Man’s-Land location down onto the ground level, and Island of Adventure’s Arctic Express has been converted into a Starbucks, as well.

What’s going here? The answer is simple. People love Starbucks. Period. The Starbucks brand is strong enough that it can charge a premium price for a drink you can get almost anywhere else cheaper, and have people lining up for it. While the Main Street Bakery certainly wasn’t hurting for business before, it’s easy to see how successful the ones at Downtown Disney and Universal will be compared to what they are replacing. The new Starbucks locations are in prime real estate and will be all but printing money.

If these Starbucks locations were McDonald’s, you could make a case that there are better restaurants all over either property. If the locations were Dunkin’ Donuts you could make a case that there are better bakeries around. But no one at Disney or Universal is doing a better job than Starbucks at making good coffee and, as far as we know, the world didn’t end when the first Grande Latte went out.

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Observations From Animal Kingdom: January 18, 2014

by on January 22, 2014

This weekend I went over to Animal Kingdom to test FastPass+ and to check out the former site of Camp Minnie-Mickey. I thought you guys would like to come with me! Saturday was very cold by Florida standards! The high was only 57 degrees, so I was thankful afternoon FastPass+ slots were available for Kilimanjaro Safaris. I secured our 3:40 – 4:40 time slot. Since all FastPass+ reservations come in trios, I was also assigned FastPass+ to meet Mickey and to see Finding Nemo – The Musical. Upon arriving at 2:30pm I discovered parking attendants weren’t even directing cars where to park! This suggested that crowds would be manageable. Here is what it looked like walking in:

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Your FastPass+ Priorities at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on January 21, 2014

Disney’s Animal Kingdom began exclusive use of FastPass+ on earlier this month. At that time, we updated of our Disney’s Animal Kingdom touring plans to use only FastPass+. Each plan now lists the suggested Fastpass+ start times for the attractions that will save you the most time in line, like this:

Suggested start times for FastPass+ reservations:

Kali River Rapids = 10 AM
DINOSAUR = 1 PM
Kilimanjaro Safaris = 4 PM

The updated plans are very efficient Рthe average wait in line should be under 7 minutes per step during summer for our standard 1-day Unofficial Guide Touring Plan - with more than an hour of free time available in the afternoon.

When we updated the plans, we kept track of how many times each attraction was identified as needing FastPass+. As we did for the Magic Kingdom’s FastPass+ priorities, here’s the Animal Kingdom’s chart:Animal Kingdom FastPass+ Priorities

FastPass+ is offered at more than a dozen Animal Kingdon attractions, only about half of them ever require FastPass+ in our touring plans. Here’s why.

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