Posts Tagged ‘Kilimanjaro Safaris’

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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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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Updates for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on December 8, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life

©Rikki Niblett

There are quite a few new additions that are coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom here within the next week. Here’s what you can expect to see when visiting.

The Riverside Depot, a 4,700 square foot merchandise location connected to Disney Outfitters opened today. The location is themed to animals that live around and in rivers and is your stop to purchase Disney character souvenirs. Because of this new merchandise location opening, after the holiday season, Disney Outfitters will be closing for a refurbishment.

Also, the pathways around the Tree of Life will be closed for refurbishment from now through the first few months of 2016. Because of this, Tarzan will be moving to an area near Island Mercantile.

Over at Kilimarjaro Safaris, a new species has been added to the mix. Guests will have the chance to see a pack of six  painted dogs, who are joining the savanna. Unique to Africa, these rare animals are among the continent’s most endangered species and are easily identifiable by their oversized ears and unique multi-colored coat patterns.

Finally, on December 12, Thirsty River Bar and Trek Snacks is set to join the line-up of dining options when it opens in Asia. The location will offer grab-and-go snacks along with alcoholic, as well as non-alcoholic beverages.

That’s it for the major updates to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Things are rapidly changing to get ready for the transition of this park into a right full day experience.

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Disney Park Strengths and Weaknesses: Animal Kingdom

by on November 30, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Are you a Disney Park critic? I know, it’s hard to be critical of anything Disney (at least I think so), but even I have to admit that I’ve experienced a few things that some parks don’t do as well as others. Of course, there’s also a number of things that each park does very well! Today, I’m breaking down Disney Park Strengths and Weaknesses beginning with a park that’s somewhat in transition right now: Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is still a new park when compared with the other Disney World Parks and perhaps the most difficult to explain. What you should know right off is that Disney did not intend for this park to be a zoo, but rather a new type of theme park where the entertainment and is living and breathing. Animal Kingdom opened for guests appropriately on Earth Day in 1998 and is currently home to more than 2,000 animals and currently in a transition as construction continues for new nighttime entertainment and the addition of Pandora – The World of AVATAR.

So let’s start with Animal Kingdom’s strengths, shall we…

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Details on Pandora-The World of Avatar and Other Disney’s Animal Kingdom Enhancements

by on August 15, 2015

Avatarland has been under construction for some time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but today at the D23 Expo, we got a few more details about what we can expect with this new land.

First of all, I guess we’ll need to stop calling it Avatarland. Its official name will be Pandora-The World of Avatar. According to Imagineer Joe Rhode, when visiting Pandora, you are not visiting moments from the film, the adventure is one that is yours. The goal is to create a place that you believe to be real.

This will be apparent when you ride the banshee attraction, which will be called The Flight of Passage. Guests will ride on the backs of the banshees giving guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage.

©Disney

©Disney

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever June 25, 2015: Rainy Day at Animal Kingdom

by on June 25, 2015

best Week Ever Animal Kingdom

Rain or shine, it’s another Best Week Ever at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (photos by Seth Kubersky)

The humidity percentage and heat index have both been hovering around one hundred in Orlando, so where better to spend an “Africa hot” Best Week Ever than in Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Kidding aside, Animal Kingdom holds a special place in my heart, since it’s the first Disney park I ever got to attend before its official opening date, and it remains to this day the most beautifully landscaped of Mickey’s American parks.

Unfortunately, Animal Kingdom is probably also my least-often-visited WDW park, partly because there are only three rides there that I consider must-dos. While I love the Broadway-style shows at DAK, and the animal walkthroughs are truly world-class, it’s inevitable that thrill attractions are what I first focus on when picking a park to attend, and that’s one area in which Animal Kingdom lacks — at least until Avatar-land comes online in 2017.

Happily, there are a number of improvements coming to Animal Kingdom before then, so I headed out on an overcast Friday afternoon to explore the newest one.

My day started out on an awkward foot, as only one tram was servicing the parking lot when I arrived. By the time it finally arrived and transported me to the entry plaza, I practically had to sprint past the front ticket booths…

 

…Through the touchpoints…

 

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Where to Find Walt at Disney World

by on May 17, 2015

Walt and Mickey

Walt and Mickey

When comparing the Disneyland Resort to Walt Disney World, one of the biggest differences that always comes up is that Disneyland was Walt’s park while Walt never lived to see Disney World completed. While this is true, that doesn’t mean you still can’t find Walt’s attractions and touches on the East Coast. So keep reading to discover just a few of many places where to find Walt at Disney World!

The Hub: One of the most popular places to take a photo at the Magic Kingdom is in front of the statue of Walt and Mickey with Cinderella Castle in the background. Known as the Partners Statue, it’s appropriately positioned at the center of the park known as the Hub, where paths branch off towards the different lands of the Magic Kingdom. Just seeing the statue at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. and at the park center brings it all back to Walt and his most famous creation, Mickey Mouse.  The Hub has undergone some changes lately, but you can still find statuettes of other characters that contributed to Walt’s success, such as Goofy, Donald, Minnie, and more.

101_3519Main Street, USA: Did you know that you can find Walt even before you enter the Magic Kingdom? When approaching the park entrance, you will probably hear a train whistle and the clang of a bell from up above as a train pulls into Main Street Station. This is because Walt loved trains! The Main Street Train Station, along with Main Street, U.S.A, provides guests not just a look at what Walt’s creations, but what was in his heart. Trains were one of Walt’s hobbies and he spend his free time planning and constructing a miniature train that he and his guests could ride on in his backyard. He called it the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. Once you enter the park, you have to pass under the Main Street Train Station; but I encourage anyone who’s interested in learning about Walt to check it out. It’s filled with nods to railroad history and Walt’s passion for this vintage form of transportation. Main Street, USA was inspired after Walt’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri. Walt loved growing up in Marceline and wanted to recreate his memories of the town in his park. He even included a few odes to his family and Imagineers in the names found on the windows above the street. Fun Fact: Walt has two windows of his own. One of them is on the Main Street Train Station and faces out at the entrance while the other is above the Plaza Restaurant and faces Cinderella Castle!

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SATURDAY SIX: The Six Best Attractions at Walt Disney World According to Our All-Star Panel

by on February 28, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Best Attractions at Walt Disney World. Hot off the heels of our All Star Panel getting together and voting for the Six Best Attractions at the Universal Orlando Resort, it was only natural to take a look across the street and get to the bottom, once and for all, of what the six best attractions at Walt Disney World were. But this is The World after all. The Vacation Kingdom. The most popular theme park resort on Earth. So naturally we had to go big. We contacted 25 experts for Universal? Well we’re getting 50 for Disney! And after negotiations that took so long that Disney could have taken down two Sorcerer’s Hats in the same time, we finally heard back from some of the most well known names in the Disney Universe. An all star, blue ribbon panel made up of members from some of the best Disney podcasts (Disney Hipsters, WDW Today, Radio Harambe, and the Mighty Men of Mouse), the most amazing Disney photographers (including Tom Bricker, Morgan Crutchfield, Brandon Glover, and Dirk Wallen), the greatest Disney bloggers/authors (Epcot Explorer, Sam Gennaway, FoxxFur, and Jim Hill), the nicest Disney fans we know (Scarlett Litton, Daisy Lauren, and Drunk At Disney), the meanest Disney fans we know (Tom Corless and Josh Humphrey), legitimate members of the Theme Park Media Elite (Orlando Sentinel’s Dewayne Bevil, Attraction Magazine‘s Banks Lee and Matt Roseboom), and the only guy in the entire world who admits to liking Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Matt Hochberg).

Saturday_Six_Computer

SATURDAY SIX staff tabulating votes.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Maureen Deal of Autism at the Parks? Here. Gary Bruckner, creator of the Frost Bitten Rum Cider at the Dolphin’s Todd English bluezoo? Here. Fan Favorite Disney Twitter accounts? How about Mearn, Mark Diba, and Adam Roth. Not to mention both Jenn and Tim Tracker! They’re ALL HERE, and many more.

The Criteria: Each of the 50 experts voted on what they consider to be the six best attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort. These attractions could be any ride, show, nighttime spectacular, or parade currently in Walt Disney World (including the water parks.) Anything that was holiday exclusive – such as the Boo to You! parade, Happy HalloWishes, or the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – were not eligible. Each attraction listed would be awarded ONE point, except for the attraction that the voter ranked in his #1 spot – that received TWO points. The votes were then sent to a top secret location in Florida and counted no less than 22 times. (We’ve had some problems in the past. We can’t apologize enough, Mr. Gore.) The results are in, and we now proudly present….

The DEFINITIVE GUIDE to the SIX BEST ATTRACTIONS at Walt Disney World.

# 6 – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (12 points)

BIGTHUNDER_Bricker

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. (photo by Tom Bricker)

Laurel Stewart (TouringPlans Disney Cruise Queen) – Opening Date – 1980: Big Thunder has it all – story, visual puns, theming, great effects… a bluegrass soundtrack. It’s not as great a coaster from a technical standpoint as Expedition Everest (Yeti aside, which it turns out, was a mechanical overreach on Disney’s part) or Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster. And it’s not a thrill ride by any means – there are more intense coasters all over Orlando. But this one is Disney at its best. It anchors Frontierland in a way that I don’t think Disney has come close to in years with the exception of Everest in Animal Kingdom’s Asia, which I think is its successor (and my would-have-been number one pick except that the ride is way too short). Because it opened in 1980, I never had to worry about the height requirement and was able to ride it from the start. Which I did, because I LOVE ROLLER COASTERS. On the other hand, my younger brother may have been tricked onto it when I told him it was “just a train ride, like the one at Main Street.” Suffice it to say, I have plenty of nostalgia for Big Thunder and love it just as much today as 35 years ago. And if you don’t take my word for it, take it from the French. Big Thunder Mountain is by far the most popular attraction at Disneyland Paris. And the French are never wrong. Just ask Jerry Lewis.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 26, 2015

by on February 26, 2015

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re spending evenings in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, having dinner at The Hollywood Brown Derby, and visiting Animal Kingdom for some bright blue skies. Three parks in one week! This is going to be a blast, let’s get going! :)

First, check out this view from the entrance of the Disney’s Hollywood Studios! You can almost see what this will look like once the hat is completely removed. While it was sad to watch it come apart, in the end I’m glad it’s gone. I can’t wait to see the last pieces removed and this view restored. What do you think now that it’s coming together? Do you still miss the hat?

301

Want to see more fun from all around Disney World this week? Click to read more. 

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Menu Monday: Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on January 26, 2015

Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal KingdomMy family and I love the Rainforest Café. As we travel around the country, we always take every opportunity that we get to stop and enjoy a meal at this restaurant. Over the years, we’ve dined at the Rainforest Café in Disneyland, Dallas, Galveston, Denver (now sadly closed), Las Vegas, Downtown Disney and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The location in Animal Kingdom is by far one of our favorites with its spaciousness, enthusiastic wait staff and high quality cuisine. Please read on to learn more about this delicious destination and our exciting morning in Animal Kingdom. Your adventure is about to begin!

Art of Animation

The Day Begins

On this day of our Disney vacation, my boys and I woke up early and had a quick breakfast at Landscape of Flavors at our home base for this trip – Art of Animation. If you haven’t had the chance to check out this Disney resort yet, I would recommend just stopping by to take a look around. It has a huge gift shop, a fun arcade for the kids and lots of great photo opportunities without all of the crowds. After our tasty breakfast of pastries and fruit smoothies, we headed out to the bus stop for our ride to Animal Kingdom.

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