Animal Kingdom

We were up and out the door at 6 am this morning, on the way to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with my daughter, son-in-law, and two of our grandsons. For the little guys, Elijah and Daniel, it was their first Disney experience, so we were all very excited.

The drive through Orlando wasn’t too harrowing, even through rush hour. It’s pretty much one big construction zone the whole way, though. The crowds pouring through the gates were formidable from the minute the park opened.

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First stop was the Festival of the Lion King, a wonderful music and dance performance by some extremely talented folks. Eli’s a big Lion King fan, so it was a hit. 

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Next stop was a fast pass appointment with Mickey and Minnie!

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Eli rode the Triceratops ride at least five times. 

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The weather wasn’t too hot, but still perfect for a nice, messy, sticky strawberry popsicle. 

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Pluto spent a lot of time dancing around the bone yard…

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…while Eli made a lot of trips down a big spiral slide. 

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A random nice person gave Eli a long stuffed purple snake won at an arcade game!

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Eli capped off his day by scoring a really cool bubble wand. 

We also enjoyed the “It’s Hard Being a Bug” show, the safari, and the “Finding Nemo” musical.

A few tips for those headed to Animal Kingdom in the future:

  • The app lets you know all the wait times. Great resource.
  • The park was most crowded in the morning, then thinned out in the afternoon. Going later is a good idea.
  • A 210 minute wait for the Avatar ride? Three-and-a-half hours? Better use your fast pass or forget it. It must be an amazing ride. (We didn’t even go to that part of the park.)
  • There’s a Starbucks on property! It’s worth going just to see how quickly they can crank out the lattes.
  • Dress your child in a red shirt if you are going to let them eat the red popsicle. And the frozen chocolate covered banana is plenty big to share.
  • It’s OK to bring your own water into the park.
  • You can eat paleo at the park. Grilled chicken salad for lunch.
  • The bars have a nice selection of beers. For $10 each! I didn’t drink today.
  • Even though it takes longer to load up the dinos than the ride itself, the Triceratops ride never gets old. Like the Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom.
  • Animal Kingdom feels more relaxed than the other parks I’ve been to.

I hadn’t been to a Disney attraction in years. Taking the little ones made it worthwhile.