Animal Kingdom Favorite Attraction Discovery Island, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, & Africa

cf5fe5b62e26e8efc49fccd8e07beb25_-jiminy-cricket-disney-disney-jiminy-cricket-clipart_236-559Last week we asked… You answered.   The most anticipated out of park transportation is THE RESORT LAUNCH.  Thanks again Michael P. Miller for helping with a moving topic. 

Now let’s see what we will find this week!

In honor of Earth Day (and meeting the world famous Helen Dunn this weekend), we present Not-a-zoo!    Welcome to the zooiest not a zoo in all of FL.   There are so many sights to see, and such great exhibits to explore.   This week we explore the entrance to the Animal Kingdom, around to the left side of the park (aside from Pandora).

Rich here:  I really like the entire left side of the Animal Kingdom (currently).   Between the mystery of the oasis, to the majesty of the Tree of Life, around to the immense safari. This is the best of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  

  1. Kilimanjaro Safari – Of all the attractions in the Animal Kingdom, the one which resembles the spirit is the Safari.   Between the environmental message and the celebration of animals is a 20-minute ride through multiple diverse and animal stocked landscapes.   This is my must not miss anytime I visit DAK. 
  2. The Legend of the Lion King – I am amazed that Imagineers were able to take the unwanted floats from the Disneyland Lion King Celebration and convert it into a three ring circus with singing, dancing, fire juggling, ribbon acrobats, and yes even tumble monkeys.   This is even better in its new setting, and well worth the wait. 
  3. Pangani Forest Expedition Trail – the real reason why we should come to the Animal Kingdom – to see ANIMALS.  Monkeys, hippos, zebras, meerkat, naked mole rats, and yes even gorillas.   It gives me a time to reflect and see ‘nature’ and a view of real live animals.   

Amanda, what say you?

Amanda here: While there are many fantastic animal viewing opportunities on this side of Animal Kingdom, my family always seemed to focus on the rides and shows more than the animal viewing. On our most recent visit, we spent more time exploring than in the past.

1. Kilimanjaro Safari is a great way to view animals and learn about their habitats. Because these are real animals, each time is slightly different. I prefer the early morning as the animals seem more active in the (slightly) cooler temperature. I found the nighttime safari ride to be a bit disappointing.
2. Probably my favorite Disney show, Festival of the Lion King, is an enjoyable experience for all ages. Kids will have opportunities to participate in the show if they wish and the music and spectacle are amazing. 
3. One reason why my children have become more interested in exploring “off the beaten path” at Animal Kingdom is because of the Wilderness Explorers. Even the jaded tweens enjoy collecting “badges” by participating in different learning experiences. I think this is a great program and I’m glad it was added.

Special Guest Helen Dunn, How about you:

  1. Kilimanjaro Safari. Let’s get real: the animals are what we’re all here for and this is their main gig. I never get tired of the giraffes stopping in the middle of the road delaying all the safari vehicles or trying to catch a glimpse of the newest baby animal (right now it’s an elephant!) I don’t miss the old storyline about poachers but I admit I do think about Little Red every time I ride. My most recent safari had a dose of Jungle Cruise style jokes thanks to our driver and I really thought that made it all even more fun. Asante Sana!
  2. Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. You can see real live gorillas up close….do I really have to say more? Over the years I’ve seen baby gorillas nappy, young bachelor gorillas chasing one another around pounding their chests Kong style and the big old silverbacks napping or snacking on leaves. Even though these guys can get quite smelly this walk is a must see for me. Even get to these amazing primates you’ll have a chance to check out an aviary full of colorful birds, hippos, adorable meerkats, or creeped out by the naked mole rats and other creepy crawlies from Africa.
  3. Tree of Life. Technically this is not an attraction but I dare you to pick up a Mickey Bar or something from the Dawa Bar and just take the time to really look at the tree while you eat/drink. The Tree is beautiful and massive and in my opinion, under-appreciated. Most of us just rush on by it on the way to the next FP. It will be even better if you take an exploratory walk on the trails around it for an up close look.

Helen (@hmonkeyruns) has been vacationing at WDW since 1978 and has been on nearly every ride in every park at least once. New goal: riding Aladdin’s Magic carpets and TriceraTop Spin to make it EVERY ride in every park. 

Ok .. now it’s your chance …

  • Who was right?
  • Who was wrong?
  • What is your favorite?

What we are looking forward to most in ‘Pandora: The World of Avatar”


Animal Kingdom…. The home of Camp Minnie Mickey – oops – no!?  The amazing home of the Beastly Kingdom!!??  nope.   Well, we get the land of Pandora.   Finally, after months of anticipation, it opens with 2 new attractions, 2 dining locations, shops, and floating mountains.  (Well the mountains are cool).

Rich here:

  1. There are a couple of cool new ideas here in Pandora.  I am mostly looking to see the unique terrain, the floating mountains, and how it all is put together.   Just the idea of the bioluminescence, and how that will be used has me looking forward to seeing this at night.
  2. Of the 2 attractions, I am most interested in the Navi River Journey.  While the Banshee attraction sounds cool, I’m really not getting the attraction car concept, (it just looks uncomfortable) and I am looking forward to something special as you cruise the rivers.  Just like Sinbad in Tokyo Disney Sea, I am expecting just as big things coming from this water adventure. 
  3. Pongu Pongu  will serve drinks in a spot said to be “as eclectic as its Expat owner.”  To me, this calls out to the great amusement drinking establishments – Trader Sams or The Adventurer’s Club.  If we get that, it will be a tough ticket to get into, and too many sights to see in one visit. 

Amanda, what say you?

Amanda here: I’m pretty skeptical about Pandora, mostly because I haven’t even seen the movie and I’m not sure it belongs at Disney. On the other hand, I’m always happy for more attractions and I’m hoping that the theming is amazing.

  1. I love thrill rides so I’m hoping that Flight of Passage lives up to the hype. The idea of having a bird’s eye view of Pandora seems incredible. Some of the pre-release press describes this as being similar to Soarin’ which is a favorite of mine!
  2. Jock Lindsey’s is one of my favorite bars…anywhere. Another well-themed bar inside a theme park? I’m there! If Pongu Pongu follows the model of Jock Lindsey’s and/or Trader Sam’s, it’ll definitely be on my list of places to visit.
  3. More stuff to do at Animal Kingdom….. While Animal Kingdom has a few things that I love – Expedition Everest, Safari, great shows – it has always felt like a half-day park to me.  As my kids are getting older and ready for longer days of touring, I’m really looking forward to a new land to explore. I have faith that, even if Avatar isn’t the concept I would have chosen, the Disney Imagineers will make something really unique and special here.

Special Guest Helen Dunn,  How about you?

  1. It’s new! I haven’t seen the movie so all I knew before watching the preview clip with Joe Rhode was that the people were blue. The video looks like it will be amazing and I can’t wait to see it all. 
  2. Avatar: Flight of Passage. I have no idea what a banshee is but I was totally obsessed with the book series the Dragon Riders of Pern when I was a kid and this looks like I’m going to get to fly on a dragon and I am totally in for that!
  3. Bioluminescent forest. One of my favorite things in any of the parks is watching how they transform from day to night and this sounds like it will be like that times a million.

Helen (@hmonkeyruns) has been vacationing at WDW since 1978 and has been on nearly every ride in every park at least once. New goal: riding Aladdin’s Magic carpets and TriceraTop Spin to make it EVERY ride in every park.

Ok .. now it’s your chance …

  • Who was right?
  • Who was wrong?
  • What is your favorite?