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?

Top Three Things About Solo Travel


cf5fe5b62e26e8efc49fccd8e07beb25_-jiminy-cricket-disney-disney-jiminy-cricket-clipart_236-559Last week we asked… You and Holly Adams answered.   The most important thing to pack are those extra comfy shoes. .

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

While many people continue to harbor the misconception that Disney World is only for families with children, Disney can be a great vacation for a solo traveler. With dining options ranging from counter service, communal, food festivals, to bars and lounges, it is easy to have a meal by yourself without worrying about feeling awkward. There are several events which target adult fans of Disney such as race weekends, D23 Events such as Fanniversary or sip and stroll, or Food and Wine Festival with all sorts of courses and events that would be perfect for a solo traveler.

Rich here:

  1. Single Rider Lines – Want to take another spin on Test Track? Need to face the Yeti again? Aerosmith wants you to rock and roll? It’s all good with single rider lines. As a solo traveler, there are multiple options for a single rider and many other attractions that will look for that one more passenger. Way too often, they are looking for that ‘odd’ rider to fill a journey on Star Tours or that last body for dino bait. 
  2. Go at your own pace. I found that as a solo traveler, I would tour hardcore from rope drop to lunch time, and then take my break, and go slow the rest of the day. As a single rider, you can maximize your time, and just do those things that are calling out to you. No need for groupthink on this trip!
  3. You get to choose the must dos.   Way too often we over book our vacations… Touring plans, ADRs, Fast Passes.   Want to blow off a day and do the monorail loop dining plan… you can do it.   Want to meet some friends in world showcase, and not see Rivers of Light… why not? Sometimes it’s fun to be free!

Amanda, what say you?

Amanda here: Most of my solo travel experiences have been during race weekends where I have had roommates and running friends for companionship although I have traveled alone on a few occasions.

  1. One of my favorite solo trip experiences involved a magical day at Animal Kingdom where I literally rode Expedition Everest five times in a row. I got there at rope drop and kept riding until there was a line. It was super fun and not something I would ask anyone else to endure. The ability to do whatever you feel like doing is a major advantage to solo travel.
  2. Most Disney trips are non-stop action with a focus on getting as much done as possible. When you’re alone, you can take the time to stop and smell the roses. I had a fantastic day at Epcot during Flower and Garden Festival (I was in Orlando for a work conference and was able to sneak away for one day). I’m not a great photographer but I brought a DSLR camera and spent the day taking photos of the flowers. There is NO way my kids would have tolerated that. Having the ability to Slow Down and enjoy the details is a real luxury.
  3. I am a natural born extrovert who could make a new best friend in line at the grocery store (much to my children’s horror) so one of my favorite things about solo travel is the ability to meet people and talk to them. I love talking to cast members and fellow travelers. Disney attracts a diverse group of people and it’s fun to hear everyone’s stories. Plus, as someone involved in the Disney fan community, it’s rare for me to be at the World without knowing someone else there. When you’re with a group, it’s harder to keep the flexibility necessary to meet up with others. When you’re by yourself, it’s easy.

Special Guest David Koch of the Mickey Dudes Podcast: How about you:

  1. Stopping to smell the roses in the World Showcase.
    I like to wander the pavilions of the World Showcase and really appreciate the intricate architecture of all the buildings. I then like to take a slow look in all the shops, experience some of the cuisine and have a nice drink associated with that pavilion. I also like to take time and experience all the character greetings and entertainment offerings of each pavilion: be it a band or an acrobat.
  2. Not having to worry about anyone else. I’ve lost track of how many times I have been to Walt Disney World. I have experienced a vast majority of the magic. When I am with other people in Disney, my main concern is to help others experience the magic. When I’m alone I don’t have to worry about other’s enjoyment. I can just take it for what it is and not have to worry about being a manager of the world.
  3. It’s a good time to socialize.
    Believe it or not, the trips where I come solo, I am the most social. This blog, for example, is for Disney fans, by Disney fans. Chances are if you are reading this, you are a member of some type of community of Disney Park fans. Through social media, I have made lots of friends in the Disney community. Every time I am here I meet up other travelers or locals. With travelers, they are usually with their family. So as to not impede on family time I might meet them for just a little while to experience a few attractions or to get a bite to eat. Locals have met me in the parks after work for a few hours almost every time I came. I have even used and a well know Disney Parks fan forum to attend a monorail bar crawls of mostly locals looking to meet like minded people. I find that I am more social when I travel solo. When others are in my travel party, I tend to stay with them and am unable to meet up with others. When I’m solo I just see where the wind takes me. In my experiences, a simple tweet or Facebook post saying I will be in WDW with dates has always yielded somebody to hang out with for a time.

Dave Koch @FigmentsReality is a relatively new fan of Disney Parks, only visiting for the first time 7 years ago. You can say he has made up for lost time holding an AP for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. He is the cohost of The Mickey Dudes podcast, ( where a group of guys discuss all things Disney. His spirit animal is Figment and he collects pictures of himself with different Disney characters: having over 150 of them.

Ok .. now it’s your chance …

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