Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Being able to visit Disney World's Animal Kingdom park was an unexpected treat. I wasn't sure if we'd make it, but we were gifted park-hopper passes by a generous friend. We woke up early that day to make it on the Disney shuttle bus by 8:30 a.m. and arrive at the park around opening time. It was a chilly Florida day -- really. It was in the 50s and 60s thanks to a cold front.

When we rented our stroller, which normally costs $15 for a single per day, I was asked if I had paid for a length of stay rental. I had not because I didn't think we'd be visiting another park, but the cast member gave us the discounted rate after I showed him my receipt. (Our total stroller rental cost at Disney for two days was about $28, including tax.)

The entrance at Animal Kingdom was a lot more crowded than Magic Kingdom had been, at least it appeared so because it's a much narrower space to form lines in. The security officers thoroughly searched our belongings, adding to the wait time. The bag check here was a lot more meticulous than Magic Kingdom, for sure. 

We finally made it inside and tried to scatter away from the crowds as much as possible, so we checked out some animal enclosures before boarding the train to Rafiki's Planet Watch. We took part in some of the badge activities (You can collect badges around the park.), then got in line to meet Chip and Dale. After that we headed into a center where we could see tanks of reptiles and meet Rafiki. He was one of my favorite characters. Outside, we came across the petting zoo, where we said hello to some goats. The park was filling up by then, so we returned via the train to see more animals.

We wandered around Asia, where we checked out the monkeys for a bit. We then had a falafel and hummus snack before it was our turn to meet Minnie and Mickey at the Adventurers Outpost. The wait was just a few minutes thanks to our Fast Passes. When we walked out of the outpost we spotted Baloo, who was adorable and sweet.

After admiring the Tree of Life, we headed to DinoLand next and our little one took an hour or so nap in her stroller while we munched on Mickey-shaped pretzels and cheese sauce. It was getting a bit more chilly, so coffee was a good idea. Thank goodness there are coffee shops inside the park, because you really need it for a long Disney day. No matter your age, you will be exhausted at the end of the visit. It's just a fact.

When our toddler awoke, we rode the Triceratop Spin. We also walked over to Africa to walk the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. We saw the gorillas, zebras, and lots more.

It was then time for our next Fast Pass and the best ride of the day: the Kilimanjaro Safari. It is the best ride in the theme park, by far. We got up close to rhinos (one even ran toward me, scaring me but also amusing me), zebras and other animals. The lions were also active, as were the elephants. I wished the safari would have lasted longer!

By this time our day was winding down. Our toddler danced with some performers in Africa and we checked out the shops before heading to the exit. We decided to spend the next couple of hours at Epcot park with our friends, where we ate fish and chips in Ireland for dinner. We also checked out the aquarium. 

It was a long but fun-filled day in Disney World!

Have you been to Animal Kingdom? What was your favorite part?