First of all, Happy Birthday to my awesome sister Jenn who I spent time in Disney with last September when we celebrated her birthday!
Wrapping up my Disney rides and attractions posts is Disney’s Animal Kingdom (DAK). This is the park that I anticipate will be most crowded because of the recent opening of Pandora. My hope is that the crowds will mainly be exploring Pandora and will be less around the rest of the park.
We will have a full day in DAK and it will be our last day at the parks so I am hoping it is not too hectic. I’m well aware that Fast Passes for Flight of Passage will be hard to come by, but I really hope that we can get them so that we won’t have to worry as much with lines. I have heard that Na’vi River Journey is easier to get a Fast Pass to and that there are sometimes times available later in the day after we have used our first Fast Pass which would be awesome. If not, we may have to wait in a pretty long line.
Since Animal Kingdom is mainly about, well, animals, I decided to separate the Animal Experiences from the rides and attractions.
To start, the various animals that can be seen in the different areas of the Animal Kingdom include:
- African Birds – Africa
- African Elephants – Africa
- Butterflies – Africa
- Flamingos – Discovery Island
- Gibbons – Asia
- Giraffes – Africa
- Gorillas – Africa
- Hippopotamuses – Africa
- Tamarins – Discovery Island
- Tigers – Asia
- Lions – Africa
- Okapis – Africa
- Rhinos – Africa
- Vultures – Discovery Island
Some of the trails and paths to view the animals are The Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail (Africa), Maharajah Jungle Trek (Asia), Discovery Island Trails (Discovery Island), and The Oasis Exhibits (Oasis). I am open to exploring any of the animal areas because it is a lot of fun to check out all the animals here since they come from many different parts of the world and are so unique and beautiful. I particularly love Okapis and my hope is to get to see them, as well as Giraffes on my next trip.
- Wilderness Explorers – The Wilderness Explorers is an opportunity for guests to earn badges like Russell from Up by completing certain tasks and trivia around the park. I’ve never done it but it looks like fun. I’m not sure we will have the time for it on our next trip, but maybe sometime in the future I can be a Wilderness Explorer.
Pandora – The World of Avatar
- Avatar Flight of Passage – This looks awesome as you get to fly through Pandora on the back of a banshee. I am really looking forward to riding Flight of Passage and hoping to score an elusive FastPass+ for this. Wish me luck!
- Na’vi River Journey – I definitely want to ride this as well. A slower ride than Flight of Passage, this hasn’t gotten as good reviews except in the area of the animatronic shaman. I still really want to experience it and hope that either the line isn’t too bad while we are there or we can score a FastPass+ after already going on Flight of Passage (again, as long as that works out).
- Tree of Life – The Tree of Life is such an amazing piece of artwork. I know it’s not technically a ride, but I plan on walking around it and admiring and trying to count all the animals I can find carved into it. And, obviously, take a picture in front of it.
- It’s Tough to be a Bug! – This is a good one to do, even if the bugs sort of still freak me out a bit. Jenn and I went last year and if we have the time, I would do it again. It may work well for our Four Parks Day depending on the timings.
- The Boneyard – I remember playing in the boneyard as a kid and having a fun time. It’s not something I am planning on doing this trip, since it’s geared more towards children in like a park atmosphere. It nice for kids though.
- DINOSAUR – Nope nope nope and a whole bunch of nopes! I do not like DINOSAUR. It scares the heck out of me and was the one ride I couldn’t keep my eyes open for when I tried to face all my ride fears the year I went with Reenie. I will not be riding this one and have a feeling Reenie would concur.
- Fossil Fun Games – I didn’t really know these existed but they look like cute boardwalk games. Not sure if they cost extra – which in that case, no – but we probably won’t head over in this direction anyway.
- Primeval Whirl – This is another ride that looks like a sort of Cat & Mouse ride (similar to Goofy’s Fly School) that I could pretty much do without. I don’t like getting whipped around like that. If I’m wrong, let me know, but I think that’s the gist of it.
- TriceraTop Spin – this looks cute, sort of a Dumbo-esque ride. If I were going to do anything in DinoLand, this would probably be it, but I have a feeling it might make more sense to skip DinoLand altogether rather than come just for this.
- Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain – Expedition Everest is hands down my favorite ride in all of Animal Kingdom, possibly even all of Disney. I loved riding it on my trip in 2008 where we got to go on over and over. From then to 2015 I hadn’t stepped foot in Animal Kingdom so that was the first ride I dragged Reenie to on DAK day. It may have changed over the years and some of it doesn’t work the same but it’s still one of my favorites!
- Kali River Rapids – I love rapid rides but the line for this last time was so long! I guess we will see how we are feeling the day we are there and whether it’s hot enough to warrant waiting in a line for this or if the lines have slimmed down in favor of Pandora being open.
- Kilimanjaro Safaris – I love the safari and looking for the animals. This is a great way to see a lot of animals without doing a ton of walking, etc. We talked about doing this first thing in the morning of the Four Parks day during extra magic hours to see all the animals still being active. I also think this is a good strategic move because most people during extra magic hours will be running to Pandora, which we will be doing the following day, and not to the safari. We’ll see.
- Wildlife Express Train – I am torn on boarding the Wildlife Express. Dom loves trains and I think he would enjoy it, but I’m not sure if going to Rafiki’s Planet Watch will be worth our while (which is where the train goes). Reenie and I enjoyed it in 2015 but there isn’t that much to see there. I’ll get into it in a bit, but I guess this is more of an “if we have time” thing.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch
- Affection Section – basically a petting zoo. It’s fun, but might not be the most exciting experience for three adults. Just saying.
- Conservation Station – This is kind of cool, as I like learning about the animals and reptiles here. If it weren’t so out of the way to go to Planet Watch, this would be fun. Maybe if we’re looking for something away from the normal crowds we can venture out here because I feel like Dom and I would enjoy it. It’s not a necessity, though.
- Habitat Habit! – This was more of a walk-through area that Reenie and I glanced at but it didn’t really catch our attention too much. I don’t know if I’d come specifically for that.
To be honest, Rafiki’s Planet Watch has nothing drawing me to it (sort of like DinoLand) and with the opening of Pandora, I’d much rather spend time there exploring the new land. However, that may be the general consensus, which will draw everyone to that area of the park and away from these areas, making them more of an oasis of less crowds than anywhere else.
So I really do love Animal Kingdom, but I’m keeping our schedule pretty open. I want to allow as much time as necessary to explore Pandora but also the flexibility to go wherever we want if we need to get away from the crowds. I would also really like to see Festival of the Lion King (which falls under entertainment and I may talk about at a later date) and will definitely want to see Rivers of Light (which we are trying to get the dining package for the day we are there) so we need to have flexibility in our time. I’m also anticipating this being a more laid-back day in the park with the freedom to explore as we want. So who knows? Maybe I will be a Wilderness Explorer! 😉
Is there anything else I should do at Animal Kingdom? What do you think of my plans? Am I being realistic? Anyone else planning a day at Animal Kingdom soon?
Thanks for visiting! ºoº Juli ºöº