The cold has come and it sure as shovels bothers me! The dude and I had a great local exploration lined up and then the cold (and ice, since snow doesn’t come to NC) showed up and dashed our plans against the icebergs 🙁 Therefore I’m bringing you an exploration in a warmer climate (though they aren’t that warm right now): Animal Kingdom down in Walt Disney World! Opened in 1998, Animal Kingdom, though sometimes called a “half day park”, is a treasure that is only getting better with time. Disney is not only adding nighttime entertainment, but they’re adding a whole new land based on Avatar! In the meantime, there’s so much gorgeous scenery throughout the park and some delish dishes that you really could spend a full day here just taking everything in. Now, let’s stop the talking and get to the walking…or really just the pretty pictures.
You can get to the park by bus or car (no animal transportation here, sadly) and the tram provides regular service from the parking lot to the “front stoop” of the park!
One of my favorite things about Animal Kingdom is the fact that you can see animals in their -almost- natural habitat. Disney does an amazing job of separating the animals without bars and fencing for the most part.
My other favorite thing about the AK is their merchandise. Because hello adorable figurines that were actually made in the country that they claim to represent!
I also love their flowers. Just cause flowers are pretty. 🙂
The Tree of Life is a showstopper, people. This thing is 145 feet tall, has 8,000 branches, there are hundreds of hand carved animals in the trunk and they’ve even added more!
They’re so good they even match the decor to the birds. Or it’s a coincidence. But with Disney, you’re never really going to know 😛
There are plenty of places to eat all over the park. With as many dining options as they have at Animal Kingdom (including both quick and table service) there’s bound to be something even the most annoying – I mean, picky! – eater would like! Case in point: my mom even found something she liked when we visited 😉
And if all else fails, get ice cream.
Africa in the park is amazing – and it has one of my favorite attractions ever: the Kilimanjaro Safaris. If there’s a wait when you visit it’s totally worth it. Just be careful of the bouncy nature that this attraction can have, the potholes make for some crazy rides!
When I said they make it seem like the animals are close when they aren’t, I was so not joking. Although the ostriches really are that close. Those buggers will walk right in front of the ride vehicle and delay the silly out of your trip. I’ve had it happen. Twice.
My favorite part of Animal Kingdom though might just be Asia. This part of the park is absolutely gorgeous and they have some of the cutest merch in the world.
Hello, tiny dancer – err, dolls.
Asia is also home to the best restaurant in Animal Kingdom, Yak & Yeti. It’s that blue building behind the ginormous rock sculpture. I can no longer find my favorite menu item on their menu (although let’s be honest, I usually show up exhausted and starving so I may not remember the name correctly). You should always order their fried wontons though. You’ll thank me.
There are regularly scheduled dance parties with amazing music. How can you not love this park?!
The Maharajah Jungle Trek is out of this world beautiful. There are tigers, dilapidated ruins, no bears though, oh my.
Prayer flags abound – and make me very happy on a windy day.
You can even stop for some water on your way out of the ruins!
Lastly, the all powerful yeti’s (when he’s working, Disco Yeti when he isn’t) home provides a wonderful exit from the park. I love to just sit here towards the end of the day and listen to people’s screams.
That last bit sounded pretty bad, didn’t it? I really just mean I like to listen to their happiness as they plunge down an 80 foot drop in a small coaster car. Wait, that sounded bad too. Just know that it’s a very nice place to sit and watch the sun go down, especially with the scary yeti just a few feet away 😉
Have you explored Animal Kingdom yet?
Wishing you tiny dancers and fried wontons,