12 August 2012

Where in Walt Disney World: Animal Kingdom

I am a HUGE Disney buff, and my specialist subject would be Walt Disney World. I've been lucky enough to visit Disneyland in California and the one in Paris, but WDW is by far my favourite and in my opinion the ultimate.

After many years of travelling to the Sunshine state of Florida, and visiting Disney World i thought i'd impart some wisdom, tips and tricks, the best things to do and maybe what not to, just in case any of you are ever thinking of taking the trip or maybe i can intrigue you to do so. So, get ready for a the ultimate guide to Walt Disney World and the surrounding area while i'm away at the same destination.
Walt Disney World covers 30,080 acres and holds four theme parks, two water parks, 23 on-site Disney themed resorts and 8 resorts that aren't Disney owned. You can even find a campground, two spas and physical fitness centres, five golf courses and a plethora of other recreational activities and entertainment. Walt Disney developed the resort in the early 1960's but sadly died in 1966 before his original plans were fully recognised and before it's completion in 1971. Disney World opened on October 1st 1971 with only the Magic Kingdom but EPCOT was added in 1982, Hollywood Studios - formerly MGM Studios - in 1989 and Animal Kingdom in 1998.

It's a place where dreams are made. Come with me and explore the ins and outs of the happiest place on earth.
Home to more than 1,700 animals from 250 species, sprawling across 500 acres of a mix of lush, green plains and african-style buildings, making it the largest animal themed theme park in the world. Like the Magic Kingdom, it's split into seven areas: Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki's Planet Watch, Asia & Dinoland USA with the beautiful Tree of Life presiding over it's land in the centre of the park. Animal Kingdom combines it's famous safaris, animal life with broadway style musicals and parades that'll have you wanting more.

Dinoland isn't a place i personally frequent as it's full of attractions for the littleuns amongst you. It's the home of the Boneyard, an adventure play area full of fossils waiting to be unearthed and creatures, bones and who knows what to climb in, on and around. Camp Minnie-Mickey is where many of the Animal Kingdom's shows are held, including my personal favourite The Festival of the Lion King. You can also find character meet and greets here, usually in full safari attire to suit location! You can take a quick train journey to Rafiki's Planet Watch which is home to a lot of information about Animal Kingdom's conservation project. Here you can also find the parks veterinary centre and where they keep things like food and medicine for the animals, which is available to see. There's also a petting zoo and always characters around for an autograph and a cuddle! If you're desperate to see the big man himself, this is the obvious location to find him as Rafiki can often be found at his planet watch along with other characters who love the earth as much as he does, for example Pocahontas and Jiminy Cricket. The rest of the park is classic Animal Kingdom, which you'll learn when you prowl the park.

The Tree of Life is a 145 foot tall, 50 foot wide sculpted centrepiece and the icon for the Animal Kingdom park. Paths known as the Discovery Island Trains wind around, and through, this giant structure. If you walk the trails you'll see the beautiful carvings of 325 animals in the bark of this magnificent tree. You'll spy animals such as Galapagos Tortoises, Lemurs and Cotton-Top Tamarins to name but a few. Inside you'll find a theatre home to It's Tough to be a Bug! An 8-minute 3D movie and multimedia show starring everybody's favourite ant Flik and his grasshopper friend Hopper from the Disney Pixar film It's a Bug's Life, along with a cast of insects and arachnids who provide a surprising look into the animal kingdom.

The only problem i find with the beautiful Animal Kingdom is that, unlike the other parks, because this park is so focused around nature, animals and the things around us that most things are outside and in the searing heat this can get a bit overwhelming. I advise that you make sure to take time out of the heat, even if only for a few minutes at a time roaming the shops or sitting down for a cold drink or bite to eat just to get some time out.

One of my all time favourite attractions in this park, and probably Walt Disney World itself, is Animal Kingdoms infamous Kilimanjaro Safari. I feel like this is what the Animal Kingdom's all about. I should probably also mention know that this Disney park also does amazing things for the environment, you can donate to the cause in many locations around the park - just ask any host or hostess about how you can and what it goes towards, they do amazing things for conservation around the world. The Kilimanjaro Safaris show a little about what this conservation project is about. This attraction is an expedition for all ages and provides the chance to see African animals roaming around the 100 acre savanna in the Africa area of Animal Kingdom. It begins in the Harambe Wildlife Reserve where you climb aboard an open sided safari truck for an adventure through the wildlife reserve. It can get a bit bumpy but everything is worth it for the up close and sometimes personal encounters with some of the world's most beautiful animals. You're likely to spot Antelope, Okapi, Giraffe, Elephants, Thompson Gazelle, Baboons, Hippos, Flamingos, Rhinos and if it's not nap time a Lion or two. You never know what you're going to see so keep your eyes peeled and your camera at the ready!

My favourite Walt Disney World show also happens to be in this park and that would be the Festival of the Lion King. The Lion King has forever been my favourite Disney movie and this interactive show brings it firmly to life. Set in the surroundings of Camp Minnie-Mickey, this 30 minute broadway style show is full of all your favourite songs, characters and more. You'll be introduced to your four hosts, plus someone who thinks he's the real star, and will be encouraged to get involved in greeting our animal friends. Each of the four sections will be given an animal - lion, elephant, giraffe and warthog - and you'll be led in making your animal's related action and sound. Well, it's only fair you welcome Simba and his pals to make them welcome! The hosts will also teach you the hand jive to Hakuna Matata to get you truly joined in! You'll be singing along in seconds, laughing at Timone's tumble monkeys and awe inspired by juggling fire and the beautiful love struck birds. You'll be amazed by the puppetry, colourful costumes, spectacular singing and gymnastics. It's a beautifully put together show and it'll leave you feeling truly engrossed in the Disney world and everything around you.

If the thrill seekers amoung you are looking for something a little faster, then maybe you should take a trip to Everest and join the Expedition! High in the snowy peaks of Mount Everest you'll trek across the treacherous terrain of the mountain, in your railway car, before you begin the ascent to the summit. You'll be able to see all of the Animal Kingdom far below you before you're plunged into darkness and brought out back into the light to see the tracks have been ripped and twisted into a dead end making there nowhere else to turn, or is there? Plummeting into the darkness you'll ride nail biting hairpin curls and sudden drops on the mountain slopes. However, somewhere lurking in the depths of the snowy peaks lies the Yeti so you better hold onto your seats because it's going to be a wild ride!

A newer addition to the Animal Kingdom park is Finding Nemo - The Musical. This 30 minute broadway-style musical brings this favourite Disney movie to life, before your very eyes. You'll be sharing a room with the movie greats: Nemo, Dory and an incredible 22 foot tall Nigel the Pelican. As well as some classic hits, you'll soon be singing along to some new musical numbers taken from key movie lines such as 'just keep swimming' and 'go with the flow'. The pioneering lighting, sound, special effects and amazing theatrical puppets - some as large as cars - make Finding Nemo - The Musical a "must 'sea' production"!

Flights of Wonder is a 25 minute live show presented several times throughout the day, in the Asia area of Animal Kingdom. The show promotes and showcases the amazing natural behaviours, and often humorous talents, of at least 20 species of exotic bird. You can see Harris Hawks, Macaws and an amazing Yellow-Napped Amazon Parrot named Groucho with an amazing singing voice. Under the shaded, canopied arena is where 'Guano' Joe and his partner Luke, a bird handler, partner up for the performance. The birds hunt, sing, soar and sometimes swoop right over your heads so be sure to stay low! Although the cast change, on occasion, you may be in with the chance to see Pigeons, Toco Toucans, Augur Buzzards and even the great American Bald Eagle; this is something you're not going to want to miss.

An easy eat in Animal Kingdom is their quick service Pizzafari. Perfect for lunch, dinner and snacking pit stops they serve four main dining options; three pizzas, after their name sake, and a hot italian style sandwich as well as two salad options. For the kids, they do a mean cheese pizza or the 'Kid's Pick': a choice if mac and cheese, turkey sandwich or cheese pizza served with grapes, carrot sticks, and choice of milk, bottled water or apple juice. It's not the greatest choice of foods but they're good at what they do and it's an easy option.

The Tusker House Restaurant is marked as a little higher on the Disney price scale but it's still not unaffordable - sometimes it's nice to take a break from the fast food and to try something new. It's described as a 'colourful and bustling Harambe Marketplace eatery' and with it's buffet style dining you feel truly amerced in the African style. The Tusker House has an impressive 'Wall of Flames' - 18 feet of rotisseries that spit-roasts the meat throughout the day - and daily character dining experiences for all the family, with classic Disney characters to share your safari stories with. The restaurant boasts 'Donald's Dining Safari Breakfast' and 'Donald's Dining Safari Lunch' in which Donald meets and greets his dining guests, and who knows he may even bring along some of his friends. Make sure to be at the Breakfast or Lunch services to be in with the chance of meeting your favourite characters, they don't work the Dinner service with so much else to do in the park! During the Lunch and Dinner service African flavours are pumped into the delicious buffet, that includes a variety of vegetarian and meat dishes such as: all-you-can eat spit-roast carved meats, unique salads, hearty stews, delicious desserts and and a special buffet sized for the little ones in your party. Why not try a refreshing glass of South African wine, a Safari Amber brew or one of their signature cocktails after your long, hard trek and set your taste buds tingling at the Tusker House Restaurant in the Africa Area of Animal Kingdom.

So, there you have it; the Animal Kingdom. Despite the heat there's so much to see, and do, that you won't even feel like you're in the middle of central Florida - more like taking a month long Safari.

All Images Sourced from Google Images

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogger Template Made By pipdig