Our day at Disney Animal Kingdom was a day full of emotions. I cried happy tears and felt all the magic. It was amazing and I can’t wait to share it with you. Animal Kingdom was the third of four days at Walt Disney World Orlando.
As with my previous two posts, I want to be transparent with you, our tickets to Disney World were kindly gifted to us along with some amazing FastPass enhancements. Usually you get 3 FastPasses per guest at Disney and we had been gifted more on top of them.
We also had a Michael’s VIP tour guide for all four of our Disney days which I’d definitely recommend if you are visiting Disney for the first time. Our guide, Brooke, was amazing at organising every last detail of our day, including taking us to the rides, organising our FastPasses and making sure we all had the most magical experience for all four of our Disney days.
Let’s get on with the day. So we met our tour guide just inside Magic Kingdom entrance at about 8:50am. This seemed to be the best time for us to meet. From the entrance island, Oasis, you walk on to the Discovery Island where the iconic Tree of Life is. From there you can explore the different zones of Disney Animal Kingdom; Africa, Asia, Pandora – The World Of Avatar and DinoLand U.S.A.
I definitely think the one thing we all commented on was the amazing scenery of the park. It’s very green and luscious looking. The attention to detail everywhere was just incredible. It was in those moments walking towards Pandora World Of Avatar when I knew that day was going to be an emotional one!
Then we walked into Pandora. Oh my goodness there are just no words to describe it. The attention to detail in this area was like nothing I’ve ever seen. The atmosphere, the smells and the way you feel totally immersed.
Na’vi River Journey was the first ride in our Animal Kingdom day. It was one of our bucket list rides for Animal Kingdom so it was all very exciting. We was able to go on as a normal queue as most people head to queue for the Flight Of Passage ride in Pandora.
The Na’vi River Journey is a river ride suitable for all ages and heights. You ride inside a log flume which carries you gently through the river. It’s a dark ride as you float through caves and into a bioluminescent rainforest that’s full of different sights, smells and sounds of exotic plants and creatures on all sides, even above.
The animatronic of Shaman of Songs (the lady) is absolutely incredible. She looks so life like and not robotic at all. Everyone was in awe and I could feel some tears welling in my eyes. It was just stunning and the perfect start to our day.
Another one that we had been recommended to ride was Avatar Flight Of Passage. It’s one of the most sought after FastPass rides and the queues were big. Thankfully Brooke had got us onto a FastPass straight after the Na’vi River Journey. Hubby, Eva and I had decided to ride.
Avatar Flight Of Passage is suitable for riders over the height of 112cm. It’s classed as a thrill ride on the Disney website. Basically it’s a simulator ride only you are sitting on your own Banshee (kind of like a bike but comfier and you are secured in). The ride then takes you flying through various scenes in the Avatar films. You can feel the Banshee breathing beneath you. The motion is smooth but there are times when your tummy gets left in the sky. I had been really worried about getting a bit motion sick because I usually do, but this was so smooth and it didn’t leave me feel ill at all.
I cried. Happy joyful tears. It was the most emotional ride I’ve ever experienced. The way it’s created and the way you are truly immersed into the world of Avatar. It’s just astonishing. Eva loved it and wanted to ride again.
Take it from me, you cannot come to Animal Kingdom and not go to watch the Festival of the Lion King. I grew up with the Lion King, I remember playing imaginative games with my friends pretending to be Simba and Nala. I’m very thankful that Brooke got us in to see the live action show. It was amazing and I now want to see the theatre version in London.
Eva had the amazing opportunity to actually take part in two bits of the show when they picked some of the audience. It was rather emotional to think that she was part of a brilliant show right in the middle of Animal Kingdom! The show was lively, colourful and the acrobatics were so talented. The Festival Of The Lion King lasted 30 minutes of magic.
We then had a FastPass for the Kilimanjaro Safaris. This is another all age and height ride of an open-air vehicle. Animal Kingdom has a 110acre open savannah with 34 species living there. The weather was very hot again so it actually felt like we was on an African safari.
The ride is quite bumpy as it explores various different areas of the safari. Each tour is individual because animals obviously move around. The guide told us lots of facts as we spotted out the different animals living there. Elsa is prone to getting some travel sickness and the bumpy ride made her feel a little poorly, thankfully for her it was only a 20 minute ride.
Everybody else had a really good time spotting the incredible animals, we saw Giraffe, Rhinos, Hippos, Lions and so many more. We also spotted the hidden Mickey in the flamingo pool!
When you come off of the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, there is a beautiful trail where you can have up close encounters with some animals. When we visited there was the cutest baby Gorilla hugging its Mum. I actually had no idea that Disney Animal Kingdom had its out zoo type area. There’s even a walk through aviary.
We then walked through to DinoLand U.S.A to go and see the Finding Nemo The Musical show. In my video from our day, there’s a clip just after this show where I talk about having tears in my eyes and being super emotional. Animal Kingdom seemed to have all of my childhood favourites and it was bringing memories and magic to life for me. The girls were genuinely beaming all day too.
The Finding Nemo Musical was amazing. I need to come up with some other words for incredible, amazing and awesome don’t I?! But it truly was. The talent that went in to creating the fabulous puppets was mesmerising. The show was a quick run through of the Finding Nemo movie. It lasted 40 minutes and was in an air-conditioned theatre. We took the opportunity to eat our lunch time snacks and Brooke, our tour guide, went to have her own lunch whilst we watched.
After the show Hubby, Eva and I made our way to Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. This is a rollercoaster thrill ride with a height requirement of 112cm. Eva was very excited to be doing another thrill ride. It was funny because she is such a daredevil that she looked a little deflated at the slower family rides at Disney. It was nice to fulfil her need for speed occasionally.
Expedition Everest takes you rapidly along the track as you race to escape the cursed mountain, before the Yeti claims you. There are some parts which are really fast and dark. I’m pretty sure it was this ride that took my breath away as it whizzed around. I don’t think we expected it to be so fast but Eva loved it!
During our walk from Asia to Pandora, Elsa fell asleep. The excitement and heat had wiped her out. We had another FastPass for Avatar Flight Of Passage. We managed to persuade my Mum to come on the ride with us, as I said earlier I suffer from motion sickness and this ride didn’t effect me. So I hoped my Mum could enjoy this one too.
I was wrong. Mum felt quite dizzy sadly but could understand why we had felt so emotional about the ride. It had me in tears once again. Brooke was kindly waiting in the shaded Satu’li Canteen with Freya and Elsa, having a great chat about various things. Whilst in Pandora we all took another ride on the Na’vi River, with Elsa still fast asleep.
Underneath the Tree Of Life on Discovery Island, is another 3D theatre show called It’s Tough To Be A Bug. It’s an all age performance however Brooke suggested that Elsa may not enjoy it… Knowing how Elsa is. So she popped us to see this whilst Elsa was still snoozing.
The show is inspired by the A Bug’s Life movie (another one of my favs) and features the lovable ant Flik. There’s lots of 4D surprises throughout the show like blasts of air, water and even little bugs crawling under your seats. It was a great experience and I definitely agree that Elsa wouldn’t have liked it.
The Discovery Island has lots of fun things going on there too. As you talk through to the Bug show, there are the most amazing wood/tree carvings of different animals. It’s so pretty. There’s also lots of food outlets on this island, some character meets and more animal viewing areas too. I also loved the Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party, which seemed to be going on all day long.
As it was coming to the end of the day, Brooke took us over to DinoLand U.S.A to take a look at the rides over there. It’s quite like an old fashioned fairground over in this area with Primeval rollercoaster. Then for the under 10s there’s The Boneyard which is an open air dinosaur themed playground.
We woke Elsa up, who is our dinosaur loving child, so that she didn’t miss out on the fun in this area. The queues had started to die down so we did a walk on for TricerTop Spin. This is a lot like the Flying Dumbo ride in Magic Kingdom. My Mum picked to sit this one out, so Brooke came on with Freya so that we could ride in pairs. It’s a nice ride for all heights.
For the very last ride of our day, we decided to pick Na’vi River Journey. It was clearly a favourite for all and was truly magical seeing all the bright colours and being immersed in the Avatar world. Then on our way out of the parks Eva fell asleep in the pushchair. It was quite unlike her so I definitely think it shows you what a fantastic time we all had.
There was definitely quite a few rides and attractions that we didn’t get to do in Animal Kingdom. We just didn’t have the time and I can totally appreciate why people book to visit Disney for two weeks. I also don’t think we could have done the day without the help of our guide from Michaels VIPs. Not only did she take our pushchair and bags, she helped us get on rides without having to queue for any longer than five or ten minutes. She was a game changer for our first ever Disney experience.
How cute is this family photo of us in front of the Tree of Life?
We said our goodbyes and agreed a meeting place for our final Disney day… Epcot! We then ordered our Uber through the app and headed back to our hotel, Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa.
We had definitely started a bit of a routine on our Disney days of eating snacks throughout the day and then feeding our troop at Wendy’s. It was really good value for the amount of food served.
After dinner we enjoyed a tiny bit of down time at the hotel and allowed our food to go down before heading out to the pool. This was our last night at the hotel so we wanted to make the most of it. The pool was a little chilly and it had been a bit overcast from the usual afternoon Orlando rain. I then spent the evening packing up our suitcases so we didn’t have a mad rush in the morning.
It felt really sad to be nearing the end of our Disney adventure. I would love it if you took some time to watch the video from our wonderful Animal Kingdom day out. I think I spent most of the day in tears of happiness. Magic is definitely created at Disney.