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Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney World

Orlando, FL
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Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney World, Orlando FL

Description

Animal Kingdom is lush with the most magnificent vegetation. The bamboo forests reaching up to the sky are just glorious. Pandora land is truly incredible, with waterfalls, streams, flower-like lamps, and prehistoric flowers that respond to touch via motion sensors. Huge rocks soar completely over you, and you can see the floating jagged pillar peaks in the distance. Come at night too to see the plants, rocks, gems, and ground that appear bioluminescent, plus the waterfalls lit up. The real night sky seems like it's part of the created world. It is just pure magic at night and it just makes you amazed at what creative people can do! Navi River Journey is a lovely ride indoors in a boat that takes you past more of the same scenery that you see in Pandora land. There are some cool features that make the forest come to life. Avatar Flight of Passage was voted the best ride in all four parks by MouseHacking- arrive 45 minutes before opening and then wait outside this ride to get a chance to ride it.
The African and Southeast Asian architecture add to the mystique in Animal Kingdom. It's fun to walk around and stop to enjoy the live African drummers or Indian Bhangra performers. Although it is the largest Disney park, it doesn't feel that large- I guess the part you walk around is not the entire park. If you want rides, Animal Kingdom is not the place to go because there aren't many good ones. Expedition Everest, a rollercoaster with a very steep drop and a backwards part in the dark, is the only really good ride. But it is a thrill ride. The great thing about Expedition Everest is that you can ride it as a single rider, therefore skipping the long lines. If you love the imaginative Disney rides that move you past anamatronic people through gorgeous settings, you won't find those here. Kali River Rapids is not an interesting ride- the only enjoyable part is that there is a feeling of camaraderie with the other riders who sit in a circle with you- you all get water dumped on you until you're soaked through even your sneakers and you laugh together- but you have to slush around in your watery sneakers for the rest of the day. Dinosaur ride is too shaky and even my four-year-old complained that her neck was very sore afterwards. The DinoLand area has carnival-style rides and is hot and loud. The TriceraTop Spin (similar to the Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom) isn't as fun as Dumbo for some reason.
The safari ride is lovely- you see giraffes, black rhinos, ostrich eggs, antelope, and other African animals up close. If you get a good driver, it's even better because they will tell you interesting things. Don't miss the safari ride!
It's nice to ride the Wildlife Express Train through the greenery, imagining that you are a traveler from long ago. This takes you to an area where you can learn about animals and conservation. The Boneyard is a large rope play area with slides where kids can climb high up. Adults have to follow in order to supervise so it can be tiring! Young kids enjoy dancing around with their favorite characters at the afternoon parade.
Some lovely times can be spent walking the zoo trails at Animal Kingdom. The Pangani Forest area is a long walk with gorgeous landscaping that wows you. We saw gorillas in a sort of war; one was beating his chest! The hippopotamus was asleep in the water, and you can view him from below water-level. He came up to breathe every six minutes while still asleep, and birds walked on his back without him noticing! The bird area of the Pangani Forest trail was a tropical paradise. Check out the colorful fish in the river there. It's nice to walk around these areas when you want to rejuvenate from the hype of the parade or shows.
Although there are trees everywhere at Animal Kingdom, when you are walking around in the middle of the day you're in the sun, so bring a hat and sunscreen. Also you will want to have good walking shoes and a stroller so you last the day.
Stop in the afternoon for a soft icecream in a delicious waffle cone at the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck (the highly decorated one in Asia). The tables nearby are peaceful too, by the water. The best food for lunch is at Restaurantosaurus in Dinoland, where you can sit in the air-conditioning and enjoy a delicious black bean burger.
The best part about Animal Kingdom are the two shows: Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo- the Musical. These shows are really incredible and the price of your admission seems well worth it when you watch these! Finding Nemo has talented actors, who swing about in the air on cords, while controlling puppets in their hands and also singing! The set is beautiful, with an enormous seagull and a sting ray that rolls in on a bike. It's clever the way they've managed to have sea animals swimming around on a stage! The lighting and beautiful theater are magical. Festival of the Lion King has circus acrobats doing the most wonderful tricks! A fire dancer amazes you. A lady dressed as a tropical bird flies through the air on a cord and sings. The chief with a deep resonating voice is fantastic! Make sure you don't miss these shows and you'll be happy you came!
Because this park is more about beauty than thrills, teens might not be so impressed, unless they are the artistic type. Younger kids who expect imagination rides will also be disappointed, so let them know ahead of time. This park is probably the most fun for adults, especially those that like nature and creative shows. Come on a date here with your spouse!
At the end of the day, enjoy the River of Light fireworks show- beautiful.
Overall Disney World is just way too crowded for my liking. Past noon you can't even walk around without almost tripping on people's feet! Weekdays are no better than weekends. The only bearable time of day are the first two hours of the morning.
You can catch a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge from Animal Kingdom and check out the beautiful lobby and animal viewing areas. 
Check out the other Disney parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios. When in Orlando, stay at a resort with waterfalls and beauty all around- this is a good way to relax the day before or after you visit one of the Disney parks: try Hyatt Grand Cypress or Marriott World Center.
An awesome place to get Disney souvenirs for way less money than in the parks or even at the souvenir shops outside the parks is the Walmart Supercenter near the park. They have a huge section full of gorgeous Disney stuffed animals, t-shirts, dresses (for adults and kids), magnets, backpacks etc. See address below.

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Photo Gallery

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Entrance to Animal Kingdom.
Entrance to Animal Kingdom.
Colorful building at Animal Kingdom.
Colorful building at Animal Kingdom.
Walking into Asia...
Walking into Asia...
Love the architecture!
Love the architecture!
It's like you're on a backpacking expedition...
It's like you're on a backpacking expedition...
Where monkeys hang out...
Where monkeys hang out...
Expedition Everest.
Expedition Everest.
Anandapur Ice Cream Truck where you can get yummy soft icecream in a fresh waffle cone.
Anandapur Ice Cream Truck where you can get yummy soft icecream in a fresh waffle cone.
Pretty place to sit by the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck.
Pretty place to sit by the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck.
Expedition Everest takes you on quite a vertical drop!
Expedition Everest takes you on quite a vertical drop!
Riders scream in delight on Expedition Everest.
Riders scream in delight on Expedition Everest.
Sculptures in the forest in the Asia area.
Sculptures in the forest in the Asia area.
Bird cages in an alley in the Asia area.
Bird cages in an alley in the Asia area.
Kali River Rapids ride.
Kali River Rapids ride.
Red tables and chairs, and ornate lampposts, in Asia.
Red tables and chairs, and ornate lampposts, in Asia.
Bamboo forest.
Bamboo forest.
Giraffe and beautiful open space at the safari ride.
Giraffe and beautiful open space at the safari ride.
Crazy, spooky tree on the safari ride!
Crazy, spooky tree on the safari ride!
The safari ride through water.
The safari ride through water.
Another bizarre and wonderful tree, on the safari ride.
Another bizarre and wonderful tree, on the safari ride.
Rhino and tree with Spanish moss.
Rhino and tree with Spanish moss.
Musicians in the Africa area.
Musicians in the Africa area.
Turquoise building.
Turquoise building.
The Finding Nemo musical is beautiful!
The Finding Nemo musical is beautiful!
Giant sting ray and coral held up by actors in the Finding Nemo musical.
Giant sting ray and coral held up by actors in the Finding Nemo musical.
Scary shark scene in Finding Nemo musical!
Scary shark scene in Finding Nemo musical!
The giant pelican in the Finding Nemo musical!
The giant pelican in the Finding Nemo musical!
Secluded gazebo with lanterns.
Secluded gazebo with lanterns.
Fire dancer in the impressive Festival of the Lion King show.
Fire dancer in the impressive Festival of the Lion King show.
Orangutan acrobats in the Festival of the Lion King show.
Orangutan acrobats in the Festival of the Lion King show.
Multi-colored fish on the Pangani Forest trail.
Multi-colored fish on the Pangani Forest trail.
Lush jungle on the Pangani Forest Trail.
Lush jungle on the Pangani Forest Trail.
Hippo, as seen from below the water, on the Pangani Forest trail.
Hippo, as seen from below the water, on the Pangani Forest trail.
Funny meerkat, on the Pangani Forest trail.
Funny meerkat, on the Pangani Forest trail.
Napping gorilla, seen up close by the glass, on the Pangani Forest trail.
Napping gorilla, seen up close by the glass, on the Pangani Forest trail.
The gorillas were interesting to watch as they faught and vied for power.
The gorillas were interesting to watch as they faught and vied for power.
Monkeys swinging above Asia.
Monkeys swinging above Asia.
Purple orchids along the walkway to the exit.
Purple orchids along the walkway to the exit.
Expedition Everest ride in the distance.
Expedition Everest ride in the distance.
Two beautiful birds on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Two beautiful birds on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Walking around the Maharajah Jungle Trek (zoo trail).
Walking around the Maharajah Jungle Trek (zoo trail).
Architecture on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Architecture on the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Deer as seen from the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Deer as seen from the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
Bird with long, bright feathers.
Bird with long, bright feathers.
The monkeys are a hoot to watch.
The monkeys are a hoot to watch.
Drink station.
Drink station.
Architecture in Africa.
Architecture in Africa.
The Boneyard kids area.
The Boneyard kids area.
Two kids enjoy watching the hippo underwater.
Two kids enjoy watching the hippo underwater.
The beautiful area where the gorillas are, Panjani Trail.
The beautiful area where the gorillas are, Panjani Trail.
Daddy gorilla and baby.
Daddy gorilla and baby.
Waterfall and bamboo on Panjani Forest Trail.
Waterfall and bamboo on Panjani Forest Trail.
It's very lush on the Panjani Forest Trail.
It's very lush on the Panjani Forest Trail.
Animal Kingdom is beautiful!
Animal Kingdom is beautiful!
Everest and Nepalese buildings.
Everest and Nepalese buildings.
Monkey eating lettuce.
Monkey eating lettuce.
Lanterns.
Lanterns.
African musician.
African musician.
Lamppost in Pandora land.
Lamppost in Pandora land.
Tropical plants catching the light in Pandora land.
Tropical plants catching the light in Pandora land.
Teen boys walking through Pandora.
Teen boys walking through Pandora.
Palm tree in Pandora.
Palm tree in Pandora.
Amazing landscape in Pandora land.
Amazing landscape in Pandora land.
Waterfall in Pandora land.
Waterfall in Pandora land.
People walking under an archway in Pandora land.
People walking under an archway in Pandora land.
Wild landscape overhead.
Wild landscape overhead.
Floating mountains in the distance.
Floating mountains in the distance.
Designers of Pandora land went to Hawaii for inspiration.
Designers of Pandora land went to Hawaii for inspiration.
Waterfalls and pillar peak mountains.
Waterfalls and pillar peak mountains.
The strange atmosphere in Pandora land.
The strange atmosphere in Pandora land.
The plants appear bioluminescent at night.
The plants appear bioluminescent at night.
Baby monkey.
Baby monkey.
Animal Kingdom is lit up beautifully at night.
Animal Kingdom is lit up beautifully at night.
Christmas decorations.
Christmas decorations.
Magical Christmas decorations.
Magical Christmas decorations.
Christmas decorations on a store.
Christmas decorations on a store.
Lanterns on a pavilion.
Lanterns on a pavilion.
The Rivers of Light fireworks area.
The Rivers of Light fireworks area.
Rivers of Light fireworks lagoon.
Rivers of Light fireworks lagoon.
Lanterns of many colors.
Lanterns of many colors.
Lanterns, trees, and night sky.
Lanterns, trees, and night sky.
The Tree of Life looks amazing.
The Tree of Life looks amazing.
Harambe Theater, where you can see the Lion King show.
Harambe Theater, where you can see the Lion King show.
Harambe Theater at night.
Harambe Theater at night.
Pandora land lamppost at night.
Pandora land lamppost at night.
Glowing rocks in Pandora land.
Glowing rocks in Pandora land.
Glowing gems above you in Pandora land.
Glowing gems above you in Pandora land.
The floor glows below you at night in Pandora land!
The floor glows below you at night in Pandora land!
Prehistoric plants and moon in Pandora land.
Prehistoric plants and moon in Pandora land.
Glowing rocks.
Glowing rocks.
Glowing garden.
Glowing garden.
Waterfalls and glowing plants.
Waterfalls and glowing plants.
Glowing ground and mountains.
Glowing ground and mountains.
The mountains are stunning at night in Pandora land.
The mountains are stunning at night in Pandora land.
Looking up at the waterfall past glowing plants.
Looking up at the waterfall past glowing plants.
Glowing plants and waterfall.
Glowing plants and waterfall.
Night sky with stars, and Pandora land.
Night sky with stars, and Pandora land.
The Navi River ride is enchanting!
The Navi River ride is enchanting!
Navi River ride.
Navi River ride.

Directions

From Florida's Turnpike, take the exit for Osceola Pkwy and head west for 11 miles. Turn right on World Drive and follow the signs to Animal Kingdom.
Animal Kingdom opens at 9am and closes at 7pm, sometimes 8pm. Some days it opens early for Disney hotel guests. Florida residents can find highly discounted passes on the park's website ($460 a year per person for access most weekdays and weekend days). In January-May they sometimes have 4-day discounted passes for Florida residents for around $159. Out of state guests can save money by buying multi-day passes. Cost is over $100 per person for a one-day ticket. Parking is $25, but free for Disney hotel guests.
Walmart Supercenter, 3250 Vineland Road, Kissimmee, FL, call (407) 397-1125. Amazing place to get Disney souvenirs.

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Last Updated: Fri, 28 Feb 2020 20:42:15 GMT