Adventures in Animal Kingdom

Remember how I mentioned a trip to Disney World in my last post? Well, it turns out that trip was the perfect way to start my 2017 off right! I love writing about my trips to Disney, and I made sure to take lots of pictures in the parks to make this post a fun one. Becky and I decided to go to Animal Kingdom first, because neither of us had been there in forever. It really is the most underrated park in my opinion – yeah, there’s not a ton of rides or shows, but the atmosphere is unmatched and it’s incredibly immersive.

It was still a bit crowded due to the holiday season not quite being over, so most of the fast passes for the major attractions were already taken by the time we looked. Fortunately, we were able to snag some for Finding Nemo: The Musical, Festival of the Lion King, and Dinosaur! We set off for the park around noon and arrived just in time to head to our first call time, but not before admiring some of the iconic Animal Kingdom views:

First off, the Tree of Life! It’s one of my favorite locations in all of Animal Kingdom, especially because of the intricate carvings of animals on its trunk. There was a pretty significant line to get a picture in front of it, so we skipped that this time, but we were in a rush anyway so it all worked out!

On the way to the theater, we walked past one of the nicest views in the park: Mt. Everest, home of the fabled yeti! I wish I could have ridden Expedition Everest, but due to the lack of fast passes and the extremely long wait, that wasn’t on the to-do list this time. After a couple minutes of admiring the view, we hurried on our way to our first show.

Finding Nemo: The Musical is a whimsical retelling of the Pixar film by the same name, and it’s definitely a fun time! The cast was amazing, especially the actor who played Marlin – his voice was so accurate! Even if you aren’t a huge fan of musicals, it’s a great way to get out of the heat and crowds for a little while. Having a fast pass will get you in earlier, but it’s not a necessity, given that the entire theater has good viewing. Afterwards, we had some time to kill before our next show. We decided to spend it meeting some characters unique to Animal Kingdom.

First on our list was Tarzan, and he didn’t disappoint! Becky and I didn’t really know what to expect, since neither of us had met him before. Luckily, he did most of the talking. He spent a fair amount of time teaching us how to speak gorilla, which is why I’m laughing in our photo! There were only a couple other people in line to see him, so if you have the chance don’t pass it up!

Next, we dropped by Pocahontas in her hut. We had to wait a little longer to see her, but it was worth it because she was super sweet! She meets basically all day, so check her out next time you’re able – you won’t be disappointed!

Next stop: Africa, to see The Festival of the Lion King! If I had to pick one thing in Animal Kingdom that you should definitely not miss, no matter what, I would pick this show. It combines all the great music from the film with amazing acrobatics, dancing, and even a fire show! It’s incredible, and worth the wait if you don’t snag a fast pass for it. I took some videos, but they came out pretty grainy and dark so I’ll spare you that viewing experience.

Last on our Animal Kingdom agenda was the newly-refurbished Dinosaur! In my opinion, it’s another underrated gem of Walt Disney World. It’s thrilling and dark and has some incredible animatronics. Usually the wait isn’t so bad, but it was crowded enough that it was 45 minutes, so I was thankful for our fast passes! Some part of the ride could still stand a little upgrading, but overall it’s one of my favorites.

After our Animal Kingdom adventures, Becky and I decided to hit up Disney Springs for dinner. Pro-tip: if you’re park-hopping and want to get a great meal for a lower price than you would find in the parks, go to Disney Springs! We ate at Blaze and got a 20% discount for being pass holders, and topped it off with cupcakes from Sprinkles.

Final stop: Hollywood Studios! We arrived right in time for Galactic Spectacular, one of my favorite nighttime shows on property:

After the show, we headed to the Star Wars Launch Bay to meet some of our favorite characters. The lines were super short, since everyone seemed to have headed out after the fireworks even though it was only eight o’clock! We met Kylo Ren and Chewie in about fifteen minutes total, which is usually half of the wait time to meet just one of them!

 

It was almost nine o’clock when we finished wandering around the Launch Bay, so to Tower of Terror we went! The wait was fifteen minutes (a miracle for a ride that usually runs a wait of an hour or more) thanks to the fact that the park was empty. Nothing quite like screaming your head off to cap off an amazing day!

I’m about halfway through my first week of spring semester, so my next post will probably just be a long rant about how much I love all of my classes. Yay for 2017!!!