Animal Kingdom is an usual park, mixing rides with shows and animals. This was the last park we did as a family.
The newly opened Pandora was our first stop. The whole area is based on the planet of Pandora from Avatar, and is incredible to see. The place is lush with plants, with amazing models of glowing plant life, and piped noises of mysterious animals. Even without visiting the rides, it’s worth a walk around. We didn’t even attempt to queue for Flight of Passage which never dropped below about 3 hours of queue, but we did make it onto Na’vi River Journey which is a gentle boat ride along a glowing, beautiful river. If you want to do both rides, you need to be at the park before opening and ready to run at rope drop.
We stopped by the Pongu Pongu Lounge which sells a range of strange glowing beverages. I had the Night Blossom which is a frozen drink with limeade, apple and desert pear, topped with passion fruit boba balls. It was very sweet and syrupy, but refreshing in the heat. The boba balls were a fun touch, bursting pleasantly on your tongue.
My highlight of the whole day was the Festival of the Lion King. This live show is mind-blowing, with music from the movie, live singers, dancers, acrobats and a special visit from the king himself. Do not miss this, I can’t express how fantastic the show is. I had goosebumps.
The Animal Kingdom is home to lots of live animals too, kept well away from the park noise in themed ‘treks’. We walked through the Gorilla Falls Expedition Trail where we saw some gorgeous animals, including of course, the gorillas. A cast member told us that one of the gorillas had to have a root canal, which had to be performed by a regular human dentist! They learned their lesson and now they check and clean the teeth of all the primates a few days a week. They bribe them with peanut butter and other treats to allow them to do it. I don’t think I’d like job of brushing a gorilla’s teeth…
We saw more animals up close on Kilimanjaro Safaris. You pile into a truck for an 18 minute tour of the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. There are so many animal to see here, including crocodiles, elephants, giraffes and if you’re lucky, lions. Your driver is also your tour guide, telling you about the animals you see. A must do.
Pandora is even more beautiful at night. The UV sensitive plants truly come into their own. We walked round gasping at how absolutely incredible it looked. It was almost impossible to photograph, but trust me, it’s stunning.
You can see my vlog from the day here:
top tips for the animal kingdom
- There is a lot less indoor space at this park than the others, and less air-con. The trees make the heat feel more intense too, so take advantage of shade and fans. Take your own fan if you have one, drink lots of water and wear a hat. Most of the queues are outdoors, so be prepared.
- If you do Kilimanjaro Safaris during the day, go back for a night safari as it starts to get dark. It’s a totally different experience, and you are likely to see different animals to the ones you saw during the day. You also have a much better chance of seeing the lions.