Hillary Van Way
Animal Kingdom Favorites
In honor of Animal Kingdom's 20th birthday, I am dedicating an entire blog post to Disney's youngest park. From attractions to photo-ops, I'm going to tell you what my Animal Kingdom favorites are!
1. Expedition Everest
If you can handle Expedition Everest, I am convinced you can handle any ride on Disney World property. Some people can ride this ride multiple times back-to-back, but my stomach can only handle it one time per visit to Animal Kingdom! The ride is fairly short, but if you get a fast-pass or jump into the single-passenger line, you can get onto this ride very quickly. I recommend it for anyone who likes a hair-raising ride, and I challenge you to smile for the picture on your journey through the Himalayas!
This is one of my favorite rides and a must-do every time I go to Animal Kingdom. On this ride, you board a Time Rover and go back in time to try and save a dinosaur from extinction. It's a little scary, so I wouldn't recommend it for small children. It's also a bit jerky, so if you get motion sick easily, you might want to skip this ride. There is a photo taken during the ride, so be prepared!
3. Flight of Passage
Out of the two rides in Pandora, my favorite is Flight of Passage. Not only is the queue amazing for this ride, but the ride itself is both exhilarating and beautiful. If you are a thrill-seeker and enjoy Soarin' Over the World in Epcot, you will love Flight of Passage. This ride gives you a similar experience to Soarin' Over the World, and it leaves you in awe of the beauty of Pandora. I don't want to ruin the ride for readers, so just ride it for yourself next time you're in Animal Kingdom! If you are not a fan of thrilling rides, hop in line for Na'vi River Journey, the Pandora attraction that is a slow-moving boat ride similar to "it's a small world."
4. Kilimanjaro Safaris
I've never been to Africa before, but every time I board this ride, I instantly feel like I have been transported to a real African Savannah. This is one of the most well-done and unique rides in all of Disney World, in my opinion. You get to see over 34 species of animals spread across a 110 acre wildlife reserve during this ride, so the experience is different every time you ride it. Do not miss this attraction in Animal Kingdom. I recommend getting a fastpass for it!
1. It's Tough To Be A Bug!
Located inside the Tree of Life, this 3D show is a really great way to cool off on a hot day in Animal Kingdom. It's a fun show meant for all ages, although there is a part in the show where spiders come down from the ceiling, and that can be kind of scary for little kids. I love the bug glasses that they give you to wear during the show (and love making faces with them on)!
2. Festival of the Lion King
If you can get a fastpass for this show, I would highly recommend it. Festival of the Lion King is always packed with people, so Disney actually recently built a larger theater. It's an interactive show with singing, dancing, and lots of acrobatics! Even if you aren't a fan of The Lion King, you should see this show. It's entertaining for children and adults of all ages!
1. Rainforest Cafe
Even though this restaurant isn't unique to Disney World, I have always loved eating here while in Animal Kingdom. I love the atmosphere of the restaurant (both the sights and sounds of the rainforest), and the food is consistently delicious. Another plus is that you can dine here if you're not inside of Animal Kingdom, since the restaurant is located right outside of the Animal Kingdom entrance gates.
2. Eight Spoon Cafe
Read all about this Quick Service restaurant in this post.
3. Pongu Pongu
Read about their famous Night Blossom drink in this post.
4. Yak 'n Yeti Restaurant
This is one of my top 10 favorite Disney World restaurants, so I'm going to tell you a bit more about it. This is not the Quick Service kiosk that serves fried rice. This is the sit-down restaurant right next door that has an extensive menu and an interesting atmosphere. I ate at this restaurant once while on the Deluxe Dining Plan, and it was the best and worst idea. Best, because I was with three others so I got to try multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Worst, because I basically had to be wheeled back to my resort bus because I was so full after a 3-course meal. Nevertheless, it was the most delicious meal I've ever had in Disney World. Here is what I ordered:
Drink: Desert Pear Shanghai Lemonade (the most delicious lemonade I've ever had)
Appetizers: Wok-Fried Green Beans, a Dragon Roll, and Ahi Tuna Nachos (favorite: green beans)
Entree: Wok-Fried Korean Beef
Dessert: Fried Wontons and Ice Cream
Now that I've typed out what I ate at Yak 'n Yeti, my stomach ache might have been from all of the fried food that I consumed in one sitting. No regrets, though.
1. In front of the Tree of Life
2. In front of Expedition Everest
3. In front of the "Floating Mountains" in Pandora
4. Anywhere where they have a Disney PhotoPass photographer
There is a Disney PhotoPass package that you can purchase, which gives you access to all pictures taken on rides, with characters, and at every photo spot in the parks where a Cast Member takes your picture. Just look for the Cast Members with cameras, let them snap your photo, and then scan your magic band! These photos will all automagically appear in your MyDisneyExperience app.
Happy birthday, Animal Kingdom!