Animal Kingdom @WDW #OurUSAadventure
It may have been nearly a year since we went on our family holiday of a lifetime but there are still so many elements of it to share. As I look back over pictures and status updates from last April I feel so grateful that we had the opportunity to see Walt Disney World and share in its wonder with our kids.
If you are interested, here are my previous posts on #ourUSAadventure:
WDW really is too big an experience to share in the one post so I decided to devote an entire post to each individual park. So it’s time to discover the fun and adventure of Disney’s Animal Kingdom!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
We finally got to Disney’s Animal Kingdom after postponing it following a crazy week of adventure. I think we did well to get through over a week before the inevitable fall. And after a day of lazing about the resort and enjoying some time at the pool, we were ready to get back to our exploration.
And luckily for us, Animal Kingdom was so worth the wait.
It ended up being one of my picks for best of the WDW parks, even though it was the park I must confess that I was least interested in visiting. I’m ashamed to admit I thought it would be just another zoo, with less rides and less magic than the rest of WDW.
But I could not have been more wrong. Everything about it is cool. The theming is spot on. The animals are wonderful. And there is something to investigate at every turn.
One of the best activities for the kids is the Wilderness Explorer quest, based on Russell from the film Up. The quest sees kids earning badges (stickers) based on finding clues, answers and facts throughout the park. Stickers are added to a booklet and it overlays an educational and fun element to your day. Matilda took to the challenge with relish and loved every moment of the quest. This is a must do for kids!
After meeting Russell and Dug in person, we headed to Asia to seek out Expedition Everest, one of the rides on Gilbert’s “must-do” list. Again, I was the lucky bunny riding with him and I have to say it was one cool rollercoaster – although the part where you go backwards was fairly hair-raising! Check out how he can’t even look up in the photo below!!!
Now, we were scheduled to use another FastPass on Kali River Rapids not long afterwards, but we ended up deciding not to use it. Everyone coming off the ride looked completely drenched and we thought it would be in our best interests not to end up the same way. Given that my kids often lose it if they spill a bit of water on themselves, I think it was the right call.
We saw tigers and bats and monkeys and all sorts of birds in Asia before moving onto Dinoland USA. Here is all about the littlies. There are tamer rides like the Triceratop Spin and a small roller coaster called the Primeval Whirl which Matilda even tried (which is huge because she does not like many rides).
It was then time for lunch and we headed for Restaurantosaurus for a quick service meal. Again, Disney made it easy for us to have GF choices, although you do have to wait a lot longer for them. Nathan ended up enjoying a GF hot dog, topped with macaroni cheese – something he had been looking forward to for a long time (I was more than happy to pass on that one!) Thankfully we didn’t get sick so, on balance, the wait was definitely worth it.
After lunch, the kids headed for The Boneyard which is an awesome playground and excavation pit where kids can help unearth the carcass of a woolly mammoth. The kids could have stayed here all day (it was shady and fun) but we had a date with a safari in Kilamanjaro.
During the Kilamanjaro Safari, you board a small viewing truck which takes you on a 20 min tour of Africa. Well, it’s not Africa (obviously) but Disney have gone to a lot of trouble to make you think it is. Hosted by a knowledgeable guide who stops for all the good shots, the experience is a must-do at Animal Kingdom.
As it was a hot day (and we had an early dinner reservation), we decided to start making our way out of the park after the safari. On the way we found a dedicated allergy hut, Terra Treats, where Nathan indulged in a GF beer as well as a GF donut.
I can’t tell you how exciting it was to find something dedicated to our dietary needs. Sadly I was still too full after lunch to give the donut a try, but if you have food allergies, make your way to Terra Treats!
Sadly there were so many things we didn’t get to do at Animal Kingdom, which was due to a combination of factors. We had gone there with few expectations of enjoyment – I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did – so we honestly did not plan to be there all day. Therefore we didn’t have the time to see everything.
The complication of having an early dinner reservation, while also still feeling fatigued despite having a rest the day before, also contributed to our shorter stay. We were too tired to do much more, even though Matilda was disappointed to miss out on completing her Wilderness Explorer quest.
One day we’ll get back to Animal Kingdom and pick up where we left off. In the meantime, if you ever have the chance to check it out, do it. Drop your expectations and get ready to have an amazing time.
Do you want to become a more positive special needs parent?
Sign up to grab your free guide now! Full of practical advice from a fellow special needs parent.