Until just earlier this month,
I had never been to Animal Kingdom. In fact, the last time I set foot on a Disney property was when I was 9 1/2 years old. I can't even do the math for how many years ago that was, so you know that means it's been a while. So, of course, when Dave's Dad suggested a day trip for us all to go check out Animal Kingdom when we were in Florida, I was giddy with excitement. I loved Disney last time I visited (even if it was forever ago), and I LOVE animals even more. Suffice it to say, I couldn't wait to go.
It was such a blast, and while it was certainly a long, hot day, I already can't wait to go back (fingers crossed it won't be so long between visits since we now live super close to Disney). Now, I'm obviously no Disney expert, and I know there are more than enough blogs out there that cover all kinds of Disney tips and tricks, but I wanted to share a few things we found helpful/wish we had known and what some of our favorite things from the day were. Plus, Mr. RC took too many good photos for me to NOT not do a post about our day at Animal Kingdom!
Have you been to Disney and/or Animal Kingdom? Which do you like better?
FAVORITE RIDES + EXHIBITS
The Safari- we did it twice actually, once in the afternoon, and once at dusk. Since the animals are roaming around, eating, sleeping, etc, it was nice to go twice so we could see different things (plus, there were more animals out the second time around)
Na’vi River Journey (part of Pandora)- a gentle and easy ride (for those of us that aren't into rollercoasters)
The Gorillas- honestly some of the funniest animals to watch, between the noises they make and the antics they perform (I've included few more pictures of them throughout the post)
Rivers of Light Show- I believe this is a newer light show, but it was so well done and really an incredible way to cap off an incredible day
IF YOU LIKE COFFEE...
get it somewhere before you get to the park. We learned the hard way (read: it was early, we were on West Coast time and we basically would have sold a kidney for some coffee) that it's pretty hard to get a cup of coffee before 9am, unless you want to pay for some over sweetened mix parading as "cappuccino". BUT, there is a Starbucks (we just realized it too late...oops!).
SPEAKING OF BREAKFAST...
Just because the park is open, doesn't mean everything inside the park is actually open. Similarly to the coffee, breakfast was a bit hard to track down early in the morning (Maybe because we were there on a Monday versus a weekend day?), but we did finally find something at the Yak + Yeti Counter service.
FAVORITE THINGS WE ATE
I FINALLY had my first Dole Whip, and OMG! I totally get the hype. It was so good, and so refreshing, the perfect treat in the middle of a hot, sunny day.
We also ate dinner at Tiffins, which was so good! Honestly, one of the better meals I've had in a while. I forgot to snap pictures of most of it, but the photo below (left) is some sort of beet, burrata and candied nut salad and was so delish! Here's their menu if you want a peek at some of their other yummy dishes.
A FEW OTHER TIPS...
* Get there really early (I know, duh!)
* Wear sunscreen + light clothes + sneakers (because lots of walking, obvi!)
* But bring a backpack with extra sunscreen, extra change of clothes, bandaids (for blisters from walking), chapstick + portable chargers + light snacks (FYI, there are lockers available to rent if you don't want to lug your stuff around all day.)
* Pay for the closer parking and to skip the line rides. It's definitely worth it!
*If you're staying for one of the evening light shows, just be aware that you may have a bit of downtime between dinner and/or your last ride and the show start time, as many of the rides and exhibits begin to shut down a few hours before the show. A few things that we noticed were still open: the safari ride, Expedition Everest, Kali River Rapids and the Na’vi River Journey.