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Old 02-05-2015, 07:20 PM   #1
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Feature Article: Top 10 Things I love About Disney's Animal Kingdom - A Walt Disney World Park Review

Top 10 Things I love About Disney's Animal Kingdom - A Walt Disney World Park Review
by Cheryl Pendry

In this second part of a series of articles looking at the top 10 things I love about Walt Disney World, I'm turning my attention to the newest of the parks, Animal Kingdom. 10) Shops
I have to start with the shops at Animal Kingdom, as I love the variety of items they have here. Having animal lovers in the family, these items are always worth checking out, and usually I find something to take home with me. Even if I don't, browsing is always a delight, to see what they’ve got.

9) Rafiki's Planet Watch
Sadly, this is somewhere we don’t always get to, given the train ride it takes to get there, but it’s always worth making the journey, especially to see what the medical team may be working on. Ok, so more often than not, we haven't been in luck and either there’s been nothing happening or it's been tiny animals, and personally I'd prefer to see the bigger beasts. I'm always jealous when people say that they’ve seen a tiger being operated on, but I guess one day we may luck out!

8) Kangaroo
It's literally only been on our last couple of visits to Disney's Animal Kingdom that we even knew that the park had kangaroos, and that's why they hold a special place in my heart. I'm amazed that they were here for so long without us even realizing, but now I know about them, it's a real joy to head down the hidden path to watch them (look for it in the Discovery Island Trails under the Tree of Life). 7) DiVine
Now DiVine is something that you really have to luck out to see, and you probably also need to know what you're looking for, as DiVine can be hard to spot. As the name suggests, she's a vine, and a moving one at that. She's probably my favorite impromptu street performer at Walt Disney World, on her stilts with her amazing costume and make-up. I love watching her as she prowls around the park, as her movements are just fascinating to see.

6) Finding Nemo - The Musical
Just like Voyage of the Little Mermaid at Disney's Hollywood Studios, this show is one that's always better than I remember. Every time we see it, I always sit there in awe, thinking how good it is and that we must make sure we see it on every future visit. Of course, I then forget and we miss it, which is a real shame.

5) Tree of Life
This icon, which dominates the park, is definitely my favorite park icon. Much as I love Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth, there is so much more to see here. We find new animal carvings every time we look at the tree, and that's part of the delight with this. I love the way that Disney has new details to enjoy on every visit you make, although ironically of course they were there all along – you just didn't spot them before. There's nothing more fun than exploring the various trails that run beneath the tree, and if you haven’t done so before, I really would encourage you to try it.

4) Festival of the Lion King
I absolutely adore this show, and what I think I love most about it is how completely different it is to the full length stage show. Both are stunning, but in very different ways. Some of my favorite parts of the show include the amazing tumble monkeys, whose antics always have my jaw dropping, and the beautiful aerial sequence at the end. I can't wait to experience this show on our next Disney trip, as I'm sure the new setting in Africa's Harambe Village will only add to what is already a wonderful spectacle.

3) Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
Animals are what this park is all about, and I'm sure it will come as no surprise that my top three things are all about the animals. The first is this wonderful trail that sadly we always see so many visitors just pass by as they exit from Kilimanjaro Safaris. If only they knew what they were missing! The gorillas are the E-ticket experience here, and in recent years, it’s been an absolute joy to watch the youngsters playing, and gradually growing up.

2) Maharajah Jungle Trek
Tigers are one of my favorite animals to watch. I’m just fascinated by their beautiful markings, and love watching them either in action or lounging around. This makes the trek an absolute must for me, although if the tigers disappoint, as they sometimes can, there’s plenty more to see, including komodo dragons, bats, deer, and a magnificent aviary. I also love the theming as you walk through, with the vivid colors transporting you to a faraway Asian land.

1) Kilimanjaro Safaris
This is the one thing I must do whenever we visit Animal Kingdom, as I’ve just loved this attraction ever since we first did it on our honeymoon, more than 15 years ago now. I’m never likely to head out on a real safari, due to a combination of an intense fear of needles (just think of all the jabs you need for travel to Africa!) and a reluctance to see the real circle of life in action. At least here, I know I’m not going to see a lion chomping away on zebra remnants. To me, this is the perfect safari, a more sanitized version, and as a non-meat eater, that works for me. I also love the fact that every time is different, and you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get, and which animals will be active.

Next time, I'll be turning my attention to the Magic Kingdom and my favorite ten things there.

Added to PassPorter's Article Collection on 02-04-2015 10:02 AM

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