Day 2 of exploring in Florida, and we're at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Unfortunately, we went there on a day with shorter hours (closing at 5pm), so there are things I would have liked to have seen but I missed (things that I've seen in the past though). I think that this time though, I had a larger appreciation for the wildlife aspect of this theme park, especially with the recent killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe, the conservation and protection of such majestic and special creatures is even more important. You may question if you should support Disney's Animal Kingdom or not out of concerns about animal welfare, but from what I can currently tell, the organisation takes good care of the animals, allowing animals to not be on display to the public if they seem distressed, keeping them at a safe distance from the public, and keeping the park's closing hours early to give the animals some peace and quiet. If anyone reads this and disagrees about Disney's treatment of animals, please send me links to educate me in the comments. Now, onwards to my top 5 of things to see and do at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park:
- Festival of the Lion King – This indoor attraction has been a family favourite for many years now. It’s a sing-along, acrobatic celebration of The Lion King. In preparation for the show, audience members are invited to learn the sounds made by lions, giraffes and warthogs, and learn the Swahili names of the main performers. As puppeteer-controlled moving platforms carrying Simba, Pumbaa, Timon and a giraffe move into the arena, the festival begins with the use of the previously-learned sounds to greet the animals. With favourites such as The Circle of Life, Can You Feel The Love Tonight (with a dancer flying in the air as Nala) and Hakuna Matata (complete with a hand-jive from the acrobats), you'll be singing like one of Simba's pride in no time!
- Kilimanjaro Safaris – It probably hasn't been my favourite part of the Animal Kingdom park before, but it certainly seems like it this time. On this tour that takes about half an hour, you are driven with other visitors in a safari bus into the depths of the park, where you can see a wealth of animals from a safe but relatively close distance. During our mini-safari, we saw elephants, giraffes, a hippo (completely out of the water, which is unusual for an animal that spends most of its time below the water's surface in order to stay cool), zebras, flamingos and lions, and although I am currently non-vegan (but still trying to cut back on my animal product intake), I did find myself looking at and taking photographs of these beautiful creatures and wondering why anyone would want to harm them and other animals.
- Flights of Wonder
- Kali River Rapids – Kali River Rapids is a water ride where you sit in a circular raft complete with safety belts and a central compartment for the storage of bags and valuables during the ride. This was the first ride we had a Fast-Pass for, which made waiting time MUCH shorter. Fast-Passes can be organised through the My Disney Experience app available in the iTunes and Google Play stores. I’d suggest to ride on Kali River Rapids quite late in the day, as you WILL get wet!
- Maharajah Jungle Trek
If you've not already noticed, I find taking the time to eat breakfast every day very important - especially if you're going to school or university or work - to keep your mind and body nourished and energised for the day ahead, and a day at a theme park should be no different. After all, you'll be running around to go on as many rides as possible and see the animals. This recipe for a "banana breakfast dog" is one I found on disneymickeycheck.com, which identifies it as a nutritious option for kids.
Ingredientswhole grain hot dog bun
peanut butter (may use sunflower butter as nut alternative)
sunflower seeds (shelled)
- Open the whole grain hot dog bun and spread peanut/sunflower butter on the bottom half.
- Sprinkle sunflower seeds onto the spread half.
- Peel a whole banana and place on the bun.
- Add a small amount of low-sugar jam on top of the banana, add the top half of the bun, and enjoy!
Look back next week for part 4 of my Adventures in the USA series, in which I share my favourites from the Universal theme parks in Orlando!