We caught up with Mel from our Florida team while she was in the Sunshine State and asked her to tell us about her walk on the wild side at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Here’s what she had to say:
Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park is slightly different to the other Walt Disney World Resort parks. It’s the newest of them all (it was built in 1998), and the layout is very much themed around… you guessed it: animals! As with all the parks, fun isn’t hard to find and there are plenty of opportunities for the kids to learn a thing or two about the animal kingdom and its scaled, furry and feathered inhabitants.
First things first — be prepared for some humidity. While the Sunshine State is known for its soaring temperatures, all the trees and plant life that create the park’s wild atmosphere add to the heat. You’ll still get plenty of shade and some breeze, but it’s definitely a jungle in there.
The park itself is divided into four main areas, the latest being Pandora — The World of AVATAR. This is the first time Pandora has been created in the flesh (the movie was all shot with CGI), and the land has been created to truly transport you all the way from Earth to the Valley of Mo’ara. This land features the two latest attractions that both draw the crowds — AVATAR Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey. With the latest in 3D technology, AVATAR Flight of Passage is simply breathtaking as you ride on the back of a Banshee (some of our team were genuinely speechless after riding it for the first time) and Na’vi River Journey is a serene spectacle that immerses you in the natural habitat of Pandora. Its definitely worth booking a Disney Fastpass+ for them both, but be aware that you can’t book a Disney Fastpass+ for AVATAR Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey on the same day. If you can, visit Pandora again in the evening, where the queues come to life around you! Oh, and stop by the Satu’li Canteen for some delicious local fare as well.
Other highlights of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park are the Kilimanjaro Safaris in the Africa region and the amazing Festival of the Lion King show, which is a 30-minute magical pageant of music, dance, acrobatics and fire-eating.
The Kali River Rapids over in the Asia region are great too. Travel through the turbulent rivers in the jungle in a raft. Beware - you may get wet on this ride. Okay… you’ll definitely get wet. Expedition Everest is another one that shouldn’t be missed. Step aboard a speeding train ride through Everest to escape the clutches of the Yeti.
The centrepiece of the park is, naturally, the Tree of Life itself. See how many animals you can make out on the trunk and through its branches. (There are over 300, so it could take you a few visits!) And while you’re at it, don’t miss It’s Tough to be a Bug! inside the tree. This is an awesome 3D-show where Flik and the gang will show you the world from a bug’s point of view. It’s great fun!
This park is magnificent in the experiences it offers for all the family. There’s so much to discover, you’ll find yourself returning a few times to take it all in. Again, I can’t recommend booking your Disney Fastpass+ enough for the more popular attractions (especially the ones I’ve talked about), but ultimately you should take your time and wander around. There are plenty of performers around the park that’ll keep you entertained outside of the rides and shows. Enjoy it all as you see the animal kingdom brought to life around you!
Mel has worked as a personal travel advisor for Virgin Holidays for 15 years and loves visiting Florida with her family. She is a Florida expert and really enjoys helping our customers plan their perfect trip to the Sunshine State.
Her next trip will be travelling from San Francisco to Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast Highway to discover the wonderful scenery that California offers, but it won’t be long before a holiday to Orlando is on the cards again!
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