While I love Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I don’t have as many “must have” experiences there. There are lots of things I enjoy doing, but not many that make my visit seem incomplete if I don’t do them. Here are the few things that are on my “must do” list:
- Kilimanjaro Safaris. Hands down. I must do this, multiple times if possible!
- Visit the goats at Rafiki’s Planet Watch! We had a great experience there once, so we always go back hoping to recreate that time.
- Festival of the Lion King. This is my favorite stage show on Disney property. I love it and hope the rumors of it leaving are not true.
- Dinosaur. As long as there are no small kids with us (which is unlikely!) we will be riding this. We love it!
- Find DiVine. I can sit and watch her all day long. Her talent amazes me.
Welcome to those of you joining me from Disney Living and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the 3rd stop on our Magical Blogorail.
When I heard the topic for this month’s blogorail loop my mind started racing! I was running through all 4 parks in my mind thinking of all the ride vehicles. So many wonderful vehicles came to mind: Jungle Cruise, Tower of Terror, Dinosaur, Spaceship Earth and more. I had such a hard time narrowing it down to ONE favorite! Really, just one? It couldn’t be done. So I’m happy to present several of my favorite Walt Disney World Ride Vehicles.
The best ride vehicle to get wet: Splash Mountain at Magic Kingdom. Our family is usually the type that skips the wet rides. The boys have to really beg to get us on a water ride! We don’t like walking around in wet, squishy shoes and we don’t like having to lug around dry clothes to change in to. But, we love Splash Mountain and the entertainment it provides. So, we will ride Splash Mountain and cross our fingers that we don’t get soaked! Usually we get wet, but not soaked, so it’s OK!
Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is Walt Disney World: Not Just For Kids.
Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:
Today started out as a great day to head to Animal Kingdom. We arrived shortly after the park opened and the lines to get in were crazy… I should have taken a picture of people waiting to get through the turn stiles. Then I remembered the entrance through Rain Forest Cafe. We hurried through the gift shop and walked right into the park! It was as if the ladies working that turn stile were waiting just for us! 🙂
Once inside we headed straight to Expedition Everest hoping to get fastpasses, but the line was only 10 minutes, so we got in line. We hurried through the “exhibits” in the queue and were actually on the ride in about 5 minutes. This was the last picture I took (on the ride) before my day was almost ruined…
I will NEVER ride Expedition Everest again. I’ve written before about the attractions and rides at Walt Disney World that I don’t care for or make me sick and this is now on my list. I remember the last time I rode in 2008 I felt nauseous after I got off so I skipped the “second ride” with Jonathan and JAG. In 2010 and 2011 I didn’t ride because I was with C-man and he’s too short/ young. In 2012, I took my final trip with the Yeti. At first I thought it was a pregnant thing (my doc said I could ride anything I wanted since I was only 10 weeks along and my uterus was still “safe” in my pelvic bones… TMI? Maybe!), but then decided it wasn’t. It’s an “I’m getting too old to handle this ride” sickness. While I still “like” this ride, I’ll pass!
I tried my best to beat the sickness, but just couldn’t, so we went back to the French Quarter Resort so I could take a nap. The best part was when we got there our key wouldn’t work… I sat by our door while Jonathan went to get a new key. When he came back, the new key didn’t work either! UGH! I was trying so hard not to vomit on the walkway, so I just laid down and let the coolness of the concrete floor do it’s thing. I felt a tad better, but still wanted a drink, crackers and a bed. Jonathan then came back with a maintenance man who was fixing ALL the doors in our building.
After an hour nap, so lunch and tylenol, I felt better and we went back to Animal Kingdom but didn’t go near Everest! 🙂 We spent quite a bit of time on the trails around the tree of life and the Oasis. Somehow I’ve missed the trails at the base of the tree that aren’t part of the Tough to be a Bug queue. It was really beautiful up close. While we were walking, I spotted a cast member with the hometown of Ligonier, Pennsylvania. This is a small town in PA with about 1600 people, where my mother in law grew up. We spent a few minutes talking to him and I snapped a picture of Jonathan with him.
I was still hesitant to “ride” anything so we spent most of the time walking around. We toured Chester and Hester’s area in Dinoland, the Maharajah Jungle Treck and made our way toward Camp Minnie Mickey for the afternoon parade. This was the first time I’d seen Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade so I was pumped!
Following the parade, we made it to Africa so I could get a Cotton Top Tamarin cupcake! It was DELICIOUS and made me forget all about the Yeti and how much I hate him now! I would highly suggest this sweet snack.
Following our train ride, we got in line for one of the last Kilimanjaro Safari rides of the day. This was BY FAR the best part of the day (with the cupcake a close second) and the BEST safari ride I’ve ever experienced. Our driver was even giddy with excitement! We saw so many animals and even saw a Cheetah jump into a tree, look around, jump out of the tree and RUN away! Our driver claimed she had never seen this before! Then when we got to the Lions, she freaked out again because the male lion was pacing the rocks. He was beautifully majestic. Amazing. Again, the driver was so excited and said this was the best safari she had ever been on and her colleagues would never believe her when she shared what we saw!
After Animal Kingdom, we made our way to Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner. While it was good and we went away with full bellies, I’m not sure we’ll eat here again. We were both glad the boys were not with us. Not sure they would like it. I think the only way we’ll go back is if we stay at AK Lodge. But the anniversary dessert samples were a nice touch!
We decided to head to Port Orleans Riverside after dinner to catch YeHaa Bob’s early show. What a treat and what a fun way to end a day that started off rocky! This was another first for us on this trip. I know my youngest (3) would have loved singing and dancing to his tunes, but I’m sure my 11 year old would have been too cool and too embarrassed to dance and sing! 🙂
I can’t tell you how excited I am that “Destination Disney” meme is back!! My sweet friend, Heidi, hosts this and she’s taken a break from hosting this meme for a while. I love the themes she provided in the past and was thrilled when she asked for ideas and actually accepted mine!
So, for this weeks “Destination Disney” we are highlighting our TOP 10 Attractions! This was actually a lot harder than I thought it would be. I mentally walked through each park and each “land” thinking of all the attractions- which one’s I loved, which ones I liked, which ones I tolerated and which ones I skipped! I think I’ve come up with my final list, but I’m still not sure I have all 10 in the proper order, with #1 being my top choice…. but, here is my list anyway!
10. Spaceship Earth
Depending on the day I’m asked, Epcot is my favorite park along with Magic Kingdom. To me, Spaceship Earth exemplifies Epcot. The “ball” is the first thing I think of when I hear the word Epcot. Everyone in my family enjoys this attraction and I like the changes that were made a few years ago. I like the addition of the interactive ending. It reminds me a tad of Horizons!
9. Splash Mountain
This is one of the best attractions because of the length and use of audio-animatronics! While I have been known to skip this attraction on cold days and evenings (due to getting wet), it still ranks in my top 10. On a hot summer day, it’s the perfect way to cool off!
8. Living with the Land
For some reason, our family loves this attraction. I think for me, it reminds me of Walt’s original idea for Epcot. The crops grown on this attraction are actually used throughout the restaurants in Epcot. While Epcot as we know it is not a true community as Walt wanted, this ride shows community by providing the food. Each time I go on this attraction, I see something new and learn new things.
7. Haunted Mansion
This is a classic! I loved the way it was, but I love it more after the recent renovations to the actual ride and the queue. The back story is awesome and everyone can ride it- unless the little ones are too scared! While I haven’t taken my 3 year old on it yet, I look forward to the day he rides for the first time.
5. Toy Story Mania
This ride is fabulous for anyone who has any type of competitiveness in their blood! When I go on this ride I even find myself “competing” with guests I don’t even know! Again, everyone in my family enjoys this- even when my son was 2. The theming of the queue is outstanding and the attention to detail in the actual ride is great. The only downside to this one is the wait times. You have to be there first thing in the morning to grab a Fastpass or else you’re standing in line for well over an hour.
4. Space Mountain
This roller coaster has moved around over the years on my “top roller coaster list.” When I was younger, it was my least favorite at WDW. For some reason now it’s number 2 on my roller coaster list! Maybe it was the refurb a few years ago, or maybe it’s because I’m getting older!?!
3. Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster
Hands down, my favorite coaster at WDW. (It still doesn’t compare to California Screamin’ at California Adventure though!!) I love the music, the speed, the theming, the twists and turns. I’ll continue to ride it as long as my body, equilibrium and stomach will allow!
2. Kilimanjaro Safari
This is the only Animal Kingdom attraction on my top 10 list, but it made it to #2 overall! While I do find the story of “Little Red” hokey (and I’m glad there are rumors that this will be ending soon) I love this attraction! Each time I’ve been on this attraction it’s been totally different. I’ve only seen the male lion walking around once and some animals I’ve never spotted- even though the tour guide has pointed them out! The theming and attention to detail, again, make this attraction fantastic! While I’ve never been to Africa, and probably never will, I feel like I’ve experienced part of Africa by going on this ride.
1. Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover
My top attraction is the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover. While the name has changed several times over the years, I still call it the WEDWay Peoplemover! I’m not sure why this is my favorite. There isn’t a lot of theming, it isn’t a thrill ride and it doesn’t scream Disney, but it’s still my #1 go to attraction. Maybe it’s the corny jokes (Paging Mr. Morrow, Mr. Tom Morrow!), the wind blowing in my hair, the views of the castle or the idea that there is hardly ever a line… I don’t know. But if I go to WDW I have to ride this. If I could only choose 1 ride to ride on a trip, this is it. Call me crazy after looking at #10-2, but I love the WEDWay Peoplemover!
Breakfast was good. The food was tasty and there was so much to choose from! I had to get Mickey waffles and so did C-man. I did try some of the African foods, but they didn’t have a breakfast feel to me, so I stuck with the traditional American breakfast consisting of tater tots, biscuits, waffles, bacon, sausage, pastries, fruit and whatever other carbs I could find on the buffet! While the food was good and the atmosphere was great, the service was not so hot. Several times our drinks were dry and we had a hard time understanding the accent of our waitress. We wanted our bill to be split so I could pay for mine and KK could pay for hers. That was a disaster! We finally figured it out and went on our way. At least we were able to meet Donald, Daisy, Mickey and Goofy! C-man even participated in a “march” around the restaurant with Mickey while shaking some sort of instrument. It was cute and he enjoyed it.
Next, we took the bus back to the Magic Kingdom. The first thing we did was ride the train all the way around the park. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the new Fantasyland expansion, but had no luck. After the train, we sat on the curb in Town Square to watch the Celebrate a Dream parade. This was a fun, quick parade with lots of characters. I took lots of pictures and then we moved on. One thing on my list that I really wanted to do this trip was try a Dole Whip. That was our first stop in Adventureland. C-man didn’t want to try it, so I had it all to myself. I didn’t get a picture of it because I think it was 115 degrees that day and it was actually melting faster than I could eat it. If I had taken the time to get out the camera and take a picture, I would have had a Pineapple Dole drink rather than a whip, so I passed on the picture. While I am glad I finally had one, I doubt I’ll get it again. It was good and refreshing on such a hot day, but I’d much rather have soft serve chocolate ice cream. Call me crazy, I know. I like fruit. I like desserts. But, I really don’t like my desserts to have a fruity flavor.
After the Dole Whip, we rode Pirates of the Caribbean and made our way to Tom Sawyer Island. I honestly don’t remember the last time I set foot on the island. It may have been during the barrel bridge fiasco! We spent a lot of time running around the island, playing on the playground, going through the tunnels, running across the bridges, playing in the fort and shooting the guns. C-man had a blast and we were sweating more on that island than we did the whole trip! It didn’t take long after the Tom Sawyer adventure for C-man to take another nap.
While he was sleeping, we strolled to Fantasyland and sat in Pinocchio Village Haus to cool off and drink water. Once we were refreshed, we went to Liberty Square so I could look for a Christmas ornament and we found Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen. I think she is my favorite princess now! They were such a fun couple. The line wasn’t very long, but it took a while because they spent so much time with each guest. C-man woke up right as it was my turn to meet them. Being in a foul, “I just woke up” mood, he did not want to meet them. Instead he stood back and cried the whole time I was with them because he wanted me to hold him, but didn’t want to meet Tiana and Naveen. As we left, Prince Naveen told me if we wanted to come back later when he wasn’t crying we could come to the exit gate and cut in line to meet them- HOW SWEET! Too bad we were on our way out and didn’t have a chance to take him up on the offer.
This was when the magic started to fade. We made our way down Main Street toward the exit. It was time to leave. On our way out, my feet were a little heavy and it took a little longer. Tears welled up in my eyes wondering when I would be back to this special place with my son, hoping it wouldn’t be too long. I hope to make a few more trips with him while he still believes in all the magic and isn’t too cool to hug a princess or chase a space ranger. I turned around before I went under the train tracks for one last look of Main Street USA and the castle. I swallowed the lump and said goodbye.
Until next time…