Although it is a Disney World theme park, Animal Kingdom possesses some distinct differences from the other three parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios). For example, while Animal Kingdom does feature some headliner attractions (most notably Expedition Everest and Kiliminjaro Safaris), there's seemingly not a whole lot to do at this park (at least on the surface). Many people therefore assume that Animal Kingdom can be enjoyed in half of a day. However, as I started designing our Animal Kingdom touring plan, I quickly realized that this assumption is false. Although Animal Kingdom does only have a handful of rides, this park is home to three incredible stage shows: Festival of the Lion King, Finding Nemo: The Musical, and Flights of Wonder. Furthermore, Animal Kingdom features countless hidden gems (including two animal trails, a conservation station, the magnificent Tree of Life, and knowledgeable Cast Members who are always ready to answer questions about the animals that can be spotted throughout the park in their native habitats). Finally, Animal Kingdom is home to a highly-rated (but little-known) character meal; for lunch or breakfast, guests can dine with Daisy Duck and her friends at Tusker House in the Africa section of the park. To complicate matters, Animal Kingdom closes earlier than all of the other theme parks (usually around 7:00pm, but sometimes as early as 5:00pm). Consequently, trying to fit all of our "must-see" attractions (and the character meal) into a touring plan rapidly became a challenge.
So, I buckled down and came up with a comprehensive touring plan that would allow us to enjoy Animal Kingdom to its fullest...or so I thought. And, during the morning, the plan worked beautifully. We hit most of the headliner attractions and saw Festival of the Lion King with little to no wait. Then, it was off to Tusker House for lunch.
Tip Time: If your kids are old enough (and if you're not surprising your kids with your Disney vacation), get them involved in the planning process. Since we always add the Disney Dining Plan to our vacation package, we start by letting each child pick one sit-down meal. My daughter, Sadie, is a HUGE fan of Daisy Duck. Since Animal Kingdom's Tusker House is the only place where guests can actually dine with Daisy, selecting a character lunch at this location was a no-brainer for her.
|Lunch with Daisy at Tusker House -- our #1 favorite character meal|
|Hangin' with Mickey at Tusker House|
Next Up: Our Angst-Filled Afternoon at Animal Kingdom
Disney Specialist, Ginger's Getaways
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