Disney’s Animal Kingdom Memories

My Favorite Sites and Sounds at Animal Kingdom

Happy Birthday Animal Kingdom! Today is the 15th Anniversary of the largest Walt Disney World park opening for Guests! On April 22nd, 1998, Animal Kingdom opened and proved that it was more then just a zoo.

For today’s birthday party, I thought I would take a little time and share with you some of my favorite Animal Kingdom memories that my family and I have enjoyed over the years.

Animal Kingdom Memory #1: Extra Magic Hours Block Party

I’ve written about this before — in fact, it was one of the memories I shared with you for my 15 Days to 15 Years post for my friend Didi over at DISTherapy!  It was 2007, and we went to Animal Kingdom for evening Extra Magic Hours — which are no longer offered at the park.  In essence, the only section that was really open was DinoLand, U.S.A., but when we got there, we came upon a block party involving Chip, Dale, and Goofy!  It was so much fun, Sophie loved it!  Out of that Disney Magic came these photos!  Enjoy!

Chip with Sophie!

Chip with Sophie!

Goofy and Sophie Dancing!

Goofy and Sophie Dancing!

Chip hamming it up for the camera!

Chip hamming it up for the camera!

I don’t have any photos of Dale from that experience — he was shy in front of the camera…

Animal Kingdom Memory #2: Rafiki’s Planet Watch

We took the train out to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to check it out because, quite honestly, it wasn’t a part of the park that we really went out to very often.  It’s a bit overlooked in our eyes, and perhaps it is in others — which may contribute to the park’s reputation as being a half-day park.  Anyway, we headed over that way because we wanted to check it out, and because it was air conditioned comfort on a blazing hot summer day, and because we never really go over there.  After we got there, we learned that Rafiki’s Planet Watch has a lot of great exhibits, and we enjoyed many of them that day, but then, we went around a photo spot, and who did we find? Pocahontas herself, seemingly waiting for Sophie to come over!  In that encounter, we got this picture perfect memory!

Pocahontas and Sophie

Pocahontas and Sophie

Animal Kingdom Memory #3: Jumbo Turkey Leg

We had just gotten off of Kali River Rapids when we went to Walt Disney World with Anna Jane and her family, and Sophie was hungry. She had tried some of my Jumbo Turkey Leg, and really liked it, and had to have one of her own, so I took her to get one while the others rode Kali River Rapids on their own. Sophie loved that Jumbo Turkey Leg, and this picture is one of my favorites when you talk about Disney food!

Sophie digging into her Jumbo Turkey Leg!

Sophie digging into her Jumbo Turkey Leg!

Animal Kingdom Memory #4: Face Painting

Sophie was really interested in face painting when we went to Animal Kingdom during our trip in 2007. She decided that this was the souvenir that she wanted most from that trip — to have her face painted! The price was quite reasonable (and Sophie may have gotten a more permanent souvenir in addition to her face painting…) so we went ahead and did it for her. Here is how she turned out!

The Face Painting Process

The Face Painting Process

Keep Still

Keep Still

The final result!

The final result!

Animal Kingdom Memory #5: Cindy’s First Ride on Expedition Everest

Cindy’s favorite attraction in all of Walt Disney World is Expedition Everest. To her, it is the perfect roller coaster!  I asked her what her favorite memory from Animal Kingdom was, and she told me, without hesitation, “The first time I rode Expedition Everest!”

Some people may not know this, but Walt Disney World veterans know that Expedition Everest has a single rider line, and also has a system called the Rider Swap that you can utilize.  We elected to do that because Sophie wasn’t big enough to ride it, so Cindy went first, and then, when she came out, I decided that I didn’t want to try it, so Cindy got to go again, twice in the span of 15 minutes or less!  Here are a couple of shots of the ride for you to enjoy.

The big mountain!

The big mountain!

Expedition Everest drop!

One of the Expedition Everest drops!

Thank you for stopping by as I took a look at some of my favorite Animal Kingdom Memories!  It has been my pleasure to share with you Animal Kingdom for 2 plus years of blogging, and I wish Disney’s Animal Kingdom park many more years of fun operation!  What does the future hold? Who knows?  Why don’t you tell me what you would like to see at the park in the future, and thanks for stopping by!  Who knows?  Maybe your idea will be seen by Disney and turned into the next great attraction!

 

Learning at Disney World OR Why I think it’s okay for kids to miss school for a Disney World trip

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I love Disney World but Disney World during a school vacation? Not as much. There are too many people in my opinion. That’s why I try to schedule all my Disney trips while school is in session. Of course that means that my kids have missed school in order to head to Disney but there are plenty of opportunities for learning at Disney World. Plus, most teachers will give kids work ahead of time. I always try to get most of the school work done before we head out and while traveling (in the airport or on the plane); this way we are not worried about hitting the books at night.

In Animal Kingdom, you can see animals in their habitats. There is also nature talks at Raffikki’s Planet Watch as well as a chance to watch vets work on the animals. Animal Kingdom has dinosaurs, which includes opportunities to learn about the dinosaurs and possible explanations as to what caused their extinction. Also at Animal Kingdom, you will get plenty of information about conservation, always useful.

At Magic Kingdom, the Carousel of Progress is an entertaining look at technological changes from the 1800-1900 turn of the century  as well as a look at some ideas of new technology to come. One of the most informative attractions in the Magic Kingdom is the Hall of Presidents. In the pre-show area, there are on-going exhibits which rotate; there is a good chance you will see something new each time. Recently, the displays included some First Lady gowns, Presidential china and President Eisenhower’s gold clubs. The show features a brief history lesson and then the curtain rises for the Presidential roll call.  As each President is named, that President acknowledges his name, I love watching each head bow or nod (watch carefully and you may also notice  whispering between the Presidents). President Obama addresses the audience (if you are not a fan of history or really need a break, this cool, dark show is perfect for a nap)

Declaration of Independence

Washington’s Inauguration

Lincoln

Of course, Epcot is a learning mecca. Some of the learning in Future World includes the history of communication (in Spaceship Earth), the oceans of the world are explored at The Seas with Nemo and Friends, and at Club Cool you can learn about other cultures while you try different flavors of Coca Cola from around the world. It’s really interesting and kids will be more receptive to trying something close to what they know (like Coca Cola).

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Over in World Showcase, every nation is a learning opportunity. Disney hires employees from these countries to staff the pavilions. These staff love talking about home and will happily discuss home and answer questions for you. There are chances to try foods from around the world while including kid friendly options at each restaurant. There are unique demonstrations in each country. You can learn belly dancing in Morocco, origami in Japan and (for adults) wine tasting in France.

Last but not least, you can learn about show business over at Hollywood Studios. The back lot studio tour takes you behind the scenes of movie making and you can learn about Walt and his innovations at One Man’s Dream. I also found a great picture of Thomas Edison. I was thrilled because I had never seen a picture of Thomas Edison before and didn’t even know that there were any pictures of Thomas Edison.

Thomas Edison from a picture found at Hollywood Studios

I hope I have given you some information that may be helpful. I’d love to hear your thoughts about learning at Walt Disney World or if you have questions. Happy learning and lots of Disney Dreams everyone!