So ok, it’s been a lonnnnng time since I did a Top 5 post. Like, the last one I did? June , 2016 June, 2016 was such a long time ago. I mean, we have gone through four different Bachelors and Bachelorettes since then. In June 2016, we were still living in a world where Brad and Angelina were together. Think about all that’s happened since June 2016…
Man, June 2016 was really great.
Annnyways, I figured I would continue my Top 5 parks tour and head over to Animal Kingdom. And probably a good thing we waited. Since Animal Kingdom Is a much different park today than it was back before Led Zeppelin was cleared of stealing the riff in “Stairway to Heaven.”
What? That happened later in June, 2016.
But yeah, Animal Kingdom used to close hella-early. It didn’t even have a signature restaurant then, And most importantly, it didn’t have a whole land dedicated to a streaming music service.
On with the post. Here are the top 5 attractions, according to me, in Animal Kingdom. As with my other top 5’s, these are in no particular order. But, I will say that the last one here is the best one. So there is some order. Just sort of not a full ranking.
I mean, this is Animal Kingdom, right? So erm, obviously this attraction has to make it on the list. In fact, this is the only actual “live animal’ attraction I have on my list. Which is weird. On account of it’s not called Dinosaur Kingdom or Charm Bracelet Kingdom.
But yeah, this ride. Obviously, it’s the animals that make it. Elephants. Giraffes. Hippos. Lions that are really far away. They’re all awesome. And because the ride is based around real-live animals, it’s always different. Sometimes, a giraffe will run alongside your Jeep. Sometimes, you will see a hippo plunge into the water. And sometimes, you might get to see a rhinoceros poo right in front of you. You never know. OK, you can almost guarantee a rhino will poo In front of you.
It’s a great ride and, rightly so, still very popular. Now that the park remains open into the evening, they even added a nighttime safari, which has a whole different feel. I will say, though, the daytime safari still wins. We typically like to make this our first ride of the day (either booking right to it at rope drop or hitting it immediately after a pre-opening breakfast at Tusker House) at AK to beat the lines and not waste a fastpass.
I would be lion if I said you shouldn’t do the same.
Onto the next attraction.
Heh, this attraction. So one big thing Expedition Everest had going for it when it opened was this crazy awesome animatronic Yeti that reached out for you as you whizzed by. However, thing hasn’t worked in ages. Like, literally, less than a year after Everest opened in 2006.
Let that sink in. 2006. For around 11 years, this thing has not worked. Now he just sorts of sits around amidst a ton of strobe lights. A lot of people call him Disco Yeti but I dunno. I feel like he’s much more Metal Yeti. He’s Meti.
Regardless, he’s super ineffectual. Hm, reminds me of another Yeti I know.
But you know what? Doesn’t matter. This is still a great ride. The height. The mountain. The darkness. The backwards. It all STILL WORKS. Even the queue is bomb. There is so much poo?
Hrm, again with the poo. I am a sick little monkey.
And a really great part about Everest? It’s usually a walk-on early in the day. After we jump on Kilimanjaro Safaris, Owen and I usually book it right over to Asia to hop on before our day even really begins.
Finding Nemo: the Musical
I wanted to include one of the main shows at Animal Kingdom and it was a toss-up between Nemo and The Fesitval of the Lion King but I had to give the slight edge to Nemo only because of how different it all seems.
First off, Finding Nemo IS NOT a musical. It’s not. I am telling you. It’s definitely not.
But the music in this show is fantastic. “In the Big Blue World” is so great that it’s hard to even imagine this song was not in the original film somewhere. The song has become such a big piece of the EFNU that it was added to the ride at EPCOT.
The EFNU? Oh it’s what us fanboys call the Extended Finding Nemo Universe. Yeah bunch of fan fiction and what not mostly. And not sure what’s canon and what’s not but did you know that Nigel the seagull is actually a CIA operative? The more you know.
And the production value of this show is leh-git. For those that don’t know, its like a mix of live actors and bad-ass puppetry. Which really isn’t something you see that much of. Badass puppetry. Well except for Oscar the Grouch. Dude lives in a trash can and hates everyone.
And I mean, of course I cry. Every time I see it. I cry. It’s kind of my thing.
Hm, so there is no exclamation point after “Dinosaur?” It’s not like “Dinosaur!” I have always written it with an exclamation point. I guess that shows how excited I am about Dinosaur!
Dark ride action right here. Love it. And I mean, yeah, technically it’s done even better in the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland but still. I love this thing.
I mean, it’s dinosaurs so. DInosuars!
But I love the whole storyline that we are like travelling back in time to grab a dinosaur and chaos and DINOSAURS! I even love the pre-ride movie. Mrs. Huxtable is in it so you know it’s good.
Plus I kind of like that it’s technically a thrill ride but we can all go on it together. Even Nickie. Who used to be afraid to go on Soarin’
And the fact that it’s tied to a movie that pretty much everyone forgets even existed? Kind of makes this ride even cooler. It’s like:
“Hey, remember Dinosaur? Yeah, you remember. That movie about dinosaurs?”
“You mean, Land Before Time?”
“Yeah, wanna ride Land Before Time?”
Man, the first Land Before Time was pretty great.
Flight of Passage
OK, so like I said….this list? No specific order. However, that being said.
THIS IS THE BEST RIDE IN ALL OF ANIMAL KINGDOM AND ALSO ALL OF WALT DISNEY WORLD.
This attraction is THE ONLY attraction I have waited in line for multiple hours to experience. I am having a hard time figuring out if that last sentence was grammatically correct, but I don’t care because I am so excited to talk about this attraction.
And yes, Owen and I waited around 4 hours to experience this. And when we walked out of it? We both came to the conclusion it was totally worth it. Of course, we would prefer to Fastpass it, but there were none available.
Everything about this thing is pretty perfect though. The queue is beautiful, inside and out. Pandora, as a world, is incredibly immersive and this queue extends that whole thing, walking under floating mountains, past waterfalls, and finally into the caves.
Then as you start moving through the jungle and into the laboratories and see your first glimpse of an Avatar, there is so much to see, it’s pretty easy to miss all the little details. I did stumble on this post that focuses on a lot of those little details.
And the ride itself? Breathtaking. As you soar through the skies of Pandora, it all feels so real, from the swooping landscapes to the breathing banshee beneath you.
This attraction has quickly become the favorite ride of both me and Owen in, like, allllll of Walt Disney World. I am hoping to get Myles and Nickie on it at some point.
So, there you have it. My top 5 attractions at Animal Kingdom. And there are a lot of other really nice things to do at this park too. It’s Tough to Be a Bug, Kali River Rapids, the Na’vi River Journey, and the Maharajah Jungle Trek all came very close to making it on the list, as did the aforementioned Festival of the Lion King. It’s super cool how much work they have put into making Animal Kingdom so much more than it used to be.