Our first trip back was starting to wind down and we still needed to visit Animal Kingdom. The park is gorgeous and is filled with attractions that we enjoy, but it’s not always high on our priority list.
A few of our favorites were missing at reopening: Tusker House and Festival of the Lion King (due to return in the summer of 2021). The must-do list for the park included our favorite attractions: Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safarais. We also intended to ride Flight of Passage since wait times since reopening had seemed pretty minimal. Anything else we did during the day would be considered a bonus.
It was a rare morning not arriving to rope-drop the park, instead showing up around 9:30am. It was so quiet, much like the rest of the parks had been throughout the week. We stopped almost right away to try something new– the kids were becoming Wilderness Explorers. This is a fun interactive experience all over the park where they can learn about animals, the environment, and more while earning badges.
Instead of heading straight for attractions on the list, Diva decided to head towards her top attraction, Dinosaur first. Along the way, we found our first Wilderness Explorers station. They learned a little more about dinosaurs, answered some questions, and earned a badge to add to their book.
We walked straight through the artifacts room and onto the ride. We had an entire ride vehicle to ourselves. That would turn out to be the feeling most of the day. In fact, it felt like we had almomst the entire park to ourselves. After the ride made our way to Expedition Everest making a stop in the Rivers of Light Stadium to watch the floatillas on the Discovery River. These are the most beautiful of the new character cavalcades as they glide over the waters of the river interacting with guests from afar. While they aren’t as close as the cavalcades driving/walking on the paths in the park the characters and musicians aboard have no difficulty creating interactions with guests on the land by dancing, waving, and having fun.
The wait for Expedition Everest was post at 5 minutes. The kids and I rode while Grumpy sat out. His motion sickness does not do well with the backwards portion of this one, but the rest of us LOVE it. The 5 minute wait was really no wait at all, so we rode twice, and if Grumpy hadn’t been waiting for us we may have repeated a few more times. I love this one not just for the thrills but for the views of Animal Kingdom (to the left) and beyond (to the right). This day in the park was filled with clear blue skies making the view even more enjoyable.
Next on our list was Kali River Rapids. It was pretty warm, as most days in August tend to be, so getting a little wet wasn’t going to be a bad thing. I had heard that the water features had been turned down so you don’t get as soaked while wearing the mask. It was true. It wasn’t our funniest ride wondering if anyone would get doused with water, but there were plenty of sprinkles and cooling splashes.
As we continued walking through the park another Wilderness Explorers and some PhotoPass pictures were needed. We also walked by Feathered Friends In Flight– a modified verision of the Up: A Great Bird Adventure which had featured characters from the movie Up. We had never taken the opportunity to the watch the bird shows and this seemed like a perfect one. Even though the show was in progress we were directed to available seating in the first row. We had an amazing view of the stunning birds brought on stage and flying throughout the small theatre area. It was impressive and when they brought out the bald eagle I think Peanut’s day was complete!
We did finally make our way to Kilimanjaro Safaris. The ride featured newly installed dividers between the rows that while clear and they have some visibility issues and the block the airflow the vehicle. This is the only attraction that the dividers bother me on– during this trip and subsequent ones. All-in-all the safari was still greatIt was quiet in the mid-afternoon, but we did see quite a few animals grazing on the savanna. I love riding the safari since you never know what the animals will be up to. It makes it so unpredictable and fun.
It was getting pretty warm by the early afternoon so we grabbed had a water break with some snacks, including a delicious Mickey bar.
After some relaxing time we would make one more stop and then return to our resort for pool time and maybe even a nap. Along the way I captured some beautiful images of the park. It’s so beautiful no matter where you turn.
The last attraction for the day was Flight of Passage. The posted 10 minute wait was nealry unheard of since it opened. I wouldn’t even really call it a “wait” it was more of a 10 minute walk through the attraction queue which is not designed to have be modified in the event of shorter wait times. We twisted and turned the queue never stopping, only slowing down as I tried to take a few pictures. We only rode the attraction with FastPass+ so had never seen all the details including the lab. We finally stopped walking when we approaching the doors for the pre-show rooms. It was unbelievable that we had just walked onto the ride. If you’ve read prior posts you know that I do not care for the movie Avatar, but wow, this flight through the scenic land is stunning.
I did think we were going to be heading out, but Diva was really hooked on the Wilderness Explorers. We stopped to learn some more and while they were learning I sat a safe distance away to snack and relax again.
The Discovery Island Drummers were drumming away on their flotilla as we made our way towards the front of the park.
We were able to sneak in a few more pictures and start to head out– when by request we had to go see the bugs– the animated ones from It’s A Bug’s Life. Grumpy was getting hot, but the theater was under the Tree of Life and the line is cool and mostly shaded then he would have air-conditioning to cool off.
We were finally ready for the nap and some pool time. We spent roughly five hours and were able to do so much. We didn’t complete all of the badges in the Wilderness Explorers so the little explorer can’t wait to return for some fun facts.
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