Animal Kingdom with Preschoolers
We have arrived home safe, sound and overtired. I thoroughly enjoyed our amazing vacation but I was very glad to get home to regular life and my own bed. Now we’ve returned and I get to share all our tales with all of you, plus some things I learned from this trip. Today, I’m going to share with you our very first park day of this vacation: Animal Kingdom.
We started the day by getting there for 8am, we wanted to make sure we were able to get on Flights of Passage and didn’t want to wait 2 hours to do so. Turns out guests are now able to enter the Animal Kingdom at 8am when the park opens at 9am. This doesn’t count Extra Magic Hour Days, but all other days you can expect to enter the park an hour before the park officially opens. You are allowed to wander around Discovery Island and go all around Pandora. We were able to line up for Flights of Passage and ride it before 9:30am. How did we do it? We walked to the entrance of the ride, along with hundreds of other visitors and then received a riders switch pass. Jeff went on the ride while the kids and I went to meet Mickey and Minnie. I then went on the ride, with the rider switch pass, while Jeff took the kids to meet Pocahontas. It was a very productive first couple hours at Animal Kingdom.
We then made our way to Kilimanjaro Safari, which we had a FastPass for. I noticed a big difference on this ride because of the cooler temperatures. The hippos weren’t in the water. And many of the animals were trying to shelter themselves from the cool air. We did get some excellent views of the giraffes and the elephants. This attraction is a lot of fun for the younger kids because there’s no height restrictions. They get to go on a longer “ride” which is hard to find for the small ones. After this attraction we stayed in Africa to enjoy the stage show: Festival of the Lion King. We made it just in time. If you’re looking to get good seats for this show make sure to go at least 15 minutes before. We got there right as it started and ended up with some poor seats. Sitting in the fourth row. The last row before the grandstands, so the kids didn’t get as good of a view as they could have.
By the time this performance was over it was time for lunch. Our first meal on the dining plan. We returned to Pandora to enjoy a meal at Satu’li Canteen where I checked an item off my food goal list. The Blueberry Mousse. It was delicious. Light and flavourful. I would strongly recommend it to go along with one of the many delectable entrees they have or go eat it as a snack.
We timed our next FastPass to be right after lunch, Na’Vi River. This short attraction wasn’t anything too impressive but it is something the whole family can enjoy. MacKenzie said it was her favourite part of the day, which says to me that this ride is made to appeal to the younger guests. Be aware though, it is a very short ride. No more than 5 minutes. If I had to wait 2 hours for this ride I would have been disappointed. So make sure to book it as a FastPass if you’re traveling with kids under 48″.
A must on any kids list for a day at Animal Kingdom is a trip to the Boneyard. With slides, a dig site and plenty of rope climbing, it’s a youngsters paradise. We spent a half hour here, stopping the kids before they got too tired and dehydrated. At this point in the day we wandered around for a while to give the kids a chance to rest. Lincoln ended up napping while M just had some quiet time. This gave Jeff and I both a chance to go on Everest via the single rider line. Once Lincoln woke, refreshed and renewed we trekked to Rafiki’s Planet Watch to meet Doc McStuffins and Rafiki. We’re hoping this will be our last visit to this area of the park. It’s a glorified petting zoo with very little else. If your child is big into veterinary sciences than this will be right up there alley, if not, this eats close to an hour into your day.
It was then time to eat our table service meal, which we had reserved at Yak & Yeti’s in the heart of Asia. This meal was fulfilling and delicious. Although the server seemed a little rushed, we enjoyed our food, our drinks and our view. We sat on the 2nd level at the window. We watched guests walking around and we got to see Baloo and King Louie walking back and forth from their meet and greet location. It was a win in my book. I would definitely return here.
Before we grabbed seats for Rivers of Light we rode one last ride at DinoLand U.S.A., the TriceraTop Spin .While sitting at Rivers of Light, Jeff ended up running into friends from home. Again, another reminder to share your plans on social media. You never know who may be vacationing at the same time as you. Rivers of Light was a nice way to end off our full day at Animal Kingdom. As we made our way back to our resort, I thought back on our day. It was busy for us but also a busy day at the parks. Busier than I had expected. Which gave me a better idea for how busy it was going to be for the remainder of our vacation. With the next day being a Magic Kingdom day I was excited to head to my favourite park to ride our favourite attractions and eat some tasty snacks, and watch those much anticipated fireworks.