The fifth day of our vacation was the last park – Animal Kingdom! I’m a big animal fan, when I travel I often find the local zoo and try to go, so I had been looking forward to this day.
We started our morning by driving to the Animal Kingdom park. I will say that is probably the biggest downside of staying in Animal Kingdom Lodge – it’s not walkable to anything, even the Animal Kingdom park. We had snagged a FastPass for Kilimanjaro Safaris for the first time slot. I know a lot of folks think using a FastPass right when the park opens is a waste, because there are often short waits, but I wanted to be sure we’d get on the Safari as soon as possible since animals tend to be most active at dawn and dusk. It was amazing! This is a relatively long ride (over 20 minutes I believe) and we got to see so many animals, including the cutest baby hippo and a slightly less baby, but young, giraffe. I love this ride. I can’t imagine going to Animal Kingdom and not doing this ride.
Following our Safari we went to Tusker House for late breakfast/early lunch. Our original reservation was for 10:35 and they do the food swap around 11 so that would have been perfect; we ended up switching out reservations for one at 10:15AM that was part of the Rivers of Light dining package. I think this was worth it, but we were sort of lingering to get some lunch food and I did feel a bit bad about that. Tusker House is super well themed, and it’s so fun to see Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy in their safari gear. It is a buffet; highlights for me included the unlimited jungle juice (so good!), roasted red potatoes, chicken curry, corn dog nuggets, and the mickey waffle. My partner also had some ham he said was delicious.
After brunch we walked around and took in some of the wonderful trails. We found our way to Expedition Everest, taking plenty of PhotoPass pictures along the way, and rode with our second FastPass of the day. I really like this ride! I was surprised at just how thrilling it was. After plenty of walking around (this park is huge and there’s so much to see!) we were a bit hungry, so we grabbed a Dole Whip with Rum. They don’t mix this for you, so we ate a bit of Dole Whip from the top of the swirl then mixed it up with a spoon. Wow this is great. We have since emulated this at home with to-go Dole Whip from Nando’s and rum we have at home. Whoever at Disney decided this was going to be a great idea was 100% correct. So refreshing and delicious.
After our boozy Dole Whip we were still hungry, so we split a mac and cheese cup from Eight Spoon Cafe. We watched Flights of Wonder, which is a fun and informative show. We wandered around Pandora so we could experience during the day. It. Was. Crowded. Rightfully so, it’s beautiful. But if you have a lot of anxiety in crowds this was not just a normal Disney level crowd, it was packed. I assume Toy Story Land is probably like this now, and I’m sure Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge will be like that when it opens. Just something to consider if you know you have anxiety!
We then headed to Nomad Lounge for late lunch/snack. There we each got a drink. I had the leaping lizard, it was sweet and light. I don’t know if I would order it again because there are so many amazing choices and I’d like to try something else, but if you like fruity drinks you will enjoy this. We shared a chicken satay and it was SO good. This is all we got at Nomad Lounge and honestly given how amazing the chicken satay was I wish we ordered more food. Next time I definitely want to try more of the food offerings.
After Nomad Lounge we headed back to our hotel for the afternoon nap. We headed back to the park and we were lucky enough to get FastPass for Avatar Flight of Passage at the 60-day window. It was at 5:15PM so we weren’t able to book a 4th FastPass for the day, but it was worth it. It was a very fun ride. I don’t love Avatar, so I don’t think I was as swept up in it as some folks may be, but even knowing I don’t really enjoy Avatar this was a really great ride. I would not wait 2 hours for it, but I am glad we got to do it. We had been keeping an eye on the River Journey ride all day, it never dipped below a 70 minute wait. We wandered around Pandora as the sun was going down and the world was lighting up. It was beautiful. Still insanely crowded.
After Pandora we went to DinoLand USA. So cute! I wanted to ride Dinosaur, but it was a 45 minute wait so we skipped it. We wandered over to the Tree of Life and watched the nighttime projections. So fun! There’s so much to see going on with the Tree of Life during the day and the night. I could have stared at that tree for much longer. But alas! It was almost time for Rivers of Light. So we headed to Flame Tree BBQ and picked up some of the BBQ Fries. We took our fries over to Rivers of Light, got our seats thanks to the breakfast dining package, chowed down on our BBQ fries, and then the show began. Rivers of Light was a very beautiful show that highlighted nature and animals of course. It utilized projections onto sprayed water much like in Fantasmic, as well as some pretty interested floating lit up boats. I am super glad we saw it, but I wouldn’t wait a very long time in line to snag a seat. Whenever we return to WDW if the show hasn’t changed we may just skip it.
After Rivers of Light the park had emptied out quite a bit. We drove over to Hollywood Studios briefly and grabbed a PB&J Milkshake to go from the Tune-In Lounge because I was just dying to have it! And my partner grabbed a BB-8 mug we had been eyeing since the first day and I bought a Tigger mug for my best friend. If you are a peanut butter fan this milkshake will not disappoint. I still think about that milkshake.
Overall, a great day at Animal Kingdom! This park is huge so don’t underestimate how much walking you’re going to do. Even by Disney standards we walked so many steps! What’s your favorite part of the Animal Kingdom?