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Old 10-19-2009, 09:04 AM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Animal Kingdom attractions for 4 year old

Hi - I'm wondering if there are enough fun things at Animal Kingdom for my 4-year old? I know she will enjoy the safari ride, but I wanted to find out if there are other rides, shows, etc. for kids her age? Has anyone the dinosaur dig thing? Just wondering if we should plan on a whole day at this park or will a half-day suffice?
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:11 AM   #2
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We spent until about 4PM at that park. We rode the Safari, saw Lion King & Nemo shows, saw It's Tough to be a Bug (I do NOT Recommend that for a 4 year old, DD HATED it. I mean, she told me she hated it, it scared her, and still talks about it over 2 weeks later about the horrible scary bug). And DD does not Scare easily, her favorite ride is Snow White's Scary adventure and her favorite character that we saw is the Beast. She saw Goofy & Pluto at Camp Minnie-Mickey. We did not have time for the Boneyard. Us grown-ups rode Everest & Kali River Rapids (DD was just slightly too short). There are also a bunch of animal trails I wish we had time to do.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:20 AM   #3
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Maharajah Jungle Trek
Flights of Wonder
Kilimanjaro Safaris
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
Cretaceous Trail
Triceratop Spin
Chester & Hester's Dino-Rama (carnival games)
Finding Nemo
Festival of the Lion King
Rafiki's Planet Watch (Conservation Station and Affection Section)
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade
Discovery Island Trails/The Oasis
watch the musicians that perform in each section
ask the Cast Members about where they grew up ... a huge number of the Asia and Africa CMs are from Asia and Africa
look around the shops/restaurants on Discovery Island and see if you can find the theme in each one (they're things like "animals that carry their houses around" or "animals with spots and stripes"... in Pizzafari each *room* has a theme)

And please, please, please let her watch the animals as long as she wants. I saw so many kids having a great time watching the muntjack/tigers/gorillas until Mom or Dad said "Okay, that's enough, we [i.e. the parents and not the kids] need to go ride Expedition Everest now."

The book "The Complete Walt Disney World 2009" has a list of most of the animals you can see, we made it a point to go back a 3rd time to find the grey kangaroos and the lemurs.
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Old 10-19-2009, 09:59 AM   #4
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I took DN (4 at the time) for her first trip last fall. We did:

Finding Nemo show
Lion King show
Kilamanjaro Safari
Flights of Wonder
Kali River Rapids
All of the animal trails
Conservation Station & Affection section (we spent a lot of time here - its also a good place to see characters)
Jammin' Jungle Parade
Camp Minnie/Mickey

I also let her play in the Boneyard for a while and we did the Triceratops (sp) spin in Dinoland.

The only things we skipped were Dinosaur (she was tall enough, but it would have scared her), Tough to be a Bug (she hates bugs), Expedition Everest and the bigger rides in Dinoland, as well as the Carnival games.
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Old 10-19-2009, 10:34 AM   #5
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Conservation Station is a must. DD4 loved it, plus we saw Pocahontas, Jimny Cricket and Rafiki there. Also the Lion King and Nemo. And the water fountain outside Kali River Rapids and some Drums near the border of Africa and Asia.

Personally I didn't like the boneyard. Its too big and there are so many ways that a child can go that you can't keep your eyes on them at all times. DD disappeared here on me for over 5 minutes. And even when I said something to a CM that I couldn't find my 4yo they didn't care. my opinion is here is that there needs to be better security at the gate. A child could wander out of here completely unnoticed.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:40 PM   #6
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DD (now 6) loves, loves, loves AK...but she loves Animals. This might well be her favorite park..it is my 2nd favorite after going there with DD.

However, AK is not really about the rides The fun of all the various animal displays and the safaris ride go without saying.

Festival of the Lion King - Best show in all WDW. Don't miss this.
Flights of Wonder - DD liked this a lot, but not a "must see" for the Adults.
Finding Nemo - Not as big a hit, it's OK, but kinda long.
The Boneyard / Dinosaur Dig - DD second favorite playground next to HiSTK at DHS...be warned, though...this playground has an upper level with a bridge that goes back across the road to a Dinosaur Dig...while you don't have to worry about your kid getting out...it is pretty easy to "lose" them across that bridge. (Anybody make a GPS tracker we can tag our kids with?)
Kali River Rapids - DD loved this at 4 - I personally don't, because I hate spending the whole day soaking wet...but to each his own.
Dinosaur and Everest - Too big and scary for the little ones.
It's Tough to be a bug - Be warned, Dark, Loud and bugs jumping everywhere - I would skip this one.
Conservation Station - While I wish they hadn't made it so inconvenient to get to, it is really an interesting place...DD liked it, especially the live animal demonstration. The problem is it takes 15-25 minutes each way to get there and back....Poor design on Disney's part.
Also, Tusker House buffet - Delicious world flavored TS buffet - if you like more "exotic" food it's not to be missed.
Flame Tree BBQ - Best CS restaurant in WDW.

I actually learned the right way to tour this from my DD...we were getting ready to blast our way through to the Safari at rope drop, and she wanted to stop and see the animals in the boxes that the CM brought out. She was so fascinated looking at those spiders and snakes. What I learned from our trips: Don't rush through this park the way most people rush through the others. Stop and look at things, talk to the Cast Members posted throughout the park...there is so much to see and learn. They love talking to the tourists, because so many people just blow by them on the way to the next "thing". Last trip we were talking to 2 CM at Conservation Station doing one of the live animal demos. (I forgot the animal, something similar to a Hedgehog, but more exotic.) I was telling them about how much we like the park, wish we could spend two full days there..etc...they were so happy to hear these things - I think so many people say "There's nothing to do there...cause they are just looking for rides."

We have no problem spending a full day at AK with our little one! Enjoy!


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Old 10-19-2009, 12:46 PM   #7
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With a 4yo, you are limited to whatever their stamina is. Sometime in the afternoon, we would leave the parks and return to the hotel trying to time it to avoid a meltdown.

I would agree with the previous posters that there is enough to do in AK to keep a 4yo entertained most of the day, or at least until they need a break.

One tip for their first time on Kilmanjaro Safari, before you reach the place where they pretend the bridge is collapsing, tell the young one that we are going to have some fund and just pretend, but that the bridge is actually perfectly safe.
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Old 10-19-2009, 12:54 PM   #8
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My kids like animals but are not huge fanatics...so we enjoyed animal kingdom, but it is not our favorite. We planned a full day our first visit, but each subsquent visit we only plan a 1/2.
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Old 10-19-2009, 01:41 PM   #9
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My kids (now 13, 9, 6) have always loved AK, since they were toddlers. I agree with PP who said let them stop and look at the animals for as long as they want. So many times we parents have the impulse to hustle them through to the "next thing." Enjoy the moment.

The best advice I heard for AK is to realize that it's a different kind of park. You don't go commando there. You WANDER.

As to the Boneyard, I like it a lot. Even thought there are lots of places for your little ones to explore, there is only ONE exit. As long as you stay in sight of the exit, they can't get past you. When we go with two adults we put one by the exit and one to walk around, and that works out well.

The biggest drawback to AK, in my opinion, is the heat. There are few places to escape it, and it can really be oppressive. We'd rather do 2 mornings at AK than stay for the whole day and deal with the afternoon heat.
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