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Old 04-24-2009, 10:57 AM   #1
IMwink's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Baxley, Georgia & (Iraq)
Posts: 165

Wink Best Animal Kingdom Guide - Best Tips, tricks, Must do's, Please Contribute!!!

Hello everyone,

I will be taking my DD's (5 & 6) to WDW this July. Other than a one visit to MK 2 years ago, we have never been. They will be tall enough to go everything.

I've been searching the posts and thought it would be good to start a thread that dealt with this issue. It seems like most of you are real WDW veterans, and after spending days (really, work has suffered, but what is more important), and days looking over these posts you all have a wealth of knowledge.

So please give me your best insider Secrets, Tips, and Tricks for Animal Kingdom.

Are there any "Must Have" snacks (like the Dole whip is a "must have" at MK)?

Which Shows are Top load shows and which are side load shows?

Thank you
************************************************** ******

Thanks for all the good Comments. This is starting to turn into something great. Some of the boring stuff you can get off of websites I have put on here just to consolidate some info for newbies like me.

So give me your best veteran advice. And Differing opinions are very welcomed.

If something is just plain wrong or just plain stupid let me know.

If anything is in RED then it is something I need the veterans to confirm. It is something I found but it may not be current anymore.

Thanks again

************************************************** *******
On this list I will first list the Attraction or whatever and then the abbreviations so newbies now what we ae talking about.

Official DIS Abbreviations - just found this link, I need time to adjust my Abbreviations to be sure they follow this fomat

What We Have So Far

Must do Event
1. Relax and enjoy the park, it is not a ride dominated park
2. Lion King Show
3. Safari - mainly for newbies and kids
4. Expedition Everest (EE)
5. Parade

Top Tips
1. Fast Pass(FP) Expedition Everest(EE) in the morning and ride before it gets to hot
2. Do the Safari in the Morning animals are more active
3. Kali River Rapids (KRR) - you will get soaked, so plan accordingly (tips?)
4. Parade is not a must (agree??)
5. Animals are most active in the Morning and at Park Closing, especially Tigers
6. Most guests leave the park early because it is one of the earliest to close, so stay till the end
7. You can use the Rainforest Cafe Shop as a park entrance
8. The turnstiles all the way to the right are intended for CM but will also take guests
9. Enjoy the character meets along the trails
10. Take some of the smaller paths, they are more shaded and you mght see more animals
11. Don’t go into an Air Conditioned attraction after Kali River Rapids (KRR), you will freeze
12. Pre-open show, 15-min before Rope Drop (RD) has characters and critters
13. Talk to the CM on the trails. They know alot about the animals and know alot of stories.
14. If you are at AK for one day only, it is possible to get Nemo and Lion King shows done in one day. If you must choose, go with Lion King
15. Lunch at Tusker House between 1:00pm and 1:40pm gets you reserved tickets to Nemo at 3:15. Get ADRs to guarantee service.
16. To beat the crowds at Camp Minnie and Mickey, be there for rope drop at 10:00am and see the characters before Lion King lets out
17. If possible, use the single rider lines at Expedition Everest(EE). It usually is shorter than the Fast Pass Line

B]Must Have Snack[/B]
Tea or frozen Chai Tea - Royal Anandapur Tea Company
Egg Rolls - Yak & Yeti (Y&Y) Counter Service (CS) (unconfirmed for DDP snack)
Ice Cream Sandwich – choice of cookie and ice cream – Dino-bites
Chocolate Covered Frozen Bananas - Misc Ice Cream Carts

Better Restaurant
Yak & Yeti (Y&Y) - Sweet and Sour Pork, the Duck (not Donald I hope)
Tusker House(TH) - like a little Boma (thoughts?) - what meals?
Donald' s Tusker House Safari Breakfast - Juice, no waiting for food, typical character interaction, Daisey Duck

Good Counter Service (CS)
Flame Tree (FTBBQ) - Ribs and Chicken, pulled pork, corn muffins, onion rings
Yak & Yeti Counter Service (Y&YCS)
Pizzafari – Chicken Parm Sandwich and Hot Italian Sandwich

Restaurants to Avoid
Tamu Tamu – not bad, but not worth it if there are lines

1. Dinosaur may be too loud or scary for younger kids 4-7 (or 24yr olds, see post #31 )
2. Boneyard is a good play area
3. Nemo
4. Flights of Wonder
5. It's Tough to be a Bug may be too scary for and real for the younger ones
6. Drum playing area in Africa – good picture op
7. Conservation Station is good for character meets and petting zoo if your kids have done it before

Characters to Meet
None of these are Guaranteed - just what is usual, and these are for Pics and Autographs. The Parades at the Parks have more, but you don't get to interact with them.
Baloo - Camp Minnie Mickey
Chip and Dale - Camp Minnie Mickey
Daisy Duck - Camp Minnie Mickey
Donald Duck - Donald's Safari Breakfast
Eeyore - Camp Minnie Mickey
Filk (A Bugs Life) - Discovery Island
King Louie - Camp Minnie Mickey
Lilo - Discovery Island
Meeko - Rafiki's Planet Watch
Mickey - Camp Minnie Mickey, Donalds Safari Breakfast
Minnie - Camp Minnie Mickey
Pluto - Camp Minnie Mickey, Donalds Safari Breakfast
Pocahantas - Rafiki's Planet Watch
Princess Atta (A Bugs Life) - Discovery Island
Rafiki - Rafiki's Planet Watch
Stitch - Discovery Island
Terk (Tarzan) - Discovery Island

Best Places to take Memorable Photos
The Oasis
- Baby Simba - The photopass photographers towards the front of the park and Discovery Island will take a picture with one of your kids holding their arms out like they are cradling a baby, and then superimpose baby Simba in their arms

- you can take cool posed pics with the dinosaur statues along the trails in the foliage.

- Rickshaw cart (Buggy pulled by human) - can you get in it? or just pose for pics
- Flights of Wonder - when they ask "who has a camera", be the first to raise your camera and get picked for a very cool demonstration. An owl will fly right over your head as you snap a pic.

The walkway between Africa & Asia. There are some great spots that view the Tree of Life, with plenty of plant life around. The other spot would be with Everest in the background. There is the prayer shrine that is on the way from Africa, and the other shrines as you exit & turn to your left. Both offer good foreground & backgrounds.

Camp Minnie Mickey

Discovery Island
- Tree of life Carvings
- bridge leaving the Tree and heading to Asia. There is a spot that you can get EE in the background.
- The Posters - inside the que for ITTBAB
- Bug Glasses - inside the ITTBAB gift shop and other gift shops

Rafiki's Planet Watch
- the vets - catch a picture of the vets performing check-ups
- Affection Section - petting zoo, great place for pics with the kids

In General
- The Kids Discovery Clubs - take a picture of your kids performing the tasks at the Discovery Club locations through out the park. There is one in each Major section of the park.
- Arcitechture - The buildings in AK are so cleverly weathered and distressed, that it's fun to take pictures of them to add atmosphere shots to your collection. Check out the crazy tangle of electric wiring coming from the buildings in Africa
- Signs - small signs posted around are very interesting. Almost as though English is not the first language of the person who wrote them.

Attractions With Fast Passes(FP)
Expedition Everest
Kilimanjaro Safari
Its Tough to be a Bug
Kali River Rapids
Primeval Whirl

Ride Height Restrictions
Dinosaur - 40"
Primevil Whirl (PW) - 48"
Expedition Everest (EE) - 44"
Kali River Rapids - 38"

Extra Magic Hours Attractions
Expedition Everest
Kilimanjaro Safaris
It's Tough To Be A Bug
Discovery Island Trails
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

PM - all the morning attractions plus:
The Boneyard
Festival of the Lion King
Primeval Whirl
Triceratop Spin
Kali River Rapids (seasonal)

Tips for Rides
1. Kilimanjaro Safari
- 1.1 Ride or Fast Pass the Safari early on busy days
- 1.2 Go early during summer months, the animals will be more active
- 1.3 Evening Time is good too, when things cool off
- 1.4 If it starts to drizzle, head to the safari, animal activity skyrockets
- 1.5 Ride Length - 18 minutes 30 seconds
- 1.6 Different animals will be active at different times of the day, so it isn't the same ride twice.
- 1.7 The pond that all the flamingos are in is shaped like Mickey
Your driver will point out the various wildlife for you -- but don't count on them to stop for your photo op, most barely pause especially during busy times.
- 1.8 Your driver will point out the various wildlife for you -- but don't count on them to stop for your photo op, most barely pause especially during busy times.
- 1.9 get your FastPass when you are ready for breakfast or lunch and about the time you finish eating, it's time to ride the Safari
- 1.10 Photography is a challenge, as the vehicle stops momentarily at best.
- 1.11 There are animal photo identification cards mounted overhead in the vehicles.
- 1.12 If you don't want a bumpy ride, ask to sit in the front of the truck. The ride feels bumpiest in the back.
- 1.13 If you want to take good pictures sit on the end of the rows, you get better shots.
- 1.14 Stay seated at all times. The driver may have to stop for animals crossing the road.
- 1.15 it seems that later in the day the drivers have more freedom to go slower as the attraction line shrinks. Gives you more time to take pictures and anjoy the ride.

2. Kali River Rapids (KRR)
- 2.1 You WILL get WET!!!
- 2.2 Ponchos are useful
- 2.3 Wear or change into sandles before the ride, keep shoes and socks dry
- 2.4 Ride Length - 3 minutes 30 seconds
- 2.5 Not really scary for younger kids, not as bad as similar rapids rides
- 2.6 There are live Geckos in a case in the wall of the loading Que
- 2.6 There is a plastic-enclosed, zippered *protective area* in which you can place your belongings on the raft, however this is not really very protective
- 2.7 Bring a trash bag or a ziploc bag to put whatever it is you want to keep try, sandwich size or 2-gallon depending on needs.
- 2.8 You will enjoy the ride more if you are not worried about how long it will take to get dry. Bring a change of clothes and store them in a locker. After the ride head back and change. (IMwink is doing this!!, I think this is the best tip yet for this ride)
- 2.9 Unless your child is frightened by fire, the ride is not considered scary

3. Expedition Everest (EE)
- 3.1 Fast Pass early
- 3.2 Use a Fast Pass Fetcher (Disney Husband (DH) like me) to get FP because it is out of the way
- 3.3 Ride Length - 2 minutes 51 seconds
- 3.4 This is a high speed roller coaster with sharp and sudden turns, drops and forward and backwards movement.

4. Primevil Whirl
- 4.1 Spinning
- 4.2 Lots of Spinning
- 4.3 48in height requirement

5. Dinosaur
- 5.1 Anyone who hates being jostled around or hates loud noises might want to skip this ride
- 5.2 May scare little kids
- 5.3 Otherwise, GREAT RIDE
- 5.4 Ride Length - 3 minutes 10 seconds
- 5.5 This ride is very dark with lots of loud noises, flashing lights and BIG dinosaurs that jump out at you -- may be scary for children
- 5.6 Dinosaur is virtually a walk on at park opening and closing
- 5.7 - the red, yellow, and white pipes above the load area at “Dinosaur” are for Ketchup, Mustard, and Mayonnaise, and the letters on each pipe are their chemical formulas?!?!?!?

6. Tricera Top Spin
6.1 - Younger kid ride, lame for adults but loved by younger kids
6.2 - No Height Requirement

Tips for Shows
1. Nemo
- 1.1 Great for afternoon viewing, it is air conditioned
- 1.2 Try and get a seat in the front row of the back section right behind the control booth. This provides an unobstucted view, especially for the little ones.
- 1.3 Must see for newbies, but veterans will pick and choose
- 1.4 Ride Length - 30 minutes
- 1.5 Make an ADR at Tusker House for Lunch between 1:00pm and 1:40pm and you will receive tickets for Nem at 3:15pm, This will save waiting in line time. Seating is in the Front-right portion of the theater and you are seated before it opens to the rest of the guests. (I am assuming that once they open the seating to everyone that you may be able to move to another seat if you don't like the one you get)
- 1.6 Seating is wooden bench seats with backs.
- 1.7 Arrive 30 minutes before the show starts. If there is a long line, don't worry, the theater seats a lot of guests (1,500 guests and is the largest theater in Disney's Animal Kingdom)
- 1.8 Before the show starts, the bubbles on the left and right sides of the stage show Nemo swimming
- 1.9 Some performers may come out with their puppets to talk to the audience for a short while after the performance, while the theater is empying. Please note that they do not leave the stage area, so those who are seated closer have a better opportunity to see them.

2. The Festival of the Lion King (FotLK)
- 2.1 Try and sit near floor to kid children invited into the show
- 2.2 Must Do
- 2.3 Ride Length - 30 minutes
- 2.4 Best times to see this are the first or last show of the day. If you show up half an hour before the next Festival of the Lion King show, chances are you will be waiting for the show that follows to be seated!

3. It's Tough to be a Bug
- 3.1 May be scary for little ones (see post # 27 on page 2)
- 3.2 May not be worth it if you are spending one day in the park
- 3.3 Ride Length - 30 minutes
- 3.4 A Classic Mickey is above the Handicap door sign in the loading area for “It’s Tough to be a Bug.”
- 3.5 When the show is over, if you look up at the ceiling you will see "bugs" flying to the exit doors
- 3.6 A number of folks also report the 3D special effects very hard to see clearly -- so don't be surprised if you have a hard time.
- 3.7 You might not need to bother with a FastPass. The way the line is designed your wait will never be more than 30 minutes.

4. Flights of Wonder
- 4.1 Under-rated
- 4.2 Good for Kids
- 4.3 Show Length - 25 minutes – but you can walk away, right?
- 4.4 If you want to avoid a bird possibly landing on you, then sit on the sides
- 4.5 Do not rush out when the show is over. The bird handlers will bring one or two owls or other birds to the edge of the stage for you to get an up close look at, ask questions and photograph

Tips for Other Attractions
1. Maharajah Jungle Trek
- 1.1 Try to go early in the morning or later in the afternoon / early evening
- 1.2 Check for feeding times, Tigers get playful around raw meat
- 1.3 Get your FastPass for Kali River Rapids and then stroll through the Maharajah Jungle Trek.
- 1.4 Tigers are active near closing time because they know they will get fed. Check for them near the fountain at this time.

2. Pangani Forest Exploration
- 2.1 The Gorilla Exhibit is a QUIET Zone! CM have warned that excessive noise and waving arms are seen as threats by the goriallas, the gorillas will became agitated leave.
- 2.2 takes about 20-30 minutes
- 2.3 if the Gorilla Observation area is crowded, keep moving along, there is a bridge overlooking the Gorillas from the right-hand side
- 2.4 the bridge and the area beyond are the only spots from which you can view the Bachelor Troop

3. The Oasis

4. The Boneyard
- 4.1 A great place to allow the kids to run and play
- 4.2 Kids can dig for bones and other stuff
- 4.3 Xylobone - a row fossils set into the wall behind the Jeep that play music
-4.4 Lots of photo ops so be sure to bring your camera with you

5. The Kids Discovery Clubs (KDC)
- 5.1 Learning activities, rather than arts and craft like Epcot
- 5.2 Can be time consuming

6. Cretaceous Trail
- 6.1 Large Dinosaur sculptures in trees
- 6.2 Large Dinosaur sculptures in trees
- 6.3 If there are trees then there must be some shade?

7. Dinosaur Sue
- 7.1 is an exact replica of the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex ever found
- 7.2 The real Sue was excavated in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 1990

8. The Tree of Life & Discovery Island Trails
- 8.1 Take a few minutes and enjoy the carvings on the Tree of Life
- 8.2 Take time to explore the trails that lead off of the Tree. Many have animals that are not seen on t[other trails.
- 8.3 View the Tree of Life at different times during the day. As the sun and the shadows move you will see different animals appear.

Rafiki's Planet Watch
The only way to get to Rafiki's Planet Watch is by train. Keep in mind that if there is a LONG wait for the train heading out there.....there will be an equally long line when you are ready to head back to the main part of Animal Kingdom
10. Conservation Station
– 10.1 Vet procedures are done in the mornings
- 10.2 Lots of education and exhibits
- 10.3 Some animal interaction
- 10.4 Mainly a Conservation awareness attraction, nice idea
- 10.5 Good for animal lovers
- 10.6 There is a Garden for the kids to do a scavenger hunt for bugs

11. Affection Section
- 11.1 petting Zoo

12. Habitat Habit
- 12.1 Special area features cotton-top tamarins.

Animals By Area
You can find them at the allears animal page
I was going to post them, but the list is so long that I think it would distract from the tips (which are long enough!).

Secrets, Cool Stuff, and other Tips
1. "Miss Devine" - When walking between Africa and Asia, look along the path into the woods to find "Miss Devine" a costumed entertainer.
2. Goofy and Friends Fishing - Location: Camp Minnie-Mickey
As you walk toward Camp Minnie-Mickey you may not notice the old watering hole where you will see fisherman Goofy and some of his closest friends enjoying a lazy fishing trip. Look for this watering hole just after crossing the large bridge that brings you to Camp Minnie-Mickey. It's one of those places where you just may find yourself relaxing along with Goofy.
3. Shortcut, Secret Path - that may be less crowded. More easily found when exiting Its Tough to Be a Bug (See also post #57) Courtesy of Robo
4. Safari Amber - AK own beer. Can be found at Dawa Bar.
5. Whiz Quiz At AK at Raffiki Planet Watch in the men's room where all the animal faces are, you can take a Whiz Quiz. While standing at the urinal there's a few questions about other animals' bathroom habits. You have to wash your hands to get the answers. It's not that big a deal, but it's different.
6. Recycling Game - after getting off KRR and having a ice cream before going into Maharajah Jungle Trek we saw some CMs off to the (left)side. They approached my DD8 and asked if she wanted to play a recycling game. She did. They tried to get other guests to play but no one else would. So my DSis and I played too. Basically we threw empty plastic bottle into a basket. The one with the most in won. But then we were all given special Disney recycling pins and a certificate. They called it Recycle Basketbottle and the certificate was presented by the DAK Custodial Team.
7. No standing for Lion King and Nemo - Get a seat outside of either the Lion King or Nemo and wait until the doors open to just walk in without having to stand in line for a lengthy period. Works with any attraction where they unload one group and load another one. When you see the group exiting, you join the group going in
8. Lost Land - If you look at the signs for Animal Kingdom, there is a dragon among the animals on the bottom. This was supposed to represent "Beastly Kingdom," a land of the park with mythical creatures that was planned but never developed. (Maybe we got Dinoland USA instead.)
[B]9. Dawa Bar [/B]-Across from the Dawa Bar is what appears to be an old fort. Don't assume, as I did, that the area's off limits--there are actually tables and chairs in there!
10. RT 498 - The highway sign in Dinoland is route 498 (park opened in April 1998)
11. Water Fall - On the path, as you walk to get to the FOLK, there is a bridge that you walk over. On the right side of the bridge, if you look over the side to the left, you will see what appears to be a waterfall. If you look closely, it is actually a dinosaur with the water coming out of his mouth.
12. Coke innovation - In Harambe, you might spy a genuine Coke bottle perched atop a utility pole as an insulator for a power line.
13. Pizzafari Rooms - The bright colors are eye-catching of course, but stop in *before* the lunch crowds gather so that you can study the different rooms with their ornate murals, walls, and ceilings. Can you identify which room is which? The Home Room, Nocturnal Room, Upside-Down Room, Camouflage Room, Four Seasons Room, and Bug Room.
14. Greybeard - Michael Eisner told Jane Goodall to pick a place on the Tree of Life for a Chimpanzee and one would be sculpted. She chose the entrance outside of ITTBAB so everyone would be able to see David Greybeard; the first chimp she ever observed. You will notice he is more detailed than the other animals--multicolored (grey beard), and there is a plaque next to his image describing him.
15. Tusker House--At the Tusker House Restaurant in AK, you can hear kitchen noises if you sit in the outside dining area. It sounds like dishes clanging together, sweeping up broken glass, etc.. This is a recording, but it's funny to see how people react when they first hear the sounds.
16. Animal Rocks - the rocks in the water on the way to Kilimanjaro Safari ride in AK as you go over the bridge, look like animals. Saw one shaped like an elephant and one like an alligator.
17. Prayer Scarves - The mythical land of Anandapur in Asia - note the authentic prayer trees, draped with both faded and new scarves that commemorate dead loved ones.
18. Temple Mountain - Look at the little temple in front of Expedition Everest. Find a vantage point where these tiny temples form the exact shape of the mountain behind them.
19. Bug holes - While on the Discovery Island Trails, look for a hidden, shaded rock. In the rock are several small holes that appear to have been bored by bugs. Peep through these holes and each homes in on one or more specific animal carvings on the Tree of Life.

Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade
- this parade is very unique in comparison to MK and HS.
- Has characters that you just won't find in other parades
- has giant animal puppet "performers", African costumes, animal stiltwalkersand a bunch of other stuff not in other parades
- the parde laset about 15 minutes
- Up to 25 spectators will be selected daily to ride in the opening unit

Best Parade Viewing Spots
1. Safari Spot – watch the parade from the back of the park near the Safari. After the Parade head to the Safari.
1. Safari Spot Part II - The Parade passes the Safari area twice, because it begins and ends there. You can catch the End of the Parade rather than fighting to catch the begining of it. Characters may hang out and play since they are done with the parade, that may also depend on how hot it is.

Parade Route – Approx 3:45pm everyday
Courtesy of Robo

Park Map

I Have Compiled all the Known Restaurant Menus for the Park from this Site, and others, in one Document. I have listed which places are TS and QS restaurants, and used the Snack Post below to note the Known DDP Snack exchanges. If you would like this PM me and I wil send it to you. (I Think I've figured out the PM stuff)


Check out my EPCOT Tips and Stuff Thread - NEW

Check out my Magic Kingdom Tips and Stuff Thread - NEW

Check out My Hollywood Studios Tips and Stuff Thread

Other Useful Links (Hope I am not breaking any site rules by doing this)
(Taking from an old thread to feed the new one)
WDW Best Kept Secrets

WDW Entertainment Schedules
(Just click on the park and get the schedule for the week)

2009 Confirmed Snacks included in the Disney Dining Plan

Got some tips from
Things Disney Offers But Doesn't Advertise *Summary Added Oct 08*
God Bless (If it ticks them off, then I'll keep saying it!)
Me DW DD(5) DD(6)

Last edited by IMwink; 05-16-2009 at 08:33 AM. Reason: Update
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:01 AM   #2
Drink up me 'earties, yo ho
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Get there early. Get FP for EE and then ride the Safari. The animals are more active earlier in the day. And make an ADR for Y&Y.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:13 AM   #3
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I have an ADR for TH. Primarily because we are meeting another couple and they wanted to go there. I kinda want to go to Y&Y

I am choosing the QS though and I am planning on The Flame Tree.

Are there any "Must Have" snacks (like the Dole whip is a "must have" at MK)?
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:17 AM   #4
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The last time we were in AK was two years ago so this might not apply anymore, but we were there for rope drop and they had a family lead the crowds towards EE but you had to stay behind the rope. About 10 of us went by way of Dinoland and got to EE before the crowds got there. We rode it twice and got fast passes before the millions of people got there!
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:23 AM   #5
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Ride Kali River Rapids late in the day right before you are leaving because you probably will get soaked.

Consider your DD's tolerance of scary things when deciding to ride Dinosaur. My DS was 5 when he first rode it and it terrified him.

The Fesitval of the Lion King is one of the best shows in all of WDW. Get there early and sit near the floor and your DDs will probably be invited to participate in the show.

Hope you have a great trip!

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Old 04-24-2009, 11:24 AM   #6
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Either bring a change of clothes, or ride Kali River rapids last.
With the humidity in AK, if you get soaked early in your day, you'll be uncomfortable until you dry off.
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Old 04-24-2009, 11:28 AM   #7
Any leftover grumpiness can be taken care of by a little wine
Like a box of Cheez-its, I couldn't put it down
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We did what tomu suggested for two trips but tried a different way this past time. I was always grumpy trying to get around to things in AK in the heat and so this time we tried a different approach (and I felt like we did less walk/running for FP, etc.)

We started out in Dinoland! Dd was 7 so we got on Triceratop Spin first and stayed on three times in a row without getting off. She loved it! Then onto Dinosaur with no wait. Leisurely walk to TH where we had 10:30 ressies--when are yours? We really enjoyed the food and characters here and got to sample breakfast and lunch because they were late seating us even though we were 30 min. early.

While dd and I were waiting to be called at TH, I sent dh for FP for the safari. The time was up just as we finished eating and I felt like we saw just as many animals at noon as we had previously in the morning. Then we got EE FP, went on the Tiger trail, rode EE, saw Lion King and called it a day. Finally it was a relaxing day at AK!! You may want to work Nemo into your plan since your little ones haven't seen it yet. It's worth seeing once.

Now I realize we didn't see everything that day, but some we already had, and others we'll save for the next trip. Just take your time here and enjoy the beauty and the fun shows like the African drummers/dancers outside Tusker House.

Have a great time!
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:13 PM   #8
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I'm not sure it's a must-have snack, but there is a cool stand with yummy teas on the pathway between Africa and Asia. You can get hot and cold ones. It's unique to the other parks, I think.

We were at the character greeting trails when the characters came out in the morning, and that was fun. You can see when that will be on the times guide that you get with the map.

I strongly recommend the Lion King show; it is very unique!
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:19 PM   #9
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Do the safari first. You get more action with the animals earlier in the day. The animals don't like the heat, so morning is best.

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Old 04-24-2009, 12:33 PM   #10
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Our family loves AK and we had a great day there in Jan. One tip is that there is an entrance gate to the park inside the Rain Forest Cafe gift shop. If you're there early, the shop is open and you can browse around and then just breeze through the turnstile when the park opens.

We did Dinoland first this time while we sent DH for EE FPs (it's like we're talking in a secret code, isn't it? ). The kids did Triceritops Spin a few times and when my dh got back, we went on Dinosaur for the first time. My 7 yo B/G twins liked it, but I did give them a lot of warning about the loudness and once was enough for that day.

After Dinoland, they played in the Boneyard for quite awhile. It's one of their favorite places in Disney.

We had lunch at TH and LOVED it! It's sort of like a little mini Boma.

After lunch we used our EE fast passes and explored the trails (a new thing for us). A CM gave each kid an animal trading card at the end of the trail, which they thought was really cool.

We also caught a showing of Flights of Wonder (very nice show and a nice bit of downtime) and also saw Nemo for the first time. We thought this was a great show! A tip... We were near the front of the line and when the doors opened, instead of going down front, we picked seats in the front row of the back section right behind the control booth. These were great seats. The kids didn't have anyone in front of them and we were far enough back to really see everything on stage.

At some point, we went on Primeval Whirl, which I don't like because of the spinning, but my kids and dh love it. That was our longest line of the day, because we just decided to ride it impulsively after a snack (McDonalds fries, I'm sorry to say).

Let's see...we skipped the parade this year and didn't miss it. We skipped the Lion King because we wanted to see Nemo, but its a wonderful show too. We skipped Conservation Station since we'd been there the year before, but it is nice to do that if you're kids want to meet some characters and pet some animals. We had to miss the safari because FPs ran out by noon. It was a pretty crowded day.

All in all, AK is a park to take your time in. Since there aren't a whole lot of rides, you can spend your time enjoying the wonderful shows, characters and animals.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:34 PM   #11
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I've only been once, but I recommend skipping the midway type games in Dinoland. They waited until they had filled up the majority of the spots, on both sides of the booth (the people you can't even see). So it's more like you're competing with, say, 15 people instead of 7. I know it's how they make money, but I think it's kind of uncool to have a few kids waiting to play and then wait until you've filled up the rest of the spots with grownups. Sour grapes, I know But we've played games at other places, even at the Disney Boardwalk, and had a much better experience.

I'd also not take little kids on Dinosaur, it was pretty intense.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:36 PM   #12
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We now always pull out our ponchos for the Kali River Rapids.

I learned my lesson the hard way (the first time I rode: "oh, I'm not gonna mess with putting on the poncho...how wet can I get?!")

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Old 04-24-2009, 12:39 PM   #13
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Great tips keep them coming.

My TH ressies are at 1pm, but we get priority seating (PS?) for Nemo, so I will live with TH instead of Y&Y. I almost forgot why I caved so easily on that ressie.

Thanks for the Dinosaur tip. We went to Universal in March when I was back in leave and my DD5 (really 4, will be 5 two weeks before trip) got scared on the Jurasic Park Ride.

Did you go in a summer month when it is hot? I know the animals are climatized to Florida weather so I thought in JULY they would be hiding out in the afternoon. Not that it's all that important, we also did Busch Gardens in March, but our friends haven't.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:42 PM   #14
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AK was our favorite park.....

We just experienced our first visit to WDW, and AK was the family favorite park. And we still didn't do everything there.

EE was a favorite coaster of all parks. Fatpass runner would work well here, as it's a bit out of the way and on it's own.

The Lion King Show, also, favorite of all parks. Simply amazing.

Each time you ride the Safari, it is a different experience. And perhaps animals are more active in the morning, we still enjoyed it anytime.

Didn't like It's Tough to be a bug, would consider the frightening factor before taking your kids.

Tusker House was good for character interaction, and a buffet worked well for our family.

Getting there early is easy as it's one of the last parks to open in the day.

Didn't do, Dinoland, parade, Flights of Wonder, Rafiki's planet watch, and Nemo, really would like to do them all. It was still the park we went back to for a couple of hours our last day.

Our children really wanted to leave parks for the afternoon when the day got hot. (We had left home during a snowstorm!) So you may have to take the idea of afternoon breaks into consideration when coming up with a touring plan.

Have a great and magical vacation.
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Old 04-24-2009, 12:45 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Smiling Cheshire Cat View Post
Consider your DD's tolerance of scary things when deciding to ride Dinosaur. My DS was 5 when he first rode it and it terrified him.
Second this one. A few years back, we had a large group go to WDW. They decided to go to AK first. I kept warning people that this ride can terrify small children, but everyone said the kids would be ok. Every single child under 10 ended up crying on the ride. The children were terrified of the rides for awhile. They even thought the animals on the safari were going to get them. The next day, when they saw Space Mountain was a dark ride, they refused to go on it. Finally, after BTMRR they lost their fear of the rides.

Couple more tips...
- Animals are active very early in the morning and near park closing. If you want to see the tigers, I've heard they are most active during the last hour.
- Most people leave AK early. The last hour the park is open is great.
- Many people avoid flight of wonder for years. Then, when they see it, they wonder why they skipped it.
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