The Animal Kingdom Park is easily one of the most beautiful parks in Disneyworld. What it lacks in the sparkle and glitter you may find in say, The Magic Kingdom, it more than makes up in beautiful scenery, exotic animals and the tree of life straight from The Lion King (best Disney film ever).
Because of this you’re going to want to take thousands of photos, so if there was ever a day to wear your favourite ‘theme park’ outfit – it’s today. However… I don’t know whether is the rainforest-esque greenery, climate control for the animals or a cheeky tactic to make you buy more water but, for some unknown reason, The Animal Kingdom Park is literally the hottest place on the face of the earth.
So dress appropriately, take a mini deodorant if you intend on keeping your friends/partner and girls, prepare to sweat your entire makeup bag off within the first two hours. So, without further ado…
A Twenty-Something’s Must-Do’s at: THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
As you enter the park you immediately enter a maze of amazing, exotic animals. Not quite Lions and giraffes just yet, they come later, but feast your eyes on some creepy looking toads, brightly coloured birds, swamp wallabys… you know, strange creatures you’ve only ever read about. Don’t be afraid to get right up in there with the kids to take some photos, if there was ever a time to let your immaturity shine through it’s now… for example a photo of the ‘Giant Anteater’ makes a great facebook tag for an ex-boyfriend who pissed you off… and the Gorillas can always be relied on to do something really filthy when you point a camera at them.
Easily one of the best ‘rides’ in Disneyworld! It’s amazing how close you are to the animals. There you are in a little buggy while a bloody great giraffe is just mooching along past you with a mouthful of leaves. If you’re lucky you’ll also get a first-hand look at the fucking awesome life of a male lion… sleeping for around 14 hours a day, only waking to eat the food the females have hunted for him… My boyfriend failed to see the irony when he said “I’d love my life to be like that”…
One of Disney’s newer and bigger roller coasters – it’s fun, fast and the yeti will really freak you out the first time you ride it. The first time I went on this the little boy in front of me spent the entire ride screaming “oh my gawd…OH MY GAWDDD” over and over again. This of course meant each time I go on this now I do the same, burst out hysterically laughing, piss everyone off and end up with the most ridiculous souvenir photo.
One of the brilliant things about Disney is the amount of effort they put into the queuing area of big rides – and considering you spend the majority of your day there it’s a good job. Once again, let your immaturity run wild and get a photo of the “scat” to show your friends.
- Yak Attack
The Animal Kingdom park is seriously lacking on the shaded areas front, so if you don’t fancy standing in the midday sun eating your lunch I suggest you wait until rush dies down, because there’s no way you will get a seat, never mind a seat in the shade between 12-2pm. In my moment of desperation I ended up buying a ridiculous chipmunk hat to avoid sunstroke (a source of never-ending joy to my boyfriend who insists I’ve got a rodenty look about me anyway) and decided a liquid lunch was the only option.
All’s well that ends well though because this led me to the single nicest cocktail the world will ever know. The ‘Yak Attack’ cocktail from the Yak and Yeti fast food can only be described as an orgasm for your taste buds. If you’re over 21 buy one immediately, if you’re under 21 get a ‘cool grown up’ to buy one for you. (Disclaimer: Don’t get a ‘cool grown up’ to buy you alcohol, this is highly illegal and the likelyhood is they’re not very ‘cool’ at all, they’re a bit strange. Instead I suggest moving to England where you can drink at 18 - or better yet France where you weened onto wine right at the tits.)
- The Shows
The two main shows at The Animal Kingdom are “The Festival of the Lion King” and “Finding Nemo: The Musical”… One is amazing, one is soul destroying.
The Festival of the Lion King is the hidden gem of The Animal Kingdom, something I completely missed the first few times I went and only ended up there because I got swept up in a crowd and I’m nosey. Not heavily advertised, I expected the Festival to be for kids – a feeble attempt at capturing the spirit of my favourite Disney film, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. With amazing acrobatics, beautiful dancers, audience participation and music that took me way back to the seven year old me, hypnotised at the cinema – the whole experience is incredible. Well, except the seating… the benches are proper uncomfortable, my boyfriend came out looking like he’d been sat on a pole for 45 minutes, but I’ll put that down to his alarmingly long legs and it’s a small price to pay if you ask me.
On the other hand, Finding Nemo: The Musical… I was gutted at how shit this was because I genuinely thought it would be right up my street; having had an obsession for musicals, the West End and Broadway since I could hum tune – and with Finding Nemo as one of my Disney loves. But watching the girl playing Nemo, singing the sickeningly sweet “We’re all the very best of friends” with the intense character Gill over and over again… by the end I had lost the will to live, it was like being in a car with Alan from the Hangover for 45 minutes. I know it’s probably brilliant for kids, but unless you’re under 9, use your time valuably to get another Yak Attack and give this one a miss.
- The Rainforest Cafe
A must-do for anyone who wants an unforgettable dining experience. As they seat you, your waiter/waitress tells you that every 30 minutes there is a “thunderstorm” – but this doesn’t prepare you for the real thing. I go the shock of my life when a rumbling started, the lights began to flash and all the ‘animals’ started to go mental. I managed to make my meal last another two thunderstorms just because it was that good – this wasn’t hard considering the portions are absolutely huge. I felt like pushing one of the fatties off their scooter as we left because I physically couldn’t walk I was that full – a rarity for a vegetarian eating out, and all without an disgusting, oversized baked mushroom in sight!