Sabtu, 13 September 2014

Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, Orlando

Orlando . 2014 . Apr 25


This post is part of our Orlando USA Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.

Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is a curious mix of Disneyland’s characters dressed in safari style, an open zoo and an amusement park.    If you ask me, this is the one theme park that is the most unlike a typical Disneyland theme park.


Our early morning trip to the Animal Kingdom started with an in-house breakfast at Pop Century Resort. Then, it was off on the Disney Shuttle to Animal Kingdom!


It seems that no matter which Disneyland park we are at, the queues at the entrance is always long.


We totally regretted having breakfast at Pop Century when we saw the Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom.  For those of you not familiar with the Rainforest Cafe, it had a few chains across the world and is a combination of restaurant and shop space - a themed restaurant as they call it.  Their menu cannot be classified as cheap, but at least it was affordable, and the ambience spectacular.


Who wouldn’t want to dine here, right?


Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is segregated into 6 main regions:
  1. Oasis (where the main entrance and Rainforest Cafe are)
  2. Discovery Island (location of the iconic Tree of Life and a animal discovery trail)
  3. Africa (home to Kilimanjaro Safari, Wildlife Express Trains and the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail)
  4. Rafiki’s Planet Watch (place to get up close and personal with friendly farm animals)
  5. Asia (the most exciting rides here with Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest)
  6. Dinoland U.S.A (kids’ section mostly)
Animal Kingdom is relatively small in comparison with the massive Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  It also had fewer rides and attractions, so it is fully possible to finish the entire park in half a day or slightly more.

Every region in the Animal Kingdom has their own unique animals on display.

DinoLand U.S.A. - Look out for Tree of Life!

First stop for us was DinoLand.


Animal Kingdom unlike Epcot and Magic Kingdom, has a lot fewer visitors, so the walk around the park was a lot more pleasant and taking photographs was so much easier!


The icon of Animal Kingdom - the Tree of Life, seen from DinoLand.


There are two main attractions in DinoLand that you should never miss.  One would be the ‘Finding Nemo’ musical.   The other one would be the DINOSAUR thrill ride.  Both have Fast Passes available, but we will not recommend using it for the Nemo Musical as that Fast Pass merely allows you earlier entry to the theatre - we wasted it by turning up the same time as the rest of the visitors without Fast Passes.


The Finding Nemo musical.  Disney never fails to impress with their musicals.



The ‘Star Animal’ of DinoLand is this huge American Crocodile.  Do you know that American Crocodiles occur in great abundance in Orlando?

Asia - Best Rides in Animal Kingdom

We moved in an anti-clockwise direction, so next stop was Asia.

Asia should be the most exciting part of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, in terms of rides.   Two of the park’s star attractions are here:  Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain and Kali River Rapids.  Both are Fast Passes ride and we highly recommend you get them early, especially for Expedition Everest.


I never had the guts to try such a roller-coaster, so had to give this a miss.  But judging from the screams, this must be a really exciting ride.


I am better off with the Kali River Rapids - a much tamer ride, and wetter, so bring that poncho with you.


The animal highlights at Asia - Bats and Tigers!

Ever seen a bat feed?  I am pleased to say that I have seen it.


Wow, this was the closest I’ve ever gotten close to a tiger.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

On board the Wildlife Express Train that brought us to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.


At the petting yard with farm animals!

Mickey’s Jammnin’ Jungle Parade

The only safari-dressed Disney characters in Disney World.


I managed to catch sight of Donald - my second favourite Disney character!

Africa - Kalimanjaro Safaris

The one attraction that augments Animal Kingdom’s reputation for conservation - Kalimanjaro Safaris.   This ride takes 20 minutes through the lush African Savannah to search for lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffes and more!  This attraction brought back fond memories of Taman Safari in Surabaya,  but despite Disney’s brand name, we still felt Taman Safari was much more impressive!


That’s the vehicle we boarded for the Kilimanjaro Safaris.


First stop was to visit the rhinos!


Florida has an abundance of huge alligators.  I am sure they had no difficulties filling up this pond with them.


The giraffes, elephants, deers, and zebras.
 

We simply loved this pond with the flamingoes.


Is that a deer….or a zebra?


We started on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail right after the safari.

That was the closest that we ever got to an Gorilla! But Mr Gorilla was obviously not in the mood for socialisation with us.


Another one sulking away by himself?


This one saw the touristy side of me and immediately struck a pose for my camera.  Handsome eh.


The last attraction we went to - ‘It’s Tough to be a Bug’.  I have nearly forgotten what it feels like to be a child, but seemingly, this 3-D show was a little to creepy for young kids.

FastPass+ in Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is much smaller in scale as compared to Epcot and Magic Kingdom.  Nevertheless, there are still 8 attractions offering Fast Passes and we summarise and recommend them below for you:

It’s tough to be a Bug (@ Discovery Island)
This is a 3-D show inspired by the Disney film - ‘A Bug’s Life’.  Features quite a number of creepy crawlies which could be frightening for young children.   While it is an attraction worth spending your time at, do not waste your quota of Fast Passes on this one.   Each sitting of the 3-D show could take in quite a number of people so waiting time would not be that long.

Kilimanjaro Safaris (@ Africa)
Keep this at the top of your priority list for Fast Passes, or do this attraction right when the park opens for the day.  Otherwise, queues could get too long for comfort.

Kali River Rapids (@Asia)
Fans of water-rides would love this.  Featuring small drops and rushing waters.  You are bound to get wet during the ride, but there aren’t any heart-stopping moments.  Perfect for a family day out.

Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain (@Asia)
The only roller coaster in Animal Kingdom.  You’ll hear screams coming from this coaster from a distance.  Set against the iconic Everest Mountain in the park, its hard to miss it.  It is obviously the most popular ride of Animal Kingdom, so coaster fans with a strong heart, please book your FastPasses early.

Finding Nemo - The Musical (@Dinoland)
While we love this musical, it is hardly worth spending a Fast Pass on.  That Fast Pass would merely allow you earlier entry to the theatre, hardly useful if you were rushing from another attraction.  

Primeval Whirl (@Dinoland)
A spinning roller coaster for kids.  Spend that Fast Pass on Mount Everest instead!

Dinosaur (@Dinoland)
Consisting of a dark and jerky ride into a dinosaur infested forest, guests experience loud noises and flashing lights.  Could be scary for young children, but perfect for adults. I would spend my FastPass on this one.

This post is part of our Orlando USA Trip Report and Itinerary. Do check out the full itinerary and our reviews here.


We hope you enjoyed reading this article. To receive notifications on updates, subscribe to our blog via RSS feed and email.

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Jumat, 12 September 2014

Orlando USA Trip Report and Itinerary (Updated)

Orlando (USA) . 2014 . Apr 22 - May 7

Orlando is one of the places in our bucket list as we strive to visit every Disneyland in the world! :)

Orlando is sometimes known as "The Theme Park Capital of the World" with its numerous famous theme park attractions which include Walt Disney World Resort, located approximately 21 miles (34 km) southwest of Downtown Orlando in Lake Buena Vista, opened by the Walt Disney Company in 1971; the Universal Orlando Resort, which consists of the two parks of Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure; City Walk; SeaWorld; Gatorland; and Wet 'n Wild Water Park.

Orlando''s tourist attractions draw more than 51 million tourists a year, including 3.6 million international guests. In fact, the Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the thirteenth busiest airport in the United States and the 29th busiest in the world.

Here's our itinerary with some photos and links to our reviews for our trip. The links will become clickable as we post them. Do bookmark this page as we update the reviews! :)

Last Updated: 13 Sep 2014

Day 0  Singapore -> New York (Apr 22)

2130        Check in at Singapore Changi Airport
2355        Flight to New York JFK Airport

Day 1  New York JFK Airport (Apr 23)

1100 Arrive at New York JFK Airport
1230 Check in at Hampton Inn NY-JFK Airport Hotel
1400 Rest
1800     Order Takeout Dinner
2000 Back to hotel


Day 2  New York -> Orlando (Apr 24)

0430 Rise and Shine
0500 Hotel shuttle to JFK Airport
0530 Check in at Airport
0725 Board American Airlines flight to Orlando
1020 Touch down at Orlando Airport
1100 Disney’s Magical Express to Pop Century Resort
1200 Check in to Pop Century Resort
1230 Lunch @ Katsura Grill
1300 Visit Disney World’s EPCOT - World Showcase
              - Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros
              - Take photo with Duffy
              - Innovations East / Innovations West
              - Spaceship Earth (FP+)
              - Mission: SPACE (FP+)
1945 Dinner @ Nine Dragons Restaurant
2100 IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth (FP+)
2200 Back to Pop Century Resort



Day 3  Walt Disney World -Animal Kingdom (Apr 25)

0730 Rise and Shine
0800 Breakfast at Pop Century Resort
0900 Visit Disney World’s Animal Kingdom
- Dinoland U.S.A and Discovery Island
              - Finding Nemo – The Musical (FP+)
  - Kali River Rapids (FP+)
              - Wildlife Express to Conservation Station
              - Take photo with Chip & Dale
1430 Lunch @ Tamu Tamu Refreshments
1530     Visit Disney World’s Animal Kingdom
- Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade
             - Kilimanjaro Safaris (FP+)
  - Pangani Forest Exploration Trail
1830 Shopping
2000 Dinner @ Resort
2100 Back to Pop Century Resort


Day 4  Walt Disney World - EPCOT + Downtown Disney (Apr 26)

0730 Rise and Shine
0800 Breakfast at Pop Century Resort
0900 Visit Disney World’s Epcot Part 1, Part 2
              - The Seas with Nemo & Friends (FP+)
              - Living with the Land (FP+)
              - Journey Into Imagination With Figment (FP+)
1230 Lunch @ Coral Reef Restaurant
1400 Back to Hotel
1600 Visit Downtown Disney
- Disney Quest Indoor Interactive Theme Park
2000 Dinner @ Earl of Sandwich
2200 Back to Pop Century Resort


Day 5  Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom (Apr 27)

0730 Rise and Shine
0800 Breakfast at Pop Century Resort
0900 Visit Disney World’s Magic Kingdom
              - Emporium (Shopping)
              - Stitch’s Great Escape
              - Tomorrowland Speedway (FP+)
              - Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
              - Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress
              - Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover
              - Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor
              - Mickey's PhilharMagic
              - "it's a small world"
1330 Lunch @ Diamond Horseshoe
1430  Visit Disney World’s Magic Kingdom
             - Jungle Cruise (FP+)
             - Pirates of the Carribbean
             - Haunted Mansion
             - Peter Pan's Flight
             - The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
             - Under the Seas - Journey of the Little Mermaid (FP+)
2100 Dinner @ Resort
0000 Back to Pop Century Resort


Day 6  Walt Disney World - Hollywood Studios (Apr 28)

0730 Rise and Shine
0800 Breakfast at Pop Century Resort
0900 Visit Disney World’s Hollywood Studios
              - Star Tours® -The Adventures Continue
              - Muppet Vision 3D
              - Studio Backlot Tour
              - Indiana Jones™ Epic Stunt Spectacular! (FP+)
              - Walt Disney: One Man's Dream
              - Lights, Motors, Action!® Extreme Stunt Show (FP+)
              - The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
              - The Great Movie Ride
              - Take photo with Stitch
1500      Late Lunch
1600  Visit Disney World’s Hollywood Studios
              - Beauty and the Beast—Live on Stage
              - American Idol
- Toy Story Midway Mania
              - Voyage of The Little Mermaid
              - Fantasmic! (FP+)
2200 Back to Pop Century Resort


Day 7  Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom + Premium Outlets (Apr 29)

0730 Rise and Shine
0830 Check out of Pop Century Resort
0900 Visit Disney World’s Magic Kingdom
              - Big Thunder Railroad (FP+)
              - Splash Mountain (FP+)
              - Take photo with Mickey (FP+)
1300 Back to Pop Century Resort
1330 Lunch @ Resort
1400 Taxi to International Drive (Orlando Universal Studio)
1430 Check-in Hyatt Place Orlando Universal
1500      Visit Orlando Premium Outlets
1900 Dinner @ Premium Outlets
2200 Back to Hyatt Place






Day 8  Universal Studios Florida (Apr 30)

0730 Rise and Shine
0800 Breakfast at Hyatt Place
0830 Hotel Shuttle to Universal Studios
0900 Visit Universal Studios Florida
2100 Back to Hyatt Place


Day 9  Orlando Premium Outlets (May 1)

0800 Rise and Shine
0830 Breakfast at Hyatt Place
0930 I-Trolley bus to Orlando Premium Outlets (International Drive)
1030 Shopping at Orlando Premium Outlets
2200 Back to Hyatt Place




Day 10  Universal Studios Islands of Adventure (May 2)

0630 Rise and Shine
0700 Breakfast at Hyatt Place
0730 Hotel Shuttle to Universal Studios
0800 Visit Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
0900      The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Part 1 / Part 2
1200      Lunch at Three Broomsticks
1300      Continue visit of Islands of Adventure
1700      Dinner @ Bubba Gump Shrimp Company
1800 Back to Hyatt Place


Day 11  Kennedy Space Center (May 3)

0800 Grayline bus to Kennedy Space Centre
0900 Reach Kennedy Space Center
1000 KSC Bus Tour
1200 “Space Station” 3D Imax Show narrated by Tom Cruise
1300 Shuttle Launch experience
1530 “Hubble” 3D Imax Show narrated by Leonardo Dicaprio
1700 Shuttle back to Hyatt Place




Day 12  Free & Easy at Hyatt Place (May 4)

0800 Rise and Shine
0830 Breakfast at Hyatt Place
0900 Rest and relax at Hyatt Place
1200 Lunch at T.G.I. Fridays
1800 Dinner at Hyatt Place


Day 13 to 15  Orlando -> New York -> Singapore (May 5 - May 7)

0600 Rise and Shine
0630 Breakfast at Hyatt Place
0800 Check out of Hyatt Place
0830 Taxi to Orlando Airport
1025 Board Jet Blue flight to New York
1255 Touch down at New York JFK Airport
2055 Board flight to Singapore
0650      Arrive at Singapore Changi Airport (May 7)



The links will become clickable as we post them. Do bookmark this page as we update the reviews! :)


We hope you enjoyed reading this article. To receive notifications on updates, subscribe to our blog via RSS feed and email.

Like us on Facebook @ Discover. Book . Travel and follow us on Twitter @Discoverbooktra!

Do check out our Flickr photos & Youtube videos too!