Today, Ryno Clavin and I spent the day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the one park I find myself going to the least, yet the amazing details and theming of this park blow me away every time I come back.
I got to the park a little early, about 5 or 10 minutes before Ryno and I had planned on meeting up. I sat down on a bench at the very front of the park when I realized the bench had a dragon on the logo. This dragon may seem insignificant, but it is actually one of few pieces of what was to be the Beastly Kingdom section of the park. The Beastly Kingdom was going to be dedicated to fictional animals like dragons, sea monsters, and unicorns. That same section of the park is what they are now turing into Pandora – The World of Avatar. Don’t get me wrong, I am extremely excited for Pandora – The World of Avatar, probably more than most, but I would have loved to see the Beastly Kingdom. Maybe that is just the Disney nerd in me, but I am so intrigued by Disney parks, lands, attractions, etc. that never came to be. Disney Imagineers are, in my opinion, some of the most creative people on earth, and they put a lot of hard work into creating and designing something that we will never see, so for that reason I am kind of glad that Disney didn’t scrap these benches when they decided to not build the Beastly Kingdom. I see the dragon as a slight acknowledgment to the Imagineers who put in all that hard work.
Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Anyway, Ryno and I soon met up and started to make our way around the park. Ryno soon noticed someone with a really unique looking souvenir cup. Upon further investigation, we found out it was the Rivers of Light glowing lantern souvenir cup for $12.99. Typically I don’t love the souvenir mugs/cups with Mickey and Minnie plastered all over them, but this cup was different. It had small subtle details that make this more than just your average Disney cup.
Soon after that, we had lunch at Harambe Market. Out of all the quick service locations on Walt Disney World property, this might be one of my two favorites. The only other quick service I think I like better is Capt. Cook’s, but it is very close. The only thing that can be frustrating about Harambe Market is that the line can get really long on crowded days. I once waited 30-40 minutes just to order my food. But, today wasn’t too bad; we only waited 5-10 minutes, so that was good. Anyway, for lunch I had the grilled chicken skewer served with green papaya slaw and black-eyed pea salad for $9.99. Overall I really enjoyed my meal. The black-eyed pea salad did have a liquid that leaked and got all over the table, which was a bit messy, but the food itself was delicious.
After that, Ryno and I went on Dinosaur, which is apparently Ryno’s favorite ride, plus the wait was only 10 minutes! I couldn’t tell exactly, but it seems to have been refurbished, and some small updates have been added since the last time I went on it. It could be that they’ve updated it, or maybe I just forgot how much I enjoyed the attraction.
After we got off we spent some time walking around the park, when we stumbled upon the Tree of Life Garden. People think that just because I have an annual pass and that I get to go to the parks all the time that I must have done everything, but the Tree of Life Garden pathway is something I had never explored before today. The small pathway brings guests a lot closer to the Tree of Life, and I really appreciated all the details of the tree being that close.
Overall it was a great day! Disney’s Animal Kingdom never disappoints, so I’m not sure why I don’t visit more often.