Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Safari Mike's One Day Plan for the Animal Kingdom for a Family

So, on episode 68 of Radio Harambe, Dave and I set out our perfect plan for the best day possible at the Animal Kingdom. I took on a plan for a family while Dave tackled a plan for adults and/or solo travelers.

As with all plans of this type, it starts 60 days before the day you actually get there when you make those all important, constantly second guessed Fast Pass plus reservations. For this plan, I am telling you to make FP+s for Expedition Everest at 1030-1130, Kali River Rapids at 12-1,  and the Kilimanjaro Safari at 330-430.

Now, we assumed the currently fairly typical park hours of 9 am to 6 pm. We do not assume its an extra magic hour day. But even though the park opens at 9, we want you to get to park at 815. That's because the new opening procedures allows guests to enjoy the Oasis starting around 8:30 and we want you to do just that. Plus, you can get a Wilderness Explorer's book during that time. I do not build in time to play this incredible game, but get the book and try it out as you go along. 

Once the park opens, you head to  the Maharajah Jungle Trek and rope drop that. Once done, you should be at Dinosaur by about 9:30. This is followed by Primeval Whirl and Triceratops Spin and in between check out Chester & Hesters and Cretaceous Trail. This land will be generally empty while everyone else is doing Everest and the Safari. Make sure you get to the Nemo Musical right next door by 10:25 for the 1030 Finding Nemo show.

Once the show is over at around 11:05, you can go ahead and use your Expedition Everest fast passes. You then should make it to the 11:45  showing of Flights of Wonder and then it will be time for your Kali River Rapids fast passes. Make sure you take a few moments at least to enjoy the gibbons and the shopping in this area. 

You should be at Discovery Island in front of the Tree by 12:45 ish. It's a great time to spend a few moments to check out some of the animal exhibits there as well as the Tree of Life itself. A family spending 5 minutes to see the animals embedded into the tree can be time well spent. I want you to be right in front of the park's icon a few minutes before 1pm for the showing of the underrated Winged Encounters. 

After checking out the Discovery Island trails and perhaps even meeting Dug & Russell or Pocohontas before and after the short parrot show, you should head over to Harambe Market and have lunch by about 1:30. This will give you PLENTY of time to sit, relax and enjoy the 1:50 show by the Burudika band. 

My plan has you at the Festival of the Lion King by 2:20 for the 2:30 pm show, I want you to use your fast passes for the Safari at around 3:45. This gives another 45 minutes or so to shop the great stores around Harambe, grab a beverage at the Dawa and perhaps even check out the trail behind the Tree of Life. 

As I said, at 3:45 use your safari fast passes then walk the Pangani Trail. Try to be at the bachelor group of gorillas by about 4:40 or so. They usually are very active right before the end of the day and make for a fun watch. 

So now it should be about 5pm and I know there is stuff we haven't done. So here you need to decide what you want to do. You could spend the time heading over to Rafiki's Planet Watch. Or, you could meet Mickey at the Adventurer's Outpost, take in It's Tough to be a Bug and enjoy some shopping. Under those 2 alternates, I would recommend ADRs for one of the lodge restaurants for about 6:30, enjoying the savannas before dinner and then some night vision goggles action after dinner.

Plan C would be making dinner reservations for the last possible seating at either Tusker House or Yak & Yeti, usually at 5:30, before that take in either a meet n greet at the Adventurer's Outpost, or a showing of It's Tough to Be a Bug time permitting, or you can just enjoy shopping and atmosphere. But you won't finish dinner until at 6:45 or 7pm. Then, walk slowly out the near empty park, and if its a certain time of the year, it will be dark, a most magical time for the park. 

As you can see this plan avoids lines. It puts you at Dinoland early when everyone else is heading to Everest and Harambe. You have fast passes for the biggies later. Feel free to swap stuff out. If for example you and your kids don't want to do Everest or Kali, swap in the Mickey and Minnie meet n greet and spend the other time meeting Baloo or Dug. But either way, this plan should give you a great day at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

By Safari Mike 


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