September 2, 2015

What I Love About Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is the park that I have visited the least. Not that I don’t like it, just that some of the trips that I have been on were shorter and time wouldn’t allow it. The first time I ever visited Walt Disney World, Animal Kingdom was still being built. It opened one year after my first visit, on Earth Day 1998. Even though it is the newest park (it’s still 18 years old), there are so many things that I love about it, and some things that make it different than any of the other Disney Parks. It’s a park that grows on you, and once you stop and look around, I think you will love it too.

Now onto the things I love:

Welcome to Animal Kingdom

The Details

The details in Animal Kingdom rival those of Magic Kingdom. I have watched documentaries on YouTube that take an in depth look at how Animal Kingdom was built, and they are all amazing. If you are interested in the details, I urge you to find the Expedition Everest documentary on YouTube. I had a whole new appreciation for that ride after watching it. I even looked for a certain something when you reach a dead end (watch it and you’ll know what I’m talking about!). The distressed look of the park is quite impressive considering it’s age! In terms of theme, I think Animal Kingdom is the party that cohesively fits the theme. (We will just ignore Dino-rama on this okay? Okay.) There was so much research done for this part, and I really think Imagineers pulled it off.

The Tree of Life

This park centrepiece deserves it’s own category, because of the detail alone. Every time I visit Animal Kingdom I see something new on that tree. When you learn how the tree was made, it’s even more impressive. I recommend going to see “It’s tough to be a bug!” so you can get an even closer look at The Tree of Life. It’s crazy to think that there are over 100 animals carved into that masterpiece. Want your picture with the Tree in the background? Don’t wait to get one when you first walk into the park, wait until you are in other areas where it isn’t as busy! Keep an eye out for Disney Photopass photographers, as most likely they are standing close to a picture perfect spot!

The Tree of Life

The Food

I always enjoy eating at Animal Kingdom! There are some more exotic food choices, and it’s always fun to try something new. During my trip in February, Ethan and I tried a falafel wrap and an asian noodle salad. Both were really good! It’s always nice to find good vegetarian options while on vacation so you don’t feel like you are having the same thing over and over. I’ve heard really good things about meat options at Animal Kingdom (like Flame Tree Barbecue) but unfortunately I can’t talk from experience! On your next trip to Walt Disney World, I encourage you to try the food at Animal Kingdom! Also Pizzafari has something other restaurants in WDW don’t- watch the episode of “Unwrapped” to find out.

On a side note, I feel like I have watched more YouTube videos focusing on Animal Kingdom than any other park. It really makes you want to spend more time there!

A Little Friend

The Atmosphere

Animal Kingdom is unlike any other Disney theme park. You have to explore a little. When you first walk in, you are surrounded by lush greenery. You know you are supposed to see a big tree or something when you enter, but you have to wait a while! There are so many nooks and crannies, it’s a park to really explore. It just has a different feel to it.  A lot of people find Animal Kingdom to be a half-day park (and I have definitely felt that way before) but recently my impression has changed. It’s a park that you can definitely spend the whole day at. There is so much to see, and it’s not just “a zoo”. The animal exhibits are beautifully detailed and really transport you to Africa and Asia. Kiliminjaros Safari is always fun, and there are a lot of shows to enjoy! If you are a fan of The Lion King, make sure to check out “Festival of The Lion King”! I haven’t seen it since it moved to its new home, but I hope to see it on my next trip!

The Trails

There are many different trails to explore at Animal Kingdom. It’s fun to head in one direction not necessarily knowing what you are going to see! The details in the trails are amazing, and really transport you. You feel as if you are in the animals’ natural habitats, not at a theme park in Florida! I think everyone should take it slow when visiting Animal Kingdom, because you never know where you can wander! Hint: there are even some trails that aren’t listed on the maps! And you can sometimes find some characters along the trails! You know, just around the riverbed? Can you tell I saw Pocahontas last time?

The Future

There are so many exciting things coming to Animal Kingdom that I can’t wait to see! Avatar-land is coming soon, and so is a nighttime show! There was a lot of construction happening in February so when I (hopefully) visit next year I hope a lot has changed! It will be interesting to see a nighttime show at a park many people deem a half day park, and especially one centred around wildlife. I really can’t wait to see “Rivers of Light”.

Elephant

 

What do you love about Animal Kingdom? Make sure to let me know in the comments!

Have you seen what else I love? Check out what I love about Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Walt Disney World!

Thanks again for reading!

Kelsey
August 19, 2015

What I Love About Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios was the first Disney Park I ever visited (it was MGM Studios back then), so it holds a special place in my heart. It was the first time I met Mickey, I was terrified, and decided at the last minute I wanted to be in the picture.

I love my outfit too...

I love my outfit too…

Fantasmic!

While I love Wishes, I think Fantasmic is my favourite night show at Walt Disney World. I love it so much it is my ringtone! The storyline and effects are amazing, and the music is wonderful. Definitely get there early, as the amphitheatre fills up quickly, and get a Fastpass+ if you can! I realized during my trip in February that most of the seats are limited to Dining Packages (if you eat at Hollywood & Vine or the Hollywood Brown Derby with the package you have reserved seating), Fastpass+ and very little is open to fist come first serve guests. For Fantasmic you wouldn’t necessarily need to reserve the Fastpass+ days in advance, you can use your 3 for the day as normal and get a 4th once your 3 are used up. If you have no idea what I’m talking about with Fastpass+, keep an eye out for a future post all about it!

Tower of Terror

I had to ride this by myself last time because Ethan doesn’t like the spontaneous dropping feeling too much. The detail in the queue is amazing. If you are a fan of the Twilight Zone, you need to experience this attraction! Being in Hollywood Studios and seeing Tower of Terror in the distance makes me happy, I love experiencing this attraction!

Tower of Terror

Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre

Sci-Fi Dine In is a table service restaurant in Hollywood Studios, where you head into a set and enter an old school drive-in. Your booth is an old car and you are served by someone on roller-skates. You can enjoy your food and milkshakes while watching some black and white horror movie clips. The detail in this restaurant is amazing, and I would recommend the Oreo milkshake.

50’s Prime Time Diner

50’s Prime Time is one of my favourite restaurants in Walt Disney World. You step into a 50’s household and are server by “Mom”  or “cousin”. You are told to keep your elbows off the table, and have to eat all of your vegetables before getting dessert! The theme is really fun, as long as you are open to it. I would recommend the PB&J milkshake (also available in chocolate if you ask) and the Caesar Salad with blackened salmon. The Caesar Salad is so good that I have tried to re-create it at home! If you don’t want to sit down for a meal there is a bar that serves the entire menu. You can always get a milkshake to go! (And why wouldn’t you?!) Ethan and I always try to go to 50’s Prime Time when we are at WDW. Here is a picture of us right after we enjoyed our Blackened Salmon Caesar Salads!

Enjoying Echo Lake

Animation Academy

While it recently closed, Animation Academy was something I loved at Hollywood Studios. At Animation Academy you could take a 20 minute drawing class with an Animator. You would sit at desks with illuminated tables and pencils with NO ERASER! This taught you that you need to draw really, really lightly! It closed just over a month ago, but if you head to Art of Animation resort they have smaller classes, and they also have larger classes at Disneyland in California.

Toy Story Pizza Planet

Can you tell I love the dining options at Hollywood Studios? Toy Story Pizza Planet I love because I feel like I stepped into Toy Story. There are video games, green aliens, and PIZZA! While the pizza may not be the greatest in Walt Disney World, sometimes it is nice to have something a little different. They do have some other options available, but being a vegetarian my choices are limited to pizza. If you are a fan of Toy Story, definitely check this quick service restaurant out!

Voyage of the Little Mermaid

This was the first attraction I ever experienced at Walt Disney World. The Little Mermaid was and still is my favourite Disney movie. I still do Voyage every time I visit Hollywood Studios. This 20 minute show mixes puppetry, live actors and  cool effects, and features some of the hit songs from The Little Mermaid.

Voyage of The Little Mermaid

Hollywood Studios is a bit of a sensitive subject for me lately, because it is going through a lot of changes. There are rumours that the theme of the park may change, and more attractions will leave before the park is completed. While some attractions may come that I will enjoy, I’m sad to see some of my favourites go.

With that being said, this past weekend was a big one for Hollywood Studios. D23 Expo was held and there were a lot of announcements about upcoming movies, attractions and expansions of the parks. Hollywood Studios is getting two new lands; Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land!! For more information about the announcements, check out the Disney Parks Blog. I’m really excited to see what will be done in the parks, and hope it’s something great!

Star Wars

Want to see what else I love? Check out my other posts about EpcotMagic Kingdom, and Walt Disney World.

What do you love about Hollywood Studios? Are you excited for the expansion coming soon? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading!

Kelsey
August 5, 2015

What I Love About Epcot

There are so many things that I love about Walt Disney World, I had to divide posts between parks! There are different things that I love about each park, and I wanted to share the things that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I think that a lot of people can find Epcot intimidating, because it isn’t as “kid friendly” as Magic Kingdom. It’s the largest park walking-wise, so that can certainly be a factor when pushing a stroller around. But I have pushed my sister Alexandra in a wheelchair all around Walt Disney World, so if I can do it, so can you! Epcot is educational, especially in World Showcase and is very detailed and beautiful.

It is strongly recommended that you play this video while reading, to complete the Epcot experience. I do not own the video, but thought it would be appropriate for the post.

Spaceship Earth

I’m always amazed walking through the gates of Epcot seeing Spaceship Earth for the first time. I just love that feeling. The feeling of walking into Epcot. You can see it from just about anywhere. I also love the attraction inside of it.  As you approach it, it really hits you how massive it really is. Then, you notice the details, and they confuse you a little! Here’s what I mean…

Spaceship Earth Close-up

Soarin’

I try not to place attractions on these lists, but Soarin’ is special. As mentioned above, my sister Alex is in a wheelchair. Soarin’ is an example of something she may never get a chance to experience in life, and seeing the look on her face during the ride is almost better than the ride itself. It’s so realistic, it feels like you are flying!. I have the music on a cd and listening to it always brings a smile to my face.

World Showcase

This can definitely fall under “the details”. Next time you visit Epcot, spend some time in World Showcase. Try to wander off the path a little. There are so many nooks and crannies to explore. The shops are fun and the shows are entertaining.

China Pavillion

Club Cool

I hadn’t experienced Club Cool until my last visit, but really enjoyed it. In Club Cool you step into an air conditioned building (score!) and get to sample soda’s from around the world. My advice: try them all. Especially the Beverly. It’s a right of passage! Club Cool is located to the right of the Fountain of Nations just before the path to World Showcase, near Innoventions West.

Park Closing Walk-through

I only experienced this for the first time in February, and can’t wait to experience it in the other parks. After Illuminations the park is technically closed, so if you want to take your time exiting the park, try to view the fireworks from the far side of  World Showcase Lagoon. When we viewed Illuminations we were outside of Japan, so we took our time walking back through the countries, stopping to take some pictures. None of the Cast Members rushed us, so it was pretty relaxing. One of the security guards even asked if we got a nice picture! Because we were relying on the buses to get back to our hotel, we didn’t lose anything by walking around a little longer. If anything we probably spent the extra amount of time in the park rather than waiting in line for the bus. If you are taking Disney Transportation at night, I would definitely recommend doing this! Buses run up to one hour after park closing, but if you are there a little longer they won’t leave you stranded!

Spaceship Earth at night

FOOD

Epcot has some of the best and most diverse food options in Walt Disney World. While World Showcase is not home to many attractions, every country has dining options. It’s always nice to try something new, and I try to eat at a new restaurant each time I visit. In World Showcase I have really enjoyed eating at the Italy, Mexico, England, Japan and Morocco pavilions. There are also some really nice options in Future World. Coral Reef Restaurant, The Garden Grill, Sunshine Seasons are all great choices.

Flower and Garden Festival

This is my favourite time of year to visit Walt Disney World. The character topiaries located around World Showcase are beautiful and mind-blowing. The weather is perfect, it’s still a nice change from Canada, and crowds are fairly low. In recent years they have made the Flower and Garden festival a little like the Food and Wine Festival, with booths around World Showcase where you can purchase sample sized meals. This way you can sample a lot of food without the crowds of the Food and Wine Festival.

The original WDW park

EPCOT was not the first park to open in Walt Disney World, but was the first park that was original to Walt Disney World. EPCOT was a passion of Walt Disney’s. He wanted it to be something amazing. He wanted it to be a community that people could live in, and it would be constantly evolving and have the newest technologies. When Epcot was first designed, it’s name was an acronym. Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Although Epcot is not what Walt Disney originally envisioned, I think the park is really special. It still has the opportunity to evolve, and I think it will be great to see it change.

Red Monorail

There’s even more to love! Check out what I Love about Magic Kingdom, and all of Walt Disney World!

 

What do you love about Epcot? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading!

Kelsey