Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Animal Kingdom: Africa


2017 started out with a magical trip to Disney World!! I have been so excited to post about this experience and relive all the fun we had through the photos. I hadn't been to Disney World since I was a little girl and only have a handful of memories from when I was there, so it was practically like going for the first time. I went with my good friend Laura who was my Disney Fairy Godmother, she planned everything for us and made it the most perfect trip ever. Planning a trip to this ginormous park is intimidating, I was so grateful for Laura and her knowledge and all of her planning and reserving to make our trip as enchanting and line free as possible.

We took the red eye flight from Salt Lake to Orlando and drove straight to Animal Kingdom, we changed and freshened up a bit in the car before heading in to the park. Animal Kingdom wasn't around last time I was at Disney World and I had heard all about how unique and gorgeous it was, so I was excited to check it out!





Animal Kingdom is divided into two main parts, Africa and Asia, this post will cover our time in Africa.







Laura had reserved spots for us at Donald Duck's Safari Character Breakfast at the Tusker House. We were starving after flying all night so this was the perfect way to begin our day.








The characters were all dressed up in their safari gear and they all looked adorable! 






The food was delicious! Along with pancakes and waffles and the usual breakfast items, there were quite a few African dishes full of fun flavor and spice combinations, I love everything I tried. The buffet was too big to get some of everything, so I'll just have to go back!




After breakfast, and a little caffeine, we we were ready to hit the park. Our first fast pass of the day was for Kilimanjaro Safaris. This was by far one of my favorite rides in all of WDW, we rode it three times during our trip. What's awesome about going on multiple safaris is that it's a completely different ride every single time. 






There are signs in the jeeps to help guests identify the animals you are seeing, the safari drivers are also really good at pointing out animals and telling you what they are.








We were excited to see the elephants because there was a brand new baby elephant, named Stella, who was only a few weeks old at the time. Stella sticks close by her mama and is very good at hiding when the safari jeeps roll by. I caught just the tiniest glimpse of her in the picture below, she is behind the dirt pile. I was surprised at how small she was!




Animals crossing, or in some cases just plopping down and sitting in the middle of the road, is a fairly common occurrence. When this happens, the jeeps stop and wait for the animals to move, they never interfere or try to get them to move. One safari driver told us he had to park a full jeep for about 30 minutes while one of the animals laid down in the middle of the road for a little rest.

These ostriches came running down the road towards our jeep, it almost looked like they were playing tag or something. They ran right past us without even looking at us.



We were lucky to see the lions awake! Like most cats, lions sleep the majority of the day, so seeing them awake is kind of rare.






After our exciting safari adventure, we headed to the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. This section of the park is so lush and green, it was lovely strolling down the paths, enjoying the shade and looking for animals.







This napping hippo was fascinating to watch. Hippos can sleep underwater, periodically, without waking up, they will come up for air. We got to see him take a breath a couple of times.







These baby gorillas were being so silly, they were wrestling and playing with each other and a variety of toys.


One of the babies climbed up a super slender tree to get a snack, he bent the tree all the way to the ground so he could jump off and the tree snapped back, it was super fun to watch.



After we finished the exploration trail, we wandered around looking at the gift shops and eateries.


I was dying over all the super adorable animal themed treats!







In the middle of Animal Kingdom, is discovery island which is home to the Tree of Life, the iconic symbol of animal kingdom. The Tree of Life celebrates all living creatures, it's trunk and roots are made up of beautiful sculptures of a variety of animals. 








Here we go on another Safari Ride!




This time we got to see the giraffes, one of Laura's favorite animals!





Next up, Animal Kingdom: Asia