Earth Week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Earth Week Disney’s Animal Kingdom 2021

While Disney theme parks celebrate all living things every day, during the Earth Week Celebration there’s an added opportunity for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park guests to connect with the magic of nature through engaging activities designed to educate and inspire the whole family.

From April 18 to 24, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will host limited-time experiences including unique Disney character appearances, fun learning opportunities, specialty merchandise, themed food and beverage, a new Wilderness Explorer activity, and more.

Earth Week at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Earth Week Disney’s Animal Kingdom 2021
David Roark, photographer

The Animation Experience at Conservation Station shows how Disney Artists bring favorite characters to life by using animals for inspiration. For the Earth Week Celebration, guests can learn to draw characters – including Dumbo, Terk, Squirt, Shere Khan, Simba and Scar – whose real-life counterparts represent amazing stories of conservation work around the globe.

Guests can catch a glimpse of some special characters who will join other favorite Disney pals on Discovery River Character Cruises.

Earth Week Disney’s Animal Kingdom 2021
Kent Phillips, photographer

A sampling of Earth Week eats include a selection of limited-time specialty cupcakes: the Creature Comfort’s Honey Bee Cupcake, the strawberry-flavored Flamingo Cupcake at Flame Tree Barbecue or the Sea Turtle Graham Cracker Cupcake. Specialty beverages include The Red Crowned Crane, a frozen Coke topped with frozen Cherry Coke and strawberry cotton candy; adults can spice it up with Captain Morgan Rum.

A series of self-guided, nature-themed challenges invite guests to earn a special Wilderness Explorer limited-time Earth Day Nature badge.

Earth Week Disney’s Animal Kingdom 2021

Guests can hunt for an Earth Day 2021 limited-edition Te Fiti Moana trading pin, and also support the Disney Conservation Fund by purchasing a cuddly plush inspired by species that call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home; or check out Island Mercantile’s eco-friendly water bottles, tumblers and reusable bags that promote sustainability.

Earth Week Disney’s Animal Kingdom 2021
David Roark, photographer

Any time guests visit the park, they can marvel at unique animals and meet the newest arrivals. Most recently, the park welcomed the birth of Ranger, and guests can get a glimpse of the rambunctious 5-month-old calf and his rhino family on a journey aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris. While on safari, guests can also keep an eye out for two young Masai giraffe who were born a few months ago, and playful Nigerian dwarf goats that hang out at the warden’s outpost

Earth Week Disney’s Animal Kingdom 2021
Todd Anderson, photographer

Guests can watch artisans transform 40 tons of sand into a detailed sculpture celebrating National Geographic’s “Secrets of the Whales,” an original series streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. The intricate sculpted masterpiece will be located on the Discovery Island Stage until April 30.

For more information on how Disney cares for animals and helps protect species in the wild, visit, and check out “Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom” on Disney+.

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Earth Month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Earth Month 2021 Disney's Animal Kingdom

To celebrate Earth Month, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will host limited-time experiences including unique Disney character appearances, fun learning opportunities, specialty merchandise, themed food and beverage, a new Wilderness Explorer activity, and more from April 18 to 24.

Here’s a look at what’s in store to spark your curiosity about wildlife and inspire your own conservation efforts during Earth Month at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station shows how Disney Artists bring favorite characters to life by using animals for inspiration, and for the Earth Day Celebration and the month of April, you can learn to draw characters – including Dumbo, Terk, Squirt, Shere Khan, Simba and Scar – whose real-life counterparts represent amazing stories of conservation work around the globe.
  • Catch a glimpse of some special characters who will join other favorite Disney pals on Discovery River Character Cruises.
  • Nosh around the park sampling Earth Day eats, including a selection of limited-time specialty cupcakes: the Creature Comfort’s Honey Bee Cupcake, the strawberry-flavored Flamingo Cupcake at Flame Tree Barbecue, or the Sea Turtle Graham Cracker Cupcake (plus the Crave the Wave cocktail!) at Restaurantosaurus Lounge. Be sure to dig in as the treats are only available for a limited time.
  • Set out on a series of self-guided, nature-themed challenges and earn a special Wilderness Explorer limited-time Earth Day Nature badge.
  • Hunt for an Earth Day 2021 limited-edition Te Fiti Moana trading pin. You can also support the Disney Conservation Fund by purchasing a cuddly plush inspired by species that call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home; or check out Island Mercantile’s eco-friendly water bottles, tumblers, and reusable bags that promote sustainability.
Earth Month 2021 Disney's Animal Kingdom Rhino
  • Any time you visit the park, marvel at unique animals and meet the newest arrivals. Most recently, the park welcomed the birth of Ranger, and you can get a glimpse of the rambunctious five-month-old white rhino calf and his crash on your journey aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris. While on safari, also keep an eye out for two young Masai giraffe who were born a few months ago, and playful Nigerian dwarf goats that hang out at the warden’s outpost.
Tree of Life at Disney's Animal Kingdom Earth Month 2021 Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Disney PhotoPass Service captures magical memories with special in-park Earth Day backgrounds and Magic Shots, including an all-new photo opportunity. In addition, Earth Day screen savers and Zoom backgrounds can be downloaded from the My Disney Experience PhotoPass gallery.
  • Beginning April 2nd, you can watch as artisans transform 40 tons of sand into a detailed sculpture celebrating National Geographic’s “Secrets of the Whales,” an original series streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. The intricately sculpted masterpiece will be located on the Discovery Island Stage until April 30.

For more information on how Disney cares for animals and helps protect species in the wild, visit, check out “Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom” on Disney+, streaming now, Disney Park Wild Sights, a short form video mini-series exclusive to the My Disney Experience app.

For more animal goodness you can also follow along on Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment Instagram (@DrMarkAtDisney) and Facebook (@DisneyASE) pages.

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The Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney Day The Lion King at Disney's Animal Kingdom

DISCLOSURE: I was an invited guest of the Walt Disney World Company to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to share The Lion King goodness in the park, but all opinions are my own.

The Lion King has always played a huge role in the fabric of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and to celebrate the animated classic’s 25th anniversary Walt Disney World is celebrating in a big way with new and enhanced experiences. 

With so many great new experiences, I wanted to share how you can have a Disney Day themed to The Lion King at the park!

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Kilimanjaro Safaris

Since Disney’s The Lion King was first released in theaters 25 years ago, we have lost half of Africa’s lions. Only 20,000 remain. The time to act is now.

The Lion King Kilimanjaro Safaris Disney's Animal Kingdom Wordless Wednesday Safari Animal Kingdom

For each rider on Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during opening week of The Lion King film (July 19 – 25, 2019), Disney Conservation Fund will donate $2 (up to $350,000) to the Wildlife Conservation Network in support of the Lion Recovery Fund’s efforts to help double the number of lions across Africa by 2050. 

Protect the Pride Kilimanjaro Safaris The Lion King

#ProtectThePride Facts:

  • Lions are threatened from a combination of factors, including: poaching, loss of prey and destruction of habitats, and Disney has launched The Lion King “Protect the Pride” campaign in conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Network’s Lion Recovery Fund in an effort to double the lion population by 2050.
  • Since 1995, the Disney Conservation Fund has directed up to $75 million ($13M to projects across Africa) to save wildlife and protect the planet.
  • Disney has already donated more than $1.5 million to the Wildlife Conservation Network’s (WCN) Lion Recovery Fund (LRF) and its partners and will make additional grants as well as invite fans to help double the donation for a total contribution of up to $3 million. Fans may participate by taking part in celebratory experiences and purchasing special-edition products, as part of The Lion King Protect the Pride campaign.

The Animation Experience at the Conservation Center

Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Affection Section and the Wildlife Express Train are once again open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and now there is a brand-new additional experience for everyone to enjoy! 

In honor of the celebration of Disney’s “The Lion King,” The Animation Experience at Conservation Station offers you the opportunity to learn how live animals have inspired some of the most iconic characters from this beloved “tail” while learning more about some of the animals who call Disney’s Animal Kingdom park home.

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom Animation Experience at Conservation Center

During the experience you will create a personalized piece of Disney art through an instructor-led animation class.

You could draw Simba, Zazu, Pumbaa, Timon, or another friend. Each session will be different so be sure to visit often to complete the collection. 

Disney FastPass+ Service will be offered for the experience, and you can make those selections using the My Disney Experience app. 

The Lion King Merchandise

Would it be a trip to Walt Disney World if you didn’t at least look at the souvenirs, and for this celebration you’ll find some extROARdinary new merchandise at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom Disney Dooney and Bourke Purse

You can find a large selection of items inspired by The Lion King at various locations around the park, but you’ll find the largest selections at Mombasa Marketplace, Island Mercantile, and Discovery Trading Company. 

The Lion King Photo Opportunities

To help you celebrate, Disney PhotoPass photographers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are offering photo opportunities inspired by inhabitants of the Pride Lands – including four brand new Magic Shots! 

You can also snap a photos in a colorful backdrop at the entrance of the park, have fun themed props from “The Lion King” near the Tree of Life, during a tender moment between Simba & Nala, or strike a pose at Lion King Corner near Pizzafari. 

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom Photo Op

I think these photo opportunities are so much fun, and a great way to remember your Disney Day!

The Lion King Inspired Treats around the Park

And what better way to celebrate The Lion King than with a ‘whole pride of eats and treats’! The Disney Parks Blog has broken down all of the tasty goodies you’ll find at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this summer.

From latte art and ice cream sandwiches to special cones and more, there are enough treats here to have a feast fit for a (lion) king! 

Hakuna Matata Dance Party on Discovery Island

Who is ready to let loose? The Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party is a family-friendly event featuring music, dance, games and some of your favorite Disney friends—including Timon, Rafiki, and surprise friends!

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom Hakuna Matata Dance Party

Get into the groove as a live world beat-style band starts the party by adding a cool twist to popular Disney hits. 

Perfect for Guests of all ages, the festivities are held daily at the Discovery Island Stage—don your dance shoes for tons of problem-free fun!

The Lion King Scavenger Hunt

Some of your favorite Lion King characters are hidden around Harambe. Each time you spot one, add the corresponding sticker to your map. Whether you choose to hunt for all the carvings or not, return your map to Mombasa Marketplace in Harambe or The Outpost Shop in the Oasis by September 28, 2019 for a savanna surprise.

The adventure costs only $6.99, and are available while supplies last. Also there is one surprise per map, so if you have a few seekers you may consider purchasing a few maps. 

The Festival of The Lion King

Join the inhabitants of the Pride Lands for a grand gala in honor of Simba, the lion cub who would be king.

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom The Festival of the Lion King

As the lights dim, hear the sounds of the African savanna. A kinetic kaleidoscope of color floods the stage as colossal puppets, extravagantly costumed dancers, amazing acrobats, a daring fire dancer and incredible stilt walkers dazzle the senses.

During spectacular theatrics, you’ll relive all the classic songs from The Lion King, including “Hakuna Matata” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” The spectacular finale includes a soaring rendition of “Circle of Life.”

It’s a moving and immersive theatrical experience celebrating music that has touched generations of Disney fans—and a festival you’ll want to be part of again and again!

Rivers of Light: We Are One

Eastern festival traditions merge with innovative technology to offer a dazzling nighttime pageant of lantern floats, grand theatrical imagery and a soaring musical score!

Enter a breathtaking world that remains hidden by day, but comes alive at night to tell the story of how mankind has been inspired by animals and all of the natural world.

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom Rivers of Light We Are One
Photo: Walt Disney World

With the enhanced Rivers of Light: We Are One, you’ll experience a new story about the milestones we all share in our journey through the great circle of life. It’s a tale told in powerful fashion—featuring the addition of even more dramatic Disneynature live-action footage and a tapestry of classic moments from animal-inspired Disney animated films, including The Lion King.

You’ll be captivated by a re-imagined soundtrack as the original musical score now is woven together with familiar Disney themes, carrying us through moments of discovery, fun, friendship, fear and love.

Tree of Life Nighttime Awakenings

Flickering fireflies magically appear and stir to life the animal spirits in the tree’s towering trunk—bringing to light a dazzling visual display swarming with color and animated imagery.

The Lion King Disney's Animal Kingdom
Photo: Walt Disney World

Gaze upon a young doe embarking upon a thrilling journey. Behold love blossoming between a pair of hummingbirds. Spy a sly fox spreading gifts of love among the denizens of a wintry forest.

A feast for the eyes, each revelation celebrates the eternal balance and harmony that exists in all living things, big or small, and is sure to inspire and delight your whole family tree.

Reawakening Your Love of The Lion King

The Tree of Life sleeps tonight—or does it? Through September 30, experience the wonder as an original musical score and mystical images—featuring animals and themes inspired by The Lion King—take you on a sublime journey. Be there to see this slumbering iconic tree become even more stunning in a new awakening.

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Ride Kilimanjaro Safaris and help #ProtectThePride

Protect the Pride Kilimanjaro Safaris
DISCLOSURE: I was invited to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to help spread the word about how you can help #ProtectThePride, but all opinions are my own.

While I have ridden Kilimanjaro Safaris MANY times at Disney’s Animal Kingdom this was my best two week excursion yet, and I wanted to share it with you!

But that isn’t all I wanted to share with you…

Right now for every guest who rides the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in Florida during opening week of The Lion King film (July 19 – 25, 2019), Disney Conservation Fund will donate $2 (up to $350,000) to the Wildlife Conservation Network in support of the Lion Recovery Fund’s efforts to help double the number of lions across Africa by 2050. 

How awesome is that???

This is just one of many ways that you can celebrate The Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!!!

If you haven’t had the chance to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris, here’s what you can expect.

Onboard the Kilimanjaro Safaris you explore the Harambe Wildlife Reserve, home to 34 species living in 110 acres of picturesque open plains, shady forest landscapes and rocky wetlands. 

Your rugged safari vehicle is driven by an expert guide, who helps point out animals and shares fascinating wildlife facts during this extraordinary expedition.

On each expedition vehicle there is a listing of the animals you **may** see on Safari, but these are real animals who have minds of their own so every expedition is a unique and unforgettable experience. 

Be sure to keep your eyes open and have a camera ready—you never know what you’ll see on a Kilimanjaro Safaris outing.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom hosts a wild Party for the Planet

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom

Today Jennifer Fickley-Baker shared the following details about the Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the Disney Parks Blog

Who’s ready to celebrate? In just a few weeks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be hosting its annual Earth Day celebration, Party for the Planet, April 20-22. During this special three-day event, guests are invited to explore, engage and connect with the magic of nature through family-friendly experiences and specialty offerings.

Party for the Planet kicks off the moment you enter the park, as no Guest will be able to miss a larger-than-life marine debris sculpture celebrating Disneynature Penguins on display in the Oasis.

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom Debris Sculpture
Walt Disney World

The fun continues throughout the park with unique character appearances, special entertainment, and commemorative photo opportunities available with Disney PhotoPass photographers.

Throughout this special weekend event you can meet some of our amazing animal care experts, animal educators and conservation experts to see first-hand how Disney cares for animals and works to save endangered species worldwide.

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom Birds flying
Walt Disney World

Watch animal feedings and training experiences, specially planned for Party for the Planet, to learn how our keepers care for some of your favorite animals.

Looking for a unique experience during Party for the Planet? Take a journey through tales of adventure and cuisine during Tiffins Talks, a special dining experience April 20-22 from 1-3 p.m., featuring the beloved creative force behind the concept, design and buildout of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney Imagineer and Portfolio Executive Joe Rohde. Join Joe for a unique conversation as he regales you with stories from his travels through a delectable 4-course lunch featuring global dishes, desserts and specialty beverages. Space is limited. Pricing for this dining package is $199 plus tax and gratuity and requires separate park admission. Reservations can be made beginning today by calling 407 WDW-DINE (407 939-3463).

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom Tiffins Talks
Walt Disney World

Guests are also invited to meet Joe Rohde at Mombasa Marketplace, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. April 20 and 22, where he will be on hand to sign his own unique artwork, a commemorative lion print that will be on sale throughout the event while supplies last. A wristband is required to meet Joe Rohde. For further details visit the Party for the Planet webpage.

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom Joe Rhode
Walt Disney World

As if all the fun activities happening for Party for the Planet weren’t enough, on Earth Day, April 22, there will be a full assortment of “The Lion King” merchandise available at Mombasa Marketplace!  You can feel the love and take home so many fun souvenirs like this adorable Simba mug, Hakuna Matata Spirit Jersey, this “roaringly” cute Simba youth baseball hat or one of the many new items recently added to this collection. #LionKingCelebration

Party for the Planet 2019 Disneys Animal Kingdom Lion King Spirit Jersey
Walt Disney World

There are so many incredible ways to celebrate nature and the place we all call home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We hope to see you there!

Visit for the latest information about the celebration. #PartyforthePlanet

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Running Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K at Animal Kingdom

Up at 5am to get ready
Up at 5am to get ready

This weekend I was able to participate in my second runDisney race this year in the Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K. I’ve done little actual running this year, but I’m going to be doing the inaugural Minnie 10K during marathon weekend in January so I figured I would try to do this as a warm up race. This wasn’t my first 5K, but I decided ahead of time I was going to take it easy since I am on antibiotics and medication for sinusitis.

I mostly wanted to do this race for the absolutely adorable Christmas medal (read: rubbery plastic medallion) that all finishers get. Training as a warmup for the 10K was a bonus too since I’ve just started running 2 – 3 days a week again in the last three weeks since my last 10K in August that didn’t go as planned. You can read about that adventure here. More training can only be a good thing.

The course was through Disney’s Animal Kingdom, which I’ve run through in three other 5Ks, but this was a slightly different course than what they had setup before. For those who have done the Expedition Everest Challenge or any other 5K races through Animal Kingdom, you may recall the first mile through the parking lot almost exclusively, then heading through the Oasis towards Africa before going towards Conservation Station for a switchback. After that you would run through Asia by Everest and Finding Nemo, then out by Dinoland and backstage to exit back into the parking lot. Instead of Conservation Station, we skipped that and had a switchback backstage almost just before exiting the park. This is where there were a few parade floats and character meet and greets setup. Previously on the Conservation Station section there would be floats with characters, but also some live animals with handlers, which I kind of missed to be honest. I’m not sure what the reason for the change was other than possibly avoiding running over the train tracks where Cast Members were always setup to warn those running of the potential hazard.

I knew this was going to be the first race for my friend Doug, so I got there early to support him and so we could hang out before getting in the corrals to start. The race start was at 7am and there were only four waves for this race. I was in the last corral for this one, but surprisingly was crossing the start line at 7:08, just about 10 minutes after the wheelchair participants started. I also found out that morning that my friend Scarlett was running too, which was a nice surprise. Several of our friends came out nice and early to come cheer for us and even made some signs. I especially appreciate those who came to cheer who were running in the Wine and Dine Half Marathon later that night.

With Scarlett and Doug before the race
With Scarlett and Doug before the race

Sign I missed in the dark on the way out the door
Sign I missed in the dark on the way out the door

Sign Shalon made me
Sign Shalon made me

Sign Shelley made me
Sign Shelley made me

For some reason, this race felt much more relaxed than some others did previously. I don’t know if this is because I put no pressure on myself knowing I was going to walk most of it, or what. Others also commented it felt like there were fewer people in this race and the corrals weren’t as crowded. It was a nice chill vibe where I didn’t even enter my corral until 5 minutes before the race started.

In the corral
In the corral


Mickey and Minnie waved to me at the start
Mickey and Minnie waved to me at the start

Christmas tree
Christmas tree

As I mentioned, the start was in the parking lot at the Animal Kingdom and the first mile marker was just before the turnstiles to enter the park. A little before the mile 1 point was a spot where I saw friends cheering, and then the Christmas tree lit up at the entrance. I was hoping for some nice Christmas theming with this race and I wasn’t disappointed. Spread out along the course were characters, almost all of whom were in Christmas costumes, mostly their outfits from Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade. Also, towards the end of the course, just before mile 3 was my favorite photo op, and my new avatar thanks to Scarlett’s insistence I get in the picture with her.

Running into Mike working was a bonus
Running into Mike working was a bonus

King Louie
King Louie

Selfie with a dino skeleton wearing a Santa hat
Selfie with a dino skeleton wearing a Santa hat

Donald with some guests running in Christmas sweaters
Donald with some guests running in Christmas sweaters

The race itself wasn’t bad. The temperature was just below 70 at start time, which wasn’t too warm. I tried out a 30 second jog and a 15 second walk interval for the first 10 minutes and was on a better pace than what I’d been doing on the treadmill recently, so that was nice. I was having a little trouble breathing since I forgot to use my inhaler ahead of time, so I walked for longer periods for most of the rest of the race. I was passed by Doug and ran into Scarlett waiting in lines for characters. Scarlett and I finished the race walking together which was nice, since I normally run alone.

Don't do it kid!
Don’t do it kid!

Favorite race picture yet thanks to Scarlett
Favorite race picture yet thanks to Scarlett


I got my Christmas medal
I got my Christmas medal

We had a fun time, which is ultimately what we set out to do. None of us, other than Doug, were out to set a personal record, and he did great in his first race! I got my medal and enjoyed the course, even running into one of my mom’s friends who was running in her first race. For those who are looking to just get started in running or walking even, a 5K at Disney is a great place. They say there is a 16 minute pace requirement, but that is very loosely enforced. I know people who were finishing at closer to an hour and 30 minutes from the race start time by the time they waited in lines for characters.

Have you found yourself running in a runDisney race before? What is your favorite course? Or your favorite medal? This was my ninth 5K and I enjoy them so I’ll keep at it. Next schedule race is the 10K in January and another 5K in February for Princess Half Marathon weekend. Still looking for another 5K next month as a warmup.Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwitteryoutubetumblrinstagram

Best Bathrooms in Disney

I thought I would take this time to share some of my favorite bathrooms around Walt Disney World and Disneyland. I know this may not be the most glamorous subject, but I thought it would be fun. Hey, maybe you’ll find a new favorite spot. This is certainly subjective, but I am basing my list on a few things. Theming is one parameter, location is another, and size/stall to guest ratio. They don’t all have to meet all criteria and they are not listed in any particular order.

Magic Kingdom Bathrooms

I have to say the Tangled bathrooms in the Magic Kingdom are probably the most themed I’ve ever seen. Rapunzel’s tower is illuminated at night and the surrounding area is beautifully decorated around the village near Rapunzel’s parents’ castle and the Snuggly Duckling. Lanterns are lit up at night and hang above the area to provide a gentle light at night. Outside there are seating clusters even with charging stations. Inside the theming is carried on even further (at least in the ladies room) to reflect many of Rapunzel’s hobbies featured in the opening song of Tangled. Plus, there are tons of stalls and I’ve never had to wait.

Tangled bathroomTangled 2Tangled 3Tangled 4Tangled 5Tangled 6

As a runner up, I’d choose the bathrooms in the Fantasyland train station. They aren’t quite as spacious as the Tangled toilets, but they are very pretty. Honorable mention in the Magic Kingdom goes to the New Fantasyland bathrooms behind Gaston’s Tavern.

Disneyland Bathrooms

Hands down my favorite bathrooms in Disneyland are the Alice in Wonderland bathrooms adjacent to the Alice attraction and the Matterhorn. Friends of mine steered me to these bathrooms to check them out on my first trip and I wasn’t disappointed. While Alice in Wonderland isn’t one of my favorite Disney films, the attraction is my favorite dark ride in Fantasyland. I loved these bathrooms with the cards for the stall doors and the hearts on the light fixtures.

Alice bathroomAlice 2Alice 3Alice 4Alice 5Alice 6

I haven’t seen them in person, but a shoutout to the Club 33 bathrooms must be made. Also, have to give props to the Tiki Room bathrooms as the only bathrooms to my knowledge inside of an attraction.

Epcot Bathrooms

Just recently the new bathrooms opened in the American Adventure pavilion, which might now usurp the position of my favorite bathrooms from the old Millennium Village/now World Showplace bathrooms as my favorite in World Showcase. I have to give the edge to America because the World Showplace bathrooms are often only open for special events or during super crowded times of the year like New Year’s Eve. The new bathrooms are also much prettier with a colonial theme (or as colonial as you can get with Dyson airblade hand dryers).

American Adventure bathroomAmerican Adventure 2American Adventure 3American Adventure 4 American Adventure 5

In Future World, I adore the bathrooms tucked away to the right of the entrance to the Imagination Pavilion. So few people seem to know these exist I have rarely seen more than one or two other people here. Bonus points are definitely awarded for the bright rainbow colors carrying over the theming from the pavilion and the fact I’ve never had to wait in line for these bathrooms.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Bathrooms

My pick here for best bathrooms comes down to a matter of convenience and accessibility. The restrooms outside of the American Idol Experience to the right of the attraction entrance aren’t themed at all. They are purely functional, however they are, from what I’ve found, consistently the least crowded bathrooms anywhere in the park. These bathrooms are also pretty centrally located just off of Hollywood Boulevard to the left of the Sorcerer’s Hat.

Disney California Adventure Bathrooms

On first thinking of this post, my immediate answer was the beautifully themed new bathrooms on Buena Vista Street on the right a little after the park entrance. I loved the colors and how they fit right in with the style of Hollywood in the late 20s and early 30s. When I mentioned this post to Shelley, she added the bathrooms in Carthay Circle as a suggestion. I forgot how great these were as well with pictures of Walt and other celebs from the time of the premiere of Snow White at the Carthay Circle Theatre in the 1930s.

Buena Vista Street bathroomBuena Vista Street 2Buena Vista Street 3Buena Vista Street 4Buena Vista Street 5Carthay 1Carthay 2Carthay 3Carthay 4Carthay 5Carthay 6

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Bathrooms

The best themed bathrooms are tucked away in a corner of Camp Minnie-Mickey just outside the exit to the Festival of the Lion King. These are rarely busy, except right after a show of FotLK lets out. They are representative of the decor with a camp style reminiscent of the woods that currently surround them. I say currently because these bathrooms are probably not long for this world with the relocation of Lion King to Africa. The proposed Avartarland expansion of this section of the park will surely be the end of these bathrooms, at least in their current state. I can’t imagine they’d fit in with the landscape of Pandora.


What are some of your favorite bathrooms at Walt Disney World or Disneyland? Did I miss any?Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwitteryoutubetumblrinstagram

Walt Disney World Entertainment Round Table

Summer is almost officially here and that means vacation time at Walt Disney World for many families with kids now out of school. This also means it is a more popular time in the parks where wait times can increase. We thought we’d share some of our favorite Walt Disney World entertainment options that can give you a break inside or in the shade or pass the time while waiting for your Fast Pass time to roll around.  

Magic Kingdom
Betsy – I absolutely love the Dapper Dans! They remind me of one of my favorite movie musicals, the Music Man. I have even been lucky enough to be serenaded by these guys while getting my haircut at Harmony Barber Shop, which was perfect. I love their often A Capella performances, which are sometimes accompanied by the awesome Deagan organ chimes. It is especially cool to see them entertain as the Cadaver Dans during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party
Cheryl – Push the trash can is very entertaining to watch with kids.
Dana – Wowzer is an acrobatic clown that usually juggles while balancing on boards that he has set up himself. He has a spinning plate act as well. Wowzer is fun and super talented.
Beth – I love watching the Dapper Dans tap dance!  You never know when they’ll grab you from the audience and make you part of the show!
Kelly – Main Street Philharmonic – No matter how many time I’ve seen them perform there is a simple, yet amazing way to how they play and what they play with such ease, especially in the Florida weather! It’s awesome to hear Disney songs that most of us know in a slightly different style. Also, to hear them during Flag Retreat is fantastic! 
Mike – One of my favorite things to experience while in the Magic Kingdom is the famous Main Street U.S.A. barbershop quartet, the Dapper Dans. Serenading guests, the Dapper Dans are a true piece of Americana. Not only are they delightful to listen to singing classic songs such as “Mr. Sandman” and “Hello My Baby”, but also the Dapper Dans love to get their guests involved in the show by allowing them to play the infamous Deagan Organ Chimes.
Shelley – To me nothing says the Magic Kingdom quite like the Main Street Trolley Show! I will stop EVERY time I see the Main Street Trolley Show, to sing and dance along with the performers. It also holds a special place in my heart, because Zoe has loved them from her very first visit! The Citizens of Main Street really are the heartbeat and soul of Main Street USA! They’re always willing to talk to you about your day, your celebrations, and especially about their lives on Main Street USA. Don’t forget to shake the Mayor’s hand, ask Scoop Sanderson about his latest pin, or let the Fire Chief know he’s doing a great job!

Dapper Dans in Harmony Barber Shop
Dapper Dans in Harmony Barber Shop

Citizens of Main Street
Citizens of Main Street

Main Street Trolley Show & Zoe
Main Street Trolley Show & Zoe



Betsy – This is a toss up for me. Off Kilter and Voices of Liberty are my two favorite entertainment options in Epcot. I love how Off Kilter covers some eclectic choices of songs with their Celtic Rock flare. They range from classics like Amazing Grace and Danny Boy to Bob Marley and Byan Adams hits. Voices of Liberty perform American classics from hymns to revolutionary war songs. I absolutely love their set last year for the Fourth of July! It was one of the most moving performances and brought me to tears. 
Cheryl – Voices of Liberty – It is great to get out of the sun and just sit in air conditioning 
Dana – Miyuki – I always stop to watch her when I hear she is making candy. Yes, I said hear because she usually has a mic on. Her personality is as fun as the candy she creates for guests who stop to watch her. I’ve never been lucky enough to be picked by her, but still very entertaining. 
Beth – Hands down Mariachi Cobre at the Mexico Pavilion.  They are so talented and genuinely enjoy meeting and talking with their audience.
Kelly – JAMMitors – It never fails that when I’m walking by Innoventions that they are out there playing. The crowd they draw is amazed by how they are playing and what they are playing. British Revolution – I’m a sucker for British music and the atmosphere is a great way to relax and take in some awesome songs.
Mike – One of my favorite entertainment offerings in the World Showcase is the Celtic rock band known as Off Kilter. They rock out five times a day to some of the best in traditional Celtic music and sometimes will even throw in a few modern day hits in their set as well. If you love the sound of bagpipes combined with guitar, drum and bass this is definitely the band for you. Some of my favorite songs that Off Kilter plays include “Danny Boy” and “Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.
ShelleyOff Kilter – Dancing to Off Kilter is quite possibly one of my favorite things to do at Epcot! They’re a really fun group of guys who play music that is great to dance (and maybe drink) to even if you’re just walking by around World Showcase. Their version of Whiskey In The Jar is awesome! Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps – There is something quite special about catching the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps in the American Adventure Pavilion. They have several sets they play, but my favorite is when they have the kids march around, and as a fun bonus they receive a copy of the Declaration of Independence as a gift for participating.

Mariachi Cobre
Mariachi Cobre

Voices of Liberty
Voices of Liberty



Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Betsy – You may or may not have seen me at the Studios enjoying a performance of Mulch, Sweat and Shears. I have an affinity for the lead guitarist Axe and may even have picks he has tossed during shows. They cover classic and more current rock and some pop songs. 
Cheryl – Citizens of Hollywood – They have some totally funny acts, and it is great to stop and watch.
Dana – Citizens of Hollywood – I love them strictly for the comedy.  They can go unnoticed sometimes, but when you spot them, hilarity ensues. Jedi Training – Super cute. I watched it the first time last week.  Everyone loved Darth Maul and I loved the sound effects that were perfectly timed to his lightsaber.
Beth – I enjoy the Citizens of Hollywood. You never know when you’re gonna stumble upon a performance.
Kelly – Citizens of Hollywood – Improv acting mixed in with random Hollywood Studios guests always makes for a great show.
Mike – Often found over in the Streets of America, Mulch, Sweat & Shears plays some of the greatest classic rock hits from bands such as Van Halen, Aerosmith, Queen, Kiss and so much more. Not only is this band extremely entertaining but also they do an amazing job with getting the crowd involved and allowing the audience to become an honorary member of the band by playing the cowbell, rocking out on the guitar with band leader Morris Mulch and even singing along with the band.
Shelley – Catching Mulch, Sweat, & Shears at the Studios is something I try to do as often as I can, because it is definitely a family favorite. Zoe will dance her heart out, and has high hopes of playing the cow bell with the band one day!!! Whatever you do, PLEASE take a moment from your day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to watch the Citizens of Hollywood!!! This talented group of performers are great at improvisation and making you laugh no matter how long you had to wait for Toy Story Midway Mania.

Citizens of Hollywood
Citizens of Hollywood

Jedi Training Academy
Jedi Training Academy

Mulch, Sweat & Shears & Zoe
Mulch, Sweat & Shears & Zoe

Disney’s Animal Kingdom
BetsyDJ Anaan is one of the newer additions to the live entertainment at Animal Kingdom. I remember going shortly after the Bhangra dance party started last year. It is so much fun watching the dancers move along with the Punjabi style music. Every time I have seen kids of all ages joining in with the party learning moves straight out of some of your favorite Bollywood movies.
Cheryl – I enjoy watching DJ Anaan and the dancing in front of Yak and Yeti.
Dana – DiVine – The first thing you notice is a group of people looking into the plant life on the walking between Africa and Asia. Then you spot her when she finally moves.  It’s fun to watch her move into plant-like poses and watch her disappear back into the foliage. 
Beth – My 4 yr old nephew Alex visited DAK for the first time this year.  He loves playing the guitar and singing songs.  As we were walking through Camp Minnie Mickey, Gi-tar Dan spotted Alex and started singing about his grey dinosaur shirt and grey shoes.  The look on Alex’s face was priceless as he discovered the song was about him.
Kelly – Tam Tam Drummers – When these guys start playing their instruments you feel like you’re in their homeland. Such a cool dance party! 
Mike – If you’re looking for an immersive cultural experience that can be enjoyed by people of all ages then look no further than the Burudika band at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Located over in the Harambe Village of Africa, Burudika plays some of Africa’s modern hits and encourages all guests to dance freely in front of the stage joining the band in an African street party. Sometimes if you’re lucky enough, the Tam Tam Drummers will join Burudika’s street party and aid them in teaching guests some traditional African dance moves that they can take home with them to show their friends and family.
Shelley – Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe – NOTHING makes me happier than being able to dance in a park, and the Tam Tam Drummers of Harambe are my favorite to dance with at Animal Kingdom…maybe even all of Walt Disney World! These guys play a mean song and dance with everything they have. They put on a great show, and taking in a show is a great way to spend time waiting for your Kilimanjaro Safari Fast Pass time!


DJ Anaan
DJ Anaan

Tam Tam Drummers
Tam Tam Drummers

Betsy – One of my absolute favorite ways to unwind after a fun day in the parks is to grab a drink at Mizner’s and to listen to the Grand Floridian Society Orchestra. They play big band music mixed in with some Disney tunes and even take requests. I adore sitting for hours to catch their sets alternating with the piano player in the Grand Floridian lobby.
Cheryl – Yehaa Bob – It is no longer a “secret” at Disney.  Its great to go and watch him perform.
Dana – Grand Floridian Society Orchestra – This could be a time to relax, beat the heat, and just listen to the Orchestra’s music.
Beth – Watching the Electric Water Pageant from the beach of the Polynesian Resort is fantastic.  The pageant sails the Seven Seas Lagoon and around Bay Lake nightly and can be seen from any of the monorail resorts as well as the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness.
Kelly – Grand Floridian Lobby Society Orchestra – I love, love, love listening to the orchestra play classic Disney songs. You can hear it all throughout the lobby and it makes Grand Floridian that much cooler when you walk in and hear them playing. Scat Cat’s Club musician – This bar is nice and relaxing and to hear some jazz music in the background is a great way to end a day.
Mike – One of my all-time favorite entertainment options located on Disney property is Yehaa Bob Jackson located over at the River Roost Lounge at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside. Join Yehaa Bob for his whimsical piano sing-along featuring numerous classic songs like “Sweet Caroline”, “Piano Man” and of course my all time favorite audience participation song “Sarah, Sarah” (Don’t mess it up!!!) The reason why I love going to see Yehaa Bob so much is because he is not your ordinary piano player. In fact, he is the complete opposite. Instead, Yehaa Bob Jackson is a phenomenally talented piano player who is almost rarely sitting down and plays a piano that rarely sits still.
Shelley – Boardwalk Magician, Juggler, Musicians – The Boardwalk performers are quite different than what you will find at the Walt Disney World Resort, and they variety of shows they put on are sure to please every member of you traveling party. There is nothing like grabbing a snack on the Boardwalk and watching a performance! Yehaa Bob Jackson – Some of my most favorite memories of living so close to Walt Disney World involve going to a Yehaa Bob Jackson show! We’ve had girls nights, birthday parties, and gatherings there and we always have a blast! It can get a little loud, but don’t let that intimidate you from joining in on the fun…just donnnnnnnnn’t mess it up!!!!!!

Grand Floridian Society Orchestra
Grand Floridian Society Orchestra

Boardwalk Magician
Boardwalk Magician

Yehaa Bob Jackson Group Pic
Yehaa Bob Jackson Group Pic

These are just a few of the many options that Walt Disney World entertainment offers in and around the theme parks. We hope that you take some time to take a break and enjoy some of these fantastic choices for ways to spend time outside attractions. So much of what makes Walt Disney World amazing is the people and interacting with these performers and even other guests can provide some priceless memories. I know I will never forget the time I got pulled up to “sing” with Mulch, Sweat & Shears and my friends just happened to be there with a video camera. Seeing someone spot DiVine for the first time is often quite entertaining. If you haven’t enjoyed the ragtime piano playing while grabbing a snack at Casey’s Corner, you’re missing out on one of the best secrets in the Magic Kingdom. Hearing the Voices of Liberty perform Golden Dream live is a transformative moment to say the least. Take a moment and slow down while you’re on your vacation to experience the live Walt Disney World entertainment. You won’t regret it!Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwitteryoutubetumblrinstagram

Happy 15th Anniversary Animal Kingdom!

15th Anniversary Animal Kingdom

Happy 15th Anniversary Animal Kingdom!!!


Today is Earth Day, but it’s also the 15th Anniversary of Animal Kingdom!

There will be a lot of fun activities planned if you’ll be in the park to celebrate the Anniversary!

Some of the activities you’ll find are:

  • Special opening ceremony – Meet at the Tree of Life at 8:40 a.m., to hear from Josh D’Amaro, Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment. Make sure you arrive early for this!
  • Earth Day “Party for the Planet” festivities – Special interactive activities that focus on animals and nature will take place throughout the park from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Artists and other vendors will present their work on in Africa and on Discovery Island, with their work available for purchase.
  • Opportunity to purchase special 15th anniversary merchandise, available in limited quantities.
  • Special food & beverage.

But, we thought we would celebrate the 15th Anniversary Animal Kingdom by sharing some of our favorite things to do in the park!


If you can’t make it to Animal Kingdom to join in the fun, this week’s Limited Time Magic keeps the party going with a Party for the Planet!

We are also celebrating our Blogiversary this week with daily giveaways, and to bring some of the 15th Anniversary celebration to we’ll be giving away a box of the 15th Anniversary Animal Kingdom Mystery Pins!

Super huge Congrats to KJ for winning the

15th Anniversary Animal Kingdom Mystery Pins!!!!

15th Anniversary Animal Kingdom

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We hope that you enjoyed our video and good luck entering the contest!!!

We’d love to hear what you love to do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and keep checking back for this week for more Blogiversary giveaways!!!

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Limited Time Magic – Party For The Planet

Limited Time Magic

Limited Time Magic ~ April 22 to April 28, 2013 ~ Party for the Planet

This April, there’s a party going on at Walt Disney World Resort… and you’re officially invited!

Come celebrate the 15th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom park at “Party for the Planet”—an Earth Week event where you can meet some of your favorite Disney Characters, purchase collectable merchandise, and try out some tasty sweet treats!

Disney Character Dance Party
The party kicks off with a week-long character reunion, where some rarely seen Disney Characters will be making cameo appearances in Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park.

Stop by for a chance to see Lilo & Stitch, Flik & Princess Atta, Koda & Kenai, and Thumper & Miss Bunny as they march along, and then join them for a dance party hosted by DJ Dino-Mite in Dinoland, USA!

Commemorative Merchandise
Once the celebration’s started, make your way to Creature Comforts where you can buy celebratory clothing, commemorative pins, limited edition Vinylmation figures and other once-in-a-lifetime merchandise you won’t find anywhere else.

Can’t make it to Florida for the occasion? Take advantage of a special opportunity to order an exclusive 15th Anniversary T-shirt online… but get yours fast—the T-shirt will only be available from April 22 to April 24, 2013!

“Dig Up” Something Delicious
The Earth Week celebration continues all across Walt Disney World Resort, where for a limited time, you can “dig in” to a duo of playful desserts.

Head into Disney’s Hollywood Studios or Kona Café at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and try out the “Worm and Dirt Cupcake.” Or, travel to Magic Kingdom park or Epcot for a delightfully delicious “Worm and Dirt Tart.”

Remember, the Earth Week experience is only taking place for a limited time—don’t miss your chance to celebrate the planet in the most magical of ways!*

*Events and characters are subject to change.

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Thanksgiving Dining at Walt Disney World

Mickey and the gang celebrating Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving image copyright Disney

If you are like me, and you are finding yourself at Walt Disney World over Thanksgiving and don’t have set plans yet, don’t fret. There are great dining options across property in both the parks and resorts. Some are even still available for dinner reservations at this point in time (11pm Wednesday, 11/14) (subject to change of course). Even if you don’t want to make a reservation for some of the restaurants for a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner, there are counter service locations that can still fill your craving for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.


Character Thanksgiving Meals

Some of the character meals across the parks and resorts are getting special treatment just for Thanksgiving. They offer holiday menus with many having traditional meals, with others focusing more on their own twist on the holiday fare. At the Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s buffet is offering a Thanksgiving dinner. Across Bay Lake at Fort Wilderness, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ becomes Mickey’s Backyard Thanksgiving feast featuring turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and many of your favorites. In the parks, Tusker House, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is having Donald’s Dining Safari Thanksgiving Lunch and then a non-character Thanksgiving meal for dinner. Walt Disney World Swan’s Garden Grove is having a character buffet dinner as well.


Table Service Thanksgiving Meals

Many of the restaurants in the parks are also providing meal options for the holiday. In the Magic Kingdom, Liberty Tree Tavern has both family style lunch and dinners. Also, the Diamond Horseshoe is hosting a table service dinner. At Epcot, the Biergarten in Germany has both Thanksgiving lunch and dinner options. Hollywood Studios has their buffet open for lunch and dinner as well as the Fantasmic dinner package. And, as already mentioned, in the Animal Kingdom, Tusker House is offering their dinner buffet.

At the resorts is where you will find most of the special holiday menus being offered. Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has a special prix fixe menu. Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club has a dinner buffet and the Captain’s Grille at the Yacht Club is serving both lunch and dinner buffets. At the Grand Floridian, Citrico’s has a prix fixe dinner menu. Also with a prix fixe menu is Flying Fish Cafe at the Boardwalk. For some a la carte menu options you could try lunch or dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Still at that resort for dinner you can have a Thanksgiving dinner at Narcoossee’s. Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness is having a lunch and dinner buffet. At the Polynesian you have lunch or dinner at Kona Cafe, Olivia’s at Old Key West is also serving both meals, as are Sanaa at Kidani Village, the Wave at the Contemporary and the Turf Club at Saratoga Springs. For more family style meals, check out either Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge for lunch or dinner, or dinner at the Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club.

Are you staying at the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin? If so, don’t worry, they have great options too! Fresh Mediterranean Market at the Dolphin is having a lunch buffet. The Swan’s Il Mulino is serving Thanksgiving dinner a la carte as is the Dolphin’s Todd English’s bluezoo. Downtown Disney even has some options for you at the House of Blues for dinner and Planet Hollywood for both lunch and dinner.


Counter Service Thanksgiving Meals

So, what if you, like me, have waited til the last minute and maybe there aren’t reservations available for your party of five? Don’t worry, Disney has that covered too. In Epcot, Sunshine Seasons, one of my favorite counter service options already, is supposed to be offering a special holiday menu too. Don’t want to go to a park, there’s a resort that has your name written all over it. At Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, the End Zone Food Court is even getting into the holiday meal spirit with a Thanksgiving dinner from noon until 10pm with turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls and your choice of either apple or pumpkin pie for only $10.99 for guests 10 and up and $5.99 for children 3 to 9 (prices, times and menu items subject to change without notice).


All in all, it looks like Walt Disney World has some pretty great options of many varieties of cuisine and location for just about any appetite. Many of these options are on the Disney Dining Plan and as I mentioned, a few are even still available at this time. If you find yourself at WDW over the holiday, have a Happy Thanksgiving and happy eating!Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwitteryoutubetumblrinstagram

The Week in Review: August 13- – August 17, 2012: Sports, Icebergs, and Wild Adventures!

The Week in Review: August 13- – August 17, 2012: Sports, Icebergs, and Wild Adventures!

It has been another amazing week here at On the Go, and now it’s time to look back at all that happened August 13th to August 17th!!!

Let’s Go!

On Monday we took a look some local sports teams. First, the Orlando Solar Bears signed three new team members. And at the Orlando City Soccer Club, Kevin Molino was named to the Trinidad team for Canada Friendly.

Cheering for the Orlando City Soccer Club!!!

Aurora and I ventured out to Titanic: The Experience, and she shares her thoughts on a Visit to the Titanic.

Thelma and Louise on the Grand Staircase in Titanic the Experience

For Wordless Wednesday, we took a look through the trees at Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We took a look at LEGOLAND Florida’s STEM Focused, Interactive Programs for kids.

LEGOLAND Florida provides interactive entertainment for families with children ages 2-12 .

Betsy makes her way out west to Disneyland, and shares part one of her Trip Report in her California Adventure!

Betsy in front of the Disneyland train station

Friday, Megan took us along on her Wild Africa Trek! She has some great photos and information about this really up-close Safari Experience!

Megan on the Wild Africa Trek

Thanks for joining us this week at On the Go, and we can’t wait to bring you even more posts next week!!!

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Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Have you ever noticed people walking around the safari or near the hippos on Kilimanjaro Safaris?  Have you ever wondered what they were doing and how you could be out there getting up close to the animals?  One of Animal Kingdom’s hidden gems is the Wild Africa Trek, a special tour that debuted last year.

This tour departs several times throughout the day with the earliest tours starting before Animal Kingdom opens to the public.  The tour last approximately 3 hours.  If you are arriving before the park opens you will need to meet your guide at the front of the park and be escorted back to the tour’s starting location.  If your tour starts after the park opens, you can head behind the Dawa Bar to meet your guide.

Once you meet your guide, you will be fitted with your tour vest, which is also your harness for the first half of your adventure.  You go through some basic safety training and get to test out the practice bridge to see if you can handle the challenges up ahead.  As soon as everyone in your group is ready to go you head off with your guide into the Pangani Forest and begin your adventure.  You have short walk through the forest along the paths that the regular guests follow before you head towards the Ituri Forest.

Entering the Pangani Forest

The path that you follow isn’t paved.  You are walking on dirt and over roots.  For guest that are physically unable to take this route, there is an alternate trail that you will take with your own guide before meeting up with the main group later.  My tour had a few people who took this option.

Once you find your way through the forest, your first stop is with the hippos in the Safi River.  Your “monkey tail” that is part of your tour vest is attached to a safety bar and you are able to walk out to the edge of the enclosure and lean over to view the hippos.  I was the only one in my group brave enough to head out to the edge and lean as far as the monkey tail would let me.  It gave me the opportunity to get some great pictures.

Kilimanjaro Safari vehicle passing by

Our close up of the hippo!

After your guides share some interesting hippo facts, you head off to the daredevil portion of the tour.  Everyone is able to walk across a suspended bridge.  I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the tour.  I can’t say as much for some of the other people in my group.  Some were scared of heights and just focused on crossing the bridge.  I took my time and enjoyed the view.  I watched as the safari trucks passed underneath and stood over the crocodiles just daring them to try to make me into their dinner.

Crossing the first of the bridges

Whoa! I hope I don’t slip and fall down there!

Stopping to take a picture

I hope they had their breakfast!

Once you’ve make it across the bridges and spent some time at the crocodile overlook, you take your last hike out to meet your personal safari vehicle.  I think our safari vehicle was my favorite part of the adventure.  Unlike the vehicles that you ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, the Wild Africa Trek vehicles are able to stop and you are able to walk around your vehicle to get pictures of the animals.

We pulled over to get pictures of the giraffes

The baby elephants were playing

One last treat during your adventure is a small meal that is served to you overlooking the savannah.  The early morning Treks include fruit salad, cheese and yogurt, followed by fig cake, a special slaw, and prosciutto.  It was all delicious and just enough to refuel me for the rest of our adventure.

Our home away from home on the safari

Meals were served in these containers

Yogurt, fruit salad, and cheese and dried fruit

Bread, salad, prosciutto, and fig cake

We had a special, but unplanned treat near the end of our adventure.  The lions were out!  There is a spot where the truck is able to pull over and we got some great pictures of the lion. After the lions, you follow the same path as the regular safari vehicles.

Sleeping Lioness

Once you return to the warden’s post, you walk back to Wild Africa Trek meeting place.  You are able to select one of the conservation efforts represented by the animals that you saw on the Trek.  By making the selection, Disney donates a portion of your fee to the selected efforts.

I would definitely do the Wild Africa Trek again if I were given a chance.  Since I was on one of the first Treks of the day, I would like to try one of the later Treks, maybe even try to head out on the last one of the day.

One final group picture. I think we came back with everyone!

Have you ever been on the Wild Africa Trek? What was your favorite part?Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwitteryoutubetumblrinstagram