Adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

This post is in partnership with Walt Disney World and Disney Parks. I was provided a complimentary resort stay, tickets, and food. All thoughts are my own.

Yesterday, I recapped the first part of our Disney World trip (you can read about it here). When I left you, I shared that we had to go sleep early on Tuesday to wake up very early on Wednesday for a special visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We woke up around 5:30 am, got dressed, packed up, checked out of our room, and went downstairs for a special breakfast. Around 6:45 am, just as the sun was starting to come up, we hopped on a bus and headed out to Animal Kingdom.

We were some of the first guests in Animal Kingdom that morning, and wow, is it peaceful. We walked over to Kilimanjaro Safaris, where we found out that we would be on the first safari of the day! I usually only ride this ride in the afternoon, but it is a treat to ride it first thing in the morning; so many animals were out and about. We got a great glimpse of the giraffes, elephants, lions, and baby white rhinos. White rhinos are near-threatened, and Disney’s animal care experts have helped welcome three new babies in the last 15 months.

After our safari, we set off for our next adventure: Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail. We were so lucky to have an Animal Programs Education Cast Member leading us through the trails. He told us many neat facts about the different animals we saw. The highlight of this adventure was seeing Gino the Gorilla. Gino is the oldest gorilla at the Walt Disney World Resort and has been there since the park opened.

When we finished exploring Gorilla Falls, we were met by two Wilderness Explorers (from the movie UP!) and were given the opportunity to become Wilderness Explorers ourselves! They taught us the Wilderness Explorer call, gave us Wilderness Explorer sticker badges and handbooks, and then sent us on our way to earn some more Wilderness Explorer badges. If you want to become a Wilderness Explorer next time you’re at Animal Kingdom, stop by the Wilderness Explorer headquarters, pick up a handbook, and collect over 25 badges throughout the park.

Next up, we were able to do something extraordinary and go backstage to see the purple martin bird’s nests at Animal Kingdom! Every year 400-500 purple martin birds travel to Walt Disney World from South America to lay eggs and raise their young. We learned that Disney has over 500 nests for these birds on property (you can see some at EPCOT), and these birds lay over 1,000 eggs at Disney World. Disney’s Conservation Team studies these birds to learn how they can best conserve this species and others like it.

Around this time, we took a break and grabbed some lunch at Yak & Yeti. Many people are familiar with the Yak & Yeti table service restaurant, but there is also a quick-service restaurant. 10/10 recommend; it was delicious.

We had one last adventure for the day, and once we gathered back together, we took the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. I have always thought that Rafiki’s Planet Watch is a hidden gem at Animal Kingdom; you can find a petting zoo, an outdoor discovery trail, and an animal care facility called Conservation Station.

Once inside of Conservation Station, we found out we would be participating in The Animation Experience. We were led by a fantastic animator who taught us how to draw Squirt and Crush from Pixar’s Finding Nemo during this class. We also learned about sea turtles and talked to a sea turtle expert.

At this point, our amazing adventure with Disney was over. We said our goodbyes and then headed over to Hollywood Studios so Brooklyn could ride Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway (of course). We had the most incredible time on this trip and learned so much about Genie+ and Disney’s Conservation Team’s efforts for our Earth.

Thank you so much for hosting us Disney! It was the most magical experience. Our family is going to be talking about this trip for years to come.

Sending love and magic.

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