Our second day was in Animal Kingdom. Animal Kingdom is different from the other parks as it is not about the rides...it's about observation and exploration of the world around us. In the Disney-style of "edutainment" the park has a very clear message about conservation. The Disney Conservation fund does extensive work in many areas of the world (most of which is completely behind the scenes). In Animal Kingdom, they try to inspire appreciation for the natural world, and to provide their animals with amazing exhibit habitats that are as natural as possible.
Location: Africa and Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom
Harambe Market- The African area of Animal Kingdom is centered around the fictional town of Harambe (no, it is not named after the gorilla). While the village was designed to be a port in East Africa, the various decorations and creativity reference many of the Imagineers favorite places as they toured Africa for their research. Harambe Market is a fairly new addition...an open air food court based on a marketplace.
The atmosphere was wonderful, if a bit loud, and the food was very good. We had the Tikka Masala Chicken served with Basmati Rice and Black-eyed Pea Salad and the Beef and Pork Sausage Fried in Curried Corn Batter served with Green Papaya Slaw and Black-eyed Pea Salad. We tried two African soft drinks- Bibo (kiwi and mango) and Sparberry (tart and tangy).
Flame Tree Barbecue- Flame Tree is a quick service location on Discovery Island with a shaded outdoor seating area. We loved the seating area...there was a quiet, cool area, right by the water. It was very calming for a theme park.
Jimmy had the Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich - topped with cole slaw and served with baked beans, and I had the Smoked Turkey Breast Sandwich - with lettuce and tomato on multigrain bread topped with cranberry mayonnaise, served with fresh fruit. We also split french fries. I thought mine was pretty good for a quick service location. Jimmy liked his, but not quite as much as I liked mine. He thought the BBQ sauce was just okay.
Rides & Attractions:
Kilimanjaro Safaris (regular- x2, sunset- x1), Discovery Island Trails, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, Festival of the Lion King, It's Tough to Be a Bug, Tree of Life Awakening
Various small acts (singers, dancers, etc...) in Africa and Discover Island. They have lots of smaller shows...something is always going on, making the atmosphere very lively.
Wilderness Explorers! This activity is not just for kids...it's so well done, everyone will enjoy it. You get an activity booklet and you need to complete certain activities all around the park to receive badges (stickers). It's so fun, teaches you, and gets you to explore the park better. We LOVED it. Obviously, it is themed after Up. <3. I highly recommend this. Don't be shy! I will do a separate post about this later!
I did my first character Meet & Greet today- Russell from Up! He had a short line. He was really great, and he gave me confidence to continue meeting characters.
We checked out Zuri's Sweet Shop in Africa and got some cookies...I got a Lion cookie (after Miles) and Jimmy got a Peanut Butter cookie.
The sunset safari gave us great views of the lions. A small herd of zebra were moving in the savanna across from them, and we could see them watching the zebra intently. The ride is so different- even if you go on it back to back like we did in the morning. Definitely one of my favorite rides.
I also took the "Which Bug Are You Like?" quiz in the Wilderness Explorers guide, and I got spider. Mainly because I like to eat things. Throughout the rest of the trip I would affectionately and gently bite Jimmy's shoulder and when he'd look at me, I'd just say "I'm a spider". (For the record, Jimmy was a worm).
One of my favorite parts of the Animal Kingdom is the music!