Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Lessons Learned


I have to admit I was not looking forward to this Florida vacation at all.  Don’t get me wrong I love to see Lucy and her teammates play field hockey; but I was not looking forward to going to theme parks afterwards on a hot and muggy day.  If you have ever been to Florida in July then you know a 100 plus degree day feels like 500 degrees. I also do not care for crowds of people. Clint says I am getting grumpy in my old age. Clint and Lucy on the other hand were so excited to experience Disney.  Neither  one of them have been to Disney . This was my 4th visit to Disney.  In my mind if you have seen one theme park you have seen them all. Just in case you are not familiar Disney World is 4 different theme parks.  Due to time restrictions we chose to visit 2 of the 4 parks.


I thought this picture was funny and a good way to dive into Animal Kingdom.

All of my negative connotations were quickly swept away as soon as I stepped foot into Animal Kingdom.  To try to break down a big topic, like Disney, Lucy and I decided it would be best to give our top 4 reasons why Animal Kingdom is our favorite Disney theme park.

  1. As you know, summer time is a crazy busy time for any touristy area. Disney is no different, even in sweltering heat. Animal Kingdom, felt spacious. We did not feel as if we were being herded around like cattle.  We did not have to fight crowds to get on rides or see shows.  We did not have people pushing through the crowds looking everywhere but who located is in front of them.  The best part is we did not have people running over feet with their baby strollers.


    Clint and Lucy at The Tree of Life  which is located in the front of Animal Kingdom.  This was honestly the biggest crowd we encountered all day.

  2. Animal Kingdom, is fun and educational.  Lucy’s objectives while visiting the Disney was to ride as many rides as she could.  She actually, opted to take part in the learning scavenger hunt in lieu of riding many of the rides. Lucy earned her Wilderness Badge, ” by completing challenges while walking around the park”.   Lucy’s favorite new fact that she learned is that a hippopotamus can run an entire length of a football field in 7 seconds.  It takes me longer than 7 seconds just to wrap my head around the fact that I am going to run the length of a football field. I honestly would have loved to see the sprinting in action, but the hippos were swimming.  I guess I would pick a cool pool over sprinting too.


    Lucy working towards her Wilderness Badge.  She did complete all her tasks.  

  3. Animal Kingdom does an amazing job of educating their patrons about their ongoing conservation efforts. For example in certain parts of Africa, elephants are being killed and poached.  To help save the elephants, Disney assisted in research that found elephants are afraid of bees.  All of this resulted in creating beehive fences around African villages. These beehive fences keep elephants out of villages, and the villages are able to profit from the beehives.  I have provided a link if you are interested in further information here. We were so intrigued, because as you know my father in law is a beekeeper.  Lucy wanted to immediately call her Pa-Paw and tell him he needed to move to Africa and help save the elephants.  


    Hippo taking a swim to cool down.  I did not have a good picture of the Elephants. 

  4. My absolute favorite part of Animal Kingdom is even though it was hot, most of the park is shaded.  The shade was perfect for a 105 degree day.  I had such a great time at Animal Kingdom, I did not want to leave.   


    Lucy taking in the shops and having fun with ears. 

My original thought of if you have seen one theme park you have seen them all, has changed.  I could go back and visit Animal Kingdom over and over again.

We also went to Hollywood Studios.  Clint and Lucy were glad they got to experience Hollywood Studios but chose not to go back and visit. I think they felt it was a one-time kind of park.

Lucy, Clint and I would love to know what Disney park is your favorite?  If you have tips, tricks or  good Disney advice we are all ears (no pun intended). If you are planning a trip to Disney and are in need of opinions on other aspects I would be happy to share.  Please email me your questions.

I think it is safe to say we will visit again in the near future, just not in July.

As Always,

Melissa Gayle