What a rollercoaster of a morning! It started awfully, with a 50 minute wait for the bus and then a smashed phone screen, but then it kept getting better.
Highlights included being strongly encouraged to join in with the dancing in the Africa section of the park, catching an incredible performance of the Festival of the Lion King, and the best safari ever. Not only did we see lots of animals walking around while munching on their breakfast, but we also saw a lion roar. It was a truly magical moment. Our guide was fantastic and even she was amazed.
Take a look at the vlog – and feel free to laugh at my awful dancing for as long as you like – then come back to read my tips.
That was fun!
Best time for a safari
When Animal Kingdom opens, a large number of people head to the big rides like Everest, but most people know the secret of heading to the safari first thing in the morning. There’s a good reason for this. The animals sleep in enclosures backstage during the evening, and are then guided onto the open savanna in the morning. This means that they’re more likely to wander around their enclosures, checking if anything has changed since the previous day. They also have their morning feed around the same time as the park opens so they’re eager to get their fair share.
Later in the day, as the Florida heat hits, they’re more likely to relax in the shade, which makes them harder to spot.
We went on the safari at around 9.30am, just after all the crowds had dispersed, and we spotted nearly all of the animals, many of them up close. It was truly magical.
Take time to soak up the atmosphere
I may be biased as I used to work there, but I think Animal Kingdom has the best atmosphere in the whole of Disney World. There are always street performers, live bands, and even 10ft tall human plants – if you look closely enough.
All of the music is so good, especially in Africa. We were watching the stage when I was called to join the band of people ready to perform. Not one to refuse, I proceeded to make a huge fool of myself, but it was so much fun. Later, we spotted women singing beautiful traditional African harmonies.
Buses for breakfast reservations
This was incredibly frustrating. I called guest services the night before to check if buses to Animal Kingdom ran early in the morning so that we could get to the park in time for our 8am breakfast reservation. I was assured that they were and that we should get to the bus stop an hour before our dining time. That was fine, so we got there at 6.50am to be safe.
The bus arrived at 7.45am. This is when they’re meant to arrive every 20 minutes. Meanwhile, four Magic Kingdom buses had gone past, as well as at least two for Epcot and Hollywood Studios. In my stress about being late, I rushed off the bus, dropped my phone and smashed it on the floor of the bus. I was almost crying by this point.
Obviously it all turned out okay. I got the screen fixed for £130 when I got home, considerably less than the £200 I was expecting, and we were still allowed in to our Tusker House breakfast reservation. But the morning did start with a lot of unnecessary stress.
The moral of this story? Get a taxi if you have a breakfast reservation before the park opens. Seriously. The $10 you’ll spend is more than worth it to escape the extra stress.
Phew! What a morning! Tune in next week for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. I’m excited already!