Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Little Things at Animal Kingdom

It's so hard to believe that tomorrow, (well, today by the time this blog post is actually released) Disney's Animal Kingdom is celebrating it's 12th birthday. It seems like just yesterday that the AK actually opened. In these 12 years, we've seen some major growth and changes to help make this mark a bit more mature. And while it's not quite there yet, it's well on it's way to becoming a full day park, with just a few little tweaks here and there.

But there are some things at this park that do make it stand out from the other parks. These little hidden gems can be found all over all 4 theme parks, but it seems to me, that this park, because of the attention to detail that has lovingly been put into place, has some of the best little things that often get overlook. I'll admit, even I overlook some of them. But, I don't want you to miss them any longer. So, here are my Little Things At Animal Kingdom!

First, do not miss the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and the Maharajah Jungle Trek. These two trails afford you the opportunity to get up close and personal with some amazing animals that you may otherwise not seen in that light before.

At the Pangani trail, you'll get to actually see gorillas RIGHT THERE! You are all up in their grill! lol! And it's so amazing to watch these animals because they are simply breathtaking! Also fascinating is the fact that you can see hippos here-swimming underwater! How many times are you going to be able to see that in your life? (Well, for most people. Our zoo here in St. Louis has an area that's similar where you can see the hippos swimming as well, but I digress...)

Over at the Maharajah Jungle Trek, which is my favorite of the two trails, you'll be able to get in the same pen as bats! Now, I know a lot of people may freak out at the word why would you want to be in the exact same area where they could fly around you? Because, they're actually not as scary as you think. Most of the time, they're just sleeping. And if you don't want to see the bats here, you can bypass them, but I think that's a mistake. They really are interesting creatures. Another animal that can be found on this trail that you do not want to miss are the tigers. It's so interesting to see how they behave, just like my cat at home, on a much larger, more ferocious scale. Watching them, I've realized they really are sweet animals...well, except for the fact that if they wanted to, they could potentially eat you. You know...that minor aspect. But at least at WDW, there's not chance of them eating you here! So, get up to that glass as close as you can!

Another thing that you do not want to miss at this park is Devine. If you don't know who Devine is, it's hard to describe. She is this beautiful "walking plant" who often surprises people on the path from Asia to Africa. She's so graceful and silent...sometimes you don't even know she's lurking in the plants. But trust me. If you see something that possible looks a little different moving in this area...stop for a moment. You do not want to miss her surprise shows. They are spectacular.

As I've mentioned, there are a few things at this park that I think should be on this list that even I haven't seen. Things that I know I miss, so, I'm sure if I do, the average park guest would too. But it is my goal to take these things in on my next few trips, because they are definitely some special Little Things.

First, I've heard such great things about Rafiki's Planet Watch. I haven't been there yet, but according to Debbie, it is amazing. You can possibly see actual veterinary procedures happen and get up close and personal with some animals at the petting zoo. Also, the Flights of Wonder show in the Asia section of the park is also supposed to be fabulous. But unfortunately, I just keep missing this not so hidden gem.

Lastly, one of the best little things at this park are the details. It's so hard to suggest really stopping and smelling the roses here to soak everything up (I mean, even I have trouble doing that here) but I suggest it highly. There are so many little things that the Imagineers have included, for no other purpose than to make this park one of the most themed parks around. I mean, walk in Africa's Harambe and try not to feel like you're actually in Africa. And you can't tell me that you don't marvel at the wonder that is the Tree of Life. Even Dinoland USA, an area hated by most Disney-philes, is full of small little details that help to make it as tacky as it is.

Oh! And do NOT miss listening to the music at this park! I know when this stuff comes onto, it instantly puts a smile on my face. And that's because it does such a good job at transporting me to the park. Some of my favorite tracks are the background loops you hear at Flame Tree BBQ. So, in addition to opening your eyes, make sure you open your ears as well!

Now it's your turn. What is it at this park that you think is a great "Little Thing" at Disney's Animal Kingdom? Make sure to let me know in the comments section.

And next time you're at Disney's Animal Kingdom, make sure you take a good hard look around. I can guarantee, you won't regret it.


Dennis said...

All you say is true Rikki. I'm guilty of the same thing. I tend to rush through AK, hit the headliners then get out of dodge. I pledge, even if it's 150 degrees in the shade, I will take some time during my upcoming trip to WDW to visit Ak and take some time and enjoy the little things!

Jessica @ Wanting Adventure said...

My in-laws saw Devine the last time they were in the park and said it was amazing! We tried to go back and see her but never managed to be there at the right time. :(