Monday, April 22, 2013

Disney's Animal Kingdom is 15!

It's Earth Day and the fifteenth anniversary of the opening of Disney's Animal Kingdom!  I remember traveling there in 1999 with my boyfriend, who I was hoping would use the opportunity to propose.  In fifteen years a lot has changed, with us and with this wonderful park.  It is awesome to look back and see how much your life has changed over fifteen years; we've gotten married, finished college, moved twice, and now have a third baby on the way.  Sprinkled in there are numerous trips to Disney World, with several spots at Animal Kingdom.  Here are our fifteen DAK favorites...

15. Discovery River Taxi/Radio Disney River Cruise
This attraction has been closed since 1999 because it wasn't too popular.  I loved it and hope they are running the boats for today's anniversary.  Maybe for the 20th?

14.White Chocolate Elephant Cupcake
Kusafiri Coffee and Bake Shop easily rivals some of the more popular bakeries on property, including Starring Rolls at Hollywood Studios and Main Street Bakery at the Magic Kingdom and this cupcake is giant proof.  The huge, molded white chocolate elephant on the top is just the beginning of one of the best cupcakes around.  I'll be sure to take a picture before eating it next time.

13. Yak & Yeti
We love the food and the ornate surroundings at this table service restaurant.  Yum!
Shaoxing Steak and Shrimp

12. Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade
I'm not big on Disney parades, but we never miss this one.

11. Tree of Life
This should probably be up higher on the list because of its sheer magnitude, beauty and attention to detail.  I still can't believe there is an oil rig under there!

10. Wildlife Express Train
I find this train ride relaxing and a perfect opportunity to nurse the baby.

9. Restaurantasaurus
Most people just run in and out of this quick service dining location.  Next time you go, stop and check out the detail in the surroundings.  No where in the park is Disney's attention to detail more prevalent than it is here.  I could spend hours there, eating Shrimp Po' Boys and laughing at the jokes.

8. Kali River Rapids
I admit it...I am a chicken and wear a poncho on this attraction.  I do love it, I just don't like walking around wet afterwards.

7. It's Tough To Be A Bug
My arachnophobia always makes me cringe when the spiders appear, but I deal with it to feel the bugs leaving the auditorium before the guests.  That gets me every time!

6. Finding Nemo - The Musical
An amazing show!  This was the first one we took CDB#1 to see and she didn't move from my lap the entire time.

5. Flame Tree Barbecue
Best quick service dining spot on property...period!

4. Exploration Trails
I like all the trails; can't pick a favorite.  Some of the best photos I've ever taken are of animals on these trails.
Can you spot DiVine?

3. Park closes early
Yes, we love that this park closes early.  It gives us an opportunity to catch a movie at Fork & Screen, or just go back to the resort pool and chill.  If it stayed open as late as the other parks, we'd be forced to stay until they closed, too.

2. Kilimanjaro Safaris
I take more photos on this attraction than any others on Disney property.  Hop in the back row and get out your telephoto lens!

1. Expedition Everest
Disco Yeti aside, we love this coaster.  We were raised on the "faster, higher, steeper" coasters at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH and Expedition Everest still ranks in my top 10 greatest coasters of all time.  Shutting down this coaster to fix Disney's largest animatronic ever would mean closing this very popular ride for quite a long time, but I think it's worth it.  Splash Mountain was closed and restored to original greatness, so Animal Kingdom should "take one for the team" to shut down Everest and fix it.  I just hope it's closed when I don't have a trip planned.

I took this picture while riding EE. Can you spot my husband in the dark blue shirt?

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