Animal Kindgom Walk Around Tips and Tidbits

Deb Wills

The entrance is beautiful this time of year with flowering vines.

Animal Kingdom Entrance

Always pick up a times guide – not all areas of the park open at the same time and you can save yourself some steps.

Animal Kingdom Times Guides

But, not everything can be found in the times guide. I specifically looked for appearances by DiVine and none were on the guide. However over at the main Animal Kingdom Times Board, I found DiVine’s hours under Hot Tips! It pays to double check!

I always love the view when you come out of the Oasis and enter Discovery Island, seeing the Tree of Life!

Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

I had planned to walk around Camp Minnie-Mickey, but the times guide told me it wasn’t opening until 10am. Just before you head into the Camp area, there is a Disney Vacation Club Kiosk area. Right behind it are 3 fun cut out frames for photo ops!

Animal Kingdom

These zebras looked great against the blue sky. I remember many of these pieces actually being painted on my very first visit to Animal Kingdom, during a Cast Preview.

Animal Kingdom

My goal today was to ride Kilimanjaro Safari at least twice to get a good idea what animals are out in the summer heat! First stop, FastPass! There are signs now on each machine reminding you to return during the one hour window on your FastPass (so pay attention).

Animal Kingdom FastPass Signs

I headed over to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail to see what was happening.

While I have seen signs like this along the trail before, I hadn’t really stopped to read them.

Animal Kingdom Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

Upon entering the aviary section, you can’t help but notice all the activity from the Africa Golden Weaver birds! Their nests are built up-side-down to what we think they should be to keep predators away! Check out Photo Blogger Scott’s great photo of these birds!

Animal Kingdom Africa Golden Weaver birds

A Hippopotamus enjoying the sun and the waterfall.

Animal Kingdom Hippopotamus

Soon I was in the Meercat Viewing area. When the park first opened, you could not only see Meercat’s and Gerinuks here but also Dik-Diks, a very small antelope. The Dik-Diks were only in Animal Kingdom for a short time.

Today when I looked around the only critters to be found were the Meercats. And then a huge fence in the distance.

Animal Kingdom Meercat Viewing

Animal Kingdom Meercat Viewing

While the Cast Member stationed there didn’t know for sure what was going on. She speculated that work was being done on the trees OR perhaps they would have a new animal viewing area soon.. she said the rumor was “lions”. Now, I would have normally just thought that was pure rumor, but earlier in the day, a Cast Member told me that Animal Kingdom recently acquired 4 Lion Cubs – so who knows?! That same Cast Member also indicated that occasionally a cub could be found in the Lion section (although on my two trips, I didn’t see any). Again – pure rumor – I really have no idea what is going on.

Many of the Gorillas were out and about including this female and also the 2 year old.

Animal Kingdom Gorillas

Animal Kingdom Gorillas

It was nearing time 10:30am for my Kilimanjaro Safari FastPass so I headed over to check the return times. FastPasses were being given out for 11:15, so I went back to the machines and got another one so I could ride, kinda of back to back.

Lots of animals and birds were out. I spotted over 20 during the ride.

Disney sets the scene of the savannah up beautifully with this first look as you turn the corner.

Animal Kingdom Kilimanjaro Safari

Lots of giraffes on both sides of the road. Animal Kingdom now has two kinds of giraffe, the Reticulated (which has been there since park opening) and the Masai. Can you tell which is which?

Animal Kingdom giraffe

Here is how…. Look closely at their patches.

The Masai giraffe has jagged edges along their patches.

Animal Kingdom Masai

The Reticulated giraffe’s are smooth.

Animal Kingdom Reticulated

Ok, now look at them again ๐Ÿ™‚

Animal Kingdom Giraffe

The elephants were having a great time with the water and throwing sand on their backs (for sunscreen – really!). Elephants of varying age were out too!

Animal Kingdom Elephants

A Cast Member in the KJS area had told me that there is a baby White Rhino sometimes out so to be sure and look for it. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the baby Rhino.

Animal Kingdom White Rhino

We had a treat and got to see both the male and female lion walking around.

Animal Kingdom Lion

Near the end of the ride is the new area being prepared for the Zebra. The drivers have gotten the “story” about the new herd integration into their spiel. One even said the Zebras are expected in October. That goes along with “fall” time frame first reported.

Animal Kingdom Zebra area

When the first ride was over I only had 10 minutes to wait for my second ride. Just about all the same animals were out, some in different areas. I did see a Mandrill the 2nd time.

This time, the lions were sleeping. I could see the male, but the female was hard to spot.

Animal Kingdom Lions

While I miss the rickety old bridge bit during the ride, I really enjoy that the jeep is now able to spot, no matter how briefly, for photo ops.

One animal I did miss was the Thompson’s Gazelle. I asked one of the Kilimanjaro Cast Members who told me they have been removed from Animal Kingdom and taken to Animal Kingdom Lodge. I’d love to have someone to talk to from Animal Kingdom about the animals.

Before leaving the park, I stopped by the Beastly Bazaar. This shop has been closed and will become a Character Meet and Greet. I asked 2 different Cast Members in the area what was going on in the store and neither had any information to share.

Animal Kingdom Beastly Bazaar

All too quickly, the heat started to get to me, so I headed out.

Animal Kingdom Exit

So,do you like “walk around” blogs like this one?

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45 Replies to “Animal Kindgom Walk Around Tips and Tidbits”

  1. When i was on the Safari in August, i also asked about the Tommies and was told by my guide that they were getting sick on the Savannah and had to be removed.

  2. Thanks Deb! I do enjoy these walking around blogs, it gives me the feeling of being there in between trips ๐Ÿ™‚ I just came back from a trip to WDW 8/14-8/22 and I believe we did get to see the white rhino baby! I will check in my photos, and if I can find one, I will email it to allears ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Hi Deb,
    We will be first-timers in December. I enjoyed your blog post about AK. I was curious about what you said about Fastpass. Did you get the 2nd FP before you used the first? I thought you couldn’t have two at a time? Can you clarify please.

    When you get a FastPass it will tell you what time you can get your next one, usually one hour. So, if it is NOON you can get another FastPass at 1:01pm.

  4. Love the “walk around” blog. Since I am a local, I visit the parks “solo” several times a month and do “walk arounds” like this. It is so amazing to see things differently during each visit. Yours is nicely detailed and love the photos. Thanks!

  5. Definitely enjoyed this Walk Around blog! It’s like taking a mini trip through the park! Thanks for the great pictures!

  6. Any update or happening of the day to day activities is always appreciated.

    For those that can just make it down once or twice a year this helps us with our Disney hangover…..

  7. DEB!!

    As always, it’s great to see a report from a fellow Animal Kingdom lover. Thanks for the update – I’ve been wondering how the Safari story was going to change (and I’ll never be happy about losing the song on the radio!), so I’m glad to hear you still enjoy it.

    Can’t wait to see the sprinbok out and about!

  8. Deb,
    Liked the walk-about blogs. If only I could be there with you!

    Will be planning my yearly March trip. Hope there will be some kind of meet and greet with Allears when I go.

    DEB: We usually announce meets 2-4 weeks in advance. Hopefully we will have one during your visit!

  9. Great idea! Enjoyed the read. I’m quite surprised at how often you encountered staff members who didn’t seem to know anything aren’t you?! Last time I was there (by myself) I did the Serengeti Safari four times. Twice back to back and then spread out the other two visits. I miss the rickety bridge too!

    I was also told on the Wild Africa Trek (November 2011) that one Lion (although I honestly can’t remember whether they said the male or female) had died. Obviously it wasn’t the male because you got a great shot of him!

    DEB: I think for some folks, it is simply a job. Go to work, do their best, put the hours in and go home. With over 50,000 employees that is certainly going to happen. What makes it special, is when you encounter that Cast Member who not only loves what they do, but tries to stay very informed about what is happening in their area. Sometimes I wonder if we don’t have a better idea of what is happening because we are looking from “above”. They were right in the middle of it.

  10. Loved it Deb!!

    It was a little “fix” for me while I’m counting down the days till we are home again at Walt Disney World! Less than 6 months to go!!

    Kilimanjaro Safaris is a MUST-DO every visit, usually we ride 2 or 3 times during our stay. I really liked the bridge and the poachers story, so I’m a little sad to hear they took that part up. I’m sure we’ll still love the ride all the same though.

    As always, a HUGE thanks to you and your crew for everything you put into this website!!

  11. This was very interesting. It felt like I was walking through the park with you. I liked learning some new things like the history of what animals used to be present and some rumors of the future. I would be curious to see how you saw world showcase and what you find interesting there. Perhaps I was expecting too much during my last visit there but I left there disappointed which seems to be in stark contrast to other’s opinions.

  12. I just got a chance to read this post. Great job. One statement caught my eye in particular “While I miss the rickety old bridge bit during the ride”. Is the ride less bumpy over all?

    DEB: not really less bumpy, the trails still are what they are, you just don’t get jerked up and down on the old rickety bridge.

  13. Beautiful photos of the animals! I love Animal Kingdom, and I think Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of the best attractions in all Disney World. We’ve been to Africa, and it really is the next best thing to being there. The only thing I don’t like in Animal Kingdom is the tacky Chester and Hester area. One of the reasons Walt created Disney parks was to get away from parks that were loud, tacky, geared just for kids, and that charged you extra for things like midway games. I hope they will redo the Chester and Hester area some day to make Animal Kingdom Park even more awesome.

  14. So what exactly is the spiel about now if they aren’t saving a baby lion? Are they just telling you about the animals that you see with no story? Interested to see it myself in April!

    AllEars: The original story was about saving “Little Red” an elephant. It had much more on the issue of poaching. Most all the references to the poaches are gone during the ride. However, the spiel does talk about environment and learning to protect endangered species.

  15. Loved the blog…on the Wild Africa Trek we were told that the Thompson Gazelle were “retired” to the Lodge and would soon be replaced by a new type of gazelle called Sprinbok (not sure of the spelling). They told us that the Thompson gazelles (who were one of my favorites on the safari) had become so at home on the savannah that they no longer wanted to return to the backstage area for their condition to be monitored.

  16. Hi Deb!

    Yes, I do love “walk-around” blogs and I loved reading this one!
    Take Care and hope to See Ya’ Real Soon!

    ~ Johnny

  17. Hi Deb. I like the walk around blogs a lot. However I am extremely jealous. I would love to be able to just hit the park for an hour or two. Someday I will make the move like you did…

  18. This “walkabout” made my day! Animal Kingdom is my favorite place in the world and I love getting updates on the animals. Going in Dec and can’t wait to check out the zebras….and maybe new lions. I had heard that the old lion pair were very old. I hope that he is okay.

  19. I love the walk around blogs!! It makes me feel like I’m there! I always wish that we had more for Disney World like Jason does for Disney Land. So it was very exciting to read this blog! Thank you!

  20. Yes, please keep doing the walk around blogs, they are very helpful knowing what to look for! Thanks for the updates!

  21. DEb i do the same when i have business in and around orlando i always end up at disney and i to do what i call a walk-about

  22. Yes, please do more of these!! One question, I thought I heard that the male lion had died. Did they get a new one or did I hear it wrong.

    Thanks for all you do Deb! It was nice to see you at the PNW Mouse Meet


    DEB: I had not heard about one of the lion’s passing. I’ll ask on my next visit. Good to see you too!!!

  23. Animal Kingdom is so beautiful and it is one of my favorite parks! I love the all the little details. Minus the blue construction fence, but progress has to have a price so I’ll pretend I don’t see it and can blissfully pretend I’m on a real safari.
    I really enjoyed this blog, thanks!

  24. Yes I do enjoy these walk-around blogs.Your observations will be very useful to me on my next trip. Thank you for the tip, I have tried to see Divine at my last 2 visits and was unsuccessful. I will check the times when entering the park.Have a nice day !

  25. Throughly enjoyed this blog and all of your others keep them coming. Make the days go past quicker until we cross the pond for our holiday.

  26. Deb,

    Really liked this. It’s nice, gives good pics and also a sort of “state of the Park” kind of thing. Very nice. Please do more of these!

  27. Yes, I love these types of blogs. I love to see what is happening “on the spot” during normal situations and hear your opinions. More please.

  28. Very nice walk about, I really enjoyed coming along with you “this morning” while I drank my coffee from home. I really envy you that you can go anytime you want. Would love to read more of these in the future!

  29. Yes, please keep posting your walk-around blogs with lots of photos. You always have up-to-date information and the inside scoop.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  30. yes, loved the “walk-around” blog! Makes me realize how much I missed while at Animal Kingdom. Can’t wait to go back to experience things I missed!

  31. I love these “walk-around” blogs, Deb! Makes me feel like I’m there in the park. Mike Bachand used to do a lot of these type of blogs, I always looked forward to them. Thanks again!