Top 5 Tuesday: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Attractions

Today we’re going to take a look at the top 5 attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This park tends to be a polarizing one for many WDW fans, but it undoubtably offers an unique experience. We may need to revisit this in 5 years when the Navi take over, but we?ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Without further ado:

5: Finding Nemo- The Musical
Often overlooked, this is one of the most immersive shows at WDW, and they do a great job of bringing you into the show. At about 30 minutes, it’s a longer show, but given that the theater is air-conditioned, it can be the perfect afternoon break on a hot day.

4: Dinosaur
This is a must do if only to see the animatronics Disney put in here. They’re huge. It lacks any drops or twists of your typical thrill ride, but its a fun trip through prehistoric earth. With the addition of #2 on this list, this attraction has lost some buzz over the years, but its still worth a ride on each AK visit.

3: Festival of The Lion King
A great show, that only gets better when you see it through your child’s eyes for the first (or fiffteenth) time. The acrobatics and songs do a great job of getting the kids involved and excited in the show. The costumes and performers make this one of the best shows in any of the parks.

2: Expedition Everest
A terrific roller-coaster with one of the best twists (stop at the top and… BACK UP!) of any coaster around, this is a great ride all-around. The best single-ride addition, in my opinion, at WDW in the past 25 years, misses out on the #1 spot for one reason – Disco Yeti. If you’ve seen the Yeti in action, you can’t help but miss it each time you ride now. There are reports that it was running a few weeks ago when James Cameron visited the park, so perhaps there is hope of fixing the design flaw that has the Yeti in lock-down.

1: Kilimanjaro Safaris
This attraction is the Animal Kingdom. A trip through the enormous safari, with animals that you’d need to travel a half a world away to see outside of WDW, walking around mere feet away from you. This is more of an experience than it is an attraction, and well worth making AK a priority to visit on each trip to WDW. Simba 1 going after the poachers on every trip can get a little stale, but not enough to take away from the ride.

Thoughts on the list? Let us know below!

Top 5 Tuesday

Today’s Top 5 is of the snack variety. We’re taking a look at the top snacks around WDW. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that no one will guess the #1 choice;

5: Kaki-Gori (Japan Pavilion)

This is one that is especially great on a hot day in Epcot. Fruit flavored syrup poured over shaved ice, simple but delicious. Some people claim that this is nothing more than a snow-cone, and they may be right, but it’s delicious either way.

4: Mickey Shaped Ice Cream Bar

I often wonder if I enjoy this desert more for the iconic shape than the actual taste, but I can’t decide.  My daughter can’t get enough of these, so they’re making the list. Simply hard-coated-chocolate over vanilla ice cream, it’s tough to go wrong with one of these.

3: Churros (Mexican Pavilion)

I know they serve these other places around WDW, but the Mexican pavilion version is huge, and terrific. I’m not sure what the ingredients are for this arm-long snack, but I know they put a lot of sugar on it, and that has made all the difference. A must have at Epcot.

2: Pretzels (Germany)

Another treat offered many places around the World, I’m singling the Germany version out as the best. I’m not sure if they make them differently in Germany, but they always seem softer and doughier here. More than likely my preference is due to the fact that I always pair this dessert with a large beer from Germany.  Unbeatable combination.

1: Dole Whip

I’m guessing everyone saw this coming… Not sure what else needs to be said about Dole Whips that hasn’t been said a hundred time over on the boards, but this is easily my #1. I prefer the Polynesian version over Aloha Isle, but that’s just splitting hairs. A perfect treat for a warm summer day, or a cool fall day, or a frigid winter day.

 

Thought on the list? Let us know below!

Top 5 Tuesday: Past MK Attractions

In honor of The Magic Kingdom’s 40th anniversary over the weekend, this week’s list counts down the top 5 former MK attractions. Closed for various reasons, at various points in the last 40 years, these attractions still resonate with many a WDW fan.

#5 Plaza Swan Boats

Going mostly from pictures and reviews of this ride, as its 1983 closing is a bit distant. A relaxing ride through the canals of the MK just seems like a terrific way to enjoy the park, giving this ride the last spot on the list.

#4 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

I probably remember this ride more for the lines than the actual experience, as it always seemed to take forever to actually get on this ride. Once on though, it was a great trip, leaving the surface of Central Florida and going to the depths of the sea. This ride closed in 1994, without a replacement. I have heard rumors that one of the submarine ships is actually submerged at Castaway Cay for scuba divers and snorkelers to find during their excursions… Can anyone confirm?

#3 If You Had Wings

After watching a video of this on Youtube, I’m slightly afraid that my memory has glorified this ride a bit more than it deserves, but I remember thoroughly enjoying the flight around the world, and the song in particular. Re-themed into If You Could Fly, and then as Delta Dreamflight, the ride was finally closed in 1996 and eventually replaced with Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, giving all the Disdads a chance to be overly competitive in the most Magical place on earth…

#2 Skyway

I always loved the ride in the sky across MK park on the Skyway. It afforded great views of the park, and a fun, if longer, way to get from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland, and vice-versa.  Or maybe I was just lazy… Either way, an unfortunate accident that cost a maintenance worker his life was the death knell for this attraction in 1999.

#1 Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride

This was a great dark ride, and unique in that it had 2 separate tracks, so you could get 2 different ride experiences  from it.  Having never seen The Wind in The Willows, Mr. Toad was a completely new story to me, and I only identified with it through this ride. Closed in 1998 to make way for Winnie the Pooh, the new attraction just isn’t the same… Luckily there’s another version of Mr. Toad’s in Disneyland that still exists today.

Thoughts? Comments? Outrage? Let us know below.

Top 5 Tuesday: Disney Urban Legends

We’re taking a look at the Top 5 Disney Urban Legends today. There are quite a few out there, so the list below may be debated, but here we go;

5: The Plane from The Great Movie Ride is the same one from the film Casablanca

I really wish this were true, but unfortunately it’s not. Turns out the plane used in the movie was actually a prop, and the one in DHS is an actual working plane purchased (and then cut in half) for the ride. Some people say that Disney Cast members claim the plane is the same as the one used in the movie, can anyone confirm?

4: Finland banned Donald Duck because he wears no pants

While fun to think about, this one is a case of the press running wild, regardless of the facts. Turns out a town in Finland decided to discontinue the purchase of Donald Duck comics with city funds, for economic reasons. The press ignored the reasons though and blamed it on Donald’s lack of clothing below the belt; Holding true to the old adage “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story”.

3: No one is ever declared dead on Disney property

This one stretched the bounds of believability. If Disney had the power/authority to suspend the declaration of death until a body was moved off their property, I think we’d all be a little more hesitant to visit so often, given what else they could presumably do with said authority.

2: Walt Disney’s face is one of the Singing Ghosts in the Haunted Mansion

This one is my favorite, as I think I believed it for a little while. When you’re riding HM and you get to the busts that sing Grim Grinning Ghosts, one of them looks just like Walt. It would have been pretty cool if they snuck him into an attraction this way, but the look-alike is actually Thurl Ravenscroft, one of the singers of the song.

1: Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen after his death

Probably the most famous of all Disney urban legends, this one gets it legs from the fact that Walt believed so much in technology and the promise of the future, it’s plausible that he would believe in the possibility of being frozen until a time when he could be cured of his ailments. Unfortunately he also believed in chain-smoking like a chimney, which led to his quicker-than-expected demise from lung cancer.  His habit of keeping his personal life extremely private helped this legend grow, as his burial was quiet and closed to the public.

 

Agree with the list? Disagree? Think we’re off our rocker? Comment below!

Special thanks to Snopes.com for confirming that these were all in fact, legends.

Top 5 Tuesday: Rope Drops

This week we take a look at rope-drops at WDW. A must do for some, and totally disregarded by others, these shows add a bit to your normal park openings. Take a read through and let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

5: Blizzard Beach/Typhoon Lagoon

Ok, so these both technically have a rope-drop, but to my knowledge it’s literally just that, a rope being dropped. No show. Needed to have a #5 on here though, so they made the cut…

4: Hollywood Studios

Never been a big fan of this one myself. Might be the lack of authentic Disney characters, or the confusing way they set up the “scene”. Most likely it’s the fact that everyone is ignoring the show and trying to get the inside lane for the dash to TSMM though.

3: Epcot

This one’s just recently been changed (see Friday Five below), but it’s getting its rank based on the show that was here up until recently. A pretty neat show that usually had a family of the day, and the cars from Test Track was a good way to open Epcot. They have the big 4 characters out there as well, which is fun for the kids though, so this one sits at the middle of the list.

2: Animal Kingdom

My family always really enjoys this one. It’s a bit longer than the others, but a good show with the major characters coming out on a safari truck and getting the crowd excited. Being up on the truck also allows for a good view for everyone, and you don’t get the same angling for position that you see at DHS. It’s never been too crowded when we’ve gone to this one, either. Definitely worth getting to on your AK day.

1: Magic Kingdom

No surprise here, MK gets the #1 spot. The whole ceremony and countdown to opening are fun for everyone. The show being up on the train track gives a great view as well. Being welcomed by “The Mayor of Main Street” really gets the crowd excited. If you haven’t seen this rope-drop show, you really should. Being one of the first to walk down Main Street after they let you in is worth the time and effort in and of itself, imo.

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