Living in a Theme Park Day 2: From Asia to Africa and Back Again at Animal Kingdom

In February 2015, two friends and I embarked on a trip to Disneyworld. We were so busy living in theme parks while there that we didn’t have the time (or energy) to blog, but we did take some great notes. We all want to have a record of our adventures so we are blogging it now, exactly a year later. You can head on over to Kris and Justine’s joint travel blog, Wonder & Wanderlust, to start at the beginning with Day 0, Kris & Justine’s travel day, or Day 1, aka the most magical day ever. Keep on reading for Day 2 of the adventures of Kristin, Kris, and Justine at Disney World below!

For those of you that don’t already know, we were Disneybounding each day of our trip. What is Disneybounding, you ask? As Kris put it on our nerd blog, My Fangirl Life:

“Well reader, Disneybound is a popular trend started by blogger Leslie Kay. It’s well known that, while children could dress up as any character they chose, adults are not allowed to enter Disney theme parks in costume. It’s understandable. What if you’re a cosplay master & your costume is so good that visitors mistake you for a Disney Cast Member (aka employee)? And then you do something rude, inappropriate or uncouth? That would reflect poorly on the park… and Disney is all about their image! Kay found a fun way to follow the rules but still get in the Disney spirit; she created outfits made from everyday clothes but were inspired by Disney characters. Instead of making Cinderella’s dress you just pull something pretty & blue out of your closet & go! It allows you to channel the spirit of your favourite princess/hero/villain/sidekick/etc while still dressed in something that is comfortable, flattering & in your style.” 

So today is cat day! What kind of cats? Why the Aristocats, of course! The three of us decided to dress as the cute trio of kittens in Artistocats: Marie, Burlios, and Toulouse. Since it was also Valentine’s Day I spent lots of time sending people texts with the heart-eyed cat emoji. 😻😻😻

We spent about an hour or so getting ready and when we were done looked ADORABLE (if I do say so myself). If you want to see more about our outfits, pop on over to My Fangirl Life and check out  We’re Disney Bound in Disneybound: Aristocats Edition.

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See… aren’t we cute?? 😻

We then went downstairs, got our usual breakfast of coffee (or tea/hot chocolate/juice if you are Kris) and a pastry, then headed over to catch the bus to Animal Kingdom… because what park would you want to visit most while dressed as a cat? I have to say that this was probably the park that we were least excited about out of the 6 we planned on seeing (4 Disney + 2 Universal), but boy did we get it wrong. We figured that we would see a few animals, wander around a little, and then feel like we were done. That was not the case!

The entrance to Animal Kingdom is a like a magical rainforest. You just walk in and follow the pavement around and feel like you are literally walking through the jungle. It seems like there could be an animal around any corner! This area was called the Oasis.

Beyond the Oasis, Animal Kingdom is split into 4 sections: Asia, Africa, Discovery Island, and DinoLand USA. Discovery Island is basically the central thoroughfare that connects all the other areas, though they are linked around the outside as well. We had a fastpass for a ride in DinoLand USA so decided to head over there and get started!!

The ride we had the fastpass for was DINOSAUR. No, I’m not yelling at you… I’m just being true to the actual name of the ride. We didn’t know much about this one, but headed right into the Fastpass line and more or less walked onto the ride. The line wound through a dinosaur research institute with all sorts of stuff to look at on the way in, but we didn’t stop to take in too much since it was so much fun to be walking right on (take that non-fastpass holders!).

The first stage of the ride was visual. We were all ushered into a room to watch a “safety video”, which one of the characters actually hijacked to tell us about a secret mission he was entrusting us with… We were to be sent back in time to the age of dinosaurs and he wanted us to bring one back for scientific purposes.

We then moved into the next room, where the loading of the ride happened. For any of you who have been to Disneyland in California, the style of this ride is very similar to the Indiana Jones ride. In fact, I recently read that the tracks and buggies are exact replicas! We climbed into our buggy, in the front row. I claimed sitting in the middle because I am certainly the most likely to be scared on a dinosaur ride (luckily my friends are awesome and wonderful and let that happen). Kris sat on the edge, and Justine sat in the other middle seat with an empty seat on the end.

The start of the ride was actually quite fun. We went through a portal into the past and were enjoying a ride through the jungle. It was a little rough and quite dark, but neat to see all sorts of friendly (aka not scary) mechanical dinosaurs in their “natural” habitat. The trouble all started when we discovered that we had dropped into the past too close to the asteroid hitting Earth. Oh no!!

Just as things were revving up – lights were flashing, dinosaur noises were roaring, and the asteroid was very close… we got stuck. Like literally the ride was broken, but unlike when a ride is typically broken, they didn’t turn on any of the lights or make a “Please remain seated” announcement. Our car got stuck and was just sitting there in the dark, revving and trying to get started like it was stuck in the mud. This was fine for the first minute, but it got excessive. Everyone in our car started to get scared. It was pitch black and we could still hear the dinosaurs moving around in the trees. I was personally worried we would have to get out and walk off in the dark. After a good 4 minutes or so (which is a LONG time in the world of rides), everyone in our car was in panic mode but the ride finally started moving again. All of this happened right before the climax of the ride, so we were whipped right into the most intense part and it made the end all the more terrifying.

When a giant obviously carnivorous dinosaur jumped out and tried to eat us, all three of us panicked and screamed like we were in a horror movie. I was crying. We bunched together, terrified, and buried our heads in each other’s laps. Though in all fairness, everyone on our buggy seemed to be in about the same shape; we think our specific group had crazy fear pathways created in our brains for this ride due to getting stuck at the precise moment we did. Soon after that the ride was over and we stumbled out into the gift shop, trying to catch our breath and quench the tears (in my case). The funniest realization happened here too.

“I was afraid of that ride not because it was fast or bumpy, I was legitimately afraid of THE DINOSAURS” – Me

Meanwhile, there were children running around in the gift shop asking their parents if they could ride again. Did they not understand what HAPPENED in there?

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So scary, right? I know you can see where we’re coming from…

Possibly the most terrifying part of this experience is that we rode the ride later in the day, and there was no “stalled” section to it. Instead, at that part a giant dinosaur lunged and tried to attack us. This is especially alarming because it means he was there in the bushes just waiting and creeping while we were stuck. He sure surprised us and added to the fear during this repeat ride. This DINOSAUR story is one of our favourites to relate from the trip, so much so that I even wrote about it for My Fangirl Life in Disney World Rides: That Time We Went on DINOSAUR.

Anyhow, once we had somewhat recovered from the intense experience on DINOSAUR, the three of us decided to walk around DinoLand USA. We rode the Primeval Whirl, which is a fun, family-friendly ride. We decided that was just what we needed at this point.

From Asia to Africa and back again at Animal Kingdom

DinoLand USA is cool because it is like a run-down Dinosaur Theme Park, of the sort that would totally pop up trying to cash in on an area dinosaurs have been found. That being said, I haven’t seen one of these in Alberta yet, so maybe it’s not so believable!

After wandering around that area, we decided to walk towards Asia. Because obviously you can walk there. As we entered the area we were blown away by the detail put into this section of the theme park. Kris shared a fun fact with us about this! She read somewhere that Disney actually sent people over to live in Asia for years and research exactly what this area should look like. It paid off – Asia was very beautiful.

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Asia… gotta love that Disney magic ✨

Knowing that we didn’t have Fastpasses for Expedition Everest at all, we decided to bite the bullet and wait in the line. It was a long wait, but definitely worth it. The line area itself was huge and fascinating – we made our way through shrines, explorer’s offices, and a Yeti museum. There were so many things to look at and quite a lot of information to read! And aside from that, we spent some time doing our typical ridiculous photo shoots, so that made the hours pass by quickly.

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The ride was awesome. We could see Disney’s version of Everest looming in the distance from the very start of the line, and the coaster wound its way through that mountain. It was a pretty standard Disney-style roller coaster. Fast, but not too fast. Scary, but not too scary. There were some great drops and there was a very scary Yeti (though not as terrifying as the dinosaurs… because, you know, they’re dinosaurs). This is probably one of the most exciting Disney coasters I’ve been on – I love the way they put this story together.

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Justine looking like typical Roller-Coaster-Justine

Once we got off the ride, we went to go on our first nature hike, the Maharaja Jungle Trek. Justine was pretty stoked about this as she is quite the animal lover. Kris and I were happy to go but not quite as excited. I should clarify though, when I say “nature hike”, I really mean “short walk through a guided area that isn’t even a forest but does allow for views of animals”. This particular walk was neat because we got to see tigers!

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Next, we wandered through Discovery Trail to get nice and close to the Tree of Life, which is the key feature of Discovery Island. It was very cool to see the detail involved in the carvings. They are impressive from far away… and even more impressive up close.from-asia-to-africa-and-back-again-animal-kingdom-tree-of-life

After Kris had taken photos of every part of the Tree of Life, we decided to walk over to Africa. As it turned out, it was CRAZY there! People were all over the place and crowds were insane. Not sure why, but Asia was much more peaceful. We wandered around Africa to get our bearings, but then decided to walk back over to Asia for lunch.

We ate at the Yak & Yeti quick service meal station. The food itself was actually quite good and quite healthy, but our experience there was not ideal – a bird pooped on me and Justine kept getting splashed with water from the fountain she was seated next to. Kris’ biggest problem was her abs hurting from laughing.from-asia-to-africa-and-back-again-animal-kingdom-yak-and-yeti-lunchOnce we were finished and cleaned up, we stopped to grab tea and went back over to Africa to check out the Lion King stage show. Justine was dying… fine, not dying, but definitely not feeling well… either way, we though it would be good to spend some time sitting and resting.

The show was very neat! There was lots of singing and colours and acrobatics and cool animatronics, and even some fire! What more could you ask for, really? And added to that, the Lion King music is just so much fun.from-asia-to-africa-and-back-again-animal-kingdom-lion-king-showOnce the show was over, Justine was feeling much better and ready for new adventures. Kris and I were still going strong! We decided to go try and ride Everest again, but the line was too long so we continued on back to DinoLand USA to do DINOSAUR. Shocking, right? Despite our terror, we decided it was worth another shot. The line was long when we got over there as well, but we decided to do it anyway – it was sort of peak Disneyworld-ing time for most people by this point. Plus, this time we had the opportunity to appreciate the line area for this ride.

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While in line for DINOSAUR, we played “the line game” for the first time. I’m sure you’ve all played this game at some point or another – one of us thinks of a character, and the other two try to guess the character by asking yes or no questions. No one really wins. It’s more of a time passer than anything.

As I mentioned earlier, our second ride on DINOSAUR was a bit different than the first – no stalled section and a dinosaur instead! Terrifying. That being said, this time we didn’t fear for our lives quite as much as the first… though we did still come out shaking from the adrenaline. Just in case you’re interested, here’s how our action shot looked the second time:

Dinosaur 9

Next we headed over to the Kilimanjaro Safari as it was time for our Fastpasses to kick in. This was a great ride to be able to bypass the line on – it is quite popular! The buggies take you out onto the Harambe Wildlife Reserve to see all sorts of animals in their natural habitat. The only downfall was when Kris missed the perfect elephant photo due to a cheap stunt where a bridge “broke” under our car and jolted her just as she was about to shoot. Of all the nerve!

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We enjoyed this ride, despite the fact that the couple behind us were trying super hard to get their possibly-4-week-old baby to be excited about the animals. All the baby wanted to do was sleep.

Next we went back to Asia to ride Expedition Everest again. Seriously, throughout the course of this day we lost track of the number of times we walked between Asia and Africa. In the line for Everest, we continued to play the line game. At one point we started asking ridiculous and semi-useless questions because it was more fun than actually guessing the character.

“Has your character ever been on a boat?” -Kris

After Expedition Everest (which was similarly as awesome as the first time), we decided that we were ready to ride the Kali River Rapids and head back to the hotel for a bit. It wasn’t very busy on the ride as not everyone is super keen on water. We stashed our stuff in a locker, then put on the garbage bags we had brought to try and keep us a little dry. Kris and Justine didn’t even cut armholes in theirs – they felt like burritos, which Kris obviously wrote a jingle about, to let everyone know.

At the end of the ride, we weren’t too wet but that seemed to be a product of chance… it depended on which seat you were in, and whether any of the jerks on the bridge decided to shoot water at you on the way through!

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After that, we headed back to the hotel to rest up a little bit. But at some point during the day we had gone on a couple other nature hikes and I can’t quite place them in my timeline now, so here are some photos. Wouldn’t want you to miss out!

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Upon arriving back at the hotel, we had dinner in the cafeteria, then retired to our room. I blogged, Kris showered, and Justine napped.

A little while later, Justine woke up feeling like P. Diddy… Our Ke$ha impersonator looked like she had passed out in last night’s dress after a four day bender. Her dress was wrinkled, her make-up smudged, and her hair matted (from it being semi-river-rapids-wet when she’d fallen asleep). Seriously, she was a mess and I wish I had taken a picture. That being said, she totally rallied and we all got dressed in warm clothes to enjoy an evening at the Magic Kingdom. It had special extended hours until 3 AM – how could we not go visit?

We arrived partway through the Electrical Parade, so saw the end of it with the masses. We then followed the parade down Main Street USA and heard it end 4 times in a row. It was just packed, so we went through Tomorrowland to escape!

We heard a rumour that Disney Princes may be out to play along with their Princesses (and not locked away in a cage or anything… #FreeThePrinces) because it was Valentine’s Day, so we decided to head over to the character meeting spot to see if there was any truth to this. Sadly, there didn’t seem to be any Princes out and about, which would have made for a magical evening.

Not to be deterred from having fun by lack of Princes, we decided to head over to Big Thunder Mountain. We actually almost hit the fireworks again on this ride, which would have been crazy. We missed it by one train! Next we went to try and ride Pirates of the Caribbean, but it was closed. We were, however, able to go on Haunted Mansion – but at night this time! It was like doubly as creepy.

Next Kris again turned “It’s A Small World” into a super creepy ride – what is it with us and having a creepy Valentine’s Day? We went to ride it and plotted our defence plans for if the dolls suddenly decided to attack. We’d started this game the night before so by now our plotting was getting quite detailed and we were able to spot the more dangerous “hidden” threats. It is strange how this adorable ride can be so terrifying.

After that strange turn of events, we checked on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, but the line was too long (like crazy long. This ride is amazingly popular.). Instead, we wandered over to Space Mountain to see if we could get on there. It was also actually busy and at this point we realized we were exhausted so decided to go home. It was 12:30 at this point, so I think after a long day of theme parking (which is actually a lot of work), we deserved a good night’s sleep.

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On the way back, Justine and I were confused about the route that our shuttle driver was taking. The ride seemed to take longer than usual and we didn’t recognize any landmarks… For awhile we weren’t sure if we were going to end up at the right hotel! Kris was absorbed in her phone and didn’t notice a thing. Thankfully, though, we made it home and got right to bed. We needed to be ready for another day of adventures in the morning.

Love KG… and Kris & Justine!

Original adventure took place on February 14, 2015

Want to read about other days from the trip? Click the buttons below!

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5 thoughts on “Living in a Theme Park Day 2: From Asia to Africa and Back Again at Animal Kingdom

  1. Pingback: Living in a Theme Park Day 1: The Most Magical Day Ever at the Magic Kingdom! | Wonder & Wanderlust

  2. Pingback: Living in a Theme Park Day 0: We’re off to Orlando! | Wonder & Wanderlust

  3. Pingback: Living in a Theme Park Day 5: Under the Invisibility Cloak at Harry Potter World – Yukon Girl in the World

  4. Pingback: Living in a Theme Park Day 7: Frozen at Hollywood Studios! … Literally … | Wonder & Wanderlust

  5. Pingback: Living in a Theme Park Day 8: An Epic Goofy Fail – Yukon Girl in the World

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