The Ultimate Tour: Animal Kingdom
Father’s Day weekend is that one weekend where I get to choose what I would like to do for the day. On a whim this year, after reading some Disney chat sites, I decided that I wanted to try an “Ultimate Tour” at Disney. I read the descriptions of an Ultimate Tour, the attempt to see every attraction, parade and live show in a park on a given day, and it intrigued me. Since we would be experiencing this as a family, I chose the Animal Kingdom, as it seemed the most feasible to complete. Below is a description of our Ultimate Tour Day!
We arrived at Animal Kingdom 30 minutes before opening, armed with our Ultimate Tour list of attractions to complete and grabbed a park map for the show times we were required to complete. We were also armed with a pen, camera and the trusty cell phone to document our tour. Below are the details of our day:
9:00am through the turnstiles and took pictures with the spoonbills on the Oasis Trails
9:11am Rode Kilimanjaro Safari
9:52am walked through Pangani Forest and took pictures of the gorilla area and with 1 other animal, we chose the fish in the hippo area (an area we do not usually explore)
10:00am Watched Divine for the required 5 minutes on our way to Expedition Everest
10:15am Rode Expedition Everest
10:29am Headed to Dinoland and Rode Primeval Whirl
10:37am Rode Triceratops Twirl (a ride we had not ridden on since the kids were 4 & 9) my youngest claimed he was embarrassed, but had fun moving us up and down once it started
10:45am got a family picture with Goofy and Pluto. Being so early in the morning, there were only 3 people in front of us in line
10:50am walked the Cretaceous Trail and took the required picture with the dinosaur there
10:54am took the required picture with the “Sue” T-Rex statue on the way up to Dinosaur
10:58am were able to walk on Dinosaur and enjoy the ride
After Dinosaur we took a quick moment to eat our packed lunch and breathe as we headed into the second part of our day. We were off to Kali River Rapids!
11:25am Rode Kali River Rapids. We got soaked as the result of going down the hill backwards! This is another ride we do not usually do, but knowing we had to do it made it fun!
11:38am we made our way to Africa to catch the Tam Tam Congo drummers according the schedule
11:52am we walked back across the park to watch Finding Nemo the Musical, which was going to allow for another rest. We watched this show years ago and didn’t enjoy it. It seemed much better this time though. It also provided some much needed rest from the rushing around we had been doing and still had left to do.
12:47pm we walked to the Boneyard, and took our required pictures in the Jeep and in the Mammoth Dig Site.
1:25pm we experienced the Flights of Wonder show. This was a first for us and we were glad to have watched it. We were all amazed at the birds and how talented they were.
2:10pm we rode the Wildlife Express Train back to Rafiki’s Planet Watch
2:17pm we took our required picture with the Habitat Habit display along the trail
2:20pm we entered the main building and listened to the Rainforest audio and watched as the cast members showed a possum and talked about its life
2:50pm we walked through the Maharajah Jungle Trek and took our required pictures with the tigers and 1 other animal (we chose the Blood Boa in the Bat enclosure)
3:05pm we got to experience another resting point with “It’s Tough to be a Bug!” It was perfectly timed and we walked right into the theater!
3:22pm we were able to stake out a front row spot to watch Mickey’s Jungle Jammin’ Parade right near the entrance to Camp Minnie Mickey, our next destination. We don’t generally make time for this parade and have only seen it at Christmas (which is great!). The kids though loved it and were able to interact with the performers since they were on the front line.
4:04pm we made our way to Camp Minnie Mickey and stood in line for Donald’s picture and autograph. Again another short line, with only 4 families in front of us.
4:13pm we entered the Festival of the Lion King show and were seated in the Elephant area. This was another good resting area for us.
5:11pm we walked Discovery Trail and took the required picture with a carved animal at the base of the Tree of Life
5:24pm again walked across the park, back to Dinoland, to play a required game there. We played the roll a ball game and were the lucky winners of a Sabre Toothed Cat.
5:35pm Making our way out of the park, we stopped to watch the Island Groove Steel Drum Band, part of the Sundowner Celebration going on this month at Animal Kingdom. They had a nice beat and watching them was relaxing.
After that we ended the day by having dinner at Pizzafari, where there was no line and hardly anyone there. A great way to end the day. As we departed the park, we stopped to get a picture with a Baribusa (horned pig) on the Oasis Trail, and then headed for the tram, to begin our voyage home.
The Ultimate Tour made for a loooooong day for the four of us. The Pros of the tour were that we experienced Flights of Wonder, Nemo the Musical, and Kali River Rapids, which aren’t a must do on our trips to Animal Kingdom but probably will be in the future. The Con’s: we didn’t plan very well, as we decided to do this about 2 days in advance. With that, we walked back and forth across the park probably more than we should have. We also didn’t have the time to ride Everest, Dinosaur, or Kilimanjaro Safari multiple times, which is always a must for us. Nonetheless, being the Disney Fanatic I am, I am glad to have attempted it and completed it. In fact, it went so well, we are going to join up with a group of others and tackle the Ultimate Tour of Hollywood Studios in September. After that, Epcot and the Magic Kingdom will be next! For anyone wanting to see all the attractions a park has to offer, I highly recommend the Ultimate Tour Plans. There is one for each park. It is not something I would recommend for the family vacation as it is intended for the more serious Disney adventurer. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to ask. For information on the Ultimate Tours available, you can check out Touringplans.com which has a wealth of knowledge to assist you in your park planning as well. You can view the pictures of our journey here: http://photobucket.com/akultimatetour