Today I was up early and in the Chronos Club just before 7am to grab a quick bite to eat then catch a bus over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Arrived at the park just before 8am and was able to walk right in using the resort early entry. Found a spot for the 8:30 anniversary celebration an waited. After the celebration event walked out to Africa and thought about Kilimanjaro Safari but the wait was much longer than my patience so paid a visit to Gorilla Falls. Then walked by the Tree of Life. Decided to catch the 10:30am Feathered Friends in Flight show then took a walk through Discovery Island and Dinoland. Circled back to Asia and picked up an early lunch at Yak & Yeti Local Foods. Trekked back to Asia and the Safari wait was still really backed up so decided to head toward the park entrance. While en route crossed paths with Jimminy Cricket. Picked up a commemorative guide map for the road and caught a bus back to Coronado Springs. Ate a snack and relaxed in the Chronos Club and room before venturing back out into the heat. The waits at Animal Kingdom had subsided so boarded a bus in that direction. Security was a long line but not a long wait luckily. Kilimanjaro Safari was posted at 35 minutes when we arrived, it took about 20 only. After our Safari we surveyed the other wait times and some of the group decided they were done for the day. I boarded a bus to the Polynesian then Monorail to the Magic Kingdom. Roamed around Main Street USA for a while then into Tomorrowland. Went for a ride aboard the PeopleMover then walked by Cinderella Castle and out to TRON. Spent some time there as the sun set. Around 8:40pm made my way to Main Street USA to find a spot for Happily Ever After.
Thoughts & Observations:
- This morning I was up and out of the room before 7am because I wanted to be at Animal Kingdom early. I learned when they say breakfast starts at 7am in the Chronos Club they mean 7am. Promptly at 7am cast members brought out the food, before 7am you can enter the club and there is coffee and other drinks available but no food yet.
- I had great bus luck again, the bus was there and I was able to walk right on and it pulled away a few moments later.
- Today Disney’s Animal Kingdom turns 25 years old. The celebration consisted of a ceremony at park opening, commemorative maps, merchandise and a few food items. There were also special character meet and greets as part of the anniversary and Earth Day/Week/Month celebration.
- The commemorative printed guide maps were printed on heavier stock than the normal ones and featured a special cover and inside a couple panels on the offerings for the day. The rest of the map was the current/standard park map. I would have liked to have seen something more about the anniversary or in the past other maps had the original park map or something else to mark the anniversary.
- The celebration event was at 8:30am. I entered during the Resort Guest early entry period and found a spot a few rows back from the front with an ok view of the stage area. The celebration featured several entertainers from the park, characters and speeches by the ambassadors, park management and the head vet. Nothing historical, just current cast. It was a nice moment but I would have liked to have seen more from a historical perspective.
- The anniversary overall was just ok. I managed to visit for the 10th and the 15th anniversaries. I thought the 10th was the best. It had a special presentation by Joe Rhode in the theater about the history of the park. It would have been nice to see Imagineering, the Archives or D23 host a similar presentation this year.
- After the ceremony made my way out to Africa with hopes of a Safari but the Standby and Lightning Lane returns were both overflowing to the walkway. Lightning Lane was backed up all the way and using an extended queue in a stroller parking area too. With that backup we decided not to ride and just kept walking.
- With the crowd in the park today higher than average with it being the weekend plus the anniversary we opted to just roam around Gorilla Falls and the Tree of Life for a while. I always enjoy just exploring the park and the crowds were a good reason to do this.
- The character lines were long and overflowing for Moana who started today and for the special event characters which were Jiminy Cricket and Tinker Bell. Jiminy at one point had an estimate two hour wait we heard. I was walking by and crossed paths with him so I was able to get a quick picture of him with no wait, so great timing! The merchandise lines were also long. I looked a the offering and there was nothing I was interested in purchasing that was worth the wait.
- As the crowds peaked and the heat of the day came we returned to the Gran Destino and hung out in the Chronos Club and got a couple of other things done. It was very peaceful there in the afternoon and you could just sit and enjoy the view.
- Returned to Animal Kingdom just before 4pm in hopes of finding shorter wait times. Walked out to Kilimanjaro Safari and the posted wait was 35 minutes. We noticed the LL was not backed up so decided to hop in line. It took about 20 minutes. Our safari was nice. There were a good number of animals moving around including a hyena.
- Decided to head to the Magic Kingdom for the evening, but take the long way there. So walked onto a Polynesian Village bus and then took the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom.
- While onboard the monorail had a trio of women in our car that boarded at the Polynesian and were debating where they wanted to go. As we approached the Magic Kingdom they decided they wanted to go back to the Polynesian then were debating how to get there. I chimed in saying just stay onboard and you will get back to the Polynesian. We pulled into the MK and they saw the Express Monorail arrive going the other way and one yelled that one is going our way and they all exited quickly, ran across and into the Express. Someone else in the car with me called out to them that will not get them there but they did not listen and were gone.
- The Magic Kingdom is devoid of live entertainment after a 6:30pm cavalcade. The only thing on the schedule was fireworks at 9:00pm. Other than that you were out of luck if you were looking for something to watch. The closest thing to entertainment is Sonny Eclipse.
- I had no real objective besides spending some more time in the TRON area after sunset to get some pictures then see Happily Ever After. So it was a relaxing couple of hours and a pleasant way to end the day.
Pedometer Information for the day:
Addition Blog Picture Posts from today: