Tag Archives: Dinosaur
For first time visitors to Disney Parks, dark ride etiquette may seem confusing. Some rides allow photos with no external lighting, while others are somewhat vague. That’s just the tip of the iceberg concerning Dark Ride Etiquette.
Here is my Top 5 Dark Ride Don’ts.
- Pirates of the Caribbean. This ride does quietly announce “No flash photos”, however hearing the announcement can be quite difficult. I used to love riding Pirates of the Caribbean. It was one of my favorite attractions. After riding a few times with numerous flashers, my retinas began to ache and now I avoid riding unless it’s very late or very early in the day reducing the likelihood of flashers being in our boat. While you may want to remember the ride, the rest of the passengers in your boat want to experience the ride. When multiple flashes suddenly illuminate your surroundings, it really puts a damper on the entire experience, ruins the illusion of the ride and can cause serious health problems for some people. So, please be considerate and if you must take photos, turn the flash off. Your pictures will likely turn out better that way anyhow.
- Haunted Mansion. While flash photos aren’t as prevalent on this attraction, they are still a problem. However a much more pressing issue is trying to spook little kids by randomly shouting in Madame Leona’s room. For some kids, The Haunted Mansion is already spooky enough, while other children find the attraction silly and whimsical. For those few who are already spooked, let’s try to be considerate and not terrify them. Give them a chance to find the fun in a wonderfully, happily macabre attraction.
Let me start this off by saying that I didn’t used to like Disney’s Animal Kingdom, I thought it was just a big zoo and found it to honestly be a little boring. I had only been once before, right after it had opened when all the attractions weren’t even completed, so I got to thinking, maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance. So when I visited Walt Disney World last month, I vowed to visit Animal Kingdom with open eyes and an open mind.
We started our day with breakfast at Tusker House – which was really delicious, they offered the typical disney breakfast buffet, and had some more traditional African choices as well, including bobotie (a quiche-like beef pie with egg, curry and other spices), mealie pap (similar to cream of wheat, and other delicious choices. It is a character meal, where Donald greets you upon arrival, and Daisy (whom we really enjoyed seeing, can you tell??), Goofy, Mickey and Minnie circulate the dining room while you eat. It’s loud and full of children and families, and we had a great time there. Once we were nice and full, it was time to give Animal Kingdom a second chance…
So you just stuffed yourself on a scrumptious meal at your favorite Walt Disney World eatery. If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, you likely enjoyed a four-square meal and beverage of choice, right? What you need is a nap, but what your family wants is a ride!
Do NOT “walk this way” when you are stuffed to the gills:
1) Rock ‘n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith—A tour of G-Force Record Studio is cut short when the band Aerosmith takes off for a show. They take Guests with them, though, in a super stretch limo. Each “car” pumps 32,000 watts of onboard audio through a 125 speaker, 24 sub-woofer sound system and accelerates from a zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds with the force of a supersonic F-14. Three inversions offer a unique view of Los Angeles: upside-down! [Disney’s Hollywood Studios]
2) Mission: SPACE—Designed in consultation with 25 NASA experts and five astronauts, Mission Space is a flight training simulator that allows passengers to experience space travel without ever leaving Earth. Green offers a milder ride but still rough on a full tummy. Orange is full throttle, utilizing a multiple-arm centrifuge that spins and tilts to simulate speed and 2.4G gravitational forces—more than twice the force of the Earth’s gravitational pull. [Epcot]
3) Mad Tea Party—Climb into one of 18 tea cups set up for The Mad Hatter and the March Hare’s “Unbirthday” party and take a wild, dizzying adventure. Each ride vehicle has a wheel in the center that lets you control the speed of spin. The faster you turn the wheel, the faster you spin. The faster you spin, the faster you may learn what a “protein spill” is. [Magic Kingdom]
4) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror—According to legend, the once glamorous Hollywood Hotel hosted stars of the silver screen during Hollywood’s Golden Age until Halloween night 1939, when a violent storm struck the building, whisking 5 unfortunate souls “beyond the fifth dimension.” Guests board the “fright elevator,” which goes up, then down, then maybe up again…or down. Random drops depart the 13th floor and are determined by the Tower itself. [Disney’s Hollywood Studios]
5) Star Tours—This recently reimagined attraction features 54 ride sequences, offering motion-simulated 3D journeys aboard a Starspeeder 1000. Each ride is a different experience. You might flash through space at warp speed, zip past trees on the Wookiee planet Kashyyyk, weave through wrong-way traffic on the city-planet Coruscant, slide down treacherous slopes on the snowy planet Hoth, or just hang on for several other thrills before landing and safely delivering the spy to rebel headquarters. [Disney’s Hollywood Studios]
6) Space Mountain—This classic Magic Kingdom coaster is an all-time fan favorite. Climb the 180-foot mountain then blast off into deep, dark space through twists and turns and past shooting stars and black holes. Two separate tracks, the Alpha and the Omega, mirror each other as they hurl rocket ships through the cosmos at 28 miles per hour. [Magic Kingdom]
7) Cyber Space Mountain—This virtual roller coaster, custom built by you at Downtown Disney’s Disney Quest, can be as tame or as wild as you wish. Bill Nye the Science Guy directs the computer design. When you’re done, jump in a simulator and ride your creation in full 360° motion—rocking, tilting, rumbling along the “track” you created. [Disney Quest at Downtown Disney]
8) Expedition Everest—Legend of the Forbidden Mountain—The 199-foot “snow”-covered mountain adds a second “wienie” to Animal Kingdom Park. Board a runaway tea train and plunge into dark hairpin turns, careening forward and backward around and through this breathtaking Himalayan Mountain peak in effort to escape the mountain’s guardian Yeti, a phenomenal Audio-animatronic beast standing more than 18 feet tall that, when working, has an arm thrust equivalent to the force of a 747 jumbo jet. [Disney’s Animal Kingdom]
9) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad—The “wildest ride in the wilderness” reaches speeds of 25-30 mph, matching that of the monorail, as it rumbles past gold mining tools on two-and-a-half acres of desert canyons and caverns. Those rough-and-tumble twists and turns can make a full stomach churn. [Magic Kingdom]
10) Dinosaur —Dinosaur! is housed inside the Dino Institute toward the rear of DinoLand, USA. Once you eek past Dino Sue, a 40-foot long, 20-foot high exact replica of the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever unearthed, proceed through the ride queue, strap into your Time Rover and hang on for a turbulent tour of the Cretaceous era to fetch a dinosaur before it and you become extinct. [Disney’s Animal Kingdom]
You look a little green. Feeling OK? Don’t worry, you’ll have fun, but you might want to take in a show first.
Famously “NotAZoo,” at its 1998 opening, Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort broke the theme park mold. Imagineers considered many factors when designing this property. They focused first and foremost on the comfort and well-being of the animals and the safety of Guests. However, their primary goal, as with other Disney Parks, was to place the Guests in the action. In this case, that meant providing opportunities for Guests not only to observe but also to interact with creatures in their natural habitats.
Spend a day at Animal Kingdom and you’ll realize an interesting aspect of Disney Parks is that no piece stands alone. A ride is not merely a ride. A restaurant is not simply an eatery. Everything has a story! The stories of Animal Kingdom are based on the relationship of mankind to the world in which we live, with the intention of demonstrating harmony between human, animal and natural elements. Buildings and manmade structures are necessary, of course, but Park architecture is not allowed to overwhelm nature. Nowhere in the Park do feeding troughs, landscape barriers or fences detract from the Show.
The focal point, or wienie, of Animal Kingdom is its Tree of Life. The canopy of the Tree of Life rises 145 feet in the air and spreads 160 feet across. This natural-looking masterpiece is one of the World’s most exquisite architectural and artistic features. The story it tells expresses the mythologies of many cultures, where the tree is both “a source of life and an emblem of symbiosis.” The 325 extinct, contemporary and imaginary creatures, metaphorically, were not etched into its surface but grew out from it. According to legend, the Tree was the first thing on Discovery Island. The village came to the Tree whose water supports life for the Islanders and all of Animal Kingdom.
When Guests tunnel under the Tree’s roots, they virtually shrink to the size of an ant to enter a 430-seat theater for the 3-D Audio-Animatronic show, It’s Tough to be a Bug, hosted by A Bug’s Life’s Flick and Hopper. Parts of the show might startle toddlers, but bigger kids get a kick out of the special effects. While Guests are bug-size, Hopper is larger than life. Standing eight feet tall, Hopper is one of the most complex Audio-Animatronics ever made.
The newest of Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom attractions is Expedition Everest—Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. Adding a second wienie to the Park, this breathtaking piece of Himalayan Mountain Range combines the real world with the mythical. To the people of the mountainous regions of southwestern China, India, Nepal and Tibet, the Yeti is more than folklore. Although the creature is both mythical and real to them, the Yeti is not to be feared. He is the revered protector of the forest. Disney’s Yeti stands 18 feet tall and is the largest Audio-Animatronics figure ever created by Walt Disney Imagineering.
One of the most fascinating attractions at Animal Kingdom is the Kilimanjaro Safari, which takes Guests on a trek across the World’s own Serengeti, the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. Guests, ever vigilant for potential poachers, board open-sided safari vehicles for an exciting expedition across rickety bridges and rocky outcroppings, and often experience up-close encounters with a few of the featured wildlife, including the giraffes, black rhinos, elephants and lions that freely roam the 100-acre savannah.
The “ultimate animal adventure” began back in January with the opening of the Wild Africa Trek. For Park admission plus $129.00 per person, Guests ages 8 and up get up close, into and over animal habitats deep in the Pangani Forest on this privately guided 3-hour expedition. A modified zip line dangles 10 feet above massive hippos. Rope bridges sway over the crocodile-filled Safi River. VIP safaris cross open savanna teeming with creatures native to the African plains. It’s an African excursion within the safe confines of Walt Disney World Resort.
Adapting film to stage, “Festival of the Lion King” is a perennial favorite live performance at Animal Kingdom’s Camp Minnie-Mickey. In keeping with the summer camp theme of this Park area, Guests gather in an assembly hall to sing songs and share stories. The four rolling stages on which fifty costumed performers combine dance, acrobatics, and elaborate staging are actually floats once used in a Disneyland parade.
Dinosaurs are anything but extinct at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. In DinoLand, USA, evidence of the massive reptilians covers every square inch of space from the dinosaur skeleton greeting Guests at the Land’s entrance to the knick-knacks filling Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama gift shop. A 40-foot long, 20-foot high Tyrannosaurus rex named Dino Sue, an exact replica of the largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever unearthed, stands charge by the entrance of Dinosaur! Once you eek past Dino Sue, proceed through the queue and travel back in time. Strap into your Time Rover and hang on!
Write your own story when you spend a day in the life of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
*NOTE: We recommend arriving at Park opening and heading straight to Expedition Everest and Kilimanjaro Safaris to pick up a Fastpass (or go ahead and ride before lines get long).
- Celebrating Thanksgiving at Walt Disney World (chipandco.com)
- Wild Africa Trek Experience (chipandco.com)
It goes without saying that Walt Disney World is a unique vacation destination. Sure, there are one-of-kind attractions, recreation, and incredibly themed lodging options. But, what make Walt Disney World really unique to me is that it is just as magical to honeymooners, toddlers on their first trip, school-aged children, and grandparents celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. This appeal to visitors of all ages makes Walt Disney World so enduring (and endearing) as a vacation destination. The thing is – you’ll probably have to change the attractions you see, the restaurants you eat at, and maybe even your lodging at least a little depending on your “life stage.” This week at WDW Fan Zone, BritMickUK shared how her favorite Walt Disney World theme park has changed over the years depending on what was going on in her life. Today, I’d like to share a couple of examples of how my family’s Walt Disney World vacations have changed over the years.
From Time Travel to Singing Dolls
One of my favorite attractions is Animal Kingdom’s Dinosaur. I’m not exactly sure why since I don’t have a particular affinity for dinosaurs but the ride thrills me every time; my husband and I never missed it when we visited pre-kids. We had to sit out Dinosaur the first few trips with our small children since they weren’t tall enough to ride and we never could find time for Rider Swap. These days, one of our sons meets the height requirement but we still avoid it as it would scare our sensitive child.
As Dinosuar was being crossed off our touring plan, a new one was being penciled in. “it’s a small world” is a ride I avoided during those early years of adult-only vacations. I judged it unfairly, remembering from my childhood what seemed to be the incessant refrain of the music. I classified it as a child’s ride. My personal feelings aside, it’s appropriate for small children so we rode. I’m glad we did; I have a new appreciation for the whimsy and artistry of the attraction and it’s become a favorite. My trips now seem incomplete without a turn on this slow-moving boat ride.
From Drive Ins to Mom’s Kitchen
Parallels can be drawn between the evolution of our touring plans and Disney dining. Just as “it’s a small world” was avoided before we traveled with our boys, so was 50’s Prime Time Café. My husband and I don’t like being the center of attention and frankly, meatloaf is one of my least favorite foods. In its place, we usually selected the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater for lunch. With its corny, vintage science fiction movie clips and “outdoor” seating in cars, we ate up the fun atmosphere.
It’s out with the old and in with the new. My boys absolutely love seeing the tables turned on their parents at 50’s Prime Time Café. Where else will Daddy have to open up to eat all his veggies or stand in the corner for some infraction? My normally reserved husband and I are more than happy to ham it up just to see the excitement on our kids’ faces and hear their giggles during a meal in mom’s kitchen. It’s my oldest son’s favorite Disney World restaurant these days.
Having children has taught me many lessons. One of them is to try new things at Walt Disney World – I’ve discovered new favorites that I would have missed out on if I hadn’t given them a try. What about you?