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  • Writer's pictureJon Watkins

Disney World Part 2- Animal Kingdom

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

Is it worth it to stay at a Disney World Resort? We talk the benefits of Disney's Animal Kingdom Kidani Village, the Animal Kingdom theme park and almost getting into a fight at Rainforest Café.

The Kilimanjaro safaris is a ride that you must do as soon as you get to the park. For some reason though, the park was opening earlier than the posted times and we were arriving late! Jenn is still bitter that the family made her go on the Kali River Rapids, it was Mother’s Day and all. The Avatar section of the park is worth it!

Transcript from our podcast:

John: Episode 2, ' Our Savings Start Tomorrow' we did it, I'm so proud of us.

Jen: I know.

John: Look at us actually following through with something we've talked about doing.

Jen: I know.

John: This was like something... when we started traveling a lot with the kids, we wanted to do like a podcast. So, our kids are in the other room ones watching Simpsons upstairs one to watch it actually Disney in the other room.

Jen: Oh.

John: Yeah, it's perfect...

Jen: There you go.

John: Because we're talking Disney anyways.

Jen: Exactly

John: Yeah, so we're doing this like just in our house and if you're on Instagram and you want to check us out and see the photos from our trips that we're talking about, it's our savings starts tomorrow.

Jen: Yes.

John: And go back and listen to our other episode as well. We didn't get, as far as we thought we would, we want these episodes to be about 20 minutes...

Jen: Yes.

John: Or a glass of wine, that’s...

Jen: Maybe two.

John: Maybe two.

Jen: It depends on how fast you drink

John: Who are we to say what.

Jen: I don't judge.

John: But with that time, we didn't get even talk about, we just talked about things we read on blogs. We didn't talk about our trip.

Jen: I know now let's get into it.

John: Okay, so we flew out there and we decided to do the Magical Express, which Disney world offers for free if you're staying onsite or at the resorts...

Jen: Yes.

John: Which we were doing, we were staying first at the Animal Kingdom, the Kidani village. And then we moved over to the Beach Club.

Jen: Yes.

John: So, the Magical Express... first of all, the Orlando airport is like made for Disney world people.

Jen: Yes, you can't miss the signs telling you where to go for Magical Express.

John: But you also can't miss the line.

Jen: It was kind of a long the line.

John: It was insane.

Jen: I debated taking Uber

John: 60 bucks though for Uber.

Jen: I know

John: It was a free bus ride.

Jen: I know, but I was like, Ugh.

John: And then like you wait in this long line to finally prove that you can ride on the Magical Express and that's just to get you in the line to go onto the right bus for the magical express.

Jen: I know, and I don't know how it normally is.

John: That’s true.

Jen: Again, full disclosure, we went right towards the end of pandemic. But we only made one stop and it was to our hotel, right?

John: No, they did one before.

Jen: Oh, they did? Okay, alright.

John: But we were the second stop, It wasn’t bad.

Jen: It wasn't bad.

John: The ride itself was quick. What? 20 minutes maybe from the airport there.

Jen: Yeah, it's a very nice... Deluxe Coach, air conditioned.

John: The kids thought we were like in first class on a bus.

Jen: I know.

John: They were all, and then they have TVs that are playing like Disney propaganda. Well, they're not like shows. It's just like ads.

Jen: Ads yes.

John: But it kept them busy.

Jen: Entertaining, Entertaining ads

John: We actually saw a few, where we were like Oh, we need to check that out when we get back from our trip. Oh, and speaking of things that you should check out, if you're going to the Animal Kingdom, the resort, or the actual park. Disney plus has this documentary from that geo that's about the animal.

Jen: Yeah, I cannot stress this enough. Watch it before you go.

John: Please.

Jen: It would be so cool to watch it and then go there because we did not know about it until after which was still cool.

John: Yeah.

Jen: But we actually,

John: We missed out.

Jen: We missed out.

John: I know.

Jen: I know.

John: Because it just shows you some really cool stuff about the park that you wouldn't know, unless you did a lot of research or you watch this thing. And then also some of the animals.

Jen: I know.

John: As we had a few employees or Disney cast members who actually pointed out, oh, if you watch the documentary this is...

Jen: Kenya.

John: Yeah[inaudible03:28] here's ...

Jen: The giraffe, yes. And yeah, all the different animals.

John: And we Didn't know. so, If you haven't gone yet, if you have time, make sure you do that. But the Animal Kingdom has two resorts.

Jen: I didn't know that until we got there

John: Me neither yeah. We had no clue. In fact, they kept asking us which place we were at,

Jen: Like Animal Kingdom

John: Yet that's all I knew. It turns out there was the Kidani village and the Jambo house. So, the Jambo house was first. And then when they continued to build, they built the Kidani village. And I believe the Disney Club vacation, they pushed towards the Kidani village one. It also has a better pool.

Jen: Kidani village?

John: Kidani village has a better pool than Jambo house, but Jambo house has a bigger pool than Kidani village.

Jen: I would hope that it would be bigger. Cause I'm telling you it was very small. I mean, you don't go there for the pool. I get that. But...

John: Got some downtime though.

Jen: I know the pool was small. It was very nice. And they had a cute little water slide that the kids liked and there was a splash pad area, but I was very...

John: Were you disappointed in the pool because it was Disney?

Jen: I was disappointed in the pool. Yes.

John: And I was reading before we traveled that the Animal Kingdom has some of the better pools than some of the other resorts, and we're going to talk Beach House and that pool, which is amazing. But I don't know if you're going, I would recommend Kidani village. But make sure if you're doing any kind of online ordering, you have the right restaurant.

Jen: Oopsies.

John: Because we ordered food and again, this was like right up during the end of the pandemic where I had to go pick up the food and we're in Kidani village and I had to go pick up the food at Jambo house, which is not next door. You're supposed to take a bus.

Jen: I didn't know. It just said Animal Kingdom.

John: Yeah.

Jen: So, it was like, oh, it's here

John: And the bus wasn't there. And I was hangry and impatient, so ...

Jen: I feel like that's a common theme on this podcast.

John: I decided to do the walk. And it's far,

Jen: I know you were gone for a very long time.

John: Yeah. I took the bus back because I didn't want to carry all the food, but like, it was long.

Jen: The food though ...

John: The food was so good.

Jen: It was really good.

John: Unique.

Jen: Unique. So, yes, you do have to have an open mind. I can remember that night we had fish.

John: Oh, yeah. I'm like, we're going to get fish at Disney world.

Jen: I know it was good. It was really good. I mean the kids got kid food.

John: Yeah.

Jen: They got, yes.

John: So, they have those options, but then they had some really like, I don't know, some weird stuff.

Jen: Yeah. I think that restaurant was more, it was an Indian infused, I think. And then the other restaurant that we went to was more African infused.

John: Yeah.

Jen: Again, you just have to have a little bit more of an open mind.

John: Just lean into the fact that you're at Kidani village and you should try some of the African food

Jen: It was really good though.

John: Also, what's cool is you ... I think all the rooms have a balcony that look out to some type of like safari land.

Jen: Savannah, yeah.

John: So, there's going to be an animal you'll be able to see it.

Jen: it.

was so

cool. And it's really cool how they strategically place

the food.

John: I know they put all the food right by your window. So, the animals are trained to be right there so you can see them constant.

Jen: Oh my gosh. We opened up our blinds in the morning. It's like, boom, we have a zebra eating. We had some fancy deer.

John: I will say that if your son's around nine. And, maybe there's a zebra out in front going to the restroom going, number one, you might traumatize. Your child has not stopped talking about Seeing the zebra poo since he saw the zebra poo

Jen: The Zebra was pretty impressive.

John: It, haunts his dreams. He can no longer close his eyes without seeing the poor Zebra inaudible07:18]. The animal kingdom resort was cool. Cause it's close to the animal kingdom, the park. Which is kind of far off from the rest of everything else.

Jen: Yes

John: Because it's a zoo. They need a lot more land. So, you get up early, you have to hop on the bus again. The bus has happened like every 20 minutes. You're never waiting that long; you hop on the bus. They drive you to animal kingdom, but you gotta get there when it opens.

Jen: Or maybe earlier

John: who knew that the opened the parks before the time they say,

Jen: I mean,

John: That's a Disney secret for you,

Jen: Right? They say its crowd control is what I heard.

John: Yeah, there's so many people waiting that they're just like alright come in

Jen: And again, I don't know if this is a pandemic thing, so they don't want to have large crowds outside, but all the parks that we went to on our trip, we got there. What, 20 minutes? Maybe even 30 minutes.

John: An hour, we got there early.

Jen: Yeah, and we were able to get in.

John: The parks were already open.

Jen: They were already open. People were already there and some rides were even already operating.

John: And the key is if you go to animal kingdom, get there right, when it opens or an hour before. And go straight to the very back of the park. It's at the very back.

Jen: Beeline it to the safari.

John: Yeah, and this is what we read on all the blogs, it's because the animals are kind of waking up. They have a lot of energy. They're eating breakfast, it's not hot yet, and they're having fun. So, you get to see ... I mean, we saw every single animal there wasn't one that. The tour guide was like, oh ...

Jen: Too bad we didn't see... no, it was amazing. And as people that grew up in Southern California, we’ve gone to some pretty nice zoos.

John: We have the San Diego zoo.

Jen: Yes.

John: [inaudible08:57] famous. Yeah.

Jen: But I'm sorry.

John: It's better.

Jen: Better way better

John: [inaudible09:03] sight lines. Like it makes you feel like the animals aren't in any kind of enclosure. Like they obviously are, but you can't tell.

Jen: Also, they look ... I know this sounds, they look healthy, they look happy. They do right. I mean, there's something about sometimes an animal in a zoo then I'm like, oh,

John: Like smoking a cigarette ...

Jen: You're pacing back and forth. You're contemplating how to make this end. But they looked so happy.

John: They looked great.

Jen: And they look healthy and just so well taken care of.

John: Yeah, and I think everything from that documentary we watched to just being there. It seems like it's a passion too.

Jen: Oh my gosh.

John: Taking care of these animals. So, the safari was absolutely the first thing and don't be like, oh, that's not what I want to do. I want to go to an amusement park. It's worth it.

Jen: It's so worth it.

John: And these tour drivers were great.

Jen: They were.

John: Like they were driving, talking, and searching for the animals. We saw a baby rhino, we saw lions.

Jen: Yes.

John: We saw it all yeah. So, after that, I would also just warn you that there’s gonna be a unique food, just like at the Animal Kingdom resort. There's unique food at the park as well.

Jen: Yes.

John: Try it.

Jen: Yeah, they have Asian food, Indian food, African food,

John: Get yourself some eggrolls.

Jen: Yes.

John: The Asian food is what?

Jen: Yeah, we opted to not have any exotic food while at Animal Kingdom park. And instead, if you listen to our first podcast, we made reservations at two o'clock for lunch and mind you, I made them for two o'clock. Cause that's the only time that was available. We were hangry

John: It was terrible and we try to shove in one more ride before getting there. So, we went and saw 'It's Tough to be a Bug. Which is cute. It's like a 3d show the kids liked it.

Jen: I know I probably would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't stressed about trying to get to our reservation, which was at ...

Both: The Rain Forest Cafe.

John: Yeah. And we get to The Rain Forest Cafe and it's packed and if, I guess if you're like five or 10 minutes late, they'll charge your credit card. 10 bucks. So, I was getting stressed cause we were late,

Jen: Not because of the five or 10 bucks, but because we were so hungry, we were like, please don't give away our table. Please let us, like we're here.

John: We check in at The Rain Forest Cafe and the way it works is they have like a QR code right there. And so, they're like, oh, just scan your phone and that'll give you the menu while you wait. And so, while you're trying to check in, there's a bunch of people coming around who are just leaning in to get the QR code while you're just trying to check in.

Jen: Right, It was kind of annoying.

John: It was yeah And there was like this huge party of 10 that was doing it right when we were trying to check in, but whatever like I didn't care I just wanted to get checked in and they told us to stand to the side. So, we're standing to the side and my daughter Elle and I are just singing Disney's tunes to each other while we're enjoying the Disney world experience It's been the perfect day Like we've had so many magical memories it's Mother's Day And you keep trying to interrupt the moment that I'm having with my daughter this father-daughter moment

Jen: Well because someone was like Mad dogging you there was a gentleman who was very upset with you and I could not really hear what he was saying but I could tell by the looks and the things that were coming out of his mouth he was not happy.

John: We all had masks on because it was still during the pandemic Yeah

Jen: Yes, but like

Both: He was upset

Jen: And I was like Jonathan what did you do, he's upset at you. He's like I don't know I didn't do anything and you just go off to like your dad mode like totally oblivious, anyways the guy was not pleased.

John: No And I wasn't paying attention and all of a sudden, I look up finally and the guy's charging me.

Jen: Yes

John: This is at Disney World ...

Jen: At Rainforest Cafe.

John: And if it wasn't for the fact that he had some other men in his group he would have Tackled me and beat the crud out of me. Make no mistake I don't even know if I would have got one in before he would have just ...right in front of the kids.

Jen: I just don't ...yeah.

John: I don't know.

Jen: That was weird That was a weird, weird situation

John: And the family like dragged him off and then they sat at one side of the restaurant. We were at the other... I wasn't ... the cast members did nothing.

Jen: No, nothing, they were just as oblivious as you were.

John: And I did realize this afterwards because then I got nervous that this guy wanted to beat me up and I don't even know why he wanted to. And I started looking for like Disney security and I noticed that they're hiring like 90-year-old walk around Disney world and look at the security guys the one's wearing like the blue pants and the white shirt and like the safari hat. They're barely making it, they're like propped up themselves they wouldn't have done anything I needed... the bar back was the only... trust me I looked around and made a list I'm like this is the only person here who may be can save me.

Jen: Right

John: And I don't think he would’ve.

Jen: No.

John: So, it ruined the day.

Jen: It really that ruined ... awhile

John: It did yeah. But there were so many fun points up until then. Like we ended up doing the Avatar Flight of Passage.

Jen: And we almost didn't.

John: I know, Well it was a 70-minute line on a day when there was only 20-minute lines

Jen: Right, but I was looking at it and I'm like okay that's the line that everyone's in. That's the ride we need to be on. So, I forced them to do it and you know what It ended up not being 70 minutes.

John: It was quicker.

Jen: I mean...

John: It was great.

Jen: It was amazing. `The kids are still talking about it And what also made it great is we did watch avatar before we went.

John: We knew that they had like this Avatar land and so we made sure everyone watched it to be aware of it. And the land is cool Like they have the floating mountains and the waterfalls and stuff like that It's so cool and you kind of walk through it all and you get to see like parts of the movie and even waiting in the line was awesome because you're like inside the tree. Which was really cool

Jen: It was... just the whole ride

John: it's like Soren over California if you've been to Disneyland or Epcot but it's so much better because you're straddling like this motorcycle that's supposed to be the dragon the banshee.

Jen: And it like breathes.

John: Yeah.

Jen: It was cool.

John: It was one of our top three favorite rides all of Disney

Jen: It was really cool

John: That being said the other avatar ride which was the Navi river journey. The kids hated it I thought like the electronics were cool

Jen: It wasn't my favorite

John: But they weren't into it, they were bored. There's nothing that ever happens. There's not even Like a waterfall or a drop you just kind of float around and you see some like avatar Navi going Like I see you. Like that's all you get. The one place I wish we would have gone that we didn't know was cool because we hadn't watched

Both: The documentary.

John: Was the Rafiki's Planet Watch

Jen: I'm really bummed about that.

John: Out Rafiki's Planet Watch which by the way has shorter hours than the park And the only way to get there is by this train.

Jen: Okay. That's why they have the trains

John: That’s why the train was there that we would hear like the whistle from time to time. But they have a petting zoo there, Popcorn the Chicken is there

Jen: Oh my God I wonder if he's still there?

John: I don't know if he is.

Both: He didn't all look good in the documentary.

John: And then also it's where all the vets do like surgery and you get to watch.

Jen: How cool that have been.

John: I know. So, we miss that So, don't miss that.

Jen: Don't miss that.

John: The only other thing I think that was really cool worth mentioning at Animal Kingdom was the Expedition Everest that was an intense roller coaster

Jen: Yes, that was fun, that was really fun

John: Yeah, and in fact our daughter Ella just barely made the height for it. She was seven when we were there

Jen: And like she liked it

John: Yeah, The I would think you and I actually we had the hardest time with it because there's a section that goes backwards and like...

Jen: I know.

John: So, from there I took her onto the Kali River rapids So, it was really a good few minutes of the trip.

Jen: But if it's mother's day you go on the rides that the mother in the group wants to go on

John: So, that's Animal Kingdom. We checked out of Animal Kingdom the next day from the Kidani village to head over to the next spot. So, what we decided to do was do a few days there We wanted to try out two different resorts and I did a bunch of research and the pool that you want to go to at Disney world is actually the Beach Club. So, what we did was we checked out and if you're staying on resort and you're going from hotel to hotel You can actually leave your bags with the bell desk and they'll move your bags for you to the next resort.

Jen: Which was awesome, except it did take a long time to get them

John: Yeah, It was like seven at night, we had dinner reservations and all that.

Jen: I wanted to shower and everything.

John: But it was a cool thing they offered.

Jen: It was very cool.

John: It just seems like they were backlogged. And then you can hop on the bus And go wherever you want at the resort.

Jen: Right but it's not direct. So, we went from Kidani and then we ended up going to...

John: I think Hollywood studios I think And then we got off and we hopped on the boat and because not only are there buses but there's boats and there's a skyline that connects all of these resorts together And we took a boat over to the Beach Club and then we found the water park Oh which is part of the Beach Club which was so worth it.

Jen: Yes, Beach Club and Yacht Clubs share pools and they are they really are super cool

John: And so, our next podcast we'll tell you about the Beach Club, the Yacht Club they're awesome Water park that they have there and then the Epcot. Because we went to Epcot for a day and then Hollywood studios which by the way was our favorite spoiler.

Jen: I know.

John: So, we'll get another glass of wine and we'll keep doing this And if you don't mind rate, review, subscribe tell a friend about our podcast.

Both: Only good reviews

John: Don't be like that, if you don't like it, if we're annoying that's fine. Just ignore[inaudible19:02]

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