Hey there. It’s been approximately 36 hours since I ended my Disney adventure, and I still feel like I need at least 24 hours to unpack and unwind. Do you unpack right when you get back from a vacation? I don’t. While my hometown of Charleston, WV was getting grimy without showering or doing laundry (in case you’ve missed national news, there was a chemical spill that tainted the tap water and apparently smelled like licorice and everyone was prohibited from using it to cook, clean, shower, drink, etc. – this Jon Steward video made me laugh out loud, and it’s a good summary of the debacle) … I have been boycotting laundry as well, even though Myrtle Beach water is just fine, and I’ve also been ignoring my luggage, opting to write blog posts and order photo books instead (yay MyPublisher!). MUCH wiser use of my time.
*BTW: Isn’t “Expedition of 4” so funny and clever? It’s actually borrowed from passing by a very large Dinosaur themed restaurant that had a 2 hour wait at downtown Disney, and they called out “Smith, Expedition of 4” instead of Party of 4 and I about died laughing.
Now. On to the main event for this post: things to do at Animal Kingdom with a 4 year old.
We kicked off our week at Disney World with a visit to Animal Kingdom. This may seem random but there is actually logic behind it – I knew I wanted to do a character breakfast, and when I checked on the Disney World app for reservations, this was open for a reasonable time. (Chef Mickey’s had 7am and 8pm available, not very convenient!)
So, I booked lunch at Tusker House to meet Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, and that’s how we started out at Animal Kingdom. We were greeted with live entertainment when we stepped foot in Africa, which set the tone for our entire trip – it was surprising how much live entertainment is sprinkled throughout these parks, and it makes the experience so much more than you expect. We enjoyed the show, and didn’t even have to wait in line. Minutes into our first park, we were mesmerized. Again, we had no agenda… so we just stopped and enjoyed, because there was no place we planned to be. (We used the Disney World app A LOT which has wait times, a park map, times, etc. and it really helped to plan our day on the go.)
Favorite things to do at Animal Kingdom with our 4 Year Old
1. Tusker House
The food was Mediterranean and delicious – and of course they had a kids section with mini corndogs and PBJs if your child isn’t into couscous. I loved the food… and my son loved meeting Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy. Good times!
2. Kilimanjaro Safari
This was one of the coolest things we did – the thing that fascinated me the most, in addition to the animals of course, is the way we really felt like we were secluded from the business of the park. You don’t see rollercoasters in the backdrop of the Prideland. Thomas loved it, and loved identifying all of the animals.
LOVED THIS! This is very entertaining. Dancers and big floats shaped like jungle animals drive by and the whole time my son was in awe, which is unusual because he’s typically in constant motion and not much holds his attention. This did. Same with the Nemo show, which is next on my list.
4. Finding Nemo – The Musical
We ended our day at the Finding Nemo Musical, which our Fast Pass Consultant assured us would be a hit with our 4 year old. I was skeptical, but he sat on my lap tuned in to the musical the whole time. He’s seen the movie so he understood the story. The songs were great and the actors very talented. We enjoyed it!
And some more photos (also, I just feel the need to point out that I used my Fuji x100s the entire week, and left my DSLR in the villa all week… the camera takes such excellent photos, I didn’t feel the need to bring it. It’s light, sharp, and I kept it around my neck all day and it really was not in the way. Now I don’t know what expensive things I’m going to obsess over anymore, since this camera seems to be perfect and I can’t think of many instances when I’ll need my DSLR if I don’t need it in Disney World!?)
Click on a photo to see it larger, and you can scroll through, for the photography friends, you can see the EXIF data (nerd alert!! holla!)
PS – Planning a Disney Vacation? Check out my first post – How to Do Disney: Tips for planning a Disney World Vacation if you don’t want to rush – which, in my opinion, is a particularly brilliant post for any parent that wants to go to Disney and not plan out every minute of the day. Basically, if you’re a slacker like me, you’ll find my tips reassuring, and you can continue to watch the new episodes of Community on Hulu (awesome!) rather than devise a detailed schedule of your Disney vacation.