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Magic in the Wild

Wednesday is half-day of school for the kids, so we decided after other plans fell through to head to Animal Kingdom for some fun. I am telling you, there is NOTHING cooler than just leaving school for the day and heading to Walt Disney World. We experienced a lot of magic today, so let’s begin.

We walked into a deserted park… when I say deserted, I mean EMPTY. Granted, it was after 1:00 p.m., but AK was still open for another four hours and it felt like a ghost town. They only had two parking turnstiles on, and another couple of ticket turnstiles open at the entrance. I kept thinking “Did I miss something?” My assumption was that all of the Parks were busy from now until the end of the year- guess not.

When AK is empty, it takes on an entirely different feel. It has the feel of a public park, with the addition of some wild animals in the mix. Walking the paths, the breeze flowing, I wasn’t sweating at all… I didn’t know what to do with this awesome feeling at this Park. You have to understand, this past Summer at Animal Kingdom was so incredibly hot and miserable. We would NEVER think of heading into at 1 in the afternoon before, but in November, it was magical.

We walked right onto Dinosaur, and loved it so much that we walked on it again. The second time we practically had our own vehicle, so we took the back row for some extra fun. Yes, I can report, the last row is VERY bumpy. On top of that fact that our vehicle was barely weighed down, we were bouncing everywhere- it was a lot of fun for the Petermann girls.

Next we walked through Asia, and it was also quite empty. Everest had a 10 minute wait, but we didn’t see many waiting for it. We passed on it and found a new grub spot- the Yak and Yeti counter service area. I was delighted to see that they had Chicken Fried Rice for only $3.99, so I ordered some for Emily. Kyra and I headed up the ways to grab our favorite veggie egg roll, then we all sat in a beautiful landing area in the shade of the Tree of Life.  Seats were empty everywhere, and again, we had a beautiful moment of tranquility.

After our tummies were full, we headed towards the Safari to take a ride into Africa. What I love about this ride, this attraction, is that you never know what you are going to get. The animals will do whatever they feel like, and you just never know which ones will be awake, want to play, or get close to your vehicle. Every time I ride it, I hope we will see the giraffes up close and personal. I have been blessed to see them many times, and today was no exception.

Not only did we see the entire giraffe herd together and close to the jeep, but we also saw one of the hippos OUT of the water and on one of the islands they swim by. You know that scene in “It’s a Small World” with the hippo in the jungle room? It was JUST like that, minus the singing dolls.  Every animal seemed to be out and in full action- the lioness was out and in full view, one of the elephants was bathing in full view, and the savannah was full of life.  We loved it so much we walked right back on to see them all again.

We ended our day with a casual stroll to say hi to Lily and the Gorilla gang- the Bachelors were hanging out on the Safari exit side, so we enjoyed watching them for awhile. If you are leaving the Safari, don’t pass the cool opportunity to see the 2 male gorillas who play on that side of the hill.  Most don’t even bother with that area, but it is pretty neat to see them. We headed out at park closing, caught the tram, and enjoyed a chilled out evening at home. It was a great afternoon of Disney magic, and was a great reminder of why I love to live here.


  1. You have just described a perfect afternoon at my favorite Park in Walt Disney World. Sounds like such an awesome time. I absolutely love looking at all the intricate details of the decor and observing all the animals just doing their thing. Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventures!


  2. What a fab afternoon you had, and I can confirm that the Yak and Yeti Chicken Fried Rice is delicious!! Can’t wait to come back in 10 months time and experience it all again 🙂


  3. DAK has always struck me as the “hottest” of the parks — as if they somehow artificially heat the place even in the heart of the summer. When I visited with my family shortly after it opened, it was so hot that they had sprayers running and were giving away free water (paper cups donated by — iirc — McD’s and self-served from a cooler). When we hit a different park a bit later in the day, the temperature there was much more bearable.


    • Technically not artificial heat. all the trees and greenery traps the heat in, making it about 15 degrees hotter than all the other parks. 🙂


  4. Yes, yes, and yes! Empty AK is a magical thing. Africa is my favorite area in the early mornings; everything has a haze of mist from the humidity. There’s a little coffee shop to the left on your way to Kilamanjaro, and we’ll sit in the open-topped tower to enjoy our break between safaris. We went for the passholder’s 5th anniversary of Everest event, and they kept Everest & Dinoland open til 11pm. It was unbelievable to see the place so empty…and a little bit creepy as we passed through the habitat areas to exit. 😀

    Thank you for fueling my excitement again! Haven’t been to AK in so long — just 2 more days!


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