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A photo tour of the best of Disney's Animal Kingdom

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Published: July 27, 2011 at 12:02 PM
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Come along with us on a photo tour of my favorite four attractions at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

We started our day with Expedition Everest.

Expedition Everest

Take time to notice one of the most richly detailed queues in theme parks:

Yeti statue

You're walking through a museum of the Yeti, with an exhibition on the "Lost Expedition" of 1982. What's in that photo on the right? Is it... an arm? Fangs? Foreshadowing?

Lost Expedition display in Everest queue

Alas, the photos might be more menacing that the somewhat dimly strobe-lit "Disco Yeti" you'll find inside the mountain. It's disheartening how few visitors these days even know that the Yeti's supposed to move, swiping at your coaster train with his enormous arm.

Unlike on Everest, the wildlife has been known to move from time to time on the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Let's start with... hippos!

Hippos

And my family's favorite, the "Nile" crocodile.

Crocodile

Time for some close-ups!

Giraffe

Elephant

Rhino

Animal Kingdom is home to two of my favorite live musical shows in theme parks, including one of your all-time top five: Festival of the Lion King.

Soloist at Festival of the Lion King

The Lion King company

I also love the staging and singing puppeteer talent on display in Finding Nemo - The Musical:

In P. Sherman's tank at Finding Nemo - The Musical

On stage at Finding Nemo

What's your favorite sight in Disney's Animal Kingdom?

Readers' Opinions

From Dominick D on July 27, 2011 at 12:26 PM
I havent been there since I was 6, but Kilimanjaro safaris is definatly my favorite.
From Nick Dakuginow on July 27, 2011 at 12:34 PM
Robert, can you give us a recap of all you did in the park? I need my Disney fix, won't be there until another 3 weeks, and I want to see Disney vicariously through writing.
From 174.107.187.21 on July 27, 2011 at 12:41 PM
If I had to pick one thing it would be Kilimanjaro Safaris. Nothing like having a full-grown giraffe running alongside your vehicle a mere 5 feet away from you!! One of the greatest experiences of my life.
From Mitchell Botwin on July 27, 2011 at 12:53 PM
Did you try the new close up walk, I know I'm getting the name wrong? The write ups sound interesting.
From Jorge Arnoldson on July 27, 2011 at 1:57 PM
My favorite would be Everest if the darned Yeti was working! Thank goodness I went on it when it was properly working. In fact, I was one of the first people to ride it when it opened, and there was no line!
From Anon Mouse on July 27, 2011 at 4:21 PM
Animal Kingdom is a nice park. I enjoyed it a lot, but I get AK fatigue. The park is extremely hot. It seems to have a lot of filler material. There are things that are not quite worth waiting for like Dinosaur and Bug's. The train ride to the animal exhibit seems so lame. Its a beautiful park, but it has a lot of lost potential.
From James Rao on July 27, 2011 at 5:06 PM
Now that the Yeti is just a strobe light of its former glory, Dinosaur is my favorite ride at DAK (in truth, it is one of my favorite rides period - sorry Anon Mouse). However, I do so love watching folks vainly try to take photos on Kilimanjaro Safaris while the ride vehicle lurches and bounces along. Too funny! Although, Robert, you seemed to do a fine job. Guess that is because you are a Theme Park Insider!
From Robert Niles on July 27, 2011 at 5:32 PM
Long lens. Fast shutter. Lots and lots and lots of photos in the trash.
From Anthony O'Neal on July 27, 2011 at 5:52 PM
Working Yeti is my favorite, but I really enjoyed Festival of the Lion King.
From Jeffrey H on July 27, 2011 at 8:36 PM
Only recently has Animal Kingdom become worth the price of admission. Wanna see giraffes roam near your car? I would strongly suggest paying a visit to Lion Country Safari in Loxahatchee, FL. I saw two giraffes which blocked my car and craned their necks against one another. In my opinion, it's one of the true hidden gems of Florida.
From chris cona on July 27, 2011 at 8:52 PM
Mt. Everest
From Ray Schroeder on July 28, 2011 at 5:37 AM
A must every visit is Dawa Bar. Great place for a cool "refreshment".Sharon the bartender has been there forever. I'm even in the family photo book.
AK makes me thirsty. Must be the heat.
Primeval Whirl. Fun Fun Fun and Whirly.
It's a Bugs Life. I love the reactions of the newbies.
Dinosaur. Great photo-op if you know where the camera is.
From 206.248.107.44 on July 28, 2011 at 8:51 PM
I have to say Expedition Everest without a doubt. I rode it 4 times this past week, which to me with July's attendance numbers makes me proud. I think the Safari is also a great trip, as it should be, with it taking up so much Real Estate in AK. Don't really like Musical's to much though. For the most part My Culture, doesn't like Musical's in general.

@James Rao - I took some of the best pics from my trip on the Safari... I'll admit that like Robert says, not all of them come out right, but I'm no photographer and with my High Zoom 14X Compact (in Auto Mode all the Route) I took some great ones. A few came out amazingly Great! As I'd said some of the best of my trip. Even though the truck was shaking as crazy, when I'd look at them later the majority looked awesome...

-Francisco

From Manny Barron on July 28, 2011 at 10:04 PM
Dinosaur is my favorite ride in all of Disney World, so it's my favorite at AK. Although not on a lot of people's must see list, Flights of Wonders is a really neat, well done show.
From Sylvain Comeau on July 29, 2011 at 11:36 AM
I managed to take some -- SOME -- good pics on the Safari, too. If you're no camera expert, my best advice is to take lots of shots, and make copious use of the zoom lens.
From 75.132.24.89 on July 29, 2011 at 7:34 PM
Fantastic pictures! Your pictures summed up a wonderful park!

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