General—(1) Stop and look down at the walkway under your feet. Did you know, for example, that the leaf prints and mud cracks were made by a mold? The Imagineers actually took a large patch of mud, made a cast of it, and then reproduced it for the walkways of Disney's "Africa." They even distressed and widened the naturally occurring cracks by squirting them with a hard stream of water from a hose. (2) If you’re at the Animal Kingdom and there's a long line to get in, try going through the Rainforest Cafe. There's a park entrance at the rear of the gift shop. (3) Each morning, 15 minutes before the schedule opening time, you can go through the turn styles and head to the Tree of Life area. Soon, Minnie, Pluto, and Goofy arrive to welcome you to the park! Soon Mickey appears and gets on the truck and you can follow them into Harambe as the Adventure Begins in the Animal Kingdom! (4) There is a game that the children can play as you walk around the park. There are four or five stations throughout. First one you go to, you get a book, and as you finish each one, you get a stamp. We found this on the way to Conservation Station. On the right as you walk along the walkway from the train to Conservation Building, there is a small garden with a couple of CMs there. They have different cards and give them to the children and the children have to find the bugs in the garden. Of course, the bugs are not real. Actually, we all got involved and it way loads of fun. (5) There is another one on the path to the Lion King Show, one at the front entrance to the Dino Ride, and another down in the area of the Tree of Life. There was another one on the trails They are touchy, feely games. (6) Where was the “Jafar” rock? (7) You have to slow down and look! Most of the good stuff are things to do, and they are not jumping out in front of you, like big attractions do. (8) WES PALM! (9) The Oasis Gardens in Disney's Animal Kingdom was originally going to be called "Genesis Gardens," before it was decided that the religious connotation of "genesis" might prove to be too controversial in the future. (10) There are about 27,000,000 gallons of water in Animal Kingdom's "Discovery River." That will fill about 1,800 average-sized backyard swimming pools (11) The highway sign in Dinoland is route 498 (park opened in April 1998). (12) If you look at the signs for Animal Kingdom, there is a dragon among the animals on the bottom. This was supposed to represent "Beastly Kingdom," a land of the park with mythical creatures that was planned but never developed. (Maybe we got Dinoland USA instead.)
Animal Kingdom Lodge--If you go for an evening meal to AKL (Jiko's or Boma's), go early to view the animals, around 5pm, because that's when the feeding troughs are filled, and it tempts the animals nearer the viewing areas.
Asia--The mythical land of Anandapur in Asia--note the authentic prayer trees draped with both faded and new scarves that commemorate dead loved ones.
Camp Minnie-Mickey--While walking on the way to Camp Minnie-Mickey, there are two talking bushes called Herb and Flora that pass the time by talking to passers-by and very loudly people-watching with each other. They were very funny, but seem to only be "alive" for short periods of time. Check 'em out the next time you're there, they had us crackin' up!
Conservation Station—(1) If you go to conservation station, there is so much for you and the children to see and touch. If you get there early enough in the morning, you might be able to see an operation on one of the animals. During the day inside conservation station, they put on little hands on shows with animals that are great for children of all ages. Also, there are tables set up with items about the animals and always someone there to tell you are the articles on the tables. Outside is the petting area. They do not let you feed the animals, but have grooming brushes that you can brush the animals. It is great because the animals do not start eating you clothes or knocking the little one’s down to get to food. Next to that there is a small stage. Also, during the day, they put on cute little shows. They are trying to train animals to do certain things. The best part of this is that they are not the usual animals. You get to talk with the trainers, and it is a great little show. Also, on the walk from the train to conservation station there is a garden on the right hand side for kids. They are given cards and have to find the bugs in the garden. Needless to say the bugs are not real. Our kids have done it at least three times and enjoy it each and very time. (2) Finding one of the 27 hidden Mickeys in the mural in the Animal Kingdom Conservation Station.
Dawa Bar--Across from the Dawa Bar is what appears to be an old fort. Don't assume, as I did, that the area's off limits--there are actually tables and chairs in there!
Dinoland USA—(1) A CM pointed this out to me during our trip from June 12-19. In Animal Kingdom, in Dino-Land, as you go under the gigantic dinosaur and head toward Tarzan Rocks, look under the dinosaur to see if it's male or female. Nothing gross, just the way the lights are presented tells you what it is. (2) Kids certainly won't want to overlook the Dinoland Boneyard--the play area is specially made for them to blow off some steam. If they look off to the right, behind the jeep, they'll see a row of fossils set into the wall. Just hit one and find out what happens--it's musical! If you can't find the so-called "xylobone," a Cast Member will point it out to you. (3) The highway sign in Dinoland is route 498 (park opened in April 1998). (4) Has anyone mentioned the red, yellow, and white pipes above the load area at “Dinosaur” are for Ketchup, Mustard, and Mayonnaise, and the letters on each pipe are their chemical formulas?!?!?!? (5) During Dinosaur, cars bounce over a big bump in the track. The big bump is a tail of a long neck Saltosaurus, who then turns around to look at you, and if you sit on the back two rows, it throws you around a little more then the front two rows.
Expdedition Everst--1,800 tons of steel were used in the mountain structure. That is about six times the amount of steel used in a traditional office building of this size.
Festival of the Lion King (“FOLK”)--Just found this out. We were at the AK on Sunday and we were walking back to the FOLK--On the path, as you walk to get to the FOLK, there is a bridge that you walk over. On the right side of the bridge, if you look over the side to the left, you will see what appears to be a waterfall. If you look closely, it is actually a dinosaur with the water coming out of his mouth.
Harambe--In Harambe, you might spy a genuine Coke bottle perched atop a utility pole as an insulator for a power line.
It’s Tough to be a Bug—(1) This one is for the inside of the theatre of It's Tough To Be A Bug. The announcer says something to the effect of "Will all honorary bugs please remain seated so the beetles, maggots and cockroaches may exit safely." If you look up at the ceiling, you will see "swarms" of lights. They all fly toward the doors. Look to your left at the exit signs and you will see little firefly type creatures lighting up the exit sign as they exit the theatre. (2) The Classic Mickey above the Handicap door sign in the loading area for “It’s Tough to be a Bug.”
Kali River Rapids—(1) Kali River Rapids queue-don't miss Mr. Panika's office--the owner of the "business" may be "out to temple" as the signs indicate, but the two resident geckos who reside in his gecko cabinet are in all the time. Children will enjoy spotting the little critters, which are very much alive! (2) Also, a lot of the times when my DH and I are in a queue line we will let people pass us, so we can look at all of the displays. Some of the greatest of Disney art work are in these lines. The queue line for the Kali Rapids is one. There is such a story about this line. Ask one of the CMs to tell. Look at the artifacts and details they are great. There is a live Greco in one of the cases on the walls in this line. (3) We were at AK 2 weeks ago. It was just before closing, and we were on Kali River rapids. The CM there joined us. She hopped into our raft (it was almost empty) and showed us some interesting things. On the way up to the top, right after leaving the dock, there are statues along each side. The crocodile on the right has his nose broken off. It was broken during an evacuation practice a few months ago. It should look like the crocodile statue on the left. Actually, it seems to fit in just fine, but she said it was her group that broke it, so she should know. Also, she pointed out that the waterfall at the top, right after seeing the crocodile, is in the shape of a lions head. Sure enough, once it was pointed out to us, it was as clear as could be. It's better viewed just after you pass it, looking back.
Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade--Someone, somewhere here posted about seeing Mickey's Jammin' Jungle parade twice, if you are in the right spot. Well, my suggestion is only see it once but at its end. They were correct, that if you stand near the entrance to Kili Safari you will see the parade twice, as it starts and ends at the same spot. Well, we saw the parade in front of the Dawa Bar.. Then, we moved over so that we were facing the Kili Safari entrance and the large double doors that the parade goes through were to our left. We stayed there for about 20-30 minutes and then the parade came by again. It was SUPER!! There was almost no one around (several people on the other side of the street, but no one on our side at all!). The characters spent several minutes with us and our kids, and we got some great pictures!! But we felt that we had wasted some time with the first viewing, as we had staked out our spots about 30 minutes ahead of time. We could have spent another hour, at least, doing some rides/attractions and then made our way down to the Kili Safari entrance and seen the parade, which was just as good at the end, as it was at the beginning. Just be sure, if you do this, that you don’t get blocked in by the parade and cannot make your way to this SPECIAL SPOT!!
Pizzafari--If you walk up the path to the left, toward Harambe, you'll pass by the counter service restaurant, Pizzafari, one of the most brilliantly decorated buildings in the Animal Kingdom. The bright colors are eye-catching of course, but stop in *before* the lunch crowds gather so that you can study the different rooms with their ornate murals, walls, and ceilings. Can you identify which room is which? The Home Room, Nocturnal Room, Upside-Down Room, Camouflage Room, Four Seasons Room, and Bug Room.
Primeval Whirl--Hidden Mickeys in the asteroids.
Rafiki’s Planet Watch--There are Mickeys hiding ALL OVER the colorful mural at the entrance to the main building at Rafiki's Planet Watch. Look for them in the eyes of the animals and the wings of butterflies.
Safari Ride—(1) Don't just ride once. Different animals can be seen at different times of the day. Riding first thing in the morning and late in the afternoon are two different experiences. (2) The pond that all the flamingos are in is shaped like Mickey! (3) The rocks in the water on the way to safari ride in AK as you go over the bridge look like animals. Saw one shaped like an elephant and one like an alligator.
Talking Trash Can--I've seen a talking trash can at AK. Take the train , get off, and walk all the way down the path till you come to the first building, and depending if your timing is right, the trash can usually roams around the entrance to the first building. There is also a talking tree at the entrance to AK. I don't know if there is a particular schedule for these things. I think you just have to luck out.
Tree of Life--(1)There are approx 320 animals carved into the Tree of Life. (2) When I was working at Vista-United in 1997, Michael Eisner invited Jane Goodall to come see construction of DAK in particular the Tree of Life. He asked her what she thought about all the animals being carved in the tree and asked, "Where is the chimpanzee going?" After conferring with Zsolt Hormay (chief sculptor), it was discovered much to ME's embarrassment that one was not included in the over 300 animals. ME told Miss Goodall to pick a place on the tree and one would be sculpted. She chose the entrance outside of ITTBAB so everyone would be able to see David Greybeard; the first chimp she ever observed. You will notice he is more detailed than the other animals--multicolored (grey beard), and there is a plaque next to his image describing him.
(2) Did you know that when you walk down the path to the Tree of Life there are places where you walk through “tunnels.” If you look up at those “ceilings,” you can see a lot of “critters” up there. I saw a pterodactyl and I can’t even remember what else. Just look up when you go through those “arches.”
Tusker House--At the Tusker House Restaurant in AK, you can hear kitchen noises if you sit in the outside dining area. It sounds like dishes clanging together, sweeping up broken glass, etc.. This is a recording, but it's funny to see how people react when they first hear the sounds.