Animal Kingdom’s Festival of the Lion King

Welcome to the weekend, Disney Friends!  It’s time for another edition of Saturdays With Nick. Unfortunately, this week’s version was produced by a seriously misguided and mistaken Nick! Unless you share his opinion (which is seriously WRONG! Yay for Tumble Monkeys!), Let’s hear it for fans of the Festival of the Lion King! Our family loves this show and we are, of course, always RIGHT! We do welcome all opinions here at Living a Disney Life, so here’s Nick’s sorry review.  Have a nice weekend.

Animal Kingdom’s Festival of the Lion King: I Don’t Get It

By Nick

Okay. Let’s start by saying I love the movie The Lion King. It is absolutely a classic. Animation is great. Story wonderful. Music extremely catchy and enjoyable.

But I just don’t get what the attraction to Festival of the Lion King at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is, and why it is the most popular stage show in Walt Disney World (according to more than one Cast Member).

Granted, the surroundings are beautiful and the theater very well themed.

There are 4 sections, each one representing an animal. Elephant, which is where I was, Lion, Giraffe and Warthog.

There are “tumble monkeys”, areal acrobats, fire twirlers, and sing alongs.

It sounds and looks great, but, I just don’t have a desire to see it again, unless I’m with people who feel the need.

To be honest, I think the problem could be my dislike of circuses. And this is very much like a circus to me, with a “center ring” and other “rings” around it.

I think Finding Nemo – The Musical to be much more entertaining, creative and inventive!

What is your opinion of Circus Festival of the Lion King?

 

You can follow Nick, his wife Barbie, and friends on all their many Disney adventures:  Disney Musings Blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, On Instagram, On Pinterest.  You can listen to Nick, our friend Dave and me on The Disney Exchange Podcast where we talk about all things Disney.

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Easy Disney Vacation Mistakes

Little “uh-oh” or colossal error, Disney vacation mistakes are made every day.  Here’s a look at some we’ve made that took little effort yet produced major detractions to our vacation happiness.  Luckily, we’ve learned the error of our ways and you can too.

Easy Disney Vacation MistakesYellow Monorail / Walt Disney World

Underestimating Travel Time – This is big.  We still struggle with this one sometimes.  Getting from place to place in the humongous Disney Bubble can take a lot longer than expected.  If you’re heading to a park for early breakfast reservations or leaving a park for lunch or dinner reservations, plan ahead and know what the worst case scenario will be time-wise.  If you end up arriving early to a restaurant, you can often be seated early.  We once badly underestimated how long it would take to get from Magic Kingdom to Disney Springs (monorail to the Contemporary then bus to Disney Springs) and we were terribly late for our dinner at Raglan Road.  The stress this creates is not good when you’re trying to relax on vacation.Walt Disney World MagicBand

Self-inflicted Sticker Shock – If you choose to use the Magic Band charging feature, you may want to consider limiting it to only the members of your party who are responsible for paying the final bill.  Use budgeting mechanisms such as Disney gift cards for souvenirs or Food & Wine festival booth purchases.  Stay out of gift shops if your willpower is low or if you have trouble saying no to your little prince or princess.  For sure, research restaurant menus online to get an idea about prices before you go.Drink-Menu-Raglan-Road

Dreadful Dehydration – It is ridiculously easy to become dehydrated in Florida.  Dehydration doesn’t just make you thirsty, it can make you cranky, give you a headache, make you feel exhausted and can even make you crave sweets when you’re not even hungry.  Start every day with a big drink of water, carry water with you or take advantage of the free ice water available at quick service counters in the parks.  Snack on fresh fruit and veggies with high water content instead of salty, dry snacks like pretzels, crackers, or chips.  If consuming adult beverages, drink water between servings.These Feet are TIRED

Doubling Back (over and over) – This can add miles of walking to your day.  Whether you’re a super-planner with very structured touring plans or prefer to freestyle it around FastPasses, familiarizing yourself with what rides and attractions are located in which areas of the park is worth a few minutes of research.  You can do this from home within the My Disney Experience app or, if you’re not into major pre-planning and don’t want to fool with the app, simply grab a park map when you arrive.  Try not to go back and forth from one end of the park to the other over and over.  When you have time between FastPasses and want to squeeze in extra attractions, use the app’s wait time feature to find something nearby with a short standby line.Kali River Rapids Boat

Water Ride Woes – This may sound silly to some of you, but others will appreciate this – Consider the damage water rides like Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom) and sometimes Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom) can do to your appearance.  Imagine you’re having a lovely day at Animal Kingdom, looking forward to your dinner at the new signature restaurant, Tiffins.  You can become 100% drenched, I’m talking soaked to the skin, on Kali River Rapids.  Unless you plan ahead and wear a poncho on the ride or come to the park with a complete change of clothes and don’t care about your hair and/or makeup, this ride has the potential to make eating a nice meal less than magical.

we’ve made all of these mistakes and a few more! What lessons have you learned the hard way at Disney World?

Disney Snack Check

Disney World Snack Check

Over the past year, some of my favorite Disney World snacks have disappeared.  Now I find I’m challenged with finding acceptable replacements.  Remember how enamored I was with the Roasted Pork Shank in Gaston’s Tavern?  Gone.  Remember the glorious Sweet and Spicy Chicken Waffle in Sleepy Hollow?  Also gone.  How about that amazing Jalapeno Cheese Stuffed Pretzel I enjoyed so much at Animal Kingdom?  You guessed it…gone.  While I’ve never been a fan, even the quintessential Disney Turkey Leg is becoming so scarce, fans will surely be disappointed if/when those legs are permanently off the menu.

Disney World Snack Check

Not one to dwell on what I cannot change, I propose we focus on future Disney World visits and devise a plan for snacking necessities.  I’m open to suggestions.  If you have a favorite snack that is not on this list, please don’t hold back!  Let me know where I can find it and what you love about it.  In the meantime, here are the snacks I’ve got left (at least as far as I know right now) and where I’m planning to eat them:Churro-DHS

Churro –  Snack Cart in Frontierland / Magic Kingdom (if you need to know why this is the perfect treat, check here) – otherwise, you’re probably a fan like me and you know the comfort and perfection of this snack’s crunchy-chewy delectableness.Citrus-Swirl

Citrus Swirl – Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland / Magic Kingdom – Another snack I can and have waxed poetic about.  I’m picturing myself enjoying one of these during the late afternoon after taking a ride on either Jungle Cruise or Pirates.  Adventure makes me hungry and a Citrus Swirl will get me through to supper time without spoiling my appetite.Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar

Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar – Animal Kingdom.  Sure, I know you can get these in any park (and I do love them in Epcot), but Animal Kingdom is HOT!  I need ice cream here most of all.  It has a certain brunch-time appeal to me.Starring Rolls / Red Velvet Cupcake

Something Cake-ish – No visit to the Studios would be complete without at least a bite or two of either a cupcake or a Carrot Cake Cookie.  Both of those options are too much for me to eat on my own (too much sweetness), but sharing works out great!  I prefer mine early in the day and I don’t care if my cupcake is Butterfinger or Red Velvet since both are heavenly.  I’ve been buying my cupcakes at Starring Rolls and my cookie at The Writer’s Stop.  With all the changes going on at the Studios, there’s no telling when those locations and their offerings may change.  This will be top priority on my next visit in a few weeks.RM-Epcot-Italy-Gelato-Espresso

Croissant Donut? Chocolate Croissant? Espresso Gelato “Affogato”? All three excellent snacks have been available in Epcot.  I’ll be there during Food & Wine so I’m not sure I’ll have the time or intestinal fortitude to get to any of these on my next visit, but all are solid snack choices in my opinion and all are also great for sharing.

What do I need to add to the lineup?  Egg roll? Fudge? School Bread maybe?  What are your favorite Disney snacks? Have any of your go-to snacks disappeared?

 

 

 

Disney's Animal Kingdom Gorilla

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Gorilla Falls

Gorilla at Disney's Animal KingdomIt was Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail for just three months after Animal Kingdom first opened.  Then Gorilla Falls became the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.  Now, after 18 years, the trail’s name has been changed back to the original. No matter what you call it, this is an awesome place to explore in the Africa section of the park.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Gorilla Falls

I could give you all the reasons there are out there for all the name switching, but none of that matters.  What’s important about this particular trail is that it is fantastic and deserving of a solid slot in your Animal Kingdom (full day!) touring plans. (AND the gorillas are wonderful!)  RM-Pangani-ForestIt seems to me that a lot of people will, if they go on the trail at all, squeeze it in between Kilimanjaro Safaris and whatever’s up next on their FastPass+ schedule.  Rushing through this collection of animals, precisely crafted atmosphere, and information is not advised! You need to allow ample time (I prefer early in the day) to make the most of this opportunity.  The Safari is great, but the trails are where you can take as much time as you like to watch and learn (and photograph!) Animal Kingdom’s animals.Hippos at Disney's Animal Kingdom

What do I love about Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail?  I’m glad you asked!  Like so many other Disney experiences, it’s not one thing alone, but rather the individual parts coming together to make the whole so wonderful!  Underwater hippo viewing, naked mole rats, meerkats, not one, but two separate gorilla viewing areas and so much more!Gorilla-Mother-and-Baby Gorilla at Animal Kingdom WDW RM-Gorilla-and-Baby-in-Grass

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is themed around animal conservation and research, so there’s a ton of interesting information all around (animal list, exhibit details and full backstory here).  The research building is packed with details and fun opportunities for further exploration – open drawers, look around, check out the minutiae of the carefully designed Disney details.  Cast Members are always available to answer questions or provide fun facts about the animals along the way.RM-Meerkat-Feast

Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail is a must-see for me every time I visit Animal Kingdom.  What’s your favorite part of this experience?