We visited Walt Disney World with the kids in mid-December of last year (that would be 2015 for those of you keeping track…or who have lost track). We stayed at Disney’s Beach Club and planned on visiting all of the parks at some point with our 3-day Park Hopper passes. Read about our stay at the Beach Club HERE.
The first day brought us to Animal Kingdom. I was excited! Having grown up in Florida, I’ve been to Disney about a thousand times, but this was my first time visiting Animal Kingdom.
Let me just pause and say that we had the most amazing weather in mid-December! If you’ve never been to Orlando, it’s land-locked in Central Florida and is HOT as all get out. And humid…good Lord, it’s humid. It was in the upper 70s/low 80s and perfect during our visit. I cannot imagine going in the middle of the summer when it’s pushing 100 with 100% humidity. No thank you.
Another aside- a stroller is a must! Our kids were 4 and nearly 3 at the time of our trip and we used the heck out of our City Mini Double. They walked a bit, but it was perfect for when they were tired (which was often) or wanted to sit and have a drink or snack (which was often). You also carry so much gear into the park, it was nice to have somewhere to store it all.
If you’re flying or driving from far away and don’t feel like bringing your own double stroller, there are TONS of rental companies. We saw tons of rental strollers. Our Disney travel planner recommends Kingdom Strollers, though I have no personal experience.
We had a sign made with our name on it for the back of the stroller. There were hundreds of other City Mini Doubles so it was nice to quickly recognize ours in a sea of strollers. Just a little something you might not think of ahead of time but is helpful!
Our day started with a character meal at Tusker House. Character meals are pricey, but I think it’s the way to go for meeting characters without waiting in long lines or burning fast-passes on them.
Tusker House is a buffet (in fact, most, if not all, character meal options are buffets) so you load your plate up and patiently wait for the characters to come around to your table.
The characters are more than happy to sign autographs and take pictures as they come by. Check out how my kids greeted Mickey. Sorry, Mickey! 😉
I recommend getting an early character breakfast so you can get into the park, have your meal, and get on with your morning. Plus, who doesn’t want to start the day off by meeting Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy?
My kids LOVED the Boneyard playground in DinoLand U.S.A!
After a morning of standing in lines, it was a great way to let them stretch their legs.
Our kids really enjoyed the Kilimanjaro Safari (they thought it was hilarious that the hippo was, ahem, using the restroom as our jeep drove by), TriceraTop Spin in DinoLand, and the Finding Nemo show (I can’t remember the name!).
We spent one good, long morning at AK, but I’d love to go back. It’s great for toddlers and young kids. They also enjoyed just walking through all of the lush areas of the park and spotting bugs, birds, monkeys, and more.
My goal of the trip was to find a Mickey head pretzel and I did just that!
We really had the best time at Animal Kingdom and I wish we would have gone back for a second visit during our stay. Since we were staying on Disney property, we were able to drive and park for free (it was less than 10 minutes from Beach Club). Next time we visit we’ll definitely plan to spend more time at Animal Kingdom!