Kilimanjaro Safaris Update

Back in February, Disney posted on its blog that Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris will be getting an update some time in spring of 2012. The updates mentioned additional space for the zebras and removal of the Audio-Animatronics “Little Red” elephant and the items related to the poachers camp.

Whenever we are at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we try to get in a morning, as well as an evening ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris. On the morning of Sunday April 29th 2012, we noticed one cast member with a “I’m Celebrating… Wilson’s retirement” button while we were in line, which reminded us of the Disney announcement about the safari update. The morning safari was not much different, but we did notice that the termite mounds had recently been renovated. Basically a fresh coat of paint that looked like it was left over from the Big Thunder Mountain renovation.

Later in the day we went back to catch the last safari of the day at about 7PM. Sitting in the front row, we asked our cast member driver Ryan about “Wilson’s retirement”. Ryan said this was the very last time he would be running the safari under the poaching theme but gave no indication of what would be changing the next day. As we passed “Little Red” we said our good bye’s and made sure to come back to the park the next day to see and hear the changes.

When we returned on April 30th, we found no changes to the queue. Wilson is still in the elephant poaching movie playing as you wait in line. At this point we don’t know if this will stay or go or be updated.

The first thing we noticed as we boarded the bus and left for our trip was that it is now a “Photo Safari” not a “2 Week Safari”. We only did one safari that day, but without the Warden interaction, our driver just talked more about the animals and their surroundings in general. Unfortunately the “wobbly” bridge was (as usual) not working and “repairing it with duct tape” seems to be the only new thing to say about that. The broken gate near the end is still there, but no real comment was made about it. The wooded area beyond the gate has been cleared a bit and there is some fresh sod down, no doubt in preparation for the eventual zebras. The geysers are still working, but the poacher’s campsite was gone and a (probably temporary) fence was up in its place.

The Poachers Camp on Kilimanjaro Safaris has Been Removed

As of April 30, 2012, the Poachers Camp has been removed from Kilimanjaro Safaris at Animal Kingdom

Little Red and the trucks were also completely gone. When we got to that point in our trip, our driver asked if anyone had any questions. Either we had a bus full of newbies or it was still too early in the morning, but no one had a comment about the missing baby elephant. Again we sat close to the driver. We mentioned that we knew what was missing and our driver responded “Then this is as awkward for you as it is for me.”

Wilson's trucks and "Little Red" removed from Kilimanjaro Safaris

Wilson's trucks and "Little Red" removed from Kilimanjaro Safaris as of April 30th, 2012

At the end of the “Photo Safari” we asked our driver about the timeframe for completion. He seemed to think that it will be another year and a half until the zebra’s are fully integrated into the safari route, which is very different than the fall of 2012 mentioned on the Disney Blog.

We’re not sure what other changes are scheduled to be made at this time or if it is now just a slow wait for the grass to grow. Hopefully there will be more to report when we are back down there in early June! If you have any updates, please let us know in the comments!

Disney Dining Plan now accepted at Anandapur Tea Company!

As big fans of the Iced Chai Tea and the REAL coffee available at the Royal Anandapur Tea Company, we were always a bit disappointed that this food location was not on the Disney Dining Plan.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company

Royal Anandapur Tea Company in Asia in Disney's Animal Kingdom

Well, on our recent trip to Walt Disney World we were delighted to find that the Royal Anandapur Tea Company now accepts snack credits from the Disney Dining Plan for most of the items on their menu. This applies to all drinks that only come in one size, but only the small sizes of the drinks that come in small, medium, and large, and for some reason does not apply to the “Flavored Latte”. (See the photo below) The Frozen Chai Tea found here is one of our favorite non-alcoholic drinks on property, especially on those hot summer days. At $4.89 for the small, this is also a very good value for your snack credit.

Royal Anandapur Tea Company-Now on the Disney Dining Plan

Royal Anandapur Tea Company now accepts Snack Credits on the Disney Dining Plan

Although not as great a value for your snack credit, this is also one of the few places on property where you can get a REAL cup coffee. That alone may make it worth the snack credit for some, but being a coffee addict as well as one who loves to squeeze every penny from my snack credits, I would rather pay out of pocket for the large. Regardless, its always great to see Disney expanding its Dining Plan options!

All Four Disney World Parks in One Day

I once read an article about the challenge of riding 10 Magic Kingdom rides/attractions before 10am. It can be done according to the person who wrote it, and I don’t doubt for a moment that it’s true. The majority of our trips to Disney have been somewhat commando-style, with detailed plans organized by extra magic hours and park layout. So our last trip we challenged ourselves to do all 4 parks in one day. (So you don’t think we are totally crazy, we did not have the kids with us on this trip.) Our idea wasn’t to do as much as possible at each park, but just to do our favorites and enjoy a few special things that each park has to offer.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Of the four parks in the World, I would have to say that Animal Kingdom is my favorite. A true animal lover at heart, I could spend all day just wandering the Pangani Forest. Ok, maybe not all day, especially not when Expedition Everest looms in the distance. Every time we have been to AK, we have meandered down a path we hadn’t seen before. [Read more…]