A January Visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Tuesday January 31st 2023

The high temperature today was in the mid eighties with only a light wind. This great weather is spoiling me. The forecast has everything crashing back to normal on Friday with a storm front passing through the area.

I was up early this morning to attempt to make my next reservation in a Florida State Park for next winter. This was actually my second attempt to book the first two weeks of 2024. I tried yesterday morning knowing that I was overlapping my stay by one night, but I didn’t have any success. This morning was also unsuccessful booking a site at Myakka River State Park. There is just too much competition and the software or server resources cannot handle it. Switching to a fall back solution, I was successful reserving a stay at Hillsborough River State Park. I’ll make another attempt to book Myakka River State Park in two weeks.

Since I was up early I decided to go to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to visit the animals before the heat of the day. I arrived at 9:30AM, half an hour after the opening time for regular guests. People staying on site at Disney World were able to enter the park at 8:30AM. The bottom line is I was too late to beat the crowds for the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. The wait was over an hour when I arrived at the park. Luckily one of the other popular rides had a short thirty minute wait.

I have only ridden the Na’vi River Journey ride in the Pandora section of the park once before. The wait is usually close to an hour. I took advantage of the short wait this morning to ride it again. It was actually quicker than the posted wait time. I was finished with the ride in less than thirty minutes. This is a dark boat ride through the bio luminescence forest. It is an Ok ride, but I wouldn’t wait longer than I did today.

Other wait times this morning were long. I walked the various wildlife trails and toured most of the areas of the park. The male gorillas were very active, but the family units including the babies were all hiding in the shade. On the other trail the tiger was in the shade by a tree well away from the viewing windows. It really wasn’t the best day for animal sightings. The trails around the tree of life were also closed so Disney could do some maintenance on the cement tree.

When the wait time for the safari ride got below sixty minutes I got in line. It was moving right along. I thought it would be much less than the posted wait, but then the dreaded message came over the loudspeaker. There were animals on the trail delaying the safari. The animals have the right of way over the ride trucks. All they can do is wait. So, the line stopped moving. It probably stopped for close to half an hour. Once it began to move again, the Lightening Lane for people that paid extra for a shorter line, got priority over the general line. Overall by the time I got off the ride it had been almost two hours from the time I entered the queue. The good thing is there were plenty of animals to see.

Safari Mickey on a pontoon boat.

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