A DAY AT DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM // ORLANDO , FLORIDA

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We arrived at the park at 8:30 a.m. - rumor had it the newly opened avatar ride had an insane wait line. We hoped to avoid the lines by taking advantage of the park opening an hour before the rides open. Unfortunately, we were not the only ones with the bright idea to get to the park early. We waited almost hour and half to get on the ride and it was worth the wait. So much so, we returned again later that day to get in one more ride in the world of Avatar. 

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This was my first time at Disney and I was not sure what to expect. Friends had made the booking and selected FastPass slots for some of the more popular rides (unfortunately fasspass was not available for the Avatar ride). Once the Avatar ride was done, it was time to explore the park properly.

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We stopped by the tree of life for a photo op because did you really visit the Animal Kingdom if you don't have a tree of life photo? Next stop, the dinosaur ride.  We made our way aimlessly through the park until we arrived at Harambee where we settled for beverages and to regroup before setting off through the animal habitats to get to the Kilimanjaro Safari. The Safari trucks drove us into the 200-acre reserve. We spotted giraffe; elephants; rhinos; long horns and more.  By the time we were done with the Safari - it was time for lunch. 

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We took a break from the park to dine at Sanaa. When we made the bookings, we did not realize the restaurant was located outside the park within the resorts. Thankfully, we had the free shuttle to transport us to the restaurant and back to the park. 

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After lunch, we headed back to the back for an afternoon connecting with our inner child. We started the afternoon aboard the old railway tracks of the Mount Everest ride (not the smartest post lunch ride), we screamed and laughed and just when you thought it could not get worse (or better depending on your perspective), the ride went flying backwards; then forward; roundabout and then face to face with a Yeti. I was screaming the whole time.

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I took a break after this ride to catch my breath while the rest of my party went off to the Kali river rapids ride. We caught up at the festival of the lion king. If you have ever seen the movie (and loved it); then you will love this performance. It was spectacular and I was singing along (albeit out of tune) the entire show. We wrapped up the day on the Na'vi river journey ride - another ride based on Avatar. It was not my favorite ride.

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We got back to our hotel for a change of clothes and dinner. While at dinner, a friend mentioned the night of the tree of life and after seeing the photographs online - we just had to go back. Our passes were valid until the park closed. When we arrived, we were notified the lighting ceremony was not happening that day due to the weather. That was very disappointing, but we were rewarded with a short queue for the flights of avatar ride. We ended the day just as we started - on the flights of the avatar. On our way out of the park, the tree was lite up (for a private filming) and we had the opportunity to get a glimpse of the park at night (albeit much muted than what it would have been if the weather conditions were right).

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