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Theme Park Thursday

Updated: Apr 7, 2022

Our second theme park Thursday! Where we pick a theme park and highlight 1 ride, 1 restaurant, and 1 shop. Today, we have chosen Animal Kingdom!! Let's get started...

Kilimanjaro Safaris: We visited Disney World many times before Animal Kingdom was built. I can remember being uncertain about the new theme park the first time I walked in. The other three were so great, and I couldn't imagine how a fourth park would fit in with the rest. Of course when you first walk into Animal Kingdom the Tree of Life immediately grabs your attention. The beauty and complexity is quite breathtaking, but it wasn't this view that made us fall in love with Animal Kingdom. No, it was Kilimanjaro Safaris! There really is nothing else like the safaris in all of Disney World. It feels wrong calling the safaris a ride because it is so much more than that. There is no track, no animatronics, no repeats. There is a human being actually driving you in a vehicle, and no experience is the same. We have been on the safaris many times and it is absolutely different every single time. So many amazing animals from giraffes (our faves!) to rhinos to hippos to lions, and much more. During our last visit we went on the safaris as soon as it opened, and we highly recommend you do the same. The animals were incredibly active in the early morning, it was a great time! Even our 5 month old enjoyed it.

Flame Tree Barbeque: This might be one of our favorite restaurants in all of Disney World! It's quick service with mobile ordering (yay!). An incredibly popular restaurant for good reason, but with tons of seating and the ease of mobile ordering you won't have to wait long for your food or have any trouble finding a table. Flame Tree has tasty barbeque chicken and pulled pork sandwiches, and for the more adventurous (like me!) they have pulled pork mac and cheese. Delicious. And if you are unfortunate enough to have kids that hate barbeque like ours, the kids menu has pb&j's and hot dogs. There is lots of good eating to be had in Animal Kingdom, but do not pass up Flame Tree Barbeque. This is definitely a situation where the hype is much deserved! You will find Flame Tree Barbeque on Discovery Island on the Dino Land side.

Chester and Hester's Hidden Treasures: This giftshop is so unbelievably fun that we aren't even sure how to write about it. You can find most of the shop items available at other gift shops around Disney, that's not what makes it unique. No, it's the quirky decor and ambiance that sets Chester and Hester's apart from the rest. The whole theme of the store is a gas station turned gift shop, which makes for entertaining displays and eye catching design. Every time we enter we love finding all the details, it's almost like a scavenger hunt for our kids. You never know what you might see. On our last visit we found dinosaurs wearing Mickey ears!


Allyson Marks

Travel Advisor | Blogger

Allyson is an independent travel advisor with Castle Coaches Travel. Her specialty is crafting custom, stress-free vacations for families. Allyson is a former Disney World resort cast member, and currently resides in Raleigh, NC with her husband and 3 children.

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