See the species soar in Flights of Wonder

It’s such a joy when we cross off some rare attraction on the to-do list for the first time. In the case of a recent fall trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we finally made it to the Flights of Wonder show! The show had never been a priority, though I had read nothing but positive reviews. (more…)

Four places to bang the drums in Walt Disney World

Kids don’t want to work – they just want to bang on the drum all day! So where can you and yours do that at Walt Disney World? Here are four spots we’ve found:

MH walt disney world drums


Take a mini-safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

It was a stretch for me to fully envision the concept of a hotel built within a re-created African savanna – until we stepped foot into the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Though I had read about guests taking morning coffee on their balconies while watching the animals amble, I still expected the savannas to be less accessible to the curious public. Gladly, this is not the case. The animals are on display for all to admire from beautiful vantage points around this majestic resort. (more…)

10 spots to get splashed in the Disney Theme Parks

Visitors to the Walt Disney World theme parks generally know going into the game that they’re likely to encounter some heat. The index can range from toasty warm in the milder months to darn near sweltering in the summer. Much appreciated are the myriad ways to cool off around property. If it’s not yet time to head back to the hotel swimming pool, we’ve got 10 spots in mind in and around the theme parks where you can catch a break from the temps and savor a splash or two.


Casey Jr Splash ‘n Soak Station

First stop on our Splash Tour is this colorful, spurting collection of circus cars in Fantasyland. Themed after the animated film Dumbo, Casey Jr Splash ‘n Soak Station will be a magnet to your parched tykes on a hot day at the Magic Kingdom. We prefer to “splash” instead of “soak” at Casey’s — use your own discretion. (more…)

Dig It: The Boneyard Fossil Fun Site

Though we have scores of indoor and outdoor playground options in our hometown, I rarely mind spending chunks of touring time visiting Disney’s play areas. Spaces like The Boneyard Fossil Fun Site at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are a welcome relief to our kids – who need more than a little wiggle room after basically being tethered to parents at a theme park all day. At first sight of that caution-yellow, three-story corkscrew slide, they’re off and running.  Just about the only thing that will draw them back to us is a needed gulp of water after exploring this open-air dinosaur dig-site playground! (more…)

Make a catch of “Finding Nemo: The Musical”

“Finding Nemo: The Musical” does a pretty slick job of condensing the darling, full-length animated film into a 30-minute stage show. It has to move at brisk pace to accomplish this, but the show’s not tough to follow – especially for those familiar with the movie. Nemo’s story is carried out in a spectacle of vibrantly-colored puppets, live performers, a digital backdrop and – in the one divergence from the movie – perky musical numbers. (more…)

Kid Wish: TriceraTop Spin

MH triceratop spin There’s not a whole lot else to say about this spinner except to call it the Dumbo of the Animal Kingdom. It’s a very simple hub-and-spoke style carnival ride without much of a theme or a Disney film tie-in. It’s also very brief (and maddening if you must spend a chunk of time in line waiting for this slow-loader). However, the giant green dinos are very visually appealing to the youngsters, and the older ones will relish in using a joystick to control the dino’s rising and tilting. If you pass through Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama with preschoolers, be prepared to ride.

Location: TriceraTop Spin is located in the DinoLand U.S.A section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Walt Disney World Resort.

Touring Tip: Riders under the age of 7 must have an adult in the same dino.

Spot It: Amazing creatures on Animal Kingdom’s Tree of Life

PicMonkey Collage - tree of life - CopyIf you can spare the extra time, it’s really rewarding to spend it studying the incredible work of art that is the Tree of Life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Our family discovered this on a recent trip, that the Tree is a wonderful attraction in its own right. We purposely slowed our pace and meandered the Discovery Island Trails, paths that meander close to the base of the tree and afford views of the animals intricately carved into the trunk and roots. (more…)

Spot: Siamangs in the Asian temple ruins at Animal Kingdom

Pause for a few minutes to watch these playful siamangs – members of the gibbon family – deftly navigate the beautiful temple ruins that make up their habitat at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

As with all things Disney, the siamang exhibit tells a story. It’s the tale of the people of Anandapur (the fictional kingdom that comprises the Asia portion of Animal Kingdom) and their desire to preserve these ancient temples. The scaffolding and ropes surrounding the ruins supposedly serve a dual purpose: to allow repairs to be made on the temples, and to amuse the siamangs that have taken up residence in them. (more…)

Jeep into the wilds on Kilimanjaro Safaris

“But where’s the lion? Have we seen it yet? Is there a lion on this ride? Can he get us? When do we see the lion?” My son, then not quite five, was obsessed the first time he rode Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. To the kid, it was totally possible we really had jeeped through some portal at Walt Disney World and ended up on the African savanna. I’ve never been to Africa myself, but from what I’ve heard, Disney does an excellent job re-creating the ambiance of a sub-Saharan savanna, complete with dozens of exotic animals. (more…)