Disney Birthday Adventures - Day 1 (Animal Kingdom)

My family asked what I wanted to do for my 40th birthday - we talked about a lot of different ideas, and eventually decided to spend a long weekend at Disney World. After all, it's the happiest place on earth, right? We planned to actually be there for my birthday in January, but the weekend before, on MLK Day, my Papaw passed away and the funeral was set for the Saturday we were supposed to be in Orlando. Needless to say, our trip was postponed. 

Thankfully, we were able to reschedule and a month later we were all able to meet up in Orlando. It was an eventful trip, with my flight delayed several times to the point that is was 2am before I landed in Florida. I was just thankful to actually make it! So, after a short night's sleep, we got up and made our way to Animal Kingdom, one of my favorite Disney parks. I read that you should do the Kilimanjaro Safari first thing in the morning because the animals are most active after just being fed. They were right - we saw so many animals and really enjoyed the safari. 

After the safari, we walked through Africa, past the Tree of Life and into Asia, where Dad, Ben, and I were really excited to ride Expedition Everest, the best roller coaster at Animal Kingdom. It was great! We had fast passes, so the line wasn't too bad either.

Everest was followed by a venture into and around the Tree of Life, appreciating the many animals carved into the tree and loving The Bug's Life 3D show inside. We all proudly wore our bug glasses. We also went to watch the Flights of Wonder bird show and walked through the Maharajah Jungle Trek seeing cool animals, birds, and terrain. 

One of the best parts of Animal Kingdom is the Lion King Show. We all LOVED it back on our first visit to the park many years ago, and it was just as much fun this time. Those crazy flying hyenas, silly Timon and Pumba, and of course Simba, are joined by some great singers and dancers for a pretty spectacular show. We followed that by riding the Dinosaur ride (another fast pass) and eating dinner close to the Tree of Life, before getting in line for the early show of the new night production, Rivers of Light. 

Rivers of Light was simply beautiful! It celebrates the harmony of nature with water, lights, and floating animals. I'm so glad we were able to see it. Animal Kingdom has also started lighting up the Tree of Life at night for a really cool display, where the various animals carved into it come to life periodically. The tree is incredible when it's all lit up like this! Dad and I left Mom and Ben watching the tree as we headed back for one more ride to Everest in the dark. 

Our day at Animal Kingdom was so much fun! And we had more fun adventures lined up for the next several days. We headed back to the hotel, tired but happy.


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