(Update: Some sources now say Rafiki’s Planet Watch will not be closed permanently. It is only going down for a refurbishment. I cannot find a good source to confirm or deny this but we can hope it is not going away.)
According to the Orlando Sentinel Rafiki’s Planet Watch will be closing soon! There have been rumors for a while and now it is happening. Disney has not announced any replacement yet but animal care facilities will remain open (for animal care not to the public.)
I hate to see (almost) anything closed at Walt Disney World but it happens. Sometimes for a very good reason and sometimes for a less good one. So why is Disney doing this? And what will become of the land? I can only speculate but read on for my thoughts (and share yours too!) Continue reading Rafiki’s Planet Watch Closing In October→
Disney will soon be offering a Festival of the Lion King Dining Package. This package will let you combine a signature dining experience with reserved seating for one of the best shows at Walt Disney World, Festival of the Lion King.
Hungry guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will soon have a new option, family style dining at Pizzafari. The new option will be available July 31, 2018.
Pizzafari is located on Discovey Island in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is one of the more popular quick service options in the Animal Kingdom.
Family Style Dining at Pizzafari
When family style dining at Pizzafari opens up guests will have two options. They can indulge in the family style offering or order just normal quick service. Two dining rooms will be set aside for people ordering family style. Continue reading Family Style Dining at Pizzafari→
Even though Pandora just opened there are still Animal Kingdom rumors. According to separate rumors there are two new expansions under consideration. Those two new expansions are Indiana Jones and Zootopia.
Both expansions are based on popular Disney movie properties. This means Disney is keeping the synergy alive. But what are the chances that either of both of these will actually be built? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons and you can decide for yourself. Be sure to let me know in the comments if you think they will happen or if you even want them to happen. Continue reading Two Animal Kingdom Rumors Indiana Jones and Zootopia→
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park has always had an image issue. People think of it as a half-day park or an overpriced zoo but Disney has been working to change this perception. They added a nighttime safari. They are working on a nighttime show and most importantly they are adding a new land, Pandora: the World of Avatar.
But change has been slow in the coming. Disney announced Pandora in 2011. Construction did not begin until 2014. Guests were left to wonder if and when Pandora would ever open. In late 2016 Disney finally gave a hint at an opening date. They told us it would be summer 2017 but we may have a more specific time frame now.
A clue to when Pandora opens?
The Florida Resident Discover Disney ticket recently returned. This year it is cheaper and has fewer restrictions on when you can use it. But there is one restriction that has some people scratching their head. It is not valid at the Animal Kingdom from the end of May through the first few weeks of June. You can use it at any other park but not the Animal Kingdom?
Those who follow Disney know that the Animal Kingdom is not the most popular park so why is a black-out date necessary? Whenever something big is added to any park people flood in to see it. Is Disney trying to control the crowd for the opening of Pandora by blocking those dates for this deeply discounted ticket? It seems likely but only time will tell.
So what do we know about Pandora so far?
Pandora: The World of Avatar is based on the movie Avatar the James Cameron’s blockbuster from 2009. The film takes place on a planet called Pandora.
The new land replaces Camp Minnie Mickey. Most serious Disney people will know that Camp Minnie Mickey was not part of the original design for the Animal Kingdom. Camp Minnie Mickey was a cheap replacement for the Beastly Kingdom.
Disney cancelled the Beastly Kingdom after construction costs on the rest of the Animal Kingdom went over-budget. The Camp was definitely in need of an upgrade if not a complete replacement. Enter Pandora: The World of Avatar.
The new land features two attractions. The first is Avatar: Flight of Passage. Avatar Fight of Passage is an E-ticket simulator. Guests will learn to fly a mountain Banshee as seen in the movie. The second attraction is Na’vi River Journey. This boat ride features small drops and animatronic figures.
Of course no Disney expansion is complete without opportunities to spend some money. Pandora will feature a new restaurant called Satu’li Canteen and Pongu Pongu for those wanting a drink.
Animal Kingdom Coming To Life At Night! You heard it right. Two of Walt Disney World’s theme parks have become famous as half-day parks. Hollywood Studios is known as a half-day park because of the lack of attractions. Animal Kingdom is known as a half-day park because of a lack of attractions and the fact that it closes so early (often by five.)
Disney is addressing both of those situations. The big Pandora World of Avatar expansions will add two major attractions. But Disney is not stopping there. Disney is making keep the guests in the park after the sun goes down. Continue reading Animal Kingdom Coming To Life At Night→
Headed off to a Disney vacation but afraid of burger burn out? After all that is the only option theme parks really offer. Right? And they will be overpriced too. Right? Well Grumpy cannot disagree about the overpriced but there is no need to suffer from burger burn out. There is something besides burgers at Disney.
In fact you do not have to pay to have a fancy sit down dinner or hit one of the character buffets to escape the bun. There are plenty of options from sushi (yes Grumpy really said sushi) to bbq ribs that will not set you back a fortune. In fact most of them are one quick service dining credit.
Top Quick Service Options By Park
So where do you find these options? First let’s take a look at Grumpy’s top choice for each park (and one honorable mention.)
Columbia Harbor House: In the Magic Kingdom and looking beyond Pecos Bill’s or Cosmic Ray’s? Give Columbia Harbor House a try. Located in Liberty Square you have probably seen it a million times and never paid attention. But you are passing up some good food! The menu centers around seafood and includes tuna, battered fish and shrimp. Have non-seafood people in your party? There are also chicken nuggets on the menu. The theme in the Columbia Harbor house is also worth a look.
La Cantina de San Angel: Located in the World Showcase’s Mexico pavilion La Cantina de San Angel is an excellent escape from burgers. La Cantina de San Angel offers excellent Mexican selections like Tacos de Barbacoa. These shredded beef tacos are a Grumpy favorite. The only drawback to La Cantina is the seating is very limited and is outdoor. Note: Don’t confuse La Cantina de San Angel with La Hacienda de San Angel. La Hacienda is in the pyramid and is table service (much higher prices.)
Fairfax Fare: If you head down Sunset Boulevard towards the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and smell something good cooking it might be Fairfax Fare. This is another one of those places that is easy to overlook. Most people head to ABC Commissary or the Studio Catering Company. They are missing out on some good barbeque. Fairfax Fare offers chicken and spareribs. As with La Cantina de San Miguel one of the big drawbacks here is outdoor only seating.
Flame Tree Barbecue: A real favorite for visitors to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Flame Tree is found on Discovery Island and offers ribs, chicken and pork sandwiches. The seating area is large but spread out and outdoors. But there is some bad news…Flame Tree is currently closed for refurbishment but some of their offerings are available at kiosks like Beastly Kiosk (also on Discovery Island) and Trilo-bite in Dinoland.
Be Our Guest: Be Our Guest is one of the hottest meals in the Magic Kingdom. And by hottest Grumpy means it is hard to get into not that the food everywhere else is cold. In fact it is so popular it is the only quick service (as of publication date) that offers Advanced Dining Reservations.
So why is it honorable mention? For one because you probably will not be able to get in there and it doesn’t really matter what they offer or how good it is if you cannot get in. Secondly, it is only Quick Service for breakfast and lunch. At dinner it becomes Table Service.
Be Our Guest is located in the new Beast’s Castle. It is impressive from the outside and inside. The menu has a French flair to it and includes Croque Monsieur (Grilled Sandwich of Carved Ham and Gruyere Cheese and Bechamel) with Pommes Frites, carved Turkey Sandwich Carved and carved prime chuck roast beef sandwich.
You are probably wondering who Lucky The Disney Dinosaur is. Is he some new plush you can buy at World of Disney? Is he a mascot for Dinoland USA? Is it a character from Dinosaur the movie?
No. Lucky the Disney Dinosaur is the first free-roving audio-animatronic ever created by Disney. He is very life like. He actually walks on his own and pulls a flower cart behind him. He blinks. He moves his head from side to side. He responds to guests. While he obviously isn’t real he is real enough that guests who saw him wondered if they were at a Disney park or Jurassic Park.