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Where to Find the Best Views in Walt Disney World - Part 4: Disney's Animal Kingdom

by Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 02-21-2013

In this, the fourth part of a series of articles looking at the best views in Walt Disney World, it's time to enter the world of movies, Disney's Hollywood Studios. (Check out Part 1 - Magic Kingdom, Part 2 - Epcot, and Part 3 - Hollywood Studios.)

In this, the latest in my series of articles looking at some of the best views around Walt Disney World, today the focus is on Animal Kingdom. Now there's a challenge! Where on earth do you start with this park? Everywhere you look, it seems, there are stunning views to be seen.

I think the Oasis is under-rated by many who just dash through here on their way to attractions like Expedition Everest, or Kilimanjaro Safaris. It's a beautiful place to explore, with lush vegetation everywhere you look, and creatures to discover, if you take the time to find them.

Perhaps the best view here is the Tree of Life, but there are so many angles from which to look at, and so many animals to find. Whether it's from the entrance to Discovery Island, on one of the many trails that surrounds the tree, or looking across the water on the walkway from Africa to Asia, there’s always something new to see it, and yet again -- and I seem to keep saying this a lot-- it's something I can happily stare at for hours. I swear that every single time we go to Animal Kingdom, I find new animals. I'm sure one day I'll look at it and say "yes, I've seen every aspect of it", but I suspect that day is a while off yet.

As you walk into Africa, you’re instantly transported halfway across the world, and one of my favorite views is of the buildings in this land. I just love the little details here. It’s a place to gaze upwards, and take in the sight of what’s in the windows of the buildings you’re walking past. This is Disney theming at its best.

Of course, I couldn’t miss out Kilimanjaro Safaris, with some of the most stunning views in the whole of Walt Disney World, but the one I love the most is the vista of the savannah laid out in front of you, as you first turn on to it. There’s just something really special for me in that view, as you make out various different animals, some close by, and some in the distance, and realise just how many you’re going to see over the next few minutes.

On the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, again there are so many great views, but of course the winner for me has to be the gorillas. Much as the glass window can provide quite a sight, if the gorillas are cooperating, I prefer to head a little bit further round the trail, and try and spot them hiding in the undergrowth, as you tend to see more natural behaviour here.

Let’s head for Asia, and one sight I never tire of is the view across the lake. It always used to be beautiful, but now Expedition Everest just tops it off perfectly. I never realized it before that was built, but it was as if something was missing before its arrival. Here, I also love to look at all of the buildings around here, with so much detail to take in. As you pass perhaps a shack, or even a vehicle in some cases, selling maybe merchandise or snacks, take the time to look further, and you’ll see what I mean.

Once again, of course the animals take center stage here, as they rightly should, from the monkeys with their daring antics on the waterfront to the majestic tigers. Anyone who doesn’t take the Maharajah Jungle Trek is seriously missing out on some superb views. As one of my favorite animals, I adore watching the tigers as they pace or lounge around, or if we’re lucky, as they fight amongst themselves. But here too, the theming is rich, and beautiful, with murals of tigers one of the attractions as you walk through the ruins of the land of Anandapur.

It’s at this point I will be honest and say that, as you head from the bridge from Asia towards DinoLand U.S.A, I’m afraid my levels of interest drop in this part of Animal Kingdom. It’s unlike me, but even though I now fully understand what’s going on with the story here (and that’s half the battle), it does absolutely nothing for me. I’m trying desperately hard to think of a view of this land that I like, but I can’t actually find one, and there’s no point making one up. I’m sure they are some, but I can’t see them! To me, this doesn’t fit in Animal Kingdom, and it never does. It’s a great shame, but none of us can help our feelings…

However, as you head back to Discovery Island, keep your eyes peeled for some Disney friends on the Character Landing, and keep your eye out as well for some of the wonderful detail this part of Animal Kingdom is packed with. From the lizards sliding down walls to the butterflies decorating the lights and the tortoise holding up the lights (I kid you not – seriously these are all here, check the next time you visit!), it’s just packed with little things for the interested visitor to enjoy, and perhaps best of all, if you have kids in your party, they’re easy to spot, as they’re all vibrantly colored.

This is where the tour of the theme parks comes to an end, but in the final part of this series looking at some of the best views around Walt Disney World, we look at those that you can find outside of the theme parks.

About the Author: Cheryl is the author of the e-book, PassPorter's Walt Disney World for British Holidaymakers, and is the co-author of PassPorter's Disney Vacation Club Guide: For Members and Members-To-Be. Cheryl and husband Mark live in England and love to travel, particularly to Disney, and they have travelled around the world, taking in a number of Disney cruises, Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Aulani in Hawai'i, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disney and Hong Kong Disneyland on the way. Click here to view more of Cheryl's articles!

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Updated 02-21-2013

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