Why we chose Animal Kingdom as the first Disney theme park with our baby

The time has finally arrived. My little son is old enough to start venturing out with us for a few hours on weekends; we couldn’t wait to take him to his first theme park. And while we have access to all four Walt Disney World theme parks, we knew his first one had to be Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Most families will pick Magic Kingdom as their child’s first theme park. And when faced with the decision to only visit one park, Magic Kingdom almost always wins.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom wasn’t always my favorite park. But over time, especially during my time as a Cast Member (employee) there, it grew on me. It is the most beautiful of the parks. It has some very peaceful spots, and it tends to be a more relaxing experience than the other parks.

Planning Ahead

img_9215On our recent visit we booked Fastpasses ahead of time in the My Disney Experience app, about a month in advance. We ended up forgoing our Fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safari, we didn’t want to rush there when we arrived and we worried if our baby became unsettled it would be a long ride, for all involved.

We did, however, use our Fastpasses for the Discovery Outpost where Mickey and Minnie are located, and for the Na’vi River Journey. Meeting Mickey and Minnie at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is extra special because it’s the only location where they appear together as a couple.

We also of course packed our diaper bag with a few diapers, a few change of clothes, lightweight blankets in case we needed to put them down on a surface to put our baby on, and baby sunscreen (so important).

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The Na’vi River Journey is one of the two new rides at Pandora: World of Avatar. It is a very short ride, and I wouldn’t recommend waiting more than 30 minutes if you can manage to find such a short wait time, but it is visually stunning. It was an unforgettable moment as my baby son marveled at the colors around us and above us over head.

We also walked through Asia’s Maharajah Jungle Trek. This walking trail is wide enough to allow strollers through, and you’ll see fruit bats, a kimono dragon, water buffalo, and even tigers. There’s also a peaceful bird aviary, it is astonishing how close you can get these exotic birds.

Baby Care and Photopass

We also love that all four Disney parks have a very helpful baby care center. This is a great place to bring your baby or toddler for a place to relax, get supplies, nurse, and even though all restrooms have a changing table, the baby care center has nursery style changing tables making it a helpful place to change your baby’s diaper if needed.

We took advantage of the Disney Photo Pass photographers too. We don’t have many photos of the three of us. At Animal Kingdom the photographers are no where near as busy as they are at Magic Kingdom and Epcot. I’m glad we got a few of us together as a family.

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A Relaxing Pace

img_9189-1Because of its relaxing nature, quiet spaces, and exploration trails, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a great fit for bringing a tiny young one to the theme parks. It’s easy to get in and out of, and has plenty to offer without being overstimulating. Plus, if you’d like to enjoy a round of cocktails and small bites, there is no better theme park bar than Nomad Lounge. Enjoy comfy seating both inside and outside. And you can also take your drinks to go.

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Nomad Lounge

Although our little guy is way too young to fully comprehend the experience, we’re glad we can take him on such an adventure. We had a wonderful time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and I’m so grateful we could enjoy it together at This Florida Family.

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