It’s easy to be intimidated by the business of Disney World or Disneyland. There are gobs of people everywhere and a simple walk around the parks can turn into a game of ‘Human Bumper-Cars’. We’re starting a series for people who want to find places away from all of the crowds. Places to relax, take in the scenery and soak in the Disney details are a must for me while I’m at a Park. We’re looking forward to sharing some of those places with you. Here’s a look at one of our other favorite quiet places (more to come soon).
If you have read this blog for long, you know that I’m a big fan of Animal Kingdom. While some may gripe about its lack of rides and about how it’s ‘just a zoo’, I find the detail and the beauty in the park breath-taking. Of course, it helps that I love animals but that isn’t the reason I love this park.
This will be a bit of a strange installment in our ‘Favorite Quiet Places’ because this isn’t exactly one place. Animal Kingdom is filled with beautiful trails throughout it that lead to numerous areas. Some trails are to give better views of animals while others are simply a quick trip to see a running stream. I’m going to give a brief synopsis of the two big trails and then a more general discussion of the trails as a whole.
Maharajah Jungle Trek – This attraction/trail is worthy of a post all on its own (and will get one someday when I capture more pictures of it). Maharajah Jungle Trek takes guests to Southeast Asia to view several different wild animals (Tigers, Elds Deer, and fruit bats, oh my). Now, I can’t deny the coolness of tigers but somehow they aren’t the show stealer in this attraction. Instead, my favorite part is the trail itself. It tells a great story of a hunter who enclosed the forest, to make it easier for hunting. That hunter later died and now, through several steps, this forest or jungle has become a nature preserve. The story is intricate and detailed, as guests will be able to follow along because of the buildings and the carvings on the wall. While Maharajah Jungle Trek is probably the most popular of all the trails, the attraction can be quite peaceful if you don’t rush through it. There’s a quietness at Animal Kingdom that other parks don’t possess and this trail, and the others, embody that. This trek is beautifully done and full of detail that most people will skip over. Take your time here.
Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – This trail doesn’t have the rich story that Maharajah Jungle Trek does but it does include more animals (Gorillas, Hippos and Meerkats, oh my goodness I can’t believe I tried this joke again). This path actually includes a quiet zone so, of course, it has to be a part of this post. The quiet zone is by the gorillas because they can get agitated when there are loud noises. Along this path are natives from different countries in mainly Africa (in my experience) that tell you about the culture of their country and some of the problems they face. Much like Epcot’s World Showcase, Animal Kingdom is full of different cultures to seek out. Talk to these cast members, you’ll learn something and their job is probably quite boring if no one talks to them. Like Maharajah Jungle Trek, this trail will likely not be empty if you walk it but it will have a certain peace about it that’s hard to describe. Guests seem to be quieter when viewing these animals. The path is also beautiful but not quite to the extent that Maharajah is.
Those are the two main trails in Animal Kingdom but our fun doesn’t stop there. This park is truly meant for wandering (In Disney, get it?). Smaller paths were built into this park to explore different plants, wonderful views, and every now and then some smaller animals. At the risk of getting you in trouble, if you find what looks to be a path, follow it. Sometimes it won’t be one but more often than not you’ll wind up with something to look at. This is especially true of the land between Asia and Africa and areas around Discovery Island.
Some of these paths are so free of people and full of green that it’s hard to convince yourself that you are in the biggest theme park Disney has ever built. Most people don’t follow these paths, and for that reason, they are quiet and peaceful. Some have benches to sit on and relax but mainly they are a place to explore. There are great details, architecture and lovely scenes when guests take the time to look! That is something we all need from time to time.
Have you found any little hideaways in Animal Kingdom? Let us know if you have, in the comments. Thank you for reading!