I can’t speak for Ashley but this trip was an eye opener for me as far as Animal Kingdom goes. Before this trip I was in the “Animal Kingdom is a half-day park” camp. I was used to going on the Safari first thing, riding Expedition Everest a few times, riding Dinosaur, seeing Festival of the Lion King and catching the nearest “motor coach” out of there.
My family subscribes to the “Commando” style of touring Disney World: we arrive before rope-drop and focus mainly on rides and attractions – shows and eating are an afterthought. On our Honeymoon we had plenty of time to “see the sights.” Also, we knew before we went down that we were going back in May with my family so any attraction we didn’t get to this time could be hit in May. As a result, we had plenty of time to slow things down, see some shows, eat at some VERY nice places and generally enjoy our time at Disney more.
One of the main beneficiaries of this touring style was Animal Kingdom. Thanks to Josh at easywdw.com we were introduced to the idea of going to Animal Kingdom around 4 p.m. Wait a second, you may think to yourself, doesn’t Animal Kingdom usually close at 6 or 7 p.m.? Right you are. BUT, because of this, everybody leaves after the parade because they would rather go to a different park that is open until 9 or 10 p.m. (or even later if it has Extra Magic Hours) so the Animal Kingdom feels deserted for the last couple hours.
We managed to make it over to Animal Kingdom three times during our eight-day trip. This was a lot for me. Usually we went once, maybe twice, on previous trips because there aren’t a ton of rides to go on. We went to Animal Kingdom so few times in our previous trips I don’t ever remember eating there.