Monday, September 24, 2018

What Can I Do At Disney's Animal Kingdom With Little Kids and Babies?

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Animal Kingdom is a fantastic park.  If I had to rank the Walt Disney World Parks, I would put it at number two, second only to Magic Kingdom (which simply has to be first!).  This park has three amazing rides, although two of them the little ones can't do: Flights of Passage (the best Disney ride, hands down), Expedition Everest (my favorite Disney coaster), and Kilimanjaro Safaris (simply an amazing animal experience).

Can I bring my little one on rides at Disney's Animal Kingdom?

Ride options for little ones at Animal Kingdom are somewhat limited.  The following rides do not have a height restriction:
  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • TriceraTop Spin
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Wildlife Express Train
Since it's one of my favorite Disney things, I just have to say that the Safari is an amazing experience for the whole family.  It's not a short ride either, it lasts roughly 22 minutes and you will see a large variety of animals on the journey.  It's one of my favorite Disney experiences.  (I should note that the seats aren't particular soft and that the terrain is purposefully bumpy, so just keep that in mind.)  My Instagram account has a couple pictures of the Safari, including this one of a giraffe!


Here are some of my Amazon recommendations for Animal Kingdom: get in the Disney spirit with a fun shirt and matching socks, don't forget snacks for you and the children in a small cooler, which you can easily store in your lightweight stroller


What can't my little kids and babies ride?

Here are the rides for taller riders with their height requirements:

  • Kali River Rapids -- 38 inches
  • DINOSAUR -- 40 inches
  • Expedition Everest -- 44 inches
  • Primeval Whirl -- 48 inches
  • Avatar Flight of Passage -- 44 inches
Are the shows appropriate for all ages?

Yes!  My little ones both were mesmerized by Lion King and Nemo in particular.  These, like Beauty and the Beast at Hollywood Studios, really are in a class above the others.

  • It's Tough to be a Bug! (Does have some some slightly scary effects -- darkness, loud noises, and fake spiders)
  • Festival of the Lion King
  • Finding Nemo - The Musical
  • Up! A Great Bird Adventure

What characters should we see while at Animal Kingdom?

There are a couple of characters that can be seen in the "traditional" meet and greet format exclusively at Animal Kingdom.  These currently include: Dug and Russel, Timon, Pocahontas, Scrooge McDuck, and Launchpad.  Below Alexander and I were having fun with Chip and Dale during Donald's Dino-Bash!

What else is there for little kids to do at Animal Kingdom?

  • The Boneyard (playground with climbing nets and slides)
  • Rafiki’s Planet Watch (closing October 2018)
  • Wilderness Explorers
  • Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail
  • Rivers of Light (night show)
  • Animal stations

Keep in mind that things at Walt Disney World are constantly changing.  Something that might be there today might not be there tomorrow.  Something that is there today might not have been there yesterday.  If you notice something on this page that needs updating please leave me a comment.  This post was updated September 2018.

Be sure to check out the rest of the posts in this series!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

7 (plus 1) of Our (Current) Favorite Family Games

This post contains affiliate links.

We enjoy board games in our house.  A lot.  I'm not sure how many we own at this point.  There are games in the cabinet in the library, in the trunks in the living room, in the closets, and probably more that I'm forgetting about!  Family game night . . . or afternoon . . . or morning . . . is a common activity.  Both Catherine, age 8, and Dominic, age 4, enjoy all eight of these games with us.  (I should note, that while our youngest player is a mere four years old he has somewhat shockingly advanced game skills.)  Sometimes we adjust, or bend, the rules for the kids, but not always! 

1. Ticket to Ride

I'm a huge Ticket to Ride fan.  It might be a little silly, but I own the majority of the series.  The concept is simple enough for young players.  Some of the versions are a little more challenging and there's enough strategy to fully engage everyone. 

2. Ticket to Ride App

Yes, I know this is a rehash of #1; however, Dominic and I play the Ticket to Ride app almost daily so it seemed like it deserved a place of its own.  When it's just the two of us it's nice to not have to set the game board up, plus I find it easier to play while nursing, cuddling, holding, and playing with the baby.  The app is also a great way to play with far away family members.  My Dad, who lives several states away, is able to play with us!

3. Blokus

We lucked into this game at a thrift store.  The concept is simple.  It's easy to learn but (somewhat) difficult to win.

4. Spot It

My husband spotted this one at a community yard sale.  It's so much fun!  It's a quick paced game.  Do you only have three minutes?  This is the game for you!  When the kids were first learning how to play I would challenge myself by having to (silently) find their match before finding my own.

5. Splendor

In our family we've had the youngest player (while three years old) be the "gatherer" for one of the parents.  This has worked out really well for us.  Now that he's four he plays independently.  We tried giving him a handicap (extra resources at the start of the game) but then he won handedly, so that had to stop!

6. Karuba

There are a few ways to make this "addictive tile laying game" a family game for everyone.  We've played this successfully as a family for over a year now.  At first, we had the youngest player simply line up his tiles in numerical order (since every player has his own board this won't affect anyone else's game play!) 

8. Settlers of Catan

Ok, I know, it has officially been rebranded to just "Catan".  But . . . they're wrong.  If you absolutely must shorten it, then it should be "Settlers".  C'mon.  All that aside, this is simply a great family game.  We've had some shockingly tight four player games.

There's one more game that I'd like to add as a +1. It's not quite the same caliber as the above games, but we've had lots of great family fun with it!

8. Pictopia: Disney Edition

This was yet another yard sale find!  The questions are pretty easy, I would say too easy, but maybe that's just me.  (As you might have noticed, I am a bit of a Disney fan girl, as it pops up every so often her on the blog.)  The kids love being able to answer trivia questions, and it never gets too frustrating for them since so many questions are answered as a team.

What are games are your (current) family favorites?  Do you adjust the rules to make it easier for younger kids to join the fun?