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There are lot of new changes coming about at Walt Disney World soon, which means there have been lots of announcements popping up lately about some of our favourite attractions.
The Disney rumour mill has been working double hard lately with talk of new shows, parades, rides and more, but unfortunately as always with new magic, comes the closure of the old favourites.
And this seems to be the case once again, at least for a short period, for one of the little Ticket Rangers’ favourite attractions at Animal Kingdom, Rafiki’s Planet Watch.
It was reported at first that the attraction would be closing permanently on October 20th 2018, but a Disney spokesman has now confirmed that this is just a temporary closure and it is expected to re-open in Spring 2019.
With this news, we thought we just HAD to to a Ticket Rangers Recommend post about it, as we do honestly recommend going to visit if you are there before its closure, or after it’s reopening, especially if you have kids. And here is why...
Firstly, to get to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, you board a train. Now, if your kids are anything like our kids, this is reason enough to go over there! Train rides are EVERYTHING!!
And this train ride is a pretty darn cool one! You board the Wildlife Express from the Harambe Station, which is a steam train with open sides and which faces you outwards to everything you pass, rather than your usual rows of seats facing the front of the train.
On the way over, which takes about 7 minutes, you get to see ‘backstage’ so to speak of the animal welfare areas of Disney's Animal Kingdom, and where the animals go to when they need medical treatment. You usually get to see a few animals that are currently being cared for, last time we spotted a white rhino, which made Niall’s day! And Martha loved seeing a baby elephant, which was totally adorable.
Once you reach Rafiki’s Planet Watch and get off the train, you make your way through a woodland area full of places to stop and meet animals and their keepers, called Habitat Habit!
You then come to a number of exhibits and a couple of characters. These character meets are amongst the kid’s favourites of all characters throughtout all 4 Disney Parks!
Niall LOVES Rafiki!
Pretty much because he tries to eat the bugs out of his hair, he picks his nose and he tries to steal his hat. He always gets SO excited to see him when we head to Planet Watch. I really hope Disney will make his Meet and Greet elsewhere during the time the area is closed, or we will have one very sad Junior Ticket Ranger!
Martha thinks Rafiki is wonderful, and always thoroughly enjoys this meet and greet. He is always really gentle with her too, which is so sweet to watch.
Amazingly, I have just noticed when writing this blog that the kids wore the same clothes on our visit over to Rafiki's Planet Watch on our visits and they were 5 month apart!! We had breakfast at Tusker House both times, so that explains Martha's Daisy dress, but we must have just thought Niall's t-shirt was particularly Animal Kingdom-y in November AND in April haha!
The kids also love to meet Doc McStuffins. Martha is a kisser and Niall is a charmer, and Doc certainly gets this treatment when we visit her in her Toy Hospital Pet Vet Clinic!
Inside the Conservation Station, which is the research and education centre, you are welcomed with a truly stunning giant mural of hundreds of animals.
Once you are inside you will find many interactive areas and displays that teach you all about how the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are cared for, and you will get to meet some of the smaller animals, such as owls and snakes, and get to hold them for pictures etc and speak to the staff that care for them every day.
There are areas in which you can watch vets work, through viewing glass walls, which is fascinating to watch their hands on care and a really great insight into behind the scenes at the park, and lots of reptiles to enjoy watching.
Then comes the Affection Section… and this is the kids' favourite part!!
Like a petting zoo you get to go inside the pens and brush and stroke the animals, such as goats, sheep and pigs, and there are cows and donkeys and a whole host of other ‘pettable’ (is that a word?!) animals.
These animals are so used to kids that they just leisurely stroll around while getting fussed and brushed and cuddled, and they absolutely love it!
And by they, we mean the kids AND the animals!
The goats always seem to take a shine to the kids straw hats, and we never seem to learn and every time they wear them and get them stolen and eaten by a goat!! But now it is a 'thing' and the kids hope it happens every single time!
I have only managed to catch it on camera once, but trust me, it is a regular occurance haha.
It is very cute here, we always end up staying for ages in this part of Rafiki’s Planet Watch because the kids just never want to leave!
We are pleased that it is currently just going to be closed initially for a few months over winter, but being honest we do now worry about the future of the attraction in the long run.
So basically if you are visiting Animal Kingdom this month or next, head over and check it out, incase it isn’t there to check out next time!
We hope you love this blog, if you would like to read the rest of our blogs, inckuding omre in the Ticket Rangers Recommend series, head over to our blog page here