Ahh its time to go visit the 4th gate, the 1990s park, the one techinally bigger then Epcot, but has about as much walking as on the Magic Kingdom, located at the edge of the Walt Disney World property we’re heading off to Animal Kingdom.
So our first visit to the park was on a freezing cold day back in 2007 (yes it can get cold in Florida) we remember it was so chilly we bolted for the Magic Kingdom where it had more indoor areas to stay warm that day. But weather aside we came back a few weeks later when it was warmer and did the park properly, however while the other three parks got a weekly rotation, Animal Kingdom kinda, well we didn’t hate it, but we didn’t go as much. However don’t think this is an all bashing Animal Kingdom review, over the years the park has grown on us. Yeah sure it will always number 4 in our over all rankings of the park (with Magic Kingdom and MGM battling it out for second place of favorite park behind Epcot) but still we do enjoy coming here and doing the E-ticket rides, for a short day or a park hop day, so lets get to it and showcase what does make us come back to this park over and over.
Yes we’ve been on the Matterhorn at Disneyland, however this ride blows that ride out of the water. When this ride opened in 2006, it became the gold standard for coasters at Walt Disney World (well ok Rockin Roller Coaster is equally good) take one part Space Mountain, and combine one part Big Thunder Mountain, and you got what is the next generation of E-Ticket coasters. While we can see comparisons to the the Matterhorn, we also can see what 1959 vs 2006 really is. Think of the Matterhorn as Batman Forever a living comic book style Batman movie, and think of Expedition Everest as The Dark Knight, a realistic gritty Batman movie. Both have a Yeti, both are a mountain, but Expedition Everest with its 199ft tall structure and top speed of 50 MPH, make this a ride we park hop to Animal Kingdom for, just to ride it, then leave (sometimes we take more time traveling to the park then actually spending in the park, once when we rode this with a Fastpass we were only there 20 minutes then we parked hop to another park.)
The west coast park visitors to Disneyland might know something similar to this ride, as over in California it opened in 1995 and is based on and themed after Indiana Jones. But while Walt Disney World had to wait til 1998 for this type of attraction, once again the Florida version is superior. This was slightly updated in 2001 and is now loosely based on the 2000 film Dinosaur (one day we’ll get around to reviewing that.) So while there is no Indy the track layout is identical, however just like Test Track and Space Mountain here, the low light levels and enhanced sound system make this fantastic 4-D thrill ride experience. Before Expedition Everest opened this was the E-Ticket attraction, yes Safari has always been the centerpiece attraction and with good reason because it has all those wild animals to look at, but its not a thrill ride, and this was the first one for all most a decade at the park.
I’ll drink to that:
Here is something intersting, ever wonder what Walt Disney World did with those old Fastpass distribution centers, once Fastpass+ began? Well the picture above shows the former one for Expedition Everest, and hey wait a sec is that bar? Yes just like the other two parks, Epcot and MGM, Animal Kingdom to does sell alcohol. This is without a doubt a brilliant idea. Why not turn more of theses old places to bars or restaurants, hell make them character meet and greets.
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