Dino-rific Fun at Animal Kingdom Park

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Last Summer I had many posts on my family’s trip to Walt Disney World in late 2014, but got caught up in Summer school classes and didn’t complete posting them all (yes, Summer school in college to get it done!). I still have a couple hotel and restaurant posts to add here, but I noticed I didn’t write about Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. To be honest, I have very mixed feelings about parks that involve animals, and we spent the least amount of time in this park, which I think is why I put this off. But, there are many things to do and see at Animal Kingdom. My personal favorite was the kitschy “dino-rific” Dinosaur themed area called “Chester & Hester’s Dino-rama” inside Dinoland U.S.A.

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The dino area has lots of carnival type games, shops, and some spots to eat. If you are a vintage style fan like me (aren’t you? isn’t that how you found me?), you will absolutely adore this cute and kooky area.

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This little walk up counter is so cute and I love the teardrop camper style with dino decor.

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They have a perfectly themed out shop that resembles classic roadside attractions.

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I was there in December so there were nice holiday touches everywhere!

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Continuing on the dino theme, they also have a Dinosaur ride. It’s a quick moving car ride, similar to the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. I didn’t know that during the ride a picture is taken and when I got back home we got sent the photos from our magic bands. My ride photo is easily the most ridiculous picture I’ve seen of myself. Maybe I’ll post it here someday… or not!

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We enjoyed lunch inside the dino-rama area– this restaurant was really cool because it was made to look like the campsite for the archaeologists working in the dino land.

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There was also an airstream attached that you could sit in and eat inside. It’s clearly a popular spot, as many people where inside so I didn’t take any photos.

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From my posts you can tell that I love vintage signage, so I was loving how much vintage styling is found inside the Disney parks. They really go full out in the design process and it’s fun to see. This walk up eatery mixes the dinosaur and vintage theming perfectly!

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As we walked through the park there were impromptu shows and we came across a trainer with this beautiful bird. The colors were even more vibrant in person.

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Like I mentioned before I visited in December and I really enjoyed all the holiday decor.

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Just as each park and each hotel has their own “vibe” the decorations also followed those themes. It was all very beautiful.

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While not specific for the holidays, I loved the looks of the decorated trees. The park has sections for different parts of the world and this was in the Asian region. Each area you go through really feels like you’ve transported around the world.

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The big event of the park is the safari ride. I absolutely recommend getting a fast pass if possible as we waited in standby and it was quite a long wait.

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In the center of the park is the tree of life. You can see it pretty much after you enter the park; it’s size is incredible.

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You can walk closer to the tree by entering the “It’s tough to be a bug” show. We’ve seen it at California Adventure so we skipped the show, but the workers will help direct you if you want to look at the tree details.

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Take some time to walk around it and see all the detailed “carvings” of the different animals.

So while I didn’t spend a lot of time at this park, I enjoyed walking around. It has great design, and I especially love the kitschy goodness of the dino-rama area. If planning a trip, I highly recommend:
– getting fast passes ahead of time for popular attractions like Kilimanjaro Safari // Kali River Rapids // Expedition Everest
– Watch the Festival of the Lion King live show. I didn’t take any pictures as there are acrobatic performers, but it was the best live show in any of the parks.
– Wear comfy closed toe shoes. There are many walking trails throughout the park and you could easily put in 10+ miles if you were to spend the whole day visiting all the attractions.

I hope this gives you a little information if you’re planning on visiting Animal Kingdom park. I know that they are currently constructing an Avatar-theme land which I’m sure will be quite popular! When I travel I’m always on the hunt for some vintage goodness, and even Disney delivers with so wonderful vintage-inspired attractions.
Have you visited Animal Kingdom park? What was your favorite part?

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A Trip to Cabana Bay Resort

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Seeing that it is now officially Summer, I thought it would be a good time to post my pictures from my visit to the Cabana Bay resort in Orlando, Florida. I did not stay in the hotel, but walked around and I absolutely loved it; It is a vintage fan’s dream come true! You feel like you’ve stepped into an episode of Mad Men or a film on TCM. The lobby is bright and airy with fantastic vintage-inspired signage.

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The front drive has this awesome Googie inspired architecture and the exterior walls have fun pops of color!

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I took these in December 2014 so there may be a couple of shots with holiday decorations (check the silver tree!), but the decorations overall were minimal. With the sunny skies and warm Florida weather, it felt like a nice May day over being close to Christmas.
A really cool touch in the lobby was this stack of vintage luggage. They were built to stay and people were stopping to pose with them. I love these design choices that add to the theming of the hotel.

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Inside the lobby was a lounge area with a bar called “Swizzle.” There was also a shop with hotel and Universal Studios merch.

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The vintage theming continued outside for the pool area. There were separate hotel buildings surrounding a pool, bar, cabanas, and even a volleyball court.

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The outdoor bar is space-race themed with a rocket ship with Ham, the “astro chimp”, painted on it.

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I love how each building has it’s own kitschy title atop the roof like you’re looking at individual retro hotels.

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Back inside, the dining area is set up like a vintage cafeteria. There are different stations to purchase food and drink and then there is a large dining area with huge screens showing vintage clips and commercials.

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Seriously, can I just move in? I didn’t want to leave!

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Even the graphics are so well thought out. I have so many more signage posts from this visit that I will make another post just for them!

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Outside the diner are 4 classic cars parked in the drop off area. Like the suitcases in the lobby, these are permanent fixtures that only add to the vintage story of the hotel. The commitment to theme and attention to detail make this one of my favorite hotels ever… and I haven’t even spent the night here! Just from visiting for an afternoon and walking around, I know that I will be back here someday and I definitely want to check out their rooms. I bought one of their refill cups at the diner because it had cute kitschy graphics. It’s my little token of Cabana Bay love until I can visit again.

So, have you ever stayed at the Cabana Bay? Is it everything I dream of and more? Let me know about your experience and if you have a favorite “kitschy” hotel (true vintage or just inspired!) that you have visited.
Hope you’re summer is off to a great start!