Tag Archives: family

Italia Series Part 3 Shiny Metal Objects

Onwards from Florence to Northern Italy and “home” for my family. My parents are from small towns in the Veneto region, between the cities of Verona and Vicenza, not too far from Venice.

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We took the Italo high speed train again from Florence to Verona on Sunday August 12 and had a taxi pick us up and bring us to my parent’s apartment in the town of Schio. They bought this place when my father retired years ago and spend a few months each year there. Their apartment is located at the base of Monte Summano which is the mountain my father hiked as a child, he loves that mountain and now has a spectacular view of it outside his apartment.

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View from the balcony

We settled in and found the rental van (let’s call it a truck much to large for the tiny streets of Italy!) and went to one of my Aunt’s for lunch. My mother’s sister.

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The boys with Nonno and his mountain

Another Aunt, the baby sister of my mother’s, arrived with a HUGE surprise for the boys. She had gotten wind that Matthew was a little bit obsessed with fancy cars, his favorites being Ferrari and Lamborghini. Visiting these museums/factories was on the required list for the trip, but Lamborghini is closed the entire month of August. Well, Zia Laura’s boyfriend owns a Ferrari and while they live in Verona, picking 6 of us up at the train station in a 2 seater Ferrari wasn’t practical, they made the 1 hour trek to surprise the boys.

As they drove into the parking lot, my father proclaimed “what is that sound, sounds like a Ferrari!” He didn’t actually know what was happening, he genuinely just thought that and said it. Matthew ran to the balcony, we were on the 2nd floor, and was in total shock at the sight before him.

Okay, so it wasn’t shiny, it was actually matte black, but still…

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The boys both got short rides and were in heaven.

We also received our instructions for the next day, which was our adventure to Maranello, the birthplace of Enzo Ferrari and location of the factory and museum. Lamborghini was closed, but Ferrari only closes a few days a year, major holidays, so we made the trek to visit the museum. The boys really enjoyed this. Plenty of shiny metal objects at this place.

We made some mistakes on the way and it took longer than it should have and of course, road closures on the way back caused some confusion. The giant truck didn’t help. Toll booths that only take credit card even though they say they take cash, etc…driving in Italy is an adventure of it’s own.

That night, we had dinner at the old beer garden in my father’s home town of Piovene, we walked from my Aunt’s.

Tomorrow… Venice!

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Italia Series Part 2 Street of Gold

Our Italian journey continues onto Florence. See how the trip started in Rome here.

This trip was a long time in the planning. My parents were born and raised in Italy and have been wanted to take their grandkids there for years. We wanted to wait until they were old enough to appreciate what they would be seeing. We were all set to travel last summer and 2 weeks before the trip we had to cancel everything because my father was ill and needed surgery. He came through nicely and the trip was rescheduled to this summer.

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On Thursday August 9th we taxied to the train station and took the high speed train to Florence. Unlike Rome, the hotel we had previously stayed in here was no longer open, so I spent a great deal of time searching for the perfect place for our family. I consider it a success. Hotel Kraft was wonderful. We were able to walk everywhere and it was close to the train station. One block from the Arno River and about 10 minutes leisurely walk to the historical center of Florence.

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Nonni walked off the elevator just as I was taking the photo!

Hotel Kraft is located on a quiet street a few minutes walk from the main train station, Santa Maria Novella and a smaller train station. With 78 rooms it is larger than our Rome hotel, but still not too large. We had booked 2 triple rooms here and they were spacious, had high ceilings and with good sized bathrooms.  This hotel had a restaurant with breakfast included on the top floor. They also served lunch and dinner and drinks in the restaurant and on the large rooftop terrace. Another gem, a rooftop pool with views of all of Florence past the River Arno and the Duomo.  There are very few hotels with pools, let alone rooftop pools in Florence so this was perfect for my competitive swimmer son. It was tiny, but he made due with some practice laps. It was perfect for cooling off as well, still brutally hot during a heat wave continuing through all of Europe.

In Florence I had scheduled a tour of the Accademia Museum to see Michelangelo’s David. We wandered the city, saw the Duomo and Baptistry doors (partially covered for restoration), shopped on the Ponte Vecchio which is the street of gold, Palazzo Vecchio, traveled up to Piazzale Michelangelo, saw all the fake Davids after seeing the real thing and countless statues that decorate the city.

Quick Tip: Limit museums and churches with children. Use Skip the Line entry or short tours to see highlights more easily. Lines in the hot sun are not where you want to be spending your time.

We knew our kids would have little interest in hours or museum strolling looking at masterpiece paintings so I scheduled a short, 1 hour Accademia tour which really just focused on the statue of David and the other statues he left unfinished. It also got us in without a wait in line. We could have stayed and toured the museum on our own after our short tour if we wished of course.  Katy was our tour guide and it was a nice short tour.

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The hotel recommended a restaurant which turned out to be another little gem of a place. We had a lovely meal at Il Parione on the street with the same name and upon leaving people were lined up outside waiting to get in. Another gem we found by accident, we were hungry and it was close by, Trattoria Armando was also excellent.

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Hubby and I wandered on our own several times to shop and explore and we had the best cheese (I think it was cheese) with prosecco when we stopped in to this little place on our way back to the hotel one day. It was so good, they brought it with the wine since they cannot serve drinks without food of course. Another spot we stopped in for lunch Trattoria Nella turned out to be very good too and tiny, only like 8 tables maybe. There was a moment of confusion when the owner started eating Eric’s side order of potatoes because he had ordered some too and didn’t realize they weren’t his. We laughed afterwards once Eric had his potatoes because he is no fun when he is hungry.

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Around the corner from our hotel was our favorite Gelateria! We hit B.Ice twice a day during our stay, afternoon treat and nightly dessert. The counter girl welcomed us in and laughed every time we walked in. She knew our order by the last day.

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A fun thing we loved about Italy, many of the Gelaterias are also bars. And sandwich shops. And snack bar. And pasta restaurant. And have souvenirs too.

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Dinner at the hotel rooftop restaurant on our final night in Firenze

A note about service in Italy: A cover charge and service charge is normally included so if you leave a tip, it can be just a few euros extra since the majority of the tip is included. They often will tell you it’s not included. It is. Also, service in general is slow and not like America where they keep checking on you. Once they bring your food, you never see them again unless you flag them down for something. Nobody is ever in a rush in any restaurant in Italy. Regardless of how many people are waiting outside. Just enjoy and go with the flow.

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While in Florence, we took a half day trip to Pisa since the Leaning Tower was one of the things the kids really wanted to see. This was the one sore spot of the tours I arranged through Viator. The ground operator in this case did not do a good job. We would have been much better off taking a train ourselves rather than doing a tour. The operator was My Tour and while the meeting location was close to our hotel and easy to find the tour itself was not run very well. The escort, Sarenna was a lovely young girl, but really said very little in explaining timelines and what was happening. She also walked very quickly since the bus stops about 1 mile from  Miracle Square. She never looked back to see if the group was still with her and never slowed down for the slower members of the group. There was a local guide which took us on a tour, but we only walked around outside of the monuments. He was good, but clearly worried about what would happen next. The biggest issue we had was they lied about the time we had for our tour of the Cathedral. The cathedral has free entry, but requires a timed ticket like everything in Pisa. We later learned that they send someone that morning to get the tickets and the time they were able to get for our group was 1pm. We had to be back on the bus at 12:45pm. They told us the tour was for 12:30 and we would try and get in a few minute early so as not to rush it too much, and then pretty much sprint back to the bus. They usually will let them in a bit early. But as we tried to get in at 12:15pm they refused and said they would let us in at 12:45pm. Several tried to make them wait and be late for the bus, but the escort and guide refused. For some, including my mother, the cathedral was the only thing they really wanted to see since it is often closed and they had never been inside before. Had they told us up front, we would have gotten ourselves a ticket when we first arrived hours ago and gotten in, but we didn’t because we thought we were getting in with the tour guide. We also would have had time to get a ticket to climb the tower had we known the tour was going to be a bust. So instead we did nothing but wander around and have lunch. Because they didn’t admit the actual time and give us the option.

Stay tuned for the next stop on our trip…

Italia Series Part 1 The Eternal City

This is the first of a series of posts about our recent family trip to Italy.

This trip was a long time in the planning. My parents were born and raised in Italy and have been wanting to take their grandkids there for years. We wanted to wait until they were old enough to appreciate what they would be seeing. We were all set to travel last summer and 2 weeks before the trip we had to cancel everything because my father was ill and needed surgery. He came through nicely and the trip was rescheduled to this summer.

We flew out Sunday August 5th from Montreal on a direct flight with Air Canada. Landing in Rome we were met by a driver for our transfer to our hotel.

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We stayed in the same boutique hotel we stayed in 16 years ago and it was still as lovely as ever. Hotel Modigliani is just off Piazza Barberini next to Via Veneto and not far from Trinita Dei Monti, the top of the Spanish Steps. It’s a great, quiet location, walkable to everywhere really, but beware there is a bit of a hill since it’s halfway up the hill to the Spanish Steps climb up to the Borghese Gardens.

Hotel Modigliani is small, just 23 rooms. We had a small room with a small balcony and even smaller bathroom. My parents and the boys had a great setup off the garden in what the hotel calls The Apartment. A double bedded room and a separate room with a double bed and a twin bed for the boys. There is a breakfast room downstairs, which is included if you choose that option. The lobby lounge offers English newspapers and the staff all spoke English very well. The hotel arranged the airport pickup and would call taxis for us if needed. Since we were six, getting 2 taxis was easier when we all traveled together.

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We spent three nights in Rome. I had scheduled us to take a tour of the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica on Tuesday morning and then the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palatine Hill on Wednesday morning. These tours were great. The guides were fabulous, Agnese at the Colosseum and Angela at the Vatican. Both were art historians so had a lot of details about everything we were seeing. With both tours, finding the meeting point was simple and everything was organized. The ground operator for the tours was City Wonders. It was brutally hot both days, but especially walking around the ruins of the Roman Forum and climbing Palatine Hill.

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Set up for Wednesday morning’s Papal Audience

In between those scheduled tours, we wandered the city and saw the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Trajan’s Column, the Spanish Steps, Trinita Dei Monti, the Borghese Gardens, the Pantheon, enjoyed our new favorite restaurant/bar La Bottte on Via Sistina, first gelato and real Italian pizzas for the boys, and countless walks along the streets of Rome.

Around the corner from our hotel on Via Sistina which leads straight up to the top of the Spanish Steps was a little gem of a place my husband and I stumbled into looking for a drink and a break from walking in the heat. We returned for dinner with everyone and really enjoyed the atmosphere and friendly and amusing staff at this small establishment.

Fun Fact: In Italy it is the law that food must be served when alcoholic drinks are ordered. So tasty snacks always accompany any drinks in a bar. 
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View from the Palatine Hill down to the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine

The journey continues onto Florence…

TICKETS ON SALE FOR MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY AND MICKEY’S VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS PARTY AT MAGIC KINGDOM PARK

This year, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will transform Magic Kingdom Park for a sweet 34 nights.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Dates

August 17, 24, 28, 31

September 3, 7, 9, 11, 14, 16, 18, 21, 23, 25, 28, 30

October 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, 25, 26, 28, 30, 31

Returning treats include the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular stage show in front of Cinderella Castle featuring the mischievous Sanderson sisters from the hit Disney film “Hocus Pocus,” Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade and “Happy HalloWishes,” the fall spectacular led by the infamous Disney villains!

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tickets start at $75 in advance or $85 at the gate, if available.

When the seasons change, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will transform the Magic Kingdom Park into a winter wonderland for the most magical 22 days of the year!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Dates

November 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30

December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21

Returning favorites for the holidays include Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade; “Holiday Wishes,” fireworks spectacular; “A Frozen Holiday Wish,” featuring Queen Elsa using her incredible powers to present a gift to everyone in the kingdom—transforming Cinderella Castle into a sparkling, icy centerpiece for the celebration; and the jubilant show, “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration.”*

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets start at $95 in advance or $105 at the gate, if available.

PIXAR PLAY ZONE AT DISNEY’S CONTEMPORARY RESORT

Starting April 13 and available nightly, kids, ages 4-12, will be transported to a world full of excitement and adventure with their favorite characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story” and “The Incredibles!” While the kids play, parents will be able to enjoy their own getaway throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

In Bonnie’s Play Room, children will find a variety of toys. Around the corner, the Living Room will be the center for most of the action, starting with Space Ranger Training where a Space Ranger will teach kids what it takes to become a Jr. Space Ranger of Star Command, including how to identify enemies, like Zurg, and finally, the call of the Space Ranger, “To infinity and beyond!” Then, Woody and Jessie will show them the ropes of the Wild West during Woody’s Roundup – complete with a sing along for a rootin’ tootin’ good time!

Next to the Living Room will be the Radiator Springs Racetrack where youngsters will be able to build their own racecars and take turns sending them down a soapbox derby racetrack for Piston Cup Derby Races.

Finally, they will learn some sweet dance moves during the Incredible Dance Party with Mr. Incredible and Mrs. Incredible – complete with a party host.

The evening will also include arcade games, dinner and dessert!

The nightly getaway for kids, ages 4-12, will open doors for check-in at 5 p.m. The experience will begin at the welcome desk, a stop at the “Monsters, Inc.” handwashing station, then Boo’s Closet Door, where youngsters will be able to store any belongings before taking a couple of steps into an action-packed evening of Pixar fun. Programming will run from 6-10:30 p.m. for a fee of $65 per child (plus tax). Children must be fully toilet-trained. Parents will be required to be physically present to check children in and out of the experience.

Disney Cruise Line Summer 2019 Itineraries

In summer 2019, Disney Cruise Line will sail on new itineraries to seven new ports in Europe, including a first-ever round-trip cruise from Rome and first-time visits to destinations in Sweden, France, Spain, Denmark and Northern Ireland. Disney Cruise Line will take Guests on a grand tour of Europe with visits to the Mediterranean in early summer and northern Europe in late summer. Plus, adventures continue with sailings to Alaska, the Caribbean and the Bahamas, including new cruise lengths aboard the Disney Fantasy.

Also in the summer of 2019, Disney Cruise Line Guests can enrich their experience by combining a cruise with a package from Adventures by Disney®.

New in 2019, Adventures by Disney will offer a pre-cruise guided experience in Rome. These 3-night Short Escapes, also offered in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Barcelona, allow families to experience memorable icons in ways that few can, such as a private, after-hours visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel in Rome. Plus, activities like ziplining, flamenco dancing and preparing local cuisine immerse families in the culture of the region.

And, you can also enhance select European sailings with an Adventures by Disney package during the cruise. Adventure Guides lead travelers to experience the best of each port, helping them unlock the wonders of the destination through immersive excursions and off-the-beaten-path adventures. In addition, you will enjoy exclusive receptions onboard and have access to concierge service from these dedicated guides throughout the voyage.

These Adventures by Disney offerings are open for booking. A Vancouver Short Escape will open for booking later this year.

AN INCREDIBLE SUMMER AWAITS – SAVE UP TO 25% ON ROOMS AT SELECT WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT HOTELS

Save up to 25% on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights June 11-Aug. 1, 2018 when they book by May 22, 2018. Plus, discover other savings for stays most nights May 28-Jun. 10, 2018 and Aug. 2-30, 2018.

Staying in the middle of the magic will help make a Walt Disney World Resort vacation even more super—especially when there are new and exciting experiences debuting at all 4 parks.

With this offer, you can save on rooms at select Disney Resort hotels for stays most nights June 11 through August 1, 2018:

• Save up to 25% on rooms, when you book by May 22, 2018.

• Save up to 20% on rooms, when you book by August 1, 2018.

Ask about great rates for stays most nights May 28 through June 10 and August 2 through August 30, 2018.

This special offer is valid for the Disney Resort hotels listed below. View the chart to explore savings within each Resort Category.

Resort Category

Resort Savings

Select Disney Deluxe Villas

Save up to 25% for stays most nights
6/11/18 to 8/1/18

Book now through 5/22/18

Book 5/23/18 to 8/1/18

Disney’s BoardWalk Villas

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village

25%

20%

Disney’s Beach Club Villas

Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Studios only

15%

10%

Select Disney Deluxe Resorts

Save up to 25% for stays most nights
6/11/18 to 8/1/18

Book now through 5/22/18

Book 5/23/18 to 8/1/18

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Disney’s BoardWalk Inn

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

25%

20%

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

15%

10%

Select Disney Moderate Resorts

Save up to 20% for stays most nights
6/11/18 to 8/1/18

Book now through 5/22/18

Book 5/23/18 to 8/1/18

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

20%

15%

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside

10%

10%

The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

20%

20%

Select Disney Value Resorts

Save up to 20% for stays most nights
6/11/18 to 8/1/18

Book now through 5/22/18

Book 5/23/18 to 8/1/18

Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort

Disney’s All-Star Music Resort

Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort

Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites only

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

20%

15%

The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Length of stay requirements may apply.

See Important Details.

Note: Moderate and Deluxe suites may be available at a lesser discount.

Important Details:

• The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited.

• Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room.

• Additional per adult charges may apply if more than 2 adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts.

• Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion.

• Advance reservations required.

• Offer excludes the following room types: campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalow

The number of rooms allocated for the offer is limited. Length-of-stay requirements may apply. Additional per-adult charges may apply if more than two adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Cannot be combined with any other discounts or promotions. Advance reservations required. Offer excludes 3-bedroom villas, campsites, Cabins at Disney’s Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort—The Little Mermaid standard rooms. 25% savings based on the non-discounted price of the same room for select Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts. Lower savings may be available at other select Disney Resort hotels.

Top 5 Hidden Gems in Magic Kingdom

5. Main Street Windows

Look up! Above the shops, the windows host a variety of names of people who were influential in creating Disney World. Along with the company names Walt Disney used when he was first creating the “Florida Project” as it was called. Incredible attention to detail.

4. Totem Poles

Just at the entrance to the Jungle Cruise, you’ll find water spritzing Totem Poles. A perfect little refresher as you walk by on a hot day.

3. Tangled Restrooms

The prettiest restrooms in all the land! Here, just through the arches from Liberty Square into Fantasyland near It’s a Small World are the Tangled Restrooms. Rapunzel’s Tower and beautiful lanterns that glow at night make this area a unique picture spot. It’s also the site of the very popular floating lantern pictures offered by Photopass photographers.

2. Excalibur’s Sword

Have your kids tried to remove the sword from the stone? Every once in awhile a little Disney magic and pixie dust causes a tiny guest to pull the sword out, it’s exciting…you never know when it will happen!

1. Dumbo Playground

At Dumbo the Flying Elephant a playground in the queue with child entertainment and a place for parents to rest. Kids may forget there is a ride there!

So be sure to spend a little time taking in these special gems on your next visit!

Top 5 Hidden Gem Attractions at Magic Kingdom

While you’re waiting for that coveted Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Fastpass time to roll around why not beat the crowds vying for their spot on the 3 mountains or other headliners and try some of the hidden gems of the Magic Kingdom.

Okay, maybe they aren’t actually hidden. They are actually in plain view, but they tend to be less popular and have short to no wait times most of the time.

5. Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel

It’s a Royal carousel which makes it that much better than your average carousel. The special treat is finding Cinderella’s stallion, it’s white with a golden bow on its tail.

4. Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

Just at the entrance to Adventureland, the treehouse is a climb, but well worth it. Take your time exploring the treehouse and enjoy the view from the top. It’s also all shaded.

3. Monsters Inc Laugh Floor

It’s a really funny show and it’s air-conditioned. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the silliness and watch out…the show is all about audience participation! You will find it at the entrance to Tomorrowland.

2. Tom Sawyer Island

A short raft ride in the blazing sun takes you to a little piece of wilderness right in the middle of the Magic Kingdom. The chaos fades away and the shade provides a comfortable place to cool off, especially if you venture far enough to discover the caves and fort.

1. Tomorrowland Transit Authority’s Peoplemover

“It’s just a tram ride.” “It doesn’t do anything.” Naysayers! The Peoplemover is a classic! Yes, it’s true, it doesn’t do much other than speed up and slow down, but it’s an absolute must do! You’ll get an overview of all of Tomorrowland, get a peek inside Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and the music is great!

So in between the more thrilling rides, be sure to take some time for a few of the quieter attractions that are sure to become fast favorites.

Flight of Passage

The latest greatest attraction in Orlando since the opening of Pandora, the World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is in my opinion, Flight of Passage.

 

The lines are long with this one!

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Flight of Passage is a thrilling ride (with a 44″ height requirement) on the back of an animatronic banshee wearing 3D glasses. It’s far from just another simulator ride though. The experience starts in the queue itself. It meanders through rock formations, past waterfalls, interesting landscapes and into what appears from the outside to be a gigantic rock. Inside it’s nice a cool and continues its meandering ways. There is plenty to look at and makes the long wait, not quite so bad really.

 

The two pre-ride videos explain that the conflict between the humans and the Na’Vi aliens has ended and now humans can experience this amazing thrill that is a rite of passage for the Na’Vi. The ride is a flight simulator perched in front of a 65-foot wide, 90-foot tall 3D screen. As you enter the flight room, after you’ve been matched with your banshee, you get your first glimpse of the motorcycle like contraction you’ll be riding. But this isn’t a motorcycle, it’s a living breathing banshee! Put on your 3D glasses and FLY!

The thrills are strong with this one!

You’ll fly through forests, past waterfalls avoiding animals and a tsunami! The wind blowing, the sights, and sounds. It truly is an incredible attraction.

It’s Soarin on Steroids!

I managed to ride this 3 times in one day on a busy September day. Arriving at park opening with the crowds all heading there, the line started right about where the sign is telling you what the wait time is. It said 2 hours. But the crowds were still filing in, filling in the queue and we pretty much walked steadily, slowly without stopping. It took about 45 minutes to get to the first pre-ride movie. The second time was with a Fastpass, took about 30 minutes even with the Fastpass. The 3rd time we just waited. The sign said it was a 90-minute wait and we had some time to kill. It took 60 minutes. But this time we got to see the entire queue which we skipped the first 2 times through.

Flight of Passage is definitely the best use of a Fastpass at Animal Kingdom, but even without one, with a little planning and some patience, it’s well worth the wait.