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by Fairy Diva

Often, when we only have a half day to devote to a Disney park, we often pick Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is unfortunate, however, because this park is full of so many special and breathtaking things to experience. On our last visit to Animal Kingdom, we decided to bypass some of our usual must-dos and try some of those things we typically bypass. One of the true gems from that last visit was a walk through the Maharajah Jungle Trek, located in the Asia area of Animal Kingdom. It had been years since we took our time exploring the area, and was a first for my children. Here are 3 reasons you should not skip the Maharajah Jungle Trek!

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1. You trek at your pace. Often, jumping in lines and running from one ride to another can get exhausting when visiting the parks. The leisurely stroll, taking our time at each area, was a pleasant change from the typical hustle and bustle. At the beginning of the Maharajah Jungle Trek, you are greeted with a welcome to the mystical Anandapur Royal Forest. You can grab a map as you begin your self-guided tour through Southeast Asia. The winding paths provided plenty of space for those moving on to pass by. We never felt like we needed to keep moving or stay in a line.

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2. The animals! The main highlight of the Maharajah Jungle Trek is the up-close viewing of many, many animals. Some of the animals on the path include Asian tigers, Elds deer, fruit bats, Malayan flying fox, gibbons, blackbuck, water buffalo, and a large variety of birds.

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One of our favorite encounters was in the bat enclosure. A community hall setting provided an overlook into the bat cliffs of Anandapur. Cast members were on hand to answer any and all questions. A quick glance allowed the viewing of several bats, most hanging upside down on vines and tree branches and wrapped in their wings to preserve body heat. Every so often one would open its wings and then close them again. While most of the area is covered in netting, you quickly notice that there are areas with no barriers between you and the bats at all, just wide open spaces. At this point, I quickly ushered my children and husband on to the next animal viewing, but it was really interesting!

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My children loved seeing the animals throughout the trek. My son loved the Elds deer, tiger and the Komodo Dragon.

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My daughter loved the bird area, which was a open aviary containing a wide variety of birds. I have a fear of birds so I was terrified with them flying freely, but my family loved it. Birds were all around- in nests in the tress, in birdhouses, on the ground, splashing in water. The area was quite beautiful!

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3. The theming! We have visited many zoos in our lifetime, and most are always well kept and nicely landscaped, but the Maharajah Jungle Trek tops anything I have ever seen in theming for animal viewing. The beautiful paths are lined with Asian treasures and perfectly placed touches. The ruin-like palaces provide an occasional cover from the sun. Artwork, banners and flags create a truly mystical feel and somewhere along the path, which includes rope footbridges and cascading waterfalls, you forget you are in a theme park in Florida!

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These are just a few reasons to not miss the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is well worth the time to explore the treasures along the paths of the Anandapur Royal Forest and feel as though you have escaped to a magical and mystical land. Located between Yak and Yeti Local Food Cafes and Kali River Rapids, the Maharajah Jungle Trek will appeal to all ages.

Breck is a true Disney addict! When not incorporating Disney fun into everyday life, she is constantly planning her family's next great adventure to Walt Disney World or on the Disney Cruise Line. She is a member of the Disney Vacation Club.