Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Animal Kingdom

One of the greatest things about visiting Disney as a family is that we all have our own interests, and there's something for everyone.  Mary and her family are mostly about the rides -- they love the coasters.  Pam and Pat and I love the animals, and Rod likes to do both.  Because of all the animal adventures, I love Animal Kingdom.  Although Animal Kingdom is divided into seven sections, my two favorites are Africa and Asia.  Since the kids were staying at a different resort from Rod and I, we met here outside the entrance to Animal Kingdom on Sunday morning.  We arrived before the park opened, since we had an 8:10 breakfast reservation for Donald's Safari Breakfast at the Tusker House restaurant.  Tusker House has an incredible breakfast buffet - all the normal American foods like eggs, bacon and sausage, but also some unique African items such as spicy corned beef hash, porridge, and beef bobtie quiche.  The juice they serve here is called Jamba Juice, and is a blend of orange, mango and passion fruit juice.  It's really good, but too much sugar for me. I prefer to have my tomato juice every morning.  Our waiter, Rudi, told me that they only served V-8, which I just can't tolerate (something from my childhood).  But, again the magic of Disney came to light, when Rudi managed to snag me a large glass of tomato juice from the bar area.  He was a great waiter and made me feel very special when he returned with my juice. While we ate, we were visited at our table by Mickey, Goofy, Donald and Daisy all dressed in their safari clothes.  After breakfast, we were off to begin our exploration.  

We saw the Festival of the Lion King Show.  It's a great show with music, dancing and acrobats.  And, the audience participates by making animal noises.  We always enjoy this performance.

Then we were off to the Kilimanjaro Safari.  Here again, I was able to  transfer from the scooter directly to the seat in the truck.  If you don't like being bumped, jostled, jiggled and tossed, this is not the ride for you.  The "jungle paths" are very rough, and you travel through waters and over rickety bridges as you proceed on the safari.  We had a great driver, who was really skilled at pointing out and identifying the various animals.  We were very lucky on this safari, and saw giraffes, elephants, rhinos, zebras and lots of antelope, deer, and birds.  

While in Africa, we did the Pagani Forest Trail, a walking trail where you are able to see gorillas, hippos, okapi, meerkats and many species of birds.  Call  us a little weird, but we just had to take a picture of the gorilla picking it's toe jams -- Izzy picks her toe jams on occasion.  However, unlike the gorilla, she doesn't eat them.  

Rod, the twins and I had wanted to to the Flights of Wonder show.  Mary, Jimmy and Krissy wanted to do Expedition Everest, the roller coaster in Asia.  Bubby isn't quite big enough for Everest yet, so he tagged along with the rest of us to the bird show. The cast member who seated us fell in love with Bubby and gave him a small finger puppet. It was quite an impressive show lasting 25 minutes and featuring some 20 birds.  Disney always manages to throw in a little humor, we enjoyed the show as well as seeing the birds.  While in Asia, we did the Maharajah Jungle Trek, where the path leads you along the viewing areas for the Komodo dragon, the gorgeous Asian tigers, a Malayan tapir, and various bats and birds.  I truly believe that the Komodo dragon is avoiding me -- the last trip he wouldn't venture out because it was too cold, and this trip he was hiding in the shade of a rather large bush.  Everyone did their own thing for lunch since we had a special dinner planned. 

While Mary's family did the It's Tough to be a Bug show, Rod and the twins and I explored the Tree of Life.  Each of Disney's theme parks has it's own icon, and the Tree of Life is the centerpiece of Animal Kingdom.  The tree of life is a massive, sculpted tree that stands 145 feet tall and is 50 feet wide.  Looking at the tree is quite an amazing experience as you can see the various animals carved into the tree.  The Discovery Island trails weave around and through this tree, and Galapagos tortoises and lemurs can be seen along this trail.

But all too soon, it was time to leave Animal Kingdom and make our way to Fort Wilderness for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Review.  The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review is an old fashioned dinner show featuring hand-clapping music and comedy.  I wasn't sure about doing this show, but it was a lot of fun.  The fried chicken was really good, but the ribs were dry.  And all the food is served in metal buckets.  The audience is drawn into this show in many different ways, and I think we all enjoyed ourselves.


Pat said...

I was very excited to read your experience of Animal Kingdom. It has been so long since we were last at WDW that the Animal Kingdom wasn't even OPEN yet during out last visit. I am very excited about seeing that. A couple of the adventures you mentioned there were ones I was unsure we'd do, but now I think we will do them......maybe the komoda dragon will show itself in January when we are there?

Lindabee said...

If he does, I'll be very jealous. For sure, the Lion King show is a not miss.