Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Florida Day 7: Animal Kingdom

Our last day in Florida, we decided to visit Animal Kingdom. On the way to the bus stop, Ryan and his buddy Jacob were hashing over the Disney parks like two old farmers discussing soil moisture levels. It was cute to watch them talk to animatedly to each other and entertain each other with "who can jump the highest" while we waited for a bus. 

We didn't make it in time for the Extra Magic Hour so we were entering the park with everyone else at 9:00am. First on the agenda was grabbing a fast pass for the Kilimanjaro Safaris. We stood in line for the train to Rafiki's Planet Watch but the train was broken, so we ended up walking the Pangini Forest Exploration Trail. The highlights were some gorillas, fish, birds (and not the naked mole rats). By the time we completed it, we were ready for the safari! 
(Click collages to view larger-these were designed for a printed photo book).

Pangini Forest Exploration Trail

We were not disappointed by the Kilimanjaro Safaris. We had a great guide and with Ryan on one end of the bench and Sue on the other, we got some great pictures. Cohen slept through the whole thing while we sat in the middle. Highlights included rhinos, elephants, giraffes, flamingos, a warthog, and several horned animals that I am too lazy to look up the names to.  I love the picture of "pride rock" in the first collage even though you can't really see the lioness lounging in the sun. Overall, we were impressed by the reserve and had a great view of the animals even though it was already very hot by 10:00am.

Next, we headed to Camp Mickey & Minnie, took some pictures in a cutout and then got to meet Donald Duck! Cohen thought he was pretty funny.
Then it was time to get in line for the Lion King show. I had heard good things about this show and was not disappointed. I do recommend getting in line 15-20 minutes before it starts, though. The show included singers, dancers, acrobats dressed like monkeys, large floats with a giraffe, elephant, Simba and Pumba, stilts, a fire-twirler, and just a lot of color, sound and excitement! Again, Cohen slept through the whole thing but the rest of us enjoyed it a lot.

We decided to go right over to the Nemo musical after this show since it was getting very hot and crowded in the park. I liked the musical, but it might not have been the biggest hit with everyone else. Ryan's favorite part was all the bubbles coming from the ceiling at the end. None of my pictures turned out, so here's one from tublr:
We enjoyed the lush vegetation (and shade) of Animal Kingdom and I wish we would have gotten a chance to see the Tree of Life up close. I thought they did a great job of creating atmosphere in this park, although it seemed some spaces needed to be larger and the queues weren't able to hold all the people in line at certain points.

It was almost 2:00 by this time and there were other attractions we wish we could have seen (tigers, DinoLand, the rollercoaster) but there comes a time when you are given some signs that it's just time to be done. Here were two of them:

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