Day 7 (Friday, April 28)
My Last Full Day at WDW
A leisurely morning at AKL
Floating the afternoon away
A cultural safari to Namibia
(Click on any photo to see a larger version. Click on links to see additional information or photos.)
Because of last night's scheduled power outage, I had put my Mickey Mouse watch (of course!) on the nightstand so I could see the correct time when I woke up. That turned out to be about 7:30 a.m. I tried to go back to sleep, but had no luck, so finally got up. I reset the clock on the nightstand, then did a bit of work on my website while I still had a few hours of high-speed Internet access left.
I posted a brief synopsis of the surveyors' presentation to my Disney benchmarks page, adding a photo of the view from my balcony at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The latter had nothing to do with surveying--but when you've got a view like that, you might as well flaunt it! :-)
I finally wandered downstairs about 10:00 a.m. I took the scenic route to The Mara--which is to say, around the pool. I stopped to photograph a couple more types of flowers I hadn't noticed previously. I also took some movies of the flamingos, who always crack me up. They're almost always chattering away about something or other! They'll occasionally go quiet for a minute or two, then something will start them up again.
After enjoying the flamingos for a few minutes, I continued around the pool to The Mara, where I got a Mickey Mouse waffle that I ate at an outside table. About 11:00 a.m., I went to the Zawadi Marketplace to finish scoping out what I wanted to buy before I left.
Then I wandered out to the Uzima savanna overlook near one of the spa pools. Natasha, from South Africa, was on duty there, and I asked her a couple of questions about how the animals are handled. I had thought maybe each type of animal had a different signal to come to the barns, because the elands always went first and the zebras last.
She said no, all the animals on a given savanna are called back with the same sound. It's just that the elands are dominant and like to lead, whereas the zebras are stubborn and hold out as long as possible. :-)
I also mentioned that it looked like one of the blesboks had been trying to play with the baby giraffe on Uzima savanna. Natasha verified that, saying that sometimes they run and play together--something you wouldn't see in the wild.
My plan for today was to visit Typhoon Lagoon. I'd never been to either of the water parks and WDW, and there were a couple of reported benchmarks at TL besides the ones that Nick had already found, so I decided to go to that one. Both water parks have creeks that circle the area for lazy tube-floating, and I was looking forward to trying that. So after returning to my room and checking email one last time while my high-speed Internet access was active, I changed into my swimsuit, put some street clothes over it, and headed out to the bus stop.
I got to Typhoon Lagoon around 1:00 p.m., and spent about three hours there. I had no luck on the reported benchmarks, but enjoyed walking around the park and trying a bit of it. I did two 20-minute circuits of Castaway Creek, which was pretty fun except for the people who were speedwalking instead of floating, and pushed their inner tubes into people who were trying to have a relaxing float.
I also tried the big wave pool for a few minutes. I can't begin to imagine the hydraulic system needed to produce those waves! Just before the 4:00 p.m. boat whistle, I walked out to the bus stop. (Every half hour, water shoots out of Mt. Mayday, and the whistle of the boat stuck atop the mountain blows. It's a clever way to keep track of the time when you're engaged in water activities and don't have your watch on.)
Upon my arrival at Animal Kingdom Lodge (about 4:30), I went directly to The Mara, where I got the half-chicken dinner: rotisserie chicken, couscous, and vegetables. Then it was back to my room to download the day's photos.
About 6:45 p.m., I headed down to the Zahanati Fitness Center for one last circuit of the strength training machines. I had someone take a photo of me to prove I'd been there. :-) I also took a couple of photos of the lovely views from the fitness center. You can't see the pool, but there are jacarandas and other trees and bushes outside the big windows.
My plan was to attend this evening's storytelling at the Arusha firepit, but when I got there several minutes before the scheduled time, the cultural representative was already partway through his story. I don't know why he started early; some other folks arrived shortly after me and were similarly dismayed. Oh well.
Back upstairs for a little while, then back down to Zawadi to make my final purchases. Awww heck, I haven't bought a new bathrobe for years; might as well spring for one with the AKL logo! I also bought a CD called "Jabula: The Joyful Spirit of South Africa." I had wanted a CD of the music used around the hotel, but they don't have one. So a couple of the CMs recommended this one. [Note from after the trip: it's a very enjoyable album.]
One of the events I had yet to attend at Animal Kingdom Lodge was the "cultural safari" in the Sunset savanna overlook. This overlook consists of a small patio and a room containing various museum-quality objects. Tonight's speaker was Cecil from Namibia. He talked about his country, its national parks, and the animals in them. Like many of the cultural reps at the hotel, Cecil is studying hospitality management, and plans to work at hotels back home after he finishes his year at Disney World.
Cecil's presentation ended about 8:50, after which I walked down to the Uzima overlook in hopes of seeing the IllumiNations fireworks from Epcot. I'd seen them accidentally from this area before, but it turned out that only a few of them were high enough to be visible from this far away. What I was able to see was the top of Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, bathed in red lights. Obviously, that was new since my last trip. While I was standing there looking for fireworks, a couple of the cultural reps were on duty with night vision binoculars, letting guests watch the animals and answering their questions.
I left the overlook about 9:30 p.m., stopped at The Mara for a salad and some cocoa, went out to Arusha overlook for a couple of minutes to see what was happening there, then returned to my room. I ate the salad on my balcony (remember, the savannas at AKL have simulated moonlight all night every night, so one is able to see the animals at any time), then watched "NUMB3RS" while starting to pack for my departure tomorrow. After reading for a while, I went to bed about midnight.