Walt Disney World Trip
Day 6 (Wednesday, Jan. 10)
Animals Here and There(Click on any photo to see a larger version. Click on links to see additional information or photos.)
Exploring Animal Kingdom Lodge Tigers and pheasants and bats--oh my! Another yeti joins the family
I had trouble getting to sleep last night due to congestion from my cold, so I slept in until 8:30 today. I went downstairs to The Mara (the counter-service restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge) and got a breakfast platter: scrambled eggs, potatoes, biscuit, and bacon. I really like the African-inspired foods they have at the restaurants here, but this morning I felt like having good old-fashioned American food.
I thought about waiting for an hour or so and then using the weight machines at the Zahanati Fitness Center, but decided that, being a bit under the weather from this cold, I was already asking a lot of my body by walking miles and miles around Disney World every day. I never did make it to Zahanati on this trip, unfortunately. :-( It's a nice fitness center, though; should you ever stay at AKL, check it out.
Instead, I decided to hang around AKL for a few hours, then go over to Animal Kingdom ahead of Extra Magic Hours. Meg was arriving from California on the red-eye flight this morning, and Lloyd planned to stay around the Contemporary while she napped. Nick was off doing other things. But we all agreed to meet up at Animal Kingdom just before Extra Magic Hours began.
Having not had much chance yet during this visit to see the animals at the hotel, I went to various places to view and photograph them. I also walked out to the road to get photos of the hotel's entrance sign and the pretty entrance lights that look like flickering campfires. (Although not when you take a photo of them in the daytime. :-))
Lunchtime found me back at the Mara, this time buying a tasty turkey and Swiss cheese sandwich on a hearty multigrain bread, plus some pink lemonade.
About 2:00 p.m., I took the bus over to Animal Kingdom. As has been the case at Epcot during this trip, my goal was to enjoy some of the street entertainment. Specifically, I wanted to see Pipa the talking trashcan (cousin of my new best buddy PUSH at Disney's California Adventure), DeVine the walking vine, and perhaps Wes Palm, the talking palm tree.
A nice CM at the guest services office looked up their schedules for me. Unfortunately, she discovered that all three of them had ended their performances for the day. :-( I'll have to try to get back to Animal Kingdom tomorrow to catch them.
So...with Pipa, DeVine, and Wes off my schedule, what to do now? I had never seen "Festival of the Lion King"--or indeed, been to Camp Minnie-Mickey at all--so I headed over to that. It was a very colorful and energetic show, so I'm glad I finally got a chance to see it.
By now it was after 3:30; I was supposed to meet Meg, Lloyd, and Nick in Asia at 4:30. I walked over to Africa and checked out the standby time for Kilimanjaro Safaris, but it was 40 minutes; might make me late meeting everyone. So I got my Extra Magic Hours wristband at the Harambe school and proceeded to Asia.
I managed to find a spot where I could watch the afternoon parade, yet still be on the correct side of the parade route to scoot over to our meeting place near Kali River Rapids at 4:30, even if the parade was still passing by. Although this was essentially the same parade I had seen a few days ago, it was now back to its non-Christmas form (Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade), so I thought it would be fun to see it again.
At 4:30, I started walking towards KRR and ran into Nick. We continued up toward the ride and found Meg and Lloyd. They got their Extra Magic Hours wristbands, and we debated what to do next. I wanted to go on Expedition Everest in the dark, which I'd never done and thought would be cool. The others agreed to that plan, so we went off to do other things until it got dark.
First we walked the Maharajah Jungle Trek, which was about to close for the day. I wish the wildlife trails at AK stayed open later, because some of the animals--especially the bats and the tigers--were just getting active as dusk approached.
Several of the flying foxes were pulling themselves (yes, upside down) along the ropes they sleep on, and a few of them even flew short distances. We saw some beautiful birds in the aviary, including some sort of pigeon (perhaps the kind shown here on the AllEarsNet site?) and a couple of golden pheasants.
I really love the theming of the tiger area of Maharajah Jungle Trek. It's supposed to look like the tigers are roaming around the ruins of an old temple. The "decrepit" building has beautifully detailed paintings on it, such as the ones shown here:
Actually, that last photo is a wall tile above the sinks in a nearby restroom. Yes, even the restrooms have artwork that's themed to match the area!
After leaving the Maharajah Jungle Trek, we walked past Expedition Everest and thought about going on it once before dark, but there was a 20-minute wait.
So we continued on to DinoLand U.S.A., where we did the Dinosaur ride, all agreeing that it wasn't a patch on the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. (By the way, my pedometer incremented 300 steps on the ride, which surprised me; it only went up about 60 steps when I checked it on Indy recently.) I had never seen the Dino-Rama area, so I walked around that for a few minutes while my friends sat on a bench and waited for me.
By now, it was almost dark, so we headed back to Expedition Everest. The posted wait time was 20 minutes, but I could see by the lines that it was going to be less than that. Sure enough, we were on the train within about 15 minutes. Not that I mind spending a bit of time in line for Expedition Everest, because it has a fascinating queue--especially the whole yeti museum area.
I really enjoyed doing this ride in the dark. The Audio-Animatronic yeti seemed more impressive to me than ever. My theory is that because my pupils didn't have to keep adjusting as the train went from dark indoor sections of the ride to bright outdoors segments, they were wide open when we encountered the yeti. Whatever the reason, he looked great as his huge arm swooped down near our train.
On my April trip to WDW, I bought a medium-sized toy yeti at the Expedition Everest gift shop, naming him Grogs Chen Po Skra Can (Big Hairy Friend). During this visit, I had noticed people carrying small Disney character toys attached to knapsacks and belt loops via keychains. I decided that if the Expedition Everest shop had keychain yetis, I would get one.
So when I got off the ride this time and went into the shop, I looked for smaller yetis with key fobs. There were some, so I bought one and named him Grogs Chung Skra Can (Small Hairy Friend). So now I have a house yeti and a travel yeti. :-) Their nicknames are Big Groggy and Little Groggy.
After we finished Expedition Everest, Meg and Lloyd wanted to head over to the Magic Kingdom to see Wishes, but Meg hadn't had any real food since breakfast, so I suggested that we go to the Flame Tree Barbeque and get some dinner. I ate there last April and found the food very satisfactory and the view from the patio eating area wonderful. I got the rib dinner again, and we all sat by the lake, where we could see Expedition Everest lighted up in the distance.
Before we parted ways, we made plans to meet at Pop Century at noon tomorrow. Lloyd wanted to do at least one geocache during his trip, and there are none on Disney property. (No physical geocaches, that is; just some grandfathered virtual caches.) He also wanted to find some non-Disney survey marks. He had printed out the information for some geocaches in Celebration, which would give us an excuse to visit this nearby town that was originally built by the Walt Disney Company. Nick offered to drive us there in his car; because he was staying at Pop, that became our scheduled meeting place.
While Meg and Lloyd headed off to the Magic Kingdom, I went back to Animal Kingdom Lodge, where I edited photos for a while, watched some TV, and went to bed about 10:30.
By the way, I received some new toiletries from the maid today. In case you've never been to Walt Disney World, the standard toiletries are shown on the left. The new ones, shown on the right, are from a company called H2O+. You have to look closely, but they do have Mickey Mouse designs on them.
Steps today: 16,325 (approx. 4.9 miles), plus at least another 1,000 steps around Animal Kingdom Lodge before I put on the pedometer.
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Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 7 | Day 8
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Last updated 2/11/07