Animal Kingdom

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December 19th 2013
Published: December 19th 2013
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I'm only brave when I have to be. Lion King

So after filling you in the choking episode, well, we'll just move onto Animal Kingdom etc.

We were all looking forward to being out in nature on a huge animal reserve. We had arranged to meet Henry & Linda there so we knew it would be another fun family day together.

Home to more than 1,700 animals across 250 species, the park reflects Walt Disney’s dedication to conservation and is committed to animal care, education and research. (Apparently whatever you do, don't call it a zoo. They are very touchy about that). I suppose they can be as touchy as they want; it took them a billion dollars to complete.

First up on the agenda was to rush to get Fast Passes to Expedition Everest and you can see this huge mountain a long ways off & hear the thrills of the riders on it going up the mountain & through the tunnels. We were half scared and yet strangely very intrigued.

Whoever masterminded this ride is a creative genius whose hand I’d like to shake and then buy them a beer. A big cold frothing beer that looks like Expedition Everest 😊

So, you get on this Expedition Everest roller coaster and it begins as a chain lift that hikes you up the mountain. You go through bamboo forests, fields of glaciers, and waterfalls. It's kind of slow at the start, so you're a little bit curious as to what the heck is going to happen next?

Then..wahoo, you drop down the first hill and begin a fun roller coaster adventure through the Himalayan mountains on your railroad track car. You race up a track and then it ends; yep literally the track is up in the air, broken off in a tangled mess. What the heck are we going to do now? The idea is that "Yeti" the abominable snowman of the Himalayans has eaten it.

Just before you wet your pants if you already haven't, your train on the ride stops. The roller coaster engineer geniuses created a chunk of track behind you that actually "flips over" and there are G forces effects when you go backwards and start careening through a dark tunnel, frigid canyons & treacherous caverns at high speeds! Just TRY and lift your head off your's pasted against it. What a ride; full of adventure, thrills, and fun. Thumbs up Disney; Mickey Mouse thumbs up (heh heh)

What made it even more thrilling is we got Linda on it. She doesn’t DO rides, and guess who got to sit next to her?! ME! I was laughing so hard at her with her eyes pressed closed and hanging on for dear life that it made it much more fun for me!! She wasn't really scared, she secretly enjoyed it. Right Linda?

Next up was a 20 minute safari into the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. You climb aboard an open-air safari vehicle and hang on tight as you take off on a guided tour into the African outback—where over 34 different species of exotic African wildlife seemingly roam free. As your bumpy transport makes its way through rugged terrain, you can glimpse an array of exotic animals in a variety of unique habitats, & the guides are fantastic pointing out valuable information during the journey. Before we got on the safari, we saw some gorillas walking along a high wire line; wow it really is mesmerizing seeing their strength and agility.

Right off the bus we spotted a rhinoceros grazing. Impressive size and what a cool horn. We also spotted a few shy hippopotamus's nestled beneath a still pond. They are HUGE! Did you know hippos are the most dangerous and aggressive animal in Africa? Then up next antelope, (and of course I had to sing, "Home On the Range" where the buffalo roam & the deer and the ANTELOPE play... blah blah blah!)

We also saw the regal lions sunbathing on a rocky perch, gentle giraffes grazing on a tall tree & swinging baboons. We saw the very impressive flamingos & for those that don't know this, they get their pink color from beta carotene which is found in shrimp which they eat (I love shrimp but I'd hate to walk around pink all the time!)

And behold one of the greatest animals on earth, the majestic elephant (my fave!) playing and tusling with each other!

Some animals you may encounter during the tour include:

· Antelope

· Mandrill

· Black Rhino

· Cheetah

· Crocodile

· Elephant

· Flamingo

· Gazelle

· Giraffe

· Hippopotamus

· Lion

· Okapis

· Ostrich

· Warthog

· White Rhino

· Wildebeest

A group also went on the white water raft ride in the heart of Asia; the Kali River ride where you get into a pagoda style raft that seats 12 people. You go zipping and swirling down the rapids and skim over a geyser and enjoy the smells of ginger & jasmine filling the air. There's a 20 foot drop at the end. Needless to say, a few folks got wet. Given we were going to our Princess lunch after at Epcot I didn't want to show up like a drowned rat.

We also went on a walking tour of Asia type of safari which was really cool. Bottom line, it was a great day to visit Animal Kingdom.

PS more pics at the bottom. It's taking a loooong time to upload pictures. I'll get them to you by next year 😊

Additional photos below
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25th December 2013

You'll be back!!!!
For as much as I could read this trip isnt over yet... I'm quite sure you will want to go back and visit new sites or just re-new your experiences and memories of the great Disney life and of these great days you have spent together as a family... Merry Christmas to all and to all a good nite.... Danielle

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