Saturday, July 2, 2011

Animal Kingdom

We’ve moved on to California and, except for one record-breaking chilly day (ok, so it was only about 70F but darn chilly for what it should be…), we are now basking in the central valley heat, hanging out here to let the kids catch up on grandparent time and relaxing. We’ve also done a couple of important things like get our eyes examined (all good, with new glasses ordered for those who need them… the Dr. even fixed Brian’s soccer-battered current pair) and today we got a bit of back to school shopping done. Eventually we’ll mail some stuff home, but enough work for one day.

I still have some nice photos from Orlando to share, so here’s some of us at Animal Kingdom.

Walking to the bus from our resort room. I liked having all transportation covered! All we had to do was wander over from our room to a bus or water taxi stop and go for a ride.



Animal Kingdom is as much a nice zoo as it is a theme park. We enjoyed walking about looking at the animals and plants.


The big tree, in the background below, is a fake… it’s a huge, wonderful piece, covered in carved animal art.


The nice thing about the newer parks is that it seems more planning went into the layout and scenery.


Waiting in line is not a boring ordeal of empty rooms with massive zig-zag queues… we did have to spend time in lines(!), but unlike Disney (an older park), the experience was more pleasant at Animal Kingdom, a fact that led us to choose return to this park a second day rather than go back to the Magic Kingdom.

The second day we attended this park it rained… hard!… and most people left! We stayed and enjoyed riding the rides over and over again, with barely any lines! A popular raft ride that took us over an hour in line the first day, was empty enough the next time to allow us to ride FOUR times in a row. It was a nice line to wait in at any rate.




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It does seem weird to think of standing in line for an hour as ‘nice’, it wasn’t much fun, really, but at least the experience was much more pleasant at Animal Kingdom than elsewhere. After walking through these lines, with pretty scenery and art work, the Disney, boring, back and forth, cattle lines were pure torture!

Animals… oh yea… the theme of the park. They had the coolest bats!


A nice tiger park too.


Honor summons big cats as easily as she attracts little ones. He came right to the window.


The bird show was spectacular too.



There were birds flying all over the open air auditorium.




In honor of our Independence Day, I’ll include this pretty bird too :)


To ‘cool off’ we went mountain climbing on Expedition Everest.


Actually, this ‘mountain’ was the setting for a very awesome roller coaster, another one we were able to ride multiple times after the crowds left when it rained. You can see the train heading uphill on the left side there. The lines for this were also long (usually – but not for us!) and nicely decorated.



We found the yeti… and it chased us all over the place. Lines or no lines, this is definitely not a ride to miss!

After exploring ‘Asia’, we wandered on over to ‘Africa’… it was a bit noisier there for some reason…


Of course, we went on safari, which is another ‘do not miss’ ride at the Animal Kingdom.



Brad’s favorite critters. The horns were massive!


I love this photo. Pretty good for a point and click camera aimed out of a moving truck on a bouncey road.


Another good thing about going to the park on a rainy day is that the rain cut the heat and the animals were out and very active. 




Baby elephant! I think the guide said the second one here is a sister, not the mother. The baby was very small.


Can’t you just hear the Circle of Life movie theme song? Where’s Rafiqi holding up the cub?


Oh.. there he is.. with my cubs and my sweetie.


Rafiqi’s area of the park has an animal care and education area. You can see displays about the rainforests and smaller animals such as frogs and scorpions. While we were there the kids heard talks about macaws and a bearded dragon. Honor also got to pet some critters. Brian did too, but it was Honor who had insisted we fit in a visit to this section… or else! Yea… she loves animals!


My brave (silly) explorers.




Nomads By Nature said...

What an awesome vacation! We loved Animal Kingdom too - and to have the luck of 'bad' weather for fantastic crowd control -- just makes a fun day even more enjoyable! Enjoy CA and have a great 4th of July!

Connie said...

Thanks!! It was definitely our favorite park :) and the weather was on our side (most of the time, we got too soaked a few times!)!

Jill said...

Have a GREAT vacay! You all look like you're having a fab time!

Connie said...

Thanks Jill! We are :)

Rachel said...

looks like you all had a great time!!!!