Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Animal Kingdom at Disney World

Steve and I have returned home and had a weekend of rest from our vacation to Disney World (DW)!  Now to get back in the swing of real world stuff, but I’m going to show and tell about our trip first!  Since we moved to Alabama, our drive has increased substantially so we left on Friday at lunch, stopped at Steve’s parents’ home, then arrived in Orlando late Saturday afternoon.  We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge DVC Resort this time.  We discovered it last December and just love it!  It is a great place for families but the older empty-nesters can enjoy it too!  The Wilderness Lodge lobby is awesome and like all the resorts pretty busy; however, the DVC lobby is much quieter with lovely
nooks to sink into comfy chairs or rockers—all the fireplaces were going even in the summer!  The first night Steve and I found our favorite rockers in front of the main fireplace empty.  We spent a delightful evening with his laptop and my knitting.  I worked on one of two baby sweaters that must be completed by the middle of September.  (That is 2013, not 2014, babies don’t wait that long.)  A young teenager walked past us while we were just relaxing with the comment, “really?  Come on, this is Disney!”  Yes, we actually sat in
rockers in front of the fireplace at Disney World!   

We spent a delightful first full day at Animal Kingdom followed by dinner at Boma’s in the Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Animal Kingdom Park is one of my very favorites!  There is no way to see and do everything in one day for us (remember, we are not 20-something anymore.)  But we do have favorites that are just must-do then we try to visit something different every trip.  

Flight of Wonder never ceases to amaze me!  I’ve had pet parrots for years but am always amazed what the DW researchers are able to prompt these magnificent creatures to during several shows a day!  Guano Joe, the lost tour guide, adds so much humor and lightheartedness!  I’ve been going regularly to Animal Kingdom for eleven years and the same “Joe” has been there every time! Conserving these beautiful creature is the main message during this show and I think Disney and their wonderful cast members convey it beautifully without beating me over the head with it! 
 This guy was flying to retrieve another guest’s dollar bill.  He got the dollar and flew close enough to hit my head as he passed me. He also returned the money to the guest later in the show.

Disney is so full of fantasy and wonder, but when Hope, the bald eagle, made her entrance on the arm of a cast member, emotion and pride for my country swelled in my heart!  She is so beautiful and is a great reminder of the great country I call home. 

Kilimanjaro Safari is another “not to be missed” activity for me!  The weather for this ride was perfect, not too hot or humid to ride in the open-sided trucks. That’s our driver guide in the rearview mirror.  Our driver was very informative about all the animals in
throughout the ride.  This is one of those rides where there is no control on how many animals you might actually see, but we were so fortunate to even see the lions napping on the huge rocks.
Look closely for the two lionesses! They are really camouflaged on those rocks!

This big African bull elephant blocked the road for three trucks during our ride.  After several minutes one of the drivers radioed for the inspectors to come
and shoo him across the road.  He was enjoying his day in the sunshine! 
These trees are often said to be “upside down” trees since it appears their roots are growing out of the ground! (Borrowed this picture from http://sharingflorida.com since my driver went too fast for me and my phone camera!)

Just around the corner from the big bull elephant, this little baby was cooling himself with his ears. Mom wasn't far away either!

You don’t have to ride the safari to see wildlife, just walk through the park! Every nook and cranny holds some wonderful plant, bird, animal or fish! 

This little 
Meerkat was sitting alone in the very large habitat he shares with his friends and family.  I have read before that one little guy has guard duty while the rest of the colony sleeps.  Wonder if they draw straws?

Waterfalls are just one of many beautiful settings throughout Animal Kingdom.  This one is in the gorilla habitat as you cross the bridge going back to the trail.

Speaking of gorillas, the gorilla family was out and active for our Animal Kingdom day!  This little fellow was sitting quietly at the large viewing window, but as the crowd left the pavillon, he kind of followed along until we all got to the bridge.  He climbed trees then proceeded to swing back and forth to the delight of his audience, until Mama left.  Like a small child, when he couldn't see Mama, he was done being big stuff and went looking for her!
The tigers in the Asian habitat were done watching the humans and had settled
down for the afternoon siesta!  No, they are not dead, they were breathing!  I looked to make sure!  :)

We revisited the Festival of the Lion King and could not figure out why we had skipped it the last 5 years! 
The music, costumes and dancing is just phenomenal!  I wasn’t able to take pictures during this show since flash wasn’t allowed but have snagged a couple pictures and links for you to visit.  Don’t miss this show!  Here’s a YouTube link of the show.  Wish I had thought to take the video camera with me!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCCRsPiKzBw

As I mentioned before, we ended our day over at Animal Kingdom Lodge with dinner at Boma, which offers South African cuisine and stimulates your taste buds to the point of no return! Although it is buffet style, the food is excellent!  Just be careful how many trips you make back to the buffet!  The buffet is sectioned off by courses so it is easy to navigate back for more of a favorite food!  The serving staff is just friendly and warm!  I was wearing my “Celebrating” badge since I just completed my graduate work the week before our trip.  My server noticed and after bringing our coffee, she came back with a dessert plate bearing three delicious truffles: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.  Boma’s has been one of our favorite restaurants for the last eleven years; however, this year, they went up in price a bit which makes a meal a bit pricey for us to be able to be able to keep it as a regular visit.  After tip, our dinner for two was about $90. 

After dinner, Steve and I needed to walk off some of the many calories we had consumed!
 The horseshoe curved veranda is inspired by the traditional African Kraal and is designed to view four different savannas filled with over 200 different animals and birds, including giraffe and zebra!  While the animals enjoyed their evening meal, lots of us enjoyed leaning against the fence watching the animals!

Over the next few days, I'll share Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom!
Till next time!
 Just had to show you the Tree of Life!
With a Happy Heart, 
Leigh Anne


DancingKait said...

You will have to think about Rick and I joining you on the next trip ~ looks like a memorable one. Love you and reading the blog

DancingKait said...

Loved reading your blog. You and Steve think about letting Rick and I go with ya on next one. Looks like a must do memorable time. Love you

Leigh Anne said...

absolutely! we usually go a couple times a year! Y'all should go!