Day 4 – Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney Word, Florida

Animal KingdomThis is the farthest park from Saratoga Springs so even though we left earlier today we did not arrive at the park until right at 9:00 AM. This means we were able walked right into the park, until I was randomly singled out to go through the metal detector. Well there was no line and all I had to take out of my pocket was the phone.

So after the small entry detour, into the park we go to walk through The Oasis, Discovery Island and Africa to Kilimanjaro Safari’s for our expedition. Our safari vehicle piloted by our knowledgable game driver points out animals and provides entertainment during the “3-week” safari tour through the Harambe Wildlife Reserve. This attraction is in a 110-acre Wildlife Reserve of natural terrain, including Ituri forest, wetlands of the Safi River valley, and the open bush country of the Serengeti. African animals on safari include elephants, giraffes, antelopes, rhinoceroses, storks, pelicans, flamingos, wildebeests, zebras, gazelles, monkeys, hippos, lions, cheetahs, wild dogs, crocodiles, ostriches and warthogs. This is such a wonderful way to see exotic animals  roam free rather than in the confines of pens as in a standard zoo.

Kilimanjaro Safari - giraffe

Kilimanjaro Safari – giraffe

This safari was very different this morning than any we had previously taken on any other visit. The animals on the Savanna roam freely and can get very close to the vehicles. We had a group of giraffes in front of our vehicle stop in the middle of the trail. This halted our journey for about 10 minutes as the adult and baby giraffes wandered around the front and right along the side of us, we could almost reach out and touch these beautiful creatures, but please don’t. MAGNIFICANT.


Expedition Everest

We then make the trek to Asia to see if we can find the Yeti in Expedition Everest. We sit our steam train to dive deep into the Himalayas as we enter the tallest of Disney Worlds Mountains. We do come upon the 25 foot tall Yeti deep in the “Forbidden Mountain” on our way to Everest as he tears up the tracks behind us. This is another multi-time ride experience of the parks. FUN, FUN, FUN. You must enjoy the stand-by queue at least once as there are interesting artifacts imported from Asia and many stories of Everest and the Yeti.

We have a little time to spare before our fast-pass to Finding Nemo and head back in time to DinoLand, USA and wander Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama full of Fair-Carnival type games. Passing quickly through the carnival area I decide to look for some interesting details to photograph while Jodi will look around Chester and Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures.

Deb's Digest feb09j

Finding Nemo photo by Deb’s Digest feb09j

Next up, Finding Nemo – The Musical a 40-minute live actor-puppet musical of the award-winning Disney-Pixar film is fun entertaining and well worth the time. The puppet-actors are wonderful and the stage show is on par with stage productions of well-known theaters.

After the show we hike the 3/8 mile Maharaja Jungle Trek, a self-guided tour of Southeast Asia—home to tigers, fruit bats, birds and more. What a pleasant way to visit the Wilds of Asia as you walk sunny trails beneath swaying trees to discover a wonderland of wild creatures in their natural habitats.

We decide to try the new counter service restaurant at “Harambe Market for lunch after our trek. An interesting outdoor establishment where Jodi has the All Natural Grilled Chicken Skewer with roasted broccoli and tomato salad and I the Boerwors Sausage Fried in Curried Corn Batter with a small tomato salad. I can attest the large Curried Sausage has a little heat at the first bite that took me back as Disney usually doesn’t spice their food too much, very good. Quick note here that although there are 2 different service counters with separate menus, check with the cast member in front as we were directed you can order either menu at one window.

After a restful lunch we take another walking expedition in a lush tropical forest on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Here you will encounter silverback gorillas, birds, bugs, reptiles, monkeys, the ever-entertaining Meerkats and more.

Festival of the Lion King photo by

Festival of the Lion King photo by

Now it is time for the Festival of the Lion King show. This theater in the round is a mixture of songs, dance, puppetry and visual effects portraying a tribal celebration. Headlined by Simba and his friends along with 4 live actors, the theater is filled with other actors dressed as lions, elephants, giraffes, birds, zebras and gazelles. There are Stunt Monkey Acrobats, a Fire Twirler and a wonderful dance number that spice up the show. This review of the Broadway production show is OUTSTANDING.

Finally we are back for a final trip through Kilimanjaro Safari for our final view of the wildlife today.

After our safari and 5.59 miles in 13,893 steps we are back at the exit to leave Animal Kingdom at 3:30 PM for some rest and to get ready for dinner at “The Turf Club” at Saratoga Springs Resort.

At 5:30PM we were seated and Jodi decided on the Prime Rib with a corn peppercorn sauce and sides of mashed potatoes and broccolini, and I, while I was hungry, enjoyed the Appetizers of Asian-Inspired crispy shrimp on a bed of vegetable slaw with a spicy aioli and the grilled romaine salad, very good and this filled me up without stuffing my stomach. We eat casually as there are only a handful of tables being occupied at this early time.

After finishing our dinner we then stop at the small market to pick up a few items for snacks, drinks and breakfast in the morning then walk back to our villa for another restful evening as we complete our routine and get ready for another day at the Magic Kingdom tomorrow.


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