Friday, 5 July 2013

The Animal Kingdom

So we had every intention of being up early on the Tuesday.  We hoped to be able to do Animal Kingdom (AK) in half a day.  Typically we woke a little late, and after paying the parking, (goodbye $15,) we arrived at the park about 9.20am.  We were able to park near enough to the park to walk from the car to the gate.

As usual, with Disney, the place was heaving.  We had already decided the night before, to head straight for the Safari in the Africa area, right at the back of the park.  I reckon half the people had the same idea.  It was quite a walk, but the boys did good.  When we arrived, there was a half hour wait.  We decided to join the queue.  The line moved fast, and I think we got on our Safari truck in under 30 minutes.

We managed to get the back row of the Safari truck.  This enabled us to get some good photos, looking out the back.  Quite possibly the best ride on the truck.  We passed through many animals.

We saw black and white rhino, 2 different types of giraffe, hippos, crocodile, lions, ostrich (they even had a nest, right near the road), various antelope, pelican, vultures and wart hogs.  It was well worth the queuing, the ride lasted a good 30 minutes, and was a lot of fun.  A bit like our honeymoon in Kenya, but on a much smaller scale!

After this we decided to take a little break, and headed through the crowds exiting the ride, back into the Africa area.  We came across Kusifari coffee shop and bakery.  Paul and I both had a Danish, Isaac and Seb shared a muffin, while Oliver had a croissant followed by coffee and apple juice.  Just the little pick me up that was needed.  We decided to stay in Africa a bit longer, and headed to Pangani Forest Exploration trail.  

This was a walking trail, with loads of animals and artifacts laid out along the way.  Isaac loved looking at the replica skulls of the animals on display, over looking at the animals themselves.  Again there were plenty of animals on display.  The main attraction was probably the gorillas, though there was a working bug house that Isaac liked.  My boys also loved the fish.  We decided not to do the wildlife express train to Rafikinis planet watch, as I had read mixed reviews.  Besides, we did a few train journeys the day before.  

So we left Africa, and headed to Asia.  Amazing how a 10 minute walk can allow you to skip continents.  We had read the night before that the Kali River Rapids, one of the biggest attractions in Asia, Isaac and therefore Seb were too small for, so we bypassed these.  Good job, as queuing was over an hour, and the fast passes available weren't till much later in the day.  We went to Maharajah Jungle Trek.  Again, this was another walk through area, which had plenty of birds and fish, and a few tigers thrown in for good measure. It also had some awesome looking fruit bats.
  The clouds were starting to look quite ominous, and the crowds just kept on growing.

We headed on anyways into Dinoland.  My boys had been so looking forward to this.  Dinoland is like a fun fair area, based on dinosaurs.  We joined the queue for Triceratops Spin, a spinning  fair ground ride not dissimilar to the Dumbo ride at Magic Kingdom.  It only had a 20 minute wait.  While we were waiting we heard the first crash of thunder, and saw the first strike of lightning.  The ride was then closed for about 40 minutes, while they waited for the storm to pass.  Luckily we were in the queueing are of Triceratops Spin, which was covered, so we hunkered down.  The boys had some snacks, then played iPods.  We rescued the buggy from outside, luckily it had been under a poncho, and put Seb in it.  This is where we realized Seb can sleep in theme parks.  

The rain and thunder eventually stopped, so I was able to take the boys on the Triceratops ride.  As we had been sheltering in the general vicinity, we were able to get on it very quickly after it reopened. They loved it, though Isaac had hold of the control which sets the height of the ride, and held it on low the whole time!  Seb was still asleep when it had finished, so I decided to take Oliver on the Primeval Whirl.  This was a spinning roller coaster.  As the rain had only just stopped, the queue was under 30 minutes.  Paul and Isaac were happy to go and look in some shops and generally amuse themselves in Dinoland while we rode.  This was a cool ride.  As it was just Oliver and I, we were able to hop in a carriage with another 2 riders, this shortened our time in the queue by about 4 carriages, not much, but it helped.  By the time we got on the ride it was raining again.  We finished up, and head back to Paul, Isaac and a now awake Seb.  They had been shopping, and bought the only souvenir from all the Disney parks we visited.  A foam dinosaur for Isaac, costing $13.  The rain kept up, thank goodness for raincoats and ponchos. 

There was other things we could have done in Dinoland, but the weather was really off putting.  It was gone 1pm by now, so we decided to brave the rain, and try to find some lunch.  We headed through the Discovery area, which if there had not been so much rain, we would have stopped and spent some time in it.

We had already noted that there was a Rainforest Cafe in AK.  We headed there for lunch ( please see for a review, coming soon).  We finished up at about 3.45. And the sun was shining. I was ever so keen for the boys to be able to see a parade while we are here.  There is only one in AK, it starts at 3.45.  So we raced back through the gates, and headed up to the parade route.  We caught the last 15 minutes of it.  This was perfect for us, they may not have done a full one.  Also where we were standing was a main thoroughfare, so fairly busy, but we were able to stand far enough back to enjoy it.

There was not much more we wanted to rush to do in AK.  We headed out, caught a tram back to the car.  It took us about 30 minutes to get from the inners of the park to the car

I thoroughly enjoyed our time in AK.  This is the one park neither Paul or I had been too.  It is an amazing concept, and I am led to believe they do a lot for conservation too. 

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