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June 1st, 2003

Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL

June 1st  2003, Day Three:  Per our usual time up and breakfast at same place as day before and at the free shuttle by 8:30 am.  We caught a Disney shuttle from the ticket/transportation center to Animal Kingdom.  It was scorching heat already.  Taking a tip from an Australian man I talked to the other day, we headed up to Kilimanjaro Safari but on the way we pass and go through The Oasis Exhibits.  I spied a large rodent thing (the size of a dog) and a Macaw or two and some birds.  and I see a rabbit, just walking down the trail inches from me. The Tree of Life is in the middle of the park and we pass it heading to Kilimanjaro.  With over 350 carvings in it, I take a couple photos.  Actually, this tree is ENORMOUS, but not real.  Around the tree are some short trails to follow called the Discovery Island Trails.  Some birds and plants  and a couple animals reside there, and we see the lemurs and tortoises and Tamarins. But having seen these in zoos before, I don't snap photos.

We reached the Kilimanjaro Safaris and get a fast pass so we don't have to wait.  In the meantime, we Ride the Wildlife Express Train that takes us to one petting zoo area.  We don't get out though and opt to ride back to the same place we just were and get a soda and wait.  Having been on numerous trains before, we opt out of the photo op.  Back at the Kilimanjaro Safari, we get on a jeep-like tram.  We see a few Rhino, Giraffe, two Lions sleeping and some elephants.  We chase imaginary "poachers" and see where they set up camp; we also see the aftermath of their capture by the preserve agents. The most impressive site was the Giraffe. On the way out of the ride, we hit the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail where we see birds, fish, gorillas and hippos. Here's a photo of some Gorillas, which we snap photos of.   

Not thrilled by anything I saw other than the Giraffe and Gorillas, I want to see big cats... so it's off to Asia.  But before that, we see a ride that looks good and wet (we are soooo hot).  So we get a fast pass for the Kali River Rapids and decide to eat lunch while we wait.  Unfortunately it's potstickers and some sort of Asian food I am not sure what it is, so we look somewhere else and there's no food ANYWHERE!  But we do find a place that serves nothing but McDonald's fries and that and a diet Coke ends up being our lunch.  Time for the Kali River Rapids! Nice ride, but too short.  Only one large dip to get wet on, but that was really fun!  We didn't snap a photo. To dry off, we go up the Maharajah Jungle Trek where we see Fruit bats (photo below), birds, tapirs and Tigers (photos below).  I didn't see the Kimono dragons they said were there.  Wonder how we missed them.

We know the park closes soon, so we head to DinoLand USA, but not before getting some ice cream to cool off.  When we arrive at DinoLand, we look around what appears to be a carnival.  A few games at the Fossil Fun Games area that are giving away Dinosaur prizes for wins...only is $2 each shot.  We opt not to play.  Everything looks garish here.  We see two kids rides entitled Primeaval Whirl which I kind of want to go on.  It's a small rollercoaster I think I can handle and I see adults on it.  But we pass.  Likewise for the TriceaTop Spin.  It's a kids ride too, but adults are on it with their kids.  We pass.  I look at the parks main attraction, a massive dinosaur called Dino-Sue.  I thought I took a photo, but apparently I did not...or accidentally delete it; too bad because we here Disney workers think this is the pride of Animal Kingdom (it's animated and pretty realistic). We are leaving soon because I am pooped and so sunburned and blistered I can't stand it.  But I see on ride which looks promising and I decide I can sit in Air Conditioning, so we do it!  I am glad we did as this was the single best thing about the park!  It's called Dinosaur and it was indeed a scary ride.  The little boy next to me was so scared he cried. It's fast, bumpy and big things come at you.  Very fun.  I didn't get any photos because it moves too fast!  However, Scott posed  with a dinosaur outside and I snap a photo of that and another as we leave.

We get sodas,  and we see on the map only one more thing worth doing and it's on the way out so we go for it.  It's called "It's Tough to be a Bug!"  But this brings me the most anxiety I had the whole time.  We were crammed close together and in extreme heat and it was dark.  With people so close to me for a long period of time and being so hot and tired and unable to see (everyone's bigger than me) I get a panic attack of sorts.  Finally, we get in and just in time!  I am ready to freak out.  It was poorly run.  My only complaint about any of the parks thus far. The show itself is really cute though and even Scott likes it.  It's another 3-D and reminds me of the Muppets adventure in the other park. For sure I am ready to leave, so we catch the bus back to the Ticket/Transportation center and then the hotel bus back to the hotel.  We are home early and decide to go to dinner and the grocery store for supplies.  We eat at an Italian Restaurant.  I get spaghetti and Scott gets manicotti.  We both get a salad and a diet soda. Cost?  $35.  Expensive for what it was (not very much and the restaurant wasn't very nice looking and the service was not great considering nobody in there; plastic cups etc).  We head back to the room and pack because we are leaving for home the next day.  We watch a bit of TV and sleep...

What we missed at the Animal Kingdom:  Pocahontas and her Forest Friends (a children's show), Festival of the Lion King (music, dance, stage performers), Habitat Habit! (a discovery trail with backyard animals like rabbits, squirrels and barnyard animals). Affection Section (petting zoo), Flights of Wonder (bird encounter area like a sanctuary I guess), The Boneyard (a playground for kids to climb on etc) and finally, Tarzan Rocks! (A stage show with Jugglers etc.)  No big loss on any of these but if I could, I'd go to them all.  To do this, you'll need a day and a half.  If really slow, two day at most. 


 Left to Right: 1) Animal Kingdom Entrance 2) Dinoland 3) Dinosaur 4) Fruit Bats 5) Giraffe


Left to Right:  1) Gorillas 2) Some sort of giant Rodent 3) Scott and a T-Rex Dinosaur 4) Tiger and 5) More tigers


Left to right: 1) Tree of life and 2) closer view of carvings on the Tree of Life


Sites other than Disney you might like to visit:

Universal Studios

Islands of Adventure

Wet and Wild

Sea World

Busch Gardens

Ripley's Believe it or Not!

Medieval Times Dinner Tournament


Titanic, The Experience

Discovery Cove

Cypress Gardens

Wild Adventures

Richard Petty Driving Experience

Arnold Palmer's Golf Resort


Skull Kingdom


Pirates Dinner Adventure


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