The second park we chose to visit during our break was Disney's Animal Kingdom. I'd been looking forward to this one a lot and believe me, it didn't disappoint. After swotting up on our park trivia we decided it best to head straight over to Kilamanjaro Safari's first thing as this attraction can get very busy as the day rolls by. Even after dashing past the hoards of tourists a huge queue awaited us so we decided to grab a fast pass and head back an hour later. Once again, it was worth the wait! We headed out on 'Simba 1', a 32 seater all terrain truck with the most fantastic driver. We were given opportunities to snap the local wildlife such as elephants, lions, hippo's and aligators and even assist in deterring the local poachers!
Other attractions we visited whilst at Animal Kingdom were Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and the Maharajah Jungle Trek. In Pangani we had a close up view of the gorillas and one in particular who decided to put a large plastic bowl on his head and walk around showing it off. During the Jungle Trek we watched tigers roaming around the crumbling asian and Fruit Bats hanging eerily in the trees.
Now, my next moment of stupidity came when my darling husband and son suggested / persueded 'A' and I to participate in 'Kali River Rapids'. Let me tell you now, I was not keen on the idea from the start but after seeing others exit the ride with only minor dampness I thought my fears were unfounded. Keeping us company on our rocky trip were an american family with 2 young boys and an american lady who'd done the ride before - all of whom were wearing the very fetching Disney ponchos. As we trundled away around the route with a bit of a splash here and there I thought, "ooooh, this isn't too bad", in fact I was quite enjoying it! That was until I descended down a rather steep slope, hit the water backwards and was engulfed by an absolute wall of water that completely took my breath away. Of course, 'P' and 'S' thought this was hilarious, even more so due to the fact that the only two people in the raft who didn't want to get on in the first place were the ones who were now completely drenched, namely 'A' and myself! Now, I've heard people tell tale of water rides and how they had to dry out afterwards but believe me when I say this was no moderate 'dampness', there was not a dry stitch of fabric anywhere on my body from head to toe, in fact I was so wet you could have rung my clothes out!
Because of my excessive 'moistness' we decided to spend the next couple of hours in the sun, strolling around the different sections of the park, shopping and watching Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade. We had our pictures took with Baloo the bear and King Louie from Jungle Book and had a great chat with cast member 'Bagio' who was very keen to check whether 'A' had been invited to THE wedding. In fact Bagio was the first of many Americans to ask us about the upcoming event of the year!
The absolute pinnacle for me at Animal Kingdom was Festival of the Lion King. This was a 30 minute broadway-esque show which included huge moving animals, fire eating, acrobatics, singing, dancing and audience participation. It was a real spine tingler so imagine my disappointment when the video camera ran out of battery half way through - darn it! Upon our second visit to Animal Kingdom we also visited Finding Nemo-The Musical which was yet another larger than life, colourful display where the action took place not only on the stage but also out in the audience so you felt like you were really part of the fun.
Our day with the animals ended with two super character meetings - Goofy and Lilo & Stitch and a trip to the Rainforest Cafe. Goofy was so much fun! He grabbed 'A's autograph book and played around with her, holding it just out of reach so she couldn't get it and then pretty much demanded a kiss in order to give it back :). 'A' was chuffed to bits with meeting Stitch as he's her favourite Disney character. The Rainforest Cafe served up by far the best food we had during our stay in Florida and the surroundings with included moving animals, screeching apes and repeated thunder and lightning that occurred periodically during our visit. A great end to a great day!
[caption id="attachment_632" align="alignright" width="317" caption="Waterfall in the Rainforest Cafe"][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_631" align="alignleft" width="212" caption="Vines in the Rainforest Cafe"][/caption]