Our first adventure at Disney’s Animal Kingdom took place on May 22, 2010… ParkSpotting
This trip to the parks was in honor of Mother’s Day. My mom was out of town for the actual holiday, so I promised to spend a day with her riding some rides and eating some good food. We ate a great meal at Yak & Yeti, but I’m not including that here as I’ll review the restaurant on an upcoming
podcast. But as we wandered the park, we saw plenty of photo-worthy sights. I see ducks all the time near my house. But there's something about seeing ducks at Animal Kingdom that makes me want to take a picture of them. This scene is near the entrance of the park. Wandering further, the distant sound of live music caught my ear. Unfortunately, it ended up being a white guy throwing up devil horns while rapping, backed by a pseudo-African-esque band of sorts. Confusing? Yes. Entertaining? Yeah, I suppose so. Dinosaur only had a 20 minute wait, though I was sad to realize that it is no longer brought to us "by a generous grant from the McDonald's corporation." Even though McD's no longer sponsors the ride, these overhead pipes still feature the chemical formulas for ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. On the ride, I was disappointed to find the photo op Carnotaur still motionless, on the left side of the vehicle, and greatly resembling a dino-head-on-a-stick. In the gift shop after the ride, I found Vinylmation had crept its way in here too. These brightly-colored Walt Disney World shirts caught my eye. (How could they not?) On a cart outside, I was tempted to purchase one of these remote-controlled Dinosaur "time rover" vehicles. But I held back, as my Ridemakerz car is still fully functional and fun to play with. These signs are posted around the park and while I fully understand the harm that feeding the animals could cause, I still find the little graphic of the unknown creature with X's over its eyes to be funny. If I were to re-caption this graphic, it would say "Watch out for bad fortune cookies." Sometimes you just have to stop in amazement that sights like this can be in a theme park. After noticing a few other guests peering over a railing, I spotted this turtle just as he submerged. Over on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, I thought this gorilla looked rather content with life. Further down the trail, I spotted this small camp site setup. What's the story with this? I don't think we were close enough for it to be part of the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride. Speaking of Kilimanjaro Safaris, we did hop on this attraction and lucked out with some fantastic animal findings, like these birds either drying their wings or warning us of the dangers ahead. Or both. Again, this is in a theme park? Really? Amazing. Upon approaching these two, our driver informed us that it is rare to see giraffes sitting, as it's very difficult for them to get up and run away from danger. And just after he said that, the giraffe in the back decided to get up... ...and it is certainly a difficult task... ...but he made it to his feet. This cast member was taking notes on the nearby flamingos. We were told the giraffes pictured above were babies. Likewise, we were treated to seeing this baby rhino and his/her parent posing for the camera. Have you ever seen more than just a lion's fur on this ride? I haven't. This is quite possibly the best view of a lion I've ever gotten here. Over in the Asia section of the park, this ape climbed all the way down the pole just to grab one morsel of food. These two apes silhouetted against the bright blue sky was a photo opportunity I couldn't pass up. Here's one of those Disney details that is often overlooked but really adds to the environment if you notice it. The theme of the ape's habitat is a run-down template permanently being refurbished, giving Imagineers a reason to surround it with scaffolding for the apes to swing on. Everything has a story. This Disney detail near Expedition Everest has been noticed by most guests. The shape of the small shrine on the water's edge sure looks familiar. Yep, a perfect fit. This is one of my favorite photos to take at Disney's Animal Kingdom. This particular shot was enhanced by the "uh oh" look on the girl's face. I conclude with a shot of the menacing Yeti inside Everest. Even if this amazing piece of Audio-Animatronic technology currently doesn't move at all, he's still rather ferocious-looking. Had this photo been taken outside of a theme park, the photographer likely would have been doomed. Fortunately for me, we sailed by safely.
Through our adventures, we’ve now made it to all six of Disney’s U.S. theme parks, some more than once. Perhaps next it will be time to venture outside of the world of Disney… ParkSpotting