Since Disney’s Animal Kingdom opened more than 10 years ago, I’ve basically visited the same attractions again and again each time I visit. So on my most recent trip, it was time to branch out a little and wander through some unfamiliar territory of the park, seeing a few sights I had never seen before, all the while snapping away for this
adventure, from Saturday, February 19, 2011… ParkSpotting Beginning at the beginning, I thought this would be a fun vantage point for photographing the Animal Kingdom entrance. On the way in, I was ordered to let the memories begin by way of countless banners outside the park. I gladly obliged. Just inside the park entrance, I stumbled across an Oscar-nominated bird! It was time to do something new. My attention was grabbed by an owl, perched outside the Flights of Wonder show. Having never seen the Flights of Wonder show in my 10+ years of visiting this park, I figured it was time. And I was quickly reminded why I never bothered to see this show... characters like this one-dimensional 'tour guide.' It's a typical theme park bird show. But it did have its fun moments. I got lucky with my spot in the audience, seated just behind the guy who was picked to have a bird fly out to him and snatch a dollar bill from his hand... ...then brought it back to the trainer on stage... ...and flew back to the man, dropping the bill back in his hand. Cute. The highlight of the show was seeing a majestic Bald Eagle. It's an impressive bird and it made for an unmistakably-Disney photo, framed with a girl wearing Mickey ears at the bottom. Speaking of Mickey, after Flights of Wonder, I noticed this guy on a hunt for Hidden Mickeys, using Steve Barrett's guide book for help. Heading into Africa, I stopped to snap a picture of the crossroads. Signs like these are invaluable in a park as big as Animal Kingdom. In Africa, I had never noticed this area of the park, looking rather rundown (on purpose, of course). It felt authentic... perhaps too authentic. After riding the train, I arrived at Rafiki's Planet Watch / Conservation Station. It's another area of the park I very rarely visit, though I had been here before. Inside, I was surprised to see Jiminy Cricket meeting with guests. He's rarely out and about. Contained safely behind glass, this snake posed for me. It was nice to see a sign featuring a character from The Princess and the Frog (Prince Naveen) in the parks. I love that movie and other than the meet-and-greet in the Magic Kingdom and a few pieces of merchandise, you don't find much else related to it. Nearby, I found a not-so-Hidden Mickey of my own, made up of Petri dishes. After leaving Conservation Station and arriving back in Africa, it was time for a ride on a park favorite, Kilimanjaro Safaris. These two beastly creatures were satisfying an itch or two. The highlight of this trip on the Safari was seeing lions roaming, instead of sleeping as they almost always do. Here's the female. And as we rounded the corner, the male lion decided to make a grand appearance. Here's a much closer look at the male lion. He was pacing for quite a while. It was nearing the end of the day, so he was likely getting ready to leave the savannah for his backstage home. After Kilimanjaro Safaris, it was time for another favorite: Dinosaur. Outside, I tried for a similar picture to the one I took at the front of the park, hiding Aladar in the bushes. The day at Animal Kingdom was nearly over, marked by a beautiful sunset over one of the park's many waterways. On any day at Animal Kingdom, it's important to take it easy, as the large park can be hot and overwhelming. This spot between Asia and Africa is a nice place to step into the shade. Nearby, refreshments are served - again, in the shade. And next to the sodas is a small shack where guests can sit, relax, and look out onto the water. There's limited seating, but if it's available, it's worth checking out. On the way out of the park, hundreds of birds lined the trees as hundreds of guests stopped to take pictures. I was one of them.
Even after visiting Walt Disney World’s theme parks countless times, there is always something I haven’t seen or done. It’s nice to include these new attractions and sights every once in a while, if only to keep things fresh. Until next time…
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