Walt Disney World – Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Our first full day at Walt Disney World today … started fairly early, jumped in the car and drove around to the Animal Kingdom. The first thing we noticed once we arrived was the carpark. It was huge. I mean huge. So huge, it took several minutes to drive around it to get to the parking spots. So huge that they had tractor pulled trains about 50m long to collect people from their cars and take them to the entrance. We’re talking hundreds of acres of parking. Quite impressive – and this was before we even got into the theme park !
Animal Kingdom is Disney’s animal based theme park – it’s not a zoo, but rather a theme park with animals. I think Disney’s vision was to create a space where people can interact with animals, learn about nature, the environment and conservation, all in a non-traditional zoo setting.
One of the first things that struck us was the incredible attention to detail at the park. Everything down to wood carvings of animals on the lamp posts. Quite impressive. The central land mark of the park is The Tree of Life – a 14 storey high tree sculpted with something like 325 animal carvings – very intricate and amazing.
We first headed to the Kilimanjaro Safaris – a tour through their African wild animal collection, which included elephants, lions, hippos, rhinos, and even poachers ! You ride in an open-sided safari vehicle and get a really good look at the animals, and the narrated ride is a bit of fun too (and like most things at Disney – it’s rather corny).
Spent the rest of the day wandering around the other features of the park, finishing with the parade of Disney characters.
Our favourite feature would be the It’s Tough to be a Bug, “3D” show, hosted by “Flick” from the movie A Bug’s Life – quite unique with a lot of surprises.
Headed back to the room at around 5pm so that I could get changed and walk over to the Dolphin resort for a “staff meeting” for my Lotusphere duties. After the hour long meeting, I headed back to our hotel (fortunately less than 10 minutes walk away) and we then walked over to the Epcot theme park and walked around the World Showcase – with many countries featured – architecture, shops, restaurants, and even the employees – all representative of their origin. We eventually had dinner at Morocco, followed by some dessert at France, then stuck around for the fireworks and light show at 9pm – IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.
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