Just a little review...this trip is just the three of us (Laura, Lee, and Tigger) and we're taking advantage of our DVC membership, and will be staying 5 nights in a studio at Boardwalk Villas, though our first night was at Port Orleans.
Saturday, April 24, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Pleasure Island
The Swan Report: The Swan was still looking in our room when we got up. Lee insists that it was really out doing swanly mischief while we were sleeping, but returned to its place before daylight so no one would know. :-)
Weather report: high - 93. Ick.
We drove to Animal Kingdom and headed straight for the new Asia area of the park. This opened earlier this year, so it was new to us. The area features the Kali River Rapids, a whitewater raft ride through the rainforest, and the Maharajah Jungle Trek, which allows you to view tigers and other animals of Asia.
Our first objective was Kali Rapids - there was no wait and we walked
straight into a raft - it actually took longer to wind our way through
the queue than to ride the ride! We'd been warned that you had the
potential to get drenched on this ride, so we put on our ponchos. The
other people in our raft laughed at us and called us chickens - they
weren't laughing quite as much at the end of the ride. :-) The ride was
fun but rather short. Still, we got right back in line since there was
still no line...the cast member at the loading area tried to tell us we
weren't allowed to wear ponchos, and the people on the raft with us
told us no ponchos allowed. :-) I think they were all just jealous.
By then the line was starting to build for Kali, so we went over to the Maharajah Trek. This is a beautiful area...it's designed to look like you're going through an old temple, and there are lots of beautiful paintings on the walls. All the flowers and vegetation is just gorgous, too. And then there are the tigers...we saw 5 of the 6 in various areas. A couple of them were intently watching some prey-type animals - but they are safely separated by a large ditch which is NOT visible to the public. All 6 of the tigers are female, and have the freedom to roam around the various sections of the enclosure. It's much larger than the Tiger River area we have at the San Diego Zoo.
In addition to the tigers, we saw other Asian animals like bantangs (the wild cattle of Indonesia), tapirs, blackbucks, Elds deer, and even a Komodo dragon. This one is only about 6 years old, and only about 8 feet long - he'll get closer to 10', and will live about 30 years.
We walked back to Africa to have breakfast and check out the line for the safari line. It was HUGE - we decided to come back later in the week. :-) We had a quick breakfast at Tusker House - they were out of my first two choices, sigh, but the blueberry muffin I ended up with was good.
Next we went to Camp Minnie Mickey to see the Festival of the Lion King show. We got good seats in the Lion section again. This show is always entertaining, but after seeing Cirque du Soleil, some of the things that they do don't seem quite as amazing anymore. I still enjoy the "Tumble Monkeys" the most, though.
We rode Countdown to Extinction with a 15-20 minute wait, and it was better than I remember. Still not nearly as good as the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland, though.
It was starting to get VERY warm again...it has been unseasonably warm in Florida. It figures, since I chose this time of year to visit because normally it isn't quite so hot, but the highs have been 90, 91, and 93 today. Ugh. I got a pocket "Squeeze Breeze" (a mister with a small battery-powered fan) before I left San Diego - it fits in my fanny pack and I still have room for my camera and a small water bottle. It has been a lifesaver for me. Lee has adjusted to the heat - it doesn't bother him like it does me. We've both been drinking lots of water, but still the body just starts to feel HOT after a while.
We found a shady spot near the Tree of Life and watched the flamingos for a while. Cast Member Kelli was observing them and keeping a log of their activities - they are nesting right now, though there aren't any eggs yet. We learned lots of things about flamingos - like that they pair up for the year, males and females both help build the nest, they get confused over whose nest is whose, though some of them are lazy and actually will steal another pair's nest, and that the family groups stay together basically for life, so that everyone is related to everyone else (kind of like Arkansas, according to Lee ;-) ).
We left Animal Kingdom and went back and parked at the Boardwalk and walked to Epcot, since we had priority seating for lunch at San Angel Inn in Mexico. That was a VERY long hot walk in 90+ degrees...whew. It was really nice to cool off inside the pyramid. We had a nice lunch with Miguel as our waiter - he kept our drink glasses filled! I had my favorite, the Ensalada Mexicana, which in addition to different lettuces, tomato, avocado and grilled chicken, has cactus in it. I LOVE the cactus and was picking through the salad trying to find it - they had mostly hidden it at the bottom this time, but I think I found it all. :-)
We enjoyed chatting with Miguel - he had lived in San Diego for a while, and he would really like to move back to California where it isn't quite as hot!
We felt refreshed and cooled off, but still the next item on the agenda was to head back to the hotel and go swimming. But we dawdled in World Showcase as we walked back - we stopped in Norway to admire the poinsettia tree (though it looked like it was something leftover from Christmas, rather than something new for the Flower and Garden show), and talked to Cast Member Monica for awhile. She's Norwegian, but had red hair and freckles and looked Irish - and even had a bit of an Irish accent. Her English was marvelous - she sounded like a native speaker. She was just delightful, and is really enjoying her year here - she'll go home in November.
As we were passing the American Gardens theater, the "Characters Around the World" show was going on, and we stopped in to watch the rest of it. We didn't get a very shady spot, so after the show we tried out the Kaki Goris in Japan (shaved ice) to help cool off. Mmm...that's definitely something we'll do again! I had the rainbow, which has honeydew, tangerine and strawberry flavors, and Lee had plain strawberry.
We finally made it back to the hotel, and were really ready to get back into an air-conditioned space. Lee decided to stay in the room and nap, but I went down to the pool to play on the slide and swim a little bit. It felt great.
After getting part 1 of this trip report finished and uploaded, we headed to Magic Kingdom, depending on Disney transportation to get us there and then to Pleasure Island for the meet. We rode Buzz Lightyear and did a little shopping, and then tried to find someplace to eat. (And we recalled yet again why we basically avoid Magic Kingdom...STROLLER HELL!!!) But there was a Grad Night scheduled for later in the evening, and every place we checked had just closed to prepare for Grad Night. So we decided to just go find something at Downtown Disney...but we needed to go to TTC to get a bus to Downtown Disney, and we had just missed the ferry to the TTC...So we waited for that...and then we waited quite a while for the bus, which was absolutely packed.
By the time we arrived we were already going to be a little late for the meet, so went straight there without doing dinner. We made our way to the Adventurer's Club, and found that Laurie Johnson, her friend Kari, and Kenny Cottrell were already there. We ordered a couple of Kungalooshes, and settled down in the Mask Room to chat. (In the photo, left to right: Kenny, Laura, Laurie, Kari.) No one else showed up, but we had fun visiting with everyone. After a while Lee decided he was going to expire from hunger, so we said goodbye and went off to find something to eat - we ended up at Wolfgang Puck Express on the West Side. There were several employees from the Wolfgang Puck restaurant next door that were getting food to go - if the employees actually eat there it must be good! Lee had a pizza and I had a really good sandwich. We struck up a conversation with George, the manager (it was "Talk to CM Day" for us :-) ), who is originally from Hawaii. He was doing a great job making sure the restaurant ran smoothly and the customers were happy - we saw him manning a register and getting drink refills. He had also lived in San Diego for a while.
It was after midnight, but fortunately the bus back to Boardwalk arrived fairly quickly and wasn't very full.
The Swan was all lit up overlooking our room when we got back, but the lights were off before we went to bed - Lee says the Swan was off doing nefarious Swan things. Hmmm.
Tomorrow is Disney/MGM Studios - we're going to try to do the Fantasmic Dinner
package after the RADP ToT Meet.
Go to Part 1
Go to Part 3
Go to Part 4
Go to Part 5
Text and photographs copyright © 1999, by Laura Gilbreath and Lee Zimmerman. Feel free to link to this document, but you may not redistribute it in any form without the express written consent of the copyright holder.Laura Gilbreath, firstname.lastname@example.org
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