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July 28, 2011 / milesandhisfavorites

Live Magic: Visit Gupta’s Gear!

Remember that movie about that board game?  Remember that episode of The Twilight Zone?  Remember that man who was raised by apes (either one, actually)?  What do all of these things have in common?  Jungles.  And jungles are what Disney’s Animal Kingdom is all about.

Due to Extra Magic Hours (a privilege that only Resort guests can enjoy), we could get into AK an hour early, putting us ahead of about 25% of Park guests.  Maybe only 20%.  Those are some smart tourists.  Once the gates FINALLY opened, we bypassed the Oasis exhibits and-sorry, am I getting ahead of myself?  I’ll sum it up in a sentence: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, like SeaWorld and Busch Gardens, display both animals AND rides.  Sometimes a combo of both.  There we go.  Anyway, we ventured into Asia via the center area known as Discovery Island, and Mom and Dad Fastpassed the chilling roller coaster Expedition Everest.  After that, we headed on over to Africa to try our hand at Kiliminjaro Safaris.  Somewhere along the way, we encountered the plant golem-esque creature DeVine, who is amazingly good at concealing herself.

Can You Spot Her?

Okay, Kilimanjaro Safaris, which is the ride we went on, takes place in the fictional Harambe Wildlife Preserve, in the village of Harambe, where the Africa area takes place in.  Harambe used to be controlled by the Dutch, but a peaceful rebellion won its freedom.  Peaceful.  That’s Disney for you.  Y’know, except for the wild Yetis and Carnotaurus trying to devour you.  That’s for later.  Anyway, you basically go through a queue displaying wildlife documentaries, and then you board your tour vehicle, an open truck called Simba 1.  Another thing with AK-the Lion King references.  Then, you go through African forests, grasslands, etc, all the while watching live animals.  It’s the closest thing most of us will ever come to a real African safari.  And we saw: ostriches, elephants, lions, bongos, hippos, Nile crocodiles, giraffes, gazelles, and the giant-horned Ankole cattle.

Another Creature-Rhinos!

Right about then, Mom and Dad’s Fastpasses activated, so to speak, so we hightailed it on over to Asia, where the two of them went on it.  According to them, it was truly epic.  I suppose I should mention Dino Land USA, too.  DLU is one third tourist attraction, one third dig site playground, one third thrill ride, and one third dinosaur museum.  Yes, that’s four thirds, but there is a LOT to do.  One piece of DLU is a tourist trap carnival place with a small roller coaster and the prehistoric answer to the Dumbo ride in the Magic Kingdom-the TriceraTop Spin.  Another piece is the Boneyard, a massive playground with the theme of a dig site.  Yet another piece is DINOSAUR, a thrill ride that I didn’t go on because of my dislike of thrill rides.  Still, minus the drop, the Audio-Animatronic dinosaurs make it all seem sort of worth it.

Also, time to focus on my favorite part of AK-the theming!  Even though Asia was NOT my kind of attraction hotspot, I still loved how realistic everything was.  I mean, there are fake stores (like Gupta’s Gear, which it turns out is also part of the Expedition Everest queue), torn up posters, and old stone courtyards where you can eat!  Even the ice cream stands are rethemed with paintings!  A similar thing goes on at Harambe, only they took it a step further by adding apartment buildings.

There are also a lot of entertainers at Animal Kingdom.  We saw DeVine, Baloo and that orangutan king from The Jungle Book, a cool drum-playing man who really is from Africa, possibly among others.  The point is, Animal Kingdom rules!  Oh, and now for one of the other things we did: visit the show Finding Nemo: The Musical, based for some reason in Dinoland USA.

The musical closely follows the plot of the film Finding Nemo, except for it being song-filled, and drastically shortened.  Now here’s a funny bit-at the beginning of the musical, a sound system issue had us waiting in the dark for about fifteen minutes, so they had to redo the number, so Marlin was like “Okay, NOW it’s your first day of school, and we’re STILL excited!”

But some of the real excitement came at night.  Eli requested that we revisit the Magic Kingdom, only we do it while everyone’s tied up watching the Main Street Electrical Parade and the fireworks.  I’m telling you, that kid is a pest, but he sure can be smart!  First, we dropped by Tomorrowland, where we blasted aliens on the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, and rode through Space Mountain on the Transit Authority PeopleMover.  Unfortunately, we got stuck on the latter, which completely turned me and Eli off to any idea of getting on Space Mountain, which I suppose was a real bummer for Mom and Dad.  Then, we headed to Fantasyland, where we got Fastpasses for Peter Pan’s Flight, which was probably the most crowded line at that time of night.  In Fantasyland, we killed time by going on the Mad Tea Party (what was I thinking, giving Eli control of our teacup?) and Snow White’s Scary Adventures (now less scary, actually), and saw Mickey’s Philharmagic, whose title pun I was confused by until I heard of the phrase philharmonic.  After that, we boarded our mini-pirate ship and flew over London/Neverland/Really Scared Captain Hook Who Is Dangling Over The Jaws Of A Giant Ticking Crocodile.  Whew!  All in all, you can say that our third day in Walt Disney World was truly a blast!

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