Our first stop was to see The Festival of the Lion King. This is 30 minutes of non stop tribal singing and dancing with a centre stage and 4 side stages allowing the audience maximum viewing. Dancers dressed in magnificant swahli costumes, costumed stilt walkers, animated animals including a giraffe, elephant, lion and Timon (the warthog) along with Pumbaa, the Meercat ( who had the starring role) told the story of the Lion King. This was breathtaking and had we had time we would have gone back for a second show. It was very difficult to take photos because of the amazing energy displayed by the dancers but Duncan took a video which is excellent.
We then walked along the greeting trails where the Disney characters were waiting to talk to, and have their photo taken, with patrons. Of course I found Minnie (who is my favourite) dressed in a Safari outfit.Once again there were shops selling all sorts of Disney apparel, gifts, hats and caps, Disney swap pins, and markets.
The park is divided into themed areas including Africa, Asia, Dinoland U.S.A. Discovery Island, the Safari Area and Exhibition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. This has a walk through museum as you queue for the roller coaster telling the story of, and showing findings including footprints of, the Yeti (a.k.a the Abominable Snowman). As with Magic Kingdom we had determined what was of interest to us and what we thought we could do in the time we had so off we went to Africa to experience the Kilmanjaro Safari. An open-air vehicle took us through an African-style savanna where we saw large alligators, gazalles, giraffes, elephants, rhinos, hippos, and lions roam freely. We had to wait several times while giraffes grazed right beside the roadway and then wandered in front of the vehicle. There was also a huge flock of flamingos, flamboyant and colourful birds.
We went whitewater rafting on the Kali River Rapids down the waters of the Chatranadi River. 6 people on each raft and I think Duncan and I got the seats positioned to cop the most amount of water as we were drenched. All part of the fun.
Still in Africa we walked along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. Here we saw troupes of gorillas, an underwater hippo viewing area, birds of all varieties large and small, meerkats and more.
From Africa we travelled to Asia where we headed straight for Exhibition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountains. We walked through the museum and viewed exhibits relating to the Yeti (amazing really, makes one wonder whether there is actually any truth to the sightings) to the high-speed train (roller coaster). After the last two roller coasters I had been on I thought ok I’m up for another one. I only live once. Ha what had I let myself in for. Up the top of the mountain, down twisting and turning all the way and then up through a tunnel where the train then reverses and goes backwards down the tunnel. For the finale a hairraising ride down 70feet. When we got off I was literally shaking but hey I did it! Duncan enjoyed every minute and couldn’t wait for the next one.
The time was getting away and we wanted to go back to Magic Kingdom to see the Main Street Electrical Parade and the Wishes Fireworks. We decided on one more stop at Dinoland U.S.A. We were disappointed here as some attractions were closed and others had long waiting times.
We did wander through The Boneyard where there are the giant bones of a Brachiosaurus dinosaur standing 52 feet tall and more than 80 feet long. This replica has been cast from bones discovered in Colorado, U.S.A. in 1900. The original is now in the Field Museum in Chicago.
At the centre of the Park is the amazing Tree of Life. This icon of Animal Kingdom is themed around Animal Conservation and is an illusion of a real tree covered with man made leaves. It is 145 feet tall and has 400 animal carvings. No photo could do it justice.
As it was close to the Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade we decided to watch this before taking the bus back to Magic Kingdom. The Disney characters danced along the streets waving and greeting children, allowing parents to take photos and floats intertwined with dancers from the shows. Quite a spectacle as is everything associated with Disney World.
We made our way along with hundreds of other patrons towards the buses. They leave every 20 minutes so there is not a lot of waiting around (however I am sure in peak and holiday times this would not be the case). We were really looking forward to going back to Magic Kingdom, having some dinner, getting another couple of gifts and watching the parade and fireworks but that is for another blog. Until then I hope you are enjoying sharing our time at Disney World and that we can share our memories and photos with you when we get back. Love from SilvernomadsinFlorida.