Saturday, 22 March 2014

Disney World's Animal Kingdom

On our sixth and final day in Orlando, Angela, her mum and I visited Disney World's Animal Kingdom. This park wasn't open when I last came to Florida in 1996, so it was completely new to me. It felt a lot smaller than the other Disney parks, and seemed to me to be essentially a zoo with a few rides and other features tacked on. Still, it had all of the charm that you expect from a Disney World park, and provided a fun ending to our five-day marathon of theme parks.

Standing on Discovery Island not far from the main entrance is the Tree of Life, the park's main centrepiece.

All different kinds of animals are engraved around the trunk.
One of the first areas we explored was Asia, which is predominately based on Southern Asian settings, such as India and the Himalayas. You can see Mount Everest in the background.

Giant flying foxes.
In the Temple of Tigers.


Hindu ice cream.
Expedition Everest takes you on a train ride up into the Himalayas, where you encounter a menacing yeti. It was probably my favourite ride in all of Disney World, just for how original and unexpected a lot of it was.

Moving onto the Africa area.
Jung-Soon with her trusted giraffe staff.

On the lookout for gorillas in the bushes.

We saw a bunch of different African animals while on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride.
...including antelope...
...Nile crocodiles...
...and flamingos...
Later on, Angela couldn't resist getting a flowery face-paint to match her dress.

In Dinoland.

Back at the beautiful Tree of Life.

After leaving Animal Kingdom we drove back to Cape Coral, exhausted but satisfied with the dozens of rides and attractions we'd seen over the last few days. Of the three Disney World parks and two Universal Studios parks we visited, here are my top 5 attractions:

5. Test-Track - Disney World's Epcot - design your own car and then take it for a fast-paced test-drive.
4. Expedition Everest - Disney World's Animal Kingdom - a very creative rollercoaster including an unexpected backwards-corkscrew part.
3. Dragon Challenge - Islands of Adventure - combines two overlapping, exhilarating rollercoasters in one ride.
2. Jurassic Park: The Ride - Islands of Adventure - one-ups Disney World's classic jungle cruise by incorporating dinosaurs as well as an awesomely unexpected log-flume descent.
1. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman - Islands of Adventure - this amalgamation of 3D comic book characters and moving city interiors just keeps on throwing one crazy thing after another at you, making you the star of an elaborate three-minute action scene.

That about sums up our vacation-within-a-vacation. Our time in Florida is nearly at end, so expect one more post before we start our travels in Asia!

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