Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 7 - Disney's Animal Kingdom


Here it is, Day 7 ... our second day of being stranded in Disney World. Today Hurricane Irene is due to hit at home. Originally they predicted that it would come towards evening, but as we watch TV before leaving for Disney's Animal Kingdom this morning, we are watching the effects that the storm is having already. Flooding at the Battery in Manhattan, and flooding of many neighborhoods on Staten Island. My son's house is in the evacuation zone, and mine is just blocks from it. I worry that my backyard furniture may be a problem, but there is nothing I can do about it from here. My brother has taken his family to Pittsburgh to get out of the way of the storm. We watch for a while, and then since there is nothing we can do, head off to Animal Kingdom for the day.

As it has been since we have been in Disney World this trip, it is another hot day. Animal Kingdom has always been the hottest of the Disney World theme parks because of the vegetation and other factors, so we know that we will not last the whole day even before it begins. As we sit waiting for the bus we can feel that it is another very hot, and very humid day. We arrive at Animal Kingdom and while I go through security rapidly, my wife encounters a woman who is very thorough and goes through her backpack with a fine tooth comb. When she finds the pen that holds my medicine she demands to see me before she lets my wife through. Ironically, it was taking so long that I had almost told my wife that I would meet her inside the park, so I could take some pictures while I waited. However, I was nearby and eventually my wife was passed through.

As usual, first thing we do is head back to Africa to get our fastpasses for the safari. They are valid in only about a half hour from now, so we decide to go on the standby line first and then use our fastpasses for a second trip when we are finished. While many of the animals are not to be seen - they can opt to stay backstage any time they want, and with the weather the way it is, I suppose many did just that - the ones that are out and about present some great photo opportunities. There is a lot of traffic out this morning, and we get to stop at many places for good views. (You can see some of my best photos from today's safari here, as well as all of my photos from the safari and the rest of the day here.) Between the two trips we walk past the section of the trail from which you can see the gorillas and find a solitary silverback sitting in the shade munching on a snack, so I decide to take this picture. Once that is done, we continue back to the fastpass entrance to the safari for our second trip.

Once we do both safaris, my wife and I decide it is time to get something to eat. It is so hot that neither of us want to eat outdoors or a heavy meal, so we decide on restaurantosaurus. It is very crowded so we split up to try to find a table which we simultaneous do. We decide to use the one she found, and proceed to get our lunch. 

One of my wife's favorite things to do in Animal Kingdom (or most typical amusement areas for that matter) is play the carnival games, and Hester & Chester's Dino-Rama provides this opportunity for her. I, on the other hand find a seat to sit on while she does. It is now the hottest part of the day, and the heat and humidity are starting to get to me, so when she is done, and we notice that it is almost showtime for Finding Nemo The Musical, we take the short walk and head into the show. It's nice and cool here, and we sit down and watch the show - something we always enjoy.

By the time we exit the show, we decide that it is time to leave Animal Kingdom for the day. My wife wants to head Downtown Disney to the Marketplace where we will have dinner and she can spend some time looking around The World of Disney. 

Dinner here is at Earl of Sandwich, perhaps the best food bargain on the entire property. Even without my daughter we get a discount using our AAA membership. Once done, my wife heads into The World of Disney and I find a seat in the outdoor theater in front of the store to sit and relax a bit, giving her as much time in the store as she wants. Surprisingly she comes out quickly, and even more surprisingly without any purchases. So it is time for dessert and that means going to Ghirardelli's for some ice cream!

Finally, we head back to The Boardwalk and watch the news to find out how NYC has weathered the hurricane.

(Don't forget that you can see some safari pictures here and all of the pictures from today here.)

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