This morning, we take the bus to the bus to Animal Kingdom. One bus takes us from our loop to the Outpost Depot where we catch the bus to Animal Kingdom. The only transport to Animal Kingdom is by bus or to drive your own car. We could have walked up to the Outpost from our site but in Disneyworld you get more than enough exercise in the parks.
It takes about 30 minutes to get there depending on how long you have to wait for either bus. I hope the rest of the animals here are less scary than this one at the entrance.
It took me several visits to Disneyworld before I even came to this park. I don’t like zoos. Zoos make me sad. Zoos make me angry with mankind.
But today I take 700 pictures in Animal Kingdom which has become my second favorite park after the Magic Kingdom. Don’t worry, I whittle it down and all the pictures will not be in this post.
Originally, I thought Animal Kingdom was just another zoo. Although I still don’t like the idea of wild animals in confined areas where they cannot be their wild and natural selves with unlimited space to run and hunt, I have to accept the fact that they will become extinct as their habitat is taken over by human need and greed. The poaching industry is still very active in many parts of the world and seriously threatens their extinction.
Before finally going to Animal Kingdom I spent time researching Disney’s animals and where they come from and why.
According to my research and several Animal Kingdom keepers, most came from other zoos, a handful of animals were originally from the wild. They came from wildlife officials who have rescued orphaned animals or are aninmals who were injured and could not be released back into the wild. Others were taken from endangered habitats.
Wiki states that Disney's Animal Kingdom is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, meaning they have met or exceeded the standards in education, conservation, and research.
This year I spent a day and a half here and next time I want to spend at least two days. This is not, as some say, a half day park. Unless………..
Unless what you want is to do a LOT of exciting attractions. The “rides” are here and they are fun and they can be done in half a day. But limiting yourself to that you miss the joy of Animal Kingdom. The joy is in the atmosphere. There is so much to discover in each of the areas that make them such separate and unique places.
Normally I would head immediately over to either Kilimanjaro Safari or Maharajah Jungle Trek but today David’s going to do the popular rides before the crowds kick in.
I have never been a big fan of roller coasters or rides that toss me around. Still I used to try them but by now I’ve accepted that my body reacts badly and I don’t feel well for some time after. David has no such problem so first thing we do to take advantage of being one of the first people in the park is to him off on the Kali River Rapids before a big line has time to form at stand by.
While he is doing that, I enjoy watching the Gibbons who live on an island shrine just across the bridge into Asia.
The Gibbons are members of the ape family, not the monkey family. They have longer arms and no tails.
The male gibbons are black and the females golden. The white-cheeked gibbon live in tropical forests in Vietnam with a life span of about 25 years. There is a new little addition to the family this year.
I head back across the bridge to try to get a picture of David coming down the last of the rapids. The sun is in my eyes and through the lens of my camera I can’t see the people in the raft clearly so I take pictures of several rafts that come by and it’s only when I’m looking at my pictures later that I see I barely got David before he went under the bridge in his kayak hat.
The raft goes around in circles and bumps into the sides. If he hadn’t gotten so wet doing this, I might suggested I do a second ride with him since it doesn’t look like there are any steep drops or really sudden jerks from side to side that always throw me up off the seat.
There he goes, under the bridge backwards.
Instead we hurry over over to Expedition Everest, a true roller coaster. Again I wait and take pictures of cars going up the mountain and coming down the mountain. Again I am taking directly into the early morning sun. Sure wish this camera had a back lighting setting.
Up they go.
Down they come. If you like roller coasters and like to scream, this is the ride for you.
I’m still taking pictures trying to get something decent when he comes up behind me.
Who knows if he’s in any of the pictures.
Now that the popular rides are over, we are free to just wander around Asia on our way to my absolute favorite thing in Animal Kingdom. We can wander through the town of Anandapur and along the Chakranadi River to the Maharajah Jungle Trek. Other than that all the other people around me are “American Tourists”, I really do feel like I’m in Asia somewhere. The attention to detail is impressive.
We walk through the Anandapur Royal Forest described as a tropical forest of trees, ruins and wild animals.
The first animal we see is the komodo dragon. He’s huge. He doesn’t really look like a dragon but boy is he a big big lizard. That hole on the side of his face is his ear.
He’s not too scary but then we come to the giant bats. Luckily they are night fliers and are mostly asleep when we find them. They are not behind glass. But there is a bypass so you can skip them if you like. I find them fascinating.
They are the Rodrigues Fruit Bat and the Malayan Flying Fox bat. They sometimes wrap themselves in their paper-thin wings to preserve body heat or fan themselves to stay cool.
The Rodrigues are sometimes referred to as "golden bats" because of their mantle of golden fur that covers portions of their head, neck, and shoulders in sharp contrast to the dark brown fur over the rest of their body. Rodigues is a small volcanic island in the Southwestern Indian Ocean.
The Malayan Flying Fox is among the largest of the bats and has a wing span of 6 feet. They are largely nocturnal and feed on fruit and nectar. I find it amazing that they sleep holding on to the vines or limbs or in this case ropes provided for them.
All throughout the Animal Kingdom are trained staff to answer any questions and tell you all about the animals or the country you are visiting. Some of these are well trained college interns, some have been here for years and are vastly knowledgable.
We walk further on and I find myself holding my breath just hoping that the Asian Tigers will still be out. They are most active in the early morning and evening.
Luck is with me sort of, I spot one of the tigers over in a corner resting. It’s hard to get a picture from such a distance and behind the foliage but the beauty of this animal is breathtaking.
The tigers have a large area with several water features since they love to swim. We walk on through the “ruins” to see if others are out in other areas. There are several tiger area viewpoints. It’s important to slow down and notice the details here. The atmosphere creates the feeling that you’ve come to some new and exotic place.
My heart skips a beat when ahead I see someone with a camera pointed in the direction of another tiger viewing area. I try not to run.
Really hoping she’ll go for a swim.
But perhaps she already has as she turns back up and away from the water.
When she lays down near the wall, she looks kind of sleepy.
My guess is a nap will come after this yawn.
She is just the most glorious creature. I can’t stop taking pictures of her. I could stay here all day, seriously.
How can they be so endangered? I am disgusted with my species. This beautiful animal should be wild and free.
Reluctantly I move on with such mixed feelings about my gratitude that I can experience such startling magnificence and sadness that this tiger is “on display” for us. But at least they aren’t behind bars. Thanks to Disney for helping to save them and provide as large and natural a place as they could. To read more about all that Disney has done for the tiger, click this link.
As you can tell from the length of time since my last post, I’m having a difficult time doing these so I think I’ll stop here since anything after the tiger is bound to be anti climactic. Hopefully it won’t take me as long to post the rest of our day in the wonderful Animal Kingdom.