Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Animal Kingdom

Friday January 11, 2013
Site 330 Fort Wilderness
Walt Disney World



Clearly there are animals in this kingdom.

It’s Birth Day Four!  Seems like a never ending birthday doesn’t it?
Some of that is because I’m behind again with this blog.
We are here for 5 days.


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And yes, it’s still Christmas too.   Disney’s trees are as magical as you’d expect.


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At the bottom of the tree among the packages is poor Eeyore.  If we’d known about Fred’s personality when he first came to live with us we’d have definitely named him after Eeyore.


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I have really mixed emotions about this.

I don’t like zoos and hesitated to come to animal kingdom until I was assured that these animals have come to the kingdom either because they were born in captivity, have been injured or can no longer live in the wild.  Animal Kingdom is 500 acres home to 1700 animals representing 250 species.  I have a hard time in some areas. especially with the primates section.


We begin at The Oasis where we see beautiful feathered macaws.  Nature’s colors at some of their finest.

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This guy knocks my socks off.


Somehow I had NO idea that an anteater wasn’t the size of say a dog.

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and look at that tail.  He and his tail are huge. 
And he eats ants.  Go figure! 
Nature – AMAZING!

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I am so busy looking closely at all the waterfowl that I don’t think to
record the names  or native lands of these beauties. 
More of nature’s amazing creatures.

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There are even special mouse ears for the Animal Kingdom.


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These are not all the animals we see in the oasis but this blog will be too huge to post if I were try show them all.




As we leave the Oasis, we come around to the bridge and there it is.


The Tree of Life.

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At 145 ft, this 14 story artificial tree has the images of more than 300 animals hand-carved into its trunk. The base of the Tree of Life is home to the 3D film "It's Tough to be a Bug".

This is one big and amazing tree.  David is wishing he’d been able to work on the creation of something like this.  More Disney jobs that sound like so much fun.


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Take a look close up at this “tree of life”

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We spend a long time marveling at this tree before we can tear ourselves away and go on to Discovery Island.



Lots of things to reconsider when you say you hate bugs.


We love this clever show “It’s Tough to be a Bug” where the bugs give you a taste of your own medicine.  We think we look mighty stylish in the “bug glasses”.   Although if there is reincarnation I don’t want to come back as one.


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I find the Pangani Forest trail area to be the most difficult for me.

There is information about the devastation to the animal population by the bush meat trade.  There seems to be no way to truly protect them.

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Also the forest industry is gobbling up their necessary habitat as we continue to build without regard for using sustainable forest products.



It is wonderful to see these animals but so sad that they cannot live the lives they were intended to live and largely because of human demands and desires.  I would much rather not ever see anything other than pictures of them if they could live out their lives in peace in Africa.


Colobus Monkey.
This is my favorite picture of all the ones I took in Animal Kingdom.

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Western Lowland Gorilla

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We take the Kilimanjaro Safari through the open lands to view the animals in their habitats. 

I guess they are trying to make the ride “authentic” by zooming around on the roads and grinding the gears but it made taking pictures very difficult.  The driver slows down for just a few seconds which is not long enough for my slow return camera to do its thing.  Not his fault, but this camera isn’t good for action that’s for sure.   So other than the jeep picture itself which I got from Disney, these were taken on the fly by, literally.  I am amazed that this ridiculously reckless driving didn’t seem to disturb the animals but not being one of them I can’t be sure.




Good thing they don’t have to go through a lot of doorways or get on trains with that head gear.

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I love giraffes and think many others do too.  What is it about them that we like so much?

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Isn’t it amazing?
Zebras all have different markings. 
Like our fingerprints.

I am surprised to see that some of them are more brown and white than black and white.  You can tell that I am not much of a zoo visitor.

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Now that’s a cute tail.

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We finish  the safari in time to get a great spot for the parade.

These little ones, waiting next to us, were just so beautiful I couldn’t help but add them to the highlights of our day.

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Next trip I”m going to get my face painted too.
The artist here did a great job.

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Couldn’t pass up this mouse eared bride.

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On to the parade.  Everybody’s on Safari.


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Here again, the detail and color are amazing.

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Even Chip & Dale have backpacks.

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Minnie doesn’t travel with the kitchen sink but she does bring her bathtub.

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Great bird masks on the stilt dancers

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Beautiful woodworking done on the spot.

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If there is a train, we ride it.


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We’re sure taking a lot of “stuff”.  That’s the water tower in the background from which they really do pull down a metal shoot and out comes the water for the steam engine.  We’ve seen this in all the Disney World Trains.

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This is Africa of course.

On our way to our final stop, Festival of The Lion King,we pass Mount Kilimanjaro which looks lovely in the distance.

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Daisy, with Huey, Dewey, Louie and that other duck are on their way too.

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Thanks to everyone who recommended we make sure to see this spectacular show. 


It was theater in the round so every seat was excellent.  Most of  the parades and shows in Disney World I could see again and again.  This is definitely one of them.  It is a great way to close out our day in the Animal Kingdom.


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Even set on fast action, my camera can not keep up with these performers.

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It’s just getting dark and the gates are closing.


I see this one last bird as we leave.

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Animal Kingdom closes at 5:00 on week days and 6:00 on week-ends,  much earlier than any of the other parks, in deference to the animals.  
I am very happy about this.  They could make more money on food sales and mouse ears and all the other “stuff”, but elect not to.  That’s my kind of corporate responsibility.


This is how things look as we head toward our bus after a wonderful day in which again, we only scratch the surface.  Happy about that too since it gives us more reasons to return. We never even made it to Asia or DinoLand USA.  I wonder if this really is the happiest place on Earth.

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Happy Birthday David!


  1. The truck may be fast, but you still got better pic's than me. Happy to hear you watched the parade, I love it!
    Hope you make it back to enjoy the rest of the park.
    Disney World is the happiest place on Earth!

  2. Wow, I love the tree of life! How impressive :) The pictures are all great and I really respect how you wove in your personal view on zoos into this blog - very well said, Mama, very well said. Looks like it was a fantastic day seeing all those animal kingdom faces and a great performance at the end! As I've said before...next time I want to be there too!! Sounds like there's so much more to see even than you saw - big place for sure!

  3. Boy! I"ll say, Happy Birthday, David... WHAT FUN!

    Love the Tree of Life ... the kiddos and well all of it... great pictures, Sherry!

    wanna go ~ ;)

  4. Ah ha! So Minnie figured out a way to get a tub in an RV. She better patent the idea fast.

    The AK is a unique place, we love it, so nice that you had a great time there. The animals on the Tree of Life are something to see, another clever Disney attraction.

  5. Well, David is choosing good birthday stuff. I didn't know Disney had a zoo.

  6. The bird with the black and orange beak is a male saddle-billed stork from Africa, we saw them when we were on safari in Tanzania. So many beautiful birds there! I love the Animal Kingdom, if you ever get a chance to take a "back stage tour" go for it, it is truly amazing and you can see how well cared for the animals are.

  7. Wasn't that Lion King show wonderful!!! It poured rain the day we were there.. & we rented scooters as we were fat & tired :)But also had a great day!!! I like the way they make it seem like you are truly in a 'different land'

  8. I share your dislike of zoos, and I think I turned that corner when I saw a huge silverback gorilla sitting behind a glass wall, just watching the humans with what looked like disgust. I think you could spend a whole day just looking at the tree of life.

  9. Amazing what Disney has done. Just lovely!

  10. The Tree of Life is magnificent. They were still building Animal Kingdom the last time we were there (a L-O-N-G time ago), so we definitely want to go back and see it.

  11. We more than likey will never make it to Disney World, but thanks to you and your great pictures Sherry and David, I feel like I have just been there. Thank you sooooo much for sharing. What a great birthday for you David.

  12. somehow we missed the parade ... and the show ... I guess we might have to go back to Animal Kingdom again after all! "Asante Sana" for taking us back there ... and you did with your photos from the safari.

  13. You look like you are having a great time. Making me want to go to Disney. Never been but I think we need to after seeing your post. I can see where zoos help to educate the public, but the poor animals suffer for it. I think I have been to a zoo 6 times in my life. I am like Gypsy they look so sad, and the pacing back and forth just tears at my heart. I'm glad you felt Disney was doing a good job.

  14. I love Disney World and spent a few days there at this time of year, 7 years ago. It's really a mixed bag with the animals. But then you just went on safari and didn't go all the way to Africa. You should see the size of the ant hills those eaters hang out by in the wild, taller than you or I.

    The Tree of Life is an awesome work of art. The parades are so festive, everything is so clean and colorful. Definitely a happy place.

  15. It looks like you really enjoyed Animal Kingdom. I'm glad you got to see the Tree of Life. We were amazed by it.

    I guess you've moved on by now.

  16. Festival of the Lion King is a wonderful production!!! Looks like a wonderful fourth birthday day:o)))

  17. Giraffes are such a wonderful example of adaptation. Glad you liked the show.

  18. Another great tour of what's available at Disney. I have heard that Animal Kingdom is not to be missed and now I know why. The Tree of Life is amazing.

  19. David is sure looking good. I am not sure I am a large crowd type of person, but your pictures certainly make it look inviting. Happy Birthday.

  20. Some day I'll maybe get to Disney. Ir's just never been high on my list of places to go. I'm so far behind in blog reading from the surgery that I don't think I'll ever catch up...

  21. Another Happy Birthday to David!

    I feel like I've been on an African Safari after seeing all of your wonderful photos. What a place.

    Like you, I have mixed feelings about zoos and usually stay away from therm. But, your explanation of why these animals are here makes a lot of sense.

  22. I have not seen this park yet, I really want to go back to see it. You do great photos of everything. it was not open last time we went to FL to Disney. Looks like it is warm too no coats.


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