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

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The Tiger Made My Day

Sunday December 7, 2014
Fort Wilderness Campground


We made it to Fort Wilderness the back way from Salt Springs and were in our site by noon.  We’ve got some Disney Decorators across the road from us.  I’m amazed at some of the displays around the Fort Wilderness Campground.   People really go all out. 

When we put the dolly in the overflow parking lot there were an amazing number of box trailers of all sizes, some with Disney decorations on them.  We wondered if people towed all those here for the holiday.  And further wondered if they spent the whole month of December here and if they owned Chase Manhattan Bank in order to afford it. 

David thinks people know the inside scoop on how to do this inexpensively.  Wish they’d let me in on the secret.

The Duckies are enjoying their view.  I was too tired tonight to go around and get some of the lighted displays but I’ll try on another day.


We arrive at the check in and they give us these magic bands.  This is new since our last time here and of course the first time we try to use them, they don’t work.  So we have to wait at guest services to get things straightened out.



We grab some lunch and head for Animal Kingdom. This requires a 20 minute bus ride to get there and a 15 minutes wait for the bus to come.  We’re cutting into our day.  We get a private chauffeured ride.  No one else is on the bus.  We are thinking this is a good omen in terms of crowds.   HA!   They are just all already there.



Just as we arrive, Carrie calls to wish me a Happy Birthday.  I talk with her and describe this great Christmas tree with its fabulous ornaments.














Since we  have less than half a day now we decide to take a look at the two areas in Animal Kingdom which we did not see last time we were here, Asia and DinoLand.

We made short work of Dino.  A walk through pretty much took care of it.   Looks like it would be great for the preschool kids who are fascinated with Dinosaurs. Perhaps those of you who have more experience can tell us what we missed.

But one thing in DinoLand we did do is see Finding Nemo the Musical.  Seems like an odd place for it since everything else has to do with Dinosaurs, but it is a wonderful show with giant puppets.   It helps a lot if you’ve seen the movie or know the story.







Next we head over to Asia, the other thing we  had not seen last time we were here. 

Each of the separate areas of the parks in Disneyworld has the most fabulous scenery and architecture.  No matter where you go, you feel like you are really there.






We spend most of our time on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, a self guided tour of Southeast Asian animals.  The very first thing we see is the Komodo Dragon.   He is a SERIOUSLY LARGE lizard.   He’s 7.5 FEET long and weighs from 160 pounds to 200 pounds.  These pictures just don’t give you a sense of how really big he was.








Animal Kingdom also has a bat house that you can visit. We went in but unfortunately for us we were too late to see the fruit bats. They are out in the morning and early afternoon.  My advice for visiting any of Animal Kingdom is to go in the morning when the animals are out and about. The later in the day you come, the less you will see.

But we didn’t miss the birds.  They were out of guides when we started walking though the area and we stayed until they closed it down so I was only able to get the identities of two of these beautiful birds and they both amazingly were pigeons.

The first pictures are obviously of ducks and the final ones look a lot like a peacock to me but I couldn’t find a positive id on line. 






I just couldn’t believe this.  I always thought our wood duck looked unreal so colorful were its feathers.  This duck looks even more unreal.   Nature is just so stunning!




I was surprised to find out that these two are both pigeons.  They sure don’t look  like ours.  This one is the Victoria Crowned Pigeon.  Look at that crown.





This is the shy  Nicobar Pigeon.   I think he is pretending none of us is here.



A peacock?



This is a photograph of the feathers on the tail of this remarkable bird.






But THE MOST FANTASTIC animal of the entire day was the Sumatran Tiger.  According to Wiki  “The Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris sumatrae) is a rare tiger subspecies that inhabits the Indonesian island of Sumatra. It was classified as critically endangered by IUCN in 2008 as the population was estimated at 441 to 679 individuals, with no subpopulation larger than 50 individuals and a declining trend.[1]

The Sumatran tiger is the only surviving member of the Sunda Islands group of tigers that included the now extinct Bali tiger and Javan tiger.[2] Sequences from complete mitochondrial genes of 34 tigers support the hypothesis that Sumatran tigers are diagnostically distinct from mainland population

The docent on duty told us that there were 11 tiger species and we have managed to care so little about them that 6 of them are now extinct.  They continue to be  hunted for their trophy heads and  for bush meat.  In addition their habitat is being destroyed for farmland for expansion of palm oil plantations.   It is just so sad.  I am so embarrassed to be part of the human race.

I know there are too many pictures of this gorgeous tiger but you should see how many there were before I cut it down to these.    She is just exquisite!!




















Here is the map of what was once the territory of the tiger world wide and what it is today.  I can not wrap my mind around how we could let this happen to this gorgeous and wonderful creature.




From the Trek we make our way past the Tree of Life with its beautiful carvings.  It is the center of the Animal Kingdom and rightly so.




The komodo dragon and others.



We are heading to Africa where we find this wonderful group of musicians and a dance party ensues.  I couldn’t get many pictures of the fun since I was too busy dancing.  Great music!






We’ve come to see the Lion King.   It’s a really wonderful show and a great way to close out a day in the Animal Kingdom.














Tomorrow we head for the MAGIC KINGDOM.   I’ve got my mouse ears ready!!



  1. I'm sure the folks getting into Disneyland less expensively than you have given away tons of their personal information in order to get discounts. I don't think that's your style, and it certainly wouldn't be mine!

    I took 2 of my sons to see Epcot when I went to Florida on a business trip in the 1980's. It was interesting, but I'd never go back, and I wouldn't go anywhere near a Disney kingdom, a princess or anything with mousey ears. You certainly got some amazing bird and tiger photos. The eyes of that tiger are astonishing!

  2. Oh Happy Happy Birthday! And what a perfect place to celebrate.

    When I RVed with a friend at Disney many Decembers ago I was flabbergasted by all the Christmas decorations. I think FL residents get a cheaper rate, but still not cheap.

    Such a wonderful first day. And you're right about how Disney makes an environment so real. The birds are brilliant. But the Tiger is over the top. You got some excellent shots with her eye contact. I'd say you're about ready for a true African safari.

    BTW, did you intentionally put word verification back on?

    1. If anyone else is seeing word verification let me know. I just checked and my blog isn't set to do it. I found this with someone else's blog yesterday. What's google up to now?

  3. Most excellent pictures of the Tiger and Birds. Happy Birthday!

  4. I could watch the tigers all day, its my favorite part of AK. No, there's no secret, no discounts, and Florida residents can get good discounts on passes and most of the resorts, but NOT Fort Wilderness. We even lost the AAA discount we used to have, and NO annual passholder discount. Its one reason we are cutting our visit shorter this winter. So glad to see you enjoying your stay; its one of the crowded areas I still enjoy :-).

  5. I don't know which appeals to me more, the tiger or the komodo, but both are magnificent creatures.

  6. Those ducks are beautiful, but I agree, the tiger topped my list. Your pictures are so beautiful. I've been to Disneyland a couple of times, but never Disney World. Happy Birthday to you!! Have lots of fun. I can't picture you dancing. But If I were seeing Lion King, I'd probably be out there dancing with you. Loved that movie and music.

  7. Those close up lion pics are fabulous! What a majestic animal.

  8. Happy Birthday Sherry!!!! Love the ears!!! My kind of glitter!! Your pictures are so GREAT!!! We saw the Lion King too, it was a really good show!

  9. What a perfect place to spend your birthday :) That tiger IS magnificent!

  10. Don't know how you do it. We are so exhausted at the end of a day at Disney we could never get a blog post written. But sure glad you did...wonderful photos. Tiger shots are wonderful. We loved the Lion King show:o)) Great start to your Birthday Celebration:o))

  11. What a great way to celebrate your birthday! Have fun!

  12. What a fun birthday you had. One of these days we really need to get back to Disney. It definitely is an amazing place. The first time we went there back in 1974, it had just been built and I think the tickets cost about $5 a person!

    Love the tiger pictures. Isn't it nice to have such an amazing zoom?

  13. So how excited is Pooh about seeing Tigger across the street?! He must be driving the duckies crazy with all the stories.......if he's missing one morning you'll know where he is :-) I know nothing about Disneyworld so the animals are a big surprise - and they are wonderful to see. I love the dragons, they are so magical in their own way. Our pigeons must be those pigeons poor relations! The tiger really holds you with her eyes, so wise, so forgiving. Of course you both danced!
    Nothing says Birthday Girl like sparkly mouse ears....they are surprisingly very "you". Happy belated birthday - although I'm an advocate for celebrating the whole month!

  14. Happy Belated Birthday! I'm with you on the tiger. What a gorgeous face! But that colorful duck is also a very handsome creature.

  15. Happy Birthday, Sherry!! What a wonderful place to spend it.

    I understand that buying tickets is much cheaper for Florida residents, especially season passes. It sure is expensive, isn't it!

    That looks like one mean dragon! But some of those birds are beautiful and I love that duck that looks like an exquisite wood duck.

    The tiger is just beautiful. So sad to see it in captivity.

    Enjoy the rest of your visit:)

  16. Happy Birthday, Sherry! How fun that you're celebrating in a place you enjoy so much! Love your glittery mouse ears. :-) The tiger is so majestic, and the birds are so beautiful. I wonder how they acquire their animals?

  17. Your tiger pictures are stunning! I don't know how you could stop from taking even more pictures of that beautiful animal. I can't understand how mankind can be so cruel and hunt this amazing creatures.

    We have been so fed up with waiting for bus transportation to Animal Kingdom that we drive our car. You just take the paper pass you got when you checked in to FW and you can park for free. It certainly frees up time and makes the ride home after a long day so much easier.

    My dad came face to face with a Komodo Dragon in the jungle during WWII on the island of Saipan. He still talks about how much it scared him. :c)

  18. So many animals!! That tiger is gorgeous. So majestic and royal and so sad that their territory is now so limited and other species extinct. Those birds are pretty too. Love the tree of life. So artistic! Truly an animal kingdom. Glad you got to take it all in and dance on your birthday :)

  19. What fun! It's been years since we've been to Animal Kingdom. But we'll be in Magic Kingdom in just about a month. Looks like it isn't horribly crowded. I think you've picked a good time to be there.

  20. What a great way to spend your birthday, happy belated birthday. Haven't been to WDW since '96, it sure has changed.Love the big cats...

  21. Cheers to a belated birthday! Sure looked like you had a blast at the animal kingdom. That Komodo Dragon sure looked like the Monitor Lizard we saw when we were in Palawan Island recently.

  22. Love the super-bling-y Minnie ears!


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