Monday, September 25, 2023

Disney's Animal Kingdom

More Florida Disney World fun awaited us today.

Ernie's probably having some pretty weird dreams at this point. "I hung out with Alice and Wonderland then sang "Yo Ho, Yo Ho!" with a bunch of skeleton pirates."

I had never been to Disney's Animal Kingdom and never really had a burning desire to. It's not that I disliked it or heard bad things or anything. I think I mostly just hadn't heard anything at all. Plus since we've been on real safaris in Africa I didn't feel like I needed to go to see the animals necessarily. It turns out it's a pretty cool place.

We started off with a lunch buffet at Tusker House Restaurant. It was described as "a colorful marketplace eatery featuring Disney Characters and a buffet menu brimming with African-inspired flavors."

The Disney character thing is a lot more fun as an adult than I would have expected before I came to these type of restaurants. Out in the park you often have to wait quite a while in line to get a picture with a character, but here you can just chill and stuff your face in the air conditioning and the characters will come to you. I guess the setting might not be quite as cool but... cool enough. Daisy Duck was over here trying to sneak a swig of my beverage.

Which leads me to an awesome thing about Animal Kingdom: they have booze. I like booze. Also it was really damn hot out today so it was nice to have the occasional cold beverage.

The theming was pretty nice I thought.

The food was decent.

Lydia got a cocktail with a color changing light in it.

I was really impressed with the theming that was happening all over this park. They weathered everything to make you feel like you were in a remote village in the Himalayas or who knows where. It was very cool. Look at this Coke cooler!

Everyone knows that bordering Nepal is the planet Pandora from the Avatar movies.

On the Avatar Flight of Passage ride you get to experience riding a flying Banshee creature thing.

There were more "lean forward like you're on a motorcycle" things similar to yesterday's Tron themed ride.

I've watched a lot of Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers on tv as a kid and I was severely tempted to invest in these ears.

The Maharajah Jungle Trek was cool because we could push Ernie around in his stroller and see all kinds of cool stuff.

The Photopass photo opportunities are fun. You can see they randomly insert characters into some of the photos.

The Dinoland USA area of the park was an exception to the cool theming in other areas of the park. It was kind of dumb and wasn't very immersive. I guess some renovations to this area were recently announced and I'd say that is a good move.

There were plenty of rides that Ernie-sized humans could ride. Kilimanjaro Safaris was a nice training run for when I take the big man on a real safari somewhere one of these days. I read that they purposefully jacked up the texture of the "road" our safari vehicle was traveling on to recreate the bumpy ride of the real thing. On our Kenya safari we spent a decent amount of time trying to pull out other vehicles that were stuck in the mud, so..  road was bumpy, can confirm.





After being in the sun for a bit I was happy to do some Pandora cave traveling on the Na'vi River Journey.

The park closed stupidly early: like 7pm. I thought that was a scam. Anyway Lydia and I hurried over and rode the Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain ride while it seemed everyone else was on their way home.

According to Wikipedia it "is the only roller coaster at Disney's Animal Kingdom, and the tallest roller coaster at any Disney theme park." "At 199.5 feet (60.8 m), it is the tallest attraction at Walt Disney World, beating The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney's Hollywood Studios by 6 inches (15 cm). Disney keeps all of its attraction buildings under 200 feet (61 m) because aviation laws require structures of that height and taller to have a blinking red light beacon for low-flying aircraft, which would take away from the theming of their attraction."

Back at the Airbnb I showed Ernie how to be amazing at 1991 arcade games. He was very impressed and said that it was an absolute honor to have inherited my genes.

We checked out an Orlando Walmart and I expected some Disney merch but nothing quite like this.

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