Continued from Part 1.
The website’s long, bitter, public, and occasionally violent war with Tom Bricker (@wdwfigment) continues. Cool handle bro:
I would not bother looking up his vile, slanderous comments towards me.
Other than his entire existence, the battle rages over the photogenic qualities of the Disney theme parks in Florida. Tom’s opinion is that Animal Kingdom is the “least photogenic,” whereas I have it second only to Magic Kingdom. Really, I don’t think this is much of a war, as we know in real life I’m actually Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York.
The fight will continue. That said, these are pretty fantastic.
And all I have are pictures of stairs. Actually, I used most of the tree-halo pictures in Part 1, so this isn’t going to be much of a photo exhibition. And I really can’t stress enough that I really don’t know what I’m doing and realize the ridiculous nature of offering photography advice after holding a nice camera for less than six months.
What I like most about Animal Kingdom is that absolutely everything is themed. This may or may not be the exit to Tusker House.
These are bathrooms. Ever seen a nice picture of (the exterior of) bathrooms at Epcot? Maybe Morocco. Definitely not Future World.
None of the attractions at Epcot scream, “I want a picture of this,” particularly with Test Track down. Photos on Ellen’s Energy Adventure can look cool, but Soarin’? Captain EO? Turtle Talk? Circle of Life? Mission: Space? O’ Canada? Impressions de France? Whatever that film is called in China? Figment, Maelstrom, and Gran Fiesta are okay….
Not in the same league as Everest and Safaris though.
This little hut is only used for a few minutes a few times a day, usually to show off an owl before Flights of Wonder.
Is there a restaurant at Epcot as good looking as Yak & Yeti, on the inside or outside?
Probably, but I don’t think anything blows it away either.
And they have fine food. And conditioned air. Not going to see that everywhere.
Okay okay, it isn’t exactly the only replica ever taken of the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
But they have trees!
And Coca-Cola products (Buy Bosch)!
Want to compare seating here to Sunshine Seasons?
Or Electric Umbrella?
Or Liberty Inn?
And the bathrooms have those cool Dyson hand dryers. Take that generic brown paper towels, “Future World!”
And this is your view at Flame Tree Barbecue. You don’t even have to order anything to sit here and dialogue.
Or you can sit around the pond.
Why photograph this when you could photograph dust and dirt during Soarin’, the deteriorating globe at Mission: Space, or the cars in front of the Test Track All-Stars? I don’t have the answers to these questions!
While eating some of Disney’s best quick service barbecue.
My word it’s busy! I thought they said it was going to clear out with an hour and a half until close!
There had been some outrage (lol) that the building in the distance was not covered with trees and plants earlier in the month.
This is visible for about three seconds at the beginning of the ride, when everyone’s eyes are either gazing ahead at what’s around the corner or smiling at each other as one of Disney’s best attractions begins.
One thing I wish is that Disney could go Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on you and delete your memories of attractions, so they all feel new and fresh. Expedition Everest is still a ton of fun, but it would be even more thrilling if you didn’t know what was going to happen. If I could have one memory erased, it would probably be Everest.
Another area I think Animal Kingdom is underrated is food and beverage. I’d put Flametree Barbecue up against any Disney quick service. The Chicken and Vegetable Pasta Salad and Hot Italian Sandwich at Pizzafari are very good. Items that aren’t the Chicken Sandwich at Yak & Yeti are very good. I enjoyed that Grilled Chicken Sandwich over at Restaurantosaurus.
Not to mention the Pulled Beef Sandwich from Tamu Tamu or the Spring Rolls from Bradley Falls. And you can trust me, I’ve tried virtually every single item at virtually every single quick service. And with the excellent drinks at the Dawa Bar and Yak & Yeti Quality Beverages, plus the additional rum-based drinks at many locations, drinking around Animal Kingdom sounds fun. And Tusker House is on par with just about any Disney buffet, outisde of its more expensive cousin, Boma. Yak & Yeti is also very good and the interior is amazingly detailed. Rain Forest Cafe remains a safe choice and you don’t even need Park admission to eat there. Thinking about that long bus trip to Downtown Disney for lunch or early dinner at Rainforest? Come here instead.
We’ll hop on Kilimanjaro Safaris for a quick ride.
Here’s what they’re up to with the zebra area construction at the end of the ride. It sounds like they’ll show up next month.
One thing you can run into close to the end of the day is variable capacity attractions will be loading slower. Here at Kilimanjaro, they’re only boarding one truck at a time. I ended up waiting just under 15 minutes with only a couple truckloads of people ahead.
Miss you Wilson and find it hilarious that in the one picture I took of the monitor, he’s saying “poaching.” Of course, it helps that every other word is “poaching.”
I’m serious about missing Wilson.
While hokey, the story did help transport riders into Africa.
Without Wilson and Big Red, it feels like we’re taking a drive around a zoo.
Before they took Wilson away, I think I was of the opinion that removing most of the script would be a good idea.
Let the animals speak for themselves.
But with no story, there really isn’t much of a reason for us being out there.
And the fact that you can see the Wild Africa Trek people harnessed up also takes away from the realism.
This particular safari was not jam packed with animals.
But the giraffes are a slam dunk.
I’d take a few pictures on the Safari, but otherwise just enjoy it. It isn’t like 300 pictures of elephants are going into the family vacation scrapbook.
I think the consensus opinion that Safaris in the early morning see more animals is true. But I’ve never taken a bad one. Although we didn’t see many elephants and no rhinos, I got the best shot of the lioness I’ve ever taken.
I’ll say something that I’ve wanted to for some time. I’m not real happy with mother nature. Here is the world’s fastest land animal, but it’s lazy and overheats! It should be doing line sprints all day! And male lions sleep all day while their lady friends do all the hunting! WHAT IS THIS!
Like a boss. And don’t tell Simba I said that. And why are the villains always the best characters? Is there anyone cooler than Scar? I mean really.
I don’t usually judge, but man are you ugly. Mother nature….
So I think they need to come up with a new story. Wilson should be back. They could have always done without the robot elephant at the end. I don’t think anyone was thinking, “WILSON YOU ARE LYING LITTLE RED IS DEAD I DON’T SEE HIM/HER!” at the end. And nobody was thinking, “Oh good, Little Red really is alive!” after seeing the robot elephant with the shaking head.
One nice thing about the later Safaris is you usually take a few more minutes looking at the animals, since there’s less of a rush to get through there. Unfortunately, it was the truck in front of us that seemed to be deciding where we stopped, affording them a good view of the animals and us a view of grass and rocks.
I like to do the Safari twice, first thing in the morning and then closer to Park close. That way, you should see most of the animals.
How much is rent here? They are canceling my bus route come December and I am not happy about having to move.
The top of the Wildlife Express train station.
Q: What’s your favorite animal exhibit at the Animal Kingdom?
A: Both can be hit or miss depending on which animals are out. For theming and ease of seeing, Maharajah wins. The walkways are wider than Pangani and the entrance isn’t as obvious, so fewer people seem to visit. I like to walk Pangani during the 3:45pm Parade because it’s more difficult to get to Africa with Disney clearing the streets.
I guess we’ve already seen this picture. Pretend it’s a different truck.
Q: Is the super-chill music still played during the elephant section of the safari, what with Wilson being gone (WIIIIIILSOOONNNNN!!!!!) and all?
A: Yes, the driver decides that they’re tired of listening to whatever it is that you listen to before and changes the station. At least as far as I’ve experienced, the volume has been lower though.
Q: I’ve always wondered why Finding Nemo: The Musical is in DinoLand. What is the point of that?
A: I guess for the same reason Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor is in Tomorrowland. While Nemo is technically in DinoLand, it’s outside of the Chester & Hester/DINOSAUR/Restaurantosaurus area on the walkway over to Asia, so I don’t think most guests even equate it to being a DinoLand attraction. It basically sits by itself.
Q: What is causing the halo around many of the edges in your shots?
A: Bad in-camera HDR.
Current menu at Yak & Yeti Quality Beverages, which is located at a window on the right side of the building where you order.
Q: Where do you think we will be able to find the characters in their holiday outfits this year? In Camp minnie-mickey like always or somewhere new?
A: I don’t know. I hope it returns with the characters in Camp Minnie Mickey moving to Beastly Bazaar. I’m not sure Disney would bother with a holiday overlay if the Camp Minnie-Mickey characters are moved. It doesn’t make as much sense when it’s not part of the overall Goofy’s Winter Wonderland.
Q: I remembered that I have a couple of questions too. What is the status of the Discovery Island Trails by now? Have they finished putting up netting around the Tree of Life and opened all of the paths or are some still closed? Also, just where are those elusive red kangaroos located?
A: I didn’t check much on that and believe that most trails are still closed. I’ll check more closely next time. I have never seen a red kangaroo either. These answers aren’t going very well.
Q: Any word on festival of lion king moving and if so, when?
A: Unless a new contract is signed with the performers, it sounds like it will close in February.
Here’s 15 seconds of swinging monkeys.
Q1) So where is DiVine hanging out lately? Is she still on the path from Africa to Asia? I’ve always missed her and I really want to see her this time around.
Q2) Do the vet procedures at Rafiki’s Planet Watch happen 7 days a week or is it more of a M-F type thing and they only do weekends in emergencies? We want to see that but we are going to be there on a Saturday.
A1: Divine should still meet guests on the walkway that connects Asia and Africa in the back of Animal Kingdom, usually closer to Africa and Tamu Tamu Refreshments.
I’d look for her:
- 10:00am – 10:20am
- 10:50am – 11:10am
- 11:40am – 12pm
- 12:30pm – 12:50pm
- 1:20pm – 1:40pm
- 2:10pm – 2:30pm
A2: Surgeries of any kind creep me out, so that’s not something I would normally persue, but will ask the next time I’m at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. It’s my understanding that they’re more common in the morning, but couldn’t speak to days of the week.
Q: How are the beers at the bar in Africa?
A: It hasn’t been my experience that the Dawa Bar closed early. It was still operating as I sipped my Jungle Juice around 4:30pm. I like the Bedele Pilsner (Ethiopian) most and the St George Lager (Ethiopia) is also very good. Other than the Tusker Lager, any of those are going to be pretty rare to see outside of an Ethiopian restaurant I think.
Q: So what is Disneys official reasoning for no plastic straws at AK? I was trying to explain why they only had those paper ones when we were there but wasn’t 100% sure.
A: So the animals don’t choke and die.
For theme park touring advice, I recommend the forum.
Food and Wine Coverage up next.