Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wild Animals

One thing I can say for the folks behind the Mouse - they keep coming up with entertaining ways for customers to be separated from their money.

When I found myself in Orlando for a few days, well...

Magic Kingdom train station

…it would have been rude not to visit the Mouse, right?

Magic Kingdom train station 1

Top two pictures: the entrance to the Magic Kingdom.

Disney Boardwalk 2

The Boardwalk resort area

Wide World of Sports globe

ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. The Atlanta Braves' pitchers and catchers had reported a day or so earlier, and could be glimpsed through a gap in a fence.

The main event, though, was the Wild Africa Trek in the Animal Kingdom. It was a mercifully cool morning for the trek - I couldn't imagine doing this in the heat of summer. After signing a waiver, we met our guides, Aaron and Kate. They helped our little group of twelve into vests that were strapped around the waist and around the legs. We were also outfitted with headsets that allowed Aaron and Kate to communicate with the group.

MHF at Disney Africa trek 2 21 12

Equipment check

We moved through the (Disney-made) woods until we reached an outcropping that overlooked a hippo-filled river. Each vest had a carabiner clip on it, and the clip was used to tether us to a steel structure so we wouldn't fall into the hippo's territory.


There was a similar tethering process for the walk across two faux-rickety bridges (the missing planks made crossing an adventure for the tiny 8-year-old girl among us) and the crocodile overlook.

Bridge crossing

The trek ended up at a waiting vehicle. We shed the vests and climbed in, whereupon we were driven across the faux-savanna. We shared the route with the standard Disney "ride" through the savanna, though our truck pulled off the route several times for an extended look at some of the animals. This handsome guy, for example,...


…a Watusi steer, decided to stop at the edge of the road and moo. He was apparently calling for his lady friends to join him. We had a decent view of the white rhinos as well:


We stopped at a pavilion for a "snack" - really a good-sized meal, contained in clever metal containers that latched closed. (The purple orchid on top was edible, though I managed only one petal.)


The lazy male lion was unwilling to pose for us. Later, however, inside the Asia section of the park, we spied this big cat:


The trek was on the pricy side, but well done. Come to think of it, that describes most of Disney.

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