Visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom

I sent my eldest daughter, Rebecca,  out to take a look at some of the going’s on at the theme parks just recently and she reported back to say that most parks still seem to have a lot of people in them. So much for the economic downturn.

It’s interesting that years ago in economic depressions we used to have food stamps and lines after lines just to get the basic necessities yet today the lines we see are for I-pads! At the end of the day, money is important but so is living life to the fullest and that seems to be the major mind shift I see . In the past people would scrimp and save to be able to afford a vacation whereas today, folks seem entitled to one and often run up their credit cards to do so. It worries me and I want to help do something about it… and you can help me by suggesting some things we can do at Florida Leisure to make sure you still enjoy your vacation but you don’t put yourself in economic jeopardy. Just leave a comment after this blog post with your ideas.

Back to Animal Kingdom. if you haven’t been then you are missing a treat. The park opened on 22 April 1998 and is actually the largest Disney theme park in the world coming in at around 500 acres. The park is themed around animal conservation and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If you don’t know, it means they have met and exceeded the standards in education, conservation and research.

The Tree of Life is the center piece of the park and everything leads from that. The tree is 14 stories high at 145ft tall and 50 feet wide and the park is made up of seven themed areas; Oasis, Discovery Island, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and DinoLand USA.

To enter the park you go through Oasis and it’s here you’ll encounter spoonbills, ducks, muntjacs, wallabies and giant anteaters. The Rainforest Cafe is also located near the entrance but be careful if you decide to eat here because you’ll need to present your ticket again to go back into the park.

Discovery Island is located at the center of the park  and it’s here you’ll find the Tree of Life. The parks biggest gift shops and largest restaurants are located here and each has a different design theme. Also at Discovery Island is “It’s Tough To Be A Bug!” , a comical 4-D film featuring appearances by Flik and Hopper from “A Bug’s Life”.

Camp Mickey is a themed rustic summer camp and it’s here you can meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy and many others. The live stage show “Festival of the Lion King” is also located here.

Africa is my favorite area of the park. It is set in the fictional east African village of Harambe and this is where you’ll find some of the fabulous animal exhibits. The village is the namesake of the Harambe Wildlife Preserve which is the fictional home of Africa’s main attraction, Kilimanjaro Safaris and you’ll get a fabulous tour of that by clicking on the video down below. On the Kilimanjaro Safari you climb aboard an open sided safari vehicle and you set out on expedition to see numerous African animals as they freely roam through acres of savanna, rivers and rocky hills. You’ll see giraffes, hippos, African elephants and lions. Once you’ve done the safari you can then explore the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and trek into the forest in search of gorillas. It’s really quite amazing.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch is actually the one section of the park that isn’t connected to Discovery Island. It is instead connected to Africa and it’s here that you can board the Wildlife Express Train to visit Habitat Habit, Conservation Station and Affection Section. All great areas to learn more about efforts to protect endangered primates, conservation efforts supported by the Walt Disney Company and animal care facilities.

Asia is home to Maharajah Jungle Trek, where you can visit Komodo dragons, fruit bats, tapirs and tigers. It is also home to the Kali River Rapids and you will get soaked if you venture onto this fabulous ride. Expedition Everest is also located here and its a nerve wracking roller coaster ride through the Himalayas.

DinoLand USA is the place to learn more about dinosaurs and it is also home to “Finding Nemo – The Musical” that is located in the “Theater in the Wild” as well as DINOSAUR, a thrill ride taking you back through time to the late Cretaceous period. There’s also a great playground for the kids called Boneyard.

All in all, Animal Kingdom is a great place to visit and to enjoy. It has a lot of fun stuff but it’s also an educational experience and you can’t help but marvel at all this planet really has to offer when you stop to think about it.  Enjoy the video:

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