Not moving very fast, we got to Animal Kingdom about 10 minutes before Extra Magic Hours ended, not as the park opened. We still followed the pattern Krissi and I used other years, and headed for the back of the park to the safari first thing. There was no real wait at safari, so we rode it immediately (instead of grabbing a FastPass to come back later). We had good animal viewing, especially the rhinos. There was a short hold just as our vehicle started out, and I think it was probably rhinos on the road as we later went by one almost close enough to touch from the vehicle. My photos weren't as successful, but I did get a few nice shots.
Safari done, we went to Pizzafari for a counter service breakfast, and also for some pin trading. Close by the restaurant is a pin stand in Harambe Market where we, of course, stopped to scan the pins and to trade with the cast member there--most cast members at pin stands, logically enough, will have pins to trade. The suprise was that she also had a pin book that we could go through, and it was one with great stuff--lots of things we were looking for, so that we wanted more than the allowed 2 pins each. It sounds like Animal Kingdom has put together this pin book in addition to the one at Guest Services and that it may roam from one retail location to another. At least on this day, the roaming one had a much better set of pins than the Guest Services book. We circled back later to the same pin stand and did another round of trading.
Next we went to the Festival of the Lion King show, then wandered across the park spotting a new character to me (Flik from A Bug's Life) and the always impressive tree lady. After that we went to the free-flight bird show Flights of Wonder, which had a couple of new birds in it. Funny how the story they use in FoW (bird-phobic tour guide has wandered into the show area and gets co-opted into the show) doesn't annoy me, but the one in the safari ride (poachers have stolen a baby elephant and we have to help find the mother elephant) does.
I think the cast member who does the tour guide is a big part of this--he's been doing the role the 3 years we've been down here, and he's very good and doesn't lean too hard on the preachy bits. The one new bird I was impressed with was the Red-Legged Seriema that slammed a rubber lizard into the ground over and over, replicating what it would do in the wild to 'tenderize' its prey for swallowing whole. I also always enjoy the pre-show, which this time had an eagle owl (I think) who was very interested in her surroundings, peering around intently.
The heat was getting to us by this point so we went early for our 2:30 reservation for Yak and Yeti and got a table. Laurie and I both ordered the duck, which unfortunately was overcooked and dry, only saved by the tasty sauce from inedibility. Krissi's standard Americanized-Chinese honey chicken stir fry was a better choice.
K and I both opted for the nice fried wontons filled with cream cheese with a vanilla sauce for dessert, and L got the mango pie that is a key-lime variant. No complaints on the dessert execution--we all thought they were well done.
We still wanted air-conditioning so we moved on to the Finding Nemo musical, which I always enjoy. While inside the show we missed a rain shower, but emerged to find the humidity even higher than it had been and the heat still up. We decided we'd done all we wanted at Animal Kingdom.
Off we went to Epcot. We started in The Seas in Future World, doing the little Nemo ride (from Nemo in AK to Nemo in Epcot), fish viewing in the large aquarium tanks, then Turtle Talk with Crush. We decided we wanted a light snack to end the evening, so we went into World Showcase where the Food and Wine Festival is on. The F&W Festival goes for a month or so and puts a number of booths around the World Showcase, both for the Showcase countries and for several others. The booths serve small plates of savories and sweets typical of the country, plus beers and wines ditto. This gives many more options to the already large number of eating choices in Epcot, and we plan to check out a number of them this week. I started with cheese fondue with potatoes and bread from the Charcuterie and Cheese stand (some stands aren't a "country"), which was excellent. We sat and listened to a set by Off Kilter, the Celtic rock group that plays in the Canada area, while letting me rest my very complaining ankles--walking is generally OK for them, but standing is bad, and shopping and lines are not good. (All of this trip is a big jump up in activity in any case, so I'm trying to get through it without ending in major pain. To that end, I iced my ankles when we got back to our rooms, and they seemed to appreciate the coddling.) Last food of the evening was the Molten Lava Cake with Bailey's Irish Cream Ganache from the Ireland booth--a luscious few bites. We left Epcot ahead of the fireworks show and crowd, and went back to Caribbean Beach to sort pins and cool down.
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad