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Animal Kingdom and Hotel Hopping

On our second full day at Disney World, we headed out to Animal Kingdom, which is a Disney version of a Wild Animal Park/Zoo.

It primarily focuses on the importance of habitat and animal conservation.

The Tree of Life has 325 animals carved into its bark

The first thing we did was run over to Kilimanjaro Safari, but the line was already a little long, not horrible, but enough to warrant getting a FastPass for a little later. To kill time we went on the Pangani Trail, “a self-guided walking tour of native African wildlife.”

As you walk down the trail you see Hippos…

My picture of the hippo pool was photo bombed by a baby duck...

An Aviary…


And 2 families of Gorillas…

After we finished the trail, it was time for the Safari!! This was something I had really been looking forward to since planning the trip.

Just as we were pulling out of the loading area, our car was held up at this sign.

I only mention the sign because it made me laugh...

Apparently, there was a giraffe on the road. As the safari takes place on an actual Animal Preserve, they will not attempt to move the animals off the road, but instead wait for them the move along on their own. After waiting about 10 minutes we were on our way.

The safari takes though through the animal preserve where you will see lots of different animals. The highlight for us though was the Giraffes. You see, the same Giraffe was still there, just next to the road opposed to on it.

When we drove by, she was very curious and wanted to get a closer look. I was only about 6 feet away from her when we went by. It was so cool!!

Another highlight was the brand new baby elephant that made its debut that week…

There were so many wonderful memories on the safari, Matt and I really enjoyed it. Please check out all photos in the gallery, I would post them all here but this blog is going to be long enough already!!

After the safari we headed to the Maharajah Jungle Trail, another exploration trail but with an Asian theme. The main attraction here was the Tigers.


But we also got a kick out of these….

Rodrigues Fruit Bats. They are gigantic and please keep in mind that there is nothing between me and that picture… No glass, nothing. Matt was less concerned and more interested in trying out for the next Monster Movie… 


After that we head over to the main (only) roller coaster in the park, Expedition Everest.

It is pretty cool. You go up the mountain only to find that the Yeti has destroyed the track, so they send you down backwards on a different track than you went up. It was pretty cool, although there is a second half of this story, but that’s for another blog.

The main reason Matt and I had come to Disney World was to run in the Expedition Everest Challenge that Saturday. As we were going to be running through the park in our race, and were going to have a private after party in the park, we left the park around 12 so we could explore elsewhere…

We decided it would be the perfect time to explore one of the other hotels. I wanted to check out Wilderness Lodge, a mountain cabin themed resort. We never made it into the lodge itself because the grounds were so beautiful. We ended up on the shore of the lake where we found a bike rental.

We decided to rent bikes for an hour to look around.

(Side note: With AAA, this ended up costing about $16. It was a great, cheap side thing to do outside of the parks.) We rode around, got completely lost, but it was beautiful. It felt good to be doing something besides walking.

After riding around, we were going to head back to the hotel and rest for a bit before going the Magic Kingdom that evening. A quirk of the Disney Transportation system is that you can’t connect hotel to hotel, you have to go to a park or Downtown Disney first. So, Matt brilliantly suggested that we use Magic Kingdom to connect back to our own hotel and hop in the park to get FastPasses to use that evening! And that worked perfectly!!

Next up, Magic Kingdom and how it compares to Disneyland in my mind….

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