Friday, September 7, 2007

Day #2 - Animal Kingdom

For our second day we decided to hit Animal Kingdom. We started off first thing in the morning and it was already brutally hot. There was very little shade to be found throughout the day and everyone was grumpy from having such a long day the day before, combined with the extreme discomfort from the heat.

We started our day in the Africa section and immediately went on an African Safari. We saw quite a few exotic animals such as rhinos, elephants, giraffes, zebras, an ostrich and some nile crocodiles. We had to stop for a few minutes and wait for a baby giraffe to move off the road out of the way of our vehicle. The truck we were in was quite open and I couldn't help but think about how little it would take for a lion or some other animal to jump out of the trees (sometimes only a couple feet on either side) and give someone a good swipe. The contrived clash with fictional poachers complete with gunfire was mildy amusing and was enough to confuse Drew.

After the Safari we took the Wildlife Express Train to Rafiki's Planet Watch and had some lunch. We saw a demonstration about snakes and we got to touch a huge Python. After that, Simon and I went on the Expedition Everest roller coaster, which was pretty cool. Then we all went on the Kali River Rapids ride, which was a huge tube that went down a Disney-made river complete with burned out forests and white water rapids. The ride was kind of neat and we got wet enough to cool us down, but it was very short. As we headed back through "Africa", there was a really cool limbo show which I recorded.

We decided to end the day by heading to the dinosaur portion of Animal Kingdom and we went on a ride called DINOSAUR. It was kind of a cool ride where you were teleported back in time to drive a rover in the jungle and look at dinosaurs. The head scientist was Clair Huxtable (it is kind of funny to see all of these Hollywood actors doing Disney things), but the premise of the ride was that the lab technician dude has secretly rigged the time machine to bring back a dinosaur with you, but he has timed things dangerously close to the asteroid strike that wipes out the dinosaurs to begin with. Anyway, you can imagine how it turns out. This ride, while cool, was a complete disaster. We asked them going in if it was suitable for kids (all the rides have big warnings on them, but most of them are not warranted) and we were told if they went on Pirates of the Carribean then this would be OK. What a mistake. This ride was extremely loud, full of strobe lighting, and really freaking scary for kids. Drew completely *flipped out*, and once the ride had started there is obviously no way to get off. We managed to make it through but Drew was a complete mess afterwards and we figured he would never go on another ride again.

At this point we were all hot and tired and ready to go home. We side-stepped another parade, but were caught at the gate by Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Goofy all available for pictures and autographs. I honestly don't know how those actors do it in those suits. They were there in the blistering sun catering to line-ups of screaming kids (and parents). I was only there for a total of maybe 20 minutes waiting to snap photos of Rhiannon and Drew with all four characters and I could have sworn I could actually smell my flesh burning. We finally got out of the park at about 4:45pm, and found the car. It had been in the parking lot all day and was unbearably hot inside. The temperature gauge was reading 38 degrees Celcius outside BEFORE THE HUMIDEX! It was freaking hot. How do people live down here? Anyway, we all piled into the car trying not to burn ourselves on the seats while the air conditioning kicked in and headed back to the hotel for a nice swim in the pool to cool off.

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