On Friday January 7, 2005 Allison and I went to the Animal Kingdom first thing in the morning. After a few pictures in front of the Tree of Life we headed to Dinoland U.S.A. and hit the Dinosaur ride which was a fast moving ride back in time to just before a the comet/meteor crashed into earth and wiped out the dinosaurs. The snarky lab tech from CSI Miami was our host. I don’t remember what his name was. The ride was cool because it had lots of twists and turns and even looked like little pieces of meteor were falling from the sky. After that we caught the performance of Tarzan Rocks, which by the way is a performance that my mom is still talking about. It was pretty cool with a live band and in-line skating ‘monkeys’ doing all sorts of tricks and dancers, and some cool rope flying by Tarzan and Jane.
After that we were off to Asia and the Kali River Rapids, but along the way we were able to look in on the progress of Disney’s fastest roller coaster being built called Expedition Everest. That looks like it is going to be awesome and it is opening later this year. We escaped drenching on the rapids and made our way to Africa where we ran into my parents and took a few pictures in front of the tree of life. We then parted ways as they had started to the right and we started to the left. It was pretty sunny so I picked up a hat, and Allison liked the hat I tried on and I decided to get it, it came with six Animal Kingdom themed pins on it. Pin trading is a huge thing down in Disney, marketing geniuses I’m telling you. Each cast member has a lanyard full of pins and you can trade with any one of them for any pin. Each park has a few different pins that you can’t find in the other parks and each attraction has their own pins as well so if you are a collector its gonna be a hunt to find lots of pins. It is a great way to get kids to interact with the cast members. Well Allison should have known that because I have a Harley Davidson pin collection and various other collections that I would not stop at the six pins that were on the hat. More on this later.
In Africa we hit the Kilimanjaro Safari and I used my new camera to video tape the entire ride. I have to say for all the bumps of the ride and whatnot the video came out pretty nice. Then we walked through the Pangani Forest Exploration trail and we got to see some beautiful Tigers being fed. I got a few videos of them snacking on whole raw chickens.
Then it was off to Camp Minnie-Mickey to catch the Festival of the Lion King, this was another great performance with some more stunt ‘monkeys’ This time they were monkeys using trampolines and gymnastic equipment.
Around 4:00 we left the Animal Kingdom and headed over to the Wide World of Sports so I could get my registration packet for the Half-Marathon. The bus took us to MGM and then we caught another bus to the Wide World of Sports, got the packet and I got my first new pin for my hat, a half-marathon pin. Then we went to the beach and Yacht Club resort which was the closest to Epcot. Within the front lobby there was a full working carosuel made out of gingerbread, it was pretty awesome.
We went to Epcot because Epcot was the one park that stayed open the latest. For Allison and I Epcot was the place that we wanted to spend the bulk of our time. As kids we remembered going through each country and being very tired and bored watching all the movies but now that we are older we have more of an interest in the content of those movies from each country. So we wanted to make sure that we hit each one during our stay. We got to the park and caught a dinner of Fish and Chips at Harry Ramsden, we ate out by the world Showcase Lagoon, which would have been a great place to see Illuminations if only we could time it right to get in there and get a seat without having to stake it out for hours ahead of time. After dinner we started out round the world journey at Canada. It seemed to look different form the last time I was there with the totem poles and the main building that I thought looked like the Chateau Frontenac in Quebec but was told it was supposed to be a building from Ontario and then there was the Victoria Gardens. We went in and saw the movie which was so much better than when I was a kid, and the reason is not that the movie changed at all but rather I’ve been to Canada so many times since I last went to Epcot that I was able to appreciate what I was looking at. The movie is still exactly the same. I was pretty awed by it though and kept turning all around to see every aspect of the 360 film.
We then crossed over to Mexico to go to some of the countries with rides. The River of Time was the closest thing we were going to get to It’s a Small World which as luck would have it was being refurbished just like it was in Disneyland when we went a couple of years ago. After the River of Time we went o Norway and rode the Malestrom, then it was off to China for Reflections of China. We made our way around to Japan, poking in and out of shops in Germany and Italy along the way. We were looking for the Funnel Cake stand which was in the U.S.A. Apparently we caught it just right because for the rest of the weekend that stand was closed but we were able to grab some funnel cake. From Japan we watched Illuminations and then headed back to the Pop Century.
Back at the Pop Century we met up with Erik and got to see Tara and Shelby and Caitlyn arrive. The were ‘lucky’ enough to get Javier to check them in too, and Shelby’s reservation was still messed up. And Javier picked the wrong day to be witty. After Shelby and Caitlyn got settled they met us by the pool and the bar and kept us in stitches. Then it was the end of day two.
Pictures are coming, I swear, we watched them last night on the TV and on my laptop. I haven’t had time to format them for the web but I will try this weekend.
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