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Monday, January 18, 2010

Animal Kingdom: Africa (WDW)

Kilimenjaro Safari


WAIT TIME – Moderate - High

KID GRADE(PG) Suitable for most ages.  The ride can be bumpy and a little speedy at times but it isn’t scary.

ADULT RATINGB for animals and great views.  But an overall B- due to the lame ass poacher backstory.

Do you want to go on African Safari but don’t want to go all the way to Africa? This is the way to do it.  The majority of the Animal Kingdom park consists of savannah for the animals.  This makes it the largest park acreage wise.  This ride itself takes you into Africa on safari, looking at animals in as close to a natural habitat as you are going to get.  Some of the animals get very close to the trams so great pictures can be taken.  

It is important to note two things.  First, the majority of animals, especially the more dangerous ones, can not get to you.  While it is difficult, if not impossible, to see the barriers at a glance, they are there, carefully disguised in a Disney way.  Second, the animals roam free in their areas and do not perform on command.  While Disney lures them to certain areas with browse (food), cool air, heated rocks, etc. there is no guarantee they will be where they are "suppose" to be.  Deal.

While this is also a "ride" there is a whiny story about poachers after an elephant named Big Red and her baby.  So of course you are whisked off on a bumpy chase after the evil poachers.  Initially the storyline had you see the dead Mother but they rescued the baby.  Someone grew a brain and determined that this would be even more traumatic as shooting Bambis Mom (as we didn't actually SEE her tied to the hood of a hunters car) and we just hear that the Mom is safe, we see a baby elephant and the evil poachers are arrested.  Yay!.

I could do without the message story.  I know, I know, I'm a commie.  Look, I think responsible hunting is a good thing and I think poaching is wrong.  However I am on vacation and don't want to be pounded with the messages done with such a heavy hand and in such a preachy fashion.  I think there are other ways of bringing awareness to the plight of animals in Africa and Asia.

Aside from that, it really is a great ride and I would go on it first thing as the animals are most active first thing in the morning.

Pagani Trail


WAIT TIME – Low - Moderate

KID GRADE – (G) Suitable for all ages.  This is a great opportunity to see animals close, ESPECIALLY the gorillas.

ADULT RATING – for animals and great views.  It is also a great place to rest and get a second wine.

After the safari, why not go on your own little safari and see some animals in person.  The Pagani trail offers views of various animals including the VERY popular merecats, the interesting naked mole rats and the amazing gorillas.

The gorillas are in two areas.  One is a family group presided over by a silver back male, his women and his kiddlets.  The other side are the sexually frustrated bachelors who don't have any women and indulge in good old male bonding.  

Gorillas are fascinating and amazing to watch.  They are very intuitive, smart and calm, unlike chimps who will rip your arm out of its socket and beat you to death with it given half a chance.  I know people in the field and chimps are WAY more like humans.  I could watch the apes for hours.  I would request that you be respectful of them (and all the animals) and not tease them.  It is rude, wrong and the cast members will remove you if you don't knock it off.  You have been warned.

This is a perfect place to relax AND slip a little non-preachy education to your kid!  There are animal experts there who are more than happy to answer any question about the animals that you may have.

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