Disney’s Animal Kingdom

It’s Tough To Be A Bug

Me wearing Minnie Mouse Ears in front of the Tree of Life, inside which is a show by and about insects called “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” …


Here is one of the many detailed carvings of animals on the Tree of Life and the passageways into it:

It was not possible to take any pictures inside the Bug show, but the picture below was from the ceiling before the show started.  I found the entire show on YouTube so if you want to see it all, click the picture.  It takes a while for the real show to start since they filmed the entire entrance path as well;  It’s pretty cool once it starts.  We all wore “bug-eye” glasses to be “honorary bugs.”   The glasses made everything look 3-D, and there were effects of smell and touch as well, through the seats (4-D?), especially when the bugs decided we were the enemy.

Oh no!! A sudden rainstorm … and it suddenly feels like winter.  Talk about raining on my parade …..

For a while spirits really sag as people slog through puddles

But then the weather gets a two thumbs up as the rain stops and the sun comes back out!

Expedition Everest

Here the riders are going up and into the mountain …

And here they are coming back out after going who-knows-where around inside …




Nope … you’re not gonna see me on a roller coaster, ever.  but it was exciting and even beautiful to watch!


Tom likes “record shots” so here is a picture of me (in pink) NOT signing up for the Everest Expedition EverestDSC_3716

Street Scenes

One of the popular snack bars

Other street scenes

StreetDSC_3695        StreetDSC_3693StreetDSC_3742 


The Safari Tour – the best part for us!!

There is also a 3-hour Safari trek in which you cross “rickety rope bridges” trussed up with belts designed to save your life should you fall … maybe a few decades ago that would be attractive, but we decided on the 23-minute truck safari instead.  These were not animations (you can see plenty of those in Magic Kingdom).  These were real African Animals in protected areas.  It was, of course, a zoo – but no restraints and nothing artificial was observable.  The animals themselves seemed oblivious to our safari trucks as we rode right through waterways, crossed rough bridges and rattled over chain links (part of the invisible infrastructure to this “zoo.”  Every effort was taken to make this feel realistic; indeed, I was wishing for a pillow to sit on by the end.

Below are the pictures we were able to capture during our safari.  And here are a couple of very short videos I captured myself on my phone:

Even when there were no animals, the scenery itself was often lovely.  As Tom describes it, the Safari was like Jurassic Park — only with real animals.


Here you see the back of the Safari vehicle in front of us, as it briefly appeared while rounding a turn up ahead.

These are not dogs …  but … I forgot what they are.  Anybody know?

Ankole Cattle – like cows but with HUGE horns:

The brown ones with white stripes are called Bongos:

The white ones with brown stripes are called Grant’s Zebras, and the stripes are quite brown, not as black as they appear here:

More Zebras, keeping company with a rhinoceros in the background:

More Black Rhinoceros

termites20160223_160007These are African termite mounds. They are hard as cement and can be very tall.  Researchers have recently realized that the presence of termite mounds slows the spread of deserts into dry lands by providing a moist refuge for vegetation  around their mounds.

Baobab tree – also called the “upside-down tree.”  It isn’t really upside down, but simply remains leafless 9 months of the year, giving it that look.

Another Baobab:

Greater Flamingo – note their very long legs and necks.
neckDSC_3833 This is not a toilet paper roll on a stick.  It is how the birds above sleep.   And on one leg, too.

The one below appears to have  a lump in her throat – probably swallowing lunch.  Or maybe from catching a sight of herself in the lake?



Oh no – an imposter.  Mixed in with the exotic birds above were a few local Florida types.   Our guide said they must be “migrating”…. yeah, right.  Probably they just got tired of eating dropped French fries in the snack bars.

Saddle-Billed Stork:

More African birds … yellow billed stork? Pink-backed pelicans?  Do I look like a biologist?

Bald Eagles?  Um … they don’t live in Africa, but they do live in Florida
BirdDSC_3786  Eagles2DSC_3784

Elephants (you knew that, of course)

What’s surprising is how hard they can be to see, even as big as they are …. can  you find the elephants in the next two pictures?
hard-to-see-elephantDSC_3822 hidingDSC_3817

The elephant on the left was more interested in the bushes than in  us.  Actually that is a rather trim backside for such a huge beast.  On the right is a Morr’s Gazelle that was sharing a field with the zebras.
elephantDSC_3815   MhorGazelle20160223_160806 copy

A giraffe never even stopped munching on the tree as we drove past within a few feet of him.
giraffeDSC_3810    Giraffe20160223_160158

Gorillas, also, can be surprisingly hard to see if they choose.  And they can sit for long times with ponderous stillness.
gorillaDSC_3865 DSC_3863

This young one spots some interloping birds and decides to let them know who’s boss.

DSC_3858  DSC_3859 DSC_3860    DSC_3855    All gone ….

House of Blues

We topped off the day with dinner outdoors at the House of Blues which is a restaurant next to Cirque de Soleil.

And so ended a really great day!





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