Having said that, we have always loved zoos. As soon as Ron got a car in college, we would go over to the Knoxville TN Zoo, which is world class. We have been to zoos in London; D.C.; LA; San Diego and San Diego Wild Animal Park; Santa Ana CA; and every aquarium we can get to including Chicago; Long Beach CA; Norfolk VA; San Diego; N.C.; Rhodes[Greece] and Ripley’s in Myrtle Beach. There is something so marvelous about God’s creatures in all their variety. So we were happy to include Disneyworld’s.
There are a couple of major thrill rides in the park, but we didn’t go to them, but wandered around the pathways, making our way around the world on foot. This set up for a zoo is not unique, but Disney always makes the ambience rich with exotic touches. E.G., when we ate lunch, the outdoor bbq was built on many levels, with small 20-people-sized pavilions of different colors and rainforest carvings.
The other Disney touch is having lots of theme-dressed folks to tell you everything you want to know about any given animal or habitat. For the children is a series of locations where they can earn nature badges and fill in a little workbook [free]. Ref. Russell from “Up!” for this quasi-Scouting concept. But there are many many others along the walkways and paths.
The park is arranged around the Tree of Life, an enormous faux baobab tree carved with every kind of animal you can imagine. This carving is so clever, you miss the animals if you do not look closely. It was a life sized “hidden puzzle” game.
Look for the carved animals
In among the roots is “It’s a Bug’s Life” and we went to it twice. It has the spitting/ hissing chairs that add realism when a character shoots “poison” at you.
Pangani Forest Trail-- gorilla
In the Africa section, we rode in a “Kilimanjaro” safari vehicle, really driven by a human, who pointed out the animals along the dirt roads. There are no visible fences and the herd animals clearly walk [and poop] on the road. I had a anthropology prof once who used to say that, since humans apparently developed in the savannah of Africa, instead of saying [about work], “It’s a jungle out there,” we should say, “It’s a savannah out there.” And it was.
The real lion king--fast asleep
In Africa, there is “The Festival of the Lion King,” which we saw twice as well. It compares pretty well to “The Lion King” stage show [which is saying something!] Four live singers, people on stilts, huge animatronic characters from the movie, people dressed as animals and 4 tumbling monkeys on the trapeze, as well as a sing-along, made for an amazing 45 minute show. We vote this one “Best of Disney World.”
Festival of the Lion King
As we were walking to our shuttle bus, a little plane was writing “Jesus loves me”. And He does.