Walt Disney World, Part 2 Animal Kingdom 12/24/06

Associated parks:
None

Monday, January 8, 2007 11:08 PM
Day 3, 12/24/06

The forecast was calling for rain later in the day so we decided to go to Animal Kingdom because it is not an all day park and we figured we could see everything we wanted in the park by the end of the afternoon.

Pulling into the lot, it looked rather empty. Even on days when the park is not that crowded, it seems crowded because there aren’t that many walkways and a lot of dead ends in the park. Entering the park it there still weren’t that many people around.

The first ride of the day was Expedition Everest. Standby was 20 minutes and I figured it wasn’t going to get any better so I waited. I was really impressed with how fast they were dispatching the trains. It seemed like from when the gates opened to when the train left the station took around 45 seconds (maybe a little less). They were also running many trains where an empty train came to the station almost right after the last train dispatched. I am guessing 4 or 5 trains were being used but am not 100% sure.

I found the seats very comfortable and thought the lap bars were good as well (somewhat padded and simple). I had seen a POV last winter so I had a general idea of the ride but was still surprised. I didn’t expect the 2nd lift hill to be so fast and there is really a lot to see in that part of the ride with all the art on the walls. I was also not expecting the backwards part to be so forceful. It gave me that drop in your stomach feeling which I haven’t felt on a coaster in a long time. The large drop looks a lot bigger than it seems when you are actually on the ride. The Yeti AA is amazing to see in person. When you enter the room with it, it seems far away but I didn’t realize the track went up and it by the time you get to where the Yeti is, it seems like you are so close to it.

Overall I felt it was a great ride but I didn’t get that blown away feeling like I have after riding some other coasters for the first time. I think it’s a perfect fit for the park as it’s more thrilling than most other WDW coasters (except Rock N Roller Coaster) yet not that intense so those who only ride tamer coasters can still enjoy the ride. I decided to ride again since the line was so short.

After Everest we headed to Africa to get fast passes for the Safari. While waiting for the fast pass time we did some of the walk through trails with animals. They are fun to kill some time but I couldn’t see walking through these trails if you didn’t have that much time in the park or lines were much longer. While I think the Safari is a lot of fun, it isn’t that exciting to me as I had gone through the drive through Safari at Great Adventure over Labor Day weekend. The Safari at Great Adventure has more animals and some animals walk right up to your car so you are only a foot away or less from animals such as ostriches and camels. The ride vehicles are great and since we were in the last row we actually got some air time on the bumpier parts of the ride. I also like that it’s a long ride compared to most rides at WDW so you have a while to get off your feet and rest.

Next we went to It’s Tough To Be a Bug. Standby was 5 minutes which I have never seen before and just shows how empty the park was. I always enjoy the 3D shows at Disney but once you have seen them, the novelty kind of wears off especially when you know what is going to happen. I always like at the end of the show how they announce for everyone to stay seated so the bugs can exit the theater first and then you feel the fake bugs (the bumps on the seats) moving on the seat and everyone starts screaming.

We wanted to see Finding Nemo The Musical but it was having technical difficulties and they cancelled all the shows for the day. That was disappointing but we would get to see the show later in the trip.

We decided to head to Dinoland USA next. Seeing that Dinosaur had a 40 minute wait I grabbed a fastpass for that and we went to the other section of the area. Primeval Whirl had a posted time of 20 minutes but due to not many people fastpassing the ride, they were letting a lot of standby people on the fastpass track so the wait was a little less than 15 minutes. Despite this ride being a clone found at parks all over, this is the only park I have ever ridden the ride as there are none in my area (well Steel Pier has one but anyone who has been there probably knows why I would never want to go there to ride anything). Unfortunately, the car was mostly balanced so the car didn’t get that many spins but it was good enough. I also noticed the non spinning hair pin turns didn’t seem that intense compared to the Wild Mouse at Dorney.

Triceratops Spin was next since it was only a 5 minute wait. I really think these rides are overdone at WDW and wish they would have gotten something more unique but it seems to be popular with families.

After lunch at McDonald’s where only half the restaurant was open which I have never seen before, it was time to head to Dinosaur. I didn’t remember the ride being so bumpy and though I remembered the car tilting up more when it stops when you encounter one of the dinosaurs but maybe it was because I was in the last row this time and usually am in the 1st or 2nd rows.

Festival of the Lion King was starting in about 30 minutes after that so we headed to Camp Mickey Minnie and stopped to get a picture with Goofy since there was no line for that. I’m not much of a show person but Festival of the Lion King is very well done and I especially liked the tumbling monkeys routine.

It was around 3:00 at this point and we had seen everything we wanted to in the park (except Nemo) but I wanted to try to get another ride on Everest before we left. This time the standby line was posted at 40 minutes but they were using the single rider line so I got in that line and was on the ride in a little less than 15 minutes. After my 3rd ride on Everest, the ride was starting to grow on me and I liked it even more than my first 2 rides.

After Animal Kingdom we went to Downtown Disney. I’m not going to write about the shopping but I just want to mention something I noticed about the pricing in the stores. I know you are not going to find any deals on merchandise on Disney property but on a lot of video games in World of Disney and Team Mickey’s, they were charging $5 - $10 over the MSRP. I can see them charging full retail but I was shocked to see games that sell for $49.99 in every store (and sometimes less when on sale) being sold for $59.99. It also down poured while we were at Downtown Disney so we were lucky the rain held off until we were done with the park.

I was glad that we didn’t encounter crowds today and was very happy to finally get on a coaster after almost 2 months of being into the offseason.

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Thursday, February 1, 2007 12:39 PM
It's amazing to me that Dinosaur is based off of the movie. You can go on it even if you haven't seen the movie, and love it. I have seen the movie, but the ride is much better. It's amazing how everything at Disney was based on a movie, or a television show besides EPCOT for the most part.

Thanks for writing all these. I know they take awhile to write.

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Thursday, February 1, 2007 2:09 PM
What is even more incredible about Dinosaur is that the ride came out before the movie (it was known as Countdown to Extinction then a name I prefer) how about that one for synergy?
*** Edited 2/1/2007 8:00:10 PM UTC by Touchdown***
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Thursday, February 1, 2007 2:24 PM
It came out like a full 2 years before the movie! Everyone was scared when it was announced that it would be changed from Coutndown to Extinction to Dinosaur. A rumor was that it would be changed to "cutsey" and the dinos would talk! Gladly, the changes were minimal (mostly the name) *** Edited 2/1/2007 7:27:26 PM UTC by Peabody***
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