Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Disney World 2008 Pics Of The Day--Day 7

Ked and I have a few minutes before our table is ready for our final dinner here at Animal Kingdom Lodge. He's putting in a bit more reading time before vacation is over and it's back to real life where he doesn't have nearly as much time to read for pleasure. I'm going to put in some more time here, finishing up this little travel log. Not that I think it's really of interest to anyone beyond Ked and myself, but it's nice to have a record of the memories, with all their highs and lows, and I hope, since you are here now, that this can entertain you enough to make it worth your time. Anyway, the trip wound down nicely, with some lovely Florida weather in our favorite Disney park--Animal Kingdom. Because of our health issues this week we never made it to Disney's Hollywood Studios, nor Magic Kingdom (let alone the other places we considered going this trip, Sea World and Kennedy Space Center), but Animal Kingdom was just the right place to finish our vacation. We ended it on a high note, in a place we knew we'd like a lot. After the week we've had, it would not have done at all to have had a bummer last day!

We started off with a little snafu. Last night we forgot an important camera imperative--always check your batteries!! Both our cameras were shy on battery juice today, and, technology being what it is, of course both of them have proprietary battery systems, so we couldn't just go locate a couple of AA Duracells. For most of the day we had to be content just to enjoy the park and let our minds capture the memories, rather than the shutter. While we do both love taking pictures of the things we find interesting or beautiful, it was kind of nice to just focus on having fun, instead of how to frame the perfect shot. We did snap a few, most of which we'll share below, but the selection is limited, so we'll have to be content mostly with boring people shots, rather than cool and amazing animals doing cool and amazing things.

Today was the first day both of us felt up to a little more up tempo adventure, and since it was warm enough today that we didn't fear a little water (or a lot, as it turned out), we decided to brave a ride that we didn't make it onto last year when we were here--the Kali River Rapids. It's a lot like the Grizzly Rapids ride in Disney's California Adventure Park, but perhaps a little shorter we thought. Despite it's relative brevity, though, we loved it. Beautiful surroundings, and because it was so warm today, we didn't mind a bit getting soaked to the skin. (Well, okay, I didn't mind getting soaked.) Even Ked, who's usually a fur hat and parka kind of guy this time of year (small exaggeration alert, albeit very small), walked around in shorts and a T-shirt for the whole day, and well into the evening--even after the drenching!

Needless to say, other fun was to be had throughout the park, although some of what we did reminded us that we're not as young as we used to be, and that we might want to reconsider some of the more thrilling rides the next time we are tempted to defy gravity. For today, though, we took our turns with great enthusiasm (at least until they were over), on Dinosaur and Expedition Everest. (Ked did not like plummeting backwards in the dark!) We mellowed as the day went on, and had some milder Disney fun watching "Nemo the Musical," and "It's Tough To Be A Bug." We tried to catch a few of the animals as the day went on as well. We bid farewell to the tigers just as they were retiring for the night, and wandered down a few paths that we had missed on our previous visits, discovering a few nice views and heretofore unnoticed beasties. It was lovely. A good time was had by all--or both, if you want to get technical.

After being sick for days, I had eating to catch up on! We had snack credits to burn, so the first stop of the day for me was the popcorn stand. It satisfied the salt craving, but Kedley's popcorn kicks on the theme park variety. He makes it in a pan on the stove, with olive oil and just the right quantities of butter and salt. Still, I was in a junk food mood today, and this popcorn definitely fit that bill.

Part of our wandering took us past these primates of indeterminate variety (indeterminate at least as far as we were concerned, and we never saw an explanatory placard to fill in the knowledge gap). I turned the camera on and quickly snapped this photo, ever conscious of the waning battery, but I just had to get a picture of the baby clinging to Mama for all it was worth. Mom swung from pillar to post, and baby never slipped an inch. It's amazing what those critters can do with a "grabber" on all four limbs.

This is Ked after Expedition Everest, which definitely hit the "we're getting too old for this" nail with the hardest hammer. We walked by this expedition gear and started thinking about how the next vacation really ought to be a camping vacation. Lots of hiking, beautiful scenery, nothing turning us upside-down...

Here's one of those giant tortoises that live to be over a hundred years old and grow to six hundred pounds. You can't see it in the photo, but I'm working on my own six hundred pounds, with the strawberry Haagen Daz I have in hand just out of this shot. I told you I was in a junk food kind of mood, and ice cream was my next junk food choice-of-the-day.

Winter follows autumn. Spring follows winter. There are drums. Ked plays them. It's a simple fact of nature.

Here are our last shots before we put the camera away for good this trip. Ked's on one side of one of those habitat "ruins" that Disney does so well. I'm on the other. We thought they merged together rather nicely.

Later: We just got back from our last dinner here at AK Lodge's African buffet restaurant, Boma, and I've gotta tell you, I have never been so disappointed to be a food lightweight as I am tonight. This might very well be my favorite restaurant of all time (at least top three), and definitely so in terms of the value related to other restaurants here at D-World. I highly recommend the experience if you are ever in the neighborhood (especially if you aren't prone to getting full after the first eight bites.) The cuisine is all interesting and exotic, without being the least bit strange, if that makes any sense. Yum. (Oh, the really good part--they hand out recipes!)

Well, that sums up this Disney adventure. We have to be up tomorrow at 4 in the morning to catch our early flight home. We should be cruising into Portland around 11:30, which works out to about a six hour flight once you adjust for the time change. If you are one of the people we love at home, and are kind enough to be here reading about our little adventures, we'll see you soon. If you are a stranger just cruising by the Meow, may your journeys be pleasant ones. Goodnight.