Monday, November 27, 2006

Walt Disney World, November 11-18, 2006

Sunday, Nov. 12, 2006
Day 2

C: We started Day 2 at Animal Kingdom. First up upon rising was a dash to Expedition Everest (heretofore referred to as EE). We hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, but upon seeing a short line we decided “what the heck.” It was probably a wise decision in hind-site, as the ride was one of the more “extreme” rides in WDW. EE is, as usual, immaculately themed as a Himalayan base camp/Buddhist temple, with ratty prayer flags all over the place. Actually, quite dirty looking, but authentic. There are many sacred prayer bells hanging in the queue to reach up and clang. Or at least I did, prompting other teenagers behind me to do the same.

S: And every other person in line plotted how best to kill Christian for starting the cacophony.

C: We sat in line for about 35 minutes, which to date has been the longest line we’ve endured!

S: We found out that every line was shorter than the notice stated, and EE is a really fast loading ride, so the wait was really too short. I wanted to see the theming better.

C: After EE came “Flights of Wonder,” a live bird show.

S: And all of our friends gasp in shock! The Salases went to a bird show? I never would have thought it!

C: This has been my favorite attraction so far, as it featured…PARROTS! First we heard Oscar the amazing talking Amazon Parrot sing “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandee” and “Camp Town Racetrack (Oh, the Doo Dah Day),” complete with vibrato.

S: It was so adorable! I can’t even think of anything snarky to say about it. The handler had to follow his head with a microphone since he swung his head back and forth as he sang.

C: A buzzard buzzed within inches of our heads, and one lady held out a dollar bill at arm’s length for a bird to steal.

S: I wish I had been the volunteer as it was a rose breasted Cockatoo, one of my favorite birds, and I think I could have made it out with the bird in my arms before anyone noticed.

C: Finally a spectacled owl with enormous eyes came out and stared at us, and she was the outright champion of the staring contest, defeating all comers.

Other highlights were the Kilimanjaro Safari, in which we saw and photographed many an animal, (unfortunately blurry due to the bumpy ride), including the elusive lion, and “Dinosaur” in which we traveled back in time to save an iguanadon!

S: Same ride vehicle as Indiana Jones in Disneyland, more noise and fewer snakes and rolling boulders.

C: All rides and shows had mercifully short lines.

S: No kidding. Everything was a walk on and Fastpass machines weren’t even running.

C: God bless the off season! But one casualty is that we missed a lot of that special Disney theming. For instance we sprinted through the Yeti museum at EE so fast we couldn’t stop to read and even see most of the pieces. Poor us…

We then bought a Pal Mickey, which turned out to be well worth the $65 we paid for him.

S: I love him and feel the need to cuddle him constantly.

C: Pal Mickey reacts to microchips embedded around the park to inform us about where the short lines are around the park, locations of animals and fun facts. Our own personal tour guide. Case in point: as we were leaving Animal Kingdom for the day, Pal Mickey perked up and vibrated repeatedly, reminding us about the parrots and anteaters we should’ve been looking at. We looked around in confusion, and eventually found the somewhat hidden side exhibits of wallabies, pygmy deers, rhinoceros iguana and other exotic fare. Unfortunately we ran to the Macaw areas just after they had retired the birds for the night. But we shall be there again.

S: Apparently, they’re not caged and hop to and from their perches and the fences surrounding their enclosures. Hello, people, how am I supposed to refrain from kissing them?

C: Next it was back on the bus for a short trip to the Ticket & Transportation Center, and from thence onto the Monorail for another quick jaunt over to the Magic Kingdom. It’s always quite an emotional moment seeing those damn spires of Cinderella’s Castle, and Suzy shed a few tears.

S: Yes, I’m a giant weenie.

C: Walking onto main street, seeing the castle and the newly erected Christmas decorations was an amazing site.

S: And, I cried again. It’s just so GORGEOUS! And huge. Huge, huge, huge. And Gothic. Preeeeeety.

C: We got there for “Extra Magic Hours” around 6pm and thanks to our ticket package were eligible to stay until 11pm that evening.

S: Per tradition, we started with Pirates (our review of the Captain Jack additions is that you can barely tell. The animatronics are very, very good, and I didn’t feel that the storyline had been compromised. We went next to Big Thunder, which just so rocks…

C: … and then we ran onto Space Mountain, which turned out to be an excruciating experience of “almost but not quite.” We were all buckled in and heading down the track to the main coaster, when the ride shut down due to someone unloading too slowly, and stopping the whole ride. The long and the short of it was that they had to reset the ride, and turned the lights on to do it! It has been one of my dreams for the last few years to be able to see Space Mountain with the lights on. Unfortunately, we were still in the dark tunnel and stopped at the top of a short, dirty tunnel that led into the actual ride area. All I could see was a few tantalizing feet of wall at the end of the tunnel, bright in fully-lit glory! We sat in our little toboggan-like spacecars for about 20 minutes before the ride was reset and we could ride…with the lights off! If we had only walked a little faster…Ah well. I suppose the magic would’ve been ruined…

S: We unfortunately were kept company by CM Manly Cheesy Guy McKnowitall, who was quite the blustering buffoon. He didn’t even know that Rockin’ Rollercoaster goes from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, not 2.3. Sheesh.

We had time for Buzz Lightyear (seriously pathetic scores all ‘round) and were so exhausted that we stumbled to the Monorail and back to the TTC to head back to the resort. Apparently, there is a gate slightly to the right of our view of the savannah and the animals migrate back and forth from our savannah to the neighboring one at night and in the early morning. We had gotten very lucky in that, every time we are in our room, we see giraffes and zebras and antelopes of all kinds and wildebeests and other wonderful creatures. Not the same thing as moving them from game park to game park, but the closest we’ll ever get without having to actually get dirty and sweaty.

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