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Old 07-15-2012, 08:06 PM   #1
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The Best of The Animal Kingdom

On 7/3/12 I flew from NY to Orlando to start my 4/3 nite vacation and stayed at POR – Riverside at a new Royal Room (separate discussion) at another day/time.

When you have a 0630 am departure and up at 0330, the selection of what you plan to do on your arrival day is important because you are tired from travel, getting up extremely early and should I add the excessive heat and humidity across the entire eastern seaboard . . . but the intensity of the heat in Orlando with no breeze was brutal . . . like nothing I have ever experienced . . . I had my hydro-flask with me and blew through alot of money in paying my $2.50 per bottle of water . . . totaling around a dozen bottles throughout the day, otherwise you will get dehydrated in a moments notice.

Given I only had the usual half-day on a travel day, I decided to go to The Animal Kingdom Theme Park vs The Disney Village Marketplace/DTD or the Studios, which is my usual first day agenda. The AK theme park was opened in ’98 and I visited in ’01 . . . two weeks after the AKL opened (received a good package deal at that time for a Deluxe) . . . and I wasn’t totally thrilled the park back then, but I also not at first thrilled with EPCOT in the Fall of 2002 when it first opened, but certain countries were still under construction at that time and I had other reasons for that first impression. My opinion of EPCOT changed of course over the past 3 decades of going there at least annually. But in terms of the Animal Kingdom,
I had some initial reservations in going, but this time I was very impressed, by the number and variety of animals I saw, the movement of the animals, the detailed theming throughout the park and particularly the paintings on the walls, the food (I ate at the Flame Tree Barbecue and thought the pork sandwich meal for $9.58 was very good for park cuisine) . . . that equivalent sandwich “albeit BBQ Turkey” at the Diamond Horseshow was no where near as eatable.

The photos below are a small subset of my recent trip and the rest I post as usual on my Smugmug site, but I thought I would share my “Best of the Animal Kingdom” to round out your weekend.



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Old 07-15-2012, 08:16 PM   #2
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Animal Kingdom is an amazing park that is really under-rated (a topic I plan to write about soon). Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:23 PM   #3
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Love, love your pictures. I especially like the first one for some reason. I know it's hot, but AK is underrated...one of the best times I've had at Disney was an AK EMH night...it was cooler, very few crowds and we had a blast. And FOTLK is there. Best show at WDW.
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:43 PM   #4
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Great photos! AK is my favorite place to take photos. It's so hot in the summer there, but it's such a beautiful park. Glad you enjoyed it!
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:35 AM   #5

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Dh and I love AK and I've never understood why people don't like it. We really enjoy just strollng around, taking in the ambience, viewing the animals, sitting in Dawa Bar and people watching. Just really love the feel we have when we're in AK.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:10 AM   #6
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Those at some very nice pics. You got Rafiki! He is one of my favorite characters.

I just love the AK.

Thanks for sharing that.
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Old 07-16-2012, 07:59 AM   #7
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Great Photos!
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:09 AM   #8
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Great photos! Thanks for sharing!

I think a lot of people don't care for AK b/c all they can think of is rides. AK was, I believe always intended to be a different kind of park. And it is so much more than a zoo, as so many like to call it. I, too, love AK for exactly what it is. The theming is absolutely amazing as is the attention to detail. You would expect nothing less from Disney. And I totally agree Flame Tree is one of the best CS places in all of Disney.
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:29 AM   #9
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Fantastic photos. Next to EPCOT, DAK is our favorite park.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:25 AM   #10
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Awesome pics!! Thanks for sharing !!
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Old 07-16-2012, 05:31 PM   #11
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The one major change I noticed right away from my 2001 prior visit was the vast growth in foliage ... Like any new park it takes a few years before plants and foliage really take root ...

Looks awesome now!

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Old 07-16-2012, 10:02 PM   #12
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Great pics ...really nice resolution.
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Old 07-16-2012, 10:44 PM   #13
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I really do love Animal Kingdom the theming is amazing and blends in so well it can sometimes be easy to miss. I love the pictures you shared similar to the ones I took while there. That one cart there is an actual working snack stand, I got a soda from it one day I was shocked it was an actual working stand it blended in so well with the theming I didn't think it was functional. :P The guy working it in was extremely nice too.

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Old 07-17-2012, 09:03 AM   #14
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Nice Pictures..thanks for sharing...I'm going in September...

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Old 07-17-2012, 07:56 PM   #15
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I only wish that it did not take from 2001 (my 1st visit) to 2012 before my AK "awakening" occurred. Who knows why we make certain decisions in life. While I never intentionally avoided AK between that decade, I guess I always weighed AK against either Hollywood studios or The Disney village marketplace where each can be covered in a half a day.

I will say that from a photographers perspective, the attention to detail and theming ranks way up there. I only showed a small sliver of what photos I shot ... Thus the term "The Best of the Animal Kingdom", but I was hard pressed to down-select my photos because I typically shoot a few shots of an image I am drawn to at different angles and exposure settings ("bracketing").

I took this trip alone so my creative energy perhaps was more focused on my photography this time. I just recently lost a loved one who traveled with me in 2001 ... I would have gladly given up my 2012 photography mission for the prior memories.

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