Wordless Wednesday – Last Ride Of The Day

Wordless Wednesday – June 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday
This week’s Wordless Wednesday takes for the last ride of the day on the Serengeti Railway at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. The Serengeti Plain at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is full of free-roaming herds of African animals, and it is truly a special place!

 

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Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Have you ever noticed people walking around the safari or near the hippos on Kilimanjaro Safaris?  Have you ever wondered what they were doing and how you could be out there getting up close to the animals?  One of Animal Kingdom’s hidden gems is the Wild Africa Trek, a special tour that debuted last year.

This tour departs several times throughout the day with the earliest tours starting before Animal Kingdom opens to the public.  The tour last approximately 3 hours.  If you are arriving before the park opens you will need to meet your guide at the front of the park and be escorted back to the tour’s starting location.  If your tour starts after the park opens, you can head behind the Dawa Bar to meet your guide.

Once you meet your guide, you will be fitted with your tour vest, which is also your harness for the first half of your adventure.  You go through some basic safety training and get to test out the practice bridge to see if you can handle the challenges up ahead.  As soon as everyone in your group is ready to go you head off with your guide into the Pangani Forest and begin your adventure.  You have short walk through the forest along the paths that the regular guests follow before you head towards the Ituri Forest.

Entering the Pangani Forest

The path that you follow isn’t paved.  You are walking on dirt and over roots.  For guest that are physically unable to take this route, there is an alternate trail that you will take with your own guide before meeting up with the main group later.  My tour had a few people who took this option.

Once you find your way through the forest, your first stop is with the hippos in the Safi River.  Your “monkey tail” that is part of your tour vest is attached to a safety bar and you are able to walk out to the edge of the enclosure and lean over to view the hippos.  I was the only one in my group brave enough to head out to the edge and lean as far as the monkey tail would let me.  It gave me the opportunity to get some great pictures.

Kilimanjaro Safari vehicle passing by
Our close up of the hippo!

After your guides share some interesting hippo facts, you head off to the daredevil portion of the tour.  Everyone is able to walk across a suspended bridge.  I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the tour.  I can’t say as much for some of the other people in my group.  Some were scared of heights and just focused on crossing the bridge.  I took my time and enjoyed the view.  I watched as the safari trucks passed underneath and stood over the crocodiles just daring them to try to make me into their dinner.

Crossing the first of the bridges
Whoa! I hope I don’t slip and fall down there!
Stopping to take a picture
I hope they had their breakfast!

Once you’ve make it across the bridges and spent some time at the crocodile overlook, you take your last hike out to meet your personal safari vehicle.  I think our safari vehicle was my favorite part of the adventure.  Unlike the vehicles that you ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, the Wild Africa Trek vehicles are able to stop and you are able to walk around your vehicle to get pictures of the animals.

We pulled over to get pictures of the giraffes
The baby elephants were playing

One last treat during your adventure is a small meal that is served to you overlooking the savannah.  The early morning Treks include fruit salad, cheese and yogurt, followed by fig cake, a special slaw, and prosciutto.  It was all delicious and just enough to refuel me for the rest of our adventure.

Our home away from home on the safari
Meals were served in these containers
Yogurt, fruit salad, and cheese and dried fruit
Bread, salad, prosciutto, and fig cake

We had a special, but unplanned treat near the end of our adventure.  The lions were out!  There is a spot where the truck is able to pull over and we got some great pictures of the lion. After the lions, you follow the same path as the regular safari vehicles.

Sleeping Lioness

Once you return to the warden’s post, you walk back to Wild Africa Trek meeting place.  You are able to select one of the conservation efforts represented by the animals that you saw on the Trek.  By making the selection, Disney donates a portion of your fee to the selected efforts.

I would definitely do the Wild Africa Trek again if I were given a chance.  Since I was on one of the first Treks of the day, I would like to try one of the later Treks, maybe even try to head out on the last one of the day.

One final group picture. I think we came back with everyone!

Have you ever been on the Wild Africa Trek? What was your favorite part?

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Animal Kingdom Roundtable

If you know me, you know how much I love Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  I asked all the ladies here at On the Go in MCO for their opinions on the park.  Let us know what you think!

1. What is your favorite attraction at the Animal Kingdom and why?

Aurora- Safari hands down!!!! It is always a new and different view. I always learn something new. I love that some times you see the lion and some times you only hear him roaring. In all my years I haven’t heard him twice!!!!

Betsy- This is a toss up for me. For a ride, I’d definitely say Kilimanjaro Safaris since I love to see the animals in somewhat of their natural settings as opposed to a zoo. It is different every time, but always a great ride. As far as my favorite show, this is easily The Festival of the Lion King as this may actually be my favorite show at Walt Disney World. There are so many different aspects of this show I love, from the singing, dancing, fire twirling, aerial acrobatics, but my favorite is absolutely the Tumble Monkeys.

Cheryl- I love the Safari, being close to the Animals is amazing

Megan- This is tough.  I love the safaris, but I tend to get withdrawl symptoms if I spend too many weeks without seeing the Tumble Monkeys or the fire twirler.

Shalon- Expedition Everest. A great Rollercoaster that has a great back story and great queue. Even if the Yeti is forever in disco mode it’s still great to get a glimpse of him.

Shelley- My favorite attraction at Animal Kingdom would have to be Expedition Everest! I really wish that the Disco Yeti would be restored to its former glory, but with an amazingly detailed queue, cohesive story, and overall ride experience Expedition Everest can’t be beat! You can’t go to Animal Kingdom and skip Expedition Everest!

2. What is your favorite animal on Kilimanjaro Safaris?

Betsy- Wow, there are so many great animals. I love the giraffes, but I think I get most excited when I see the baby elephants. They are just so darn cute.

Cheryl- Okapi

Megan- Baby anything.  I was on the safari recently and I was able to see a baby warthog.  They’re are so cute!  For a venture off of the safaris, I love the White Cheeked Gibbons.

Shalon- Giraffe!!!

Shelley- Well first off, let me say that it would NOT be the ostriches!!! They are out to get me!!! LOL!!! But I can say that the white rhinos are my absolute favorite, because they are very graceful and powerful animals that seem to just peacefully exist on Kilimanjaro Safaris.

Aurora- Giraffes!!!!!

3. What is your favorite place to eat at Animal Kingdom?

Cheryl- Tusker House and Restaurantosaurus

Megan- Flame Tree Barbeque.  I love the ribs and the pulled pork sandwichs.  A treat that I recently found at Restaurantosaurus is sweet potato fries.

Shalon- Yak & Yeti,  if you don’t have a reservation you can usually get a seat at the bar with the exact same menu!

Shelley- I would eat at Tusker House everyday if I could!!! Their selection of food on the buffet is just exotic enough for adventurous eaters, but with the sandwich, carving station, and kid’s areas picky eaters don’t have to panic. The characters are only out during lunch, and they play games and come around just enough to make sure the little ones are happy but also have time to eat.

Aurora- Yak and Yeti quick service (Anandapur Local Cafe) I adore the honey chicken! The portions are always huge and I feel full and I love the little Orange boxes!!!

Betsy- Flame Tree Barbeque is my go to restaurant. I love the food there, especially the ribs. This is one of the best values if you are ever on the dining plan for a counter service meal. I also really enjoy exploring the different seating areas themed after different animals and how they reflect the theme of the Circle of Life. Some of the animals are featured as predators in one pavilion, but then are depicted as prey in another.

4. If you could change any area in the park, what would you change and what would go there?

Megan- Dinoland.  I can truly appreciate the theming behind the area, but it is so hot and uncomfortable there.  I would like to take Chester and Hester’s and somehow expand the Dino Institute.

Shalon- Would be nice to have a larger town of Harambe with possibly another restaurant or quick service area offering more authentic food.

Shelley- I would change the Rafiki’s Planet Watch area, because while I think it has a great message I would love to see it updated to include more exotic animals in the petting zoo, more things along the train route, and new animal exhibits.

Aurora- I am not a fan of Dinoland at all. Primeval Whirl is such a horrid ride….. I would love to see all this changed to not be so carnie ish…. The carnival games are just lame. I don’t know what I would put there… Maybe some sort of sea animal place to pet sting rays and such to tie in with Nemo.

Betsy- I am honestly not a fan of Dinoland at all. I would do away with it completely and replace it with something maybe focusing more on animals found in North America. They could do a whole section on bears and tie it in with several Disney and Pixar films if they felt the need to, like Brother Bear or Brave. Or even do bears around the world showcasing polar bears, koalas, black bears, pandas. Anything with more animals would be fun.

Cheryl- Chester and Hester area.  I’m not sure what could go there.

5. If another continent were to be added as a “land”, which one would you choose and what would be the main attraction?

Shalon- Would love to see the long rumored Beastly Kingdom with a more intense coaster.

Shelley- Oooh! This is a difficult one…I think I would love to see a South America “land” where the main attraction would be gliding coaster through a dense rain forest where the queue would showcase the diverse animals, insects, and conservation issues around saving these vanishing ares.

Aurora- I would go with a Sea something . Dolphins!!! Something to bring Nemo all tied in. I think Disney needs some kind of interaction with animals like Sea World!

Betsy- I’d love to see Australia.  I know this has been rumored for a while, but I’d love to see kangaroos, koalas, a platypus or two (hello, Perry tie in) and think it would be awesome. I know there are a couple of kangaroos in the Oasis, but think a whole Australia themed area with like and Ayers Rock climbing area and playground for kids would be fun. For an attraction, maybe something water themed, which could tie in with Nemo too. Conservation of beaches or maybe a surfing simulator 3/4D film would cool showing some of more aquatic animals.

Cheryl- Antartica , Maybe a virtual snow ride of some sort.

Megan- Definitely Australia. I think that having kangaroos would be really exciting.  And they could expand and something for the Great Barrier Reef.

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