Thursday, December 17, 2015

Disney Parks Day 2: Animal Kingdom

 Day 2 was a sleep-in day, so we didn't get to the bus for Animal Kingdom until noon, all of us trying to hydrate from all the continual sweating we were doing in the middle of December.

2002 and 2015
looks like we picked up another little girl right behind Nick!

Our first order of business was to grab lunch. Flame Tree has the best outdoor seating around, for both birds and people.

Our first FP was for Festival of the Lion King. It's in a new theater since we've visited with better sound system but the show is unchanged, which is great. It's a combination live-sung soundtrack coupled with some amazing acrobatics. 

we were in the Lion section. Interesting that I'd not noticed him snarl at Scar throughout the "Be Prepared" song

We stopped for a dole whip before time for our Safari FP

the driver's seats look to have improved over time!


through Asia to Dinoland . . . the one part of AK we usually never venture into. 
But it was Jason's first trip, and he has a fear of dinosaurs, so, naturally, this group insisted he ride Dinosaur where giant scary ones pop out at you in the dark on a motion simulator ride.

(giant t-rex popping out over us)


I think this may be the most epic group photo ever attempted on any of our trips.

And, as it turned out, Donald, Jason's favorite, was taking photos nearby.


Our last FP for the day was at Expedition Everest, but we had time to kill, so we knocked out some comparison photos:



they took the bench away! (2004 / 2015)


And then, Everest!
This is my favorite coaster in all four parks. 

At the first stop, with the torn up tracks in front, there is a track switch, at which point you go backwards, spiraling (pulling enough Gs to feel like you're completely inverted, but you aren't), which brings us to the Yeti sihouette overhead. While we're distracted with that, yet another track switch comes into play, which gets up to the big drop (80 feet). It is the tallest artificial mountain in the world and the most expensive coaster built, at $100 million. And the coaster, the mountain, and the animatronic Yeti are all individually built around one another without touching. 

The animatronic Yeti, alas, had a design flaw in the curing of his concrete base and within months of opening in 2003, it cracked. He is the largest animatronic ever made by Disney, but he's been inanimate for nearly 13 years now and there is no fix in sight. Strobe lights and a fan simulate movement, and you only see him for a flash of seconds, but he is supposed to be reaching down towards you. Some people swear he "moved" when they rode, but that's the magic of Disco Yeti. 

Bob GoPro-ed the ride and you'll see how hard he is to spot.

Jason only saw the silhouette portion and said he didn't ever catch sight of the animatronic.

Here are some stills from the video:

(I can't even figure out what I'm even looking at here.)



next up: from AK to Studios for the Osbourne Lights


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