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02/16/2003

Day 4 at Disneyworld

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The theme park of the day was Animal Kingdom. Back we climbed onto the shuttle buses that are all over the Disneyworld complex. We spend a good part of our vacation on various buses. The situation is like this: we have to take a private company's shuttle bug to get into the Disney complex. Then if we want to travel between any of the four major theme parks within the complex, we have to get on a Disney owned and operated bus. I think next time we might rent a car. The problem with the current situation is that the shuttle that serves our hotel makes a circuit covering the four major parks of Disneyworld. For those of you not paying attention or frankly, just not caring, those four parks are The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, and MGM Studios. Each of these parks are about ten minutes apart by bus. And our hotel was about ten minutes away from any of them. I know that sounds like our hotel was right in the middle of the four parks but it wasn't. That ten minute interval just worked out that way. Anyway, as I was saying, there was a problem with the shuttle bus serving our hotel. If you got on the bus at the hotel at 12 noon and you wanted to go to MGM Studios, you had to ride the bus to all the other parks and finally arrive at MGM at around 12:40. Even though MGM was only ten minutes from the hotel. Having kids who are by their very nature, incredibly impatient makes that 40 minute drive seem like a day and a half.

Claudine and I noticed a potential drawback to the private shuttle bus scenario. See, when they are picking up people at the parks they only send one bus at a time and they really don't know how many people are going to be waiting for a ride back when they get to the parking lot. So if the bus holds 54 people and picks up 52 people in the Magic Kingdom parking lot, the driver goes to the EPCOT parking lot, picks up 2 more people and drives back to the hotel. Then goes back to get the rest of the people waiting at EPCOT, Animal Kingdom and MGM Studios. Keep adding 10 minutes for each leg of the trip and you can see that you might be waiting a looooong time in the MGM Studio lot. So Claudine and I decided that no matter what park we were at during the day we would take a Disney shuttle back to the Magic Kingdom parking lot to make sure we got on the bus. We saw a LOT of people get left in the parking lot

There were a couple of interesting things that I saw today. Part of the Animal Kingdom is dedicated to dinosaurs. One of the rides in the dinosaur section is the exact same ride as the Dumbo ride that you might be familiar with - the one in the regular Magic Kingdom. The only difference is that the ride has dinosaurs to ride in and dinosaur related decorations on the body of the ride. One of the "cute" Disney touches on this ride was a cartoon-like meteor that revolved around the ride. Ha-ha! A cataclysmic event wiping out the entire dinosaur population of the planet. How cute!

Look out Dino, here comes a meteor!

Another part of Animal Kingdom is dedicated to "Africa". Complete with safari and stereotypical African village. Well, the safari was cool just because I always like to see gorilla balls. And the gorillas in Animal Kingdom did not disappoint. Why is it that gorillas love to show off their balls so much? I dunno, but I got pictures.

Disney always fascinates me because of their attention to detail. They made this "African village". I have no idea if it was realistic or not, but I have to appreciate the level of detail they achieve in making it seem authentic. I'm including hi-res versions of these pictures - just click on the images to see a 900 X 600 version. Notice all the cracking plaster, the missing or dented light fixtures, the random pattern of faded handbills, and the uneven flooring. All of this looks haphazard, but I am sure that it was all calculated to make this faux village feel authentic. But remember, the majority of people going to Disneyworld have never been to a tiny African village. Disney only has to replicate what people think an African village looks like - not what one actually looks like.