Animal Kingdom park – Disney’s best kept secret

We are back with exciting stories from Florida and I can not tell you how much we have enjoyed our days there. Florida is all about Disney world and at the same time beyond Disney is what defines Florida. Orlando no longer belongs to Florida or US only, it has assumed the stature of an international city, people from all walks of life, from all over the world flocked to see what a magical fantasy kingdom has been created by Walt Disney.

To summarize the experiences of Disney world is beyond the scope of any video shots and any photography, it can not be expressed in words until you go there and experience it all by yourself.

Here we present just a glimpse of Animal Kingdom Theme Park through a photo safari.

The tree of life assumed a iconic stature in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with more than 300 faces of animal carved in its huge trunk. It is truly artistic and amazing , to see  how the artists carved in the wood with such precision and who placed those millions of leaves on that giant tree !

tree of life

Tree of Life

carvings of tree of life

Animal carvings on the trunk of Tree of Life

There are two natural trails that traverse through the Disney’s jungle, one was Discovery Island trail where we spotted many beautiful and endangered birds along its way, in their natural habitat and they were surprisingly  indifferent to the tourist’s presence.

Flamingos are becoming fewer owing to large spread avian diseases and of the few remaining these pink flamingos offers pretty photogenic sight !

greater flamingoes

Greater pink flamingos – the sleeping beauties !

American white Ibis with long down – curved bill which helps them to scrape mud for the crustaceans and these birds are known for their legendary bravery during hurricanes !

stork

American white Ibis

ibis

Australian White Ibis

I have never seen a crowned / crested crane before, this looks too beautiful and the only birds in crane family to roost in trees.

crowned crane

Beautiful East African crowned Crane !

The main attraction of Animal Kingdom was however  the Kilimanjaro Safari which simulates the safari style adventure in Africa in an open safari outbacks. It all started at the little town of Harambe model after East African town called Lamu in Kenya, and once you entered the town, you will found yourself roaming on the streets of African towns (Disney’ s idealized and sanitized version !) , with simple architecture, half constructed buildings, small cafes, cash counters, relict of colonial past scattered here and there and typical African shops selling knick knacks. The spark of imagination that ignites the idea to construct this little African town is truly commendable, but then it is not in Animal kingdom alone, but is everywhere through out the Disney world !

Welcome to Kilimanjaro !

animal kingdom

Let’s begin with African Elephant , there are many in numbers and this calf was born few months ago.

elephant

African Elephant – Mother and calf

I have read some where (can not vouch for its authenticity) that these rocks are climate controlled, so that lions and lioness perched high on top of these rocks and in full view of safari vehicles ! :D

African lion

Lion King enjoying afternoon siesta !

A central giant piece of Baobab tree with its giant trunk and branches is home to many birds and vultures . The landscape will remind you of  yellow bushes of Savannah grassland, palm trees, water holes, small lakes, rugged terrain all simulating a African forest scene.

baobab tree disney

Baobab tree

There were black Rhino as well , but could not take the pictures as they were strolling far away in the jungle, this was nearer to me, so click … click…smile please !

Rhinos

Rhinos

ostrich eggs

Some Ostrich eggs !

kilimanjaro safari

Kilimanjaro safari outbacks near Hippo pool

animal kingdom

Watusi cattle & African Giraffe

Zebra

Zebra Crossing !

Animal kingdom

A shop in an African town selling knick-knacks

There were many different kind of antelopes in the safari, like Bongos, Okapi, another species of Oryx and some Springboks too.

animal kingdom

Oryx – an African Antelope

It took me for a while to realize that this giant ivy tree actually moves ! A lady was covered in the ivy, vines, fruits and as she slowly moves from a post to another, posing a while for the photographers ! Somehow after taking two of her shots, I did not feel good about it. Somewhere it does not appears entertaining to me, but looks way sad ! Don’t know why !

animal kingdom

Live tree !

On Maharaja Jungle trek through the rustic Indian villages …

maharaja jungle trek

Indian temple

animal kingdom tiger

Welcome to my den !

A very unusual crowned pigeon, and as she (hope so !) does the ramp walk for us, we clicked multiple shots of her !

crowned pigeon

Ramp walk by Victoria crowned pigeon !

animal kingdom

A rural scene from Indian village

animal kingdom

Indian Saras Crane

These are some of the highlights of Animal kingdom, and I have posted FEW photographs from my vast repository, and since it is wildlife safari, every experiences will be unique.

However few THINGS TO REMEMBER are shortlisted here :

1) Try to do the Animal Kingdom in the morning or in the evening around 4-5 pm ; this time is best when animals are more active .

2) Must ride on – EVEREST EXPEDITION . It is a roller coster ride and very thrilling and enjoyable. And next favourite is Kali river rapids.

3) Other must watch shows – Bugs life , adults will enjoy it too. For kids – Nemo and lion King.

4) Best safari – Kilimanjaro Safari through the Africa town of Harambe. This is simply the show stealer !

5) Second best is Maharaja jungle trek for tigers and other Asian birds.

6) Best walking trail – Discovery Island trail starts near Tree of life garden. Plenty of oppurtinity to watch rare and endangered birds.

7) Photography is challenging, so keep the cameras ready and be equipped with extra battery and memory card.

8) If you are planning to do two theme parks in a day, go for Park Hoppers ticket. It will cost you 35 $ less than the regular ticket price.

9) Use Fastpass tickets to cut the huge queue for Everest Expedition , Kilimanjaro safari, Kali river rapids and Bugs life .

10) The only theme park to close at 7.30 pm ; there are regular shuttle runs from AK to Epcot. And best cafe in the town is Yak and Yeti.

Hope this ten point tips will help you to plan your trip to Animal Kingdom. We have enjoyed it a lot and if you are a wildlife enthusiast too you will gonna love this place. I can tell you, I have not seen 90 % of animals and birds before coming to AK. So it was really that good for us, and hope you will enjoy it too.

In the coming weeks I will share with you many such my recent Florida expereinces, till then

Have a lovely day !

Sukanya