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October 13, 2017

Animal Kingdom Wandering

Deb's Digest Blog

I typically don't go to the parks much in the midst of the summer heat and humidity and so planned to visit Animal Kingdom yesterday, mostly to update menus. I had no idea I hadn't been there since right after Pandora opened! I checked for last-minute FastPasses before leaving home, but nothing was available. I wasn't surprised.

So here are some observations from my walk around the park yesterday, noting things I had not seen before. Perhaps you have... but these things are new to me.

After I parked and walked down to the tram area, I noticed that the name of each row has been repainted in much larger letters, much clearer than before. Yea! You will also notice better signage in the parking area as well.


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I then noticed he new tram front vehicles. As you can see in the photo, they are now sporting bright new red and green driver and engine sections.

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I went into the Rainforest Cafe to update our menus and as I exited out the side, I noticed this elephant fountain. It looked so inviting on the already hot and humid morning but alas, "Please do not climb on rocks".

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Next stop, Pandora. As I mentioned, the last time I was in Animal Kingdom was for a media preview of Pandora. My how different it looks full of people.

Crossing the bridge (shortly after 9 a.m.) the first thing I saw was the "End of the Line" for the Na'vi River Journey. The Cast Member told me that neither ride had "opened yet", and the estimated wait time was currently 45 minutes.

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I read after I returned home that either both rides open or neither does. Can someone clarify that for me please?

As I walked deeper into Pandora, the whole area was packed. Cast members had created lines and pathways with rope and it was kind of hard to get from here to there. I looked for a Wait Time for Flight of Passage but couldn't get anywhere near the entry point, for either ride, actually.

I wanted to wander around the area, but as I said, it was very crowded and hard to maneuver so I decided to head out. Here's a screen shot of Animal Kingdom wait times at 9:14 a.m.

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I did manage to find one of the PhotoPass photographers and had this photo taken. It was in My Disney Experience a few hours later.

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Next thing I know I am being told to head back out of the area and over to Harambe to get in line for Flight of Passage (not that I was going to get in line, but curious where I would end up). A very, very long line. Talking to the Cast Member at the end of the line, I was told the wait time was now three hours! Normally the Harambe area is for exiting Pandora, not entering, but the long lines and lack of space inside Pandora changes that during busy times.

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Alrighty then, back to getting menu photos! By the time I reached Asia, I was feeling hungry. I was very happy to see that the Yak and Yeti Local Cafes serve breakfast.

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I chose the Canadian Bacon English Muffin. A take on Egg McMuffin with an extra piece of Canadian Bacon, plus tater tots for $9.99. Ouch, but not surprised.

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Checking My Disney Experience again for wait times now at 10:07 a.m.:

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Ah... behold the infamous Coca Cola Rhino:

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For those of you who do Mobile Ordering, the area to pick up your food is clearly marked. And if you can't find it, ask a Cast Member.

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I made my way back to the front of the park and decided to forego a second loop around. It was getting quite crowded. But I did wander the Oasis and entrance area.

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Ok, I have a question. I have been to Animal Kingdom countless times since it opened in 1998. Unless I have to be someplace, I always walk around the Oasis and Discovery Island areas. The Reeve's Muntjac has become almost as elusive to me as the Anteater. I think in all this time, I have only seen it once and it was under all the brush. Has anyone ever seen it out and about? And I think there are two, yes?

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Ah ha! The Black Swan! Not always out and about, but on this day the pair were swimming and sunning.

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Lastly, as I noted much better signage in the parking lot, there is also a great directional sign as you exit the park.

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'Til next time, folks...





May 19, 2013

White Cheek Gibbon Baby at Animal Kingdom

Deb's Digest Blog

This is the second half of my Walk Around Animal Kingdom Blog and features the 2 month old White-cheeked gibbon!

If you missed part 1 CLICK HERE

White-cheeked gibbons typically produce a single offspring every two to three years after seven to eight months gestation. Following birth, infants are able to cling to their mothers, allowing the females complete range of motion as they move about the forest with their offspring.

Animal Kingdom White Cheek Gibbons

The species is also distinguished by the changing characteristics of their fur which differs by gender and age. While nursing, babies typically maintain a light-brown or golden-colored fur that easily blends with their mother's coat. Once weaned around the age of one, babies' fur transitions to black. While the males maintain black fur for their entire lives, female gibbons will change back to golden fur between the ages of six and eight.

Animal Kingdom White Cheek Gibbons

Animal Kingdom White Cheek Gibbons

Animal Kingdom White Cheek Gibbons

Animal Kingdom White Cheek Gibbons

Animal Kingdom White Cheek Gibbons

Animal Kingdom White Cheek Gibbons

Animal Kingdom White Cheek Gibbons

Animal Kingdom White Cheek Gibbons

RELATED LINKS:

White Cheek Gibbon Baby Born 2010

Animal Kingdom Youngsters

August 18, 2012

Animal Kindgom Walk Around Tips and Tidbits

Deb Wills

The entrance is beautiful this time of year with flowering vines.

Animal Kingdom Entrance

Always pick up a times guide - not all areas of the park open at the same time and you can save yourself some steps.

Animal Kingdom Times Guides

But, not everything can be found in the times guide. I specifically looked for appearances by DiVine and none were on the guide. However over at the main Animal Kingdom Times Board, I found DiVine's hours under Hot Tips! It pays to double check!

I always love the view when you come out of the Oasis and enter Discovery Island, seeing the Tree of Life!

Animal Kingdom Tree of Life

I had planned to walk around Camp Minnie-Mickey, but the times guide told me it wasn't opening until 10am. Just before you head into the Camp area, there is a Disney Vacation Club Kiosk area. Right behind it are 3 fun cut out frames for photo ops!

Animal Kingdom

These zebras looked great against the blue sky. I remember many of these pieces actually being painted on my very first visit to Animal Kingdom, during a Cast Preview.

Animal Kingdom

My goal today was to ride Kilimanjaro Safari at least twice to get a good idea what animals are out in the summer heat! First stop, FastPass! There are signs now on each machine reminding you to return during the one hour window on your FastPass (so pay attention).

Animal Kingdom FastPass Signs

I headed over to the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail to see what was happening.

While I have seen signs like this along the trail before, I hadn't really stopped to read them.

Animal Kingdom Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

Upon entering the aviary section, you can't help but notice all the activity from the Africa Golden Weaver birds! Their nests are built up-side-down to what we think they should be to keep predators away! Check out Photo Blogger Scott's great photo of these birds!

Animal Kingdom Africa Golden Weaver birds

A Hippopotamus enjoying the sun and the waterfall.

Animal Kingdom Hippopotamus

Soon I was in the Meercat Viewing area. When the park first opened, you could not only see Meercat's and Gerinuks here but also Dik-Diks, a very small antelope. The Dik-Diks were only in Animal Kingdom for a short time.

Today when I looked around the only critters to be found were the Meercats. And then a huge fence in the distance.

Animal Kingdom Meercat Viewing

Animal Kingdom Meercat Viewing

While the Cast Member stationed there didn't know for sure what was going on. She speculated that work was being done on the trees OR perhaps they would have a new animal viewing area soon.. she said the rumor was "lions". Now, I would have normally just thought that was pure rumor, but earlier in the day, a Cast Member told me that Animal Kingdom recently acquired 4 Lion Cubs - so who knows?! That same Cast Member also indicated that occasionally a cub could be found in the Lion section (although on my two trips, I didn't see any). Again - pure rumor - I really have no idea what is going on.

Many of the Gorillas were out and about including this female and also the 2 year old.

Animal Kingdom Gorillas


Animal Kingdom Gorillas

It was nearing time 10:30am for my Kilimanjaro Safari FastPass so I headed over to check the return times. FastPasses were being given out for 11:15, so I went back to the machines and got another one so I could ride, kinda of back to back.

Lots of animals and birds were out. I spotted over 20 during the ride.

Disney sets the scene of the savannah up beautifully with this first look as you turn the corner.

Animal Kingdom Kilimanjaro Safari

Lots of giraffes on both sides of the road. Animal Kingdom now has two kinds of giraffe, the Reticulated (which has been there since park opening) and the Masai. Can you tell which is which?

Animal Kingdom giraffe

Here is how.... Look closely at their patches.

The Masai giraffe has jagged edges along their patches.

Animal Kingdom Masai

The Reticulated giraffe's are smooth.

Animal Kingdom Reticulated

Ok, now look at them again :)


Animal Kingdom Giraffe

The elephants were having a great time with the water and throwing sand on their backs (for sunscreen - really!). Elephants of varying age were out too!

Animal Kingdom Elephants

A Cast Member in the KJS area had told me that there is a baby White Rhino sometimes out so to be sure and look for it. Unfortunately, I didn't see the baby Rhino.

Animal Kingdom White Rhino

We had a treat and got to see both the male and female lion walking around.

Animal Kingdom Lion

Near the end of the ride is the new area being prepared for the Zebra. The drivers have gotten the "story" about the new herd integration into their spiel. One even said the Zebras are expected in October. That goes along with "fall" time frame first reported.

Animal Kingdom Zebra area

When the first ride was over I only had 10 minutes to wait for my second ride. Just about all the same animals were out, some in different areas. I did see a Mandrill the 2nd time.

This time, the lions were sleeping. I could see the male, but the female was hard to spot.

Animal Kingdom Lions

While I miss the rickety old bridge bit during the ride, I really enjoy that the jeep is now able to spot, no matter how briefly, for photo ops.

One animal I did miss was the Thompson's Gazelle. I asked one of the Kilimanjaro Cast Members who told me they have been removed from Animal Kingdom and taken to Animal Kingdom Lodge. I'd love to have someone to talk to from Animal Kingdom about the animals.

Before leaving the park, I stopped by the Beastly Bazaar. This shop has been closed and will become a Character Meet and Greet. I asked 2 different Cast Members in the area what was going on in the store and neither had any information to share.

Animal Kingdom Beastly Bazaar

All too quickly, the heat started to get to me, so I headed out.

Animal Kingdom Exit

So,do you like "walk around" blogs like this one?


November 23, 2011

First Inhabitants of Animal Kingdom

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During the construction of Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World's Media Relations office sent out periodic updates to journalists. These were oversized full color newletters designed to acquaint the media with the newest theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom.

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The following photos were taken at Animal Kingdom but the names are unknown.


The very first inhabitants were two reticulated giraffes named Zari and Miles. At the time, Zari was a 1.5 year old female born at the Metro Washington Park Zoo in Portland, Oregon. Miles was a 2 year old male from the St. Louis Zoological Park.

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The next animals to move in were seven western lowland gorillas. The family group of 4 was led by silverback Gino, a young male Hasani, and two females Hope and Benga. A bachelor group also moved into Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail (the original name of Pangani Forest Exploration Trail ) consisting of Zwadi, M'bizi and Chuma. These gorillas are endangered in the wild. All the gorillas, except Gino, came from 2 zoos in Chicago. Gino was born in the Rotterdam Zoo in the Netherlands and arrived in 1980 to the Lincoln Park Zoo.

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Two African elephants round out the first group of animals to call Animal Kingdom home; Thandi and Moyo from the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.


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October 7, 2008

West African Crowned Crane at Disney's Animal Kingdom

West African Crowned Crane


Whenever I am wandering around Animal Kingdom, I always try to look for new species or better yet, little babies. I've been pretty fortunate over the years to see a number of the park's offspring. I've seen baby elephants, giraffes, spoonbills, gibbons and this time a baby West African Crowned Crane.

It took asking several Cast Members before one was able to identify the bird for me. I had taken digital photos in the morning and then showed them to Cast Members during the day. When you have animal or bird questions, try to find a Cast Member in a green shirt. They are usually the ones who work with the animals. Although on the Pangani Forest Exploration and Maharajah Jungle Trek trails, the Cast Members will sometimes be in costume.

Animal Kingdom Signage for West African Crowned Crane


Here are some photos of the 6 week old male West African Crowned Crane. You can find him in the Discovery Island trails. He's various shades of brown. I was told he would develop his "crown" and turn colors as he gets older. The 2 adults were very close to him and seemed to be watching things very closely!

West African Crowned Crane

West African Crowned Crane

West African Crowned Crane

West African Crowned Crane

West African Crowned Crane

West African Crowned Crane

West African Crowned Crane

West African Crowned Crane

The sign in Discovery Island (photo above) says:
"We live in flocks of a hundred or more,
When not in the breeding season.
And Stamp on the ground with our feet as we walk,
It seems odd but we have good reason.

We stamp on the ground to make the bugs jump,
Then eat them before they fall.
At sunrise we haid the start of the day,
With a powerful trumpeting call."

The Field Guide to Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park says this about the West African Crowned Crane: "Balearica pavonia - Highly social, pair off usually for life, assume joint responsibility with their mate for offspring".

You also may be able to find the West African Crowned Cranes during your Kilimajaro Safari Ride.

Additional information can be found at the following website:

Philadelphia Zoo

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About Animals and Birds

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Deb's Digest in the Animals and Birds category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Camp Minnie-Mickey is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.