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Florida Guide > Disney Parks

Is Disney for Kids or Adults? Part 2 – Animal Kingdom

For those of you who plan to visit Disney without children you are in for a treat! Although of course, it is wonderful to see Disney through the eyes of a child, you are never too old for the magic and the drama.

In Part 1 I talked about Epcot, my personal favourite for adults. My next suggestion would be Animal Kingdom. Once the least popular Disney park, it now hosts the thrilling Expedition Everest ride, which attracts roller coaster lovers of all ages. Although, surprisingly, children also seem to love this classic roller coaster, they probably won’t be as interested in the fascinating waiting area which precedes this ride. Do have a good look round, as there are many wonderful artefacts which would be lost on little ones. The detail is astonishing. Look out for the paraphernalia of mountain climbing, the snow shovels, ropes, chains, lamps and rucksacks which hang from the walls and ceilings. Take a few moments to view the many photographs of herders and traders which are authentic, and which show the harshness of life in the Himalayas. Stay awhile and wonder at what might have befallen those who took part in the lost expedition, who have left only a torn tent and a few crushed and dented cooking pots as evidence that they were there on the mountain. All around you will see evidence of the mythical (or real? ) yeti – wall paintings, bronze statues, fearsome masks, portraying this huge and feared creature with long claws, and a terrifying face. To make this Himalayan environment as realistic as possible, more than 900 bamboo plants, 110 species of shrubs and 10 species of trees were imported in order to recreate the lowlands which surround the real Mount Everest. Not only that, but Disney brought in over 2. 000 handcrafted items from Asia, to add to the atmosphere.

Of course there are animals galore and if you want to see tigers or gorillas up close, then this is the park for you. Sit in one of the huge vehicles which take you on the Safari Ride and you are bound to see many real African animals. If you are lucky you might catch a glimpse of a lazy lion stretched out on a rock in the sunshine, or you might see a couple of young elephants paddling in the water beside their huge parents. There are plenty of gazelles delicately nibbling the grass, plus the tall elegant giraffes which walk gracefully through the trees. My personal favourites are the meerkats, these most social and altruistic of animals. Who cannot be enchanted by these little creatures as they stand on look out, watching for the slightest sign of danger?

Look out, too, for the gorillas, those huge black creatures with luminous brown eyes which seem to bore through you, who seem to be watching us rather than the other way round. Don’t miss them - they can be found through the trail after the Safari Ride. With their powerful arms and legs and glossy black coats they are majestic creatures, at times so human in their actions that it is possible to wonder if they aren’t really humans dressed up in gorilla suits. If you are lucky you might see a baby clinging to its parent’s back, or perhaps you will glimpse them eating, or paddling in the water below. Or maybe they will simply turn their backs on you. There are more animals to discover in Asia, so there is plenty to see and do.

And when you have had your fill of animals you can even pretend you have wandered in by mistake and sit through the fabulous ‘Nemo’ show or the delightful ‘Lion King. ’ You are NEVER too old for them……No matter how many times I see them I am never bored. The wonderful new ‘Nemo’ Show, through Dinoland and just before you reach Expedition Everest, is a show not to miss. The costumes are fantastic, and the music brilliant. Even the ‘Lion King, ’ which is now a classic musical, has a certain unforgettable magic each time you see it.

Of course you should not forget to visit Dinoland, where you can take an adventure back into the Cretaceous period on ‘Dinosaur’ - one of my favourite rides, or you can experience Primeval Whirl, a spinning whirling roller coaster that has several drops and dips to give you a thrill.

Whatever you choose to do, don’t give Animal Kingdom a miss – but remember, you still have Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom to explore – without the kids!

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Page added on: 10 January 2009
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