Florida Guide > Disney Parks
Not to be Overlooked at Animal Kingdom
The Theme Parks are so exciting with so much to see and do it is often easy to overlook some of the attractions they have to offer.
One of the best, yet most overlooked probably because not all guests are aware of it , experiences at Disney' s Animal Kingdom happens about 15 minutes before the park even opens. It is called “The Awakening” and Mickey and friends rewards early risers with a greeting of the new day and are soon joined by many costumed characters. All this is a great start to your day even if it means getting up earlier.
Do not be surprised when you stumble across “Wes Palm”, an eccentric and entertaining palm tree that teases guests throughout the morning in the Oasis.
Another character that you may walk past without realizing it is DiVine who is really a performance artist dressed in foliage from the top of her green-painted head to the bottom of her stilt-wearing toes. She rests unobtrusively against a tree or a wall, suddenly springing to life to tease an unsuspecting passerby. DiVine is usually encountered along the path from Africa to Asia.
When you have made your way up to Discovery Island to the Tree of Life, stop and really look at the Tree. It is truly a modern work of art with its 102, 000 leaves and intricate detail.
If you walk up the path to the left, toward Harambe, you will pass by the counter service restaurant, Pizzafari. This is one of the most brilliantly decorated buildings in the Animal Kingdom and if you get here before the lunch crowds gather you can study the different rooms with their ornate murals, walls and ceilings.
As you wander into Harambe, stand outside the door at the Dawa Bar. You will swear that you can hear dishes clinking, voices talking, a radio, as well as a persistent knocking. The story is that the landlady who runs the ' hotel' above the bar is trying to collect the rent from the delinquent students who live there.
Across from the Dawa Bar is what appears to be an old fort. Do not pass it by, go in and you will see there are actually tables and chairs in there. It is the perfect quiet spot to take a cool drink or a snack and get away from the crowds.
You might not like the fact that you are stuck in the queue waiting to get wet on Kali River Rapids. This is actually one of the best places in Animal Kingdom to go slowly through. Be sure to see the Kali Tiger Temple, the Balinese puppets, the prayer wheel and the brass gongs as you meander through the various chambers. Do not miss Mr. Panika' s office -- the owner of the ' business' may be ' out to temple' as the signs indicate, but the two resident geckos who reside in his gecko cabinet are in all the time. Children will enjoy spotting the little critters, which are very much alive!
After getting drenched on the Kali River Rapids be sure to stop on the bridge after exiting the ride. You will find two elephants whose trunks will spout water at the unsuspecting riders below if you push their buttons, this is great fun.
Rafiki' s Planet Watch itself is often passed by; we did on our first visit until some friends told us about it. Like us many think there is not much to do and that it is not worth the train ride, but we find it to be a very interesting diversion. Be sure to stop in at the listening booths in Conservation Station to hear Grandmother Willow' s presentation of the Sounds of the Rainforest. Slip on the earphones and the cool, dark room almost convinces you to go to sleep that is until you hear the eerily realistic rain, booming thunder and the buzzing insects.
While you are at Rafiki' s Planet Watch, be sure to take your little ones to the Affection Section. It is a typical petting zoo, with sheep and goats, but if you talk to the Cast Members they will give you lots of facts about the animals kept there.
I am sure you will find even more overlooked attractions than I have listed here; Animal Kingdom is a great Park with so much to see.
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Page added on: 17 January 2009
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