Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Day 8 - Big lodges, big trees

Click here to see all of today's photos.

Today we visited the two magnificent lodges on Disney property - the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Wilderness Lodge. By the time we got moving this morning, it was almost time for lunch, so we drove over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and got sandwiches at the Mara, the lodge’s cafeteria. We sat out by the pool and enjoyed the perfect weather – sunny, dry and in the 70s, with a light breeze. The Christmas tree in the lobby is awe-inspiring, befitting the scale of the enormous space that overlooks a simulated African savannah. We walked out to the viewing area and saw some Ankole cattle grazing and then strolled around the pool area admiring this lodge’s beautiful setting.

After lunch, we moved on to the Animal Kingdom park. We went into the area called Camp Minnie-Mickey where we were entranced by three different performances. The first was called Pocahontas and Her Forest Friends, a brief musical performance with an environmental theme. Next we saw an energetic performance of Festival of the Lion King featuring acrobatics, singing and dancing to the familiar music of the movie.
As we exited the theater, we happened upon a group called the Campfire Carolers singing contemporary Christmas songs that kept us entertained enough to stay for their whole set.

After that, we checked out the wait time for the Kilimanjaro Safari, but it was almost an hour, so instead we walked the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail where we saw a Meerkat, lots of birds and fish, and some gorillas. Click the photos to see the animals.

The crowds had been very light up until that point, but tonight the park has extended hours, so it was beginning to fill up. We left and drove over to the Wilderness Lodge where we were confronted by another soaring Christmas tree in that lofty lobby.

We decided to call it an early evening and returned to Old Key West to have dinner at Olivia’s. We shared a delicious appetizer of glazed chicken wings and both had the sirloin steak salad.

Tomorrow is our last full day. We plan to spend most of it at Epcot and to see the Candlelight Processional again.

You can see all of today's photos here.

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