Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 4 – Animal Kingdom

We walked again this morning, but this time we stopped at Downtown Disney to take a flight on the Characters in Flight tethered balloon. Once again we had perfect weather, so the view was great and we were able to see how huge Disney World really is. It was a short, but enjoyable flight and a different way to start the day. After that we browsed in the Harley Davidson store, looked at the giant Lego sculptures, and took some photos of Raglan Road, where we’ll be having dinner tomorrow night.

Next we drove to the Animal Kingdom, which was about the least-crowded we have ever seen it. It was so pleasant strolling the paths and we noticed how the vegetation has really filled in, making the park shady and comfortable. We did the Maharaja Jungle Trek - the tigers were very alert today – and went on the safari ride and Expedition Everest. We saw the Lion King and Nemo shows – both really great, but we agreed we both like the Lion King best. We were able to walk onto everything.

All the photos from this trip are here on Flickr.

At this point we should have quit while we were ahead, but decided to go to the Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours. We parked in one of the Magic Kingdom lots and took the tram to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC), where we boarded the monorail for the Magic Kingdom. We got there just before the Main Street Electrical Parade started, but since we had seen this parade in Disneyland we decided to go on some rides instead. We had a really hard time getting through the crowd at the hub and over the bridge to Tomorrowland. It was absolutely packed! We rode the People Mover and then went to Fantasyland to see PhilharMagic. After that we rode the Haunted Mansion and finished up with Big Thunder Mountain. We should have left at that point, but decided to stay for the Wishes fireworks show that had started as we were heading for the exit.

After the fireworks, we knew there would be long lines for transportation back to the TTC, so we had hot dogs at Casey’s Corner while the park started to empty out. When we finally left the park, we were shocked to see hundreds of people still queued up for the monorail and steamboat, so we went back into the park and found a place to sit on Main Street while we waited some more. After half an hour or so, we tried again – but again all the lines were still awfully long. The line for the steamboat looked to be the lesser of two evils, so we went over there and waited, and waited some more. After a while of that line not moving an inch, we decided to try the express monorail. We got to the top of the ramp to find that it was experiencing “technical difficulties” and they weren’t letting anyone else on. We had no choice but to join the very long line for the resort monorail. We waited about 45 minutes to finally get on that monorail, but it didn’t take long to discover that this train had its own problems. We limped into the Contemporary where they had to shut down the train to reboot the onboard computer. Once underway again, we could tell by the flapping sounds coming from underneath the train that something was still amiss. We were stopped again just outside the TTC for a mechanical check and once inside the station, we still had to sit there for several minutes before they opened the doors and let us off. I think everyone breathed a sigh of relief when those doors finally opened.

All-in-all it took nearly 2 ½ hours for us to get to our car after the park closed. This is the first time we've driven to and parked at the Magic Kingdom and you can be sure we never will again. Lesson learned!

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