Saturday, January 31, 2015

Day 5 Highlights - Disney's Animal Kingdom

Another wet yucky day faced us at Animal Kingdom on Day 5:
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filled with walls everywhere:
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and something rarely seen, workers out in the open:
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Have to say I was a bit appalled at that and I can't say why, maybe because you expect better at Disney. But I was soon distracted by even more walls:
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The rain did thin out the crowds quite a bit and I managed to not only ride Expedition Everest numerous times with very little wait, but I got some great shots:
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I was also glad to get dripping water from the cool water fountains over by Dinosaur (although they are WAY too creepy to drink out of - would YOU want to take liquid from a fossilized dinosaur's mouth?):
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I figured if the wildlife wasn't bothered by the rain, then I shouldn't be either:
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I get the purpose of the netting around the Tree of Life, but what an eyesore!
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Loved the new Harambe Theater for Festival of the Lion King:
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although the "covered" queue didn't offer much protection from the rain:
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and it didn't look that much bigger than the old theater on the inside:
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the show was as amazing as always and I worked the zoom yet again:
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I never get in the warthog section so that Timon faces me! Oh, the humanity!
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At least one animal didn't care too much for the rain:
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I played meerkat zoom forever!
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I ended up going back to Downtown Disney for the afternoon, Animal Kingdom is hard to take in large doses. The sky got quite dark for a while, but quite photogenic:
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but I was OK with it because it afforded me a rare luxury, an empty bus ride back to the resort:
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Our "fancy" dinner was at Jiko at Animal Kingdom Lodge and it was quite beautiful on the inside (and the food wasn't bad either):
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And that's pretty much it for Day 5...next up, Epcot and the International Food and Wine Festival!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Day 4 Highlights - Daylight AKL and DHS

The morning light brought new views of the Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby, but be it day or night, the windows overlooking the Savannah never cleared the entire trip:
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but the sunlight on the lobby was quite extraordinary:
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The funky layout sucked in terms of the food places, but the bus stop layout was quite familiar because it was a lot like that of Wilderness Lodge:
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At least arriving at Disney's Hollywood Studios was rain free:
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but it certainly wasn't crowd free:
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RIP to the Sorcerer's Hat...I might have been the only person who didn't mind it too much, especially since it housed one of my favorite pin stores:
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and of course the walls extended everywhere, DHS, the often overlooked park, was no exception:
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If ever there was a time I wished for an overcast sky, it was for this picture:
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a pretty blue sky kind of ruins the effects of the Tower of Terror, but at least holograms through glass at Rock n'Roller coaster wasn't a struggle:
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The humidity made the effects in the queue line at Tower of Terror more prominent, so that was a good thing:
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even if it made it worse for the confectionaries:
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I was so happy to see that the background exhibition was still on display at the Art of Animation building, another one of those greatly overlooked but amazing places:
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I did finally get the John Wayne autoanimatronic in the Great Movie Ride...I usually get stuck in the gangster scene:
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I also managed to zoom in on a "friend" at Echo Lake without scaring him off:
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Think I'm going to end this one here. I don't remember why we didn't stay for nighttime at DHS (or for Fantasmic). I had a headache one night, but I don't remember which. Maybe it was this one? Oh well, we'll start Day 5 at Animal Kingdom.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Day 3 Highlights - Part 2 Animal Kingdom Lodge Room

Disney doesn't guarantee you'll have a ready room until check-in time at 3 pm, but I have never had to wait that long for one before. It was a couple minutes before 3 before we got our first text that the room was ready.
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I usually prefer to chill out in the room a bit before hitting the parks, not at the end of the night. But the fact that we had animals outside our room (even though we didn't pay for it) made up for the wait.
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Although the exterior view of the rooms wasn't that great and reminded me a bit of a zoo:
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But like all Disney resorts, the attention to detail was amazing:
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and I even found the obligatory Hidden Mickeys:
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If I had one negative comment about my camera, it's that it tends to have too much of a yellow tint to the white balance for indoor pictures and I can't figure out how to adjust it. I try to overlook it, but it does annoy me because adjusting the white balance after the fact tends to go too pink, so I don't bother. I guess, if I had to find a good point to losing my memory cards, at least now I can replace them with a size big enough to manage raw files instead of jpegs. Maybe that will help with the adjustments. But anyway...

The level of detail extended to the lobby and hallways as well and of course my obsession with Disney lighting hasn't subsided (for those that don't know, I seem to have a fascination with lights at Disney World for some reason...I don't in the real world, just the Disney one):
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and I found Hidden Mickey's outside the room too:
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Although Animal Kingdom Lodge is a lot like Wilderness Lodge in it's design (which makes sense since it was designed by the same architect, the same one who designed Disney's Grand Californian at Disneyland, our home for this year's trip), aspects of the layout made no sense to me especially when it came to where the food places were. You had to go downstairs from the lobby and, in the case of the food court, you had to literally go outside and walk around the outside to get to it, there was no internal entrance to it.
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and it felt like it was a bit "cavy" as well:
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but I had to try the Zebra Domes which everyone always talks about:
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Frankly, I didn't think they were that great. The liquor flavor was too strong, the cake was too dry and bitter and the humidity wreaked havoc on the exterior icing.

The zero entry pool was also a bit of a disapointment considering it already looked to be in bad shape:
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but the pool itself was very nice:
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And of course, I had to check out the gift shop (where I ended up spending more time than the food court):
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Again, great pieces of art:
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And it's one of the few resort gift shops that actually had resort-specific merchandise. I miss that at the resorts and it was nice to see it again!

This post was a bit shorter than the others, but I might make up for it in the next few posts. Day 4 sees us at Disney's Hollywood Studios and another wet day.