MON 3rd JAN 2000

I wake up at 6:30. This is the first good nights sleep that I have had since we arrived and I feel much better for it. Although I have a chesty cough and a slightly fuzzy head the aching and dizziness has gone. I had horrible visions of me not being able to get out of bed. Tammy had threatened to push me around in a wheelchair.

Breakfast in the room and we are on the bus to the Animal Kingdom by 7:40. We arrive in time for opening and head straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris. We should spend more time in the Oasis but to make the most of being there early we walk straight through. This is Grandma's first time at the Animal Kingdom and we want to show her how wonderful everything is.

It is true what they say about riding the safari early in the morning. We see just about every animal that there is to see. Tammy asks me what is the rarest animal to see and I have just finished telling her that I think it is the cheetah when we round a corner and see one sitting very close to the track. We also get to see the lions enjoying the early morning sun.
Georgia is a little concerned when we go over the rickety bridge and asks if anyone else will be able to get over it now.

Over to Countdown to Extinction. Grandma enjoys this immensely and I get to ride twice after we do the child swap. This would definitely be too intense for the girls. By the way, it is a complete walk on.
On to the boneyard to let the girls have a play. Unbelievably the girls unearth a dinosaur skeleton in the sand and spend a happy time uncovering it! Grandma is in there amongst them, actually we think she has more fun than the girls.

It's Tough To Be A Bug is next. India tries this for the first time and says she enjoys it but when I ask her if she wants to go back in with me (we did the child swap) she says no. Grandma leaps at the opportunity. I am really enjoying the attractions in the Animal Kingdom today, I had forgotten just how great they are.

We move on to Asia and see the Flights of Wonder show. Many Disney shows manage to be informative and educational at the same time. The theming in Asia is every bit as good as in Africa, truly a beautiful and fun area. The Kali River Rapids queue area is exceptional. As everyone says the ride itself is quite short but we all think it is enjoyable. If you are used to raft rides you may look on it differently but, as it is unusual to us, we think it is good fun. Of course, I am the one that gets soaked, although everyone gets wet to some extent or another. Outside they have a large hot air blower to dry people out but the queue is a bit long so we just walk by. The weather is lovely again so we just let nature dry us out, I'm not sure if I would want to ride this on a cold day.

Lunch follows from the chicken place and is the noodle bowl, chicken satay and an ear of corn split between us. Oh yes and the obligatory beers. The satay and noodle bowl are a big hit with all concerned and we find a lovely quiet area to eat it in. It is down by the side of the Siamang monkey temple. If you walk back towards the bridge and then down the path on your left just past the temple there are a couple of tables at the end by the waterside. Very peaceful and pretty. Even in a quiet, out of the way place like this Disney continue the theming with statues and an old bicycle alongside the bamboo fence reminding you are in Asia.

The Maharajah Jungle Trek is next. If you thought that the theming in the main part of Asia was good then this place will just blow you away. Built mostly around a ruined temple there are the remains of beautiful murals showing through the decay. Absolutely wonderful.
I love the giant bats, they have such pretty faces. If you stand there long enough you will see them stretching or moving around and get a real idea of their true wingspan. That could be the trouble with the areas where you stand and watch the animals, you could just stay and watch them all day and never see the rest of the park. I keep hearing myself saying that we must move on.
The tigers are truly majestic creatures and I suddenly realise the clever design of most of the animal enclosures. They allow the guest multiple viewing areas so that you will get to see the creatures no matter where they are.

A spot of shopping is next. I think I have been getting off lightly up to yet. Perhaps the worst is yet to come. We buy the Making Of The Animal Kingdom video and two photos that were taken on the way in as they manage the difficult task of making the Stringer family look almost human. Grandma buys a beautiful poster of the Animal Kingdom.

Wandering round we come across a cart where you can get temporary tattoos. India wants a Winnie The Pooh and Tammy gets one with all the Pooh characters, while Kevin has to sit down very quickly when told the price. $9 each! What a rip off, particularly as Tammy's tattoo starts to crease and peel off within hours. Kevin needs a beer quick to recover from the shock.

Back in Africa Georgia has her face painted and looks very pretty. I think it costs $12 but at least there is some time and artistry involved in this. On to the Pangani Forest Trail. We go through the bird enclosure and another small thing happens that adds to the overall magic. We stop to watch quite a large bird ( don't ask me which type) as it tries to pick up a stick to take it back to a nest it is building. The stick is too large and every time it attempts to take off it drops it again. The bird won't give up and tries time after time, gathering a small crowd to watch. We humans stand around looking superior and wondering when the stupid creature will give up. Much to our amazement it suddenly succeeds and flies off to its nest in triumph to cheering and clapping. Birds 1 Humans 0.

On to the hippos. We watch for a while with not much happening when suddenly the mother and child start playing. They frolic around and come right up to the glass, rolling around and messing about and play biting. It is an engaging sight and we spend a lot of time watching.
The gorillas are next and we spend time looking at the mother and baby interacting. As Tammy says they look almost human. Probably nicer than some humans I know!
I have come to the conclusion that the real joy of the Animal Kingdom is not in the rides and shows (good as they are) but in the beauty of the animals themselves. Take your time, do not rush through and you will be rewarded.

We take the train to the Conservation Station. I love this ride, not for the scenery but the train itself is marvellous. Once there we see two very informative talks about the possum and the fanuc fox. I find them interesting as neither are native to the UK. The affection section (yeuk!) has the goats head butting each other with gay abandon.

The park is about to close so we head to the Rainforest Cafe where we are seated with less than a 10 minute wait. The awesome appetiser is, well, awesome. I have the chilli ribeye which I find too highly seasoned for me and Tammy has the pork chops which she enjoys a lot. I don't really have to mention by now that the meal is accompanied by a beer. If you just assume that every time we eat we have a beer then you will be correct. The portions in this place are just too large. They must throw away vast quantities of food if the leftovers on all the tables are anything to go by.

We are just too late to for the last bus to the All Star Movies so jump on a bus to the Studios and so on to the Movies from there.
We are forced into a detour on the way to the room so that the girls can spend a short time in the arcade before showers and bed at 10:00.
At this late hour Georgia's face painting has changed from a beautiful butterfly into a bad Gene Simmons.