Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Disney Honeymoon (Part 2)

Since two people went on this honeymoon, it only makes sense to have the both of us do a write up.

Thursday night, we went on the the Wanyama Safari, which took a small group of us through the animal reservations surrounding the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Just missing the large hunting rifle and glass of gin to make this a real safari
While you can go outside and catch a glimpse of most of the animals during various times of the day, the Safari pairs you with knowledgable tour guides and lets you get even closer to the animals.

After about an hour and a half learning about all the animals the lodge has, we went to dinner at the Jiko restaurant in the resort as a part of the Safari. A mixture of African, Indian and Mediterranean food paired with wines from South Africa. We learned that Disney is responsible for quite a bit of the South African wine country's prosperity since apartheid ended, bolstering up many of the smaller and failing wineries over the years by giving them steady customers.

Dessert wasn't bad either!
Friday, we hit three parks in one day. Since we had not seen Animal Kingdom during the day, we decided to see what it was all about. There are some great rides and a small zoo in the park, plus a dinosaur themed area with carnival games.

Yes, this photo is the right side up

A sudden exit from Expedition Everest ride

After Animal Kingdom, we made another trip to Epcot because the countries are friendly and the booze flows freely. But we've talked plenty about Epcot. Let's talk about the Magic Kingdom at night!

Ferry ride from Epcot to the Magic Kingdom. Not as fast, but much more relaxing than the monorail

We got to watch the fireworks at Epcot, but we really wanted to get the true Disney experience and watch fireworks over Cinderella's Castle. But fireworks aren't the only evening festivities offered by Disney.

First off, there are parades a few times a day featuring all the Princesses and their respective beaus. But at night, the Main Street Electrical Parade lights up the park.

With a nice dose of Freedom at the end.
Before the fireworks, a show is projected onto the castle. Some genius managed to find a way to place projectors close at the bottom and far away up top to create an entertaining account of the history of Disney. From Walt and Mickey to every princess, Cinderella's Castle changed and shone for everyone.

And this is where I talk about my favorite part of Disney. The sheer logistics of that place is astounding. From rides that have moving walkways to technologies I had no idea existed, Disney truly understands what it is to take imagination and run with it.

Take the ride Soarin' in Epcot. I truly believe someone came up with the idea of a ride that makes you feel as if you are hang gliding, and they did it. They strap you into a seat, lift you into the air into a dome that is in front of you, and project amazing images of flights around California. The way you are positioned fives you a perfect panoramic view that fills your sight. And to add just the last bit of effect, they have cool wind with piped in scents to give you just a bit more realism.

40 square miles, 57K employees and the bathrooms are clean, the employees are super friendly and everything runs on time. Rides that I would never have thought of exist in this place, including a 3D Michael Jackson Sci-Fi adventure called Captain EO and a rotating building called the Carousel of Progress showing what technology was like in the past, and what it may look like in the future.

I've been in the military for thirteen years. I have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and never have I seen an organization run so smoothly. If ever Disney went to war, they would take out their enemies in months and the dead would have Mickey ears and smiles.

So yeah, fireworks. They were pretty fantastic. And Tinkerbell rode a zip-line down from the top of the castle.

Final day, dining and shopping in Downtown Disney. While Beth and I didn't do any pin trading, we certainly bought plenty of pins to commemorate our time there.

We also ate at a place called T-Rex, which is a reskinned Rainforest Cafe with a dino theme. And it is pretty fantastic!

The giant squid moved. Everything moved and freaked out every twenty minutes when the "meteor shower" started.
Downtown Disney stays open later than the parks for all your drinking and partying needs. There is also a Lego store and the largest Disney store in the world. You know, in the event that you haven't spent all your money just yet.

Our final meal was at Sanaa at the resort. Animal Kingdom Lodge has two resorts next to each other with their own restaurants. If you are lucky enough you can get a table looking over the Savannah surrounding the resort.

All in all, it was a great Honeymoon planned by a wonderful wife. While we may have been seeing magic in different places in Disney, we both were certainly blown away with the place and had a fun and relaxing time.

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