The first of our 2-day Park Hopper quest... Disney's Animal Kingdom. We took the 9am shuttle from our hotel near Downtown Disney and arrived at Animal Kingdom about 20 minutes after.
Park Hopper is one of the Disney Park packages offered that allows you to go to any of the Disney Parks in Orlando (Magic Kingdom, Disney MGM, Animal Kingdom) for unlimited number of times within the span of 48 hours. It is much cheaper than buying day passes at each park, especially if you plan to go to more than one Disney Park in a day.
It wasn't even 10 am yet and Animal Kingdom was full of people. Unless you've waited at the gates since before the park was opened early in the morning, you would always see hundreds of people around --- tourists, families, field trip groups, and of course the park staff.
A picture before entering the park. There were 3 signboards for Animal Kingdom... one with an elephant's head, one with a dragon's head, and other one I can't remember (someone help me on this, please). We chose the elephant's head. No particular reason though. Maybe because it was the middle one.
We saw the enormous Tree of Life from afar. One look and one might think it's a real tree, but in fact it's man-made. Inside the tree is a theatre where we got to see a Bug's Life 3D presentation, which was definitely a lot of fun.
The Tree of Life's bark is full of animal motifs... we can spot a few obvious ones from afar, but for some they are so small or hidden you really have to search.
A cute set of statues of Huey, Dewey and Louie with Daisy hiking along a small stream. It looked like Daisy was really waving at us.
A must-do for anyone visiting a Disney park... photo sessions with the main Disney characters. We lined up for about 15-20 minutes to meet and greet Mickey and Donald. One of my friends remarked that all of us seemed too old to be doing this, but everybody does it anyways regardless of age, so we waited in line, being the only bunch of twenty-somethings without a kid in the group taking pictures with Mickey and Donald. I didn't think it was childish at all. Someone's that insecure, I guess. Anyway I had fun shaking hands with them, Donald even tried scanning the barcode on one of my friend's t-shirt, which I found amusingly hilarious.
Then we went to a Lion King's musical theatre presentation... which was awesome. Being the only Disney fan in the group, I was the only one among my friends who was able to sing along to the all the Disney songs they sang in the musical, even though my singing voice some would prefer not to hear at all. A lot of singing, a lot of dancing, awesome choreography. One performance I found most entertaining was a group of acrobatic 'monkeys'--- they were really good at doing flips and jumps and balancing acts, it seemed more like a themed circus show to me at times. Definitely an entertaining presentation I must say, the performers have really done an awesome job, no doubt.
Then there was the African safari ride, the Everest ride that we didn't have time to go to, and the dinosaur show that we didn't see. All because of time constraint and the weather, which seemed like it was about to rain, and it did, for a couple of minutes, which caused a lot of the outdoor rides to be closed, but then afterwards the sky cleared. I feel bad for the people who lined up for 90 minutes for the Everest ride only to find out that it was closed because of the lightning, thunder and rain. I was glad that I abandoned my waiting in line for Everest, otherwise it would've been a waste of one hour of my time.
The sky cleared in time for the 4 pm parade. The main 'streets' were closed, thousands of people lined up the sides of the streets to watch the colorful parade. We were fortunate enough to find a good spot to sit and watch without having to stand for hours.
After the parade, we left Animal Kingdom via shuttle to our next destination - Disney's Magic Kingdom.