September 19th

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September 19th, 2021            

Day two of the Grandpa Gary & Grandma Terry's 50th Anniversary Walt Disney World Tour kicked off at Disney's Animal Kingdom, at Marissa's request.

After eating breakfast at the condo and making the drive to the park, we made our way to the entrance. On the way in, Grandma Terry pointed out a van for us to look at. As you can see in the pictures below, somebody's Grandma got divorced! Of course Samantha had to Venmo some money to buy her a drink or two - or maybe a lot more too!

Once we made our way into the park, we headed off to Pandora - The World of Avatar to get a return time for Avatar Flight of Passage using Steve's Disability Access Service (DAS). While we waited for our time to arrive, we decided that we had just enough time to wait out the line for Na'vi River Journey, and since we were right there we decided to give it a go (although the ride is enjoyable, I still don't get why people wait such a long time for it...). Once this ride was complete, we were able to make the short walk over to Avatar Flight of Passage and enjoy that ride too (this one I get the wait for, as it is visually stunning, and the smells and physical sensation is worth it).

Once we were finished taking in the sights of Pandora - The World of Avatar, we decided to make Kilimanjaro Safaris our next stop. On our way to Africa we were lured in by a show that was just about to start - A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King. Although we were in the park the day the show reopened following its COVID related shutdown, we didn't see it that day. Today marked our first trip back in to the theater to see it. It was a different show to say the least, and I can't say that I thought that it was better. It wasn't until I look at the map later that I realized why the show was different - the prior show was simply Festival of the Lion King, while this was A Celebration of that show. There were parts of the prior show, such as the trapeze act and the suspended wire artists. Frankly, I missed that.

Once the show let out we made our way over to Kilimanjaro Safaris. No matter the situation, I've always enjoyed this ride, with the only exception being the one time we rode it later at night, and it was just too dark to see much and the animals weren't very abundant. Despite the overall amount of times I've been on the ride, I'm always excited to get an up close look at animals that I would never really otherwise get a chance to see. If only I was smart enough to have gotten into this field in school!

After our safari ride was complete, we decided to head to Asia for a change-of-pace thrill ride on Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain. On our way we passed by the entrance to Feathered Friends in Flight!, and since was their last showing of the day and Drew had never seen it we decided to make a detour. I find this show enjoyable as well, and Drew did too, so the detour was worth it! We finally made it to Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, where most of went for a ride. This ride pretty much sums up what we like in a Disney roller coaster!

It was at this point that we decided to stop for dinner. We didn't pack today, so we had to find a spot to eat. Tara found a drink that she wanted to try and the Flame Tree Barbecue, and since Drew is always commenting on how good this place smells we decided to give it a try. Well, everyone except Aunt Erica and Marissa, who went off on their own to find food. Although the food wasn't terrible, none of us were wowed. To make matters worse, Tara really didn't even enjoy her drink! While I can't speak for everyone, I doubt that we'll be back here anytime soon.

It was getting relatively late by this point, and our family had to drive home for work and school tomorrow, so we decided to make Dinosaur our final ride of the day. Erica and Marissa had already ridden this while waiting for us to finish our meal, but they rejoined us for a second ride as well.

After finishing up in the park, we returned to the condo to pack up what was needed before heading off for home. Grandpa Gary, Grandma Terry, Uncle Steven, Aunt Erica, and Marissa all stayed behind for a visit to the Magic Kingdom tomorrow while we suffered through another day at work and school.


Disney's Animal Kingdom

Somebody's Grandma is looking to celebrate her divorce by having a shot or two!

"Last drink before the brink!" Haha!

"Help nana get wasted!"

Finally, the entrance to Disney's Animal kingdom!

A look at the scenery inside Pandora - The World of Avatar from the Oasis.

A mallard flapping its wings...


Up ahead you can see the family making their way towards the Tree of Life.

A closer look at the Tree of Life.

Walt Disney World has placed Disney Fab 50 Character Collection statues all over the parks - here is Thumper, Bambi, and the butterfly from Bambi.

Samantha and Jayden posing in front of the Lion King wall on the way to Pandora - The World of Avatar.

A look at the "animals" of Pandora - The World of Avatar... well as the scenery...


A close-up of Rodney (with Grandpa Gary in the background...

...and of Tara while in line for Na'vi River Journey.

A look at the Na'vi River Journey ride...


Some of the scenery spotted around Pandora - The World of Avatar...


A look at the view while walking from Pandora - The World of Avatar to Africa.

A dragonfly spotted on the walk from Pandora - The World of Avatar to Africa.

And now some photos from our viewing of the A Celebration of Festival of the Lion King show...



The sign letting us know that we were entering the Harambe Wildlife Reserve during the Kilimanjaro Safaris.

A couple of nyala spotted on the safari.

Here is an okapi, whose closest relative is the giraffe and not the zebra, despite the stripes on their back half.

A black rhinoceros out exploring.

A bongo laying in the shade.

A saddle-billed stork standing near the waters of the Kilimanjaro Safaris.

The hippopotamuses were out in abundance today, including the newest "little" addition...


A family of pink-backed pelicans hanging out near the hippos.

A couple more shots of the hippos...

...including the baby!

Black vultures!

A couple more black vultures spotted on the safari.

A bunch of Nile crocodiles hanging out in the water.

We spotted a giraffe off in the distance... well as an Ankole-Watusi cattle.

The zebras were heading off in different directions...


A zebra with an Ankole-Watusi cattle in the distance.

Another look at the Ankole-Watusi cattle.

The painted dogs were hanging out in the shade under the rock.

A sable antelope laying in the field...

...while another explores near the bushes.

A wildebeest standing near the road while a giraffe stands in the background.

Here are some photos of the giraffes on the Kilimanjaro Safaris...


More wildebeests grazing in front of the giraffes.

Some more photos of the giraffes on the Kilimanjaro Safaris...


An African elephant cooling itself off.

This may have been the first time we spotted a mandrill on one of our safaris...

We saw a couple more African elephants frolicking in the water...

...though they may have been doing a little bit more than "frolicking"!

An African elephant walking away from our safari group.

A couple shots of flamingos hanging out...

...on the Mickey shaped island.

A mallard swimming near the flamingos.

A couple more pictures of the flamingos...

...including this one who was busy...

...spreading its wings.

The cheetahs chilling in the shade...


A white rhinoceros hiding in the trees...

...while a blesbok  stands nearby...

...before the rhino decides to wander off.

A lion hanging out on the rocks... perhaps the highest perch we have ever seen them on!

Another look at the lion.

Please click here for page two of the photos


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