Monday, August 11, 2014


May 28, 2014

Growing up I loved the Doctor Dolittle books.   He had so many wonderful adventures and they were so unlike the Dr. Dolittle movies of today.  If you have never read the actual books I suggest you do.  Even better read them with or to your children. 
Because of my love for animals I believe the Animal Kingdom is my favorite park.  I love the atmosphere, the animals, the scenery and the food.  
I do believe the Jammin' Jungle Parade is actually my favorite too.  So when Naomi warned us the calendar showed this parade going dark on May 30  I made a point to go to the Animal Kingdom before that happened.  I definitely didn’t want to miss the unique floats and those marvelous stilt walkers. It is my hope that after the Avatar expansion is complete they will bring this parade back. 

So we headed for the AK once we got moving around for the day
I cannot begin to tell you how many photos we have taken over the years at the AK, but to say hundreds would be conservative.  However, this day we didn’t carry any cameras with us.   

In fact other than our cell phones up to this point we hadn’t been carrying the cameras.  We wanted to enjoy the parks unencumbered, the photo shoots would be later.  I had big plans for photos later on.
Check in through the security lanes went quickly and soon we were headed directly for Flame Tree BBQ.  This eating spot is a tradition for us.  Generally I can hold my own eating their ribs and chicken platter, with the guys finishing up what little I don’t eat.  But this trip I did good to nibble on a little of each.  Nor did the guys have the appetite to eat all that I had leftover.
Because the bag on the back of the ECV is insulated and I had a cold pack in there I scooted up the hill from the dock area where we’d been eating and asked if they had something I could wrap leftovers in at the outside pickup window.  
The woman apparently gets this request a lot because she gave me several sheets of aluminum foil to wrap the meats in.  
On subsequent days we carried Ziploc bags in the tote bag for just such a use.
Once we had satisfied our hunger and packed up the leftovers we headed out to our first Fastpass+ of the day, Kilamanjaro Safari.  
Because we hadn’t brought our cameras we all three pulled out our cell phones so we did get numerous photos of this interesting ride.  
Apparently we had chosen the right time of day to ride through the savannah, or perhaps it was the cooler weather due to the scattered rain showers we’d been having on and off every day, whatever the cause we were able to see a lot of animals.  
Some, like the giraffes, came very close to our tram so taking photos just seemed to be a must for us.

As we rode along we giggled when we heard one parent say “look at the baby”.  This is an inside joke with our family.  
One trip to the AK, when dh and I had the “honor” of being seated behind a set of grandparents who were so anxious that their grandbaby see everything the grandmother kept saying over and over “Look at the baby!” We thought nothing of it at the time.
However, when dh was editing the video at home he had to keep backing up and replaying to get the edit just right.  So for what seemed like an eternity all ds and I heard was “Look at the baaaaaaby, look at the baaaaaaby” .  We now think of it every time we ride this ride, and especially when we hear someone say those four little words.    It takes very little to entertain us.
From the safari we went wandering around to just enjoy the scenery and the animals until our next Fastpass+ We used our cell phones for a few photos, but nothing major.
Finally it became parade time and I made an inquiry about a handicapped viewing area.  We were quickly pointed in the right direction and once again I was lucky enough to be placed right at the rope so I could easily see without having to leave my ECV.  The guys stood behind me so shorter people could be at the rope.
There were many people who would “join” the handicapped viewing area that were not disabled in any visual way.  Each time a group of them would join the roped off area the cast members would politely ask them if they had the GAC or if they had a Fast Pass for the viewing.  
When the people would reply no, or fail to show the required id they were politely warned that if others with disabilities came to the viewing area they would be asked to give up their space for that person and their family.
Most were quite compliant with this, but one man got hostile when they were asked to vacate the area saying that he was there first and he wasn’t going to leave just because someone was in a wheel chair.  
His wife stopped his tirade with an embarrassed look on her face and by taking their children and leaving quietly, saying below her breath that they had been warned.  He stomped off after them, but you could tell he was not amused.
The parade started shortly after that and it was wonderful. I adore stilt walkers, there is something almost magical about them and those at WDW really enhance that feeling.
Speaking of stilt walkers, either Di Vine is no longer there or we simply missed her. 

 This was disappointing to us because we love watching this piece of moving foliage.  The stilt walker that does that job is so smooth and fluid in her movements.
SilverDollar City had a pair of “D’vines” at their Worldfest event two years ago when we were there.  While they were fun to watch they were not as well camouflaged as the one at WDW, so some of the magic was lost.
After the parade I had read on the Disney Information Station email I received while at the parks that Tamu Tamu now had Dole Whips.  I love Dole Whips, but the guys really aren’t that crazy about them.  So I left them sitting in the shade enjoying Mickey bars while I scooted up the hill to Tamu Tamu.  
The counter was a little high for me to retrieve my purchased Dole Whip, but the cast member leaned way out to make certain I had a good hold on it before she released it.  At the napkin cart another cast member came from behind that cart to give me my utensils and napkins.  Like I said in my ECV report, the cast members at WDW go out of their way to help you.
Oh a word to the wise.  At Tamu Tamu it is not called a Dole Whip, and at that point it was not on the main menu.  It was just a small sign near the register that said they were now serving soft serve pineapple ice cream.  But a Dole Whip by any other name is still delicious.
By the time I got back to the men it was almost time for our next Fastpass+.  Ds had one for Expedition Everest and we had one for  Finding Nemo stage show.  So we split up at that point.  That was the last we saw of ds in the park that day.  
I rode Expedition Everest  ride my one time (actually twice) the first year it was open and have no plans of riding it ever again.  I don’t like going backwards in any way, not even in a car, so to ride that ride is not a good thing for me.  However, ds loves it and rode it once with his Fastpass+ and once as a single rider that day.  
I love the Nemo show.  You forget all about the puppeteers as you are watching the show.  
We also enjoyed a learning experience we had while there at that theater.  Because of the ECV we were placed at the top of the theater, which was just fine with us.  This not only put us center top with a good view of the stage, but it gave us a good view of the audience as well.
While we were waiting for the play to start a cast member seated a woman two rows in front of us that had indicated she was hearing impaired.  We were mesmerized watching them set up closed caption for her.  
The device was really pretty simple.  It was a polished smoked glass on a flexible stand that was placed on the floor in front of her and then adjusted to her comfort for reading.  
Once the play started a digital projector on the wall behind us scrolled the words of the script printed backwards.  The smoked glass caught this reflection and she was able to easily read along.  It was quite ingenious  a device.  So simple, yet worked so well.
After seeing this one unit being set up we spotted similar devices in several other shows throughout the remainder of our trip.  

After returning home I did a little research on this device and learned they call it a Reflective Captioning Device and they also have hand held devices as well as other aids for the hearing impaired.

From Nemo dh and I went to watch “It’s Tough to be a Bug”.  We were placed on the front row of the theater and I choose to sit on the bench while the wheel chair charged a bit nearby.  
The show had apparently had recently had some refurbishing, because we had read that Hopper and other parts had failed to work when other guests were there, but everything worked perfectly for our viewing.  
As we departed dh asked me if the bugs had “bumped me bum” referring to another previous trip memory where a little girl with a very distinct British accent had told her mother as departing the show that the bugs had “bumped me bum”.  She said it so amazed and with such innocence it is something that has always stuck with us.  
It was nearing park closing time at this point and I was running really low on “fuel” so dh and I decided to head back to camp for the evening.
While riding the direct bus to the Outpost we discussed dinner options.  We still hadn’t purchased propane and while we had a microwave as well as electric cookware with us neither of us felt like cooking.  Hey, we were on vacation right? 
So we decided that dh would take get off the bus with the ECV at our loop 1600, take  it back to cam and plug it in.  Then meet me at Crockett’s Tavern at the settlement. 
I’d ride the bus on down to the settlement where I would meet Sean who called us during our bus ride to see what our dinner plans.  He was already at the campsite.
Dh asked Sean to go ahead to the settlement drop off point to meet me because I had been having some breathing issues that day.  Which Sean did. 
We went directly to Crockett’s Tavern and set down at the bar to order a pepperoni pizza.  Just as the pizza was set in front of us Gary joined us at the bar.
It was a typical theme park pizza, not truly bad or good. 
After dinner we went back to the camper for a supposed early bedtime, albeit after 10 pm at that time.
Jan who was enjoying herself despite her “inconveniences” in OK

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