The sun is up and it’s a new day at WDW. I decide what my agenda will be for the day. I called for an 8:30 am wake up call and I am up early with decisions to make. On my past visits with my partner or friends, I would have been in the gym at the Dolphin Resort first thing in the morning, had breakfast at Fresh Mediterrean then headed out for the parks. Since it’s just me, I decide to skip the gym and breakfast and get over to Animal Kingdom for opening hour. Bad move? Maybe. When I arrive at Animal Kingdom, there are not many people there.
I am excited to be back in the Animal Kingdom. Immediately I head for my favorite area of the park, Asia. Unfortunately my sense of direction is not keen enough to find Asia without a map. I circle the Tree of Life (is that a personal metaphor?) and I wander pathways for what seems like too long before I finally see the walkway leading into Asia. My favorite area of Animal Kingdom is almost empty. Yak and Yeti is not yet open, the outdoor seating area is empty, the bus that serves refreshments has no line, Kali River Rapids is a walk on, Mount Everest..ALL with little to no people! How great. My camera is in hand and I am ready to take some pictures of these semi-deserted areas.
But I can not wait any longer. I have to ride Expedition Everest. There is a small line but it moves quickly through the queue. A great part of the experience of the attraction is the story provided in the amount of detail and objects of the queue. There is evidence of travelers who have never returned. Or will they? There are artifacts of the beast that resides inside of the mountain. Valuables collected on previous treks,canned food and climbing gear, there are many objects which build the story and set the stage for what lies ahead.
In my excitement to ride Mount Everest, I remember as I approach the ride that I did not yet eat breakfast! Was this a good idea? It’s early morning. I’m about to go on a thrill ride on a empty stomach. There is no turning back now. Well there is. I got a fast pass for later before I got on line, but I’ve come this far. Go for it!
I am seated next to a boy of who is probably 13 years old. I am feeling hungry and a little nervous about the ride. Maybe it’s starting to show. As we approach the ascent the boy asks me if I’m afraid. I put on a brave face and say, “No, are you?” Nervously he says, “No” then he blurts out, “I puked on Big Thunder Mountain.” Good to know! I laugh to myself. His mother turns around and shushes him. The train then makes it’s way to the summit and stops. Then it starts slowly…to…plunge backwards….aaah…darkness…dizziness…the Yeti. Quickly we are back in the station.
I am feeling dizzy! I can’t believe it. Don’t pass out. No. Immediately after the ride everyone is unloaded into the gift shop before exiting. I am so disoriented that I start snapping some pictures to distract myself.
As the blood returns to my head, I smile and quickly decide to eat something. (Tomorrow I will definately have breakfast first thing). The outdoor seating area of Yak and Yeti now has a few guests. As I order a new item from the menu, the Mandarin Chicken Salad, the cashier tells me that I’ve made a good choice. She tells me that the salad is very good, and it is. I’m glad to be eating something healthy. Maybe I just made up a little bit for skipping the gym.
Within the hour, the park has become extremely crowded and excessively hot. I spend the next five hours exploring parts of the park and attractions that on previous trips I had neglected. Here’s where I begin to learn what I hadn’t learned on previous trips. It is important to pace myself. When I begin to feel hot, tired and slightly claustrophobic, go take a seat at one of the many indoor shows. It is a good way to recuperate. I recommend It’s Tough To Be A Bug to anyone who hasnt seen it. It is a fun show in 3D with unexpected special effects. Finding Nemo the musical was very good but honestly I enjoyed the rest and air conditioning most. I will take this lesson with me to the other parks for the remainder of my trip. In the process, I will experience some enjoyable shows (Impressions of France in Epcot) and some that were not so enjoyable for me (Hall of Presidents, sorry fans of that attraction). There is still much of Animal Kingdom that I haven’t explored and will have to wait until next trip.
After a full day, it is time for me to leave the crowds of Animal Kingdom and get ready for a new experience. I booked a reservation online for the Spirit of Aloha show at the Polynesian Resort. I am hungry and looking foward to and endless supply of food and an entertaining show. It begins at 5:30pm and I have an hour to get there. Let’s go.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of Day 2 next. Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian Resort.