About Me!

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Welcome! I am Jane-Ellen (JE) I'm a travel agent and I am happy to share with you my love of travel. I am not a journalist, I simply enjoy traveling. My favorite travel destinations are Walt Disney World, Cruises and anywhere on our Harley. My husband, Steve and I are out on our Harley when time, work and weather permit. We try to take weekend trips whenever possible.
Walt Disney World has been a favorite spot to vacation since our first trip in 1983. We have had over 30 weeklong vacations and now living in Florida we visit monthly, although recently I find myself there weekly. Hey I am doing research!
Cruising is another passion. We have been on many cruises, predominately in the Caribbean. A seven day cruise is the best way to really unwind and relax; but if a three or four day cruise crosses our path, we set sail. I am an Accredited Cruise Councilor, and a Certified Travel Councilor. I have the highest level of education from all major cruise lines.
Many clients have asked for insider tips for Disney World and cruising. That is my goal to offer insider information on Disney, Cruises and biking.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our Visit to Disney's Animal Kingdom

November 17, 2010

Here is the story of three friends who ditched their husbands for a day and went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Two friends and I set off from the wilds of Weeki Wachee FL to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
In our party were three ladies, Linda, Cheri and I (JE). Linda and I have been to AK before. Cheri was a first time visitor, which made it exciting for Linda and me.

 Our game plan consisted of only one thing, ride Kilimanjaro Safari as early as possible before it was too hot. Well we didn’t have to worry because it was a perfect day. No rain, not many clouds and it warmed up to only 80.  We had a 10 minute wait, which was fine. I noticed that they have added quite a few more safari vehicles to alleviate the long wait times. As the wait for KS was so short the need for Fastpass was nonexistent.

Kilimanjaro Safari is not your typical Disney experience. The animals are real; as such, they may be sleeping or avoiding the heat and you may not see them roaming. This has drawn some criticism from park goers.  I am happy to see the live animals (even sleeping ones) vs. animatronics hidden in bushes.  If you prefer to know that you will see the same elephant in the same place year after year, then maybe the Jungle Cruise in Magic Kingdom is a better choice for you.  I do love the Jungle Cruise too don’t get me wrong, please visit with an open mind and enjoy animals in an unpredictable environment. Ride a few times, at different times of the day; you will see something different each time.

We boarded our safari vehicle, a large jeep like vehicle, for our two week tour. We bounced and bumped, zipping over creek beds, easing over rickety old bridges, sped along as we chased poachers and mostly enjoyed the very active animals.  At some points we reached speeds of up to 8mph! What ride!

We were thrilled to see two female giraffe, a mom and younger female.  We saw the elephants, wart hogs, ostriches, lions (sleeping) and many other wild things.  At one point we saw one elephant segregated from the others. From a distance he appeared to be a  5 legged elephant I asked but the safari guide quickly corrected me, apparently the extra limb was not a leg. Oops, my mistake. It was a male elephant.

We visited Pangani Forest and saw the gorillas up and around playing. 

We were hungry by this point and headed over to Tusker house and checked out the delicious buffet ($22 pp). We didn’t want to spend too much time in a restaurant so we ventured over to Pizzafari. They had a nice choice of Pizza w/ Cesar salad, hot Italian sandwich, antipasto or for the kids mac & cheese or pizza, our meals were approximately $10 pp.

We timed it just right and made it in to Festival of the Lion King in Camp Minnie Mickey. What an awesome show. It is truly spectacular. It is a combination of a Broadway performance and an acrobatic show. When the Lion King was over we headed over to Asia.  We visited the Maharajah Jungle Trek and had a great time watching the tiger prowl around and roar! Usually they are sleeping so it was a great show. We had no brave souls that wanted to be soaked or scared to death so we skipped Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids.

Passing near Finding Nemo we realized we had not timed that right, so we will try that next time. I have seen it in the past and it’s an amazing combination of puppetry and live performance.  We toured DinoLand but didn’t ride Primeval Whirl or Dinosaur as it was late and we were tired. There are some fun places for kids to play and you can unwind. Try the Boneyard or even just visit the pathways that have the dinosaur that the kids can climb on, while you sit in the shade.

We decided to head out to see the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We hopped on the bus and we were there in just a few minutes. The Animal Kingdom Lodge is like no other hotel. Okay maybe it looks a little like the Wilderness Lodge but the similarities are few once you step out on to the savannah and see the animals close up. It was feeding time so we had a front row seat for the giraffe, zebra, ankole cattle and many other animals.  

We stayed there for a bit and then checked out the hotel. It is beautifully designed around the African theme. It is relaxing just to sit in the lobby. Although we did not eat there, the hotel offers three restaurants, Boma the buffet, Jiko and the snack bar near the pool. Speaking of the pool,  
Uzima pool, an 11,000-square-foot zero-depth entry (no steps just walk in!) pool that offers a 67-foot-long slide. What a hit that was for the kids lucky enough to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

We took a quick tour walk over to the Disney Vacation Villas on the property. They were also nicely appointed and carried the African theme. They had their own wildlife to view also. Animal Kingdom Lodge Vacation Club Villas are a great place for families to stay, with studio rooms, or one, two or three bedroom units with kitchens.

As you can imagine we were quite tired by this point so we hopped on the bus (I love how easy it is to travel with in Disney World!) went back to the Animal Kingdom and took the tram to Dinosaur 32 and headed home.

We will be visiting Disney again to see the holiday decorations in the parks as well as the resorts. Stay tuned!

If you have any questions or would like help planning your Disney vacation please feel free to call or email me JEGTravels@gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. I love animal kingdom! There's so many Fun Places for Kids there and for adults. I'm planning another trip this summer for me and my family.