Sunday, March 20, 2011

Adventures in Orlando: Day Two

Well, we had quite a day. Turns out that the Animal Kingdom isn't totally a wild animal park, but rather a glorified zoo . . . albeit a fun glorified zoo.

Mom and me spent the whole day there, exploring most of the place. We didn't go on any rides, since I'm really not a roller coaster kind of guy. Mom decided to go shopping first for the kids of the people who she works with. We found out that for no charge, you can have your goods delivered to wherever you're staying the following day. "Clever" doesn't begin to cover it. I wound up using that method myself, even though all I bought was a t-shirt and an Eeyore doll made up for a safari. I think Mom likes Eeyore because I remind her of him. Make of that what you will.

While we didn't do any rides, we did take in a few shows, like one based on A Bug's Life. In it, you put on 3-D glasses (which seldom works out for me) while Flik (the heroic ant of the movie) introduces various insects (and a spider) to the audience. Of course, things go wrong, like one bug spitting acid at the same time water is spritzed on the crowd. Things really go south when an eight-foot Hopper (the biker-looking bad guy) comes out to try and get even with the crowd on behalf of insects. He calls out hornets, and you don't see anything happening on the scr- HOLY SHIT WHAT POKED MY ASS?!?? Giant spiders descend from the ceiling. It's basically chaos until a lizard tries to eat Hopper, and he manages to flee. As a parting shot, the PA asks all assorted insects to leave, and you feel stuff crawling under you. I looked at my seat afterward, and I didn't see anything that would suggest that happening.

We wound up ping-ponging between the Africa and Asia regions. In Africa, you can go on a safari which gets close to the animals . . . or at least as close as you can get. I'm thinking electric fencing is involved. Basically, if you have a digital camera like me, it becomes a game of spotting an animal and taking a pictures while the vehicle is going at a good clip. Even if you have over 2,000 "bullets," it's still a challenge. Sometimes, you wind up with elephants with their backs to you. The biggest highlight of the day came away from the safari, going on a trail. I managed to see gorillas. Lots of silverback gorillas, looking at the throngs of people gathered with studious looks. Or maybe it was utter contempt. At one point, one of the apes wound up taking a few drinks from a small waterfall by using his big hand. Needless to say, they were imposing-looking suckers.

A lot of the day is a blur in retrospect. We went to the far-off Rafiki's Planet Watch (named after the wise ape from The Lion King), which had a building of behind-the-scenes stuff, as well as a petting zoo. I'm happy to report that the zookeepers did not rip the tails off the donkeys, then reattach them with tacks. I went on an Asia trail on my own. I wound up spotting a tiger, and as my finger pressed down on the button to take the picture, another tiger leaped up and wrestled him for about five seconds. I wound up with a nice blur for a picture.

We wound up going to a balls-out production of The Lion King. Nothing to end a day like live-action performers interacting with giant mechanical animals (including a grown-up Simba and Pumba the warthog) and some poor guy dresses as Timon the meerkat. They covered the big songs -- "Circle Of Life," "Can't Wait To Be King," "Hakuna Matata," "Be Prepared" and "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" -- and put on one hell of a show. No sensations of bugs crawling on my ass was also appreciated.

Mom and me had lunch at a place in Asia. We also filled up at the resort for breakfast and dinner. I'm amazed that I didn't roll or bounce back to the room. The price totals are obscene even with the meal plan, but once again: ALL. EXPENSES. PAID. Magic words to live by. Sadly, there's not enough time for us to do stuff in or around the place. I guess it's an acceptable trade-off. I did vist an arcade, where I managed to suck wind on a few racing games. It's sad that I grew up around arcade games, yet I can't get my bearings on a crap pod-racing game based on a movie -- The Phantom Menace -- to save my life.

One more day left. Don't know the gameplan as of this writing. I'm thinking the Magic Kingdom is definitely in play. Mom is now okay with a lack of fireworks in order for me to watch The Amazing Race, though I'll see if we can do both. For the record, I have that on timer back home, but crap does happen, and I don't know if I can avoid spoilers if I have to on Monday. But the bottom line is that even as sore and as full of food as I am, I'm still having a good time. If I don't have nightmares of Hopper and Simba beating me up, that will be a bonus.

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