Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Walt Disney World - Day 5

Today we went to Disney's Animal Kingdom, the newest of all the Disney Parks here in Florida. I think it's the most visually interesting of all the Disney Parks I've been to. I get the sense that the designers of the park visited the coastal towns of East Africa, Tibetan villages, and the streets of southeast Asia. There is such attention to detail in this park, not to make it exceptionally magical or fantastic, but rather to make you feel as though you are transported to another part of the world.

So now that I just finished saying "not magical or fantastic," one of the first things we did was quite magical and fantastic. Finding Nemo: The Musical was good enough to rival a Broadway production. It was only about 35 minutes long, but it was unbelievable. The original movie was not a musical, so Disney got the Tony-winning composer of Avenue Q, Robert Lopez, to write all new songs for the show. We are going back in a couple days to Animal Kingdom, and this is the one thing we definitely want to do again.

OK, back to attention-to-detail. Real roof thatchers from Kenya were brought in to thatch all the roofs in the Africa part of Animal Kingdom. I was so impressed with this that I decided to hold my iPhone up as close as I could to get an up-close photo of the thatch. It was only after looking at the photo did I realize that it was not grass, but different colored strands of plastic. It makes sense, of course, to not use real grass (duh), but if I hadn't raised my iPhone up to get a really close shot, I never would have realized it.

My daughter is fascinated by leaves. Everywhere we walk (not just here in Florida but everywhere), she is constantly stopping to pick up and examine leaves of all kinds. It sometimes makes it challenging when we're walking with the flow of traffic and Libi comes to a dead stop to pick up a leaf, but we love her botanical curiosity.

As much as my knees may protest, you really get some of the best little kid photos when you crouch down and get down on their level. You can see the look of wonder and curiosity on Libs' face as she checks out the sheep and goats at the petting zoo in Rafiki's Planet Watch.

Colors. The one impression I'm left with as I leave Animal Kingdom is how colorful this park is. Again, though, it's not the pastels of Fantasyland, or the metallics of Tomorrowland. These colors make me feel like I am half a world away, but still in this world. And I guess that's the point . . .

Ron Ippolito • rippolito@gmail.com

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