We got up bright and early this morning to go to Animal Kingdom. We've always heard the animals are the most active in the morning so we usually try to make sure we get there as close to the opening time as possible. Once we got in the park, we made our usual stop at the Kusafiri Coffee Shop for a breakfast of pastries and coffee before heading to Kilimanjaro Safaris. On the safari, you never know what you will see but you might possible see any of the following: Antelope, Baboon, Black rhino, Cheetah, Crocodile, Elephant, Flamingo, Gazelle, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Lion, Okapis, Ostrich, Warthog, White rhino, Wildebeest or Zebra. It's like really being in Africa on a safari!
We've never seen this fellow out of the water like this....amazing!
This was also one of the better views that we've ever had of the male lion.
Remember when I mentioned the Ellis Curse? Well, I contributed this to the Ellis Curse. As many times as we've been to Disney World and watched these guys perform at Animal Kingdom, I have never been selected out of the audience to come up and be a part of it....until today! Gia, Ava, Grace and I were all brought up to the front to participate in their African dance. I just knew that I looked like a fool but what can you do but go with it and have fun?
I love watching the gorillas at Animal Kingdom. They are probably my favorite to just stand back and observe. I think I could spend a couple of hours there and today was no different.
And today we also got to see a baby gorilla who I have learned is named Lilly. Lilly is an endangered western lowland gorilla who will be one year old on February 19th. Shortly after her birth, the animal care team at Disney noticed that Lilly wasn’t clinging to her mother, Kashata, as well as most gorilla newborns. As time passed, they saw that Lilly was much smaller than other gorillas her age, and she was delayed in achieving typical baby gorilla milestones, like grasping, rolling over and crawling. In addition to examinations at their veterinary hospital, they consulted with external medical and pediatric experts, and oversaw a battery of tests to rule out possible causes – such as vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disorders and liver abnormalities. The exact cause of Lilly’s condition is still unknown. The great news is that Lilly is continuing to make progress. Each day, for example, animal keepers engage Lilly in what appears to be a form of play but, in reality, is structured occupational therapy. They encourage her to climb, roll over and grasp objects, such as gorilla toys, all in an effort to strengthen her muscles and stimulate her curiosity. Since September, the team has noticed a marked difference in Lilly. She now weighs 13 pounds – three pounds more than she did in November, and she appears much more active and social among her family group. And we were able to watch Lilly as she interacted with her mom, Kashata, and father, Gino, in their habitat on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
Check out the baby holding on...
Everyone (except Grace and Zach and they tolerated it) loved Expedition Everest! I'm not sure how many times we rode it but it seemed to be over and over and over!
And of course, a day at Animal Kingdom would not be complete without going into the Tree of Life for It's Tough to be a Bug!
For dinner we went to Boma - Flavors of Africa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. If you have never eaten there, it is definitely a 'must do'. Designed to resemble an African marketplace, the exotic restaurant serves dishes inspired by the varied flavors and seasonal dishes of over 50 African countries, from the coast of the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. The entertainment for the evening were Ava and Ethan falling asleep at the dinner table. Many of our dinners were later than normal dinner time and Ava usually crashes around 8 p.m. She hung in there as best she could but on this particular night she just couldn't stay awake any longer. We would watch her slowly drift off to sleep and slowly start leaning over till she almost would fall out of the chair. She would either jump and wake herself up enough to sit upright or Gia would catch her. We couldn't help but laugh.