January 20 – 22 – Kissimmee – Epcot and Animal Kingdom

Friday we had an uneventful drive from St. Augustine to Kissimmee under crystal clear skies and with temperatures in the low 70os.  Our campground is huge, has a pool with a water temperature in the mid-80os.

Saturday we spent the day at Epcot.

Among the most interesting of the attractions were “Spaceship Earth”, which is enclosed in Epcot’s signature ball or globe, “Mission Space” and “Living with the Land”.  Mission Space is a 5½ minute simulated launch and trip to Mars, complete simulated sounds and G-forces while in a cramped space ship cockpit.  Pretty cool!

At Living with the Land, a 13 minute boat ride takes you on an informative journey through a tropical rain forest, an African desert complete with sandstorm, and the windswept plains of a small, turn-of-the-century family farm … before entering several joint USDA and Disney hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaculture living laboratories which are actually experimental projects, some of which are producing products being served at the Disney properties.

Touring each of the various national pavilions, some had interesting exhibits, movies about their homelands and/or live performances.  The most fascinating were in the Chinese, Canadian, French and American exhibits.

Of the live performances, the Chinese acrobats

and Japanese Taiko Drummers

were far and away the most exciting … with the American a capella singers with renditions of many American patriotic songs

and Fife & Drum Corps

provided great entertainment.

Concurrently, all of these pavilions had several restaurants, bars and, of course, one or more gift ships.

While we had very few waits for any exhibits or pavilions, we were able to engage in one of our favorite pastimes … people watching!  The clearly come in all shapes and sizes … and it never takes long to find those who are wearing outfits which emphasize everything they should be looking to hide.

After ten hours, we decided to bypass the evening’s fireworks which were still two hours away.  However, while heading for our car, we were treated to a beautiful sight.

Sunday, we took in another of the Disney attractions, Animal Kingdom.  The highlights were the animals we were privileged to see and photograph … which included the following.

Bengal Tiger

Hippos

Snowy Egret

Reticulated Giraffe

Mountain Gorilla

Komodo Dragon

Gibbon

Adbin Stork

Elephant

Fruit Bat

And scores of other beautiful and talented birds

As well as the remains of one former and very famous beast

T-Rex Skull

And even Disney’s “dinosaur”

Aladar

In hindsight Epcot was a bit disappointing … although the Mission Space “launch” and Chinese acrobats were pretty impressive.  Observing and photographing wildlife is always a tremendous “rush”!  However, it is unlikely any of the Disney parks will be on any of our future agendas.

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