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Brian Bennett

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Asia Photo Tour

Photos by Brian Bennett, Ian Parkinson and Mike Morizio

Here is a photo tour from my most recent visit to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  I've tossed in some pictures by Ian Parkinson, a fellow MousePlaneteer.  Mike Morizio also provided one picture, a great shot of one of the Maharajah Jungle Trek tigers...and I couldn't pass it up.

Our tour begins on the Discovery River, which surrounds the central part of Disney's Animal Kingdom.  Asia is located on the left in this picture, across the river from Safari Village (which, I've heard, is now being called "Discovery Island") and the Tree of Life which are to the right.

The picture above was taken from the bridge that connects Safari Village / Discovery Island with Asia.  Those ruins in the distance are a lot more interesting from up close.

Back to the Safari Village to Asia bridge, you can see some great detail...the ruins in the background (actually, you'll see them throughout Asia) and the colorful boat in the foreground.

On the opposite side of the bridge, you can see the landing for the Discovery Island Riverboat Cruise, but one can never tell if the cruise will be operating on any given day.  It's generally shut down right now...but it's been resurrected before.

Drinkwallah is located just on the Asian side of the bridge from Safari Village.  In fact, in that picture of the boat above, Drinkwallah is the building you can just make out on the left hand side of the picture.

In any case, Drinkwallah is one place to pick up something to drink if you're thirsty.

Then, continuing to the right and following the path, you'll come upon Anandapur.  Here in this Southeast Asian village is a wonderful collection of animals, attractions, and a handful of places to grab a quick snack.

Anandapur Ice Cream is located just inside the village limits.  As you can see, it's not always open during the less-busy times at WDW, but it's a great place to catch a snack during the hot afternoon hours in the summer.

The Caravan Stage is where "Flights of Wonder" is shown.  A wonderful bird attraction, which shows the avians doing what they normally do (fly, for instance) is a fun pastime.  Make sure you make time for this show.  Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of it...but I'll try to get some next trip to fill in the blanks here.

Then, a few yards beyond, you'll see some of those ruins I mentioned.  This one is populated by a bunch of primates (I can't remember if it's monkeys or gibbons). 

I don't recall exactly where this carving is, if you know...drop me a line.  :)  If no one does, I'll try to clear up the mystery in April.

The marquee attraction in Asia is Kali River Rapids.  Here are a couple of pictures of the details in Kali's queue area.

This cobra idol, complete with fruit offerings, is one of the things you'll find. 

Noise makers, ostensibly to ward off evil spirits...

...not a bad idea, when you're about to board such an ungainly craft.

Seating twelve, the round Kali River Rafts are actually very stable, but you'll have no way to tell which direction you'll be heading as you make your voyage.

To give you an idea of what Kali is really like, I'll quote my May 1999 trip report during which I first experienced this attraction:

Kali River Rapids is an odd attraction.  The story is very thin, and the ride itself is very short.  You're supposed to experience a wonderful trip through a tropical rainforest, then build up some good old-fashioned resentment toward those meanys that are cutting it down.  The first part of the trip is pretty much as advertised.   The scenery is really pretty nice...misty, with lovely vegetation all about.   When you get to the part of the ride where a lot of trees have been cut down and stumps are burning and the sounds of buzzsaws are all around, confusion sets in.   There isn't really a clear appreciation for what you're seeing.  I suppose the queue, which we mostly missed, might have provided more clues about what we would be seeing, but it was mostly lost on me.

Along the way, of course, there are several geysers that blow water into the air (which mostly falls into the raft, of course).  There's also several rapids which have some rushing water that cause some splashing onto the riders.  By far the greatest amount of water, though, occurs just toward the end of the burning forest area.  There's a pretty decent drop there, perhaps twenty or thirty feet.  The people that are on the side of the raft that goes over the drop first will be getting pretty wet.  You see, as the raft drops, the far end of the raft pretty much becomes buried in the water.   That's not really the problem, though.  The real issue is that as the raft ploughs into the water, the water, in turn, forms a pretty good sized wall of moisture that falls back down on the people that go down backwards.  Those folks should hold their noses and get ready because they are about to get DRENCHED!  Fortunately for Barb and I, we were on the side opposite of the victims and didn't hardly get wet.

By the way, you can see one of those water squirts I mentioned.  It's going mostly over the raft there, but rest assured...at least some of those folks got wet.

When we got back to Mom and Dad, Barb suggested that I ride again with Mom and Dad.   It sounded like a great idea, so I ran to catch up to them and we all got into the next raft.  We enjoyed the lovely ride through the rainforest, mostly missed the water from the geysers and rapids, then entered the burning forest area.  We listened to the buzzsaws, watched the view of the burning timber, then went down the big drop backwards.  Get that?  Backwards, I said.

Remember what it looks like when the big one comes at you at Typhoon Lagoon?  Do you know how the Japanese feel during tsunami season?  Can you imagine driving through a wall of water that is a good five feet over your head?  Any idea what it's like to have several 50 gallon barrels of water dumped on your pretty little head?

Dad does.

You probably can imagine how Mom, Dad, and I looked when we got off the raft.  A bit on the moist side, I must say.  Dad obviously got the brunt of it, I was a bit to the side as the water hit.  Mom said that as we went over the edge, she looked at my face and just knew they were in for it.  She knew correctly.  Mom and Dad were soaked, and I was only slightly less damp.  What made it worse was that when we caught back up with them, Barb was so stinking proud of herself that she hadn't gotten wet.  It made me want to pick her up and dump her in the water myself.  Of course, being the good husband I am, I didn't.  But I wanted to.

Maharajah Jungle Trek is the other main attraction.  The Trek is similar to Pangani Forest, in Animal Kingdom's Africa.  It's a walking tour with several animals to view.  Giant bats and Tigers are the primary draws.

Ian Parkinson, who took this picture, says that there are bats here.  If you can find them, you can go to the head of the class.  Actually, the easiest one to spot is that large dark area in the upper left hand corner of the picture.

The Jungle Trek also features some more of the great details that Disney Imagineering is know for.  Here are a few examples...

But of course, you don't want to miss the bengels when you walk the Trek.

That just about wraps things up.  Asia is a nice place to visit.  Frankly, like a lot of this park there isn't enough to do here to keep you occupied for very long.  Two to three hours in Asia will just about do it.  Regardless, it's two to three hours that you'll thoroughly enjoy and that you'll not hesitate to repeat on your next visit to the park. 

Return to Disney's Animal Kingdom Attractions Page.


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