Your kids are going through their animal phase, so while the other tykes are angling to get their pictures taken with Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and Goofy, your kids are anxiously anticipating the Animal Kingdom theme park. In fact, it is all you heard about on the eight-hour plane ride to Florida, and their excitement and enthusiasm did not wane once you got to the hotel. You are beginning to wonder if jet lag does not affect children. Florida is hot and humid, but not even the cool, refreshing water of the hotel pool and a trip to get ice cream could take their minds off of stampeding elephants, white tigers and safari expeditions. You have not even properly begun this holiday, but you are already thinking that a family trip to Africa is in the cards sometime in the future. However, children go through phases. Next week it could be outer space or dinosaurs.
Preparing For Safari
The Animal Kingdom is the largest theme park in Disney World. Your son, reading in his best scholarly voice from a Disney brochure, informs you that there are over 1,700 different animals in the park. He wants to know if you think there will be enough time to see everyone. Your daughter, a precocious smart aleck, tells him that the park has over 500 acres, so it will be impossible to see every single animal. She tells everyone that the park is divided into seven distinctly different areas. From Oasis and Africa to Camp Minnie-Mickey and Dinoland, she plans to see it all. You tell them that you are looking forward to Expedition Everest, which is the only roller coaster in the park. They do not seem to care; their conversation has returned to zebras and hippos.
The safari started out well. You learned about conservation and animal care, and the children snapped a billion pictures of zebras and giraffes. Your daughter, once again using her smart aleck tone, informed you that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest animal park in the world. After visiting the African savannah, you ate lunch in a rainforest themed restaurant and caught a Broadway style matinee.
It was when you went to look at the hippos that the safari took a sudden turn for the worse. Your son, standing behind the gated hippo pool, got his first real taste of the African wild. As he stood there fiddling with his disposable camera and eating an ice cream cone, the hippo charged. It scared your son to death. He dropped his ice cream and stumbled backwards, while your daughter pointed and laughed relentlessly. That was the end of your son’s animal phase.
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