Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Disney 2006 - Day 2

This is a pretty long post. If you want to read my review of the Biergarten (the most entertaining part of the post, go down to ** Food Box: Go or no go? **

We got up bright and early on Thursday to go to Animal Kingdom, the largest Disney theme park. Its good to go there early because thats when the animals are awake. It was fairly crowded going through security. After we got in, we went directly to the back of the park to get FastPasses for Kilimanjaro Safaris. This one ride is bigger (in acreage) than the entire Magic Kingdom (I think). It is at the back of the Harambe marketplace in Africa. Harambe is one of my favorite examples of Disney architecture.

Time to play the African drums!
Ellen near Harambe

After we got our FastPasses, we went to Asia to go on the Kali River Rapids. The line was very short. We brought zip lock bags and garbage bags to put our wallets, cell phones and camera in. A sign along the line to the ride says "You will get wet, you may get soaked!" The ride was short, but Ellen got completely drenched when we went down a tall drop. I got fairly wet too. We also brought a towel with us. We had some time to kill before our Kilimanjaro Safari Fastpasses were valid, so we went into the Maharaja Jungle Trek. Its a walk trough exhibit with Asian animals. We saw huge bats and tigers, among others.

After that, we went back to Harambe to get on our safari. Its very safari-like, as the name suggests. There are barriers between the trucks and the more dangerous animals. The lions were a no-show this time, and our driver/guide didn't even mention them. There were a bunch of baby elephants, though.

After the safari, we strolled through Harambe. Then we crossed a bridge to go to DinoLand U.S.A. On the bridge, we saw Expedition Everest, a new roller coaster. It is the fourth tallest point in Florida and the largest artificial mountain constructed by Disney. We saw it last year when it was under heavy construction. It was scheduled to open 5 days after our 2006 visit, but we heard screaming people as one of the cars whizzed along. I guess they are testing it on live subjects. In DinoLand U.S.A., we went on the DINOSAUR ride, which we also went on last year. I consider it to be the scariest Disney ride that I have been on (even scarier than the Scary Adventures of Snow White!). I think it might also have the brightest light on a Disney ride - there is one lighting flash that leaves you seeing an impression of whatever you were looking at when it goes off. Fun! After the ride, we got one of a number of Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie iced cream sandwiches, which we call "tasty sandwiches" for short. Then, we headed out of Animal Kingdom.

We spent the second half of the day at EPCOT, and we had made reservations at the Biergarten in Germany.

The Happiest Geodesic Sphere on Earth

We had a lot of time before dinner, so we decided to go to every country in the World Showcase starting with Canada (we started at Mexico last year, so now we went in reverse). We didn't really do anything at Canada or the United Kingdom, we just poked around in the shops. In France, we decided to get a snack, so we went into the Boulangerie Patisserie. I forget what Ellen got (raisin bread???), but I got a liquid snack. I didn't even know the French made a beer. I decided I had to try it. They had to do a bit of looking around for a bottle opener (probably because nobody ever orders the beer in France). More than five dollars later, I ended up with what must be the Bud of France, it was nothing special or interesting at all. I guess that is why France is more famous for their wine.

After France, we walked around Morocco a little, seeing some Disney made north African architecture. Then it was on to Japan. We went through the big store in Japan. Most of the stuff they sell there is available at H Mart in New York for about one twentieth of the price. We also tried to find some sushi in Japan for another snack, but we couldn't find a place that had it. There was a really cool exhibit of old Japanese tin toys. If you are in EPCOT, I recommend seeing it. After the tin toys, we breezed trough the American Adventure to Italy, where we did some more poking around and candy buying. There were some British guys there doing Romeo and Juliet. Shouldn't they have been in the UK area? After Italy, we looked around Germany's shops. We would come back to Germany later for dinner (and what a dinner it was!)

There is an "African" trading outpost between Germany and China that sells crap from the other countries, mainly because no African country is represented (except Morocco) in the World Showcase. Come to think of it, there aren't any South American Countries (Jose Carioca, anyone?) or Australian/South Pacific countries either. In China there was a cool exhibit about the building of Hong Kong Disneyland. We were really tired at this point, but there were still two countries left!!!!! We went on the Maelstrom ride in Norway and on the El Rio del Tiempo ride in Mexico where they put all of the malfunctioning Small World animatronics, according to Ellen. Then we went to get dinner.

** Food Box: Go or no go? **

We sat outside of Germany until it our reservation time. People were gathering around the lagoon for the fireworks show. It was here that a mosquito decided to bite my leg. Anyway, we got in to the all you can eat Biergarten buffet just as the band was finishing their last show of the night. We always got the latest reservation possible. It looks like a real bier garden inside, with a fake sky and fake trees. You share your table with other guests. The German waitress asked us for our drink order. We ordered Franziskaner and she was surprised that we knew what it was. She asked us if we wanted the large or the small, so we ordered the large. I assumed the large was a half liter (how wheatbeer is usually served) and the small was a regular pint glass. She came back with what looked like two gigantic glass buckets with handles on the sides. They were at least a liter each. I don't know how she carried them and several other glasses at the same time. This was all (actually more than all) the Franziskaner we could handle. And the food was THE BEST FOOD I HAVE EVER EATEN, EVER!!!!! There were assorted meats (they all had name tags on them), pretzel bread, mustards, macaroni and cheese, POTATO DUMPLINGS! I didn't give the salad a cursory glance because I had all-you-can-eat meats and starches. I didn't look at the desserts either because I had another plate of food for dessert :-) If I could, I would eat at this place every day for the rest of my life, which would probably be very short after eating there so often would cause heart failure. Its not that you can't eat healthy there, its that you won't. It was also very reasonably priced. Obviously, there was no way we could finish a liter of beer each. First off, we had stuffed ourselves silly. Secondly, one of us had to drive back to the hotel. Fortunately, they offer beer to-go cups. This place is heaven on earth! The to-go cups are ordinary disposable plastic cups. While transferring the beer, we accidently spilled some. It didn't seem like munich, I mean much, because our beers were huge to begin with. We were mainly disappointed with wasting precious franziskaner.

Wearily, we made our way back to the car. We couldn't drive back to the hotel with two open containers of Franziskaner, but we had gone to the Winn Dixie (a southern supermarket) the night before and bought a 12 pack of 24 oz. water bottles. By the time we went to dinner I had a empty water bottle that I was bent on recycling, so I poured the beer into the empty bottle, as illustrated here:

To go cups: Franziskaner
It pays to recycle!

Then we went back to Cornado Springs.

Here is a shot of the bottle with Franziskaner:


Side note: We thought the water we bought was Zephyrillis brand (which sounds like a tropical disease). Only after I posted the photos to flickr did I notice it is actually Zephyrhills, a water brand native to Florida. But during the whole trip, we offered each-other water bottles saying "Zephyrillis?" and calling the water "Zephyrlicious".

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