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Animal Kingdom Grown-Up Tour
When the park first opened, Disney went to great marketing lengths to be sure visitors would know that this is "Nahtazu" (as in "not-a-zoo"). Adults and older children, especially, needed assurance that there was plenty to do besides see animals. And there is. Several thrill rides, a hilarious 3-D-and-special-effects-laden film, and two Broadway-style shows with animal and conservation themes can fill a memorable day.
Adventure Seekers Wanted
If a trip to the Himalayas is on your wish list, but your budget says, "Dream on," make a beeline for Asia and Expedition Everest. Rejoice if there's a wait for the attraction's high-speed train ride, because the queue snakes through authentic rammed-earth and stacked-stone buildings of a Himalayan village, where museum-quality artifacts from Nepal and Tibet are worth browsing. While in Asia, pile into a Kali River Rapids raft for a white-water ride on the park's Chakranadi River.
Time-travel back to DinoLand U.S.A for a DINOSAUR journey through a primeval forest and white-knuckle encounters with carnivorous creatures like the razor-toothed carnotaurus, a swooping pterodactyl, and other menacing creatures of prehistoric doom.
If it's a cool day, the park's animals should be active, so head to Africa. Your Kilimanjaro Safaris open-air journey is a bumpy 20-minute quest for exotic-animal sightings, and you won't be disappointed. Adventurous, fit guests with vacation dollars to spare should sign up for the park's Wild Africa Trek. It's one of Disney's most thrilling guided tours.
Eat, Shop, Laugh
Lunch can be an adventure, too, at Tusker House Restaurant in Africa, where a colorful buffet of vegetables and carved meats is enhanced with African-inspired chutneys, hummus, spiced tandoori tofu, and couscous salad. You can even choose from a by-the-glass list of South African wines that complement the flavors.
Burn the calories during a shopping excursion to Mombasa Marketplace, where you can buy a bottle of that wine you loved or pick up hand-painted dishes from Zimbabwe. Onward to Discovery Island for a stroll along Discovery Island Trails into the Tree of Life show It's Tough to Be a Bug! Expect to laugh a lot.
Discover Animal Attraction
Along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, you can view gorillas through a glassed-in area, but you can also observe them from a bridge as these magnificent primates move among the rocks and lush greenery.
Even though you feel safe from Bengal tigers on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, several raised viewing spots offer clear views with no glass or fence to mar your photos. Habitat backdrops like the Maharajah palace ruins create scenic props.
Before your day comes to a close, catch a Flights of Wonder performance to see hawks, eagles, and other imposing birds as they exhibit natural behaviors. If you can squeeze in only one live show, choose to take in the beautiful dance moves of "animal" performers at Festival of the Lion King.
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