Animal Kingdom and the Movies

What a great day it’s been!  Firstly, the weather has been fantastic: a cool front has moved in, and although the sky is absolutely blue and cloudless, it has only been 22C today.  Felt like English summer.  Perfect for moving around a lot.

We were up with the lark as we wanted to get to Animal Kingdom early to try and ride the new Avatar Flight of Passage attraction.  It’s very new and the mainstay of the new world of Pandora, based around the film.  Because it is such a massive attraction, all the Fastpasses were gone before day guests like us could book – the Disney hotel guests can book 30 days earlier than day guests.  So, no choice but to just turn up and queue.  The queues are horrendous though – we’ve seen them posted with wait times of 3 hours.  Not for me….  Anyway, we heard that they open the park 30 minutes before the official time to let people get in and lined up ready to keep the queues down.  So we decided to do that.

We were slightly late up, but still got to Animal Kingdom 40 minutes before the official opening.  Indeed the turnstiles were already open and we fast walked and trotted as quickly as possible to Pandora and the ride.  There was already a queue but not too bad, estimated at 45 minutes.  The theming around the ride is really beautiful and it is hard to spot what is fake and what isn’t sometimes as its so intermingled.  They have created a very “otherworldly” landscaping.  The gist of the ride is that 30 years have passed since the events of the film, and work is underway to restore the damage to the planet caused by the mining.  Scientists have discovered how to match humans to an avatar to allow them to explore the planet by riding a banshee (the dragonlike creature).  You sit on what looks like part of a motorbike wearing 3D glasses and a virtual reality screen opens in front of you and the bike moves with the screen to create an amazing effect as though you were really flying above the exotic scenery of the planet, plunging and soaring.  It’s so realistic in feeling, you absolutely shriek at times.  The “bike seat” which is your banshee also sort of “lives” and you can feel it breathing and pulsing between your legs.  Incredible!!  Well worth the 45 minutes of queueing.  We will definitely get up even earlier next time to do it again with Daisy.

After that we enjoyed some of the other delights of Animal Kingdom including the Festival of the Lion King show which is a real joy featuring singers, dancers, aerial artists, acrobats and enormous animatronic animals.  We always enjoy that.  We also caught It’s Tough to Be a Bug which is a 3D show given by various insects from the film Its a Bug’s Life.  It’s very funny because as well as state of the art 3D effects, there are other special effects too delivered via the seats.

One of the nice things about the park is that everything is set in wonderful gardens and plantings and there are also animals and birds set around in natural enclosures.  We like the part of the Asia section which emulates northern India and Nepal.  The theming is so realistic.

We enjoyed ourselves in there till about 1pm.  I had my hair cut in the afternoon and also found a nail bar to get my toenails “did”.  Bright orange this time.  Can’t believe its been 6 weeks since I got both done in Kent.  Had a bit of a rest and dinner at home — steak tonight.

Drove down to the Disney Springs entertainment area tonight and went to see the film Blade Runner 2049.  Have been waiting to see it as we loved the original and the girls enjoyed it when it opened in London.  Anyway, it was good and a good sequel to the original.  Not as good as the original, which was very poignant as well as giving a bleak view of our future.  This one had the same worldview and picked the original story up 30 years later, but perhaps the plot did not hang together quite as well and of course it lacked Rutger Hauer, who was terrific.  Anyway, well worth seeing, really nice cinematography and special effects and Ryan Gosling was very good.