Mount Sutro: An Electronic Periodical

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The Animal Kingdom Lodge

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Photo Credit: David July — Blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) and Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) on Arusha Savanna from a Zebra Trail outdoor lookout at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Bay Lake, Florida, 25 July 2010 The day after we went to the Orlando Predators game, Mom and Ross took me to Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge for drinks, dinner and the chance to photograph the animals and property. The Jambo House hotel resort opened in April 2001 on a 43-acre wildlife preserve and expanded in May 2009 to include a separate and adjacent timeshare property called Kidani Village, which we did not visit. We arrived in the afternoon and started out by walking through the western guest room wing known as Kudu Trail. Besides the actual guest rooms, the numerous exterior stairways provide some of the best places to watch the animals. In addition, there are several indoor and outdoor viewing areas and partially windowed corridors. From Kudu Trail vantage points overlooking Sunset Savanna, one of the three semi-unique outdoor environments, we observed Somali Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), White-bearded Wildebeest (Connochaetes taurinus), Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii), Ankole-Watusi Cattle (Bos taurus africanus), Blesbok (Damaliscus pygargus phillipsi) and—although not part of the exhibit, a resident nonetheless—a Paper Wasp (Polistes fuscatus). Jambo House's main lobby is a large, open room filled with African art and ornately decorated architectural elements. A suspension bridge above the lobby offers great views of the space below as well as out the large window overlooking the Arusha Rock Savanna Overlook. We next walked outside to the Uzima Pool to sit and enjoy a few delicious frozen rum runners at the Uzima Springs Pool Bar. The well-made beverages were refreshing but the fresh pineapple garnishes particularly stood out, so much that I mentioned it to the bartender who in turn gave me a stack of wedges. Photo Credit: David July — 'Please Do Not Climb' and 'Lizards Only' written on a Uzima Savanna Overlook rock at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Bay Lake, Florida, 25 July 2010 Moving on from the bar, we took in more wildlife at the nearby Uzima Savanna Overlook including Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus), Common Eland (Taurotragus oryx) and—another wild visitor not part of the exhibit—a Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus). Afterward we traveled through the Zebra Trail eastern guest room wing toward the exterior stairways and viewing areas of Arusha and Uzima Savannas. There we saw Grant's Zebra (Equus quagga boehmi), Red River Hogs (Potamochoerus porcus), Waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus) and Thomson's Gazelle (Eudorcas thomsonii). Four hours and 280 shots into the day, we decided to eat at one of the three dining facilities offering traditionally inspired foods: Boma–Flavors of Africa restaurant. The buffet-style open kitchen features a wood-fire rotisserie grill and a large dining area that approximates an African marketplace. I made two plates of food and enjoyed everything I tried except one item. I had planned to drink East African Breweries' Tusker Beer but it was surprisingly unavailable. Although I did not sample them, a plate of desserts did look interesting. Following dinner, we returned to Arusha Rock Savanna Overlook and saw Pink-backed Pelicans (Pelecanus rufescens) and other animals. When it was too dark to take pictures, we went back to Uzima Savanna Overlook and used night vision goggles to watch the animals in nocturnal mode. Of the 365 total images captured, I processed and posted 98 to the Animal Kingdom Lodge set. It was a fun trip, one that I was a little surprised to enjoy so much considering the typically fantasy aspect of Disney properties, but the creature watching and traditionalistic elements were a delight. Photo Credit: David July — 'Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge' sign outside Zawadi Marketplace, Bay Lake, Florida, 25 July 2010
Photo Credit: David July Original Photo Credit: David July Original Photo Credit: David July

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