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Tag Archives: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt a strong connection to animals. From the critters that roam my landscape to the wild animals I get to view when we visit Walt Disney World, all of them fascinate me.

“A Moment of Zen” (Silverback Gorillia, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Disney’s Animal Kingdom) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 61.2mm, F/5, 1/50s, ISO 800, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Vignette Blur’ Filter

Whenever we travel to Disney, we simply have to visit the Animal Kingdom, skipping the ‘rides’ and heading straight for the nature trails.

One of our favorites is the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – a self-guided walking tour of native African wildlife.

Pangani means “place of enchantment,” and the imagineers certainly have done their best to transform this small slice of Florida into a lush, tropical forest and verdant valley that are right out of the heart of Africa.

On this last trip, I found the Lowland gorillas to be especially impressive.   Though they may look fierce, Gorillas are “gentle giants,” eating only vegetation and only becoming aggressive when threatened.

“Gentle Giant” (Silverback Lowland Gorilla, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, Disney’s Animal Kingdom) Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, 70.4mm, F/5, 1/30s, ISO 800

 

Other interesting facts:

– Gorillas neither make nor use tools.

– Water is taken from greens and fruit.

– They cannot swim.

Also, did you know that 98% of their DNA is identical to human DNA??

Here is the closest I may ever come to a 600+ pound adult Silverback male. The sheer size of him was indeed intimidating, yet I felt no fear. I sensed a playfulness and calm curiosity as he held this long gaze with me, and when I look at this portrait, I cannot help but wonder about all that is going on behind those amazing eyes.

Mesmerizing, isn’t it?

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I don’t know what it is, but I find flamingos completely fascinating. I suppose it could be that they are pink – a color I am hopelessly drawn to when it comes to flowers so why not with birds, too?

No denying it, flamingos are exquisite birds – fluffy poofs of feathers balanced atop spindly legs, long graceful necks and piercing eyes encased in black eyeliner. C’mon, what’s not to love?

“Coquettish” (Lesser Flamingo, Phoenicopterus minor) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/7.1, 1/200s, -0.3EV, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro B&W and Bi-color Filters

This beautiful bird was definitely playing coy with me. Little did it know, s/he had me at ‘pink’. 🙂

The great lengths Disney Imagineers go to to transport visitors to other lands via their theme parks is no more evident than at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. On this trip I made a concerted effort to notice all the ‘little things’ and spent much of my time meandering through areas taking in all the scenery that many whiz right past on their way to the next show, character greeting or thrill ride.

“This Way to Cool” (Coca-Cola Signage, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Asia) Nikon D300, 40mm, F/4.5, 1/500s, -0.7EV, ISO 640, ‘Old West’ Toning Action

For example, I came across these very authentic-looking advertising signs on my way to ‘Asia’ and even though I’ve never been to the continent, Disney’s reputation leaves no question in my mind that I’d find similar items there.

“Refreshing in any Language” (Coca-Cola Signage, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Asia) Nikon D300, 24mm, F/3.8, 1/250s, -0.7EV, ISO 640, ‘Old West’ Toning Action

And oh, what a welcoming sight they would be! (Sorry Pepsi). 🙂

Happy with my capture, I continued up the trail following the direction of the arrow to learn the signs didn’t lie. (Well technically I suppose they could have as I didn’t actually go inside to verify said beverages existed but for argument’s sake, let’s all just agree they did, k? 😉 )

So, if you ever find yourself parched in the land of Asia, rest assured a familiar (and frosty) American classic is not far out of reach.

I’ve been knee-deep in inventory (gotta love tax season), so I am forced to dig into the photo archives. Since it has been raining for two days straight (with no end in sight), a duck image seemed appropriate. They are the only ones who would favor this kind of weather! 🙂 

Though these birds are native to Australia and the near-by islands, I didn’t have to travel that far to snap this shot. Luckily, a small tribe make their home on Discovery Island at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (a favorite place of mine to visit).

Unlike our local Mallards, this species prefers the grasslands but will congregate during the day with other waterfowl on the margins of rivers, swamps, marshes and lagoons.

“Duck à l’Orange” (Plumed Whistling Duck, Dendrocygna eytoni) Nikon D300, 170mm, F/9, 1/320s, -0.3EV, ISO 400

Looking back, I am not sure why I photographed the bird at such an irregular angle. But somehow, I think it works! 🙂

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