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Animal Kingdom: The Safari Ride

On Valentine's Day, I took the day off to go to Animal Kingdom. We'd been there a long time ago and the thing I most remember was how we started that day. For whatever reason, we'd gotten there around noon. The first thing Chris did was not to take me directly to the animals, but to the BBQ place. He really enjoys the roasted half chicken there.

This year, however, we managed to get there at 10:30 a.m.., so we went straight to the Safari ride and got a fast pass. Fast passes allow us to go into a shorter line. It didn't cost us anything extra. I don't know why they offer it because people were fully willing to wait an hour just to get on the ride. But I'm glad they did. With our passes, it only took us 10 minutes in line as opposed to the 1 hour wait if we hadn't. And it was a lucky thing we did too. All the fast passes were gone by the time we went back to the Safari ride at 12:55. But you're allowed to get several fast passes throughout the day. They just won't allow you to do it all at once. They space them out in 2 hour intervals so that other people can get them.

The safari ride is the only place that you can see certain animals such as wildebeasts, rhinos, elephants, and so on. But here's the thing about the Safari ride. It goes too fast. They don't stop. Ever. The only elephant shot I got was of its ass.

There were several termite mounds that had wonderful structures to them, but since nobody cares about termites, we went by them even faster than all the other animals. The only shot I got was this one, which was both compositionally sucks. There's crap grass in front and a tree trunk!!

And that's not even the worst of it. So many people lean in front of your camera lens right as you're snapping the photo, I'd think they were doing it on purpose. I have more than a few shots of this:

And you know, it's not like they didn't know I was taking photos. You can't miss a camera with 70-300mm. I was very conscious of not leaning in front of people, but I suppose not everyone is as nice.

Beyond all those obsticals, the safari route has just about a million potholes. Even if you managed to compose a photo fast enough, you'd get bumped out of it from a pothole. I have lots of photos of the sky. This is not to say that I didn't get a few good shots. This one is nice of some cattle of some kind.

What the Safari has going for it though, is the free ranging aspect of it. While we were waiting in our fast pass line, we discovered that a herd of wildebeests were crossing the road and therefore holding up the line.

While we were on our ride, a herd of white rhinos, including the baby, were grazing near the road ahead of us. They were so close that I could see every wrinkle in their tough skin. It's probably the closest that I'll ever get to a large animal such as that.

But the really funny part of this ride was that it was MUCH slower than the first time we'd done it. The line was only about fifteen minutes long, and you'd think that they'd take their time going through that slower. You'd be wrong. We went so much faster going through the first time that by the time I saw the animal, we'd already gone past it.

And last, but not least, I want to leave with this photo of a hippo laying in the sun. With all the vultures hanging out around it, I thought it might have been dead. But the guide said that was normal.

It's disturbing to me, nonetheless.

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