When my wife and I went to Disney World for our honeymoon in October 2005, they were still working on a new ride at Animal Kingdom. It would soon open up under the name of Expedition Everest, and it’s one of the main attractions at that park. The ride is a roller coaster that takes you through Mount Everest, and the iconic mountains stand very tall and visible inside of Animal Kingdom.
After Hollywood Studios, the tour group transfers to Wilderness Lodge for a meal at Whispering Canyon Cafe. Lunch is included in the fee for the tour, obviously. The cast members, called waitresses in the real world, are great characters and can be particularly pleasing on the Backstage Tour.
This year’s display features animatronic dinosaur suppliers scenarios like a playground for aliens a birthday party for Clifford the Dog attended by such prestigious guests as Kermit the Frog Pluto Dora the Explorer the Cat in the Hat Winnie the Pooh and Spongebob a Miss Kitty bedroom a Frog Pond featuring Big Bird and an unique umbrella fountain and a school bus scenario featuring Peanuts characters like Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
On the plus side, most kids go absolutely nuts for Elmo! In this truly life-like creation of Elmo, for the first time ever, Elmo seems to actually be speaking as his mouth opens and closes just like the real live-action muppet, Elmo from Sesame Street!
Painting the tower structure takes seven years to complete, and the workers who maintain the structure are known as “Stick Men”. There are 563 steps from the roof of the tower building to the top of the tower which the maintenance teams use for the structure’s upkeep. If the wind speed exceeds 72 km/h (45 mph) the top of the tower is closed as a safety precaution. There are 8 kilometres (5 miles) of cables to feed the 10,000 light bulbs which are used to illuminate the tower. In April 2002 the Tower maintenance team was featured in the BBC One programme, Britain Toughest Jobs.
The ride begins with a few little ups and downs and some sharp turns, but nothing too jarring. Pretty soon you’ll be carried high up into the mountain, then you begin the descent. At one point, the ride stops, then you start rolling backwards and wind up in a Yeti cave. Instead of something life size animatronic dinosaurs, you’ll just see a projected silhouette animation on the wall, and I thought that was a little on the cheap side. It just wasn’t very scary at all.
Thomas Town was the first to lose its theme. The trains will stay but the face will go. It will now be just an unbranded whistle-stop depot. Several Six Flags parks built a Thomas Town in their parks since 2007, and all of them will get the same treatment as Six Flags cuts the licensing agreement. But while painting over a few Thomas the Train references were simple enough, the Terminator: Salvation coaster won’t be so easy — and Six Flags is taking a much bigger financial hit.
Great Wolf Lodge is slightly cheaper than Kalahari. A one night stay is around $219 which includes park passes. Guests can still play at the water park on the day they check out until the park closes which is a really nice feature. You get your money’s worth at Great Wolf Lodge.