Saturday, October 3, 2015

Five Great Things about the Maharajah Jungle Trek

By Lisa Green  

Maharajah Jungle Trek Artistic Details 

A visit to Animal Kingdom just wouldn’t be complete for me without a walk along both of the two fantastic animal trails there.  These trails boast a wide array of exhibits that allow guests unforgettable opportunities for some close-up animal viewing in gorgeous, highly detailed settings.  The trail in Animal Kingdom’s Africa section is the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.  The trail in Asia is called the Maharajah Jungle Trek – that’s the one I want to talk about today.

Details along the Maharajah Jungle Trek

The trail’s backstory sets the mood and an impressive (spectacular, unbelievable, insert favorite-adjective-of-wonder here) number of amazing Disney details make a visit to the Maharajah’s jungle into a mysterious, magical experience.  As I tend to like to do, allow me to give you…

Five Great Things about the Maharajah Jungle Trek

From  the Walt Disney World web site, “Venture into the mystical Anandapur Royal Forest, a tropical paradise of trees, ruins and wild animals. Legend has it the area was at one time the hunting ground of wealthy maharajahs; today, it exists as a preserve that you can explore.”

1.  Komodo Dragon – Yep, a giant lizard!  What else do you need?  Seeing this guy is like looking at a living dinosaur and Komodo Dragons are the largest living lizards on earth.  As he sits there with his tongue darting in and out to “smell” the air while basking in the sun, it’s incredible to think about the fact that Komodo Dragons are venomous and capable of taking down large prey.  An adult Komodo Dragon can consume up to 80% of its own body weight in a single meal!  Go here for some other cool Komodo Dragon fun facts.

Komodo Dragon at Animal Kingdom

2. Rodrigues Fruit Bats and Malayan Flying Foxes – The way this section of the trail is designed is genius!  The bats are on display (sleepily hanging around) in a wide-open viewing area – which makes it seem as if there is absolutely nothing separating you from the bats!  Those Flying Foxes are enormous and so cool!  (Read all about them here.) I like to imagine what it would be like if the sun set and they got to go free all night – Those huge bats with their leathery wings flying overhead would be quite a scary sight!  Hands down, this is one of my all time favorite exhibits.

Animal Kingdom - Bats on the Maharajah Jungle Trek

3. Asian Tigers – Usually we get here too late to see the tigers doing anything besides napping, but they’re huge and beautiful to see – even if they are asleep.  Because windows are used in this area instead of bars, it seems as if you could practically reach out and pet one of these big cats!  Even snoozing, they’re amazing.

Asian Tiger - Maharajah Jungle Trek

4. The Aviary and Birdhouses – I never know which gets more of my attention in the aviary – the colorful and unusual birds- or the equally beautiful bird houses.  Spotting guides help visitors identify a variety of different bird species and the Asian bird houses located every few feet throughout the aviary are as beautiful as the  birds!  If you’re afraid of birds, this probably isn’t the best place for you…especially since they’re kind of friendly and will walk right up to you sometimes when you’re not paying attention and make you jump.  Not that I’d know from personal experience or anything.  I’m not afraid of birds at all.

Bird in Animal Kingdom

Birds House in the Aviary in Asia / Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Asian Aviary Bird Spotting Guide

5.  The Ruins – I know, weird that I’m such an animal lover and I’ve named decaying walls as one of the five best things about the Maharajah’s jungle, but it’s true.  And I make it a point to be honest with you here at the Living a Disney Life blog.  So….in all honesty – you won’t find a better example of the wonder and genius, the unique artestry of Disney imagineering than among the ruins of Anandapur.

Because of the location of the Maharajah Jungle Trek, this trail is almost always less crowded than the Pangani Forest trail.  There are also plenty of Hidden Mickey’s to find along the way!  We try to hit this trail in the morning before the day heats up too much.  Our touring plan at Animal Kingdom usually starts with Expedition Everest, then Kilimanjaro Safari, then the Pangani Forest Nature Trail, and finally the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

Do you enjoy the trails at Animal Kingdom?  Which is your favorite?  What animals do you find the most fascinating?

This article was originally posted on Lisa's Living a Disney Life Blog.
She can be found on Facebook at and on Twitter at

Please check out Lisa along with me and David Hodges on the Disney Exchange Podcast! -Nick

Friday, October 2, 2015

Favorites at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

By Nick

Episode 31 of The Disney Exchange Podcast which I co-host with Lisa Green and David Hodges was about our favorite favorite thing to do, favorite thing to eat, favorite shop, favorite Disney detail in each of the lands of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and I thought I would share them with you here, in case you haven't already listened to the show. 

We'll start on Main Street USA and go around clockwise. It's hard to just pick one thing that I love about Main Street, but I would have to say meeting Mickey Mouse at The Town Square Theater.

And I still love the moment I round the corner to see Cinderella Castle.

And a trip through the Emporium, even if I'm not buying anything, is a must every trip. As for food, I went with a frosty snack, (ok, it's more than a snack, it's a meal) at The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor.

And since I'm at this end of the hub, I'll take a walk over to see Mickey and Walt represented in the Partners Statue.

Heading to the left to Adventureland, my favorite ride is Pirates of the Caribbean.

But before riding, I'll be stopping for a Dole Whip which has found a new home at Aloha Isle.

The best detail is The Jungle Cruise. The entire ride. I love the themeing, though I confess I don't do it every trip!

In Frontierland, my favorite ride is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad which is an absolute blast in the dark! My favorite detail is rock work on BTMR based on buttes in Monument Valley.

As for food, I enjoy a burger at the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe. I really enjoy checking out the pins and Vinylmation in the Frontier Trading Post.

Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride in Liberty Square, in fact, it's my favorite attraction in Magic Kingdom, my favorite detail being the glowing eyes in the wallpaper, with the breathing door that comes up shortly after that a close second.

I don't often eat in L.S.,  but I have enjoyed a Nutella and berry waffle at Sleepy Hollow. As for shop, hands down, maybe my favorite shop in the park is Momento Mori.

And then there is Fantasyland. So many wonderful details. To sort of narrow it down without actually narrowing it down, I'll pick Be Our Guest. The whole thing!

As for favorite ride, Seven Dwarf's Mine Train is a blast, again, like Big Thunder, at night. As for food, let's head back to Be Our Guest, where I will have the Braised Pork, though the steak is also pretty darn good. As for shops, be sure to stop into Big Top Souvenirs.

In Tomorrowland, I'm going old school, and picking Carousel of Progress.

My favorite detail is the model of the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow which can be seen while riding the Tomorrowland  Transit Authority Peoplemover. As for food, I enjoy having a meal of any type, though it's generally a burger at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, mostly so I can enjoy the musical stylings of Sonny Eclipse.

So there you go, my favorites. What are some of yours?

This article was originally posted on The Disney Exchange.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Walt Disney World - October 2009 - Part 4

By Nick 

Back in the day, my social media outlet was the DVC News Forums. I would write trip reports for each of our visits to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and I'm sharing them here.

Some trip reports were more in depth than others, and this one is on the more descriptive side. 

Also, as this was a "live" trip report, I jump back in forth in time, making live comments and then going on to describe activities earlier in the day.

Any commentary I make will be in italics.

Part Four: Monday 10/05/09 
Part Three can be found here.

Day 4 - 10/5 - 9AM

We are watching the Disney cartoon channel at the moment. These are the classics from
the 30s and 40s featuring the Fab 5. the classic Goofy cartoon "How to Ride a Horse" just came on.
I was up at 630AM. Sat outside catching up on other forum posts.
Took a walk down to the resort store. I got the refillable mug, and got a coffee for me, and a grapefruit juice for Barbie. Okay, and I got a cannoli. It was pretty good too!
I need to go on a major diet after this trip.
When I got back I watched a bunch of turtles swimming in the canal. Not as exciting as what we've enjoyed the last few days, but at least it's wildlife! The only wildlife I see outside back home are my dogs barking at the neighbor's dogs.

Off to Downtown Disney to shop, and have lunch.

Kathy and Ron had 2 counter service credits left, and were generous enough to give them to us.
We are blessed to have met such a wonderful and generous group of people, all through this forum!

Thanks DVC News!

Day 4 - 10/5 - 525PM

Currently it's raining here.
This Disney cartoon loop station is great, but it is on a very short loop.
With the extensive cartoon library Disney has, they should have it on a much longer rotation.
Anyway, off the soapbox, and on with the report.

We got to Downtown Disney around 10AM. Went to the design your own t shirt place, but nothing caught our eye.
Walked through Art of Disney. Lots caught my eye, but we left empty handed. Bought 2009 Christmas ornament at the Christmas Store.
Around 11, we met Kathy, Ron and Tom in front of Wolfgang Puck Express.

Lunch was very good. I had the Beef BarBQ, Barbie the spinach salad. For dessert we both had the Creme Brulee.
Everything was delicious.
After the gang left to fly home, we went to World of Disney. We picked up a few items, for friends and family, and got a really great rolling duffel bag for $18 with a $50 purchase.
We caught the bus back to BC. We got back around 2.
About 3, we went to Stormalong Bay. The water slide here is a blast.
Very long and fast.

Around 430 we had a burger and shared banana split at Beaches and Cream. That thing didn't stand a chance, but Barbie went into sugar shock.

As we came out of the back of the Beach Club and walked towards the Villas, it started sprinkling.
We plan on going to the Disney Studios for Extra Magic Hours. Breaking out the ponchos.

Day 4 - 10/5 - 10PM

We didn't need the ponchos. The rain stopped by the time we left for the Studios. We took the boat over.
Went to the Tower of Terror, and walked on 4 times in a row. We rode every car, er, elevator, right to left.

I feel the 2nd from the right is best, Barbie prefers the far left.
After that we walked back to Toy Story Mania to check the wait. It was 30 minutes, and it had started to sprinkle lightly, so we skipped that and instead went through some stores.
We decided to head back about 830, as it had stopped spritzing, and, as we had just missed a boat, we walked.
Man, it's humid out tonight.
We cut through the Boardwalk area, to see what was going on, and saw a bunch of scaffolding on the back, facing the pool.

We stopped to watch the finale of Illuminations.

I was soaked by the time we got back.
We then cut through the Yacht club.
Well, that is a fancy lobby. And I looked like a street person, dripping sweat. The looks I got!
We joked about the uppity folks all the way back to the room.
"Did you see the riffraff they allow in here?! Why I never! Perhaps we should notify security."

Okay, time for a shower and bed.

Please stop by next week for part 5!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

1978 Walt Disney World Guide

By Gaylin 

Your Complete Guide to WDW

It surprises me that the Disney shopping bags from my 1978 trip survived for the last 34 years and fared quite well. Because this park map book is in rough shape. Vancouver is quite a damp place to live and I did not do a great job of storing this.

Front and Back covers

The back cover has a nice selection of ‘new’ movies for 1978. The Jungle Book would have been a re-release. Don Knots in Hot Lead and Cold Feet and The Cat From Outer Space were two funny movies!

Table of copious contents


It’s a shame that Captain Nemo left WDW forever!

Nice overview maps


Resort fun at its most Polynesian and Contemporary

Golf Resort Hotel is no more, at least, not under that name

Concluding with more recreational activities

I guess people in the 1970′s needed a lot of instruction on how to have a good vacation because this booklet has 32 pages!