The rain was still coming down steadily Thursday morning, but what do you expect? Florida gets its share of liquid sunshine, and you have to have one rainy day to appreciate all the other beautiful days and understand the weather pattern around there.
So Bigger Girl and i decided to go to Animal Kingdom again for the morning, as there would be few lines in the rain and many of the animals love being out in the wet. It proved true, and we got to spend a good bit of time watching the tigers, who were more cooperative on this day and all of them were out and about.
We got into a discussion about breeding programs with one young lady who had done a professional internship with Disney and was back to work there permanently. Disney doesn't just breed the endangered animals, they are trying to work with programs to reintroduce them into wild habitat as well. A breeding pair of black rhinos, both born and raised at Disney, were returned to a wildlife refuge in Africa where they have already produced the first rhino baby born on that preserve in 27 years. Those two may never be able to be released off the refuge site, but their offspring, raised with humans only overseeing from a distance but not interfering at all, might be someday. It's quite an accomplishment.
Bigger Girl and i decided to try Tusker House, where we had never been, for lunch. It is mostly African based foods, and as i told the waiter, this vegetarian left very happy. Tusker House is considered one of the best places on Disney property to get vegetarian and vegan foods, so i took advantage of it.
Eventually we headed over to Epcot to meet up with everyone except Grandma, Grandpa, and #2 Son, none of whom like German cooking. That's okay, it left more for the rest of us! It is always Oktoberfest in Disney World's Germany, and the show was grand fun, with my brother and Dre getting up to dance with the other parents and young kids. They always enjoy that part, and the rest of us enjoy watching them.
My only regret was that they didn't sing my favorite traditional German song, and i couldn't get up there to make a request. It's okay, the song "In Heaven There Is No Beer" is not exactly what some parents want their children hearing anyway.
In heaven there is no beer (aside: No Beer!)
That's why we drink it here.
And when we are no longer here,
Someone else will be drinking my beer!
After dinner, i wanted to check out a few of the Epcot rides i had heard about. I had already gotten to test drive a Segway People Mover, it was fun. Now it was time to check out a few other things, and we decided to try Soarin' first.
Until that ride, i thought the PhilharMagic was the most outstanding thing at Disney World. Now i stand corrected. Mickey's PhilharMagic is still amazing, and i will continue to view it as often as possible. Soarin', however, goes it one better.
In Soarin', you sit in a chair with a seat belt around you. A little word about Disney rides; if there is no belt or bar, it is beyond safe if you remain seated. If there is a simple bar or belt, it is also very safe, just stay put. Only when they put on the shoulder harness and strap you in where you cannot move at all should you hang on for dear life.
To continue, the three sections of three rows of seats are lifted about two stories into the air, to where all you can see is the concave screen in front of you. The wind stars blowing, and you are in midair, flying past the Golden Gate Bridge.
The seats tilt some, but not nearly enough to be scary. It feels like you are flying through California, river rafting, over Napa Valley, in the midst of Air Force jets in San Diego, past cliffs of Yosemite. These locations and more, and you literally feel like you are flying with no plane around you, smelling the smells, feeling the wind as you soar past, swooping and diving like a bird. It was the most thrilling ride i have ever taken.
It ends with you in the midst of the fireworks at Disneyland in California, feeling the concussions as the lights explode around you. Most "flights" end with everyone clapping and cheering, and wanting more.
Altogether, we did it 4 times before we left on Saturday. It was worth every minute in line for just that 5 minutes of feeling like you are a bird. A feast for the senses.
The ride called Livin' with the Land was next. There they show you the new hydroponic technologies Disney is developing to grow some of the food you are served at the restaurants on site. The high quality fish farms that use plants to filter the water and grow fish you aren't afraid to eat like from factory farms is amazing.
Anna Parenna -- Ancient Roman Calendar (goddess of the returning year)
Constitution Day -- Belarus
Dumbstruck Day -- Fairy Calendar
Everything You Think is Wrong Day
Honen Matsuri -- Tagata-jinja Shrine, Inuyama, Japan
Ides of March
Incredible Kid Day
International Day Against Police Brutality
Marduck's Festival -- Ancient Mesopotamian Calendar (approximate date)
National Pears Helene Day
Rude Awakenings Day
St. Louis de Marillac's Day (patron of orphans, social workers, widows)
True Confessions Day
Turkey Buzzards Day -- Hinckley, Ohio, US (Two theories about why the turkey buzzards return on this date each year have to do with either witchcraft of a hunting story)
World Consumer Rights Day
World Day of Muslim Culture, Peace, Dialogue and Film -- International
Youth Day -- Palau
Maine becomes the 23rd US state, 1820
The University of Toronto is chartered, 1827
Sean Biggerstaff, 1983
Eva Longoria, 1975
Sly Stone, 1944
Phil Lesh, 1940
Judd Hirsch, 1935
Harry James, 1916
Joe E. Ross, 1914
Macdonald Carey, 1913
Samuel "Lightnin" Hopkins, 1912
Andrew Jackson, 1767
Today in History:
Julius Caesar, Dictator of the Roman Republic, is stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus and several other Roman senators on the Ides of March, BC44
Liu Bei, a Chinese warlord and member of the Han royal house, declares himself emperor of Shu-Han and claims his legitimate succession to the Han Dynasty, 221
A Jew hating Monk in Seville, Spain stirs up people in that city to attack Jews, 1391
Christopher Columbus arrives back in Spain after his first trip to the New World, 1493
The first meeting of the Council of Trent, 1545
South Carolina becomes the first American colony to declare its independence from Great Britain and set up its own government, 1776
In an emotional speech in Newburgh, New York, George Washington asks his officers not to support the Newburgh Conspiracy; the plea is successful and the threatened coup d'état never takes place, 1783
A revolution breaks out in Hungary, and the Habsburg rulers are compelled to meet the demands of the Reform party, 1848
Jesse W. Reno patents an "inclined elevator" (escalator), 1892*
Rolls-Royce Limited is incorporated, 1906
Czar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates the Russian throne and his brother the Grand Duke becomes Tsar, 1917
Symbolics.com registers the very first Internet domain name, 1985
*The first actual working model, at Coney Island, was built four years