Day Seven – Animal Kingdom

Day Seven – Animal Kingdom

We all slept in until 10. Waffles and bacon and iced coffee for breakfast. The girls had pre-purchased all their day passes for the different Disney worlds before leaving Oz. Me I was playing it by ear and have decided to purchase a two day pass. The first for today’s adventure to the Animal Kingdom. We line up out front for our shuttle bus in the designated area for Animal Kingdom. We don’t have to wait long before the bus arrives for the short 10 minute drive. It is warm and humid but bearable.

Animal Kingdom is a zoo of sorts with each area themed. African, Asian, Discovery (conservation) and Dino Land. It is very well set out and built to resemble the type of area you are in. For example the African area is built to resemble an African Village with its own working train station. The food in this area is also African based. Lot of people around and I have just worked out it is spring break.

We lined up for the African Safari (sort of Werribee Zoo) but much better. There is a 50 minute wait but the line moves quickly and we are in a shaded area. It gave me a chance also to edit the previous days blog. Again carrying a tablet makes more sense than a heavy laptop. Not long and we are in the safari bus with Chelsea our driver for the 25 minute ride. You get up close and personal to many of Africa’s best known animals.
We then had a walk through the rain forest and after that caught the train over to Discovery Island. Lunch in the African Village, curried chicken and African spices with jasmine rice and flat bread. While we ate a Swahili band played some fine music.

We then went over to the Asian area. Again all the buildings and displays plus food is matched to various Asian countries. One of the highlights of this area is Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain which features a roller coaster ride to the top of Mt Everest. The line for this ride has a wait time of 35 minutes. Kate is real keen to have a go and Wendy is a definite no starter. That just leaves me and I bravely said yes. Again the line moves quickly and we are in shade. Just before you enter the ride area we go through the Yeti Museum which is pretty cool. There is a lot of Tibetan artifacts as well as stories of the Yeti legend.

No turning back now as I am locked into my seat for the ride. I know that we will be making a very steep climb and then a massive drop. What I didn’t know  was that we also do a lot of very fast backward movements in total darkness with ridiculous bends. Again what was I thinking! I toughed it out though and held my nerve. Even Kate said it was scarier than she imagined!  Of course as soon as you finish the ride you can buy a photo to remember the few minutes you just had of terror. I used my wrist band to purchase our photo but my hand was shaking so much it took me a long time to enter my four digit pin.
We then wandered over to Dinoland USA where Kate got some chicken nuggets. I saw a cool t-shirt that is perfect for Cara (Cara, you will have to wait until we get home) By this time is was close to 7 P.M. and I am dog tired (animal kingdom reference)and it is time to head home for a refreshing shower.


Rob Rowe

Day Six – New York to Orlando

Day Six – New York to Orlando

April Fool’s day and I sure feel like one. What was I thinking last night? Not a good idea to have way to many pints of Guinness when you have to get up at 5A.M. the next morning for a flight. I hope I don’t get breath tested at check-in. It is only a two and a half hour flight but it felt like another long haul.

Once we landed in Orlando and collected our luggage our next job was to find the Disney Magic Shuttle Bus for our drive to the Disney Resort, which will be home for the next 5 days. Wendy has booked us in to the All-stars Music Resort. Our block is on Broadway and Times Square which is appropriate seeing we have just come from the big apple. Check in is easy and each us get an electronic wrist band which serves as a key to our room as well as being used to access the theme parks. I also had my credit card details stored on the wrist band. Whenever you need to buy food or merchandise the wrist band is used for the purchase. Disney World became a cashless world.

It is only just gone past 11 and before we went to our room we grabbed a bite to eat. The girls are going to head out to Magic Kingdom Land. Me I am just going to catch up on blog writing and chill watching some baseball. Everything is so organised. To get to Magic Kingdom Land the girls catch the designated shuttle out front of our resort. Magic Kingdom Land is open until midnight and the girls don’t get back to 1A.M. They had a great time and Wendy has some sensational photos of the parades and fire-works. Kate said her mum is a wimp when it comes to the rides, especially any sort of roller coaster. She did manage a couple of the kiddie rides though. Kate has now been called Elsa from the movie Frozen on a dozen occasions. Little kids call out, ‘hey mum, there is Elsa.’ Even one of the movie ushers called to her saying ‘come on in Elsa’. I must admit that when she has braided her hair then there is more that a passing resemblance.

I headed out around 6ish for tea. Roast turkey, mashed potatoes and corn. Pretty good.

Tomorrow after resting up I will be ready to hit my first theme park. Animal Kingdom.


Rob Rowe

Day Five – 9/11 Memorial Museum

Day Five – Last Day In New York

We are up at 8, last day in New York and there is still a lot to cram in. Erica told us on day one that we had to try out Doughnut World, in her words ‘the best doughnuts in the world.’ Well the stars have aligned for us. To get back to the W.T.C memorial we had to catch a different subway line which took us luckily to the said shop . I had to have two, a wild-berry doughnut with a coconut cream doughnut on the side, Kate went for the triple chocolate and Wendy the vanilla bean. Must admit the were pretty damn good.

We caught the Redline back downtown to the memorial. Today we wanted plenty of time to look over the museum. This blurb from the brochure sums up the experience. ‘The museum is the global focal point in the history of the events of September 11, documenting the impact of the attacks, and exploring their continuing significance through monumental and personal artifacts, first person accounts and multimedia displays.’ To see first hand enormous twisted support beams and to stand within the very foundations of the tower gives some size to the destruction. You travel down to the very foundations themselves. It is a marvelous museum to say the least. To see personal belongings charred from fire makes it close up an personal. One of the first hand accounts was some audio of a witness on the ground who describes seeing a lady standing at a blown out window 90 floors up. She was about to jump to escape the overwhelming heat of the fires. The witness said she saw the lady smooth down her hair and hold onto her dress as she jumped. Even in the last moment of her life that poor soul would maintain her dignity. The witness said that out of respect she did not turn her back on that unfolding event, she stayed with her until the end. We spent a good three hours looking over the museum and only really scratched the surface. There is a section that houses a photo of every lost life and you can sit and listen to relatives and friends, their recorded voices telling a little about each person. There is a Rowe that lost his life, maybe even a distant relative?

When we exited the museum it had turned colder again and the rain was coming down. We have been in town 4 days and we are yet to sight the lady with the lamp. Ted Bear and Jo had given us the heads up. No need to pay for a pricey ticket to view the Statue of Liberty. Much better to catch the Staten Island Ferry for a round trip viewing. We had to walk a few blocks down and passed the iconic raging bull statue. It is massive. I was amused to see as many tourists having their photos taken at the rear end of the bull as at the front. They would sit under the rump and grab hold of the dangling appendage (if you know what I mean). No wonder the bull appears to have a sardonic smile!

We found the ferry terminal and waited for the 3 o’clock departure. Must be 300 to 400 people waiting. I could not see a ticket booth and asked a local. No tickets required as the trip is free. Wendy got some good photos and now we can say that we have seen the Statue of Liberty. For the trip there and back we are escorted by a Coast Guard boat with a guy standing up front at the machine gun.

We had our first issues with the Subway. The ferry terminal also houses a subway station and as as you could expect there were many people trying to buy tickets for uptown. One guy working and one lady watching. Shift change over and neither of them appear to give a rat’s arse about customer service. We got so frustrated that we walked a block or so up to the next station. Unfortunately for us this station was not manned so we had a fight with the ticket machine, maybe Myki is not so bad after all!

Our next stop is Greenwich Village. For all you old folkies out there you will be aware of the music history of this district. For those who don’t know the history just think of a young Bob Dylan and literary giants such as Jack Kerouac. Washington Square is surrounded by the New York University.  It is a real clean district and if I ever come back to this city I would like to stay somewhere around here. Great looking restaurants and we stumbled upon two record shops. I had read about a pub called the Malt House and wanted to try one of their local brews. Nice place, dark and moody just as I like and the beer was good. Kate posted to Facebook to show my beer snob friends back home that I can drink this craft beer as well. (You know who you are – Terry, Phoebe, Rob, Ang, Ted Bear & Jo)

We were back on the subway for the ride back up to Times Square. The girls have preview tickets for a new show on Broadway ‘Looking for Neverland’ staring Kelsey Grammar. Me I am not so keen. The girls go to Maccas for a quick bite before the show and I head to the Hard Rock cafe. The place is packed and so I decide to find a better bar. The Irish pub O’Donaughs is just around the corner and I was able to get a seat at the bar and ordered a Samuel Adams Cold Snap. After one drink I was talking to a lady that was in town for a medical conference. She was from Boston. To the other side of me was a guy from Zimbabwe who has lived in New York for 30 years but still retained his accent. His wife was a pom. The barman is an expat Irishman and he has a few mates living in Melbourne. I switched over to a Guinness and had way to many pints. The barman stopped and chatted often and at one stage as I went to pay for my next Guinness he winked and pushed my money back at me. I said to him ‘you haven’t lost your accent.’ He said to me ‘why would I, it still gets me laid.’ Over to you Mr. Smith see if you can beat  a free pint of Guinness in Times Square. I staggered out of the bar at 10:15 to met the girls at the theatre. Tomorrow is going to be a long day as we have to be up at 5AM to get to the airport for our flight to Orlando.


Rob Rowe