The Tree of Life is Fake

I’m going to give you fair warning that if you don’t like animals, you’ll probably find this post boring. Wait! Before you close out, scroll down and watch the video of Justy at the petting zoo. Even if you don’t like animals, she’s hilarious.

Our third day at Disney started with breakfast at Boma.

Yeah, yeah. We’ve been over that before. So fast forward:

Welcome to the Animal Kingdom

In all the Disney theme parks, there is an iconic visual element as soon as you enter. Think about it: in the Magic Kingdom the first thing you see is Cinderella’s Castle; in Epcot there is the giant golf ball; and in the Animal Kingdom, it’s the Tree of Life.

These not only inspire countless oohs and aahs, but they provide the perfect photo op. Disney cleverly creates another revenue stream by placing PhotoPass photographers every fifty feet.

We never used the PhotoPass, but I did ask a photographer to take a picture of us with my camera.

Tree of Life

Everybody now: It’s the circle of li-i-i-ife, and it moves us a-a-a-all…

Sorry, I got carried away there. Anyway, the Tree of Life is this giant (and, sadly, fake) tree with all kinds of animals carved into it with amazing detail:


The animals were carved high up into the tree…


…but also extended right down through the “roots” which wove along some of the animal viewing paths.


We spent part of the morning wandering the paths. The colors of the flamingos astounded me.


Because I already have a zillion pictures picked out for this post, I won’t bore you with those of the anteater, the kangaroos, the ducks (yes, ducks), the vulture, the lemur and the monkeys. Just take for granted that there was a variety of animals from both Asia and Africa.

At one point a sharp-beaked and frightening tortoise chased me at an astounding speed, nipping at my, uh, heels.

The tortoise and the Sare.

After we emerged from the trails, we took a safari ride through the savannah and that’s when the viewing got crazy, yo.

Again, I took a million pictures, give or take 999,753, so here are two of my favorites:


If I couldn’t see one off my balcony, at least I got to see one in the park.


And, for you Jungle Book fans, here’s a picture of Colonel Hathi’s rear guard.

After the safari, we went to see two live shows: The Festival of the Lion King (which would have been amazing, had we not seen La Nouba the night before) and Finding Nemo – The Musical (which was just plain amazing).

Lunch was at Tuskers. Did I mention I love the food at Disney?

After lunch we checked out some more walking paths, one of which lead us through an aviary. This little guy astounded me:

golden weaver

As I watched him flashing overhead, he suddenly stopped on a branch, stripped off a long piece of vine and darted across to another tree. He – and I swear I’m not making this up – poked one end of the grass through a loop in what looked like a loosely formed grass wreath. He then grabbed it from the other side and poked it through another hole. He kept doing this, bobbing his head about almost too quickly to watch, until the entire vine was wound around the wreath.

weaver wreath

As he flew off to grab another vine, I, with all the subtlety of a shrieking teakettle, voiced my awe.

“He’s weaving it! Did you see that! He weaved it in there! I can’t believe it!”

T consulted the bird chart he was holding.

“Let’s see if we can find him on here. It looks like he’s a…golden weaver.”

How odd.

Here’s what a finished nest looks like. The entrance is on the bottom!

weaver nest

So cool.

As we made our way out of the aviary, we saw meerkats. This one was keeping watch while the others foraged around.


Not a bad idea, really.


One of my all time favorite areas was the gorilla pen. This silverback male was kicking back and snacking on some bamboo. His hand was as big as my head and I’m quite sure he could crush it if he wanted to. Fortunately, it didn’t look particularly like he wanted to.


His wife, who was considerably smaller but impressive none the less, was sitting up on the hill around the corner. Her baby was around somewhere and there was a small crowd hoping to catch a glimpse.

Mrs. Silverback

Is there a good way to politely tell a 200-pound gorilla that her crack is hanging out? I didn’t think so.

As we were standing there a brown rabbit ran out from behind a bush and the crowd was like, “Oh! There it is!” (Meaning the baby gorilla.)

T laughed. And made no effort to hide it. This is part of his “reintegration” process. He has no problems letting people know when they are being stupid. Because really? How can you mistake a brown, bounding animal with long ears and a cottontail with a 10-pound black baby gorilla?

As the afternoon was winding down, we headed for the petting zoo (my request). On the way there we came across an interesting game:

Match the feces
Okay. Moving on.
In the zoo we met Justy the Diva. Justy is a llama. She wants you to look at her. She wants you to feed her. She wants you to admire her.
She just doesn’t want you to touch her. Ever.
After the petting zoo and Fussy Justy, it was time to leave. We waited at the bus stop to head back to the Lodge. I was getting tired and probably hungry, which always makes me terribly cranky.
And somewhat violent.
nose biting
Clearly I was getting on T’s nerves as well.
mantis grip of death
Not sure what he is doing here, but I think it might be the Mantis Grip of Death.
Or something.
We had dinner at Jiko, which was nice, though not as impressive as Boma, even if they did bring us rosewater-scented finger cloths.
And because we hadn’t done enough yet that day, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom for extended hours. While we were there we caught a few rides that we’d missed the day before, such as Peter Pan’s Flight and a few others that I can’t remember.
Just to round out the day, which ended shortly thereafter with us crashing again, I’ll leave you with a picture of us waiting to see the 3-D extravaganza, Mickey’s PhilharMagic (which was actually kind of neat).
3-D glasses

This is how we roll.


6 responses to “The Tree of Life is Fake

  1. Excellent! Um, and if Dennis, the giant, brown sugar eating rabbit, was there he could be mistaken for a gorilla. Just FYI. I think Justy is my kindred llama spirit. Seriously, how hilarious is she? What a bitch! I love her!

  2. Wait. The Tree of Life isn’t real?! WTF?! Just kidding…I know it’s fake…last time we were at Disney, however, I listened to a family on the bus have an angry discussion about how they felt gypped that the Tree of Life was fake. I wanted to say, “Hello! Did you really think Disney was able to find/grow a tree that had animals carved in to it? C’mon!”

    I {heart} Justy! I love that she walks by just out of everyone’s reach – taunting those who want to pet her!

    I, too, get cranky when I’m tired and/or hungry. Thankfully, my husband has infinite patience with me… =)

  3. Animal Kingdom is my favorite park by far!!! Don’t you love llama’s faces?? Those eyes are amazing :-) Looks like you had an awesome time!! Great pics!!!

  4. Justy is awesome. Llamas amuse me.

    I’ve never been to Disney. I had a deprived childhood.

  5. Wow. That looks like such a great time. Sorry the tree was fake. :-(

  6. Hehe! Well I do love animals, so I did love your post & accompanying photos! Loved the “match the feces….” one especially, lol!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s