After the morning's festivities, my better half and I decided to use the pair of complimentary passes we had to the Wild Animal Park. Since we hadn't been there since the removal of the WGASA Bush Line it seemed like the ideal time to visit, as historically crowds are light on this day.
When we arrived there in the early afternoon we encountered families already leaving the park, confirming past experience. Once through the gate we followed the signs for the new Heart of Africa tour. It turns out that it is near the Lion Camp, which we estimated to be at least three quarters of a mile from the main gate.Along the way we past the new sightseeing ballon, which was grounded due to wind conditions (high winds area common occurance in the San Pasqual Valley, we wondered how often it was out of service because of the winds).
We found the loading station for the tour. They use a fleet of biodiesel fuled Chance Tramstars, running on a new concrete roadway. The loading and unloading is done from the same postion, and they are relying on the old red line on the floor to control the crowds. This took quite a few hosts to keep things under control.
Once loaded we were off on our tour of the "Heart of Africa" Most of the tour is lower to the valley floor than the monorail took. Here and there you can see the old right of way, in some places it is used for the new road, but you cover (I would say) not even half the distance of the old Wgasa Bush Line. While you are closer to the wildlife in most cases, you see much less of it than on the old tour. At this time, the only way to see the rest is to either hike the trails, which is an all-day event, take the 55-minute extended Savanna Safari tour (a $35 upcharge) or take the photo caravan tour (a $60+ upcharge).
Overall we were disappointed with the new tour. It was much shorter than the original (although parents with youg children probably didn't mind this at all), and our guide that day needed some more time rehearsing his speil before being put to work.