Monday, November 7, 2016

Our Disney Trip: Animal Kingdom

This post is a continuation of our series from the Disney trip we took in September.  It is the 5th post in the series.  You can read about our time at Hollywood Studios here and the Magic Kingdom here, how I planned our family vacation here, and what I packed/how we traveled with two young kids here.  My last post will be about our time at Epcot.

On our fourth day in Orlando, we headed to the Animal Kingdom.  I had made FastPass+ reservations for the Kilimanjaro Safari, Festival of the Lion King, and Expedition Everest, but we actually started at the Tree of Life to see It's Tough to be a Bug.

You were suppose to wear 3D glasses while watching it, but neither of my kids was too keen on that.  I will say - it was a great show!  You get sprayed by a stink bug, stung by a bee, and sneezed on by another bug (I don't remember what it was called).  To me, the best part happened at the very end:  they ask that all of the bugs exit the theatre first, and you can feel them underneath your bottom!!!  All of the adults really enjoyed this and laughed, but my little princess was not a fan at all.  In fact, I think Emma would have preferred to skip all of It's Tough to be a Bug.

We left there to use our first FastPass+ on the Kilimanjaro Safari.  Let me just say - my kids LOVED seeing all the animals!!!  I actually think this may have been one of the highlights of the entire trip for Baby Sage.  He loves elephants (which he calls Elle) - in fact, his love kind of borders on obsession.  (Sage and I are a little concerned all the money we have been saving for college may end up going to Alabama instead of Auburn he loves elephants so much... but I digress.)  You can imagine his excitement when he got to see the "Elles" - he was just in his element!

Disney is smart about their planning:  you exit the safari right into an outdoor gift shop.  Of course, Sage and I immediately took the kids in the direction of the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, attempting to bypass the gift shop.  Well, we might have, but the grandmothers apparently spotted some stuffed animals they were sure the kids needed!

While on the trail, we saw gorillas, meerkats, birds, and a hippopotamus!  Actually, we saw a lot more than those four creatures, but those are the ones that stick out in my mind the most.  Again, my kids were in heaven.  They really enjoyed this portion of the Animal Kingdom.

Once we finished the end of the trail, we headed out to brunch.

We had a dining reservation at 10:30 at the Tusker House.  We purposely chose that last breakfast reservation there for a few reasons.  While we were eating this as our lunch meal, we thought breakfast food might be a better choice for my two kids as lunch was "African cuisine."  Also, I'd been told their breakfast buffet was fabulous, and I didn't want to miss that!  It was the right call for our family because the food was great, the kids ate well, and they got to see a bunch of their favorite characters!

Mickey, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Daisy all came around to meet us.  Baby Sage had started warming up to the characters, and he loved interacting with them from his high chair. He also got his picture taken with them (still from his high chair, but baby steps!).

The grandmothers decided after lunch was the perfect time to mention what all they thought the kids might need from that outdoor gift shop.  Once in there, Baby Sage immediately ran towards an Elle, and Emma chose a Cheetah.  What can I say?  We left with happy kids and happy grandmothers.

Once everyone was please with their gift shop purchases, we made our way to the Festival of the Lion King.  I must say, this is a MUST DO for any family!  It was an amazing 30 minutes packed full of swinging, dancing, acrobatics, and some good old fashioned fire throwing!  The kids loved every minute, but the adults also enjoyed it as well.  A win win!

We put the kids in the stroller to head to use our last FastPass+ at Expedition Everest.  This was going to be an adults' only ride again, and one I decided to skip out on as I had developed a splitting headache.  Momma G and AA were starting to get nervous about riding it, so we naturally sent Daddy and G Daddy first.  They received the following warnings:
  • Brace yourself for when it goes backwards
  • Brace yourself for the double looping turn
  • And brace yourself for the 80-foot drop
Oh yea, and we could also hear the screams as we stood near the entrance of the ride and we saw it fly by.  No big deal.

Daddy and G Daddy actually really enjoyed the ride, and insisted that AA and Momma G do it, too.  And since I wasn't riding and neither was Emma, they opted to go use our passes and go with them again.

I had to laugh as they all exited the ride - it was very obvious that three out of the four were not feeling so hot...  I'll let you guess which three!  We let them rest to collect their thoughts and bodies when they were done, as they were all a touch rattled.  Once they were all recuperated, it was off to the TriceraTop Spin!

Emma was actually the only one who rode that, as sweet Baby Sage fell asleep the moment he sat down in the stroller after Festival of the Lion King, and had been sleeping the entire time.  We decided it might be a good idea for all of us to go back to the hotel and get some rest - but not before we each grabbed a Mickey Ice Cream Bar!  As luck would have it, Baby Sage chose that time to wake up, which is good, because he loves ice cream!  He would have been super upset to miss out on that treat.

We opted to spend the rest of the evening in the hotel.  The adults had cocktails around the pool while the kids swam, and then we all ate dinner together before opting for early bedtimes.  We were all exhausted and wanted to make sure we were ready for our last day at Disney.

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