Sunday, April 14, 2013

Animal Kingdom {Disney World}

Animal Kingdom by MomsGonnaSnap
After spending a FULL day (15+ hours!!) at the Magic Kingdom on Monday, we got up early again on Tuesday to spend the day at Animal Kingdom.  I LOVE going to zoos and was REALLY looking forward to exploring this park.  It sounded so much more relaxing and low-key than the Magic Kingdom – the perfect day to follow up our big day at the Magic Kingdom.  Or so we thought...  More about that later.

We started our morning by getting up at 6:15am and catching the 7:15 bus to Animal Kingdom, so that we would be ready and waiting when the park opened for Magic Hours at 8:00.  The morning started out perfectly!  We were there, excited, and ready to go!

When we entered the park we watched the crowd split into two directions.  One group was heading to Asia for Expedition Everest (a big roller coaster) and the other group was headed to Africa for the Kilimanjaro Safari.  We followed the group to Africa, because we knew Anthony would go on the safari, and we were not too sure about Expedition Everest.

The Kilimanjaro Safari was fun!  They take you out in an oversized jeep-like truck and drive you around throughout the safari.  We saw hippos, rhinos, giraffe, long-horn cattle, flamingos, lions, cheetahs, etc.  The animals appeared to be essentially “in the wild”. 

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It was neat!  I had heard that every time you go on the safari it’s a little different because the animals move around (sometimes really close), so even before our safari, we grabbed FASTPASSes to come back later.  (They were our first FASTPASSes of the day)

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After experiencing the crazy crowds at Magic Kingdom, we decided that if there ever was a time to ride Expedition Everest, the time was now, since it was still early in the morning – during the Magic Hour.  We decided to leave Africa and walk over to Asia to check it out.  It sure sounds funny to say that.  We walked from Africa to Asia. Ha!

When we got over to Expedition Everest we grabbed FASTPASSes for later and jumped in line.  Anthony was a little worried, but we kept telling him that it would be similar to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Ummm, it’s not.  At all.  Much bigger.  But we didn’t know that at the time, so we forged ahead.

Here’s the boys, right before our turn -

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Anthony looks happy enough, right?  He was pretty excited at this point!

Here are a few pictures that I took from the ride.  I sure wish I could have seen Anthony’s face!

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Going up, up, up!

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Zooming around through the mountain

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and then we reached the end of the track! umm…

Here’s where the ride started to get really awesome, or super scary, depending on which one of us you ask...  The track changed behind us, so when they pulled the brakes (we were “frozen” when I took this picture) we begin zooming backwards along the track.  Up and down, through the mountain, in the dark, etc. Then we came to another halt and we were suspended pointing forward and down.  Then a yeti flashed up on the wall of the mountain and appeared to be wrecking the track (this was while the track was changed in front of us) and off we went again, on another different path.  It was fun for us big kids, but pretty scary for Anthony.  Definitely his biggest roller coaster to date!  We were super proud of how brave he was during the ride.  Afterwards he was super scared and we just relaxed for about 15 minutes right near the exit of the ride while Anthony caught his breath.  Hubby and I sure enjoyed it though!  Wish we could have ridden it again!

After riding Expedition Everest, we knew we needed to take a break and find some more activities suited for littler ones, so we headed to DinoLand U.S.A.  Here we found a much more kid friendly ride – the TriceraTop Spin (a ride appropriate for any height).

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Anthony was so excited to be on a smaller ride that I think we rode it 3 times in a row.  At that point, we were willing to do anything to help him relax, because we had pushed it pretty good by taking him on Expedition Everest.

Then we headed over to find the Dinosaur ride.  I had heard that it was scary, but people were telling us that it was fine.  He was more than tall enough for this one, so we thought it would be okay.  Anthony was pretty worried that Dinosaur was going to be super scary and he wasn’t going to trust anything we said.  Somehow we got him on the ride though, and at least 2 out of 3 of us enjoyed it!  The picture below should give an idea about who maybe didn’t enjoy it as much…

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This ride drives through a track making while you look for dinosaurs.  Around the point of the photo above, I’m pretty sure there was a big dinosaur.  It was pretty noisy too, so Anthony kept his ears plugged most of the time through this one.  He clearly was not a fan of this ride either.  We struck out twice in one morning.  All within about an hour.

We decided it was time for a quick snack on our walk to see Finding Nemo.  This was a longer show than we had watched the day before, but it was cute!  The actors all had stuffed animal characters that they carried and they sang throughout most of the show.  I like musicals, and the movie Finding Nemo, so I thought this was cute.  I would go see it again.  If you have kids that like bubbles, sit up front.

After the show we decided to start walking towards Africa to try and use our expired FASTPASSes for the Kilimanjaro Safari.  We were also hungry (eating breakfast so early = eating an early lunch), so when a bench was open in the sun (did I mention it was cold on Tuesday too?) we snatched it up and sat down to eat our lunch.  We packed our lunch and snacks again (we did this every day of our trip ) – SO easy and cheap to have food ready when we want it.  No lines.  No major expense.  It was perfect!

On our walk to the safari we took a detour and did the walking tour in Asia.  This was an area that you could control your speed and walk through at your leisure.  We thought this was a good idea – no rush, just casual, and we hoped to enjoy it.

Unfortunately, our traveling and long hours at the Magic Kingdom had Anthony pretty tired out.  He started to get pretty grouchy and we made the decision that it was time to leave the park.

I have to admit, I was bummed.  There were so many unfinished things on my to-do list!  Here are some of the things I was really hoping to do/see:

     Tree of Life (we barely saw it from a distance)
     It’s Tough to be a Bug
     Lion King Show
     Camp Minnie Mickey (for character signatures)
     Another Safari ride
     Take pictures – I didn’t take nearly the amount of photos that I would have liked.  Had I known we would be leaving at 12:30, I would have taken TONS more throughout the morning.

Once we were on the Disney bus on the way back to the resort, Anthony’s eyes instantly started closing – he was TIRED!  He eventually curled up in my lap and just crashed. 

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When we got back to the resort, hubby carried him through the resort to our room (of course it was the farthest building in the back) and we were able to lay him down without waking him up.  He slept about 3 hours!!  He definitely was tired, and the crazy schedule we were keeping wasn’t helping any.

After a long nap and a walk around the resort, Anthony enjoyed going for a quick swim.  I chose to stay bundled up in my jeans and long sleeves and relaxed in the sunshine.  It may have been chilly, but at least the sun was shining!

More posts about Disney World
     Countdown to Disney
     Downtown Disney
     Magic Kingdom

More posts yet to come:
     Hollywood Studios
     Universal Studios
     Universal’s Islands of Adventure

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