Saturday, May 30, 2015

Animal Kingdom with Toddlers

Another busy day at Disney. We had a blast, but the whole family is exhausted.

8am Tusker House Reservation means having the park to yourself. 

We had an 8am reservation at Tusker House for their character breakfast so we drove directly to the park before it opened. It takes a few min to walk from the gates to the Tusker House, but we took our time and enjoyed having the park to ourselves. 

The breakfast was delicious and such a huge hit with the kids. After a week at Disney H has finally, really, truly, warmed up to the characters. He was delighted to see them all as they came to the table. H loved their safari outfits. O was indifferent to most of them, which was a huge improvement over the previous days. Daisy though was a charmer and O instantly took to her.  Even with the delicious buffet, I got a birthday cupcake and a candle.. which I unwillingly shared with little O.

After breakfast we headed over to meet Mickey and Minnie in their character spot in Asia. We were first in line and had no wait at all. Although we met Mickey several times on this trip it was our first interaction with Minnie. 

It was a short walk over to Africa to use our fastpass for Kilimanjaro Safari's.  Even with the fast pass it was a bit of a wait, but totally worth it. Minutes after getting into the safari vehicle the rain started to pour down. While our stroller was collecting water, the animals were all out enjoying themselves. The highlight though was the baby rhino that chased our safari vehicle!

When we got off the safari the rain had stopped and the sun was back out. We took a little stroll through the Lowland Gorilla walk. Again, all the animals were out playing. The highlight for the kids were the two small gorillas that were playing right against the glass. We probably could have spent all morning watching them. 

We didn't want to miss the Festival of the Lion King show, which we had fastpasses for. We chose to sit all the way in the back row of our section, even though we were let in first, so that we could sit with a backrest and the kids could stand to see the show. H sat stone-faced the whole ride only to exclaim after the show that it was "amazing." O, on the other hand, danced and clapped and signed "more" during all the songs. The family favorite was the jumping "monkeys" that do the ariel tricks. 

We hopped on the train to Rafiki's Planet Watch, a short, narrated, ride that shows you some of the behind the scenes stuff. A pair of bronze elephants greets you when you get off the train. H was enamored and pretended to be their trainer for quite a while. "Do you have any questions about elephants?" he would ask everyone. There is a short walk to the main building where there are lots of displays and activities. The "Affection Station" is also here, where H go to pet and brush goats. 

H would be upset if I didn't also mention that there is an entire display on animal poop. 

Somewhere between the poop display and listening to the sounds to the rainforest, we decided we were not going to rush to make our next fastpass. I logged onto the Disney App and changed the time of our fastpass to a later showing of the Nemo Show. We continued exploring and then headed back on the train. 

A quick stop at the Yack and Yeti quick service restaurant to pick up lunch. My mom ordered the chicken fried rice and an egg roll while Jeff got the daily special which was some sort of yellow curried chicken and vegetables. I ordered the honey chicken and rice and both kids had a bite as well. On the trail between Asia and Africa there is a small path that parallels the main road and has a lovely little hut with four tables. The hut has some fans in it and it was the perfect place to enjoy our lunch. There was even a large rock for H to crawl on while we ate. 

We bypassed the bird show, in the name of time and much to our dismay, to head to the Jungle treck. The tigers and kimono dragon were napping in the shade, but the bats were sleeping with their wings in full view. I've never seen anything quite like it. 

The monkeys were also putting on quite the show. O in particular loved watching them. 

In DINOLand, USA. H and Jeff rode the TriceraTopSpin. We once again got lucky with the rain. The rain started just as we ducked under the cover of the ride and was done by the time H and Jeff got on board. 

We made what I thought would be a quick stop at the Dig Site... 45 min later we emerged. H spent most of his time across the bridge digging up a Mammoth Fossil. We also explored the caves and slides in the dig area. He would have stayed later but heard someone talking about the pool and decided he wanted to go home. 

We made a few more stops to see some birds, baby ducks and even a squirrel on our way back to our car. We returned to the hotel in time to hit the pool for an hour or so before dinner. The hotel pool here is great. H even went down the small water slide with a life jacket on and dad at the bottom to catch him. O likes to stand and play in the water coming down from the "temple" or just cruise along the beach chairs all in a line. 

We drove to the Art of Animation resort for dinner. Their cafeteria, Landscape of Flavors, has so many good options. My mom ordered the Roasted Vegetables, which actually was just pick four sides, but it looked delicious. Jeff and H split the pulled pork which is served between two waffles. O and I shared the Caprese Sandwhich and chips. Everyone cleaned their plates! 

The best part though was walking H through the different resort areas. Honestly, the cars section was the absolute best as the cars are car sized, not super huge like in the Little Mermaid and Lion King sections. H literally thought he was in Radiator Springs. 

This was the perfect ending to a wonderful Disney trip. 

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