Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Disney Day #3: Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom was originally on my itinerary as a park to possibly skip--I'd heard that it was the smallest, and had the shortest hours, and so my thinking was that if we didn't get to everything that we wanted to see in Hollywood Studios or EPCOT, we could always return to one of those for a second day and simply omit Animal Kingdom.

I'm glad that I didn't omit Animal Kingdom, because this turned out to be Willow's favorite park!

For my part, I don't know how I could ever have contemplated skipping a park that has a Dino Land:

We rode Dinosaur four times--

--the kids rode Primeval Whirl and Triceratops spin a couple of times, and Willow decided that the Boneyard playground was basically the best playground that she's ever been to. It has dino bones!

I really liked the fact that the queues for the major rides were actually walks through themed museums, with fascinating artifacts to stop our racing through miles of empty queue to look at:

All the rides, the safari and the train trip and Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest (which Sydney managed to ride THREE times, once with the family, once with just me, and once with just Matt)--

--were so fabulous and lots of fun, but Animal Kingdom also had what turned out to be my favorite show, The Festival of the Lion King. 

Why was it my favorite show, you may ask? Well, it has great costumes, with the dancers dressed like animals--
This monkey dancer pissed Sydney off by stopping to pick bugs out of her hair and eat them.
 --and it was truly engaging--

--AND we got our day's short rain shower while we were inside, so that we missed it almost entirely, but my real  reason for having this particular show as my favorite is that my kids? Were all OVER it!

The show was pretty full, but not overcrowded, and as soon as the doors to the auditorium were closed a CM walked over to us and asked if we'd like to sit in the Reserved seating, on a bench right in front on the stage floor. Um...yeah! Then, when our emcees and main characters came out and introduced themselves, one of them came over and asked the girls if they'd like to help her. Um...yeah!

They got pulled out again to help in the finale:

How cool is that?!?

Matt and Willow never had a hard day at Disney. Syd had her hard day at EPCOT the day before. This day, though, was my hard day. I often don't sleep well, and I was up for hours the night before (I finished up Dearly Devoted Dexter, and got well into The Water Wars); I was exhausted, and I had a headache. I really liked the shows because they were air-conditioned and I could sit on a nice bench and watch them--
--and I really liked the rides because they were also cooling (sometimes that cooling was from big splashes of water!) and again, I could sit down.

The walking around and sight-seeing, however--

--was really more of a trudge on my part, and although the rest of the family was quite happy to hang out in rain gear and eat their lunches and wait for the afternoon parade that was a little delayed by the sprinkle--
Do you recognize our rain gear from Niagara?
--I really just had my game face on and that was about it. I have, therefore, never appreciated strangers like these engaging Disney CMs more. One particularly fabulous CM, who, as she was clearing the parade path must have heard me tell the girls three times to stop splashing water on my jeans (puddles, ya know), each time with a little more edge to my voice, came up to them just as they were about to splash me for the fourth, sanity-breaking, time, and said, "My lovely little ladies! That filthy water is not for stomping in and splashing your beautiful mother!" Do YOUR kids obey strangers much more readily than they obey you? Mine do!

Another CM, walking the parade route as well, stopped to entertain the girls by asking them what their favorite animal was. Upon hearing their answer (T-Rex, of course!), she did a T-Rex dance for them!

I, personally, was quite impressed by her short arms and two-fingered hands.

Of course the parade was WELL worth the wait:

Willow bought some great toys for herself in this park, a remote-controlled time machine and an absolutely huge carnotaur, both from the Dinosaur ride gift shop. I did NOT purchase this warm Wookie hat:

Nevertheless, the 5:00 closing time was just what I needed. We headed back to the condo, Matt took the girls swimming while the chicken strips and French fries baked, we all ate a nice dinner together, got the kids ready for bed early, then let them watch a movie on the DVD player in their room while Matt and I went swimming, all by ourselves.

By the time we set our alarm even earlier for our next day at Magic Kingdom--and our homeschool class!--I was feeling MUCH better.

And I slept great, hallelujah.


TeresaR said...

Geez, I can't believe you didn't buy that Wookie hat! I hope that means you're planning to sew your own Wookie hat.

julie said...

Ugh, the prices were sick at Disney World--if I'd bought any souvenirs for myself, I wouldn't be able to pay the mortgage this month!

Let's just say that a home-sewn Wookie hat is now officially on the to-do list.

Teresa Robeson said...

I'll bet your home-sewn one will be way nicer/better than that one anyway.

I was last in Disney in 1983 (as a 19 year old with my parents...not the ideal age or way to go to Disney), and even then the prices were insane, hence our not getting a single souvenir from there.


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