The alarm clock went off bright and early around 7:30 am and surprisingly, we weren’t that tired! Imagine that, me up in the am and not tired! Ha! Anyway, we wanted to try to get to Animal Kingdom as close to rope drop (opening) as possible so that we could get on the popular rides first. It’s good to get on those first because Animal Kingdom is always a bit hotter than the other parks thanks to all the humidity and heat being held under the canopy of trees, so it’s pretty icky to be in long lines there. I managed to remember everything for the backpack this day and our bus again was just POFQ so we got to the park right at opening. We followed the herd in and rushed over to Kilimanjaro Safari, the riding safari, to get fast passes (if you wait till later in the day, we’ve seen the wait around 90 minutes!) and then power walked across the park to get on Everest, which only had a 10 minute wait! I love Everest. It’s got the theming of a typical Disney roller coaster plus the excitement of a real thrill ride. It doesn’t go upside down, but there’s a part that sure feels like it. I won’t ruin the surprise for anyone who hasn’t ridden it, but it’s a great ride. After Everest, we walked through the Maharajah Jungle Trek, which has animals like bats, tapirs, and tigers. We named the tapir Bob, since we couldn’t agree how tapir is pronounced (TAPE-ur, right? Not TAPE-ear!). The tigers were sleeping, as usual (though last time we saw one spray a tree, lovely), but they were close to the viewing spot, so that was nice. I like tigers. We also saw a bat licking it’s balls. Not very dignified. After the trail, we decided to take a ride on Kali River Rapids, which is a raft ride that can get you quite wet. Last time we went, Chris and I got soaked and I was wearing jean capris, so it was really icky feeling for the rest of the time at the park. This time, I specifically brought board shorts to wear to this park just in case and of course we barely got splashed. It was still fun, though. Next, we went back to the Kilimanjaro Safari for our fast pass time and had a nice ride and saw lots of animals, some pretty close up, like the elephants and giraffes.
Once we got off, we were right near the entrance of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, where we saw some birds and some gorillas. I did my Master’s project on gorillas, so I always like watching them. Most of them were sleeping, some in odd positions, but we saw one that sat up and was looking around, looking deep in thought. Chris tried to narrate what he was thinking – mainly about how the gorilla was worried about the stock market – and then the gorilla threw up. Gross. Everyone simultaneously “eww”ed. And then he ate it. Everyone “eww”ed again. I hate to see that. Back when I was watching the gorillas at the Philly Zoo, I learned that reinjesting vomited food is an abnormal behavior only seen in captivity and is a sign of stress. The enclosures are pretty nice at the park, though (they seem pretty large and natural), so I hope it’s an isolated incident.
By now, it was lunchtime, and despite the gorilla vomit, we were actually pretty hungry, so we found a counter service place to grab some lunch with our CS credits. We each got burgers, fries, a soda, and a milkshake (dessert is included in the CS credits) and sat down in a nice shaded table area near the meet-and-greet spot where kids get to meet Baloo and King Louie from The Jungle Book. It was fun to watch the kids meet the characters and watch the characters act silly with the kids. After lunch, we were pretty much done with Animal Kingdom (we’ve done Dinosaur in the past, but I really don’t like it. It’s loud and shakes you around a lot and the dinosaur at the end always freaks me out. I know it’s not real, obviously, I just don’t really like big, scary things that make loud noises. If our kids one day want to ride it, they can go on with Daddy. I’ll wait patiently in a nearby shop. 🙂 ). Next time we go, I would like to try to see either Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo – The Musical, since I’ve heard they’re both pretty good. We were on a limited time though this trip, and we really needed a break, so we went back to the hotel for a short while.
After a short nap and freshening up, we went back to the Magic Kingdom to finish up the rides, have dinner, see the parade, and watch the fireworks. We first walked over to Thunder Mountain, since it was the main ride we missed the day before, and yet again, it was closed, this time for a bee infestation! They promised to have it back up in an hour or so, so we grabbed fast passes. We decided not to go on Splash Mountain again, so after I grabbed a few pressed pennies from Frontierland, we went back on Haunted Mansion, Pirates, and the Enchanted Tiki Room (which I don’t remember ever seeing – boy, it was dumb. Maybe that’s one of those rides you have to grow up loving so that it becomes a classic must-do later on, like IASW and Carousel of Progress.). We had a bit of time to kill before dinner, but not enough to wait in line for a ride, so we walked through the rose garden in front of the castle and took some pictures. I really liked how some of them came out. I love how you can get shots without too many people in them from the rose garden. It looks like a scene right out of a fairytale.
Dinner was pretty early (5:15 pm) that day at the Plaza Restaurant on Main Street. I had a tuna salad sandwich with fries and Chris had a grilled chicken sandwich with fries. We shared a banana split since most of the desserts looked pretty big (we also got some cookies to go since one dessert each is included in the TS credit). The restaurant was pretty, and we were off in a cute little octagonal room with lots of windows, but it was a bit warm and the bathroom was outside, which was kind of a pain. I also think it would be a great place for lunch with all the sandwich choices, but a bit light for dinner. I’d go back, but only for lunch. There’s so many great restaurants at Disney World, so I’m sure I can find a better choice to try for dinner.
We got in one last viewing of The Laugh Floor (Chris wanted to submit a joke via text message for the show, but I thought it was slightly too macabre, so he decided not to, and then we heard a joke that was really similar and he pouted, lol) before deciding to find a place to watch the parade and fireworks. It was a bit late (7:45 with the parade at 9 – sad that that’s late to find a spot), but we found a great spot in the circle in front of the castle just behind some British kids who ended up buying half the glowing spinny things off the nearby cart. The parade was cute, as usual. I think they changed the creepy dudes that start the parade off, though. They used to wear full fake heads and now they seem to only have makeup and wigs. I’m not sure which is worse:
Wishes was wonderful also, as always. I love the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom. I’ve never seen Phantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (it’s MGM, dammit), but I definitely prefer Wishes over Illuminations at EPCOT. Illuminations is nice, but it’s a bit slow at times and a bit too Kumbaya for me. Wishes is just cute.
After the fireworks, we finally had time to go use our Thunder Mountain fast passes before the park closed (even though we were past the return time – they’ll typically still take them as long as it’s the same day), so off we went back to Frontierland. I don’t think I’ve ever ridden it at night and I thought it was actually a bit more exciting. I guess the darkness makes it feel like you’re going faster. I’ll definitely remember that in the future. As it was getting close to closing time, we headed back towards the entrance of the park to go home. We were originally planning on taking a quick round-trip on the monorail (to hear the “Por favor mantenganse alejado de las puertas” of course!), but the line was gimungous, so we decided we could do without it this time. When we got to the bus station, the line for Port Orleans was shared between POR and POFQ and really, really long. We waited a while, watched one bus fill up and go, and we got on the second one that came around just after the first left. It was pretty crowded. So, mental note: the buses around closing time can take a while to get onto and get home (I dunno though, like I’d leave early just to avoid this? Maybe we could just stick around longer and hope that the bus lines die down a bit? And what if you’ve got kids? Are you outta there early anyway or do you just carry them out sleeping/cranky/crying?). Luckily POFQ was the first stop, so we only had our usual ride home before we were able to get home and into bed. Next up, day 3: Disney’s Hollywood Studios and EPCOT!