Animal Kingdom Adventures!

Well after the turmoil of the day before we actually woke up reasonably refreshed. I snuck a quick shot of Kyra and Nana just starting to stir.

I was feeling better already from my cold, the moms were doing better, and most importantly Bean was up and was pretty energetic. Our destination today was Disney’s Animal Kingdom specifically because Maria hadn’t been there before. Of course none of us had either so score for us too!

We got ourselves together and had a quick breakfast at the resort before rolling out the door. It was going to be another day with me surrounded by the ladies with pop dropping off my mom and sis. We rolled through the entrance just before the 9am

I was happy to make it to a Disney park before rope drop.  Right as we rolled into the parking lot we had a bathroom emergency with Gillian so Roxy and her jumped out and ran for the restroom while I parked and the rest of us parked and unpacked our stuff for the day.

Just as they got to the entrance plaza the characters came out and Bean decided to postpone the bathroom long enough to say “hi” to them while Roxy snapped a couple of pics with her cell phone. By the time we got there lines were forming up at the characters so we queued through them.

Rafiki was cool

Good Ole Flick

The moving/talking palm tree made an appearance

Timon was funny

And Baloo was a real kick 😀

Finally we were through the gates…

…and headed straight for the stroller rental station. We had told the girls we would cart them around today to keep them from getting any more drained. It was cute seeing them both shoe-horn into a double stroller 😀

We rolled down towards the Tree of life

And then made a quick pit stop at the big gift shop on the corner. I had forgotten my jacket that morning and since it was a bit on the cold side I took the opportunity to finally

…after 8 days…

…actually buy something!

I picked up a cool dark blue hooded zip-up sweatshirt with a small Mickey laying on a 1971 logo on the front left side and a larger Walt Disney World logo with Mickey on the back. I’ve been sporting it ever since.

I picked up an event schedule and Finding Nemo was going to start soon so we rolled in there and most of the fam got good seats towards the front, just to the right of the stage. Myself and my mom were up at the top of the theater so she could stay in her scooter.

As usual I shot a “couple of pics” of the show ;-]  If you have seen the movie this his all the highlights of it.  If you haven’t there long and short of it is a papa clown fish trying to find his son, who has been captured by a dentist …no, really 😀

First day of school

I dare you to touch the butt

Nemo is captured

Marlin meets Dori on his quest to find his son

Hallo Bruce!

The mask!

Nemo meets his new tank buddies and Nigel

Contemplating their escape

Meanwhile Marlin and Dori keep up their search

Getting directions

Just keep swimming

Dori gets zapped

Riding the EAC

Marlin and Dori continue their search out into the audience

Marlin’s story spreads around the ocean

…and makes it back to Nemo

Marlin and Dori find Nemo

Dori is caught in the net …SWIM DOWN SWIM DOWN!

The fish are freed!

Nemo took a hit but he’s okay

They all make it back home with Dori as a new addition to the family

Grand finale!

Curtain calls

Take a bow

It was a great abridged telling of the tale with some amazing visuals and very engaging actors/puppeteers. But now we are on to The Land of the Lost ….minus the Sleestack ;-]

We headed right around the bend and ran into this big guy

We rode the Primeval Whirl 2 times, which was one of the high points of Nana’s trip – she laughed out loud on it both times! I ran over to Dinosaur to get FastPasses while the rest of the fam spent some time
on the midway. On my way over I caught a shot of our old pal Goofy

I came back and we all did a little more midway stuff. We won a small stuffed animal for each of the girls and Kyra continued her pin buying frenzy 😀 From there we headed to Dinosaur because our FastPass time was already available. The moms smartly decided not to go on the ride due to all the jolting movements on it, so Roxy and Bean went through with their FPs while I caught a quick shot of the rest of the ladies out front.

We were getting hungry so we headed out through the bone archway

and on to a place that I had been really looking forward to eating at – the Flame Tree BBQ!! A friend on the Disney forums I am a member of highly recommended it and my mouth had been watering over it for months 😀  It lived up to its reputation and was a wonderful meal …everybody loved it including the girls.

I finished up early and still had everyone’s tickets so I hoofed it around the lagoon to pick up FastPasses for Expedition Everest. On the way I snapped a couple of shots – ha-ha

The lagoon

A few Expedition Everest shots

More lagoon

The monkey temple

and the alters/shrines

We all gathered back together and caught some street performers (sorry, I didn’t catch their names but they were good).

We strolled back towards Everest and Roxy insisted on taking a pic of me pulling the cart …too bad the thing was bolted down – made me look a bit silly. But then again that may have just been the tie-dye and Mickey ears 😀

And here’s the same shot from Maria’s perspective 😀

Then she took a shot of me with the rest of the ladies – Maria was having sunglasses issues ðŸ˜‰

It being after lunch we of course had to take a quick potty break. Here’s a random shot of an upper terrace above the bathrooms. The Imagineers really did some good attention to detail at this park.

Then it was on to Expedition Everest – whoohoo! We got there and my mom decided to give it a try, but Nana was done with thrill rides for the day so sat it out. The FastPass lane took us all the way up to the final room before the boarding area. I took a few quick shots as we strolled in.

Bean was really excited about this one

We loaded up with Roxy and my mom in front, Bean and I in the next car, and Pumpkin Girl and Sis behind us. I got a quick shot of Roxy and mom just before we rolled out

I had watched the ride and decided I could chance getting some ride shots with my canon.

Up the first set of hills

Into the mountain temple

The mountain peak looms above us

And what a VIEW! Resort on the left and you can just make out the Tower of Terror on the right! 😀

Ye ole Tree of Life

Into the tunnel

And Oh NOOO! What happened to the tracks!

The monster is behind us!

And here we are captured for posterity. First Roxy and my mom with Bean and I, with me clutching my dear camera ;D

And then Maria and Kyra in the front of the next car

The ride was a blast and standby was only 15 minutes so we
went right back around – w00t!

They were in a hurry to get back in

But soon enough I caught back up to them and was able to catch this shot of my ladies :-]

Glad I don’t have to do the dishes

He’s doing the Wolly Bully

Scarecrow Tibetan style

That gear be toast!

Bunch o funky masks

More fun stuff

Looks like some nasty athlete’s foot

Sis snagged a shot of me getting a shot of her

And here’s what she got of me and mom 😀

Fellow expeditioners depart

Now this time I’d gotten the lay of the land so I was ready to get some really interesting shots 😀

The clouds were perfect to give it that high mountain feel.

Coming up

Back we go!

Here’s where the photo geek in me kicks in. The last time through I got a feel for the distance things were going to be away from my camera and the amount of light and set things to manual with fingers crossed. First, some better silhouette captures:

And here is The Big Tamale! SPOILER WARNING – YETI REVEALED! If you don’t want to know what this furry guy really looks like scroll quickly past ;-]

Cute, ain’t he?  We exited the ride and survived the gift shop with only one purchase of a pin by Kyra.

We got ourselves together and strolled back the way we came and after a quick stop for ice cream, made out way to the parade route. They had most of the ropes up already and we had a quick discussion about it and decided that instead of watching the parade we’d hit the Kilimanjaro Safaris to avoid lines. We hi-tailed it down there with me stopping quickly for one more pic of the Tree

We got there and were taken up to the wheelchair-accessible loading area and after several busses went by one finally pulled up for us. We loaded up and off we went!

First stop, and anti-social rhino



More hippos

Some crocs I wouldn’t want anywhere near my feet

A funky tree


Which way???

These guys were either bashful or lazy

And a little bit of everything

It is cool that they set up the feeding for these guys near the roads so we can get a good look at them

The horns on these guys were HUGE!!!

And elephant says “hi” while we cross the shaky bridge

More funky trees

And some purdy flamingos

I believe these were ostrich eggs

Cats lounging

a Black Rhino ignoring us

Followed by the Queen and King of the jungle

He apparently had an itch!

sings “When I was a young warthog!”

Protector of the eggs

And a very special treat with an up close encounter with a baby rhino – whoohoo!

Mama rhino was following close behind baby

The poacher’s camp – boooooo!

A wee waterfall

Some bubbling water features

That was about it. We rolled back in and got ourselves together. On the trail back towards the main walkway I snapped a shot of what I think is a dissected termite mound

Next up we come around the corner to be greeted by a barrier and a nice surprise! Rounding the corner we were confronted by ropes barring our way back.  We looked down the lane and saw the parade just coming into view. And the roped off area in front of the safari was still open!!!!

The Disney mojo had definitely swung in our favor after our Epcot weirdness :-]

King Louie says a personal hello to Nana 😀

And then gives hello hugs to the girls

Very cool costuming

Some lucky guests and Rafiki

more random cool parade stuff

Then comes our buddies Chip and Dale

Nana gets a very special hello. I tell you, she was the Belle of this parade and got lots of hellos and hugs n such :-]

Of course the girls got their turn too

Minnie comes rolling by

Behind Minnie were some more of those rolling puppets. I had seen them on a Travel Channel special and had been looking forward to seeing them in person. They were unique and amazing things

One, two, cha-cha-cha!

A country bear says “hi” to both moms

But I was swinging my camera back and forth and missed the girls hugs with him

On came Goofy

Followed by more cool rolling puppets and floats

The girls were captivated

…but I got Bean’s attention just long enough for this shot

Timon was quick, but Bean was quicker and latched on to him in a BIG HUG!

And here comes Donald and his boat 😀

Pluto was quite the dancer

he was gettin’ down and funky!

And the parade comes to and end as Mickey rolls by says goodbye. It was a great parade with lots of special little moments. I was so very happy it worked out to see it :-]

Everyone was slowly making their way towards the exit. I shot a few random pics along the way.

We made it back to the Tree of Life and a Photopass photographer was nice enough to take this shot of all of us with my camera.

Next stop for us? Well it had been a long and very adventurous day. Do you hear our tummies rumbling?

We made out way back to the front of the park and turned in the girl’s double stroller. But we didn’t make for the exit, instead we went across to the special exit that leads into the Rainforest Café – it was time for some Advanced Dining Reservations!

Here’s a few shots from the private grotto before you go into
the gift shop area of the café

Maria got a much better shot of Kyra 😀

We then moved inside and I snapped some random shots of the fishies and other interesting creatures in the shop

Maria liked the froggie too and snapped this shot 😀

Back to my shots ;-]

I walked up to the counter and checked in. They called us in within 5 minutes, I was very impressed.

I did the rounds and took some shots inside

We were seated adjacent to the bar, which had a very cool fish tank theme

The food was wonderful and plentiful and the drinks were flavorful and well-mixed. After I had some food in me the girls and I strolled around and took a few more shots

The fish were just amazing – and yes there are a lot of fish pics, but I wasn’t the only one taking the pictures!

Everybody finished eating and my mom, pop, and sister headed back to the resort.  Maria had an early flight the next morning. Roxy and Nana hit the gift shop while the girls and I took the opportunity to make one more round of the place

We then joined them in the gift shop and I had a conversation with a tree

…and then yes, took a couple more fish shots – lolol

The girls and I got bored and left Roxy and Nana to finish their purchases while we went outside. The place was COMPLETELY deserted – nobody at all out there. There were still a few guests in the restaurant but nobody outdoors. I grabbed a shot of the girls with a froggy friend.

And then turned my lens to a cool water feature

Just a few more random shots outside the cafe

Good Night AK – you gave us a Wonderful Day!

And out we went to a nearly empty parking lot. It was a very peaceful end to a great day.

We drove back to the resort and did the standard showers and such. Then we sat down with the girls …it was decision time on our “extra” Disney day. I had planned it so we would start and end our trip at the Magic Kingdom, and would hit the other parks in between. Our day at Animal Kingdom ‘finished the rounds’ you might say.

We had told the girls they could choose what park (minus MK) they wanted to go back to for a second day.

No big surprise they each wanted to go to a different park. My parents and Nana were both going to sit this one out so it was just a parents/daughters day. Gillian wanted to go with me and Kyra
wanted a day with Roxy. So it looks like we were splitting up.

Tune in next time to see which park each girl chose. Any guesses?