Animal Kingdom Antics and Are we Very Merry and the Party?

We had three 12hr days in a row; travel day, DHS day, and EPCOT day. So what do I have planned for today? What I hoped to be a short AK day followed by some rest and then Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Even though I wanted the pace to be slower it was going to be yet another long day no matter how you slice it. So as you may have guessed this is where my oops in planning bites us in the butt.

The alarm was set for 7am but Roxy and I found ourselves awake to Bean with a really bad stomach ache at 6:30am. Roxy and I did what we could for her but we knew the symptoms well enough. They were from her overdoing it and not keeping hydrated. When we get to this point we usually do lots of Gatorade and rest until she gets over it.

I got dressed and hit the POP Food Court and brought back some Powerade for Bean and other stuff for Roxy and Kyra. Then I went back and got some breakfast for myself and transferred pics from the camera to my Duo netbook while I ate. We got ourselves together and were at the bus stop for AK sometime after 11am. So at least we weren’t pushing to get somewhere by 8am!

The bus took a bit to get there and we found ourselves at AK around 11:45am. Bean was still a mess but didn’t want to miss out so Roxy gave her a lift from the bus stop to the front of the park.

PumpkinGirl and I followed and cruised by the tree and the front gate

We knew that Bean couldn’t cope with walking so my first stop was the wheelchair rental. We got her set up and headed up the trail on the right. I gave Bean the camera and the first shot she took was of this little guy

Luckily PumpkinGirl was in pretty good spirits

We crossed the bridge and came to the first PhotoPass spot

Once we got to the Tree of Life the girls wanted to see It’s Tough to be a Bug. Roxy decided to skip it and make a run for Expedition Everest FPs on her ECV. We headed down the path and PumpkinGirl volunteered to drive Bean and I took over the camera work.

I like that it transitions from large animals down to bugs as you head down

But of course they have some monkeys close to the entrance

Bean and PumpkinGirl wanted a pic with this one

Hello Mr. Bear!

We headed in to the wait queue and then filed in with 3-D glasses in hand. Unfortunately when we went into the theater Bean started to feel nauseous from the dampness and smell in there. I told PumpkinGirl to stay and watch the show and got Bean back out into the fresh air.

When the show was over PumpkinGirl came out and we walked our way up and out and met up with Roxy. We decided to split up since PumpkinGirl wanted to ride Expedition Everest and Bean was barely up for handling the bumpy paths in the wheelchair.

So Bean and I sent them on their Himalayan adventure and decided to head to Africa and go through the gift shops checking out CM’s pins. I also was going to look for that Indiana Jones hat.

We stopped on the bridge and I took a quick pic of the boats at the dock

After hitting the shops and stands she saw the sign for the train to Rafiki’s Planetwatch and wanted to give it a try. We rolled down and got into the wheelchair area. But just sitting there she started to feel worse again and we left. I got in contact with Roxy and said we would meet her in the Expedition Everest gift shop.

As we rolled back that way we came across DiVine

After watching her for a bit we headed to that path’s Tree of Life photo spot

Some more PP shots at the Tree of Life

Bean was trying to put on a brave face but she was feeling pretty bad

Look, Tinkerbell!

We moved on and saw that Flights of Wonder was getting ready to start.

Bean took a couple of pictures of the owl they had out there

I asked her if she would be up for just going in an watching the show and she said she wasn’t feeling up to it. Now Bean is a SERIOUS animal lover, so to hear that let me know exactly how bad she was feeling. I had her keep nursing the Powerade but she still wasn’t up for anything to eat.

We rolled up to the shrine and Bean was up for a couple of pics there

As I took this shot of Everest, PumpkinGirl and Roxy were almost on board for their ride.

Soon enough they were zooming through the mountain!

Bean and I made it to the gift shop and checked out pins there. Pins were one area that Bean was doing well in, she probably found 4 more Stitch pins in the park which is pretty good. When Roxy and PumpkinGirl came off the ride we talked for a bit. Bean was done and wanted to go back to the resort. PumpkinGirl wanted some dad time and Roxy was fine with that since she wanted to go back and grab a nap before this evening.

She took Bean on her ECV so we still had the wheelchair. So I somehow ended up chauffeuring PumpkinGirl around on it the rest of the afternoon 😀 We got in line for Expedition Everest with the FPs and made our way in sight of the train when the ride broke down 🙁

The upside is that we got return passes and headed over to the other thrill ride, Dinosaur. It was only a 10 minute wait but we went ahead and picked up FPs and got in the stand by line.

One into the queue – look at that big boy!

And the rest of the bony crew

The big guy has quite a smile

On into the video presentation and a fuzzy selection of pics in relation to it – lol

We took our first ride and had front row, as you can see they weren’t even filling the cars

We rolled through and then headed over to Triceratops Spin. It is a cute ride and did a good job killing time until the FPs kicked in so soon enough were on Dinosaur again. This time I made sure to ham it up when the big guy came at us.

I thought it was cute that the sister in the back row was helping her brother thru it/getting moral support from him along with their dad, while the other littler brother was just chilling out looking at the dino.

All the riding made us hungry so we hit Restaurantosaurus. Once we finished eating I talked to her about what she wanted to do. She wanted shows so I looked at the schedule and saw that we could make Lion King.

We headed out of Restaurantosaurus and I wheeled PumpkinGirl back past the Tree of Life and down to Camp Minnie Mickey. The line wasn’t bad but it was pretty warm by then. Thank goodness for the shade and those fans they have set up in the queue.

Soon we were through the doors and sitting for the show. This is one that Roxy and I saw in 2011 but that the girls missed out on during our 2008 trip so PumpkinGirl was enthused to see it.

I think we were seated in the Giraffe area, I remember making sheep sounds – lol Soon enough the show started with dancing and singing

They were followed by Timon and his posse and Pumba of course

The guys on the stilts are cool

Our mascot

And the big guy himself

Timon and his crew were up first with some acrobatics

Not much luck getting clear shots of them so I just watched them have their fun. The ominous music then came up and the bad guys took the stage from Timon, he was not amused

The bad guy did a pretty good job with Scar’s number

Then it was time for some fire work

I liked the way the camera caught the fire dancing off of the torch ends

Hot foot!

The whole thing created quite the atmosphere

Fire donut!

The next sequence was the graceful dancing/flying birds. Unfortunately the lighting was way too low and they were too far away for flash so this was the best I got of it

Here comes the big finale! We had dancers right up front

And a bunch more in the background dancing and doing acrobatics

I hadn’t seen Timon’s antics before, he was being quite the drama queen

Up front it looked like these two had a ‘moment’ – lol

More singing wrapped things up.

It is a fun show, I just wish there was some interaction with the performers afterwards. Coming out it was a quick bathroom break followed by a quick look around. I liked the little Christmas touches in this area

We took a scan of the characters out at the time. The classics were of course in their cabanas, but PumpkinGirl was a lot more interested in saying ‘hi’ to Baloo and Louie.

I love the way Baloo took her by the arm :-]

Big Smiles!

Then I had to get in on the action

After our little interaction PumpkinGirl was ready for some action and wanted to take advantage of those return passes to Expedition Everest. On our way across the bridge we saw a massive flock of birds in the trees

I pushed PumpkinGirl back across the park and used our passes to avoid the stand by, which was at about 25 minutes at that point. We chose to get in the first row line and had a great view coming out.


These craggy peaks bring us to the 800th pic on this little adventure of ours!

A couple of quick turns and the temple comes into view

There be monsters up here!

Clackity-clack up the big climb

PumpkinGirl was having a great time :-]

Almost there!

Back on EE we see faraway destinations in the distance

Down the first turn

Coming up through the tunnel

Oh no!

Something you can only really catch from the first car – some BIG footprints in the snow!

PumpkinGirl points out the hair ties in the snow – there was actually a whole pile of them there

Away we go!

Through the tunnels, down the drops, and on to the shadow of the Yeti!

And down the big drop – nice finger guns from the kiddos behind us!

We came off of the ride and scanned in our PP+ pic and were out the door with me semi-racing PumpkinGirl across the bridge and over to Nemo, which would be starting in a few minutes. We ended up in a good section, to the right of center and right in front of one of the walkways where I knew performers would be doing there thing.

After about 10 minutes the placed finished filling up and the show started up!

The show starts with Nemo and Marlin coming out of the coral and talking about that first day of school

On to the school meet-up

Couldn’t get a clear shot of it, but there we have Nemo and the kids looking at the butt

Nemo is captured and Marlin comes out into the audience searching for him

Marlin meets Dori

For pacing reasons they cant do the whole movie, so we quickly moved on to the Fish are Friends sequence. Hello Bruce!

The goggles are found!

Bruce finishes his song with the chase and big explosions.

Meanwhile Nemo is introduced to his aquarium friends and a certain pelican named Nigel (voiced by my favorite actor Geoffrey Rush)

Marlin and Dori then have a swimming/flying travel number

It ends with a meeting with the school of talented fish



Go that way but swim through, not over the trench

Of course Marlin didnt listen and trouble ensues

I loved seeing the big jellyfish float right in front of us

They make it thru, barely

We quickly transition to the EAC scene with our favorite turtle buds Crush and Squirt

It was quite the rousing number lots of big grins in the audience. At the end we see Marlin and Dori jump out of the EAC and zoom out into the audience and they near Sydney

Marlin and Dori exit and we have several sets of characters talking about Marlins adventures. The dueling swordfish happened right in front of us!

I missed a couple but did get the penguins

This of course transitions to Nigel telling Nemo that his dad is on his way!

We have a very chaotic scene with Nemos escape and Marlin thinking Nemo is gone.

He leaves Dori, who finds Nemo, and soon the three are reunited

They work together to save Dori and the other fish

Nemo is a bit stunned but is fine of course

Back home we find everyone happy and Nemo heading off to school

Big hug for dad!

Big finale!

Nemo and Marlin at the end

Then the show is over and everyone comes out for a bow

When the show ended I looked at my watch and it was 5:45pm (it was a 7pm closing night at AK). The original plan was to have a short day at AK and then rest at the resort and go to MK at 4pm when our MVMCP tickets kicked in and grab a QS dinner somewhere there.

Due to all of the sickies that got changed to PumpkinGirl and I meeting Roxy and Bean at the resort for dinner. So PumpkinGirl and I headed out through the crowds, turned in the wheelchair, and made a quick stop for a couple of PP pics by the AK tree love her smile in those :-]

The bus area was pretty full so we had to wait for a second one to get back home. We saw the POP sign at about 6:30pm

On the bus ride back I had found out what Roxy and Bean wanted to eat and picked it all up at the food court and brought it back to the room. Eating and winding down took some time. I ate and collapsed, just starting to realize how exhausted pushing a wheelchair around the uneven paths of AK all day had made me. We were all pretty wiped out.

By the time we had ourselves together and caught a bus out to MK it was around 7:45pm and was just shy of 8pm when we saw the MK gates coming at us

Even though it was blurry I like the wavy look of this shot of the Contemporary and its tree

Just after 8pm we approached the entrance to MK for MVMCP

It took about 15 minutes to get through and get our wristbands on and use my receipt from AK to pick up a wheelchair. For the uninitiated it costs $12 for a day rental of a wheelchair and you can park hop and pick one up at each park you go to by flashing your receipt. As you might have guessed Bean was still pretty low energy but at least she had eaten and was tag-teaming water and Powerade throughout the evening.

Here’s a pic of ye ole MVMCP wristband freshly put on my wrist.

We headed under the train station and into the round. We stopped for a couple of minutes to trade pins and were initially going to watch the parade from here since it was going to start soon. But the girls wanted to ride rides and were afraid that if we were at this end when the parade ended wed be stuck. I agreed and we worked our way towards the hub, planning on watching it from there.

However, the crowds were mega-thick at the hub with barely enough room for Roxy’s ECV and Beans wheelchair. Roxy accidentally ran over a woman’s toe, but she was standing in a place marked for no people to be in so we said sorry but pointed at the signs. The lady was not amused. There was no way we were going to see the parade so we just moved on.

I looked up at the castle and snapped a quick pic of it as we made our way forward

And then it was a right turn for us into Tomorrowland.

Tall shot

Wide shot

And ye ole panorama

You may be able to see from a couple of those pics that Bean had enough energy to wheel her own wheelchair. And since she had her energy coming back she was clear about where our first stop should be. If you’ve been following along you’ll know that it was Stitch!

Her and Roxy were trying to get something working on her phone but I honestly cant remember what.

After the initial spiel in the holding room we were let into the area where Sarge tells you about their prison system. Unfortunately the ride was understaffed and the way wasn’t well marked so we ended up taking the ECV and wheelchair down the first row instead of the second row which had room to turn and watch that segment. So I had to do some interesting maneuvering to get Bean facing the action 😛

A naughty alien is captured

And transported in

And then makes a mess in the chamber

We are then lead into the main holding area for our dangerous captive, Stitch!

Soon he is beamed in

And then someone opens his holding tube

There is the rogue himself

He is threatened by the warden, which doesnt go well – he laughs

And here comes the acid spit which disables a bunch of the security stuff

More damage

Stitch is creating some real havoc now

And poof, hes loose!

He seems to be everywhere at once!

Much spitting and farting and all manner of foul things ensue all around us. After we are wet and smelly he pops back in to say goodbye before making his escape

Thus endeth the show not a bad show if you don’t mind fart smells.

Our next stop was the Laugh Floor. This is another one that the girls hadn’t done before and one that Roxy and I enjoyed so off we went.

Now presenting the Monsters of Comedy

Mikes door

I love the bulletin boards

Bean turned in a joke for the laugh floor but they didn’t use it. Soon we were lead down and Mike Wazowski gave us the lay of the land

The laugh floor was fun as usual and the girls got a big kick out of it. We came out and the bottom kind of dropped out of my evening. As soon as we came back onto the concourse I could hear it playing, the Wishes music followed by the pop of fireworks.

Wishes is what I really wanted to see, it was our only opportunity to see it. We walked forward but the whole hub and the bridge leading to Tomorrowland were packed with people.

I got Bean in a position where she could see them in between the entry arch for Tomorrowland and the Stitch building and just kind of hung back feeling exhausted and depressed. I should have been keeping a better eye on the time, but I was just wiped out.

Once Wishes was over we moved on to Buzz Blasters. I handed the camera over to Bean again and she caught this shot of Buzz

I didn’t feel like shooting so I called shots for Bean on the ride she was very intent on her targets

Roxy looks like she was going to shoot out the camera and PumpkinGirl was having a great time

When we came out I tried to get the girls to go into the jail cell like they did back in 2008, but they wouldn’t go for it. Bean did have me get a pic of Stitch on the ride

From there it was on towards Space Mountain. On the way we got one more dose of Stitch, this time on the big screen

We made our way over to the mountain, which was done over in a nice holiday theme

I was still in a funk and didn’t feel up for SM so I just sat on Roxy’s ECV while the ladies headed in. Unfortunately Bean got up there and realized her stomach wasn’t up for it so I got a text and she came back down to me.

Roxy and PumpkinGirl had a good trip into space though

Looking at how tight the two of them fit in the ride car, I’m doubly glad I didn’t go!

We all met up in the SM gift shop and went over to the game area. They decided to play some 4 person air hockey. It turned out that one side was broken so I sat it out. That was a good thing because inside I was freaking out a bit. I hate to make things about money but taking a break to play air hockey during MVMCP was something I just couldn’t understand. So I “walked it off” so my attitude hopefully wouldn’t show thru.

I looked at the schedule and it was official, the second parade was on and there was no way we would get there. All of the major events were a wash. I’m starting to learn that my family just isn’t event oriented at the parks.

When the ladies finished we walked up to the circus area to take a look around. Pete’s was open and there were characters inside with nearly no waiting, but the girls had no interest.

We used the new bathrooms down by the Casey Junior area and I took a pic

We finished up and headed back past Dumbo area. I wanted to take a look at the new interactive queue area but the family wanted to keep moving, so I snapped a panorama and we moved on.

On our way out I jumped up on a low wall and snapped a pano of the Seven Dwarves Mine Train construction area

The girls wanted to check out the Little Mermaid so we made the long walk around the construction wall. As we came back into the new area I snapped a pic of the Beauty and the Beast castle

I really loved the look of Gaston’s and even caught one of the workers at the bar. I’ll enjoy coming back up there and having a drink sometime.

By the time I got down to the Mermaid area I was feeling better and was just going with the flow. When you come down there the first thing you see is Eric’s castle

This is another ride where they’ve done a really good job with theming, especially at night. To the side of the castle was a wonderful waterfall

One more shot of the area before we headed down the path

On the path we found a broken ship

Portholes and windows of treasures

Some glowing glass floats in nets – we sometimes have these wash up on the Oregon coast when they break up from Japanese fishing nets

Scuttle gives us a greeting

And on we go down to the ride queue. There was literally no line for the whole place, completely walk-on. Once on board our shells we entered the journey via the back of Eric’s boat

We get our start with a Scuttle serenade

We then ‘sink’ down under the ocean

There’s Ariel and Flounder

Singing about her treasures

Lots of fish swimming

Next up is a big chamber full of music and fun – “under the seaaaa”

We broke down twice going through this area so we got a good fill of the place. The music even shut down once which was a bit weird, just seeing the movement and hearing the click-clacking of the animatronics.

Then we started back up and said hello to Ariel herself

More musical fun

The evil Ursula hatches her plan!

Ariel’s voice is captured

Quick fast forward to Eric and Ariel in the “Kiss the Girl” scene

We have some turmoil and then Ursula is vanquished

A silhouette smooch

The last scene is a big celebration

The happy couple

Triton gives his blessing

Farewell all!

We gathered ourselves up and headed back out. On the way out I snapped a pic of the cool masthead they did of Ariel outside the attraction

As we came out of the new area of Fantasyland we ran into Lady Tremaine, Drizella, Anastasia, Cinderella, and Prince Charming.

The wicked stepmother and stepsisters were one of our best character interactions with the girls back in 2008 so I had really wanted to see how it would go with them. Sadly as you can see they were packing it up – we missed our window of opportunity with them :-[ At least Drizella waved at us!

So we kept walking and took a ride on Peter Pan’s flight. No pics in there, it is such a dark ride and I just wanted to sit back and enjoy riding it with Roxy. By the time we got off it was just shy of 11:45pm so it was decision time on our last ride. Due to proximity and good fun we chose Haunted Mansion as the end to our attraction evening.

Hello gents

We took the express route but I stopped to take a couple of pics of the interactive route

The ride itself only broke down once – whoohoo. So a bit after midnight we found ourselves walking back towards the hub.

I stopped for the obligatory ‘reflection’ shots of the castle

At the hub I took a shot of the castle and of the fam

Gotta have the shot of the Partners

A bit farther on we came across our first PP photographer

Main Street looked very magical and Christmassy


And on we went with the flow of tired guests

One more shot of the Contemporary – a bit clearer than the one I caught on the way in

We made it back to our room right about 1am. We were all exhausted and shuffled through the process of showers, bathroom stuff, and PJs. I transferred some pictures, got money and clothes ready for the next day, and put away the lanyards as Universal was our destination.

I can guarantee one thing; we were not going to get up early in the morning!