Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Disney Day 8- Animal Kingdom

Our last day at Disney we went to Animal Kingdom, again, bright and early.  We were all getting tired by this point, and I think the kids would have been fine with being done at the parks.  But we had a 5 day park ticket and this was our fifth day so we had to use it, and I was excited about Animal Kingdom.
People had told us the last time we were here that AK would be the park to skip.  We heard it was mostly just like a zoo with some rides.  This year I was excited to try it, and we all LOVED it!
It is definitely not one I would suggest skipping, especially with boys Andrew's age.  He loved it!  We were so glad we went.
We headed first to the Dinosaur ride, which I'm really grateful Kerigan was too short to ride.  It was super scary!  She would have been scarred for life!  Ha!  Andrew loved it though!  He rode twice, once with daddy and once with me.
This is where the line usually forms, as you can see there's no one in line.  We got right in because we were there so early!
While Andrew rode with me, Kerigan talked Daddy into taking her on this ride!  This was more her speed!
Selfie in the sky!
This Santa dino was so cute coming through the gift shop after the ride (because when don't they bring you through a gift shop after a ride??  Every single time, I swear.)
They had a whole section of the park that was dinosaur themed.  This was a roller coaster that spun around.  Andrew and Daddy had fun on it!
On the way to our next ride, we heard Tarzan was coming out, so we waited in line to meet him and surprise Andrew.  He was so excited!  He loved, loved, loved this movie when he was little.  I'd say it was one of his top 3 favorite movies ever.  Tarzan was super funny and kept looking at our autograph book and pen like he didn't know what to do with it!  He definitely made us all laugh!
Our first fast pass ride was the Kilimanjaro Safari ride.  Now, I have never been on an African safari, but I can honestly say I can't imagine how it could be much different than this.
It was A-MA-zing.  We all had the best time and the whole time felt like we were in Africa.
Disney is just incredible.  There isn't anything they don't go all out on.  This was no exception.
I took a picture of a safari jeep while we were riding so we could remember what they looked like.
Those are rhinos- and look how close we were!  It was so amazing how close we were to all these animals.  The kids were just in awe.
Andrew couldn't wait to see a lion.  He kept asking and asking and finally we saw them at almost the end of the ride.  He was beyond excited.
We took a train ride to an island to meet a few characters like Rafiki from the Lion King!
And of course, Chip and Dale!  Here's a fun fact:  Did you know Chip is the one with the nose shaped like a chocolate chip?  I never knew either.  One of the cast members told me!  Now I'll always remember!
We had so much fun just walking around and looking at all the scenery.  We really, truly felt like we were in another country!
My sweet boy enjoying some drums!
The tree of life!
This tree is amazing in person.  There are animals carved into the trunk of it, and it is huge.  Stunning.
Next we headed over to what was probably one of our favorite rides in all the Disney parks- Expedition Everest. I admit I was kind of scared to ride it!  But I am so glad I did because it was easily my favorite roller coaster at Disney!
The roller coaster goes up that mountain in the background.  There's a "Yeti" that's loose on the ride and it is like we are racing from him.  We get towards the top and the track is broken!  So it seems like it is going to take you over the broken track- but then you start heading backwards!  It is so cool!  At the very end you get a glimpse of the Yeti.  The ride moves so fast but it is so smooth at the same time.
We all just loved it (as you can see from my expression!  Ha!)
Craig and Andrew rode once and Andrew and I rode twice!  None of those times did we wait in line because of fast passes and rider swap tickets (because Kerigan was too short).  I'm telling you, use those rider swaps!  They are worth everything!
Daddy selfie!  Bless Craig's heart, he tries!  But he needs some serious selfie help!  Ha!  I think Andrew's got it down though!
Another view of Everest
Then we walked on a little trail that took us to see gorillas, which Andrew loved.
He was interested in these skulls and comparing them to a human skull.
Probably the funniest (and saddest! Ha!) part of the day was the Kali River Rapids.  We had fast passes and literally went to the front of at least a 2 hour line.  The scenery was so amazing, as it always is.
It was super warm on this particular day, so it was a perfect ride to get splashed a little (or so we thought!)  Kerigan was beyond excited to ride this.  Look how big her smile is!
And isn't this just the best "before and after" picture!?  Ha!  The poor thing was in the worst possible spot and just got drenched.  Each turn and corner we went around she was soaked more and more, and the last huge waterfall spun us around and hit her full force!  Poor baby was so upset and soaked through her clothes!
She would not stop crying!  This was after we had walked out of the ride and way back up to our stroller, several minutes later.  She was so soaked and uncomfortable and silly me, didn't bring any extra clothes!  I had suggested we wear our ponchos, but we had left them at the stroller parking and Craig didn't want to go back for them... and honestly, I think they wouldn't have helped much anyway!  She was getting drenched no matter what!  Everyone we passed was just having a fit about how cute she was and saying "Awwww," because they all felt so sorry for her!  It was quite a memory we won't soon forget!
She had kept begging to see Pocahontas all day so we made our way over and she had a chance to dry off and was much happier!
So glad to see her smile!
Andrew spotted these guys from the movie "Up!"  
 We headed to our last event for the day, The Festival of the Lion King.  This show was my favorite one (and we saw a lot!) in all the parks also.  To say it was spectacular would be an understatement.  
Craig got into taking photos on our last day!  Ha!  He is not a picture taker, but even he was impressed with this park!
These pictures are not going to do this justice, so I'm only posting a couple because they just didn't turn out.  It reminded me of a Cirque de Soleiel type of show, with more characters and singing.
I have seen a lot of shows in my life, but this one takes the cake.  I can't even describe it.  I had no idea what to expect, but it exceeded every expectation I had.  The music, singing, dancing, just the artistry of this production- I'm telling you... if you go to Disney, you have to see this show.  Andrew was wide eyed and didn't move the entire time.  Kerigan was napping and I was so bummed!  I tried and tried to wake her up for this, but she was cashed out.  I took lots of video!
We enjoyed our day at Animal Kingdom so much!  We are so glad we went to this park and it was a perfect way to end our Disney vacation of a lifetime!  

We headed back to Carrie's house that evening for dinner and some more play time before we headed to a hotel that was closer to the airport, since our flight was so early the next morning.  We had to be up and at the airport by 4am!  It was not fun, but we survived!
This is what they looked like at 4am, waiting to check in.  You won't see pictures of me!  Ha!

The story of our flight home is such a weird story, but I have to share it!  So I was really nervous about not waking up in the morning and missing our flight.  I even tried to change it last minute to a later time but the next flight they had went out on Monday (this was Saturday morning) and we needed to get home before Monday.  So I set my alarm on my phone, and we had the alarm in the hotel room ringing at 3:15am.  When we arrived we all went right to sleep (it was probably about 10pm- the kids had slept in the car on the way there).  Well.... it was exactly 3:00am when the FIRE ALARM went off at our hotel!  I am not kidding you!  Now, we have stayed in many hotels in my lifetime and never once has the fire or any alarm gone off before.  Needless to say, this jolted us all out of sleep pretty fast!  Ha!  People were poking their heads into the hallway and someone went down to the front desk to ask about it and came back and told us to evacuate!  This made me very nervous so I grabbed the kids and basically ran out of the room and outside, leaving Craig to gather all our stuff.  We decided we wouldn't have time to wait for them to clear us to go back in, and luckily I had packed one small bag for the hotel and everything else was in the car already!  So we all hopped in the rental car and drove off, in the dark at 3:15am, with the entire hotel sitting outside watching us go.  Ha!  I was so curious as to what happened but we never found out!  I like to think of it as perfect timing and maybe something orchestrated from above to make sure we all got up on time!  Ha!
She's ready to go!  Little does she know she won't need those shades back in cold, snowy Iowa!

We just had the best vacation ever.  I have had so many people email and message me on Facebook asking for tips and suggestions!  I feel like I should be a Disney travel agent or something (what a fun job!!)  I do enjoy organizing and planning our trips, and I feel like they are successful because of the planning involved.  It's hard to just show up at Disney and not know where to start.  It's so big, and there are never ending things to do.  This time my goal was to stay as long as we could, and get to all the parks and Magic Kingdom twice (which is why we did the 5 day park tickets).  I also wanted to build in days off between parks so we weren't hitting it hard every day. I desperately didn't want us to feel rushed, or stressed out.  Disney isn't exactly a relaxing vacation, but I wanted to make it enjoyable and as stress free as possible.  I feel like we accomplished this pretty well, and we felt like it was the perfect amount of time.  We are already talking about where we are going to stay the next time we go!  Disney just has a way of pulling you back... once you go you can't stay away.  It truly is the most magical place on Earth!  I will treasure these memories with my kids for the rest of my life.

Until next time... See ya real soon!

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