Day 7 - Animal Kingdom
My TP had us heading straight to Navi River at rope drop then using our FP+ for FOP around 9:50. But, given our late night last night, we all decided we would sleep in a little and pushed back our bus stop time to 8:30. Once again, everyone was up and at the bus stop right on time. I have to say, this crew did so much better with the early times than I had hoped for. I thought we would be lucky to get one or two “on time” starts but they did good. If we had kept the original 7:45 time, I don’t think that would have gone over well.
After seeing all of the adults hold on to the handles on the bus, DGS decided to following suit
I had ambitious plans for today packed with rides and shows. Since we arrived later than the original plan, we just headed back to FOP to do rider swap and use our FP+. Everyone absolutely loved this ride. DGD declared THIS is her favorite ride, followed by Soarin, and then the coasters. DS can be prone to motion sickness but he loved it. He had to close his eyes a time or two but said it was worth it. I was in the first group that rode so, while we were waiting for the second group, we grabbed breakfast at Pongu Pongu. I have wanted to try to Pongo Lumpia and I thought it was good.
We also saw the guy in the bio suit (not sure if that’s what it is called) and it was pretty interesting. DGD and DGS were both intrigued and it was a nice way to kill some time.
As we were heading out of Pandora, the drummers were playing so we stopped and watched that. DGS practiced his dance moves which consist of him swinging his arms back and forth like he is skiing, pretty cute.
DGD didn’t want to do Wilderness Explorers (I was disappointed, I really wanted to do it) but we just moved on and headed to our KS FP+ after stopping at Starbucks (man was that place crowded!).
KS was a hit although DGS wasn’t as interested in the animals as I thought he would be. Maybe they were too far away? We saw so many great animals. Everyone enjoyed that quite a bit.
DH and I are lucky that we live about 45 minutes from a place called The Wilds. It is the largest conservation facility in North America. They have tours that let you feed Rhinos and Giraffes and get up close to the painted dogs and lots of other species. So, for us, KS is always fun because we are such animal lovers. Shameless Plug for anyone in and around Ohio, The Wilds is a must do!!
OK, back to our regularly scheduled program and the animals we saw on the tour:
We walked through Gorilla Falls and saw the younger gorillas playing, DGS did enjoy watching them, they were pretty close with some of the older ones right up against the glass. They were playing with a blanket and chasing each other. Fun to watch!
On Gorilla Falls they had a Photo Pass stop and the background was pretty so I wanted to stop to get our picture. Well, this is where we had our first meltdown. DGD just didn’t want to have her picture taken. She started crying when her mom told her she had too. DGD said that I told her the family picture this morning was the last one. She had a point, I did say that but didn’t realize that would come back to bite me later lol. I didn’t think it was a big deal if she didn’t want to be in it but it turned far more dramatic than it needed to and we have a picture with her crying, hiding behind DD. Oh well, not bad for making it all the way until Day 7!
Next, we headed to FOTLK and the line was really long. It was about 30 min until the next show so we got in line but tempers of the little ones were waning. I was afraid we would wait all this time and miss the entry for this show. Luckily, we were one of the last people to make it in. So, we were in the back row but at least there would be some entertainment for the kiddos. True to form, DGS fell asleep about 10 min in but DGD enjoyed it so much.
By now we were all pretty starving so we headed to Flame Tree (one of our favorites). Mobile order for the win. I don’t think I will ever do QS if they don’t have mobile order!
We devoured our food! I got the Mac & Cheese with pulled pork and it was delicious. They also had a great Apple strudel cupcake which was amazing as well. This gave the kids a chance to run around a little and while we relaxed.
It was about this time that DH said that DS and he wanted to go back to Disney Springs to do the Void again (DH’s third time this trip!). DD and DSiL wanted to go to DS too so that left me, DDiL, DGS and DGD. By this time, I really really needed a break from DGD. I may be selfish for saying it but, her parents really needed to spend some time with her instead of leaving her with DH and I to look after all the time. It was great spending time with her but I was near the end of my limit after watching her nearly every day, all day for the whole trip (remember, I don’t have kids, I am not used to that lol). DDiL wanted to stay at AK, there was still a lot we hadn’t done. So, me, DDiL and DGS stayed at AK while the others headed to Disney Springs.
We went to Triceratops spin and DGS liked it since it was similar to Dumbo and the magic carpets.
We passed some of the musicians and this was another chance for DGS to dance and burn off some energy. It was super fun to watch him.
I don’t know if this will work (or if anyone cares lol) but this is a short video showing off his dance moves.
We happened to be near the TOL as they were doing the Macaw show and saw them flying overhead. This was the only thing that kind of freaked out DGS - they got really close to us and I don’t think he was expecting that.
Next we walked around the TOL. DDiL really enjoyed seeing all of the carvings. We just took some time to take in all of the beauty of AK.
DDiL is a huge coaster fan. We had EE FOP+ but not until 5:00 and obviously no one else was coming back to AK to ride it. We walked over to Asia and I told her that if she wanted to do single rider, I would watch DGS. So she got in line for it.
Now, as I have repeatedly said, I don’t have kids and I am not ever around kids so to say I was out of my comfort zone watching DGS is an understatement. It was the longest hour of my life! ha ha
We had ice cream and I bought him a cute straw with Mickey on it. That is when I learned a few things: 1) ice cream melts super fast (OK, I knew this but juggling melting ice cream and a toddler is challenging to say the least) 2) the straw apparently made a fun toy when it was dipped in the melting ice cream and then flung everywhere. If anyone was watching us, I am sure they would have deduced that this was my first time with a toddler! We walked around a lot, and in the end, I started to get comfortable entertaining him just as DDiL was getting off the ride.
DDiL loved EE and was glad she was able to ride it. At this point, we decided to head back to the hotel. I wasn’t able to see the TOL awakenings or ROL (still haven’t seen either) but DH had to fly back tonight and we wanted to see him before he left.
And this is where the second meltdown occurred. DGS had been going full tilt all day with the exception of a short nap in FOTLK and he just hit a wall. He screamed the entire bus ride back to the hotel. Luckily the bus wasn’t crowded but, it was a long 15 min ride. Thank goodness he didn’t do that when it was just me watching him, I probably would have joined in with the crying!
Back at the hotel, DH, DS, DDiL, me, and DGS ate dinner and enjoyed our last time together before DH left. He was so sad to leave, he really bonded with DGS and it was heartwarming to see them together.
DH headed to the airport around 6:30 to catch his flight. I still had to pack and get things in order before DME early the next morning. DD, DSiL and DGD had headed to Epcot after Disney Springs and got back around 10:00. We all said our good-byes since we were leaving at different times early the next morning.
Day 8 - Departure Day
The saddest part of any trip is departure day. On the one hand, I was ready to go home - 8 days in the World is the longest I have ever been and I was pretty exhausted. But, I also love WDW and we really did have a great trip overall. I knew we would be back so off to the Tragical Express I headed.
This trip far exceeded my expectations. I was really worried about how I would do with this big of a group and some of the family dynamic challenges that would crop up. But, overall, it was so awesome.
I loved bonding with DGD. Sharing my love of the parks (especially MK) with her and seeing her experience the magic is something I didn’t know I would enjoy so much.
Even though DGS probably won’t remember the trip, watching him be totally mesmorized by all of the rides, fireworks, shows…was so special and fun. He may not remember the trip, but we always will (and we have the pictures and videos to prove it!)
Would I do this trip again? Yes and No. I would go back with family again but with one family at a time. It was hard to spend enough time with everyone and since we rarely see each other, this was tough. DH and I hardly saw each other because he tended to be with DGS and I tended to be with DGD.
At the end of the trip, DS (who isn’t a huge Disney fan) was actually talking about coming back so I think that we will definitely be back with his family!
When we got home, DH and I bought Annual Passes. I now have four trips planned throughout this year and one of them may be a short trip just for DGD and I
Disney, you did not disappoint!! See ya real soon