Day 3: Animal Kingdom
We had a PPO breakfast at Tusker House this morning. My plan was for us to leave our room by 7:20. I decided it would be easier if all of my stuff was done before the kids had to be up so I woke up at 5:30, showered, packed the park bag, and got ready by 6:15. Started waking the kids up one by one. DS6 first. Then DD4. Then DD8 who had slept in my parents’ room and woke up under great protest. Basically we ruined her day. Lol. DD2 woke up last and was still super sleepy. But we made it out the door around 7:15 so even earlier than I had hoped!! Yay!!
The bus arrived for Animal Kingdom about 2 minutes after we got to the bus stop! Yay!! Hopped on with one other family, drove over to the GF and were on our way. Made it through security fairly quickly. In October when we came I had packed a set of stainless steel straws as I had read some of the parks had swapped plastic straws for paper ones. These proved very useful in AK but were somewhat of a hassle to clean so this trip I decided to pack a box of plastic straws. Well, I found out that plastic straws are completely banned at AK (due to safety concerns for the animals) and they told me I couldn’t use mine while we were there. Bummer! Crappy paper straws it is! My mom also had a little trouble at the taps because she forgot she used her left finger to scan in yesterday and tried to use her right today.
Walked through the empty park in the lovely morning air. So nice. Checked in and were seated at Tusker around 8:25 and were meeting the Mouse by 8:30. I was so glad I had decided to book FPs for KS instead of trying to rush through our meal. We took our time, used the bathroom, drank an extra cup of coffee, and had second and third plates.
After breakfast, we didn’t rush. The best. We stopped to watch the Harambe drummers playing. They seem to really enjoy what they do and it was lovely seeing them play and interact with everyone.
The drummers finished around 9:15 and we headed over to KS. We were on the ride by 9:28. Our guide was very fun. Really into character and played up every bridge we crossed “oh man. This one looks really rickety.” “I think we’re really testing our luck here.” I loved it. Lots of animals around. Rhinos, lions, giraffes. Didn’t see the baby giraffe but did see a baby elephant and it was so cute!
After the safaris we checked out the Gorilla Falls trail. It seemed longer than the Jungle Trek and it seemed a bit more congested but maybe it’s from the safaris being so close by and letting out right next to them. The kids really liked the aviary and loved trying to spy all of the birds on our guide.
At this point DD4 was insisting she needed to go to the bathroom (now! Emergency!!) so my folks whisked her off and I stayed and enjoyed the rest of the trail with the other three. We picked up a wilderness explorer guide mid-way down the trail. DD8 and DD6 were immediately in on this game. They loved getting all the badges along the trail and filling in the clues.
My mom called and said they had made it to the restrooms and were over near Tusker House. This was perfect as I was wanting to catch the 11:00 FotLK. We headed that way and I took DD2 and DS6 to the bathroom. I think we made it into the theater around 10:52 or so. Ended up in the upper section but still had a great view. The show was great but maybe a little long for the kids. Loved the acrobats as well as the music.
After the show was over everyone was needing a pick me up. We stopped at the snack cart on the way up to Harambe and grabbed two frozen bananas, three frozen lemonades and an ice cream sandwich. It was refreshing and a nice snack break. Kids got to stretch their legs a bit which was a plus. I also notice EE is down and our FP has converted into any anytime FP. Potentially super bummer as DS6 is ready for this thing this time (he talked about riding it for months but backed out in October). Hoping it comes back up quickly (it doesn’t).
We head over to Maharajah Jungle Trek. We stop along the way to play the drums. Pause to watch the monkeys in that super cool enclosure and get distracted by the bubble fountain but make it back. DD8 and DS6 again enjoyed the wilderness explorer stops along the trail. After we come out of the trail, Everest is still down. DS6 is super bummed. We start talking about using our anytime for Primeval Whirl and he is disappointed but ok with this decision.
We head into Dinoland and realize that everyone needs a break as meltdowns seem to be imminent. It’s 1:30 and we haven’t really eaten lunch so we decide to grab some food before PW. I mobile order at Flame Tree which was perfect. No line. Almost instantly ready. Long line next to us with someone marching around the perimeter of the line with a sign saying “save time. Mobile order.” Lol.
We grab a seat and eat. DD2 has fallen asleep between the walk from Dinoland to Flame Tree. She naps while we eat. For the time being we successfully avoid the Ibises (or whatever those birds are that hang out over there). I realize the FPs I made for Dinosaur are about to expire. They were for DD8, DD4 and my mom. None of them care to ride it after I tell them about it and so I switch them to Primeval Whirl for a later time.
DS6, my dad and I finish lunch and ask my mom if she’s ok for us to go to use our anytime FPs. She says she’s good so we go for a spin on PW while DD4 finishes up her lunch. Unbeknownst to us, their lunch would end in some excitement. They witnessed one of those white birds (don’t know what kind they are but they were walking all around Flame Tree’s seating area) snatch an onion ring right out of a little boy’s hand!! Then, one or two others started fighting with the initial bird over the onion ring and jumped up on their table!! My mom had to give them a firm “SHOO!!!” while trying to keep DD8 and DD4 from freaking out.
Meanwhile, we finish PW and once we’re done DS6 wants to go again!! Of course. He asks DD4, DD8 and my mom if they want to use their PW FPs. They say no and he and I go for a second ride while my mom, DD4 and DD8 ride Triceratop Spin and my dad hangs out with a still sleeping DD2.
We meet back up after our rides and DD4 is asking to go to the Boneyard (they all loves this playground!). I ask my mom if she minds going with her as I promised DD8 I’d get her popcorn if she ate some real food first. She doesn’t and I tell DD4 she has 10 minutes to play. She is pleased!!
DS6, DD8 and I grab popcorn and go find my dad and sit with him and DD2 while DD4 plays. Once she’s done it’s a little after 3 and we head over to Pandora.
We first go to FOP to set up a RS for DD8, my mom and my dad to ride. There was a slow moving line to do this as the two parties ahead of us trying to set up a swap weren’t within their FP time window and were vehemently trying to convince the CM to let them go ahead and ride “because we’ve been waiting so long!!” People amazed me the whole trip with their seemingly blatant desire for the rules to not be applied to them. Anyway, once we got our RS set up, my parents took DD4 (who swapped bands with DD8 since she wasn’t tall enough to use her FOP FP) and DD2 on Na’Vi while DD8, DS and I rode FOP. DD8 had gone all the way through the queue and preshow with us last year and then refused to ride it so I was excited for her to have her first ride. She was nervous but LOVED IT! Declared her it her favorite ride and gleefully rode a second time with her grandparents.
While my parents and DD8 rode FOP, I walked the other three kids to the front of the park and used the restroom, changed DD2’s diaper and watched the birds in the Oasis Exhibits.
I had booked two separate ADRs for our upcoming dinner at AP. One at 5:25 and the second at 5:40. I had originally planned to be leaving the park by 4:30 to give ourselves plenty of time to get over to the WL but we didn’t end up leaving until 4:48! It’s cool, I thought to myself. We totally have enough time. I hope. I mean, it’ll be fine right?!?
It was fine! We didn’t have to wait too long on a bus to arrive and I think we disembarked at WL around 5:20. We booked it to check in at AP and made it to check in right at 5:25! Victory! They asked if we wanted to try and have our two reservations combined into one table and I said yes. She said they would be able to but that we might not get seated until closer to the second reservation time at 5:40.
We took the kids outside on this small little deck with four rocking chairs and just a beautiful view of some of the grounds. This was my first time seeing this resort and it’s definitely been added to my bucket list of future places to stay. The kids ran around like crazy little monkeys and played tag. I received our table ready text at 5:32.
Now, I don’t know if it was just because we were so longing for a non-buffet, sit down style meal (this was our first one of the trip) or what but we all thought everything was delicious!!
I had the Enchanted Apple cocktail which is one of those drinks that could get you in trouble! Very sweet and refreshing and didn’t taste like it had a lot of alcohol in it. I behaved and limited myself to one. The squash bisque was fantastic, as was The Stroll Through Nature main course. All of the desserts were delicious - I think my favorite was the miner’s treasure. I’m pretty simple minded sometimes when it comes to desserts.
The characters were also very fun! I don’t remember why but DD4 was crying when Snow White came by so we didn’t get a super great interaction with her. But Grumpy gave me an annoyed looks and acted like his hand was hurting from signing all four of their autograph books almost as if to say “why do you have all these kids anyway?!?” Dopey skipped around our table but never stopped to sign our books. It looked as though this was the case with at least one other table near us. I don’t know if this was intentional for Dopey’s character or what. The Evil Queen may have been my very favorite character meet of the entire trip.
Favorite Queen quotes from dinner:
- When DD4 (through me) told her to be happy. “Must i?!? Smiling gives you wrinkles you know?!?”
- To the family in front of us with a baby “this one looks fresh. Too much smiling for my liking.”
- When someone told her thank you. “You should be thankful!!”
Overall this was a very satisfying and refreshing dinner. Looking back, it probably would have been worth it to Lyft or Minnie Van back to the Poly. Just because we were pretty tired. But we enjoyed both boat rides (the first WL to MK, the second MK to Poly) and watched the 8:00 fireworks going off as we finished up our second ride.
I think all of the kids were asleep by 10 and my DH landed safely at MCO and arrived just after 11! Yay!!
Tomorrow we get to sleep in a bit and enjoy a stroll around the world!