Part 1: http://forum.touringplans.com/t/trip-report-8-24-8-29-my-childhood-dream-come-true-pt-1-of-5-maybe-6/37849
Part 2: http://forum.touringplans.com/t/trip-report-8-24-8-29-hollywood-here-we-come-pt-2-of-5-maybe-6/37883
After a pretty rough day at HS we really tried to get ourselves together for our AK day. Went over the TP and our FPs with everyone the night before and made sure we all knew we had to make it to the 8:00 bus.
No problems getting everyone up the next morning as the kids were excited to see what AK had to offer. Hopped on the 8:00 AM bus and we were off. I have to say it was great staying at the Holiday Inn for a number of reasons, but being the second stop on the shuttle (Hilton is first) was great. We always got seats!
It was an EMM day so the park was already hopping when we got there. We got through bag check and were made to wait on the sides of the tap styles for about 10 minutes before RD. Normally my kids are super impatient but we were waiting by a lovely little pond with fish and cool birds and my kids were happy to hang out there while we were waiting to be let in.
Our first FP was for KS right at 9:10. We were stuck in the Pandora crowd for a bit but once they all turned towards that land we were able to really take in and enjoy the beauty of the park as we made our way to KS. The park has such a different feel than any of the others. The tree of life is just stunning.
Made it to KS and hopped right on a jeep. The safari was fun and we saw tons of animals but for some reason I was expecting more. I guess I was hoping it would be more transportive and really make you forget that the animals aren't truly wild. But still, how critical can you be when you get to see giraffes and a baby elephant playing?!
Gorilla Falls Trial was right there when we got out of the safari so even though it was scheduled for later on our TP we decided to go for it. The trail was not crowded at all and we saw so many gorillas, even a mamma and baby! I'm a huge animal lover so seeing all these amazing animals was such a thrill to me. I could've stayed there all day but my son was less enthralled and beginning to get impatient. So we made our way off the trail and over to Harambe to grab a cold snack.
By now it was getting to be that most magical time, 10:30, so I made sure to step to the side and do my thing on MDE. My DH couldn't believe that we'd be able to get FP for FoP but I assured him it would work. We had FP for NRJ later in the day so I kept modifying until, low and behold, there were the FP I'd been obsessing over for weeks. My DH said to get them for later in the afternoon so I grabbed them for 4:20. In hindsight this was a mistake. We should have gotten for much earlier or much later. The time we got ended up up putting a kink in our plans. I gave up our NRJ FP for FoP but I figured we'd be able to ride NRJ later in the evening.
While walking towards our next FP we saw the Festival of the Lion King was about to start so we popped in there. The show was excellent. The performers were wonderful and, of course, the music was great. This is the level of show I was expecting for the Frozen Sing-a-long. My DD was a bit scared by the fire parts and my DS was a bit overwhelmed by how loud the show was (he has sensory issues) but overall it was a great show and a good break from the oppressive heat and humidity.
After a quick break for fruit we headed over to meet Mickey and Minnie with our FP. While were waiting in line my DS started bugging his sister and making her upset. After asking him to stop and him not listening my DH got upset with him and told him he was in trouble. When we got into the room with Mickey and Minnie DS was still pouting and standing in the back of the room, not going up to meet them. I asked him to come over and meet Mickey but he was still upset and didn't want to come over so Mickey held his arms out wide and got my DS to come over and give him a big hug. I thought DS was going to cry. He just really needed that hug and I think Mickey knew it. The whole experience was so sweet and of course, DD was starstruck!
Originally I had planned on leaving in the early afternoon and heading back in the evening but by now it was already nearly 2:00 and our new FP for FOP was at 4:20, not enough time for us to head back for any real break. We were left with no real choice but to stick it out and stay in the park until after FoP.
Lunch at Pizzafari was much batter than PizzaRizzo and this time I'd ordered in advance on the app so by the time we found a table our food was ready to go. It was kind of funny to see everyone waiting in line giving me the evil eye as I waltzed up to the counter and got our food. Ps- the sangria was goood!
By now my DS was dying to go on a ride, any ride at all, so we headed to Dinoland. Kids saw the Boneyard and took off for it. It's amazing how they can be complaining all day about how hot and tired they are but the second they see a playground they're raring to go! The Boneyard is awesome and both kids had lots of fun playing with the other kids there.
We all rode the Triceratop Spin and I tried to get DS to ride Primeval Whirl but he said it looked too scary. Same thing for Dinosaur. He's not a big dino fan so I wasn't surprised with that choice.
On our way back to Pandora we visited Asia and checked out the Maharajah Jungle Trail. We saw tigers and a few monkeys but it wasn't that exciting. I think a lot of the animals were sleeping or hiding out from the heat. We saw EE and had fun seeing everyone screaming their heads off! My DH would have totally gone on it with a FP if we had stayed longer.
By now the skies were starting to open and the rains were falling. We had a whole backpack stuffed with ponchos as well as the plastic cover for the stroller. It seemed so annoying to have to carry all this stuff all day but by now I was so glad we did. I got on my poncho and the stroller cover while DH and DS made their way into FoP. We got the rider switch so I took DD over to where the ride lets out to wait. She was exhausted and wanted to nurse so we found a little ledge under a rock to sit on that wasn't too wet. I nursed her and people watched all the folks coming out of the ride. It was so great to see everyone's reactions as they exited. Lots of excitement and I was getting more excited ride it myself!
DD finally fell asleep in her stroller and I waited for DS and DH to emerge. Finally they came out from the side, not the store. DS was crying and my DH said he'd been throwing up since they got off the ride! My son started yelling about how it was the absolute worst ride ever! He was so afraid on it he was begging me not to go. He thought it would be too scary for me too. I comforted him until he calmed down and set off to ride FoP by myself since he was obviously not going to be riding it again!
FoP. Oh my word. What a ride! I did have to close my eyes a few times but mostly I was just in awe looking around and screaming in delight as we swooped and soared. I literally had tears in my eyes as the ride came to an end. It was so beautiful and transporting.
Back to reality as I came out to find my little one awake and screaming her head off and my son half asleep leaning on his Daddy's shoulder. As much as I had wanted to stay and do NRJ and ROL and my DH wanted to ride EE we knew it was time to leave. My DH even offered to take the kids so I could stay but I decided to head back with them. Good thing too because right as we got on the bus the skies opened up again and torrential rain started pelting us.
Once again our plan to leave in the middle of the day didn't happen. It all worked out though because the storm that came through when we left was huge and would have ruined our night if we had gone back to the park.
Overall I loved AK and can't wait to get back and really experience Pandora, especially at night! Even with a few hiccups our trip was really starting to get good now and I was beginning to feel like we were learning the ropes for touring with our kids. Next up, Epcot and another chance to test out the middle of the day break theory.