Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Day Ten - Animal Kingdom

After staying up so late for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party the night before, we decided to 'sleep in' a little on Wednesday morning.  Of course, sleeping in with the kids means sleeping until 8:30 instead of 7:30, so we were still up earlier than Doug and I would have liked.  We were a a little surprised to see it was raining when we stepped outside, but I was happy to have a break from the sun and blistering heat.  We didn't get on the bus until maybe 9:45am, but were pleased to have a very chatty bus driver - a first for us.  He gave us all sorts of tips on what to see and do in Animal Kingdom, how to stay dry, and also told us to check out Kilimanjaro Safari because the animals usually like it when it's rainy and cool.

We headed straight to the Safari, where the CM at the loading area loved our AK shirts.  The Safari started out pretty normal, though there was an ostrich standing right next to the fence in front of the cheetahs, and boy, were those cheetahs interested in the ostrich!  It was fun to see them actually engaged versus just dozing on their hill.  The real excitement came when we got the the lions area, though.  The male was on his big rock, and two females were clearly visible lying on rocks, too.  That was plenty exciting as is, because maybe 8 times out of 10, you can only just barely see one lion, or none at all.  But then as we rounded the bend, the male started roaring.  After a couple roars, both females started roaring back at him.  They had a long conversation while we all just sat dumbstruck.  The tour guide told us all to make sure we got video because that NEVER happens.  He sounded really emotional, actually, it was so sweet.  We sat there for way longer than we were supposed to and had to hurry through the rest of the safari, but it was so worth it.  The guide couldn't stop talking about it, telling us how he has the best job ever.  This was definitely one of the top two or three moments of our whole trip.

We all had the feeling that we could just go home at that point and still have had a great day, but obviously we didn't do that.  We boarded the train to Rafiki's Planet Watch next, and oh my gosh, was Niall happy to be on that train.  While on the train, I used MDE to push our FPs back a bit to give us more time and not cause so much criss-crossing of the park and had no problem getting the times we wanted.  While walking to the Planet Watch building, we stopped and played Habitat Habit, picking up Wilderness Explorer booklets and our badges for the game.  Once inside, the kids got to pet a ball python, looked at all sorts of creepy crawlies, and met Rafiki (though we forgot our autograph book in the stroller, so only got his picture).  We petted some goats in the petting zoo, then headed back to Harambe.

We were a bit hungry at that point, so we grabbed Rice Krispie treats and brownie paws from Kusafiri.  Holy cow, are those snacks huge!  We spent a relaxing few minutes eating at the tables outside Tusker House, then headed over to the Festival of the Lion King.  The kids enjoyed the show (probably their favorite show at Disney World), and Doug and I appreciated the convenience of the new theater.

After the show, we took turns riding Expedition Everest with rider swap, and Niall found a toy train that had Mickey and the Yeti in it.  He really wanted it, but we convinced him to wait until later.  Next up was Dinoland USA, where I took the boys on Primeval Whirl and Doug took the littles on Triceratop Spin.  We finished way before Doug, as their ride shut down for a few minutes while they were in line.  The upshot was that we got some great pictures and video of them on the ride.

We went into Restaurantosaurus for lunch and got to sit in the Airstream.  The food was alright - like most quick service places, the food is kind of 'eh', but at least at Restaurantosaurus you get great theming.  The kids were happy to get buckets and shovels with their meals, though, and Fiona spent most of the time looking through her Wilderness Explorers booklet.  After eating, Doug took the boys on Dinosaur while I took Fiona and Niall to get some badges, as she seemed really into it.  

The first badge was identifying dinosaur skulls, and the CM there was super friendly and chatty.  We joked a bit about Niall's obsession with monorails and trains (that was all he wanted to talk about, even though she kept trying to bring the conversation back to dinosaurs), our shirts, and when she showed us the dinosaur teeth, we joked about what dinosaurs would get from the tooth fairy.  Fiona gave her one of the CM Thank You cards we had, and she seemed genuinely pleased.  The next badge we did was the signaling badge at the entrance to Dinoland, and by the time we were done there, Doug and the boys were done with their ride.

We still hadn't met Baloo and Louie yet, so we got in line for them next.  They were fun, and Louie noticed our Magic Bands first, which is surprising because - well, he's an orangutan.  Their handler really liked our shirts, though, asking in detail how I made them.  But, you know, we hate that sort of attention, so next time, we're just wearing plain shirts.

Colwyn and Lachlann wanted another ride on Kali River Rapids, but Fiona and Niall weren't interested - Fiona really wanted to get more badges.  So we split up again and I took Fiona around to get the badges that were nearby.  We did Asian Culture where we played an instrument and learned about Indonesia, then we learned about Animal Sounds and Forestry, and finally, the one she'd been most looking forward to - the Yeti Badge!  Fiona gave me a very enthusiastic, heartfelt thank you for helping her get her Yeti Badge, which made me feel like the best mom ever.  We ducked into the Expedition Everest giftshop next and got Niall the Yeti Train (because even though we hadn't told him we'd get it, he'd convinced himself that we would and I sensed a tantrum in the making if we tried to bypass it).  As we were walking toward our rendezvous point, we bumped into Doug and the boys - and a good thing, too, because he was on his way to get the Yeti Train to surprise Niall with!  He was a little disappointed that he didn't get to be Super Dad, but I assured him that it was the thought that counted.

We headed out of the park then, glad to have an short day, but an especially awesome one.  We lazed around at the hotel a bit and got pizza and sandwiches in the food court for dinner.  The one hiccup with our sleeping arrangements happened that night - at some point, we woke up to hear Fiona crying in her room.  Doug went running in, and she said, very sadly, that Niall was lying on her hair and she couldn't move her head.  We got a chuckle out of that because anyone else would have just shoved him off, but poor Fiona either couldn't or wouldn't.

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