Monday was our first day in the parks! We had originally intended to use park hoppers and attend morning Extra Magic Hours, but we decided that it would be better to just do one park a day and not have to get up quite so early. Waking up at 7:20am and getting everyone out the door by 8am was hard enough as it was!
We got to Animal Kingdom about 15 minutes before rope drop. We used the time to put on sunscreen and consult our maps (the kids love looking at the maps). Once the park was opened, we headed straight for Mickey and Minnie's meet and greet at the Adventurer's Outpost. We were the second or third family in line. Everyone was a little hesitant for the first character meet, and Niall refused to acknowledge them at all! Fiona had her stuffed turtle with her, though, and Mickey got a giggle out of her by pretending to tickle her with the turtle.
After that, we went to Expedition Everest. It was a walk-on that early in the morning, and Doug rode with Colwyn and Lachlann while I hung out with the littles. We took some pictures in the viewing area and checked out the gift shop, being silly with the stuffed Yeti toys. Lachlann kept his eyes closed on the first ride, but he and Colwyn gladly rode with me right after their first ride, and he kept his eyes open that time. I tried to get them to make funny faces for the ride photos, but they refused. We did snap a quick picture of them with the photo of Josh Gates in the queue.
After Everest, we rode Kilimanjaro Safari with our Fastpasses. It was a fun ride, but not especially notable. We made it to Tusker House for our reservation after our safari. The food was great, of course. Colwyn and Lachlann really love the buffets because we let them get their food by themselves. Our waitress was nice enough to get me a big glass of the juice - I love the taste and was so thirsty. The characters were fun, but Niall refused to interact with any of them and mainly hid underneath the table, poor guy!
Breakfast ran a little late, so Colwyn, Lachlann and I high-tailed it to Dinosaur as soon as our bill was paid while Doug got the littles to the bathroom and then followed after us. In fact, he caught up with us while we were waiting outside the bathroom just outside Dinoland - Colwyn had to go. It was alright in the end, we made it to Dinosaur just barely within our Fastpass window. Lachlann hadn't ridden Dinosaur before and freaked out in the preshow. I managed to help him keep it together and we rode it - and afterwards, he commented on how silly he felt to have been so scared.
We met up with Doug and the littles inside the gift shop and traded off so he could take Colwyn and Lachlann on Primeval Whirl. I continued looking around the gift shop with the littles - it was incredibly hot out and while the gift shop wasn't very well air conditioned, it was at least better than being in the sun. While we were in there, a CM noticed our Magic Bands and ooh'ed and aah'ed over them. She even asked for advice on how to do the same for her boyfriend's band, and expressed some sadness that as a CM, she doesn't need a band. While on Primeval Whirl, Colwyn left his sunglasses in the pocket - which was funny because on our last trip, Doug left his hat in the same place.
Once we were reunited, we headed over to Kali River Rapids. We were all very excited about this as none of us had ridden it before. We got more compliments on our bands while scanning our Fastpasses, and I opened up two ponchos while we were in line. Fiona decided she would go on the ride but did not want to get wet, and I didn't want to get soaked, either. She was pretty nervous but ended up enjoying it. Niall thought it was hysterical and giggled like mad during the whole ride. He and Doug got drenched, lucky guys! I got sprayed right in the one spot that wasn't covered by the poncho, but overall, stayed fairly dry. Colwyn and Lachlann loved the ride and wanted to do it again right away, but it was the one long line we saw all day (30 or 40 minutes midday).
We were wicked hot and most of us were uncomfortably wet. We decided to skip the Maharajah Jungle Trek and looked for Baloo and Louie, but that line was too long. We ended up going to Flame Tree BBQ, even though we weren't very hungry. Doug got three kids meals for them to snack on while we rested, cooled off, and reapplied sunscreen.
Feeling a bit refreshed, we met Russell & Dug. The meet wasn't quite as much fun as the last time, but that's alright. Niall hid again, and Fiona hung back and wouldn't get in the picture. After, Doug grabbed Fastpasses for another ride on Kali for later in the afternoon. We decided to catch the Finding Nemo show to rest and cool down. Lachlann really, really did not want to go - I think he had bad memories from the first time we went. In the end, he said it wasn't as bad as he expected, but that it was still annoying. I didn't get to enjoy it as much as I'd hoped because in our haste to get over there (we almost missed the start of the show), I forgot to switch my sunglasses for my regular glasses. The other kids seemed to enjoy the show pretty well, though, and we all appreciated the AC.
After Nemo, Doug took Colwyn and Lachlann on Kali again. Their Fastpasses really weren't needed as it was back to being a walk-on by that point. Fiona, Niall and I headed to the other side of the park to find Pocahontas, stopping along the way to check out the kangaroos (Niall's favorite animal sighting that day). Pocahontas' line wasn't too bad, and it was mostly shaded with a fan aimed at it, so that was pleasant. The real thrill, though was how amazing Pocahontas was. I had zero expectations because she was pretty 'meh' last time, but she was fantastic. Immediately she started talking about the animals on our shirts - Fiona's first, then mine, since Niall was hanging back by the stroller. We talked about the kangaroo on my shirt, and I seized the opportunity to include Niall in the conversation by mentioning that we'd just seen kangaroos, and that Niall has a 'Mama Joey' costume at home. She managed to get him talking about that a little - he told her about his costume and our new house in Maine, then hid in the stroller again. However, his seat was reclined and facing away from her, so he could peek at her through the mesh of the reclined seat. Pocahontas had the brilliant idea of talking to him through the mesh and instructed the Photopass photographer to take pictures.
She looked through the autograph book with him, pointing out characters, and he told her how Mommy got us a new house in Disney World (I think he was referring to the hotel). It was absolutely amazing. She took probably double or triple the time she's supposed to take with a family, and then after hanging out with Niall, she came back and talked to Fiona about her turtle and the Galapagos turtle exhibit just to the side of where we were meeting her. After a posed picture, we thanked her profusely and then went to check out the turtle.
We met Doug and the big kids in Pizzafari, but they had stopped serving, so we decided to just head out of the park. We stopped at Guest Relations to fill out an appreciation card for Pocahontas, and then on the way out, we saw Thumper and Miss Bunny greeting guests. I was so excited as they're somewhat rare, so we hurried over there and were thankfully the last family allowed in line. While we were waiting, we noticed a baby squirrel playing around by their feet, climbing on the guest's shoes! The handler warned Thumper and Miss Bunny to keep their feet still, and then the squirrel ran off, but ended up colliding headfirst with a bench leg! It seemed okay, as it kept on going, but sheesh!
We got back to the resort pretty early, by 5:30pm or thereabouts. We got pizza and a bacon mushroom Swiss burger for Doug, stopped to check out the Toy Story area of the resort, rested a little in the room, then went swimming for an hour or so. Fiona even decided to dunk underwater for the first time!
It was a pretty awesome day, despite the heat. Everything was a walk-on all day, even Everest.. the one exception being Kali for a little while midday (obviously, everyone wanted to cool off).