Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Day 4 - The kids are animals!!!

This morning I woke up before the clock even rang. I guess I must be getting used to the time change finally. The rest of the family must be too because they all got up much easier this morning.

We had breakfast and headed out for Animal Kingdom. We arrived just as the rope dropped and joined the horde on the way to Expedition Everest. Now, I had seen shows on this ride and thought I really had an idea of what it was about, but it was much better than I even anticipated. I think this could have something to do with the fact that Tristan and I were in the front car and had a clear, unobstructed view of the entire ride. Wow, that just makes it awesome!!! We loaded very quickly and started on our way. The first section was wonderful, but what I really loved was the view from way up there on top of Everest. AMAZING!!! Probably the best view of any in the whole of Walt Disney World. While we knew we would be going backwards, we didn’t know that it would be so quickly into the ride. I must give a huge shout out to the Imagineers at Disney who had us going backwards and upside down in the dark. My stomach always takes it a bit easier if it’s dark and I can’t see anything to judge exactly how we’re moving. After the backwards portion Tristan and I got a birds eye view of the track flipping over to send us on our way forward again. How cool! Soon we were on our way down the mountain, twisting and turning and just having a grand time screaming together. It was all wonderful!

While we would have loved to go again right away we all knew that our stomach’s weren’t sure about a second go round so quickly after the first. We decided to head on our way to see more of Animal Kingdom.

Up next was Dinoland USA. We headed into the fun little carnival like area first. This was being built we were here in 2001 and I clearly remember the big wall closing it off and the top of the dinosaurs head peeking up over the top. Now we were able to walk right in and see what we had narrowly missed during our last trip.

One of the most exciting rides of this area is the Primeval Whirl or, as it’s called online, Primeval Hurl. I can see exactly why it’s called that. It’s a narrow, twisty coaster, which is bad enough in and of itself. But add to that the fact that each car spins around and around during the course of the ride and you’ve got a big problem. I would NOT last on this thing and none of the other adults were interested in riding for the same reason. Thankfully the kids were allowed to go on together. Wow! Their first solo ride.

They rode once and jumped right back in line to ride again. They really enjoyed it. Next was the Triceratops spin, one of those dumbo-like rides where you go up and down.

This was obviously not high on the excitement factor, so we decided to sit down and make a bit more exciting plan for the day.

We let the kids play in the boneyard while we planned. The boneyard is infamous in our family Disney history as the place where 3 year old Tristan got lost during our 2001 trip. He was walking the play structures with Chase and went down the blue slide when Chase went down the yellow slide. Needless to say Chase got worried that his brother didn’t come to the same place he did. Chaos insued and we all went crazy until we found Tristan who was oblivious to the fact that he was indeed lost. Ever since Tristan heard that story he’s been wanting to return to the boneyard to play. They enjoyed a nice little chunk of playtime while Brian and I planned. By the time their play time was up we had come up with my “Nazi Regimine” (so called by Brian because of my tendancy to be pushy and rushing people along). We were on a tight schedule so we finally got down to business.

Next up was Dinosaur. OK, I don’t like scary anything. Roller coasters are not scary to me, no matter how many dips or turns they take. But this ride was scary to me. So scary in fact that I ducked my head a few times, including the time when they took the picture.
It was definitely not my kind of ride. MIL liked it a lot though and the kids thought it was pretty neat. Carissa was concerned about the dinosaur we had let lose during our trip to the past. But we all got through it.

Up next was the Finding Nemo stage show. Another wonderful, magical Disney stage show.

This one was probably even more special than the others because of the puppets. They were made my Michael Curry, a puppet designer based in our little hometown in Oregon. I’ve been for a tour of his workshops and are just so thrilled by all he does. WOW. Oh, and the Emmy on the wall helped to impress a bit too, ;) Anyways, the puppets in this show were really awesome. All the seaweed and plants were costumes, as were the fish and other characters. It was SO wonderful!
The only unfortunate part was the realization that Carissa's brand new beautiful pearl necklace that she had long coveted was missing. The chain itself was still on her but the clasp on the pendant part of the necklace must have opened because the butterfly and pearl pendant were gone. She was devestated! We looked all around where we were sitting with no luck. We stopped at lost and found both here, at Animal Kingdom, and at the park we were at the day before, Hollywood Studios. Again, no luck. I can't even tell you how much Carissa was saddened by this all.
We did have the rest of the day to look forward to though so we went on with our plans, which were to use our fastpasses for Expedition Everest. I loved it yet again.

Next was one of Dad’s favorite rides. … Kali River Rapids. He’s a junkie for water rides and couldn’t wait to go on this one. I was a bit more pragmatic about water rides and suggested we wear ponchos to keep from getting too wet. Dad would have none of that. And he could be relied upon to get the kids on his side. It wasn't a big issue to me so I didn't push it, but I had a bad feeling about exactly how wet we were going to get.
Now, the thing about this ride is that whether you stay dry, get wet, or get really, really wet is all determined by how the raft spins and who hits the waterfall first. The first ride worked out fairly well for me and I was only a little bit wet, but since there was no line we all (including the family from Michigan who was sharing our raft) decided to stay and go on a second trip. This time I got even more wet. Worst of all was that Carissa was thoroughly soaked. And that poor little girl doesn't have an ounce of fat on her so she gets cold easily. By the time we got off the ride she was shivering. Thankfully a nearby vendor had dresses for sale and Carissa got a new one to wear.

A quick (and wet) trek to see the giant fruit bats and the hippos and such
we were ready to take a break for lunch.
Unbeknownst to us, the lines for food were 30 minutes long. Ugh! Seriously?!? No lines for the ride but 30 minutes to eat? Grrrr. Anyways, some chips (Cheetos, given to her for her birthday by a vendor) an apple and an orange helped sate the kids hunger until we could have dinner.

By now we were feeling the pinch on time. We took the Safari ride and got to see some wonderful animals,
but had to hurry on our way to see Mickey and Minnie in Camp Mickey Minnie. Thankfully we were able to finally see Mickey alone (without Pluto I mean) this trip.
We got a chance to see Minnie too. Check our Rissa posing with Minnie and sporting her new dress.
Next up was “It’s Tough To Be A Bug”. Tristan didn’t want to ride this so he and I sat out and shopped a bit. As soon as everyone was done we hightailed it back to Camp Mickey Minnie for the Festival of the Lion King. I had seen some clips of this show on someones trip report and I had shared them with the kids so we were all very excited about seeing it. We were there early but thankfully there were lots and lots of pin trading cast members to occupy their time until the show started. Once they had traded several times they came and sat back down with us to wait. One of the CM’s came over and asked if they would like to help him out. They were up for it so he taught them the "hand jive" and had them teach the audience. While they hadn’t exactly perfected it themselves, they sure had a great time being in the limelight and showing others how to hand jive. The CM took them backstage and made them “magical moment” certificates to help them remember their special moment.

The show started and I must say that it was awesome.

The tumble monkeys were great, as were the other performers in the show. But I must say that my favorite performers were my own children. Once again, the kids were picked to take part in the show, this time in the finale. They circled around the room with shakers and followed the 3 rules given to them: have a big smile, make a lot of noise and have fun.

They did just that and were so wonderful. It was a truly special occasion for them and a fitting way to end our day in Animal Kingdom.

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