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Disney Day 6: Animal Kingdom

Up early to get on the bus and get over to Hollywood Studios for breakfast with Playhouse Disney characters from Little Einsteins and Jojo's Circus.  It was pretty cool to be let into the park before it was actually open.  There was an entrance labeled "Character Breakfast" and they had the reservation list right there on a clipboard.  Very, very cool.  I felt special walking past all the families lined up to get into the park that morning, all lined up in the sun. 

The breakfast was at a place called Hollywood and Vine, themed to be like a diner or commissary during Hollywood's Golden Age.  I thought it was a little crowded and not as nice as Chef Mickey's.  Our server was horribly inattentive at this meal.  The characters were June and Leo and Jojo and Goliath and they were all cute.  This breakfast isn't as popular as Chef Mickey's either, I guess, because the characters came to our table a few times each.  The food was only okay as well.  There wasn't as much of a selection as at Chef Mickeys and it was only of mediocre quality.  When we go back, I don't think we'll do this one again. 

We left Hollywood Studios and got on a bus to Disney's Animal Kingdom.  I'd never been there at all and Wayne had been there once, when it first opened, on a day when lots of stuff was closed because it was raining.  I was really really excited about it.  I'd read The Imagineer's Guide to the park and I was psyched to see all the differences between this park and the other three.  For example, where all the horticultural elements of the other parks are very carefully controlled and monitored, kept neat and orderly, plants at AK were planted and left to grow wild.  I was all bouncy to see the Tree of Life, since I now knew that it was built with an old oil rig from the Gulf of Mexico.  Just all new stuff to look for and see. 

The kids were in good moods because they went to bed at something like 6:30 the night before and slept the whole night through.  So, a little more well-rested, they were excited to see animals.  I loved the park from the second we walked through the turnstiles.  I loved that there were really cool Disney touches everywhere, like the silhouettes on the lights along the path through Discovery Island. 

We walked straight back to Camp Minnie Mickey to see the Festival of the Lion King show.  We were about 45 minutes early for the show and I am so glad we got in the line and dealt with the kids because we were among the first people let in and although the theater seats something like 1500 people, it filled up FAST. 

The funniest thing happened while we were waiting to get in to the theater.  First, Joey decided he was going to clean up the park by picking up one leaf at a time and putting it in the trash can that was right at the entrance to the theater.  Then he and Andy started playing peek-a-boo through and around the trash can.  Normally, I would have freaked out but the park had just opened and the can was empty so, not so gross as it could have been.  We were standing around a large group of elderly people and they were cracking up at my munchkins playing.  It was the cutest thing ever. 

The show was AWESOME-- very colorful and bright with lots of dancing and stuff.  Totally held the boys attention.  Plus they know the story and characters from Lion King, so Andy was singing along.  From there we went to fulfill a promise I made to Andy to get some ice cream.  We stood in line and got chocolate soft serve in a cup.  I was helping Andy to share with Joey and sitting in the sun, it started melting really quickly.  Andy decided to say 'thank you" by giving me a hug and I ended up wearing a lot of chocolate ice cream on my white tee shirt.  So I started looking for a tee shirt to buy and change into.   Andy played a little bit at the Kids Discovery Club where he had to identify things hidden inside a hollow log- very cute.

From Camp Minnie Mickey, we headed over to Africa.  I found a cute tee shirt and Andy had fun playing drums that were displayed like a giant tree.  We got fastpasses for the safari a little later in the afternoon and walked through the Pangani Forest attraction where we saw naked mole rats, hippos, some cool fish, meerkats and gorillas.  After that it was counter service lunch at Tamu Tamu.  I'd wanted to go to Flame Tree BBQ, but that was back near Discovery Island and we wanted to stick around Africa.  So we got some lame, boring sandwiches but Maria and I stood in like FOREVER to get them.  When we got back to the table, Joey was passed out in his stroller.  Andy happily ate the side dishes but not his hamburger.  THe seating area was cool though.  It was all outdoors but the concrete walls around the seating area were designed to look like an abandoned, dilapidated fort. 

After lunch, we went across the way to an area that was set up with all kinds of African drums and a photopass photographer.  Andy and Joey had a blast and we got some really great pictures. 

Then it was time for our safari.  Wayne loaded the super duper lens onto the camera for me.  We put the kids in the middle and a grown up on each end.  It was absolutely amazing to see these gorgeous animals.  The driver never actually stopped the truck all the way through the trip and it was bumpy as all get out and people were stretching and reaching all over to get pictures.  I was having a hard time focusing so I was essentially just holding the button down but I got some AMAZING photos.  (Just wait, you know I'll post them!) 

We took a train ride from Africa to Conservation and back without getting off the train and then we walked around the lake to Asia.  We were all pretty tired by then and we had to fight through the throng because the parade was going on.  We stopped and took pictures in front of Everest and noted that we'd missed the last showing of the Nemo show.  I bought Wayne a stuffed Yeti at the Everest gift shop because the school he works for is YTI and I think that the yeti should be their mascot. 

We didn't get to go up close to the Tree of Life. We didn't go into Dinoland USA either.  We had to get back in time to be there for our babysitter who was coming at seven! 

Back at the hotel, the kids went right to sleep again.  We were able to get ready and go meet Maria to get the bus to the Magic Kingdom so we could take the monorail to the Polynesian Resort for our 9:15 reservation at Ohana.  Wayne and I were really stupidly psyched for Ohana because it was like Hawaiian rodizio.  Skewered, grilled meat and shrimp- YUM- as much as we wanted.  We were early for our reservation so we grabbed a seat at the Tambu lounge and order a couple of drinks.  I don't remember what Wayne or Maria had because I was 100% focused on my own beverage of choice, the Lapu Lapu which came in a pineapple.  An  actual pineapple.  I didn't care what was in it.  Could have been anything.  I had to have a drink in a pineapple.  It turned out to be a pretty wicked drink: pineapple and passion fruit juice with Myers Dark Rum, topped with Bacardi 151. In a PINEAPPLE.  I felt so cool and Polynesian.  :) 

When we were seated at our table, the food just started coming and didn't stop.  On the table when we sat down was this awesome pineapple bread.   First was an awesome tossed salad with lime dressing, then peel and eat shrimp that had marinated in something yummy, then some AMAZING glazed wings.  They brought out some stir fried veggies and potatoes au gratin.  Then the grilled meats started.  We ate like piglets but it was SOOOO YUMMY.  Dessert was this amazing bread pudding with caramel sauce.  Totally to die for-- the whole meal.

We were lucky to catch the buses to the different resorts that line up for people who attend the nightly luau.  We got back and rested up because the next day was our last at the Magic Kingdom with the Jarvis family!



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 18th, 2008 04:02 am (UTC)
I love AK--Len's been there twice. Definitely the best thing ever there is the Finding Nemo show. Best. Show. Ever.
Feb. 18th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
We missed the lat showing of Nemo by 15 minutes. I was sad. Nemo is Joey's favorite.
Feb. 18th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
Ack! But you asked for must-sees! We haven't even seen Lion King yet because the songs are already in the movie. But we never miss Nemo.

Hmm. You got an email address with a big quota?
Feb. 18th, 2008 02:09 pm (UTC)
It was just a matter of timing. I thought we had enough time to get there, but it took forever to cross the park because of the dumb parade and the dumb people who don't follow directions. I thought there might be an extra showing that day because of extra magic hours but there wasn't.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )