Sunday, June 29, 2014

Animal Kingdom, Day 4

We started off day 4 in the parks by going to the Animal Kingdom. Harrison was very excited for this park, and we had talked to a lot of people and heard many times that we needed to go to the Safari first thing to see the animals out and about instead of napping in the afternoon heat. We hardly even stopped to look around because we were so focused on just getting to the safari.
A short 30 minute wait, and we were on the Kilamanjaro Safari.


Rhino in Mud...

Rhino covered in mud!

The Safari was fun, lots of animals to see, and always nice to put my feet up.  Be prepared that it is quite the bumpy ride!

We decided to wander over to Expedition Everest for a ride before our fastpass, but we stopped for a photo first. You can kind of see the mountain in the background.

We waited for about 30-40 minutes, it was nice to experience the que, but it was kind of a long wait! We met a mom and her teenaged son in line, who ended up being in the same train as us--in the very front! There's a part where the track is mangled and ends, and this lady did not expect that, and then the ride goes backwards! It feels like you go through a loop, but it is mainly because it pulls you backwards so fast. It is by far our favorite ride in Animal Kingdom.

After the ride we decided to go towards the front to get our very own Wilderness Explorer books, because they have a lot of booths and activities so that you can earn badges (stickers) for the book.

We got Wilderness Explorer Books and were off to fill it with the activities to get the stickers!
 After we got the books and were walking back, we saw Dug and Russel! We couldn't resist.
Harrison meeting Dug (the hug lasted nearly a minute)

Harrison handing his Wilderness Explorer book to Russel to be signed

Dug made sure Harrison understood he wanted his head scratched!

SQUIRREL! (Russel did NOT get the memo!)
We met Dug and Russel and that was sure fun! Dug gives real long hugs and Russel made Harrison do the Wilderness Explorer sign and calls. (The Wilderness MUST be explored, Caw ca CaW, ROAR)

After getting our explorers book we walked through the Pangani Forest Trail to earn a badge, and we also walked through the Maharaj Jungle Trek to earn another badge. Then it was time for our fast pass for Expedition Everest, and this time we were in the VERY BACK! It was interesting to see both ends of the track, and especially to see all the teens in front of us holding their phones up to take selfies on the ride! (Whereas we had ours in the backpack tied to our legs because we were worried we would lose them.

We spent some more time walking around and earning badges before it was time for the Kali River Rapids. Overall, it is a fun ride, worth going on to get  wet in the heat of the day... but it sure was no Grizzly River Run like in California Adventure! It is a much shorter ride with only one drop. But it was fun.

Afterwards we ate at the Yak and Yeti, and enjoyed some good Chinese food. We walked a loop around the park, filled in some more badges, and then we felt like we had done all the things we wanted to... so we got a frozen coke (with a paper straw that Harrison is very passionate against) and left the park! It was fairly early, like 3 in the afternoon, but we decided to head back to the hotel for a quick nap.

We decided to go back to Epcot to see the Illuminations show again. We made reservations for the Beirstein, a German Buffet styled restaurant. They seat you in a table for ten, and you sit next to people you don't know, and share your table. There was also a German band and there was Polka to be had, but mostly the little kids went down and danced like fools while the rest of us tried to make the most out of this $40aperson buffet. It was tasty food, but not entirely worth the price tag for me.. The family we sat next to was fun, one of them works in the Parks as a Jungle Cruise director, so they were telling us about how the parks change from the Halloween to Christmas decorations, and those are incredible stories to hear.

My dessert plate!

We found a spot on the opposite side of the park we had been last time (Last time we were near Canada and this time we were just outside of Germany) to watch Illuminations. We were a lot closer this time and it was relaxing to just watch and enjoy the show.

After the show was over we decided, against our better judgement, to go to Magic Kingdom for magic hours! For us, the park would be open til 2. The line to get on the monorail was so long! We made friends with a family and chatted with them while we waited around half an hour to get on. It is kind of confusing to take the monorail, there is a part where you have to get off and change trains but it felt like the same train and we were all confused. You do go through one of the hotels, and it was quite extravagant.

Overall, we only lasted maybe an hour. We knew that we were going to be back in the morning and would spend the day in Magic Kingdom, so when our legs hurt too much to bear, we left!

Three parks in ONE day??? We have reached a whole new level--we could now be respected by season ticket holders!

Notes: I think that Animal Kingdom is a little more kid friendly, there is a whole section for Dinosaur Land... but we felt it is quite crowded, small walkways, and there seemed to be a lot of politics about recycling and conservations--which isn't bad, but felt like too much. As a couple, half a day is a good amount of time to experience this park.

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