Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Animal Kingdom

Our kids have been very fortunate.  This month they got to go on their third trip to Disney World.  Lucy remembered the other two trips pretty well, even though the last one was 4 years ago and the first one was 6 years ago.  Clyde remembered pieces of each trip, even though he was 5 and 7.  Iris, however, remembered... not much.  So this was almost like a new experience for her. 

Last time I blogged Disney, I did a sort of family blog post and then a post for each child, showing that child's "Disney experience."

This year, we mostly stayed passes were different, there wasn't a lot of branching off in different directions (unless you count the men), so I'm doing it differently.  I'm going to blog about each park.

I know some people don't care for Disney, they prefer relaxing vacations, or staycations, or going to National Parks...things like that.  But I LOOOOOVE Disney.  It is a dab stressful, I grant you, and this year WAS hotter, but whenever I get back, I'm always a little sad.  It's always a disappointment to return to real life where you don't get smiled at and wished a "magical day" by everyone.  You don't walk everywhere with your entire family anymore, watching their reactions to everything.  Every new area you go to doesn't look like another country or world.  No one dresses up as characters and hugs you anymore.  And the chefs don't all bend over backwards to make dairy-free food.  Regular people don't dress up in costumes, wear Mickey ears, weird hats, or tiaras for no reason.  There are less balloons and yummy smells.  I just irrationally adore it more than I should, and always feel like I've left home behind when I return home.

Enough of of my weirdness.  I will try to now act like an adult.

Our first day was at Animal Kingdom.  (Ha! all the kids wore hats!)

My absolute FAVORITE thing about Animal Kingdom is, by far, the atmosphere.  I love how when you enter "Africa", everything looks, smells and sounds African.  The people are from Africa, the food is African, the plants are African.  The scenery is replicated after African villages. When you go to Asia, there are banners and idols everywhere (no I don't love idols), it smells like incense, the food is Asian, the items in the gift shop are made in Asia and are used in everyday Asian life, there is Asian music.  It's just so surreal.  And it cannot be captured in the pics.  I tried.  It didn't work.  

We got to the park when it opened.  As we walked in and were looking at various animals near the entrance, we were beckoned by Papa, Stephen and David to come see something quick.

The kids had been pouring over Lucy's Disney guide book for MONTHS!  They were desperately wanting to see DeVine.  I had never heard of her before.  She's a lady dressed as a vine that blends in in different areas of the park and it's very rare to see her.  The told me for months that they sure hoped they got to see her...they were going to go hunting her out.

Watch this vine!

We LOVED her.  We had barely walked in the gate and had already done what the kids wanted to do most!  David said she was so cool, he had already gotten his money's worth and he could go home happy ;)  Here she is with the kids... sorta ;)...see her in the back sort of posing?

We walked deeper into the park to get to our first fast pass (they work differently have to get them way in advance...still free though) at the Lion King Show.  But on our way, we had our first and only group shot in front of the Tree of Life.

When we got to Africa, it wasn't quite time for the show, so we used the bathrooms located near by where you could still loudly hear the live African music...couldn't resist dancing, even in the bathrooms.

When we came out, Clyde was dancing.  When Clyde dances, people watch!  And they take pictures!  And when Clyde is in "Africa" he never stops dancing...not even to get from place to place.

We were the first ones into the Lion King theater since we had both a fast pass and a wheel chair.  Here we are being weird while we wait.

 When it started, they pulled Clyde up in front to show everyone how to roar :)

And then the show!

 Then we went to Asia to ride Kali River Rapids ...was so much fun!  If I hadn't wanted to be so many places at once, I could have shopped in Asia FOREVER!

 SOoo, yeah ....Iris got the wettest.  She reminds me of a water rat here :)

On the second round, later in the day, she sat with Sherry, and appears to be warily looking over her shoulder to see if she's going to get the brunt of it again!

Somehow, we were already hungry.  Our last two trips, we ate African buffet and everyone loved it.  This time we at Yak & Yeti, which I can only assume is supposed to be Nepalese.  The hosts, wait staff, and chef were so friendly and accommodating!!  Music and interior were mesmerizing, again, pics can't do it justice!

 Here's my chicken masala!  Yum!!  So fun to try new foods!!  But they have food for the non adventurous types too!  And I had cactus pear soda to drink :)  Jasmine rice and garlic flat bread were scrumptious too!

Now it was time to see "It's a Bug's Life."  This had proven to be terrifying for children on our first trip.  We didn't even attempt it on our second visit.  But we were sure, six years later, that the kids were ready for it.

This show is actually under the tree of life in the middle of the island in the middle of Animal Kingdom.  So you go underground and put on your bug 3D glasses.  And it's very multisensory...smells, creatures coming towards you, both in reality and on 3D, puffs of air, water splashing at you...all kinds of surprises!  I won't spoil the biggest ones, for those of you who haven't experienced it yet. 

It's short, but still scared the kids a dab.  Well, Iris, truthfully, was petrified.  So when we split ways  (Stephen, David, Clyde, and I went to Mt Everest roller coaster back in Asia, and Sherry, Mom, Paul and the girls were going to go to Dinoland)  Lucy (100lbs) carried her weeping, recovering sister (76lbs)  and soothed her as they went.  :)

Mt Everest was, as always, awesome!  By far my favorite actual attraction at Animal Kingdom.  It is a FABULOUS rollercoaster!!  Some of it is in the dark, and during parts, you can see an impressive amount of the park.

While were were thrill seeking, Sherry, Nena, Papa, and the girls had fun in DinoLand!

At this point, my syncope started kicking my butt, so Stephen and I went to get a cold drink, soak me in water, and cool off.  After getting a little cooler and sitting a bit, I saw Dug and Russell from "Up" and talked Stephen into getting our pic with them.  He looked at me like, "really?", but was a good sport and participated!  I was as giddy as a school girl!  I love "Up" and would have loved to have met Mr Fredrickson too! (Yes, I do realize they're not real /: )

After a little shopping, it was time to meet back up with the rest of the crew, back in Africa.  On the way, I had to resist meeting Flick, Thumper and Louis!! 

Once we met up with everyone, we slowly meandered past drums and people performing their crafts to get in line for our fastpass for the Safari!!

Nena and Papa while we wait...

Once in our "jeep" thing, we got to see SO many animals.  This was the closest we've been to them ever on the Safari!  If Iris and Lucy had wanted (or been allowed to) they could have touched some of them!  Just a few of the pics!

 this giraffe seemed so much closer than it looks on here, he was amazing, and there were others in the trees that I can't see on the pic

We parted ways so everyone could do something they still wanted to do before we wore out, which for me meant staying in air conditioning to trade pins and hit some shops with my mom and girls.

 And suddenly our first day at Disney was over!!

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