Ya'll, Thursday started out ROUGH! I wasn't so sure that we were going to be able to salvage the day because the kids were just being little, ornery toots, which meant that Eric and I had to take turns not losing it! We slept in a little bit and decided not to open the park as planned since we had been out late the night before. However, we still had Fast Passes at 10:45 and that meant a somewhat early start for my sleepy kids.
Our first Fast Pass was at Kilimanjaro Safaris. We ended up having to wait in line for about 25-30 minutes. In fact, we found that most of our Fast Passes in Animal Kingdom weren't exactly fast.
I'm not really an animal person, and I don't do zoos, but I liked this a lot. The kids were so excited to see all of the animals, and it was really a unique experience.
I can't remember everything we saw, but below are a few of the pictures that I took while were were on the safari.
After the ride we had a few minutes before our next Fast Pass, so we tried to feed the kids hoping it would change the tone of the day. Not so much. Haha! It was hot, and everyone was tired, and I think at one point we were even considering just calling it a day and heading back to the room.
I'm not really sure what convinced us to stay, but I am so glad we did. The Festival of Lion King was our next Fast Pass, and it was wonderful...true pageantry. I love LIVE stage performances, and I had seen the Broadway production of The Lion King when I was in college. I would put this right up there with that show. I can't say enough...amazing!!
After the show, we headed to the Tusker House for lunch. They don't allow strollers, but Ellie was asleep, so they let us take our in. She ended up waking up, but I thought that was the nicest gesture and truly wonderful customer service.
Our dining service, on the other hand, wasn't so great. Our poor waitress just didn't have clue, and we waited 15 minutes before she even took our drink order and another 10 before she brought them to the table. We had already been through the buffet line and met two characters before she came back.
As for the food, it wasn't may favorite...not because it wasn't good, I'm just now a curry fan, and they used a lot of that particular spice. However, the atmosphere was wonderful, the characters were unique, the air-condition was welcoming, and the desserts were delightful. I would highly recommend this restaurant if you want to branch and try something new.
With full bellies and better spirits, we headed to a bird show where they introduce unique species. Again, I am not an animal person, but this was very interesting. So for me to enjoy it means that it was spectacular. HA!
After the bird show, we did the Jungle Trek where we saw gorillas, tigers, and other unique zoo-like creatures. This attraction was in "Asia," so it was mostly animals from that geographical region.
We left there and headed over to the Triceratops Spin, which is essentially another version of Dumbo, The Magic Carpets, and the Astro Orbiter. Even so, in true Disney fashion, the theming made it a truly new and exciting experience, setting it apart from the others that are so similar yet so different.
Next was A Bugs Life which is inside the Tree of Life. Again, it was a 3D experience similar to Philharmagic and The Muppets, but with a completely different type of experience. You must, must, must take time for this ride.
Our final Fast Passes for the day were Kali River Rapids, and again, they were not so fast. Eli backed out of riding them in fear of getting splashed. Ha! So, Eric rode while I watched the kids and then we switched.
Honestly, the ride was a bit short. We should have walked right on and not waited 20-25 minutes for something that was over in 90 seconds. However, I will not complain because the cold water was refreshing, and I got to enjoy some one-on-one time with Eli while Ellie dozed in the stroller. It was so fun watching him splash in the fountain and hearing him talk about his favorites for the week.
It was getting late by this time, and Animal Kingdom closes early. We had planned on leaving after Kali River Rapids, but the thinning crowd enticed us to stay and explore, so we went on Rafinki's Train Ride to the petting zoo.
There was virtually no one there, so we walked right up and met this hard to find character! We also petted the goats and saw some cool reptiles.
After our little adventure, we decided to look for Pocahontas. Would you believe that there was NO LINE! We walked right up and took pictures with her. Again, this is hard to do. I am so glad we stuck it out and made Animal Kingdom (the half day park) an all day adventure for our family.
Before leaving, we picked up Eli's one souvenir that we promised him. Then it was back to Pop Century for dinner in the food court and a late evening swim. Even though it started out a really rough day, it turned into a beautiful experience with lots of precious memories.