Sunday, November 16, 2014

Disney Day Two- Going Wild at Animal Kingdom

Today was our second full day in Disney and on today’s agenda was a morning at Animal Kingdom.  Many people overlook this park, and while it wasn’t my favorite on my first or second trip, I really have grown to love and appreciate it.  It can be the least crowded when crowds are high elsewhere, so a great option for busy holidays.  But it also can get very hot due to all the overgrown foliage that traps the heat.  And it is very spread out so get ready to walk. But first, some breakfast in our villa!  

We planned to be up and out the door early by 8:15am, but that wasn’t the case, so we didn’t make it to the park at rope drop, but soon after.  and while in AK, you must dress the part! 

The crowds were already huge at 9:15am.  We drove and parked close.  We headed in to the park and waited in line to get in.  Lines and crowds frustrate me like no other.  I just wanted to get moving already! 

We headed straight in for the safari, but we lost Mandy and her family along the way. So we just rode the safari separately.  We went with mom to the accessible line, which allowed her to ride her scooter through the line, but it meant we actually waited longer than we would have in the regular line.  Just so you know, there are no shortcuts in Disney, and almost all lines are accessible, meaning if you use a wheelchair or scooter, you can still go in the regular line.  But on a few rides, the line will split like here, and you often end up waiting a lot longer if you are using a chair or scooter.  Many think that will get them a “front of the line pass”, but that isn’t the case and usually it is the opposite, you can end up waiting longer.  This was just one case, but later in the trip, my poor mom waited literally 45 minutes longer than us when using the special accessible line at Toy Story Mania.  So just wanted to share as almost all lines are accessible for those with mobility issues. 

Tip- if using a stroller, you do actually take the stroller in line with you.  Halfway through the line there is an area where you drop/leave your stroller and then continue in the line without it.  You will pick up the stroller as you exit.

We waited for the special safari truck that is wheelchair accessible (they can actually load the chair onto the truck for those that can’t transfer, which is really nice).  Mom can transfer of course, but it was nice for her to get to ride the scooter in line and not have to navigate the bumpy and rough line on her feet.  We actually heard from Mandy and they were in a truck passing right by us!  They got in line way after us, but got to ride before us.  We waved and waited our turn.  We had a great time on the safari as always and got up close and personal with quite a few animals. 


Afterwards, we did have a FP for Dinosaur at 9:40am, but it was already like 10:15am and I wasn’t sure we would make it with all of us in time.  Plus we wanted to stop at Expedition Everest on the way for a few of us to ride that via the single rider line before it got too busy.  So we decided we would just skip our first FP.  We could have changed it to something else via the My Disney Experience app on my phone, but we weren’t going to be there long enough and still had two more fastpasses to use.  So we headed towards Expedition Everest.  Everyone sat out while my dad and I rode in the single rider line along with my brother in law, Jeff.  The line was literally 5 minutes long.  We got on almost immediately and Dad and I even got to ride together, which isn’t guaranteed.  The single rider line is used to fill in the empty seats when there is an odd number party- like a party of three, so two of the three ride together, but the third person is alone, leaving an empty seat next to them.  That is when the cast members pull someone from the single rider line to fill in, but sometimes they just let you ride together.  Love this ride, so exhilarating and great views up top!

After exiting, Mandy decided she wanted to try it, so Dad and I rode again with her while Jeff, Alan and my mom watched the kids. Dad and I were so happy to ride 2x!  Remember- if you have a magic band and have purchased the Memory Maker package ($149 in advance), then you get ride photos like this one! And you don’t do a thing.  As you exit the ride, there is long range radio frequency (RFID) technology that will scan your band as you exit (you don’t stop or scan it yourself) and it adds that photo to your account.  You can log in to see it later that day.  Sometimes ride photos can take up to 24 hours to appear, but you can check often.  So much fun to have these photos included in our photo package.   I'm in the pink, second row, hands up of course!

So after escaping the Yeti, it was time to head to the Boneyard, my son’s favorite! We let the kids run wild in there for a good 45 minutes or more. This is a great place to let the kids run wild and burn off some energy.  There are huge 3 story tall slides, caves, and then across the bridge is a dig site where they can dig for fossils and bones.  There is only one way in/out and guarded by a CM that doesn't let kids exit without a parent/adult with them.  The twins even got in and had a little fun crawling around.   We had planned to try and do Dinosaur over there too and my favorite Primeval Whirl, but we just ran out of time.  It was extremely HOT today too which didn’t help.  

We had an 11:50am fastpass for the Adventurer’s Outpost to meet safari Mickey and Minnie.  We knew we had to eat lunch before that. So off to Flame Tree BBQ we went for lunch.  This is a favorite of ours.  There were no lines since we ate so early.  If you want to avoid the long lines at quick service, then go early or late.  It was close to 11:15am and we walked right up.  They have a great selection of BBQ and we love all the outdoor beautiful seating areas here. 

After lunch, we headed to the outpost right nearby.  TIP_ you can ensure you are selecting fastpasses near each other by looking at the map feature as you are selecting your fastpasses.  It will show a map so you can make sure attractions are close and you aren’t criss crossing the park.  Or just ask me, I know where everything is!  Lol

We waited in a short line and soon were in to visit Mickey! The twins love Mickey. 

After our visit, we hit the 3D movie- It’s Tough to be a Bug.  This is a really cute little show, but it does have some dark portions, including spiders that float down off the ceiling right above your head in the dark that can scare some kids.  We waited a while for this one and it was packed and HOT.  Everyone was tired and mom was getting overheated.  The crowds were not helping.  And I had one of the few rude guest encounters of the trip.  There was a large group near us and these young men probably 18-25 nearly trampled me and my babies trying to push past us into the theater.  It was ridiculous.  I tried to say something about there being plenty of seats for everyone and no need to push me down with a child in my arms, but they didn’t speak English and just continued shoving an elderly lady.  So rude, but thankfully one of the few encounters like that. 

Thankfully we got in and seated as Charlie was extremely fussy now and mom was feeling the effects of the heat and crowds.  We loved the show and William liked getting “stung” and we decided it was enough for the day.  We still had a fastpass for the Lion King show, which we LVOE, but it was so hot and miserable and the twins were done.  We knew it was time to go.  As much of a type A planner as I am, I knew I would have to be flexible this trip and we’d have to skip some things and change plans on the fly.  When the babies need their rest, we needed to break.  There was no sense in pushing when everyone was really hot and tired.  Then we all just get grumpy and no one has a good time.  So we left.  I’m sad we didn’t get as much done at AK as we wanted, but I know we will be back next year.  The babies had been so good going with the flow and so I knew we had to let them have some rest. 

Back to the hotel for a nap for the babies.  William and I got changed and refreshed and decided we would ride the monorail around, his favorite!  So Mandy and Brynley joined us while the guys stayed back and rested with the younger three.  Stay tuned for our monorail adventures! 

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