Thursday, September 3, 2015

Disney Day 8 - Animal Kingdom...

Our final day at Disney was spent at Animal Kingdom!  Like our visit last year, our first stop was the safari.  It was a magic hours day, so the park was opening up one hour earlier for guests staying on Disney property and we wanted to take advantage of that extra time, so we were there when the gates opened.  We immediately entered the park and hiked back to "Africa."

Mini-tip --- Always do the safari first thing in the morning since it it cooler in the day and most of the animals are out and about eating!

Georgia loved checking out all the animals...

Once our safari journey ended, we walked off to "Asia" to get in line for the Kali River Rapids Ride.  

Mini-tip --- Kali doesn't have a magic hours opening time, so it opens one hour later on a magic hours day.  Take advantage and go do the safari or ride Expedition Everest before heading over to Kali.

Since it was much cooler when we last visited in April, we skipped out on this water ride.  Since it was 95-100 degrees in August, we figured we'd do it!

Warning note... We knew there was the possibility of getting very wet on this ride and we decided to risk it.  I packed flip flops for each of us and we quickly disposed of our socks/sneakers and put those on before the ride.  However, we didn't bring our ponchos.  BIG MISTAKE!

Mini-tip --- For guaranteed dry clothes after Kali River Rapids, wear a poncho or bring a complete change of clothes (including underwear and bra!).

Well, good luck was not on our side and we took a direct hit from a waterfall.  I was wet, but Nick and Georgia were absolutely soaked.  We managed to strip Georgia and put her in a change of clothes that I had brought while Mimi was a team player and walked around waving Georgia's underwear around to help it dry more quickly.  Nick, on the other hand, didn't have many options.  He had packed a change of shorts, but he was soon also the proud owner of an Animal Kingdom t-shirt!  Disney could make some huge money if they had dryers available right outside the exit for the ride.

Mini-tip --- If you need a high powered blow dryer, head to the restrooms across from Flame Tree BBQ.  The ladies room had a dryer high enough on the wall that you could stand under it to dry your hair.  Unfortunately, we didn't discover this restroom for several hours and it is NOT near Kali at all!  However, it might be worth the walk if you get soaked.

Nick and I managed a last minute FP+ to one of my favorite roller coasters at any of the Disney parks - Expedition Everest!  Georgia and Mimi waited just a few minutes for us so we could all regroup and head to our brunch reservation at Tusker House.  

Georgia was so excited to finally see some of her favorite Disney characters!




Goofy was absolutely amazing!  Every now and again, you get a character who goes out of their way.  He got down to Georgia's level and played with her for a few minutes.  She absolutely LOVED the attention from him and it made her day.

Overall, we loved Tusker House!  Even more so, we loved the time of our reservation - 10:15am.  It was late enough that we got to enter the park and ride a few things before heading to breakfast (and taking advantage of a less crowded time to hit the big rides).  Eating a huge meal from 10-11am let us enjoy the rest of the day without having to stop for lunch too.  The adults thought that the food was above average - we enjoyed trying a few African inspired dishes and loved our staples.  Georgia must have had a tape worm for this meal because she inhaled the Mickey waffles!  I'm not 100% sure what is in the jungle juice (that bright orange drink in the photos above) - I think it was a passionfruit/orange/guava mixture.  It was beyond delicious and all of us chugged multiple glasses as it just kept showing up.  

The regular Mickey waffles were peanut and tree nut free!  Although they had milk and egg in them, they were cooked, so Georgia could eat the without any issues.  WOOHOO!

After brunch, we headed over for our FP+ reservation for the Nemo show.  We managed to score 2nd row seating and had an awesome view!

After the show, we headed to Georgia's favorite place at Animal Kingdom - the dinosaur playground.  Even I have to admit, it's a super cool playground with huge slides, climbing equipment and a "dig" for dinosaur bones.  She could have easily just spent the day there!

Mimi took a shift watching Georgia so that Nick and I could do our final FP+ reservation for the day - "Dinosaur!"

By the time we got back, Georgia hadn't moved an inch!

Note the color on her cheeks.  Again, it was a sweltering day!  For some reason, the air just doesn't seem to move around Animal Kingdom like the other Disney parks.  Bring lots of water and indulge in some of the treats.  I'm not a regular Coca-Cola girl, but I happily ate a Frozen Coke that afternoon!

After a few more rides and shows, we decided to call it a day since it was approaching late afternoon.  Some people complain that Animal Kingdom doesn't have enough to do to warrant a full day at the park, but I highly disagree.  We didn't get to see/do everything and we were there from magic hour until almost 3pm.  Avatar Land is already under construction at Animal Kingdom and a few new rides are also in development, as well as a nighttime show.  So, soon enough, it will definitely be a full day/night park.

After a quick ride, we arrived back at Shades of Green just as an afternoon thunderstorm fired up!  Georgia was quite content to just hang out in the lobby watching a movie!

We debated some evening options, but decided that Georgia was just too exhausted to head back out since she missed a nap that day.  Mimi volunteered to stay at the hotel with G while Nick and I headed over to Downtown Disney (soon to be called Disney Springs) to grab dinner and explore.

A new Frozen nightgown and a picnic with Mimi and she was set for the night!

Nick and I scored a reservation to a restaurant in Downtown Disney called Bongos. The cuban food was excellent and the place was happening - live music and dancers!  Georgia would have loved the place.  After some tasty cuban and mojitos, we wandered over to Disney Quest (it was included in our week ticket, so we wanted to use the pass).  The place was amazing - 5 levels of video games, interactive games, etc.  It was every teenage boys fantasy... and maybe a boy in his mid 30's...

We had a blast playing games, participating in a gigantic bumper car shooting game, battling pirates with 3-D glasses, etc.  Our only regret was that we didn't have a longer time to spend there.  

Mini-tip --- If it's a rainy day or you want to entertain some pre-teens/teens, head to Disney Quest for an afternoon of video games!

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