Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 3 at Disney World: The Animal Kingdom

After we spent the first couple days at Magic Kingdom, we decided to move onto another theme park and we thought that Connor would love the animals at Animal Kingdom.  Jeremy also wanted to try out the zoom lens on his camera on the animal safari so that was where we went next!  

It's a good thing I am writing this now as I am already having a hard time remembering everything we did but I'll try my best.

I know we arrived at Animal Kingdom earlier than the previous couple of days.  It wasn't 9 am when the park opened but I think we got there around 10 am.  The first thing Jeremy wanted to do was get a FastPass for the safari since that was what he was most interested in.  We picked that up first and then here's how our day went.

It's Tough to be a Bug:  This is a 3-D show where you "become an honorary bug" according to Disney.  It was basically characters from a Bug's Life "interacting" with the audience until some less friendly bugs decide that humans haven't been very nice to bugs and they should try to treat us with bug spray and things like that.  There are some pretty cool special effects to make you feel like you are being exterminated (e.g. smoke, water, air).  I hate to say much more than that because I don't want to give away all the secrets.  Let's just say that Connor's first comments after the show were "Bugs under my bum!".  :-)

Camp Minnie-Mickey Greeting Trails: After the show, we walked around a bit to check things out and Aleena ended up falling asleep so we decided to go to Camp Mickey and Minnie where there are character greetings.  We took the time to get some photos of Connor with the characters.  The line ups were much shorter at Animal Kingdom so it was nice to get these photos done where there wasn't such a long wait.  He met Goofy and Mickey for lots of photos while Aleena continued to nap in the stroller.  Another thing to mention is that it was stinkin' hot the whole time we were in Orlando and the trees and forest-like atmosphere at Animal Kingdom was a nice relief on a hot day.  There's lots of shade unlike the Magic Kingdom which is more like walking around a city on a hot day with lots of pavement and cement.

Enjoying the shade at Animal Kingdom!
Connor meeting Goofy for the first time.
Connor gave Mickey big hugs!
Rainforest Cafe:  I made a reservation for the Rainforest Cafe about a month before we went to Florida and it was an interesting dining experience.  It was also expensive but we didn't exactly order the cheaper items on the menu as we mostly got fish and seafood.  The food was delicious and the atmosphere was junglerific.  There were all sorts of "animals" moving around and making noises, impromptu thunderstorms with lightning and thunder and lots of water features like waterfalls.  It was a pretty neat dining experience although Aleena seemed a bit disturbed by the huge thunderstorm that occurs every thirty minutes.  She didn't cry but she was on the verge.  We enjoyed the meal but it was quite pricey and we would have been okay with a cheaper alternative. 

Inside the restaurant
Kilimanjaro Safaris:  This was the part Jeremy was looking forward to the most so he had his camera out the whole time while trying to hold onto a very active toddler who didn't want to sit down on a fairly rough ride.  We saw all sorts of animals which we enjoyed.  Connor had a hard time focusing on much since you are moving and looking at the same time.  It wasn't the best activity for a toddler in retrospect as things were as obvious as they need to be for a two year old.  We enjoyed seeing all the animals though..there were monkeys, elephants, giraffes, cheetahs, and gorillas just to name a few.  Jeremy got some pretty fantastic photos so I'll post a few here.

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail:  This is a trail through more forest area with a variety of animals that you wouldn't see on the actual safari.  There were monkeys, birds, meerkats, hippos, gorillas and even an odd animal that looked like half a horse and half a giraffe.  It was a bit more crowded than I expected with a few parts where you were sort of shuffled through some smaller buildings.  It was not quite the peaceful walk I expected to have in hopes that the kids would nap but it was still nice and it was interesting to see the different animals.

An explanation of the giraffe-horse.
Festival of the Lion King:  This was the show I wanted to see the most and we weren't disappointed.  It was a half an hour of great singing, acrobatics, dancing and just great family fun.  There was crowd participation and we all really enjoyed it.  I took a bit of video to give you an idea.

Baby Centre:  This was our second trip to the baby centre at Animal Kingdom.  It is the nicest of the baby centres at Disney.  It feels new, clean and modern and the air conditioning felt great.  There is a huge room with several change tables, private rooms for nursing, a family washroom, a small store selling baby supplies at the front, and another large room with padded benches where you can sit and relax for a few minutes.  They also had high chairs and a television playing Beauty and the Beast which Connor loved.  It's his favourite Disney movie.  We changed the kids, had a snack and then headed out to spend a bit more time at the park before it closed.

An odd picture in the Baby Centre.  Connor aptly named it a "Cow Dog".
Finding Nemo - The Musical:  We wanted to catch this show too and made the last performance of the day at 6 pm.  It was really quite impressive and, as with most things at Disney, it exceeded our expectations. It was really like being at a broadway musical...amazing singing, performing and special effects.  Of all the shows at Disney, this was the longest but we didn't mind.  It was about 45 minutes long which was kind of surprising since most shows are maybe 25 to 30 minutes.

Asia: After the show, we didn't have much time before the park closed so we headed to the Asia section which we hadn't been to.  We just walked around to see what it was like and got a Photopass photo while we were there.  It was pretty much abandoned by that time in the day.  We headed back to the main road by the Tree of Life and got another photo taken and that was the end of our day at Animal Kingdom.

After three days of Disney, we needed a break so we actually slept in the next day and headed to Sea World which was near our resort.  I think I'll do my next post about our fourth day at Disney and finish up my Disney posts and then write about Sea World afterwards.

Next Up:  Disney's Hollywood Studios


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