Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Disney - Day 2

We got moving on Sunday morning to get to Animal Kingdom but not as early as I would have liked.  It definitely helped having breakfast in the room but since we hadn't gotten our Disney routine down yet I was scrambling to pack my backpack and get everything ready to go.  Plus the kids were in usual excitement mode and not very good at focusing on things like eating and getting dressed.  I definitely think that if we had gotten there earlier the day might have been a little different.  But we learned from it.  

This was the first time in Animal Kingdom for all of us.  Neither Jason nor I had ever been since it opened after the last time we had visited as teenagers, so we were looking forward to it.  Right at the entrance w stopped and the older kids bought their Disney head gear (Piper had gotten her Minnie ears the night before).  Caroline picked out the springy Mickey antenna and Bryce went for the classic Goofy hat - similar to what I had when I was ten.  The kid wore it like a champ all week!  We finally got into the park and first stop, photo in front of the Tree of Life.  Caroline quickly figured out that it was NOT a real tree and that the leaves weren't real.  Skeptic.

Then we headed to the Kilimanjaro Safaris Expedition since we know that gets more crowded as the day goes on and more animals tend to be out in the mornings.  I finally had some really good subjects for my zoom lens and was so excited to get such close up shots of a lot of the animals.  I absolutely love giraffes and we saw a lot of them. They are just amazing animals.  

These dudes were just chillin' by the road - loved it!

Is that you Pumba?

I really thought this was an amazing ride because they are real trucks, not some ride on a track.  I was surprised how much you bump around too.   But when it's a real truck that kind of thing happens - we loved it!

Then we headed out and started exploring.  We saw the Nemo show, got fast passes for Expedition Everest, rode the Triceratop Spin, and then stopped at the Boneyard.  They all three LOVED that.  And while I do too, it's a little unnerving that you can't see your kids all the time.  Piper surprised me by how much climbing she did and wasn't afraid of.

Next up was lunch at Yak & Yeti!  So delicious.  After such a good dinner the night before, I wasn't sure what to expect but I'd heard from friends that it was good (along with reviews online).  It certainly did not disappoint but the kids were a bit worn out and weren't exactly having a great time at first.  Piper started her "I DON'T KNOW!" response to anything you'd ask her followed by crying.  Caroline was a little rude to the server and Jason and I quickly nipped that in the bud.  Bryce was mostly fine but kept trying to sit on my lap and cuddle with me.  Note to Disney visitors - the restaurants can be cool after being out in the hot sun so having a sweater/jacket in your bag isn't a bad idea if you have sensitive kids.  I made do by throwing my "catch all" towel over Piper (an old hooded baby towel I kept in my bag for all kinds of uses - definitely helpful, so glad I had 2 to use through the week!!!)  However, as the meal went on, things got better.  I think they cooled off and their blood sugar was raised and moods improved markedly.

However, I credit Bryce with "saving lunch" that day.  When it came time to order, Bryce couldn't decide between a hamburger or an eggroll.  At the last minute he went with the hamburger and for some reason Piper chose eggroll.  I tried to caution her (because I know how she is!) but she was in a bad mood at that point and she was insisting, so eggroll it was.  When the food was brought to the table, she took one bite and declared she hated it.  Bryce took a bite or two from his hamburger and asked for a taste of her eggroll which she gave him but Piper was starting to melt down.  And then Bryce asked if he could switch lunches - Piper agreed!!  Boom - instant happy kids on both sides.  Jason and I both told him how much we appreciated it.  I had the Miso Salmon as my entree and it was out of this world!  We both had the wonton dessert which was amazing - no wonder all the staff kept recommending it.

Feeling better, we all headed out to ride Everest.  Jason and Caroline had no interest, so they hung out with Piper in a cool spot while we rode.  This was Bryce's first roller coaster and he loved it!  I think it was my favorite coaster of the week too.  I would have loved to have ridden it again. But alas, that didn't happen.  Since the moment we had arrived at the resort, Caroline had been bugging us to swim, swim, swim!  While she was happy when she was actually on a ride, she was less than enthused the rest of the time.  Finally, we gave in.  The line for Kali River Rapids was too long to wait so Jason, Piper, my mom, Caroline and I started to make our way out of the park with the understanding that we would be stopping at the Tough to Be a Bug show.  Bryce decided he wanted to do more and stayed with my dad and Kevin/Kelly.  I was jealous, I admit.  There were so many more things I wanted to see and do in Animal Kingdom.  (Bryce rode DINOSAUR and several other rides while he stayed with them but unfortunately was just a hair shy of 48 inches to ride the Primeval Whirl.)  He also saw the parade and had a great time!

I'm glad we stopped to see the bug show though and Piper promptly passed out in her stroller and then Jason carried her as we waited to go in:

Magically, Caroline was all of a sudden in a GREAT mood because she had gotten her way and knew we were going back to swim so she posed all through the line with the amazing animal carvings.

Piper woke up just in time for the show and we all enjoyed the surprises throughout!

We made it back to the resort and in just a few seconds, the girls were ready for the pool (Piper was suddenly revived - no nap for her!)  Port Orleans Riverside has a bunch of "quiet" pools peppered throughout the sprawling resort but in the middle is the Old Man River pool which is much bigger, has music playing, water falls, and a slide.

I realize now I didn't take any other photos at the pool (because I was swimming and didn't want to have my camera to worry about, but I did take my little video cam and took this quick video so you can see.  It really is a cool pool and I get the kids' attraction to wanting to swim there but we didn't come all that way just to swim!  So the girls both tried out the slide and had lots of fun splashing and swimming around.  Bryce got back just as we did and was so upset that he missed it that my mom took him back for half an hour - thank you, mom.

After everyone had their swimming time and we got dressed and ate a quick dinner at the resort, we headed back to the Magic Kingdom for the parade and fireworks.  I doubted our decision to do this the but the kids insisted they wanted to.  It was 8:30 before we even got to the park because of crowded buses - the MK had extra magic hours until 3am that night!!!!  The parade was at 9pm so we were getting there pretty late and didn't get great viewing for it.  Piper hung out on Uncle Kevin's shoulders for the best seat.

The Electrical Light parade is one of my favorites because it's something I saw as a kid when we visited Disney in 1982 and 1987.  We had a cassette tape with the music on it and listened to it over and over when we were kids.  I was so excited to hear that it was back and couldn't wait for the kids to see it.  Caroline was less than enthused though but I think a lot of that had to do with our lackluster seats.  My mom and I vowed to see it again later in the week with better seats (we did!).  After the parade was over, Piper and Caroline clearly had hit a wall.  I realllllly wanted to watch the fireworks and to ride some rides but that was not in the cards.  I was learning the drill for being at Disney with younger kids.  Thankfully, my parents and Kevin/Kelly were staying though and Bryce, who wanted to stay, got to.  The four of us headed back to the resort and the rest of them stayed.  My parents and Bryce stayed until after 11pm and had a grand time.  Bryce rode so many rides.  Kevin and Kelly stayed until after 2am and said that they just kept getting on rides and had such a good time.  Color me jealous!!

Even though I was feeling a bit frustrated after our first full day in the parks, the rest of the week improved in terms of how much more Caroline and Piper.  I also think we became less likely to indulge them and we powered through and they sucked it up and dealt with it.  Again, just something learned as we continued to get oriented to the Disney experience with younger children.


Katie said...

I love the safari ride! I think it is my favorite ride at Disney. How were the crowds? Wait times? Did you do Lion King show? Safari treks? I guess you liked Port Orleans? That is good to know. Yes, traveling with little ones is tough, heck even I had a meltdown in AK b/c we went on day 2 after all that traveling! :) You have to be willing to let some things go in favor of rest and that is okay. Did you guys have park hoppers? I read day 1 too, but commenting here for both. :) Next day please. :)) Oh and I remember that dessert from Yak & Yeti-- cream cheese fried wontons. :)

Erika said...

We really didn't get to truly explore AK. I kind of regret it but the kids weren't that interested in going back for whatever reason. We polled them on the last day where to go and they gave a vote for Epcot, MK, or HS - no votes for AK. It was sooo hot that day and it was crowded which I think hindered it plus we hadn't hit our Disney stride yet. I wish we had gone later in the week, but there's always next time!