We spent Tuesday at Animal Kingdom. We had a breakfast reservation at Tusker House, which was a REALLY GOOD buffet, and featured Safari Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy. This was our main opportunity to meet the Mickey’s Clubhouse gang up close, and it was great. We also all agreed that eating a great big breakfast was our favorite sit-down meal of the day, and ended up canceling our remaining two character dinners on Friday and Saturday in favor of larger meals earlier.
While we were waiting to get in to Tusker House, Jared went for FastPasses to the Kilimanjaro Safari ride, and the kids (and grandpa!) played on the drums across the street. We loved the attention to detail in the Harambe village - my dad spent two of his teenage years in Ethiopia, and he said there were a LOT of very authentic African details.
After breakfast we had just enough time to head over to the Kilimanjaro Safari, which was my favorite part of Animal Kingdom. A definite must-not-miss, as we had heard from many others. The ride itself is by truck, over a very rumbly dirt road through an African savannah. We saw all the african animals, pointed out to us by our guide, who also acted out the “plot” of the adventure, which was that we were chasing poachers. It was great. I loved that the ride had a storyline in addition to being some truly great sightseeing, and lots of very interesting facts about the animals themselves.
We did find that Animal Kingdom had much narrower walkways than either Epcot or Magic, and with the trees felt much more crowded than the other two parks had, for some reason. Coupled with the fact that I think we were all kind of exhausted from our first two long touring days (in fact, I think we all CAME to Disney kind of exhausted), we were all a bit tired and listless.
We headed down to Dinoland to let the kids run off some of their seemingly boundless well of energy in the Boneyard, which is an AWESOME playground. The kids hit the inside of the fenced area and basically disappeared into the huge nets above (connected to slides) and up into the caves (also connected to slides) and we barely saw them for an hour. Great for all involved. ;) Although Rowen did persuade both my mom and I to go down the tunnel slides with her. SO cute. :)
We pried the kids out of the Dinoland (they really could have stayed there all day. Seriously.) to accompany Jared and my dad up to Everest, and on the way we passed what looked like a midway with carnival games. Ooo, I said! Carnival games! :D And I made a mental note that I’d like to go back.
Jared and my dad were able to use all 4 FastPasses to ride the ride twice, so we decided to leave them there during their second trip through, and head back to the Boneyard, since that’s all the kids wanted to do.
I stopped in at the midway and my mom took the kids on over to play. I got some tickets, and played several of the games (dinosaur themed takes on classic carnival games). I even won a cute small dinosaur playing Whack-a-mole. I was very proud!
Our two hardcores appeared after battling Everest, and my parents said they would watch the kids in the playground (who were going on their second solid hour there and having an awesome time) while Jared and I played in the midway a bit more. So we had a 40-minute mini-date that totally reminded me of dating. We ended up winning TWO giant stuffed turtles for the kids, which was so fun, and they were promptly both named “Turtle-ey” by the kids. Since Elliott wouldn’t hear of getting a different color than Rowen, both Turtle-eys are bright orange, and now identified by each kid’s initials on the tag.
We decided about this point that it was HOT. And crowded. And although it was only 3:30 p.m. or so, we were all tired. Animal Kingdom was much more fun in the cool, less-crowded morning. So we left, and went to get on the bus.
I asked how the Everest ride was? Their eyes lit up as they told us about the ride, and of course some of their first words to me were, “You wouldn’t have liked it. It was dark AND fast, AND backwards”. And they were right. :)
We ate an early dinner at the hotel and then we all went back to our rooms. My parents went to sleep early, and Jared (after a little nap) took the kids for a boat ride over to Downtown Disney while I had a little nap. Baths, stories, some bed-jumping, teeth-brushing, pj’s, and everyone was asleep by 10, knowing we were heading to breakfast at Hollywood early the next morning.