Quin was up during the night and we were getting tired, so we slept in a little bit this morning. Jenny and I got out for a run around the 1.4 mile running path that goes around the resort (we went twice around), we gave the kids baths, then we grabbed a leisurely breakfast at the Shutters food court at our resort. It was a good jumping off point for the rest of the day, which we planned on spending at Animal Kingdom.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom is their newest theme park. Mom and dad had been at the park once before, right after it opened in 2001 when they chaperoned my Brother Brett’s high school choir trip to Disney world. Our expectations were low as my dad said the park wasn’t very big and there wasn’t much to do at it. Apparently they have done some building since then, because we had a full day of fun and excitement at this park.
Our first inclination was to Fast Pass everything, so my dad and I sprinted towards the rides we wanted to go on while Jenny, mom, and Ethan tended to Quin, who was ready to eat already when we got there. We first Fast Passed the Jungle Safari, then went and tried to do the same to Kali Rapids. There, however, we were met with an invalid ticket. The woman behind the kiosks explained that we could only Fast Pass once within a period of time, and that period of time changed depending on park conditions. Another Fast Pass was not available to me for 2 hours, for example. I noticed later in the day after Fast Passing another ride that the wait was only 35 minutes, so the length of time must have something to do with the number of people using them or in the park.
We went back to gather the family and headed to the Tree of Life, the centerpiece of the Animal Kingdom. Underneath the tree was It’s Tough Being a Bug, a 3-d interactive movie about bugs. It was pretty good, and a little scary. At one point they called an attack on the audience and some bees stung us from behind our chairs.
After our bug adventure, it was time already to go on our safari. First, dad and I traveled to the Dinosaur area to Fast Pass Dinosaur. On the way back, we were waylaid by two people who wanted to talk about Quin, “how old is he,” “boy is he adorable,” same old stuff. We got a lot of attention during this trip. Anyway, back to the safari. It was awesome, many of our party’s favorite attraction of the trip. It took us on a rugged Jeep-like vehicle through the animal reserve where Disney keeps an entire savanah of African animals, elephants, giraffes, zebras, ostrichs, there were a lot of animals. At one point our truck got stopped briefly while an ostrich decided to stand in the road.
Back to Dinosaur, we had heard from one of Ethan’s teachers that he would love this ride. Well, we’ll never know because he wouldn’t go on it. No amount of bribery was getting him on this ride, for some reason. Well, after Jenny, dad, and I actually went on the ride, it turns out he was probably right, he would have been very scared. It was a pretty neat ride, on a roller-coaster like vehicle called a “time machine” that took us back to the Cretaceous period. There were dinosaurs all over the place and the sky was starting to fall (the asteroid was about to hit). Yeah, Ethan would have probably wet himself on this one!
For a change of pace, and to get off our feet, we went to the Birds of Prey show, which was basically a bunch of birds flying in and out of scene. It was OK, nothing to write home about. Before we went to that, though, we Fast Passed Primeval Whirl, a twister-like roller coaster that Ethan actually wanted to go on. He wasn’t scared at all to go on it, so Jenny and I went on it with him. I can’t believe this was the same kid, because he just loved this ride. Jenny and I, not so much. We don’t really like spinning rides. On the way off the ride Ethan noticed a pile of vomit along the boardwalk returning us to the earth. He thought that was pretty cool.
At this point, we had finally timed it just right to see a Disney parade. Ethan and Jenny had decent seats, though they were looking right into the sun. Apparently it was a pretty good parade. I stayed back with Quin and got to glimpse some old guy that was so tired that he sat in the rented stroller for what I assume was his grandchild. We also struck up a conversation with a woman that I can only describe as a “Disney Freak.” She told us all about this Pirates and Princesses breakfast that we should have sent Ethan to. They get to dress up and eat breakfast with a character, oh and it costs like $250. Sorry, not for me.
We had to burn a little more time before dinner in Africa, so we caught the Lion King circus show, which was excellent. There were acrobats dressed up like Monkeys and suspended rope artists dressed up like birds. We passed the rest of the time taking a walking tour of the animal reserve that we had previously driven through earlier in the day.
At last, we went to the Tusker House, a restaurant in the Africa area of the park. This was a buffet with African flavored foods, and I think most of us agreed that it was the best food we had the entire trip. Cous-cous, curry chicken, breads, it was all good. Of course, we were very hungry, so that might have had something to do with it. While there we had beer called Tusker Beer, a Kenyan beer that wasn’t too bad. I may have to look it up and get some.
We left the park a little early by Disney standards, around 7:30. This park closes earlier than the others, I assume because of the animals. It was all fine and good, though, because Jenny and I had plans for the evening. On the bus we met a family from Hartland that had tried to get to Disney on the Friday before Easter. If you live in the Milwaukee area, you know that as the Friday of 14 inches of spring snow! Needless to say, they weren’t able to fly that day. The worst part was that AirTran didn’t have another flight schedule to Orlando until the following Tuesday, so they decided to drive down.
After getting Ethan and Quin ready for bed, we left the kids with grandma and grandpa and caught a bus to Downtown Disney, another new attraction since the last time I was here. This area is just like the rest of the parks without the rides. In other words, there were restaurants and shops, and still lots of people. We found a couple of trinkets and souvenirs to buy, but quickly ended up at an Irish pub near Pleasure Island. After a beer each and half of our second, the bartender came over to us and asked, “Mickey Mouse kicking your ass? You have that look about you.” He couldn’t have been more right.
Downtown Disney was all fine and good. The best part was just to be able to sit upright and have adult conversation for a little while. The beer was good, too. We were both struck by how many kids were still out at this time of night which was hovering around 10:00-10:30. At any rate, we caught a bus and were back home before 11:30 so we could prepare for our last day at the parks.