Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Animal Kingdom, June 2016

Day 2 in the parks brings us to Animal Kingdom.  Again, I planned three fastpasses ahead of time; Safari, Everest, and Dinosaur.  As I said in my last post, though, I'm all about changing things up when you think something else might work better for you that day.  On this day, the park was open from 9-11:00, with extra magic hour from 8-9.  The impact from Tropical Storm Colin was also expected to affect the area sometime that afternoon.  With this in mind, we really made up the day as we went along.

Like always, I suggest being at the bus stop, if staying on property, an hour before the park opens.  There's no opening show at this time at Animal Kingdom, but there was still a large crowd waiting to get in at 8.

Thinking about the weather threat, we went straight to Expedition Everest. Yes, we had fastpasses for this attraction later in the day, but we were worried that the ride would shut down if the weather got bad.  However, when we got to Everest a line was forming outside the attraction as it was temporarily closed.  We debated our options, and decided to wait it out to see if it would open soon.  There was a merchandise stand next to the line, so Littlecjc suckered Patrick into a new toy to entertain her while we waited.

Our patients was rewarded and the ride opened making Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, attraction #1 & 2.  If you missed my last post, I'm counting this as two attractions, since we had to do a rider swap.

Animal Kingdom is always a slower paced day for us, because we feel that to truly experience this park, you need to take your time to notice the animals and hidden fun.  So, we headed to the Maharajah Jungle Trek, attraction #3.

Littlecjc also got some water play in after our jungle trek, before heading out to the safari.

At this point, we needed to head to Africa to take advantage of our first fastpass at Kilimanjaro Safaris, attraction #4.  

The giraffes were extra close on this journey.

After leaving the safari, we took a walk through the Pangani Forest, attraction #5.  Our next thought was to head to Rafiki's Planet Watch, but by the end of our walk, Littlecjc had fallen asleep so we decided we didn't want to move her from the stroller.  Instead we decided we would watch the next Flight of Wonder show.

We were a little early, so we got a drink and had a seat close by across from the Tree of Life to just take a break.  Strollers aren't permitted in the theater and Littlecjc was still asleep at showtime, so Patrick stayed out with her and the rest of us saw Flight of Wonder, attraction #6.  When we got out, Littlecjc was awake again.

This trip was the first time we've done character dining since I was a kid.  I now understand why everyone spends the extra money.  The look on Littlecjc's face during the entire meal was priceless.  If you haven't already guessed, we ate lunch at Tusker House Restaurant, where we met our first characters of the day.  Here we met Safari Mickey, character 1; Safari Donald, character 2; Safari Goofy, character 3; and Safari Daisy, character 4.

We had a blast! The food was great, and I think we will definitely return here again.  I'm now sold on character dining.

After our amazing lunch, we were off to Dinoland.  Of course, we needed to make a quick stop.  We didn't see any photopass people out in front of the tree during the early entry hour, so we needed to stop now to get our picture taken.

By this time, we were pushing our luck with the incoming weather and as we were standing in line for the TriceraTop Spin it began to pour.  We put on our ponchos and decided to ride it anyway making TriceraTop Spin attraction #7.  We got completely soaked, but while at Disney, who cares.

Across from the TriceraTop Spin, we were able to meet Fisherman Goofy, character 5, and Pluto, character 6.

It was now time to use our next fastpass at Dinosaur, attraction #8.

Sometimes, fastpass lines get backed up as well.  This was the case with this ride, so while Mamaw and Patrick went on the ride (yes, only Patrick actually rode it and is in the picture) Papaw and I took Littlecjc over to the Boneyard, attraction #9.  

We spent a little time shopping during this hour.  We had purchased cheap ponchos from the dollar store before leaving home for this trip.  However, with the tropical storm blowing in, we knew it was going to rain a lot the next few days, so we decided to upgrade our rain gear and bought the Mickey ponchos to match everyone else in the park. They even had kid sizes for Littlecjc.

At some point during the day, after we decided we weren't going to use our fastpass for Everest, we picked up fastpasses for the Lion King show.  With the fastpass, it stated to enter between 3:30 and 3:50, so after updating our rain gear we headed that way.

The hour started with Festival of the Lion King, attraction #10.  I love this show and never tire of it.  After the show, we walked over to the tree of life for It's Tough to be a Bug, attraction #11.  

We were overdue for some character meet and greets, so we headed to the Adventures Outpost to meet Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, characters 7 & 8.  

As of now, this is the only place to meet them both in the same room on any given day in the parks.  We weren't quite finished with characters though.  We headed over to character landing to meet character 9, Pocahontas.  

Her line moved slowly, but these two had such a sweet moment it was worth the wait.  Littlecjc never really talked to the characters this trip, so I guess Pocahontas didn't want to scare her and whispered to her.  So this precious moment truly was just between the two of them as I have no idea what she was saying to Littlecjc.

This hour was mostly devoted to dinner.  We ate at the Flame Tree Barbecue.  I'm guessing it was the rain, but the place was empty.  After dinner, we made our way to the Finding Nemo show.

So, attraction #12 became Finding Nemo The Musical.  I wasn't sure that Littlecjc would sit still for this one, but she did great!

At this point, we were feeling a little water-logged and we were debating our plan for the evening.  Sometime during the day, Patrick had acquired fastpasses for the new Jungle Book show at 9:00.  We didn't want to miss it if it was actually going to happen, but we were guessing it was going to be cancelled due to all the rain.

So while we were still making up our minds, we headed back to Dinoland and and rode TriceraTop Spin, attraction #13 again. Littlecjc then sweet talked Mamaw into riding TriceraTop Spin, attraction #14 one more time while Mom and Dad took a spin on Primeval Whirl, attraction #15.  Littlecjc also got to "play" some Fossil Fun Games.

I'm not actually counting this in our attraction number though, because we never actually paid for these games.  The castmembers were just great employees that allowed her to sit there and think that she was playing.  I think by this point, the rain had scared most park guest away.  After getting her away from the games, we made our way over to Dinosaur, attraction #16 where I walked right in regardless of my rider swap ticket.

 When I got off the ride, I got the official notification that the Jungle Book show had in fact been cancelled for the evening.  Since Patrick had gotten us fastasses for the show, when they cancelled it we were given free fastpasses to use either that night still or for any ride the next day in any of the parks.  Since we had already ridden everything in this park, we chose to save them for the next day.  So, we made our way to the front of the park to watch the Tree of Life come alive with magic.

This was our first time seeing this show, since this was the first year that Animal Kingdom stayed open until dark.  I really hope that they continue these awakenings, because we only stayed around to watch one but I would love to see more.

It was probably around 9 when we left for the night.  It had been a very rainy day, but we still felt like we had accomplished everything that we wanted to get in with the exception of the Jungle Book show.  It was a little disappointing that we couldn't see this, but we understood why it was cancelled and weren't upset by this outcome.  In all honesty, we were ready to get out of the rain ourselves.

So, in case you're keeping track here are our totals for today: we rode/saw 16 attractions with 3 fastpasses and met 9 characters.  Check back soon to see our journey through Hollywood Studios next.

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