Rug is in our bedroom watching Pirates as I type this, which makes it all the more appropriate.
Our plan today is to go to Animal Kingdom during the day, drop Miss M with my in-laws (who are staying in Kissimmee) and go to the Pirate and Princess Party from six p.m. to midnight. And also our plan today was to take it in slowly...not go 'warp speed'. I'd heard AK was a park to slow down and truly enjoy. I learned that was entirely too true.
We got up early again but this time the girls were ready to go. Rug was the last one to get out of the shower. She says, "Mom?"
"Yeah, Rug, come one let's get going now."
"I know, but Mom? Wasn't Elizabeth Swann the governor's daughter?"
Are you freaking kidding me? My 7-year-old daughter is that obsessed with POTC that she figured my husband's dorky clue out? Wow, we are bigger nerds than I try to pretend. So, yeah, LP got all of our pirate gear out...I had purchased pirate hats, beads, eye patches, and brought along Rug's Elizabeth Swann costume from Halloween out, and we laid them out on the bed with the tickets for the party. Her eyes were as wide as doubloons. Little did she know she'd be meeting Captain Jack himself...
AK opened at 9 so again we traveled to the McDonald's down the road, LP insisting they were cheaper than the food court. True, but my god man the calories...and another thing we noticed was the accents are VERY thick around Orlando. Pair that with a poorly functioning drive-through speaker and I was surprised we didn't end up with a bag of peanuts instead of breakfast food.
**The Tree of Life, in the background, is the "Castle" of AK. It has over 300 animals carved into it and I took a gazillion pictures of it. I almost had to buy a new memory card with all the stupid pics I have of it.**
We arrived at AK right at opening and it was fairly crowded. Our first stop was to go to Expedition Everest to get a Fast Pass. Once we got it, we decided to saunter and check out the park. We stumbled upon the Maharajah Jungle Trek and decided to take that path. It was amazing. The park was packed all day (it was MLK day) but we were the ONLY ones on this trek. There were tigers, warthogs, all sorts of animals on this lush beautiful trail. We enjoyed every second of it, and Miss M loved being able to walk around freely. The fruit bats were the coolest, and the CM there said they never come out, but they were all out of the cave for us to see. Al was our tour guide, they had maps to help her and by the end of the trek she'd decided her career choice was going to be a zoologist. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip.
The trek also had 'ruins' that were carved with detailed pictures and made us feel like we were in a different world.
We left the trek and made our way to the Safari. On our way, we passed 'DeVine' who is a woman dressed entirely as a tree on stilts who graciously walked and blended in with the foliage. She was incredible to watch. (click on her name to see a video of her)
Right down the road we got to see the first characters of the day, Baloo and King Louie from the Jungle Book:
Miss M was laughing almost all day at AK, but not in any of the pictures. She's like a total sourpuss in all of them. She had a blast, honestly.
After that we stood in line for the safari because the wait time said only 20 minutes. Oh no. Apparently the warthogs were 'migrating' across the tracks and they couldn't start the ride until they were all done. We waited in line for over an HOUR. Fortunately this was the only time this happened our whole trip (warthogs, who knew?) but Miss M was thankfully in good spirits and we had a lot of treats to keep her happy in line. Once the warthogs made their destination, we got on the ride pretty quickly. I have no pictures of it because it was the bumpiest thing I've ever been on. I wasn't even going to bother.
After the safari our Fast Passes were ready for Expedition Everest. LP went on first with the girls, and I waited in the gift shop. It wasn't long and they were back and I took the older girls iwth me to ride it again. Remember I said Tower of Terror was my favorite ride? Well, this is my favorite coaster. What a great time! The theme is, you are traveling Mt. Everest, going uphill, and you come across the infamous Yeti who proceeds to pull the track off the coaster and yikes...you go backwards and down a very steep hill. It was pretty amazing. (I swear Miss M smiled on this trip)
After Everest, the girls decided to get into the 'pin trading' craze and I was all for it. They bought lanyards with 4 pins on them, and immediately traded with one of the CMs. After that we visited Minnie and Donald Duck. Donald was a riot, kissing on Rug and scratching pictures out of Mickey in each of their autograph books. Apparently there is a lot of competition between Donald and Mickey. I was not aware. Our lunch consisted of chocolate covered marshmallows for Al, a power bar for LP and I and a chocolate chip cookie for Rug. Miss M was snacking on whatever we dropped.
We went to Dino-Land and they rode the Primevial Whirl (no thanks) while Miss M and I stood in line to see Goofy and Pluto. She loved them.
Of course, every animal we saw she still said "Me-ooooow" but at least she "woofed" at Pluto. She's got a little animal schizo, so what, right? This week I finally got her to say "Spongebob" so at least I'm warping her brain sufficiently. "Meow" and "Spongebob", really what else does she need to learn to say? Maybe, "Shut your piehole!" but that's about it. Look! Another picture of the Tree of Life! But holy guacamole it's a pic of just me and LP. That doesn't happen. Look honey, let's pretend we're young and single again. Woot!
Traveling down the pretty walkway, we noticed a line for the Winnie-the-Pooh characters. Sensing Miss M's boredom, we decided to go and check them out to see how she would react, since we'd reserved a dinner with the Gang for later that week.
At first she was thrilled to see Pooh,
Then he went in for the hug and she wasn't so sure:
And finally she was all, "Holy FRICK! This big yellow BEAR hopped up on HONEY wants to hug me. Get me outta here!
She got one last punch in as LP held her in his loving arms:
On our way out we visited Conservation World and met up with Jiminy Cricket, Rafiki and Pocahontas. That was one of those 'educational' things at AK where most kids would be bored, but again, my kids (and LP and I) really enjoyed. Dorks, seriously.
A parade was starting to evolve, so we high-tailed it before it could begin. Beating the crowds, we wanted to be at Magic Kingdom early for the Pirate and Princess Party.
We all agreed to make Thursday another Animal Kingdom day and we all agree it is definitely our favorite park.