Saturday, May 24, 2014
Our Epic Florida Trip: Day 18- Animal Kingdom
Our last real day in Florida was spent at Animal Kingdom. We were there a couple of years ago when we were in Florida for some meetings. I have to admit that I wasn't terribly impressed the last time. I'm not sure why...everybody talks so highly of this particular theme park that maybe my expectations were too high. But we decided to try again and I am so glad we did! In fact this ended up being my favorite park of the trip!
I will admit that it did start off a little shaky though. You see, I planned very well what I wanted to use our Fast Pass tickets on so as soon as we entered the park I went right away to get our Fast Passes for the whole family. The rest of the family kept going through the park and we made plans that I would call my mom's phone as soon as I was done to find out where to meet them. I got our passes and everything was going smoothly until I reached into my pocket and realized that my phone was actually in the diaper bag which was in the stroller with my family! I started to look for them for a few minutes, panicked a bit because I realized that there was pretty much no way I was going to find them in time to use our Fast Passes for the biggest ride of the day and went back to change our Fast Pass time. Then I headed back into the throngs of people to search again. I seriously thought that I might be looking for them for hours! I couldn't call them from another phone because, to be honest, I don't have my mom's number memorized. And I didn't think it would be worth it to go back to where they left me because I wasn't sure they would really remember where that was. So, I searched and scanned the crowds and said a little prayer. And then I came to a cross roads...I could take the path to the "Tree of Life" or the path to "Asia" or the path to "Dinosaur Land." They all lead to totally different parts of the park and I took a chance that I knew my Eli well enough to know where he would insist that they go first and sure enough I found them a couple of minutes later in Dinosaur Land! I can't even tell you how relieved I was when I spotted them!
So we got off to a shaky start, but it was pretty smooth sailing from then on!
The kids loved strolling around and seeing all of the animals...tigers and hippos, bats, birds and gorillas!
And we even went back and tried the "Bugs Life" show at the Tree of Life. We went to this show a few years ago with our friends and it pretty much terrorized all of the children in our group until one by one they left the show. It's actually a very cool 3D show that uses extra special affects (like spraying water, blowing air in your face, poking you in the back, turning off the lights, etc...) to make the show even more realistic. Very cool, but very scary for little ones! Eli didn't make it...Joe ended up leaving with him half way through, but Lily and the rest of us loved it! And I also loved these drums that they had out to play in "Africa." So fun. How cool would it be to have these in your house? And of course one of the favorite parts of the day for everybody was the African Safari Ride. It really is pretty awesome to get so close to many of these animals! And no, I didn't have a zoom lens on my camera...the giraffes really are that close with no fence or anything in between us. That was my favorite...I love giraffes!
And Joe got this great picture of us with my parents (Liam was in the stroller trying to get a nap in...though it didn't take)! And then we headed back to Dino Land so we could let the kids run and slide and play...
And while we did that my parents strolled Liam around trying to get him to sleep...which clearly didn't work!:) And then we took in the Finding Nemo musical show...which was also one of my favorites of the day. What an incredible show...and because we had Fast Passes we were right up front in the "bubble zone" and the kids loved the bubbles pouring down from the ceiling at the end! Really the only part of the day that was really crazy (except for loosing my family in the beginning) was trying to see the Jammin' Jungle Parade after the Nemo show. The show got out right at the same time the parade started and it was just crazy. We couldn't get around the parade really to try and get a good view or to leave either...we sort of got trapped. The kids still enjoyed it, but it was a little crazy. But then our last big ride of the day was the Kali River Rapids. Both Lily and Eli were big enough to go on this one, but since Liam was not Joe and I took turns staying back with him. First Joe and my parents and the kids went (we had Fast Passes)and then we used our "rider swap" option and as soon as they were done the kids and I got to go right away again without having to stand in the line all over again...it was pretty sweet! The kids LOVED this ride so it was pretty great that they got to do it twice. We were smart in saving it for the end because Lily was in one of the seats that got soaked both times (I was as well my go around) so we were all pretty wet by the end! This was a pretty fun day and though I had my doubts about cramming in one more big theme park I'm so glad that we did...it was a great way to end our vacation!