Monday, March 8, 2010

The Race was only the Beginning!

So I've actually been to Walt Disney World. Once. Twenty years ago. (It pains me to admit that it was really so long ago.) Needless to say that a lot changes in two decades. Back then the Animal Kingdom Park didn't even exist. But on Saturday after the races that's where we decided to spend our day.

It was exciting even to be on the tram ride from the parking lot. The kiddos got a big kick out of that.

We had strollers but the real life saver were the backpacks with leashes. This gave both toddlers a modicum of freedom without actually letting them get away.

Animal Kingdom is less like a typical theme park and more like a big zoo. They've got tons of exotic animals, but also some rides and other attractions. It was fun for all of us, but the kids had a great time seeing all of the animals and making their animal noises.

Let me tell you, if I were an animal I think I'd want to live here! They've done a great job at replicating the animals' natural habitats. Plus, because it's Disney there's the added bonus of Mickey Mouse and all the other fun characters.
This is a Rhino Iguana.

It's appropriate that Gideon's backpack is a monkey because he is a little monkey. He was trying to climb into just about every cage.

I really didn't mean to cut Cami's head off here. I was just trying to get a good photo of the kids enjoying the rope bridge. I was on the other end of it, jumping up and down to make them rock.

Gideon loves baby Ransom. He was always turning back to check on him and making sure he was okay. He does that at home too. (As a side note, we have to be careful here at home because whenever Ransom starts to cry, Gideon's right there trying to pick him up.)

This was fun because the munchkins were the perfect height to look at the fish swimming in the tank and then stand up to look at the ducks on top of the water. Up, down, up, down. We had to drag them away. But not to worry, there were plenty more fun things to come.

The lady told him to put his hand in the log and see what he could find (there were a few shells and a bird's nest) but of course, Gideon tried to stick his whole head in and see them.

Apparently Daisy Duck is talented enough to take the boys camping while wearing high heels. What a gal!

Gideon ran screaming from any characters we saw. He was even terrified of Thumper!

This is coming into "Africa" Cami and I both loved how detailed the whole thing was. The only thing it lacked were little barefooted African kids playing soccer in the street. There were distinct differences, so you could really tell when you left "Africa" and entered "Asia" etc.

There are just so many animals to see that it's impossible to write about all of them. But they were really cool.

We were all very excited for the safari! Gideon was bright-eyed & ready!

So was Lily!

And we're off!

Don't ask me what these things were called, but they sure were cool to look at!

Those two big black shapes are hippos. I didn't realize that hippos are nocturnal, they sleep under the water during the day and float up to the top every 5 to 8 minutes for air and then go back under to sleep again. Apparently there's a lot I didn't know about hippos. (Except that I want one for Christmas.)

Crocodiles totally freak me out!

Okay it's hard to see, but those are actually baby giraffes and the mom giraffe is on the other side of the bushes, looking over at them.

All the excitement was just too much for this little munchkin!

This white rhino was pretty cool.

Look it's Pumba! (Actually, these wart hogs were a little bit scary!)

I suppose that this is as close to a bush camp as I might actually see in my life.

Sleepy Boys!

You can't see the monkeys in this photo very well, but they were really active and so fun to watch. The kids loved it! This was as we were entering "Asia." By the way, I didn't get any pictures, but the Expedition Everest roller coaster is awesome! It was super fun!

Waiting for the parade to start!

And here come King Louey and Baloo to start things off!

"...You see it's true-ooh-ooh, an ape like me-ee-ee, can learn to be like a man like you!"

Apparently Minnie goes on safari about the same way I would: By making sure she had all of her creature comforts with her!

The last thing we did before the parks closed was to take the train back to the Conservation Station which houses the petting zoo.

Both kids loved petty the "Baa Baa's" (which is what they both call sheep.) There were also lots of goats, a cow, pigs, donkeys and I don't remember what else. By the time we got out of the petting zoo, the park was closing up for the night.

Even so, we figured there was still plenty of time for Mickey shaped ice cream treats!

And once again, here comes the train to take us back to "Africa."

Both Lily & Gideon screamed and screamed when we had to get off the train. It didn't matter that they were both exhausted and starving, they wanted to keep riding the train and playing with animals.

The train ride is kind of fun because you get to see some of the "staging" areas and animal care facilities. Of course, it helps that your conductor is telling you all about it. (That is, if you can understand him. Ours had a pretty thick accent, but we got the gist of things.)
Lily and her daddy ended the day by dancing through the empty African streets. After 20 years I can say that it was great to be back at Disney and everyone should go when they get the chance. We didn't even have time to do half the cool stuff we wanted to. So I guess that just makes it necessary to return another time. Hopefully a lot sooner than 20 years from now. Animal Kingdom is definitely worth seeing again!


Darryl and Cindy Cunningham said...

What a wonderful day you had!!! I am happy for all of you!

Darryl and Cindy Cunningham said...

OH... and I am very proud of you for getting up the courage to take pictures of the reptiles. I didn't see any pictures of snakes though, I guess that would be too much to ask, hmmm?

Ron and Jessica said...

I'm really glad you mentioned the backpack. I've been debating whether or not to get one for Zachary's first trip to disneyland next month...I think I really have to get one. Maybe a monkey too :)