Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Dever's Disney Vacay - Animal Kingdom (Day 1)

We started the first day of our Disney adventures at a Disney ticket discount store.  It's hard to believe that with both Amy and me, two self-proclaimed planners, we headed to Florida with no tickets in hand for Disney World, thus having to make a pit stop for tickets before our adventures could begin.  After finally getting our tickets, we had to wait for wholesale tickets to be brought over from Disney by "Big Mike", we spent the first day of our 3-day adventure at Disney's Animal Kingdom. 

Our first sight of Disney World

Emerson and Ivie were super excited on our way. 

Animal Kingdom

Once we made it to Animal Kingdom, we followed the advice of several of our friends and headed straight to the back of the park to the Africa section so that we could ride Kilimanjaro Safaris.  We were told most of the animals came out in the morning and later in the afternoon.  We were also told that lines for this ride could get pretty long, so it was crucial to try and ride first thing in the morning or at least get a fastpass the moment you got to Animal Kingdom.  We actually got lucky because there was only a 10 minute wait when we got to the ride, so we decided to ride it right then.  The ride was very fun and full of great views of the animals. 
Waiting for and Riding Kilimanjaro Safaris

The Animals of Kilimanjaro Safaris

After Kilimanjaro Safaris, we were let off at the beginning of the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.  We decided to walk through the trail, not wanting to miss any experience Animal Kingdom had to offer, but halfway through the walk, with mothers intuition and instinct, Amy and I looked at each other and knew what the other was thinking, "Let's hurry it up and move on to the next activitiy."

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

Our next activity included food....something everyone was happy about!  We found this great little cement hut with a bench and tables; perfect for the girls to enjoy a mid-morning snack and for Amy and I to plan our next move on the Animal Kingdom map.
Snack Time!!!

After snack time, we decided to head to the Camp Minnie-Mickey section for some character greetings and to catch the Festival of The Lion King show.  We made a small detour so Emerson could bang on some drums. 

The Festival of the Lion King was a great show.  There were four sections of seating and each section got to be an animal; a lion, giraffe, warthog, or an elephant.  We were seated in the warthog section.  The show was fast paced and the colors were vibrant.  This was probably one of my favorite shows, but then again, I loved the Lion King movie. 

The Festival of the Lion King

After the Lion King show, it was time to finally do some "character greetings."  The Camp Minnie-Mickey section of Animal Kingdom had a great area for all the characters with each character having their own gazebo.  We were able to meet both Minnie and Mickey.  Emerson was a bit timid at first, but soon got used to the character greetings.  She was very excited to show Minnie her Safari Minnie shirt. 



After the character greetings, Amy and I decided it was time for everyone to eat some lunch and relax for a few minutes.  One of the items on our agenda was to catch the Finding Nemo show that was in the DinoLand U.S.A section of the park, so we headed that way to grab lunch before the show.  We ate lunch at Restaurantosaurus and took a few minutes to relax.  After lunch, we took a ride on TriceraTop Spin and walked around DinoLand for a bit.  We found out we had some time before the Nemo show, so we decided to get some more character greetings in.  Emerson wasn't as interested in Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger, probably because she really doesn't know who they are.  She was a trooper and still "greeted" them all, but not without protection from her daddy!!!
Dinoland U.S.A

Pooh, Eeyore and Tigger /  Goofy and Pluto

After our last character greeting for the day, we raced over to the Finding Nemo show.  You'll find that there aren't many pictures of this show, as flash photography was not permitted once the show started.  I really didn't get to enjoy the show as much as I wanted to.  Emerson was preoccupied and didn't want to pay attention to the show, which means Mommy didn't get to pay attention.  Come to find out, Emerson wasn't preoccupied, she was TIRED; about 10 minutes into the 30 minute show, Emerson laid her head down on my shoulder and fell fast asleep.  I think the heat and darkness of the auditorium, combined with no nap from the day before, put her right to sleep.  I was actually happy she was going to at least get a short nap in.  We stayed in the auditorium as long as we could, then successfully transferred Emerson to her stroller where she stayed asleep for another hour; long enough for us to walk around to the Asia section for Danny and Dale to take on the Expedition Everest rollercoaster and for Ivie to tackle a Mickey Mouse ice cream sandwich.  (I didn't zoom in on the roller coaster picture for fear that Danny and Dale might kill me.  But I do have the originals for blackmail if anyone is interested.)

After the boys made it down the rollercoaster ALIVE and Ivie finished her ice cream, we decided to head toward the front of the park to catch Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade.  The parade happens almost everyday at 4:45 pm, right before the park closes at 5:00 pm.  We had a great location for the parade and an even better location to hit the stores right after the parade, before the park closed.  Ivie and Emerson both picked out toys to enjoy later.  Once we got out of the park, we decided to head straight for dinner at Downtown Disney.  We headed straight to Planet Hollywood, one because it was the closest restaurant we could find and two because there was no line and no wait.  It was the perfect ending to our first Disney day!! 

Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade

More sights from Animal Kingdom

Some of our favorites from the day

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