Friday, March 31, 2017

The Duncan's Do Disney: The Animal Kingdom!

   Monday was our early morning magic hours for Animal Kingdom.  I was excited because out of all of the parks, Animal Kingdom is the only one I've never been too before!  I didn't remember Epcot because I was so young, but at some point in my life I had visited all of the parks except for the Animal Kingdom, so I really didn't know what to expect.
   I read so many times that it was the 'half day park', and the smallest.  We chose this for Monday partly because of magic hours but also because we knew that we would be tired from the trip on Sunday and we could use an easy park to get through and enjoy.  Nonetheless, we were exited to see what it had to offer!  

  I have to mention, the process of entering the park has been made about a thousand times easier with the magic bands coming into play! My best advice about this is just remember the finger that you used on the first day lol!  This isn't just for show, you actually have to use the same one or it will not work, and you have to use the same one if you scan your small children's bands as well.  It took a little juggling for me to get used too, but once we got it, it was an easy breezy way to get into the parks!

Pretty much immediately after getting into the park we found Russel!  Sawyer is a really big Up! Fan!  We met him at the entrance way and he took them on a small 'wilderness explorer' journey before going to his 'meet and greet' station.  We looked at the monkeys, he showed them the trail, and then we went to officially meet him at his wilderness explorer club!  He was fantastic!  Hudson's Miami dolphins shirt made for an impromptu football game between him and Huddy, which Hudson was thrilled about!  the kids were SO excited!  Look at their big smiles!!!  

 I will also take this time to mention that the Photopass is SOOOO worth it!  It was so easy knowing that we would have fantastic photos from our trip, and worth it all not to have to carry my DSLR into the parks with me, which was my original plan.  With this we got some awesome pics, I think we ended up with about 600 including the ride videos that were also on our page!  This gave me time to record our days rather than worrying about getting perfect pictures.  For me now that is a part of the package that I would not want to go without!!  Glad that we decided to do it!  
At Animal Kingdom we decided to use our FastPasses for Kilimanjaro Safari and the Character Meet and Greet during the daytime.  The Safari was incredible!  All of the reviews that we read mentioned that you should certainly do this park during the daytime, and we were glad that we did!  We got to see all of the animals on our trip!  The lions were sleeping, but we saw them nonetheless, and found out that they sleep about 20 hours a day lol, that's more than a newborn baby!  But we were excited to see them all!  The safari was awesome, as we were in a big safari truck that even treaded through waters.  It was really awesome!
  There's also a sweet baby elephant and that was awesome!  I've never seen a baby before!  It was adorable!
We also used a Fastpass to meet Mickey and Minnie at Adventure Outpost.  This was a VERY special moment for all of our kiddos!  They loved meeting them and smiled the whole time!  I also got this amazing picture of my sweet Daddy surrounded by his Grandbabies..  sweetest thing EVER! 

 It was an absolutely beautiful day!  There was a pilot flying around doing skywriting!  What a blessing it was to look up and see Trust Jesus written in the sky!!!

The resort is surrounded by its beautiful Tree of Life..  this tree is incredible!  It has animals carved all over!  It's situated under a walkway that is absolutely beautiful, filled with animals and water.  Absolutely breathtaking!!  The pic is beautiful but doesn't do it justice!  

Meeting characters is our favorite thing in the Disney parks, and we met some great ones at Animal Kingdom!  Our favorites were Tarzan and Flick (from a Bugs Life!) They were so much fun, the kiddos loved this!!  IT was naptime for Sawyer during meet Tarzan, by the way lol...

   We also did "It's Tough to be a Bug", which unfortunately wasn't a hit for the younger kids.  The big kids liked it and I thought it was really neat, but when the spiders fell from the roof I had to quickly usher my two crying boys out the back door, and was met with a least fifteen other moms with littles with tears in their eyes.  LOL.  So yes, it is fun and neat, but not so much for kids under 8!
   We had lunch at Pizzafari, and we really liked it!  The pizza comes simply as cheese or pepperoni, but then comes with this little cup of veggies that really sets the flavor off!  It was our first Dining plan meal and we were pleasantly surprised!

   Next we did my favorite thing at this park!  The Festival of the Lion King show!!!!   I'm telling you this was INCREDIBLE!!!!   My kids were absolutely entranced!  The show features acrobatics, beautiful songs, very talented singers and even lights and fire dancing! Along with the amazing songs from the Lion King that we all know and love!  At the end there was a singing competition among the different sections of the audience to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and I think everybody in my family was signing as loud as they could.  It was SO much fun!!!
   By this time Hudson was exhausted, partly because he wandered off within ten minutes of being in the park and it took us about five minutes to find him (scary moment for Mom!) and because he was dying to get back to the resort to swim.  So we left to go back and swim awhile, and came back that evening for dinner!
   My Dad had been thinking BBQ, so we decided to try out Flame Tree Barbeque...  oooooooohhhhh MY!
   This honestly was my favorite meal we had in any of the parks!  To tell you how much we love it, when my sister and I began our Disney planning pinterest page, this was the very first pin that she made lol!  This was a HUGE plate of food for a quick service meal credit!  We had the BBQ sandwich, and it was honestly the best BBQ I've ever had, and I come from a place where there is absolutely FANTASTIC barbeque!  But ohhh my!  The beans were amazing as well!  My Dad, hubby and brother in law got a plate with chicken and ribs and it was HUGE!  They were so completely satisfied with their meals!  They were so so so good!
   As for the rest of our food credits during the day, we were able to try the much acclaimed Dole Whip!  It was pretty good, not my favorite snack but then again I'm not the biggest ice cream fan in the world.  It was good though, don't get me wrong!
   The kiddos enjoyed the ice creams from the carts in the road.  The evening hours I also purchased a donut for Sawyer that was about three times the size of a normal donut so he shared with me, and it was absolutely wonderful!  We ended up getting them at Epcot too lol.  It was one of my favorite snacks.

   Because of height requirements, Sawyer and Norah weren't able to ride some of the bigger rides so I sat those out, but the rest of our family tried a few!  Kalli River rapids was a favorite!  It was evening and Hudson got so wet my Dad had to buy him a new shirt lol.  The adults loved Expedition Everest, but my husband and my kids didn't like it a tall.  They said it was a bit too 'jerky' for them, and it scared my little girl pretty bad!  So that wasn't a favorite lol.  They enjoyed Dinosaur however, and at night time the tree is absolutely beautiful!  It was worth coming back just to see that!
  We came back to the room a bit early and didn't stay for fireworks that evening, but we were excited for Hollywood studios the next day!  All in all, our experience at Animal Kingdom was a great one!  I can't wait for another visit!  There was a lot that we didn't get to do because of time and the heavy crowds.  Apparently, we visited during central Florida's spring break, but that's okay.  We know the things we want to enjoy when we go back, and all in all, we left Animal Kingdom very happy!  It was Callie's favorite park, forever my animal lover!