Wednesday, October 5, 2011

May 2011 Walt Disney World Trip Report - Day 7

Day 7 - 5-27 –Animal Kingdom & Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

Our rope drop plan at Animal Kingdom is different fromanyone else we’ve heard of. DD has tried Expedition Everest a couple of times,but has firmly decided that she doesn’t like it. Any EE riding that DW and Iget to do is usually done Single Rider Line style.

So, while most of the park opening crush is to get to EE orthe Safari, we head straight to Kali River Rapids. We poncho it up, get onboard, and stay on as long as they’ll allow (or until we see people starting toqueue up). We usually ride 3-4 times, but DW and DD set a record of riding fivestraight times a couple of years ago.

After a couple of times riding, I got off and let DW and DDcontinue. My mother (DGM) was driving in from Tampa and I went over to meet her near theSafari. Shortly after she arrived, DW and DD came over excited to inform usthat they had tied their record of five straight times on Kali.

I grabbed us FastPasses for Safari, and then we boarded thetrain for Conservation Station/ Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

After the train pulls into the station, you have about afive minute walk to the building where the exhibits are. They were going to bedoing a physical on a Golden Tamarin, so while I staked out a spot by theviewing window, DD and DGM were brave enough to pet this snake.

We waited about half an hour for the medical staff to bringthe Tamarin out. When they did, there were so many people around the operatingtable that we couldn’t see anything. We ended up watching on the nearbymonitors, which was kind of like traveling to Walt Disney World to watch themost boring and poorly filmed nature documentary ever. It didn’t stop DD fromcapturing the “excitement” on video.

After the Tamarin encounter, we made our way around thebuilding, with me deftly avoiding anything with eight legs (not a spider fan).There were two characters on hand for greeting – Rafiki and Pocohontas.

There were basically no lines for either of them, so theinteraction was great. No PhotoPass photographers, though, so the pictures werenot.

There’s a petting zoo out behind the building, and eventhough I had read (in multiple places) that your local zoo probably has a betterpetting zoo, I didn’t want to believe it. I should have. There were basicallygoats. DD kept chasing this guy around.

In the history of goats, there have probably never been aswell-brushed goats as these. And goats have been around along time so that’s reallysaying something.

Seriously, don’t bother going to ConservationStation/Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Lesson learned.

After that we had lunch at Flame Tree BBQ. DW went offscript and got the fruit platter with yogurt dip. A week of eating more foodthan usual, mostly steak and ice cream, will make you do things like that. Itwas almost instantly regretted – it didn’t look anything like the picture onthe menu. DGM’s BBQ Chicken Salad, however, looked awesome.

From there we went to the Festival of the Lion King, andthen headed back to Africa to use ourFastPasses for the Safari. I realized two things as I was preparing thisreport:

1.      Ialways take way too many pictures of the animals on the safari.
2.      Theyare never of the lions (they’re always hiding).

We did get a really close up encounter with a hippo, so I’llshare that one.

After the Safari and wandering around the Pagani trail tolook at the Gorillas, we headed back to the hotel to freshen up before our ChefMickey’s dinner.

Since DGM was staying with us for the night, we showed heraround the place a little. As soon as we looked out onto the savanna, DD sawthat there was a bunny eating grass near the watering hole below our balcony.She declared that she needed to draw it, and she got her notebook and coloredpencils and went to work.

After a quick change, it was on to Chef Mickey’s. I’m not ahuge fan – the food is just OK, the wait to be seated is long, the prices arekind of steep – but on the Dining Plan it’s not the worst value. We arrived alittle early, hoping to get seated a little early, but we ended up waitingabout half an hour and by the time we sat down we were starving.

Building upon DD’s discovery of clams at Crystal Palace,she tried, and liked New England style ClamChowder. But she ate way too much food too fast (mac and cheese, pizza, etc.)and got a little stomach ache. We tried walking around the Contemporary to seeif she would feel better but it didn’t really help. We still managed to getpictures with the Fab Five…

…as well as twirl napkins in the air to some unintelligiblesong.

With full (overstuffed) bellies, we headed back to thehotel. DGM brought her twin-size Aerobed which we set up on the floor betweenthe sofa bed and the regular bed. DD slept on that, and was very excited aboutit, while DGM got the sofa bed. It was certainly cramped, but doable for onenight.

Tomorrow, the Dumbo Dash, and "Gramma looks seasick!"

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