Friday, May 17, 2013

Disney Day 3: Animal Kingdom

What better way to start out the morning than with a Mickey waffle?  On this morning in particular, we got the four little Mickeys instead of the one big Mickey.  It was easier to divide in half for Mason and Hannah Kate since neither could eat a whole waffle.
And then we headed to Animal Kingdom.  I was really looking forward to this park because this was the only one I'd never been to.  I'd also heard it would be a little more relaxing and low-key than the others, which sounded good since this was halfway through our trip.  It really is a beautiful park!  We enjoyed it, but it didn't hold the kids' attention quite as much as the other parks, and I guess that is understandable.
The first thing we did was take the Kilimanjaro Safari Expedition.  It was a really neat trip through an unbelievable African habitat with all kinds of wildlife and neat vegetation.
 We continued to explore the park and its hidden trails around the Tree of Life.  We walked the Pangani Forest Exploration trail and rode the Wildlife Express Train to Raficki's Planet Watch.  Here we are with the Tree of Life in the background.
 Our most favorite thing at Animal Kingdom (children and husband included!) was the Festival of the Lion King theatrical show.  Oh my . . . the music and the singing and the costumes and the pagentry . . . it was stunning!  Mason and Hannah Kate didn't move the entire time.
Way off in the distance, you can see Expedition Everest.
We found a shady spot to watch the Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade.  I've always been a sucker for parades (now is probably not to mention that I've lived in Louisiana since 2000 (minus the two years we lived in Mississippi), and I've NEVER been to a Mardi Gras parade!).  I LOVED the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade as a child, and I still do.  Anyway, I absolutely loved this parade! 
This is one of my most favorite pictures.  You can see Mason at the bottom waving up at Goofy.  Watching my childrens' reactions to all of the pagentry and sights and sounds and rides, experiencing Disney World through their eyes . . . was absolutely AMAZING!  The looks on their faces each time Hannah Kate saw a princess or Mason spotted a roller coaster . . . unforgettable.
After the parade, we were hot and wanted to cool off a bit.  So Seth and Mason rode the Kali River Rapids.  I was hoping they'd get stuck under a waterfall, but they didn't.  They came out only a little damp.
And while Daddy and Mason were riding the rapids, Hannah Kate enjoyed a Mickey on a stick!
And all of the excitement was obviously too much for Ellie.  She fell asleep and took a nap.
And after the rapids, Mason had to have a Mickey on a stick, too.
We continued making our way around the park, coming ever closer to this monstrocity.
This is Expedition Everest.  I really wasn't too worried.  There was no way I was going to ride it.  And I figured Seth wouldn't ride it.  He was still recovering from the Star Wars simulation from two days earlier.  And I figured Mason wouldn't want to ride it either.  Well.  I was wrong.  Seth wanted to ride it because he "finally felt normal again."  And Mason wanted to ride it, too.  So they did.  And I held my breath the entire time until I saw their sweet faces again.  Seth said it was fine until the roller coaster stopped, and up ahead the track was mangled and twisted and broken.  At that point, Mason might've flipped out a bit.  So that's when they started going backwards, and Seth nearly lost his lunch.
We spent the rest of the day, which wasn't much since this park closes the earliest of them all, in DinoLand.  It's really a kiddie theme park with a few carnival-type rides.  One our way out we watched "It's Tough to be a Bug!," which was a really cute 3-D show.  As we were walking through the parking lot, my heart was really full.
We then spent the rest of the evening at Downtown Disney.  The kids visited the Lego store and the Disney store.
I had a hard time falling asleep.  I knew what we had to look forward to the next day.  We'd been at Disney World for three days, but the fun had really only just begun.  I was ready, more than ready, to see the castle and meet a few princesses!

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