January 15… and it trotted along something like this:
Things are just finally starting to feel like vacation and it’s nearly over. Isn’t that how it always goes?
We spent another day in the Animal Kingdom today, catching a fairly early bus to the zoo-like theme park from the hotel. We had to run to catch it, which was probably pretty silly because they come every fifteen or twenty minutes and it’s not like we were getting in any earlier than park opening anyhow.
An early morning at Animal Kingdom is cool: I’d advise that if you get into the park early enough, trot your way over to the Safari ride because it’s still cool enough (and feeding-time enough) that a lot more of the animals seem to be out and about in the back savannah. Or maybe that’s just the perception. (We rode that particular adventure three times over two days and I’d swear the pre-9am trip was the best.)
We’d gone to park early for a character breakfast: y’know… a buffet meal with a hundred other chaotic families, and where some of the characters — Mickey, Donald, Goofy, etc — wander around and visit your table for autographs and photo ops. Yes, really… autographs. It’s a thing here.
Things got a little more theme-park-normal after breakfast though: more rides, more wandering, more looking at stuff.
Animal Kingdom has latched onto a bit of a throw-away gag from the Pixar film “UP” and created a whole adventure program for kids (and some big kids, too) around the “Wilderness Explorers” concept… y’know Russell, the kid with the backpack who exclaims “The Wilderness Must Be Explored!” Well, we hunted around the whole park and collected about 20+ of the sticker/badges from completing little activities and quests. Claire did, mostly, but I helped quite a bit.
The highlights of the day included:
1) Claire and her autograph book. She’s asked for a few things, but a lot less than you’d expect from a six year old. Some of it sincere, some of it begging. But it seemed pretty sincere when she asked if I’d buy her an autograph book so she could get Mickey’s signature.
2) Pooh. On that same vein, collecting the signatures for the day led us on some interesting hunts for more characters. It was a pretty quiet day — at least by Disney standards — and we rounded a corner and found ourselves with some solo time with Pooh and Tigger. That turned into some Claire-and-Pooh dancing and skipping down a street and… well, it was pretty neat for her.
3) My niece wearing a plastic bag for a raincoat on the Kilamanjaro raft ride… and still getting wet. She was not impressed.
But it was an early evening as the park closed at 5 and we caught the bus back to the resort for dinner and some down time. Tomorrow, something non-Disney for once: Legoland.