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 from anyone 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 I get to do is usually done Single Rider Line style.

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

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

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

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

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

After the Tamarin encounter, we made our way around the building, 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 the interaction was great. No PhotoPass photographers, though, so the pictures were not.

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

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

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

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

From there we went to the Festival of the Lion King, and then headed back to Africa to use our FastPasses for the Safari. I realized two things as I was preparing this report:

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

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

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

Since DGM was staying with us for the night, we showed her around the place a little. As soon as we looked out onto the savanna, DD saw that 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 colored pencils and went to work.

After a quick change, it was on to Chef Mickey’s. I’m not a huge fan – the food is just OK, the wait to be seated is long, the prices are kind of steep – but on the Dining Plan it’s not the worst value. We arrived a little early, hoping to get seated a little early, but we ended up waiting about 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 Clam Chowder. 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 see if she would feel better but it didn’t really help. We still managed to get pictures with the Fab Five…

…as well as twirl napkins in the air to some unintelligible song.

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

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

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