Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 2 - Animal Kingdom

Our second day at Disney was Andrew's actual birthday. We woke up our six year old with a birthday breakfast. I didn't pack the red plate, but we took all our other birthday-ing supplies. He had a blueberry muffin for breakfast with Fanta orange to drink. The boys both have Disney mugs in the picture below. As part of our package, we each got a refillable mug. Anytime we were at the Wilderness Lodge, we could fill it with coffee, hot chocolate, or a fountain drink of our choice. I'm sure you can imagine what a huge hit this was. The only time I buy soft drinks for them at home are holidays and birthday parties. Coleman about kept an orange mustache the whole time we were there!

He opened his presents after he finished eating. He got My Book About Me, which he is super excited about writing,

and a Lego sorter. Which I am super excited about having. Our Lego collection is growing exponentially! After we ate, we grabbed our backpacks and map and headed out for Animal Kingdom. This was a new experience for all of us. I had planned for Andrew and Coleman to wear matching shirts each day to help us keep up with them easily. That morning, Andrew pulled Brent's yellow and navy shirt out of the suitcase so he would match too. I wasn't even thinking about it when I also put on a striped shirt. I cannot tell you how many times the park cast (that's what Disney calls their employees) commented, "Oh look! The Striped Family!"

We rode the bus over to Animal Kingdom, and some nice folks took our picture by the sign. You can tell it was a very sunny day.

Heading in to the park, we saw the Tree of Life. We didn't explore it this trip because the park closed at 5pm and we wanted to do so many other things. I'm sure we'll see more about it when we go next year.

We headed over to Camp Minnie Mickey to greet the characters first thing, only to discover they weren't out yet.
So we decided to head to Africa for a safari. The park is divided into Africa and Asia areas, and boy it seemed authentic. Having never been to either location, I can't say for sure, but I bet it was very well reproduced.

We rode the Kilamanjaro Safari ride first. Here we go!

Here's a picture of what our truck looked like.

Our guide drove us along the trail, giving a ton of information about the animals, the habitats, and the dangers of poachers. As much as we learned that day, I could easily have counted it as a school day! Andrew and Coleman haven't been to a zoo since they were three and one, so they loved this day. Getting to see and learn about all the different animals in their natural habitats was great. Here are some black rhinos.

There's a hippo on the bank. It's the large pinkish mound behind the birds. We wondered if it was even alive, but then it's ear twitched.


A baby elephant

The African Savannah

Here's a white rhino. And this picture isn't zoomed at all. I think he was about eight feet from the truck when I took the picture.

Other wildlife of some sort. It's hard to remember what everything was.

A sleeping lion.

After our safari was over, we headed back to Camp Minnie Mickey to see the Festival of the Lion King show. On our way in, we saw our first character of the day! We didn't recognize him (or her, still not sure) but we grabbed our autograph books anyway. I asked the girl with the character who it was, and she said it was Miko, from the movie Pocahontas. That explained everything. We haven't seen that movie since it's a bit princessy for us.

The Lion King show was incredible. So glad we went!

Finally, the characters were in their huts, so we met Goofy first.

Then we saw Thumper and Mrs. Bunny.

We decided not to wait in the long lines for the other characters right then, because we knew we had several character meals coming up. So we headed over to Asia.

I saw these rickshaws,

and it reminded me a little of this.

That little buggy/stroller/cart was more well spent money. The boys could never have held out to do everything we planned if they'd had to walk all day long. I think they thought it was pretty cool getting to be pushed everywhere!

Next up was a jungle trek through the Asian jungle. We saw bats, tigers, and lots of other things I can't remember.Then we headed to get our lunch. When we booked the trip, the agent asked us if we would be celebrating anything while we were there. Brent told her about Andrew's birthday and she said we would all get first time buttons to wear, and that Andrew would get a special birthday button to wear on his big day. So every morning the boys put on their first timer buttons and were greeted and welcomed warmly wherever we went. On Thursday though, Andrew got about a hundred birthday wishes from cast members and park goers who saw his button. At lunch, the hostess saw his button and told the kitchen staff we had a birthday. They had him come up to the counter when our food was ready. Then, they sang "Happy Birthday" to him, and gave him a cupcake in addition to the dessert that came with his lunch!

And they very kindly gave Coleman one too.

After lunch we headed to Dinoland, USA. There, we rode the Triceratop Spin.

And played in the Boneyard play area. It was great for the boys to be able to run around and let loose for a bit.

Next, we were headed back to Asia. Brent wanted the boys to ride their first roller coaster. So we had our fast passes for Expedition Everest. Here they are in front of Mt. Everest. You can see their buttons in this picture.

I would love to say they loved the coaster, but they didn't. I think if it had been a forward only coaster, and not in the dark, they would have been fine with it. But it went zooming backwards and through the dark. Coleman rode with Brent and had his fingers in his ears the whole time. Andrew rode with me and had his fingers in his ears and his head in my lap most of the time. I'm sure in a few more years they'll be dragging us on things we don't really want to ride, but that day, roller coasters were not their favorite.

We calmed down with the fantastic Nemo show.

And then we got ice cream. And doesn't that make almost everything better?

We watched the parade that afternoon, but my camera batteries died after this one shot.

We headed back to the Lodge to get ready for Andrew's big birthday supper. We booked our dinner for the Hoop-Dee-Doo dinner show. It was their first time to see a dinner show, and they loved it! We got to take a boat over to the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds where the show is held. That was pretty cool.

Here's a look at the back of the Wilderness Lodge from the boat.

And here we are at our table for the show. The Stripe Family.

The menu was perfect for the boys. It was served family style, and when our waitress set down this bucket of fried chicken in Coleman's plate, he just helped himself. I cracked up.

They also got to try ribs for the first time.

Then, during the show, the cast asked if anyone had a birthday in the group. I knew this was coming, and had figured Andrew might get shy and we'd have to convince him to raise his hand. Not so! He was raising and waving his hand as soon as they asked! So Dolly, one of the cast members, came over and talked to him. He told her his name, age, and where he was from. Then, she hollered it out to the rest of the house who applauded for him! He loved it!

Can you see Coleman's Fanta mustache?

Here's my plate. Fried chicken, butter with a little corn, mashed potatoes, bar-b-que beans, and ribs. We also had tossed salad and cornbread.

The show was supposed to be set in the late 1800s I think. It was slapstick and punny all the way. And Andrew LOVED it. He was cracking up the whole time. I don't think we could have picked a better way to end his special day.

We had strawberry shortcake for dessert.

And for the grand finale, they brought washboards to all the tables and everyone got to play and sing along to "This Land Is Your Land." They even led the kids around the room in a parade.

When we walked out to our dock to head back to the Lodge, we could see the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom.

I believe he'd agree that turning six was just magical. More to come!

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