Day 4 – Animal Kingdom
I had a wakeful night and spent the time from 4:30 to 5:30 worrying about making our flight back. (Don’t know why this is such a problem for me, but it explains why I’m writing this last installment of the Trip Report at 3AM.) I finally fell asleep, only to be wakened by the alarm clock at 6:45. Calder groaned and whined, but eventually woke up to the cartoons I started playing on the TV. As soon as we were both bathed and dressed, the bags were zipped up and we were ready to go. I had forgotten to call the night before for luggage assistance and decided we could just hoof it over to Classic Hall ourselves – which was actually quite easy since we hadn’t bought much in the way of souvenirs and we only had our rolling carry-ons to tote with us.
I knew I could’ve taken advantage of express checkout, but I had a $251 dollar Disney Rewards card from my Visa to apply to my room charges that I had forgotten to take care of the night before. (For some reason, Calder’s little tantrum over the clay whistle really whacked my list of to-do’s for a loop.) Anyway, the CM was able to credit my Visa for the amount that had already been charged to it by Express Checkout and applied the Rewards card instead. As it turned out, I only spent $20 over the $251 worth of rewards on all the food, meals, souvenirs and other incidentals while on property. Wow, that’s a record for us – it suddenly made me feel guilty for battling over a $6 clay whistle……
We checked our bags and hopped a bus for Animal Kingdom.
Another problem with our APs sent us to Guest Services at the gate. They issued Calder a new card – with Mickey… yea!!! – and then my card wouldn’t work. So they issued me a new one and I got Donald. <sigh> Then Calder speaks up, “could you help my mom out? She really wants Minnie again.” Who can say no to a blue eyed bundle of boy?! A few voided passes later and I had Minnie in my pocket!! (Turns out, I was doing something that kept de-magnetizing our APs. The CMs guessed that it was either my cell phone or a couple of fridge magnets that I had stuffed into my bag a few days before.)
We were delayed by the pass issue just long enough to miss the way they wake up the park – something I had really wanted to see. <another sigh> So, we decided to just walk quickly to Kilimanjaro Safaris and see if the animals were lively. It was a long walk and a fairly long wait since everyone else from the resorts had the same idea on Extra Magic Hour morning. But, 20 minutes later, we got on a Jeep/bus and set out to see some animals. Calder had the right-most facing seat and didn’t get to see many of the animals. He did see a big ostrich in the middle of the road and a huge Nile crocodile floating right under the bridge on his side. He had control of the camera for the whole trip and I have lots of pics of blurry greenery that I titled “Dunno #1” and “Dunno #2”, etc. But overall he did a great job. Here are some of his pics:
The lions were out and stretching – we were hoping for a few yawns or even a roar, but didn’t have Lady Luck on our side. The whole “safari” seemed rather wet and waterlogged, despite a lack of rain for several days. I wondered if it was part of the park cleaning process to produce so much run-off. <shrug> The animals we did see were mostly resting, but very close to the Jeep path.
I thought that maybe Calder would want to hop right back on for another spin, but he wanted to explore more of the park – a surprise since we spent a great deal of time wandering everywhere and taking in everything during the past few visits. We walked over to Asia, but were disappointed to learn that Kali River Rapids doesn’t open early for Extra Magic Hour. We grabbed fast passes for an hour from then.
We walked over to see the new pathway by the construction site of Everest. I now realize that I should’ve taken pictures of the construction since it was so cool, but I was totally enthralled by a wonderful CM from India who told me all about the buildings in the Asia section of AK and how close they were to his homeland and to the places he had visited in Nepal – the theme for the Everest area to come.
Anyway, CJ and I wandered into Dinoland. Much to my dismay, Calder pulls out the two Disney dollars he has and walks up to one of the carnival games. (I rolled my eyes at this because one of our trips last year was marred by having to cart around a HUGE turtle and a small dinosaur that he had won while there. It wasn’t such a big deal in the park because they were willing to send it back to the resort for us. It was the drive to the airport, the plane trip itself and the drive home that made me hate the *&%$ turtle so much. And now the blasted thing takes up room in his closet and hasn’t had the dust knocked off it in months.) Well, wouldn’t you know it, Calder wins the game. ‘Course he was playing against three 4 year olds, so he couldn’t help it. He gets another small dino and I told him he’d have to carry it himself for the rest of the day – which he did without complaint.
Then he sees Primeval Whirl – my most hated ride at WDW after the teacups. Shaking my head, I started walking away. “Please, Mom…..” Good grief. “Okay”. We get in line and within minutes we’re spinning our way to a giant headache. He gets off and says, “Man, I forgot how awful that ride is.” Sheesh!!
He tells me that he’s hungry (my stomach is still churning from my “trip back to the moment before the meteor hits"). But, we stopped by Donald’s Breakfastosaurus to see if they had any availability. Their best guess was 30-45 minutes for a table. Oh, well. I’m not staying in Dinoland a second longer than necessary just in case he begs to go on Triceratop Spin!
We head back to Kali and see that they are up and running. Our Fast Passes weren’t good for another 25 minutes and the stand-by line only had a 20 minute wait posted. Stand by it was. I think most of the 20 minutes were chewed up by the long walk through the queue area. I’m surprised they can’t shorten this up somehow at slower times. Anyway, within 10 minutes or so, we were on a raft and heading towards a “soakin’.” Calder was wrapped in his red plastic bubble once again, but I was ready to get wet – it was only 10am, but it was very hot already. The drop after the fire at the clear-cutting log camp totally soaked the folks to our left and sent water flying along the back of my seat. My front was totally dry, but I looked like I had laid down in a mud puddle. As soon as we hopped off the raft, our Fast Passes were good. We ran through the queue and were back on within a few minutes. This time I found a wave that matched my front to my back. Calder stayed completely dry under his poncho and, as we walked out, he pulled it off and offered it to the first kid in line that he saw.
I dripped my way over to Flights of Wonder and we watched the show from the back, hoping to see the birds flying out over the audience. Unfortunately we picked “house left” when we should’ve picked “house right”. (For those not in the theatre, go to the left when you enter the building and sit in either the last row of the front section or the first row of the back section if you want to have your hair ruffled by owls and falcons, etc.)
By the time we left Flights of Wonder, it was time to head out from the park to meet our Tiffany driver by one o’clock and still have time to grab some lunch. We had to wait a little for a bus (that then had to stop at Blizzard Beach), but we still made it back with plenty of time for lunch at the food court at Pop Century. I had a single hamburger and fries and thought it was quite tasty, despite not having lettuce, tomato, or pickle on it. Calder had a PB&J. (Of course.)
We picked up our bags and the Tiffany’s driver came right over to us. He whisked us to the airport and we checked in with more than an hour and a half until boarding. A little GameBoy for CJ and a little “Lovely Bones” reading time for me and it was suddenly time to get on the plane. I don’t know what it is about planes that makes me fall so quickly asleep, but I went out before we had even pulled back from the gate. Luckily, Calder is already blasé about flying, so he didn’t mind my not paying him any attention – you see, his GameBoy had lain untouched since Friday morning.
We arrived in Philadelphia and met up with my husband (who had come in on a flight from New Orleans about an hour before). What a jet set family! We didn’t have to wait for luggage since we only had carry-on stuff. We did have to wait for the shuttle to long-term parking, but we were soon home to our house, our dogs and my blossoming garden.
All in all, it was one of the most enjoyable trips I have taken. And all my worrying and wondering came to nothing. Calder and I had a blast together and there was very little whining – on either of our parts – and lots of fun and silliness enjoyed by both of us. So, Bob, you can go on all the trade show trips you want. Calder and I will just hop on down to Disney and take in the sights.