Happy Saturday! Today we're spending our morning at Disney's Animal Kingdom. After getting into the park, our very first ride was the most excellent Kilimanjaro Safari.
As soon as we entered the park, everyone was handed one of these buttons. It's Mickey Mouse's birthday! November 18th was the date Steamboat Willie made its debut, and thus has become Mickey's official birthday.
Okay, back to the Safari. The hippos were out of the water and have been surrounded by birds. That one of top appears to be checking to see if it has found an enormous meal.
The only crocodiles (or alligators) we'd see on this trip.
The baby elephant was enjoying giving himself a mud bath. The kids were wondering why he was allowed to get so dirty.
The lion and lioness were out.
I love that safari. Off to the next adventure.
Alli wasn't too sure about the live-action Lion King. She was happy to sit on my lap and be held.
We were in the elephant section, so we greeted the animals by raising our trunks and trumpeting like an elephant.
I like this show. Lots of energy and it looks fantastic.
By the end, Alli liked it too. Clapping for all the performers.
I've been on Expedition Everest dozens of times, but this is a first for my dad!
I requested and received the front row, because if you don't know what's coming, this sight at the top of the lift hill can be a little disconcerting. Dad had no idea the track was going to shift and we'd be going backwards!
After that it was time to eat lunch. The lines were a little ridiculous. This line at the Flame Tree Barbecue wound through all the switchbacks and down the main path towards Dinoland. It had to be a 30 minute wait just to order food.
Instead, there were signs stating that mobile ordering was available. I pulled out my phone, opened the WDW app, ordered food for my entire party and paid through the app. 5 minutes later, I got a notification that my food was ready and to proceed directly to the pickup counter. Sweet! That's a fantastic use of technology here.
After lunch, it was time to visit a land that none of us had been to before. Pandora the World of Avatar!
Pandora opened in May of this year and the rides are still commanding ridiculous waits. Phew, good thing we have fast passes.
Theresa took the kids to the Na'vi River Journey.
From what I remember her saying, it was pretty boring.
I went with the parents to ride Avatar Flights of Wonder.
The theming of the ride was really great. The queue made a great transition from the earthy feel of the Pandora forest to the utilitarian Alpha Centauri Expedition labs where we'd board a mountain Banshee and take flight.
The ride itself was cool. It felt like a different version of Soarin, but with 3D glasses. Our Banshee flew through trees and off waterfalls, making spins and dives. You could smell the forest and felt the spray of the water as you passed. It was a really immersive experience.
But you know what would have been even better. Not having to wait 8 years to experience it, since Avatar came out way back in 2009 and there has hardly been any new since the movie came out.
For being good for mommy, the kids both got ring-pops as treats. They're giving each other licks.
Next it was time to use up the last of our fast passes. Dad took Mom over to Expedition Everest so she could ride it for the first time (requesting the front row, of course).
Is it me, or is the camera poorly positioned on this ride. It would also be nice if the photo you can download included the graphics that you normally see on the screen showing you what ride you're on and the Yeti looming over you.
Before we leave the park, it sure would be nice to see Mickey Mouse.
The kids both ran up to Mickey and wished him a happy birthday!
The photo pass photographer informed us that it was also Minnie's birthday today too. Makes sense since she appeared alongside Mickey in Steamboat Willie.
Mickey likes CHEEEESSSEEEE.
On the way out, we happened to notice one of the food stands offered a Pimento-cheese BLT sandwich. Being a favorite of my mother, we had to try it out.
It's described as
Pimento-cheese BLT Sandwich - Open-faced Sandwich made with Hand-crafted Pimento Cheese, Thick-cut Smoked, House-roasted Bacon on Ciabatta Bread Topped with ChivesSo... I guess the "L" in BLT stands for... Chives?
It was a bit light on the Pimento cheese, but it was still tasty.
Walking out we grabbed a few family photos near the entrance. Ian certainly enjoyed that blue ring-pop.
We're not done with our day yet. Over to the Magic Kingdom!
Where we used our fast passes to ride Peter Pan! The kids never get to ride this at home since there's always at least a 30 minute wait.
And since we couldn't ride Space Mountain yesterday, we rode mini-Space Mountain with both kids today.
Since we're here near the end of the day, the crowds have picked up. That means we go on rides like The Carrousel of Progress, making sure to sing along and wave at the doggie.
For dinner, we once again made use of the mobile ordering at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe. It's a great system.
Ian thinks these machines just give out money. "Daddy can we get some money!"
Gram was there to oblige this time.
We missed out on the Jingle Cruise overlay of the Jungle Cruise back home at Disneyland. Luckily for us, they have it here at Disney World.
Time to head to the hub because we've got some fireworks to watch!
I have no idea how Ian remembers it, but before the show even started, Ian asked if the Villains were going to wreck the castle. I'm impressed he remembers things like that.
When the show started, all the kids came off the shoulders and got held. No cellphones or cameras out for this crew. We're just sitting back and enjoying the show.
And if I ever want to watch it again, I'll watch someone else's recording. It's sure to look way better than holding up a cellphone.
We could head straight to the hotel, but we'd be fighting thousands of other guests to get onto the monorail. The kids have been begging to go on the car ride since we got here. I was able to grab a quick fastpass and avoid the 20 minute line. Alli wanted to do it "All by myself".
And we raced against Jacob, Ian, and Pop Pop.
With enough time passed, it was time to head out. But first, a few family photos in front of the castle.
Someone has had a long day. Rest up Alli. Tomorrow is Dapper Day!