Saturday, April 20, 2013

Downtown Disney and Animal Kingdom

We just got back from a FANTASTIC week at Disney and I feel like I want to blog about it because I have zero memory and I don't want to forget anything! This trip is brought to you by MomMom and Papa, also known as the world's best grandparents (not too shabby as parents either). Maddie knew we were going to Disney, but didn't know when.
happy as a clam on our long car trip in MomMom's "movie theater car" (she has a dvd player)

We actually told her that we were going to see Papa (which was true- we just didn't say where and she assumed PA!). We left early Saturday morning, picked Dad up from the airport in Orlando around 6:30, and went to our hotel (we stayed offsite our first night). Needless to say, she was pretty excited to find out that we were actually in FL! 
good thing she can't read

We went over to check out Downtown Disney and grab some dinner at about 7:30 Saturday night. Probably not the best night for DD, it was packed!!! We made our way down to Earl of Sandwich, but the line was insane and didn't seem to be moving very quickly, so we went with plan B and found Wolfgang Puck Express, where we had a really yummy dinner. Maddie was beside herself not only to be in Disney World, but also to see Papa! 
After that we had to check out the world's largest Disney store, where we bought some (pink!) mickey ears and saw tick tock croc!

After that it was bedtime! We were up early the next morning so we could go check into our hotel- Art of Animation!- and then head out to Animal Kingdom. Art of Animation was amazing from the second we pulled up. There are 4 types of rooms- family suites that are either Finding  Nemo, Cars or Lion King themed, and regular Little Mermaid rooms. Each theme has an over the top section devoted to it- Maddie absolutely loved it! Obviously, we were in the Lion King section.

 check in side of the lobby
 other side of the lobby- so cool!
the first thing Maddie saw when we pulled up...that's all she needed to see to know she loved it!

Check in was quick (I had already done online check in). Our room wasn't ready yet, so we left our luggage with bell services and hopped on a bus to Animal Kingdom! I know the bus service varies a lot from person to person at every resort, but we had fantastic luck with the buses. I think we waited once for 15 minutes, but every other time it was less than 5 minutes and we never had to stand. 
 Animal Kingdom outfit, so tacky, yet so adorable
stroller license plate! there were LOTS of black umbrella strollers, glad we had this!

Since check in was so quick and we didn't have to go to our room, we arrived at Animal Kingdom right at 9, opening time! We went and grabbed a fast pass (FP) for the safari and then walked the Pagani trail. We saw real life Timon!

Next we hopped on the train over to Rafiki's Planet Watch. We pet some animals in Affection Section and then headed in to meet Rafiki! MomMom and Papa started talking to one of Rafiki's handlers about Maddie's love (obsession) of the Lion King and Simba (pretty obvious with her well loved Simba and outfit, complete with tail!), and the handler asked us to stay put for just a minute. When he came back, he told us that we called and arranged for us to have front row seats to the 1:30 Festival of the Lion King show!!! Pretty exciting to get that kind of pixie dust on our first morning :). Thanks Corey!

 Rafiki lifted Maddie's Simba up in the air and pretended to rub something on his head just like in the movie- she was so excited! Great first character interaction!

After that we went on the safari- very cool! We saw lots of animals up close and Maddie loved riding through the pride lands. After all that animal viewing we were hungry, so we went over to Flame Tree and had lunch with a pretty cool view of Everest! After lunch we had time to meet Russell and Dug from Up, and it was another fantastic interaction! They loved Maddie's tail and her Simba, and Russell really liked signing his autograph on a page with his name and picture on it! They played with her for a couple of minutes- Dug even pretended to put Simba in his wagon to take home. Maddie thought they were pretty hilarious.

After that we grabbed some dessert (yum!) and saw good old Donald before checking in at the exit of Festival of the Lion King for our front row seats! It was an amazing show- those performers are so talented! Sitting on the front row was unforgettable, Maddie got tons of attention and high fives from the performers during the show, and got picked to be one of the kids in the parade around the theater at the end! She was in heaven!

 Donald also took a long time playing with Maddie and Simba- even balanced him on his head! I give all the characters in Animal Kingdom two thumbs up :)
waiting for the show to start!
 Whoa. The real Simba.
 Time for the parade!

It was going to be hard to top that experience, but it was time to ride some rides! While we sent our special FP runner (that would be Papa) off to get Dinosaur passes, we headed over to the Boneyard, the playground at AK. Maddie LOVED it! It was super hot, but she didn't want to leave she was having so much fun! She played for so long that Dad was able to run up to Asia and grab some Expedition Everest FPs when it was time.

caves to play in?? awesome!

Next we headed over to Dinosaur, also known as the most terrifying ride at Disney World (in my opinion- I may have grabbed on to my mom's arm the first time we rode it). Maddie LOVED it! At first I thought she was scared, but soon realized she was actually laughing hysterically. Goober. As soon as it was over, she wanted to ride it again! There was almost no stand by line, so we hopped on again!

Next it was off to Expedition Everest. Much to Maddie's dismay, she had to sit that one out because she is too short. But it was time for a snack break, and we were pleased to find cheese/crackers/fruit available for a snack! Thanks Disney! Mom and I rode EE first, and then Dad and was awesome!!! Very fun roller coaster. After that it was time to cool off and sit down to enjoy the Finding Nemo musical show, which Maddie and I enjoyed, but for some reason my mom and dad dislike Nemo.
We were headed to Asia for Kali River Rapids next, but the moment we walked out of Nemo it started POURING rain and thundering. Of course as soon as dad bought Maddie a poncho, it stopped raining (probably only rained for about 15 minutes), but because of the thunder they closed down Kali. We decided to go ride Maddie's fave, Dinosaur one more time instead! After that it was almost time for our dinner reservations at Rainforest Cafe, but we had time to stop and watch It's Tough to Be a Bug first. Maddie's favorite part just happened to be everyone else's least favorite, when it feels like a bug is running under your bum on your seat. She thought it was a snake. And loved it. That child.....
rockin' some 3d glasses

After that we had a really great meal at Rainforest Cafe, which was a really fun (if loud!) restaurant. We hopped on a bus back to AoA and even though we were exhausted, it was fun to see some more of our awesome hotel!!!
 Maddie was asleep on the bus ride home...but the stroller ride to our room left her jaw dropped and wide awake!
it's a's a's a table bed!
 pretty darn happy about her sleeping arrangements!
 Bed in the master bedroom

 And that's all for Day 1! Goodnight!


Doctorhump said...

For the record, I don't dislike Nemo. I just never saw the movie.

Anita said...

For the record, I do dislike!! Not my fave Disney movie...but there are lots of others that I love!!! And I also love this blog!!