Sunday, January 27, 2013

Disney Adventures - Part Two

Our second day of Disney Adventures had us getting to the park before it opened so we could have breakfast with Mickey, Donald, Daisy and Goofy at the Tusker House Restaurant in Animal Kingdom. It was served buffet style and was very good. I don't know much about character meals, but this one was great! We were able to see and get pictures with all of the characters. The characters did a little parade around the restaurant and some little kiddos marched behind them. It was very cool. FYI - we did have a reservation for this... I believe you have to have one for any character meals or certainly the ones that are more popular. 

Leilani and me before breakfast. 
With Goofy (I mean, Me and Goofy)

Leilani and me with Goofy. I actually look pretty Goofy here too!

With Donald
After breakfast, we headed out into the park. It was open so we went straight to the Safari to see the animals. I have heard that people view Animal Kingdom as a "glorified zoo". While I agree that it certainly has zoo-like qualities, I think it really does have the "Disney touch" to it. 

The Kilimanjaro Safari was pretty cool. Traveling by animals on an open-aired bus was awesome. I love going to the zoo and watching the animals and thought this was the closest I have gotten to some of these animals. The really awesome thing is, they are not in fences or any sort of cage. The creators of the park really did a great job and all the "fences" are natural barriers. You don't even notice. 

For some reason, Hippos are one of my favorite animals

Random Fact: One of my favorite songs from a Disney movie is, "Never Smile at a Crocodile" from Peter Pan. However, I'm not 100% sure if these are alligators or crocodiles.

After the Safari we hit several of the other sights. We rode Expedition Everest, saw other animals, rode the DINOSAUR ride and Wildlife Express Train. They also had a fun kid friendly area that reminded me of a carnival. We rode the Primeval Whirl which was a fun ride that even younger kids could do. 

Mt. Everest
Must have been loving this ride. However, the girl in front of Leilani might be loving it more! :) 
There were trails in the park that you think you'll just be taking a leisurely stroll then run into some animal exhibits. We saw this bat colony and interestingly, these two bats are completely going at "it". Leilani and I were thinking, "oh my" and then we got to talking to the Disney staff person working there. Apparently this was a penal bat colony and they didn't know what was sending the bats into try to mate with each other. Needless to say, Leilani and I got a good chuckle out of what seemed to be a very "unDisney" experience. :) 

This tiger was another "find" when we were walking through a random, yet obviously un-random path... Pretty awesome. Could have watched here for hours. 
Probably my favorite part about all of Disney, not just Animal Kingdom, were the shows. Animal Kingdom's shows were amazing. Out of all the parks, Animal Kingdom was definitely the most "artsy" and you could certainly tell by the shows. 

I absolutely loved the Finding Nemo musical. It was all done with puppets and I think I was in awe the whole time. Finding Nemo is one of my favorite movies and the musical version was pretty darn cool. 

The Festival of the Lion King was the other show at Animal Kingdom and it had acrobats, singing and the best part... DANCING. I was ultra impressed with most of the dancing we saw at the parks. The dancers had great technique which was surprising to me. The Lion King show had a ballerina that was as good as any  ballerina I've ever seen. It. was. awesome. I feel like I've said that a few times during this post, but it really was!

Of course, Animal Kingdom has a parade. Again, the parade floats were more artsy than the floats at other parks. I loved the colors and how these looked.

Duck Bill
Going to Disney with someone who is an "expert" makes for an even better experience. Leilani knew that there was a street performer to be in the area we were around and you'd never guess what it was... 


Can you find her? 

More of Leilani's expert knowledge introduced me to Hidden Mickeys. Apparently, there are hidden Mickey Mouses and other Disney references everywhere at Disney. They have books on these that you can buy before your trip. I think when take the boys this would be an awesome way to experience the park. It's much like a scavenger hunt and we would all enjoy it!

My favorite Hidden Mickey of the trip

We also spent quite a bit of time looking at the Tree of Life. The tree is a carved tree that has different animals carved all over in it. It was also probably one of my favorite things I saw at Disney. The time that was put into creating it and the detail was just amazing. 

Also inside the Tree of Life was the "It's Tough to be a Bug" show that was pretty funny and was a nice break from walking around!


The Animal Kingdom park closed early the day we went, so we headed to Magic Kingdom for dinner and the fireworks show. I was in heaven as what we saw when we walked in was... 

Not only was the castle dripping in icicle lights, it also changed colors from purple to pink to blue to green... *sigh*

I mean... how BEAUTIFUL is this? Even looking at this picture now makes me smile and my heart happy. The Christmas decorations at Magic Kingdom were unparalleled by anything I've seen. Just absolutely amazing. 

We found a perfect spot to watch the fireworks and grabbed a quick dinner from the store next to where we were sitting. The best part? We bought cotton candy to eat while watching the show. Leilani and I were not worried about overindulging. :)

I was enjoying myself. 
Main street all lit up

Would have been a perfect Christmas card. However, it's missing some very important people. :) 

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