Tuesday Oct 25
We started off to Animal Kingdom fairly early and were there right around park opening. We joined the hordes and pressed forward past the Oasis (we might have stopped briefly for some pics of the parrots and other animals) and up to Discovery Island, where Ursula and I quickly got in line at the Joffrey's coffee stand. We had researched the best places on Disney property to get real coffee (rather than the wretched Nescafe) and this kiosk was one of the few places. I think we ended up with double espressos that we doctored with cream and sugar, though my true preference would have been a soy latte, who has the time for that at Disney?
Joffrey's home of real coffee!
The "glass" was really hazy, sorry I couldn't get a better pic
There was also a really cute dessert in the case designed to look like a cotton-tufted tamarin, but what really caught my eye was the Donald Halloween-themed ceramic cup with some sort of chocolate stuff inside of it. I am a sucker for special limited edition things first of all. Secondly, I recently had read a trip report by some people visiting Tokyo Disney, and they reported that a lot of the snacks in Japan come on cute little dishes that aren't plastic or paper. So this adorable cup triggered a “must have” thing inside of me. “Oooh, look at that, it's so cute! And real ceramic, just like in Japan! Mum, please please please can I get it?” Ursula tried to talk some sense into me: “You'll be carrying that breakable thing around all day, and it will have chocolate all over it so it might get your new wallet all dirty. Better not.” I asked the CM if they sold out of them, thinking I might get one on our way out of the park. She said they are very popular and usually they run out by the end of the day. I'd not seen them available anywhere else so I decided not to risk missing out, and I bought one.
The chocolate was a mousse and it was very good! We all ate a few bites as we walked toward the Tree of Life for It's Tough to Be a Bug. When I'd finished I wrapped it in a plastic shopping bag so it wouldn't get chocolate all over everything and tucked it away in my purse. It was a little bulky but didn't get broken so all's well that ends well!
We proceeded to take a million pictures of every animal we saw in the tree's roots and in the path leading up to the theater. The Tree of Life is incredible, and we were properly amazed at all the creatures we saw as we walked the queue, letting people pass us as we slowly enjoyed the sculptures and drank our coffees.
When we finally got into the cattle pen in the dark area underneath the tree, just before being allowed into the theater we were taking some pictures of the bug-themed production posters when Ursula looked up and mentioned “kinda creepy in here, knowing that giant heavy tree is right above us. Makes me a little claustrophobic.” I agreed, but tried to push the idea out of my mind. Ursula dug a klonopin out of her bag and swallowed it down.
The show was cute. I remembered watching it in Disneyland a few years ago so I was expecting some of the special effects, but either the effects are less intense on the east coast or our seats were broken, because I didn't feel the scurrying bugs and other things intended to freak the audience out. Other people were hooting and laughing so it might have just been my seat.
On our way out of the theater we took our sweet time again, trying to get photos of every animal we could spot. Most of the other guests were long gone by the time we were moseying out, and we heard some CM's talking to each other and they started a bit when they saw us. It wasn't anything too risque but they seemed embarrassed to be caught so it probably wasn't appropriate. Heh.
Next I went and grabbed fast passes for Everest, taking a few pics of the lovely lake area as I cruised by and we met back up at Dinosaur. The line wasn't too long and we were loaded onto the ride vehicle fairly fast. Stitch and Ursula liked it, I think, but I was rumbled out of my seat and was only barely held in place by my seatbelt. It kind of hurt my back, which is the exact way I felt about the Indiana Jones ride in Disneyland. Not a big winner for me. We checked out the gift shop thoroughly and got some tee shirts and toys for our little cousins/nephews back in Alaska. We kept saying how much they would have loved this ride! I hope that they get a chance to visit at some point.
See how terrified we all were? Stitch is not even looking!
We stopped in at the coolest shop on our way out of Dinoland USA-- they had a train track running around the ceiling and so many little details here and there, I was in heaven trying to see everything and take pictures of it all. My family browsed the merch while I started at the ceiling.
I thought this hat looked rather good on Stitch but she wasn't impressed.
By this time we were ready for an early lunch (before the crowds made the lines too long and seating impossible) so we went to Flame Tree BBQ to get food. The only thing they had on the menu that I would eat was a turkey sandwich, so I told Ursula my order and went to find us seats. I snagged us a table in a blue fish-themed shelter right on the lake, with a great view of Everest. There were some birds wandering around (some kind of crane, maybe, and some ducks) and I was disgusted to see people feeding them. Not only is it not a good idea to do that, they were also shitting all over the ground in the seating area so it was pretty gross. One duck walked right over my foot and I was freaked out! It shit right under my chair and then I was disgusted. Please stop encouraging the fowl, people!
Soon my family arrived with trays laden with food, and we did a good job eating it all. I think they both had ribs, and I put BBQ sauce on my turkey sandwich, so I got to enjoy the BBQ theme of our meal, too. I also was given the reject coleslaw and baked beans, and we all split a fruit platter. Pretty good picnic and a lovely view as we scarfed!
Ursula really wanted to see DeVine, and it was nearly time for one of her appearances. We headed over to Africa and I took a bunch of pictures while we waited for DeVine.
Does this building look like Domo to anybody else?
I love the African touches, like the wires everywhere.
Several people appeared to be loitering in the same area, and once she appeared, DeVine was practically mobbed by people trying to take pictures of her. She was really cool, so graceful, slow and perfectly in character. We got a few good pics and enjoyed watching her gracefully walk around. At one point she made herself into a bridge and walked over a guy. She wrapped herself around a tree and hugged it for a few moments before ambling along. Very cool!
Since we were nearby we decided to walk over to Asia to see the Maharajah Jungle trek. I really wanted to do it because I wanted to see the tigers, so I insisted. Ursula was not enthusiastic about it (because of the world “trek”) but once she learned it was only a 5 minute walk through (if we didn't stop to look at anything) she was willing to give it a go.
We spent some time looking at the other animals and admiring the signage, checking out the bats and other critters and then making our way into the tiger area.
The main habitat was empty as they were putting out some pumpkins for the tigers. Once the CM's had cleared out the tigers were allowed back in and they immediately found and started playing with the pumpkins. It was so cute! They really are just like gigantic housecats, sometimes. We watched for a long time, they were pretty entertaining.
When we headed into the bird area Ursula walked quickly through while Stitch and I took our time, looking at all the interesting birdhouses, pointing out the nests we saw and delighting in trying to find as many birds as we could from our handy bird chart. The area reminded me of our Gramma, who had passed away a few months earlier and was a huge bird fan. It made me sad to be reminded of our recent loss, but happy thinking about how much she would be enjoying this area. Perhaps that is also why Ursula didn't want to hang around in the bird area.
When we were done we met back up on the far side of the chain link “doors,” stopping for a moment to take note of a weird guy (who looked like he was homeless, actually) who was laying down on a bench taking a nap. If he was a well-dressed tourist it would have been kind of weird, but since he was wearing shabby clothes and had unkempt hair it looked like he was a regular bum and that was very weird. We got a few pictures in the area and went back out into “Asia.” I just cannot say enough about the theming of this area-- I love it! I love the frescos and the ruins, all the little details make it so neat to look around. I couldn't stop taking pics because every inch was so amazing!
Since it was high noon by this time the crowd was thick with lunchers, the line to the Yak and Yeti counter service was huge and people were desperate to find a table or bench to sit down and eat. We felt very smart for eating before the big lunch rush as we fought the crowd. We stopped to check out a shop selling Asian knick knacks, but we didn't feel the need to buy anything.
We watched the primates play on the ruins for a bit and then continued making our way over to Expedition Everest to make use of our fast passes. That was thrilling and as fun as ever, but we only rode once because the standby line was about an hour and a half. I was able to get another fast pass though, so we grabbed some even though we knew we might not have a chance to use them. Better safe than sorry! We decided to catch the next showing of the Festival of the Lion King, so we started walking over to the Camp Minnie-Mickey area of the park, stopping to get frozen Cokes on our way. Perfect treat for a hot afternoon, and a nice caffeine pick-me-up too!
Even the frozen Coke shop was immaculately themed.
Lots to ogle as you wait for the icy goodness of a frozen Coke
We were walking through Discovery Island when we saw a crowd gathered for a Stitch character greeting! Yay! Our Stitch was so excited she ran to get in the line. She had a smile on her face the whole time she waited, and you should have seen her light up when it was finally her turn to say hello. She whispered some secrets in his ear and they both laughed. They were so cute together, it just goes to show that even an older teen can experience the magic of Disney characters!
Next up, Camp Minnie-Mickey for the show.
Look at that algae!
We headed in earnest for the Lion King area, and we were quickly herded into the theater as one of the last groups to be seated. Made it just in time! I think we were in the hippo section? The huge Lion King floats were neat, and the acrobatics were fun to watch. What we didn't care for was all the “interactive” parts where they wanted the audience to make noises and do stuff. We are passive observers. Maybe if I had a small child with me I'd have been more enthusiastic about it, but since it was just us we sat like lumps as everyone hooted and carried on. Other than that it was a good show. If I had to choose, the Nemo show was better, but if you can make it to both shows Lion King is worth watching, too.
Stitch saw the busy ice cream stand outside the theater and started whining about ice cream almost immediately, so she stood in line while I sat on a bench. I pondered why this was such a lame area of the otherwise perfectly themed park. They trIed a little bit to make it fun, but it's not on par with Africa or Asia or Dinoland USA. I decided this must be the place where the fantasy/mythical beast area was supposed to be, and when they ran out of money or time they decided to can that idea and make this a character greeting area with the Lion King theater to draw people into the land. And probably where they will put the Avatarland when they get started on that project!
After waiting in the forever line for ice cream, Stitch was pleased to get her treat and it was almost time for the parade. We walked to the parade route and I sat down right behind the white line while Ursula and Stitch found a bench. When Stitch was finished with her ice cream she came and sat down next to me; I was glad because there was a little kid that had taken up residence to my left with a huge gooey, melty ice cream and he was none too careful about flinging it everywhere. I welcomed Stitch to sit next to me and give me a buffer from the ice cream kid, but there wasn't really enough room by that time so she kind of scooched up behind and to the left of me. It ended up being a great place to view the parade, because we were in the very front we were able to remain seated and still see everything, it was awesome! The character floats were the best-- I loved them! The animal vehicle things were cool too but kind of hard to take decent pictures of because they were so large. A good parade, I was happy we had made time to see it and got great seats.
This guy was so in character he went to stand on top or the lantern and posed like a bird for a little while.
By the time it was over my legs had fallen asleep underneath me! I put my arm around Sittch to help me limp over the the bench where Mum was. A CM saw us and asked if I was all right or if they needed to call for help, thinking I had gotten trampled or something? I had to explain that I was fine but my legs had fallen asleep, which was funny and embarrassing at the same time. I didn't think we were making that big of a spectacle in the post-parade chaos, but it must have been for a CM to notice us and approach us about it.
Once we reunited with Ursula and the parade crowd had dispersed somewhat we decided to use our Everest fast passes after all, which meant another hike back to the opposite end of the park. We were feeling the distance in AK that day, that's for sure! Everest was fun and we were able to ride in the front of the train this time. It is our favorite ride in this park!
By the time we were done with Everest it was nearly time for our reservations at Rainforest Cafe, so we followed the crowd headed home (it was less than an hour until park closing) back across the park to the restaurant. We hadn't been to this RC before, so we wandered around lost in the gift shop a while before figuring out where to check in for our meal. I was amazed by a really giant insulated mug I found that was easily a gallon sized jug (who needs to drink that much of anything?). I made Stitch take a picture of me with it next to some giant fruit before we went to sit down.
We were seated right next to a tank, which was cool.
Dinner was good, not spectacular but decent. We were all so exhausted that it was pretty quiet, and the restaurant wasn't especially crowded, which was nice. We got some drinks-- I enjoyed a pina colada-- and took a few pictures in the restaurant. When it was time to leave we went out the same way we'd come in, thinking we'd be exiting through the park (which had closed). We got all the way over there before the CM guards posted told us the exit that lets out outside the park is on the opposite side. So we had to walk clear back through everything to leave the correct way. Sometimes I think they do stuff like that just to screw with the guests. The CM's must get some kind of schadenfreude joy out of making us walk an extra quarter mile out of the way after walking 15 miles already that day.
We caught the last tram of the day out to our car.
We got to our car all right and blasted the AC as we drove off property to go to the Publix for supplies. We were almost out of some sundry items and didn't want to risk running out before the end of the trip. We discussed that if we didn't buy them we'd run out for sure, but if we did buy them we'd have plenty left over besides what we purchased. Sighing, we loaded up the cart with special lotion tissues, bandages and face lotion for peeling, sensitive skin.
Do not send your mail to Publix
On our way to the register Stitch spotted a fun Turkey made out of soda cases. Ursula was unable to see it when Stitch and I pointed it out to her, and thoguht we were pulling her leg. When I took a picture she was able to see it, but in real life she couldn't. We got a good laugh out of that!
We loaded up our crap and headed home, happy to settle in for an early night. We talked about going to the pool, but nobody felt like walking even the short distance to the quiet pool, as exhausted as we were. Stitch fell asleep right away, I spent some time on my homework while Ursula read her book until falling asleep. Another fun-filled Disney day.
Next up we have fun at Typhoon Lagoon, then head over to Epcot!