Friday, October 03, 2008

Disney Diary - Day 7

A picture is worth a thousand words
August 29, 2008

We did our usual rope drop routine, this time for Animal Kingdom. Another hot/sticky day. First on our agenda was the Kilimanjaro Safari. The wait was already 40 min. when we got to the ride, so we got fastpasses for it. During our wait we did the neighboring Pangani Trail. Lots of smaller animals, neat to see, but not that much better than your local zoo. Then we did the safari - we did this last year too and it was just as good as we remembered it. We saw lots of gorgeous giraffes, hippos, ostriches, and several other animals – just grazing as if they were really in the wild.

After the safari we headed toward Expedition Everest as Alex has said he wanted to try it. We got fastpasses for 12:40p and then headed over to Dinoland. My plan was for Alex and Sean to do Dinosaur, and Katie and I to do Triceratop Spin. Dinosaur is dark and loud and has dinosaurs that pop out at you and roar and such, so too scary for Katie. Sean doesn’t mind this kind of scary though, so I thought it would be good for them to do together. Triceratop Spin is just like Dumbo only the carts are dinosaurs instead of elephants. Both rides had only about a 10 min. wait. Katie and I are just getting on Triceratop Spin when we notice that Sean and Alex are walking toward us. I ask if they are finished already and Sean shakes his head no. Once Katie and I are done with the ride I ask what happened. Apparently there are signs outside of Dinosaur that say it is like a roller coaster, so Sean won’t ride. I was confused because everything I read said it was definitely not a roller coaster, but I saw the signs out front too.

So Alex and I rode it while Sean waited with Katie. UGH. I hated that ride. It definitely was not like a roller coaster, but it was almost pitch black except for when a shrieking Dinosaur jumps out at you and breaks your ear drum. This happens about every 20 seconds or so. It wasn’t that I felt afraid; I just found it annoying and not enjoyable at all. Sean totally could have handled it, but after my glowing review he wasn’t really interested in trying it out.

We spent some more time looking at animals on trails and that was sort of fun – many different types of fish and birds. The birds were loose right in the park and not contained in a cage at all they would land right next to you on a tree limb or right on the walkway.

Then it was time for lunch – we had planned to eat at FlameTree BBQ, which I hear is very good. This idea was nixed though when we realized the eating area was outside with no AC. In fact, most of the places to eat counter service at Animal Kingdom are outdoors. We notice this problem in Disney Studios, and Epcot’s World Showcase too. There were several places I wanted to try out, but just couldn’t face eating outside on such hot days. We needed the respite from the heat more than we needed the food I think. So we ended up at Pizzafari – we ate there last time too and as I remember it – nothing special but okay food. One thing the kids and I both did really like was that they had Minute Maid lemon ice for dessert, very refreshing in the heat and also low-cal.

We didn’t have a very pleasant a meal here – not because of the food, as I said it was fine. We were cranky though – I was cranky, Sean was cranky, and Katie was cranky. Poor Alex was just trying to stay out of everyone’s way I think. Sean and I were arguing in that way we argue in front of the kids when we are trying not to argue in front of the kids. I don’t even remember what it was about really, probably about walking all the way to Flame Tree and realizing we couldn’t eat there because it was outdoors. Anyway, we weren’t saying much, but the tension was there and a few veiled comments were made. We were all tired from all the going, going, going on the trip and all the heat. I somehow managed to get a splinter of wood from the chair I was sitting on under my thumbnail – really far in. A month later I still have the messed up nail to prove it. Ouch! I’m a big baby and I cry easily when I’m stressed or emotional or cranky. A few tears slipped down my face during this meal while I tried to get it back together and shake off the bad morning. It didn’t help that AK is my least favorite park and I wasn’t really having a good time. I really enjoyed the safari, but the rest just doesn’t do much for me. I felt more like I was just hiking around in the heat with a cranky kid (I think Katie felt like I did about this park – liked the safari, not much else) and a big cranky kid (Sean). Turned me into a cranky kid too, I guess.

Anyway, the lemon ice just about got me back on track. Tasted pretty much like sorbet even though it was just cheap frozen lemonade. It was time for our fastpasses for Expedition Everest, so Alex and I did that next. Wow, maybe I’m just getting old, but that one really got my blood pumping. I’m not sure whether you actually go upside down or not, but you certainly feel like you are going upside down in the dark backwards at one point in the ride. Fun, but definitely a once a trip experience!

After EE we headed out of the park to the bus stop. Katie was still being generally cranky and Alex being the sweetheart that he is offered to pick her up while we were waiting. She had asked me and Sean first, but it was so hot and she is about 38 lbs now. 38lbs is a lot to hold in the hot sticky heat, especially when she is hot and sticky too. Alex picked her up, chatted with her, and made her smile. He is such a good big brother. He even poured some of his water into her water bottle since she had drunk all of hers already. I snapped this pic of them together while we waited. The bus came after a few minutes and we all went back to the hotel for a swim, a rest and to shed our crankiness.

We took a little longer than usual break and I think I even slept for a half hour or so. I think the trip was wearing on all of us and we needed a little extra rest time. When we were finally ready, we headed out to Epcot to do the World Showcase. Again we were thwarted by the counter service places having only outdoor seating. We wanted to try San Angel Inn in Mexico as soon as we entered the park, so we walked from the front of the park all the way to Mexico only to find this out. This is the one area that I will definitely research better if we do another trip. I won’t be putting any restaurants that require me to eat outside in the heat in our plan! I just didn’t think to check on that when I was picking places – just went by reviews. As long as we were already in Mexico though, we decided to look around at the shops there and do the Three Amigos ride. The ride was very cute and it was indoors and had AC, so we all enjoyed that. There were beautiful Mexican wood carvings that I would have loved to take home, but they were quite expensive.

After exploring Mexico we decided we hadn’t better tempt fate any further by putting off dinner. It was already 6pm (we usually eat at 5 or 5:30p) and Katie can get really owly when she is hungry. We toyed with the idea of going around World Showcase looking for a counter service that was indoors, but thought it likely there wouldn’t be much and since we didn’t know for sure didn’t want to keep wandering aimlessly. In the end we decided to go back to Future World and eat at Electric Umbrella. We had eaten there on our previous trip, so we knew what we were getting. It is a bland burgers and chicken fingers kinda place, but we were hungry and it was indoors. Dinner there was uneventful and we all had enough to eat. We ordered Alex the double burger with an extra bun and he then put one of his burgers on the extra bun for Katie. She ate the hamburger just fine and only had about two of my fries so that made sharing really easy with her there. I had read a review somewhere that said the cheesecake (which is prepackaged, small, circular, single servings) was actually pretty good here. Sorry, but I have to disagree. I ordered it for dessert and didn’t bother finishing it. It tasted like nothing and the texture was too grainy. They also had chocolate chip cookies there (also prepackaged) and both kids really liked them.

After dinner we trekked our way back to World Showcase. Alex and I picked up fastpasses for Test Track on our way as we had missed out on getting to do that ride when we were here before. Our plan was to look through as many countries as we could and then go to Beaches and Cream and have some really good ice cream before calling it a night. We got through several, I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t remember exactly which ones. I know we looked through China where I got some pretty glass dear for my mother. We also went through Norway where we tried to get Alex and Katie to make good Viking faces for the camera, but I don’t think Katie really understood. We ended up not spending as much time as I would have liked looking at the exhibits and the shops because Katie is still really hard to take into shops like that. She wants to touch everything and lots of stuff was breakable, so we couldn’t really linger like I wanted to.

After about the 12,345th time telling Katie not to touch I decided no more shops and we’d just go have our ice cream at Beaches and Cream. Sean and Alex were fine with that – I think they were both kind of bored with me looking at “stuff”. They didn’t really get into the educational, interesting aspect of looking at the other countries like I hoped they would, and with me trying to manage Katie’s behavior I couldn’t do much to draw them in. Alex did show at least a mild interest in the Viking exhibits though.

We walked through the International Gateway to the Beach Club resort and to Beaches and Cream. Excellent ice cream shop. We got seats at the counter and after much discussion ended up ordering two Hot Fudge Mudslides to share. These were huge cake-like brownies on the bottom, hot fudge, vanilla ice cream, oreo cookies, whip cream and a cherry. Alex and I ate one and Sean and Katie the other. Sean especially liked his! Yummy – I didn’t care for the brownies at the bottom so much – just too heavy and not as chocolatey as I like them, I guess. Alex felt the same way I did about the brownies and we ended up leaving most of them in the bottom of our dish. We had plenty though with all the ice cream and cookies though. Katie didn’t eat too much, but was happy enough and Sean ate almost all of theirs by himself. He rarely eats sweets at all, but when he does allow himself a treat like this – he really fills up!

After our ice cream, we waddled back through the International Gateway and over to Test Track. Alex and I rode it and it was surprisingly fun – I don’t know why, but I wasn’t really expecting to like this ride. While we were gone, Sean and Katie found a bench with an obstructed view of Illuminations. Alex and I sat down with them and watched the end of the fireworks. It had cooled off outside enough to be comfortable and it was a nice moment all sitting out under the fireworks. After the fireworks we headed out of the park and back to the bus. It was an extra magic night for Epcot, but we weren’t staying. The upside to that was that there wasn’t as big of an exodus out of the park because lots of people were staying. We got on a bus rather easily and headed back to the hotel. Since we were sleeping in the next day Alex and I decided to go swim even though it was already 10p. A nice swim and a 30 min. stint in the hot tub and I went to bed feeling pretty relaxed


RC said...

It's so funny that you didn't really enjoy the animal park. We had one of those days at Disney Studios, including the tears. I totally feel for you. =( I think by the time we got the Animal Park the next day I was ready to make it a fun day no matter what and we really enjoyed that park.

We never made it to Beaches and Cream. If we ever go back, I definitely want to try it out. I hear such great things about it.

Glad the end of the day ended up with you feeling much better!

Melissa C. said...

Well I'm sorry you finally had a yucky day. But the ice cream looks amazing!

extrememom24 said...

It has been such fun reading about your trip. Give yourself a giant pat on the back for accomplishing all that during the hottest, most humid time of the year in Orlando.
Animal Kingdom is definitely by far the hottest of the parks and it does get boring pretty quick for little ones. If you go back next year be sure to see the Lion King and Finding Nemo shows. They are live action and the performers are really good (Mostly working their way through school before trying Broadway) Adding to the draw, both theaters are well air conditioned!

extrememom24 said...

Oh, yeah,I forgot Expedition Everest doesn't go upside down, but it does haul booty up and around the corner backwards. Kind of jumped my heart a bit too!