Monday, December 26, 2011

Day 4: Animal Kingdom

We woke up nice and early on Day 3, as one would expect considering the relatively early bedtimes of the previous night. We had a quick breakfast at the Gingerbread House and left for Animal Kingdom around 9. Grandma and Grandpa again graciously agreed to take care of The Baby, so it was the four of us at Animal Kingdom. Best early part of Animal Kingdom: you don't have to take a team from your car to a monorail station to get to the park. Just the tram.


Animal Kingdom is nice! The rides are different than an amusement park's rides, which is a generalization of most of Disney. The rides at the various Disney parks are not like the rides at Kennywood or Six Flags. The rides aren't necessarily deigned to be "throw your body around until you feel ill," if you will. The rides are designed around the principle of advancing a Disney character or advancing a philosophical concept.


In Animal Kingdom's case, for instance, most of the rides are based around the concept of learning something about some of the animals and their environment.


The first ride we did was the Bug's Life show - a 3D show with little nozzles mounted into the seat near you that spray you with water and smoke and things like that as the show progresses, to give a full illusion of interactivity. It's marvelous!


We used our Make A Wish badge to ditch the line to see Pooh and Tigger and Eeyore, then we found a neat dinosaur carnival on the Dinosaur Island. It's a wonderful re-creation of a parking lot carnival centered arund dinosaurs. In true Disney fashion it has all of the details correct: the dinosaur themed games, the rickety-seeming rides, the "cracks" in the "pavement" complete with "tar" sealing them. The tar was actually rubber strips fit into carved cracks, which was really, really cool to see. They had a spinning ride where you could ride a triceratops and move him up or down or tilt it forwards or backwards.


The Maharaja Jungle trek is a walking zoo, with parts that represent different "lands" in Asia. From there, we walked around for a bit then ate lunch outside the Rainforest Cafe and went home to rest.





Only regret? They had a cool play area with slides and climbing things and such, and we did not go there. It would have been nice for the kids. It sounds like we didn't do much, and that is kind of correct. I didn't mention the neat dinosaur time travel ride that we went on, which was a little scary for The Boy but still fun. Animal Kingdom just had such great stuff to see and to play with, that we didn't really do that much in terms of rides. Environment and geography were important things in this park, for obvious reasons.


Back at the villa, Little Bear did not rest. He fell asleep in the car, was woken to use the potty when we got back, then woke himself up by pooping after he was put to bed. No dice. I walked around with him and played for a little while, then rested for a little bit before dinner. Little Bear played with the trains at the Amberville Train Station: they have an amazing train layout with little buttons that trigger some of the electronics, turning on lights or music or making things move. They also have a little train ride on which to ride, which we did. They were training some new volunteers on how to run the train, which was interesting for me to see. He and I also had ice cream.


The Wife and I took The Boy back to the Magic Kingdom, and we splurged for a fancy dinner for the three of us.


The Liberty Tree Tavern had great salad, a traditional Christmas dinner with turkey and mashed potatoes (we didn't get the pork for obvious reasons), and a delicious dessert cake and ice cream.


We only went on two rides: the Jungle Trek and the Haunted Mansion before we were done for the night. We were all exhausted. The dinner took a long time; it was a nice, leisurely meal that allowed us lots of time to talk and to be with each other, which is what I required for a Christmas dinner.


Back at the villa, The Boy went directly to bed. That's okay. The next day - today - was busy enough for all of us.

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