Animal Kingdom

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And so we head-off to breakfast, and like everything at Disney, we wait in line…

Heading to Breakfast Heading to Breakfast

We didn’t have much planned at Animal Kingdom today…Fast Passes for “Everest” again, this time it was Adam and me, while Mom and Alex went to the “It’s Tough to be a Bug” show (which Alex loves!). As you can see, Adam has learned where the cameras are, so he can make faces during the ride…

Everest Again

and then, it’s Cindy’s favorite show, “The Festival of the Lion King”…

Lion King

Pomba

We were going to do the “Kilimanjaro Safari” ride, but Cindy and the boys were anxious to get to the pool at the resort, so we left a little early. The pool was really nice…

Caribbean Beach Resort Pool

and so was the beach…

Caribbean Beach Resort

So, while Cindy relaxed and sipped a tropical drink, and the boys ran wild in the water, I slipped-off to the Magic Kingdom to visit the “Hall of Presidents”.

Yes. I went there for that one attraction. Not only is it one of my favorites, I hadn’t see it since they added President Trump. Anyway, I drove to the park, walked to the gate, got on the Ferry to Magic Kingdom, walked down Main Street U.S.A. to Liberty Square and arrived just 15-minutes before the show started.

When I arrived, the Muppets were putting on a show right next door…

Muppets

Soon, the doors opened for the “Hall of Presidents” and the crowd strode in. I had an excellent seat…

Hall of Presidents

and the show was GREAT! As always.

Hall of Presidents

After the show, I walked back out to Liberty Square, down Main Street U.S.A., got on the Ferry back to the gate, walked to my truck, and drove back to the resort. Just so you know, this single attraction journey took about 2-1/2-hours.

Dinner was a BIG BUCKET OF CRAB LEGS at Joe’s Crab Shack and a slice of Key Lime Pie for the birthday girl.

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Tomorrow is Cindy’s birthday and surprisingly, she wanted to spend the weekend at Disney World. I was working in Tampa, so drove up here a little early to check-in and get things set-up. Cindy picked-up the boys early from school and headed down.

Happy Birthday Button

We’re staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and will be spending this evening and tomorrow at Cindy’s favorite park: Animal Kingdom.

Resort Room Looking out the window

We had a few minutes before we had to get to the park, so the boys chilled out for a bit in the hammocks on the beach outside the room…

Hammock

Soon it was time to go, so the boys dumped the sand out of their shoes and we took-off to Animal Kingdom. We had a Fast Pass for the “Expedition Everest” rollercoaster. Alex didn’t want to ride, so Cindy and Adam went on…

Expedition Everest

We also had a Fast Pass for the “Na’vi River Journey” in Pandora, so before we ate dinner, we visited the Na’vi…

Na'vi River Journey

and then took some pictures…

Pandora Waterfall

then, as the sun was going down, we enjoyed our Pandora feast…

Pandora Drink Pandora Meal Pandora Dessert

After dinner, we had our last Fast Pass for the “Rivers of Light Nighttime Experience,” which turned out to be AWESOME!

River of Light

River of Light

River of Light River of Light

River of Light

River of Light

When the show was over, we headed for the gate because the park was closing. What a fun night! Back at the hotel, the boys chilled a bit before bed…

In Bed

but not for long! Tomorrow will be a busy day!

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It’s the last day of our mini-vacation and what better place to spend it than at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? On the ride into the park the tram director commented, “It’s a jungle, not a zoo”, which captured a chuckle from the crowd.

Animal Kingdom Entrance

The photographer liked Alex’s Sorcerer Mickey hat and wanted to draw some attention to it…

Animal Kingdom Entrance

The first order of business today was a visit to Africa…

Africa

We were waiting for the “Festival of the Lion King” show and spotted this drum-beating native on stilts, who talked to the boys as he passed…

African Musician African Musician

After the Lion King show, we made our way to the Animal Kingdom’s new exhibit, Pandora – The World of Avatar…

Pandora

Complete with the Ayram alus├Čng (a.k.a. floating mountains)…

Pandora Floating Mountain

and an AMP (Amplified Mobility Platform)…

AMP AMP and boys

and who could visit Pandora without sampling the local cuisine?

Pandora Lunch

Mmmm…

Pandora Lunch

One the way out, the boys and I stopped for a photo outside one of the Resources Development Administration’s buildings…

RDA Building

and Alex posed for a visitor pass…

Visitor Pass

We had a good time in Pandora, but we had a Safari to get to in Africa, so we left behind the mythical land of Avatar and headed back to Africa. Soon we were on the truck and off into the jungles of Tanzania on our Kilimanjaro Safari…

Kilimanjaro Safari

It’s always fun visiting the animals, like the hippos enjoying a swim and the giraffe’s resting on the Savanna…

Hippo under water Giraffe resting on Savanna

By the time the safari ended, it was clouding up and getting ready to storm. We had one more ride we wanted to get to today: The Expedition Everest roller coaster.

Expedition Everest

Well, me and Adam, anyway, as Alex and Mom aren’t too fond of the roller coasters. Anyway, we took off to Asia, while mom and Alex were off to Discovery Island to the “It’s Tough to be a Bug” show. We had a few minutes before our FastPass kicked-in, so Adam and I took in the sights…

Adam at Expedition Everest

Soon, it started to rain, so we donned our ponchos and got in line for Everest. Although the rain wasn’t too bad, the thunder was loud and lightening in the area caused them to shut-down the ride as we were just about to board the roller coaster! Adam and I hung-out for almost 30-minutes when a break in the storm allowed the ride to open-up again. Whoo hoo…

Expedition Everest

After three or four groups had gone, the lightening caused them to close the ride again and it wouldn’t reopen for the rest of the day. Whew! We barely made it!! By this time, the rain had let-up a bit and we made our way to the exit.

Exit

This evening, we dined at the Disney Polynesian Restaurant and watched the Magic Kingdom fireworks from the beach on Seven Seas Lagoon. What a great time!

Polynesian Restaurant

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This weekend, while I enjoyed (??) a Leadership Conference in Phoenix, Cindy and the boys met Jess and her family in Orlando for a mini-vacation. Today, they started with a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious breakfast at Disney’s Grand Floridian, then will be moving on to Animal Kingdom.

Here’s the gang with The Mad Hatter…

Mad Hatter

And Kameran and Kalie don’t seem to mind the rather creepy looking Mary Poppins, but Cater John is a bit leery…

Mary Poppins Mary Poppins

Oliver was thrilled to meet Pooh, and A2 always enjoy hanging-out with Tigger…

Pooh Tigger

So, how do you top this breakfast adventure? How about a day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

Animal Kingdom

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It’s been a while since we’ve been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Of the four theme parks that make-up Walt Disney World, this is Cindy’s favorite. The first event of the day? Riding the Expedition Everest roller coaster!

Mt Everest Bridge

One of the shows can’t miss shows here is the Festival of the Lion King. We had Fast Passes for this and our seats were great! And for the show’s Grand Finale, Alex was asked to join-in!

Alex Lion King Alex Lion King

Too cool!

Alex Lion King

INTERLUDE: Something I never noticed before carved into the Tree of Life…it’s Cthulhu. Which, of course, no one appreciates, but me.

Tree of Life Cthulhu

Lunch today was at the Tusker House Restaurant. The food was great…probably the only place at Disney where you can get curry! And our Disney pals stopping by the table just enhance the experience…

Mickey Goofy
Daisy Donald

In the afternoon, we had a Fast Pass for the Kali River Rapids. The last time we rode this, Alex and I got soaked! This time, we change into our swim suits. Except me…I use a poncho!

Mom and Boys

After our trip down the rapids, during which I’m happy to say, we stayed pretty dry. We visited Baloo and Looie…and Louie’s antics were hilarious!

Baloo and Louie Baloo and Louie
Baloo and Louie Baloo and Louie
Baloo and Louie Baloo and Louie

On the way out of the park, after an exhaustingly FUN day, we stop for a final photo or two. And as is often the case with TWINS, no matter how many pictures you take, you can’t get the perfect pose from both of them in the same picture!

Boys x 4

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After a great night in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we were ready for a day at the park. I paid the valet for the van and we headed down the road for the short trip to the park entrance.

Animal Kingdom Entrance

We had almost an hour before the first “Fast Pass” attraction I had scheduled the day prior. We went to the gate to activate our annual pass and in the middle of the process, Cindy realized she had forgotten her ID in the car. So I (literally) ran back to the van to retrieve her ID card. Once back at the ticket booth, panting and out-of-breath, we completed the admission process (or so we thought) and preceded to the park entrance.

Bag searched, we each held our magic band up to the scanner. Everyone cleared except for me. Evidently, in the confusion of the forgotten ID situation, the ticket-taker failed to activate my ticket. So, I had to accompany an attendant to the Guest Service Office where she processed my ticket manually, and then gave us an “Fast Pass” ticket for the inconvenience. The process didn’t take too long, and the boys played with the iPads which served as park information centers.

Anyway, despite the delay, we were still on schedule to make our first “Fast Pass” experience, The Kali River Rapids ride! So, we get to the attraction entrance and head to the “Fast Pass” lane where we discovered that Adam had inadvertently changed all our fast pass selections while he was playing with the iPad in the ticket office. Needless to say, I was not too happy.

Fortunately, one of the guest service guys was there and he helped us cancel Adam’s selections and rebook our original selections. Then he have us a complementary Fast Pass ride on the Kali River Rapids. Talk about great service!

Of course, Alex didn’t think it was so great, as both he and I got soaked!!

Kids Soaked

of course, Mom and Adam got a little wet, too, but not quite as bad as me and Alex!

Family Soaked

We figured walking would help us dry-off, so we headed to the Dinoland USA looking for DINOSAUR, a time-machine themed ride. We all road aboard these “time rovers” through a lot of bumps and flashing lights. There were lots of dinosaurs, but certainly not my favorite ride…

Time Rover

After recovering from the whiplash induced by the time rover, we took in the Primeval Whirl (which was, interestingly enough, one of the attractions Adam re-scheduled us to ride). Alex wasn’t crazy about this one, so he and I sat-it-out while Mom and Alex took a whirl.

Adam and Mom Ride

By the time they finished, Alex was good-to-go, so we got back in line, so he could ride.

But the highlight of the Animal Kingdom experience was the Expedition Everist roller coaster!

Expedition Everest

Expedition Everest

We used our “Fast Pass” to get through the line quickly. Here we are going into the 80-foot drop. And despite the looks on the boys faces, they absolutely LOVED the ride! So much so, they wanted to get back in line and go again…

Expedition Everest Roller Coaster

Sometime during the day, although at this point it’s really a blur, we stopped for ice cream…

Adam eats ice cream Alex eats ice cream

Oh, and the boys jammed on some bongos, and Alex got sillier and sillier, as Adam lost more and more enthusiasm…

Bongos Bongos
Bongos Bongos
Bongos Bongos

As the day was winding down, we headed to Africa for our last attraction, the Kilimanjaro Safari. But on our way to Africa, guess who popped out of the ground?!?

Stitch

Then it was on to the safari. There were a lot of animals, rinos, elephants, but the boys really got a kick out of the giraffe that crossed in front of the truck.

Giraffe

And so, with one more look at Mt Everest, we crossed the bridge and headed back to the van, and home.

Mt Everest from the lake

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Today was our last day at Disney. Jess and Kameran are flying in to Tampa this afternoon, and we’ll be meeting in Sarasota to spend a few days together visiting family. The boys we sleeping pretty well, so we weren’t up as early as we were yesterday, getting off to a later start. We had a mid-morning breakfast at the Shades of Green restaurant, and were off to “Animal Kingdom”…

Animal Kingdom Entrance Boys Waiting

At Animal Kingdom

First things first, we made our way to the “Festival of the Lion King” show. Fortunately, we made it there just a few minutes before the show was due to begin, so there was really no time for the boys to meltdown ;-). Once inside, they were a bit antsy, but as soon as the show began they settled down. In fact, they really got into the audience participation stuff, making elephant noises and holding out their arms like a trunk. I was surprised that they liked the show as much as they did.

Next we put our names on the fast-track list for the “Kilimanjaro Safari” and went to see the “Finding Nemo Musical”. Evidently, sleep was catching up with the boys because they crashed for about 40-minutes in the stroller…

Sleeping Boys

The Nemo show was about 40-minutes long, but the boys, for the most part, sat still and watched the show. Although as far as Disney shows go, it certainly wasn’t one of my favorites. We got out with just enough time to make the Safari, which was the boys favorite event of the day…

Safari

Dad and Alex on Safari

Alex and Adam after the Safari Family Safari

We had a good time, but it was getting late and everyone was starving-hungry. We had dinner at “Pizzafari,” then made our way to the park’s exit.

One last look, as we cross the bridge…

Animal Kingdom

And we were off to Sarasota.

The drive wasn’t too bad. The boys slept a good portion of the way and we made it to the condo in under 2 hours. Jess and Kam were at their Poppy’s waiting for us to arrive, and he drove them over and visited for a bit before heading home. It’s gonna be nice to unwind for a few days!

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