Tuesday, January 10, 2012

WDW Christmas Week Trip Report - DAY 2 / Part 1, Animal Kingdom

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Monday, December 19 - DAY 2:  Day two began as day 1 did, bright and early.  And again, not bright as the sun had not come up on this day either and we were on our way…5:30 AM.  We woke, grabbed some breakfast in the room and began to get ready.  The plan was to be out at the buses to head to Animal Kingdom by 6:15 am.  We made it to the bus right on time and to our surprise, there was no wait and a bus sitting there empty ready to go to AK.  So we hopped on, just my four as the others were running a little behind.  We figured for sure that the bus would run down to Music and Movies to fill up before going to AK, but again ‘surprise’ it made a left turn out of the Sports instead of a right and we knew we were heading straight to the park.  This made me very happy as we were ahead of schedule now, according to my “plan” – again, I love a plan, but being ahead of a time schedule I love even more.  (I’m a little OCD).
We arrived at the bus drop off at 6:30 am.  In the darkness and quiet of the morning it was so neat walking into the AK entrance.  You could hear the sounds of the birds, the music quietly playing in the distance, the wind through the trees, and the sound of water rushing.  Even though I hadn’t been super excited to change my plans, I was now!  I just can’t help that Disney-rush I get when walking up to the park. 
Spencer, Me and Scarlet very early in the morning at Animal Kingdom.

We headed to the gate, through the security check, and up to the turnstiles.  There were only two people in front of us at the turnstile we chose.  We waited for a bit, talking and taking some pictures on my daughter’s new iPhone until 6:45 am when a Cast Member came out and began giving instructions about how they would start turning on the ticket machines in a minute and begin letting us head into the holding area in front of  the Tree of Life where we could enjoy the shops which were open until rope drop.  Shortly after that we went in and did go to the shops to look around and wait to meet up with the rest of our group before the rope drop.
Since Kilimanjaro Safari’s first run wasn’t scheduled to begin until 7:45 am we decided to head right at rope drop and straight for the Asia section to ride Expedition Everest first.  When we got there we sent the dad’s to get Fast Passes while the rest of us hopped in the Stand-by line, which read 10 minutes but was not even 5 minutes.  The dad’s hurried to catch up to us as the line moved continuously through the queue.  And before we knew it we were making our way through our first run on Everest.  We all love this ride, but I have to admit that I have never seen the Yeti.  I always cover my eyes.  I know it’s pretend, but the sound effects get me and I just can’t.  When we got off we decided to go ahead and hop back in the stand-by line and ride it again.  This time the queue took a little longer  to get through, but not much, maybe 10 minutes or a little more.  After we got through the second run we decided to take our time and walk over to the Africa section to ride Kilimanjaro Safari as soon as it opened at 7:45am.  So we strolled over got a snack, took a bathroom break and stopped to play on the drums.

Kayla and Maddie excited to be at Animal Kingdom so early.

As we rounded the corner heading to Kilimanjaro Safari, the cast members were waving people into the queue, great timing.  We headed in and did not stop at all, went straight to the loading area.  We were held there for just a bit till the next truck came up as our party of 10 wanted to ride all together.  Then it was on to see some animals.  We saw several that had never been out before, including a Giraffe that came right up to our truck on my side.  I could have and would have loved to reach out and touch it, but our driver kept reminding us not to touch the animals…bummer.  We had several up close encounters on the ride.  And one not so up close, but kind of uncomfortable, elephant sighting.  Let’s just say it must have been time for his bathroom break or he had found a “little blue pill” and had no one to share it with.  I have a picture, as I was snapping away taking pictures and didn’t realize until the others in my party started with the jokes what was going on.  I can’t decide if I should post it or not.  We’ll see.

The Savannah at sunrise.  It was beautiful and so peaceful.

*I felt convicted to take the elephant picture down...*
Ok, I posted it.  I hope this doesn't embaress or offend anyone.  I will probably come back and take it off soon.  But it was hillarious at the time.

At the end of the safari we stopped for a quick kids group shot.  We just can’t believe how big our kids are now.  When we first started bringing them to Disney the two oldest were 2 and 4 and the others weren’t even around yet.  We have had so many great trips to Disney all together, three in a row, and so many magical memories it is kind of unbelievable that we have been so fortunate to have been blessed to be able to make them.  Don’t we have some great looking kids too…
Kayla. Blake, Spencer, Scarlet, Maddie and Chase.

We then made our way back over to Expedition Everest to use our Fast Passes.  My husband and I decided to skip this turn and gifted our FP’s to a couple standing at the stand-by line entrance.  We decided to just sit over in the little rock area next to the ride and wait to see the others as they go up and come down the mountain.  It was during this little break that we made the decision to try to do something we had always wanted to do but had not been able to as yet.  Do all four parks in one day.
We realized that we had 20 hours more or less to accomplish this, since AK had opened at 7 am and Magic Kingdom would stay open until 3 am Tuesday morning.  And since we weren’t planning to do a park the next day we could sleep as late as we needed to re-coup.  We also realized that we probably wouldn’t be able to do everything we wanted at each park and started making a plan (yes a plan) for the things we definitely wanted to do.  One thing that helped us a lot was the ride time’s updater that my husband has on his phone.  That was a great asset throughout the day, as it helped us judge crowds at the parks when deciding which to head to and what to ride first when we got there.
When the others got off of EE we informed them of the plan and everyone was on board.  So we headed over to the Dinosaur ride.  This would be our last ride at AK, we hated to have to miss Finding Nemo the Musical and a few other things that we always enjoy, but we were now on a mission.  Do as much as we could at all four parks by 3 am the next morning.    

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