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Jan 24 2013

Disney Days 2013: Back to Animal Kingdom

The weather this past weekend was perfect for a first trip back to Disney since the blackout ended on our passes, so we headed to Animal Kingdom for the day.

The day started off really interesting with getting a Cast Member in trouble. I normally don’t like to get people in trouble at their job, but being a former Cast Member and now a parent, I have zero tolerance for those that don’t present themselves in the “Disney” way. (I know, I’m a dork) When we arrived they had a good portion of the gates closed, which I am guessing might be for modifications for their new MyMagic+ program that they are possibly rolling out later this year. Due to the closed section, the lines were long to get in and the one we happened to get into, didn’t have a gate to push the stroller through. We didn’t realize this until we were probably 4 families from going through and heard the Cast Member with an attitude telling people to move over to a line that had a gate. Well no one was moving to let us over, so I had my son get out,  I folded the stroller, and carried it over after my wife and son went through. Just before I went through, the agitated Cast Member, right in front of my son said, “Here they come with the god d*mn strollers.” It wasn’t the worst bad word he could’ have said and I am no saint with bad words, but come on, this is supposed to be the  happiest place on Earth and kids shouldn’t have to hear those things, especially from a Disney employee. A supervisor happened to be walking out right when we were getting my son back into the stroller, so we told him what happened. His eyes bugged out when he heard and said he would talk to him immediately. I understood the Cast Member’s frustration because he should have had help in the back guiding people, but he should have still kept his actions under control.

So…..moving on to more positive and fun things 😉 ….

The rest of the day was great. Really busy, but great! We started off the day with our favorite ride in the park, the Kilimanjaro Safaris in Africa. The line for just the FastPasses was really long, so we decided to tough out the 70 minute wait (turned into 120). It was worth it though because we got to see some animals we don’t normally get to  see or see close to the vehicle.

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The lions are always out partying too late the night before and sleeping each time we go. Crazy nocturnal kitties.

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While we were in line for the Safari, we used the Disney Park app to make reservations for lunch. Usually when we wait last minute we don’t get anything but the Yak & Yeti was available.and we had never eaten there before, so we booked it.

We had some time to kill before our reservation, so we headed over to DinoLand USA so lil man could play in The Boneyard. I usually get a ton of pics here, but for some reason I slacked on this trip. If you’ve never been there, it’s a playground that’s built to look like a dig site with lots of slides. There’s also a cool little area on the other side of the bridge were kids can dig through these tiny pebbles to reveal dinosaur bones. The is a great place for parents to relax and sit in the shade while the little ones play.

Here’s an older shot from there….

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After some digging and slides, it was time for lunch…

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We started off with a really good appetizer, Tempura Green Beans with a Sweet Chili sauce for dipping.

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I ordered the Lo Mein with Chicken and the wifey ordered the Mandarin Orange Salad.

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Both were huge servings which I don’t think are properly represented in the pics. Lil man shared with us because it was $9 for a kids meal and we knew he wouldn’t each much of it.  Both weren’t the best we have ever eaten, but they had good flavor and were filling.

Lil man had to use the restroom while we were there and I don’t make it habit to take pictures in a bathroom but they had the cool Dyson hand dryers that we have used in the past.

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From there we headed to the Maharajah Jungle Trek in Asia which is a self-guided trek where you will find tigers,

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bats,

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a Komodo dragon,

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and cools birds like this guy, the Golden Pheasant

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The exit brings you out to these awesome swinging monkeys, apes, etc….I can never get them right 🙂

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We headed over to Camp Minnie-Mickey and saw this cool view on the way there…

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Those are birds all settled into the trees. When night time comes, there’s even more and they completely fill all of the trees.

We normally don’t catch shows at the parks but decided to catch Festival of the Lion King while at Camp Minnie-Mickey. In the past, we weren’t sure if little man could sit through something like that but with 3 movies under his belt in 2012, we decided to go for it and were really happy we did because it was good.

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And of course for our last attraction, we couldn’t leave without seeing little man’s favorite mouse!

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We’ve never closed out the park before and I’m not sure if this normally happens but as we were heading towards the front, Cast Members carrying a bakery box approached us and gave lil man a cupcake.

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Greeeeeeeat….just what a toddler needs at night…sugar! No, it was really awesome that they did that and it added an extra smile to his day.

It was a great day and perfect weather for the animals to be out. If you ever go during our warmer months, it is definitely recommended that you make a beeline for the Kilimanjaro Safaris and do that in the morning before the heat rolls in and the animals take cover. Also, if you have your own stroller and close out the park, you should bypass the tram and walk to your car. The distance to the car isn’t far and it beats dealing with the crowds battling to get on the tram.

If you have any of your own tips about Animal Kingdom, please add them to the comments below.

4 comments

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  1. Amy

    Have you taken L.M. to Finding Nemo?! Our L.M. still talks about it! Brian and I loved it. Felt like we got a Broadway show on top of everything else that we loved about Animal Kingdom. Funny thing…we had the exact lunch you did (minus those beans that look amazing) from the walk up window.

    1. iJason

      No, not yet, but we are definitely going to go next time. The green beans were really good and chili sauce made them better! 🙂 We were going to try a restaurant at EPCOT this past weekend but it was going to be $18 for just lil man.

  2. Jackie @ MomJovi

    Looks like a great day. Isn’t January wonderful??

    And yeah, I think we’ve taken the trams to/from the park maybe once or twice before. We always walk in and out and we ALWAYS beat the trams!

    I cant’ believe that CM story. I’ve never heard anything like that. Good for you for saying something!

    One of these days we’ll all be at the same park on the same day. One of these days!

    1. iJason

      Yes! I don’t want it to end! I hope February will be the same.

      We skipped the trams at EPCOT last weekend and beat them too.

      I agree! It would be cool to coordinate one of these days! 🙂

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