Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Animal Kingdom

I love Animal Kingdom, I must say of the four DisneyWorld Parks it is one of my favorites.  I know lots of people who hate this park (I think it's because they assume that it is like Magic Kingdom, which it's not).  Animal Kingdom is much more relaxing and calm than Magic Kingdom and while many tour books say you can do it in a day, I disagree.  We only had one day here and we missed so much, we did get the highlights but we could have easily spent another day wondering around.  I'm sure you could see and do everything if you rushed about but then you would miss out on all the wonderful things this park has to offer.

We started the day a bit late as we did not finish our breakfast until 9:30, which worked well as it was when our fastpasses for Kilimanjaro Safari were ready to use (park tip: if you are at the park of opening, I highly suggest getting a fastpass for Kilimanjaro Safari and then ride Kilimanjaro this way you can go on the safari twice and by the time your done you'll only have a few minutes to kill until you can use another fastpass).  Riding Kilimanjaro in the morning is ideal as the weather is usually a bit cooler and the animals are more active, it's fun to ride both in the morning and afternoon to see the difference in animal behaviors (this could just fascinate me as I was a biologist and I'm interested in these things).

We were not using the Unofficial Guide book today but rather just doing the things that interested us but I highly suggest this book to those who want to make the most of their day.   As we had been to Disney World a few years ago I really wanted to see the shows that we had missed. Our first trip we were more into the rides and this time we were more into the shows and in my opinion the shows are better than the rides.  We did pick up a few fastpasses while we waited for the shows.  The first show we saw was the Lion King which was great.  Tavish loved the gymnast monkeys and still talks about the man playing with fire.  The next show of the day was the Nemo Musical but we had time to ride Dinosaur before (this ride people either love or hate and I quite enjoy it but it's bumpy).  The Nemo Musical was amazing and I suggest going early to get a good seat, the theater is huge but some seats are better than others.  Nemo was not a simple musical by any means, it goes above and beyond most of the other Disney shows that I have seen (there are still a few of the major ones that I have yet to see so I can't say it's the best Disney show).

After Nemo we had some lunch in Dino Land USA and then we had time to go to It's Tough to be a Bug before staking out our spots for the parade.  A Bugs Life is NOT suitable for young kids, and I should have known this as we saw it a few years ago (I think Tavish slept though it) but now that he's three he understood more of what they were saying and the extra effects really scared him.  Callen also hated the spraying of water, so at one point we had two screaming boys.  As an adult I quite enjoyed this 3D movie but I won't be taking my preschooler to see it next time.

It was getting time to stake out our parade spots (I really wanted to see a parade as we were rained out of the Magic Kingdom one), once we found our spots I held down the fort while my in-laws took Tavish to play with some of the hands on activities that Animal Kingdom has all over the park (you don't notice these if you are rushing from ride to ride).  We found a great spot at the beginning of the parade route so when the parade was done we could ride Kilimanjaro Safari again.  The parade was great and so was the safari (not many people in line as most were watching the parade).  

The last thing we did that day was ride Everest which is the third best roller coaster in DisneyWorld in my opinion (Rock'n'Roller Coaster and Space Mountain are better).  We finished the day with dinner at the Yak and Yeti, which was really good.   

This was my favorite day at Disney, we figured out what went wrong at Magic Kingdom and the weather did not suck (always a bonus).  I can't wait to go back as we missed all the jungle treks and we never went on the river rapids.  This is a great park especially when you take the time to enjoy it.

 Black Rhino
 White Rhino
 No Butts about it the safari is fun
 "Mom make the Rhino say roar"
 Tavish with some Character (don't know who this is)
 The monkey's from the Lion King
 Chip or Dale at the parade
 "Mom it's Minnie, it's Minnie"
What at me?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

White House Egg Roll - Photo CRAZY

We were really lucky this year to win tickets to the White House Egg Roll.  While we were not in the group where Obama spoke we did have a great time.

 After waiting over 2hrs in 30 degree sunshine (86 f) we finally got inside - an hour after we were suppose to they really need to work on line control
 Hanging out on the south lawn
 Family photo
 History Lesson
 This is fun
 Getting ready for the egg roll
 I'd rather go in the huge house
 Hit that egg - Tavish took his time hitting the egg but I guess he was just making the most of waiting in the long line
 So proud of his new plant

Ohh what is this?
 Getting some food after the long day
 Ohh I'll have some food too
 Yum Yum
 Getting a nice ride home
Two family photos in one day
So proud of his Egg Roll Certificate 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Breakfast with Donald

I know that I already had a character dinner with Winnie the Pooh but I really wanted to do a meal where Mickey Mouse came and this fit into our schedule perfectly.  We had a 8am reservation and aside from waiting to get our picture with Donald (which was annoying but it was a good picture) we were seated really quickly.  Breakfast is a buffet which was really, really good.  My only complaint for the whole breakfast was that the Characters did not start making there rounds until 8:30.  The park opens and 9 and it takes about an hour so this meant that we would not be finished breakfast by the time the park opened which we did not really expect.  The good thing about the Tusker House is it's pretty close to Kilimanjaro Safaris so as soon as Kyle saw the crowd moving toward the ride he ran ahead and got us passes.  Armed with our fastpasses we were able to enjoy our yummy, yummy, yummy breakfast.  I highly recommend taking 3 year olds or older to a Character meal, especially if they like a specific character.  Tavish loves Mickey, Minnie and Daisy so this meal was a huge hit for everyone.

 Finally getting our picture with Donald
 Yummy Mickey Waffles 
 Another birthday cake (I forgot I told them it was his birthday)
 Joining in the Congo line
 Daisy, my Love
 Best Day Ever
 Now that Daisy is gone do I have to smile with Goofy
 A bit nervous around Mickey
Fine I'll give you five

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Standing on the glass floor on the CN Tower when Tavish was a few weeks old. (I added a photo of the CN Tower)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Crystal Palace with Pooh

One of the highlights I had planned for Magic Kingdom was a birthday dinner with Winnie the Pooh at the Crystal Palace for Tavish.  Earlier in the day we had tried to change our reservation time (book very early if you want a 5pm dinner reservation time) to 5 or earlier but I'm guessing everyone who had a later reservation tried to do the same thing as we could not get a earlier time (I think people were sick of the rain).  Kyle was a bit shocked to see the price of the meal and he had suggested that it just was not worth going (part of the reason for my earlier break down).  Anyway I finally convinced him we should go - I had reserved a cake with Tavish's name on it and we'd been been telling Tavish he'd have dinner with Pooh for weeks.  I'm really glad we did went as we all had a great time and really helped make up for such a crummy day.  Aside from a 10 minute wait (past our reservation time - Disney really needs to work on this) everything went perfect.  We all had a great time, it was amazing seeing Tavish's face light up as Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore all came to our table to say hi.  The food was really good too.   I would highly recommended going to a Character dinner if you have young kids they are not cheap but they sure are fun.  An early reservation time would be better as you don't want tired kids, Tavish was getting a bit sleepy by the end of dinner and as we all know that sleepy kids can lead to cranky kids (thankfully a birthday cake was all it took to make our tired boy happy again.  At the end of the day we were all glad that we stayed for Dinner and it was well worth the price.  It was a good end to a very trying day.

 Hugs from Eeyore
 Callen enjoying Piglet's company
"Look at me" 
 "Look it's my birthday"
 Callen LOVED Tigger and so did the little girl from the next table
 Tavish was really excited to see Tigger 
 Callen had a great time but...
it was time for Birthday Cake.  1..2..3.. Happy Birthday

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Magic Kingdom - Not So Magical

I really wish that I could say that Magic Kingdom was everything that I imagined and everything that I wanted.  But really it wasn't; it was wet, rainy, and there were tears, both mine and Tavish's.  I really wanted it to be special, I was really looking forward to Tavish's reaction to the wonder and magic that Magic Kingdom is suppose to be.  It was more than just rain that caused this day to be so gloomy but I've learned my lessons and I know how to avoid these mistakes in the future.

The day did not start out gloomy, and aside from a few clouds it was quite nice.  We started our morning off with some Dumbo, Tea Cups, Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan, and It's a Small World (each twice aside from It's a Small World as I can only handle it once).  The rides were great, Tavish was having a blast and the rain was holding off.  After we finished most of the rides in Fantasyland we send Kyle, Papa, and Callen off to get more fastpasses while Tavish, Nana, and I rode the Tomorrowland Speedway (worst ride ever - next to Price Caspian in DHS).  Because only two people could go on this ride Tavish and I went while Nana waited for us.  As Tavish and I were rounding the final turn the sky's opened up and we got soaked and a soaked three year old who can't get out of a car is not much fun.  Despite being a bit wet we were still having fun. The adults took turns riding Space Mountain and we watch a particularly good comedy show at the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor.  But the rain continued to fall and sometime after lunch things started to get bad which clouded (no pun intended) our fun filled trip.

Finding things to do that were out of the rain was getting harder to do and most of these things were generating quite the lines.  Despite the rain the park was getting really busy (busier than a sunny July day).  We finally found that the Country Bear Jamboree was not looking that crowded and it's a favorite of Nana's so we waited for the show.  This is where our trip broke down, I'm not sure if it's the lively music of the Country Bears (Kyle fell asleep) or the "incredibly stimulating" animatronics but Kyle and I were pretty grouchy when we left.    Let me just say what followed was tears from me, Kyle wanting to leave, which we tried to do but the monorail was broken.  I guess it's a good thing that the monorail broke as we decided it was not worth leaving just to come back for our dinner reservation (good thing I ordered a personalized cake or we would not have come back at all).  Things still were pretty going downhill as we waited for the parade (which was one of the reasons we stayed) but they just kept postponing it and I don't even think they did the rainy day parade.  We finally decided to go see Mickey's PhilharMagic, this was a turning point for me because I realized I was so grouchy because Tavish was spending all his time with his Nana and I felt a little left out of "his" Disney trip.  Determined to make the most of this day, I took Tavish on the Tea Cups a few time and we spent the rest of the afternoon in Tomorrowland riding the Transit Authority PeopleMover, Carousel of Progress, and Buzz Lightyear (we had saved up Fastpasses) until it was time to go to dinner.  The day was salvaged it's just not what I had expected, I wanted to see parades and Tavish's face light up when we went to the shows but it was just not the case this trip.  I guess I will just have to come back another time and hopefully it won't rain on our Magic Kingdom day.

 Dumbo - up up and away
 Round and round we go
 Rabit on the Winnie the Pooh Ride - such a cute ride
 About to get poured on at the Speedway
 Cheese - Tavish rocking his 3D glasses
 I wonder why there is no line to see Stitch (does anyone even know who he is these days?)
 Run as fast as you can or you'll get wet
 Tea Cups make mom happy
All better now 
At least we ended the trip on a high note