Thursday, January 28, 2010
Day 2 can be viewed HERE.
No alarm this morning. No Stitch. No foghorn. No 8 am ressies somewhere.
6:51 (5:51 Central Standard Time)…wide awake.
I hear some rustling in the next bed. Sheri whispers to Aaron to wake me up with a "Happy Birthday!" As Aaron sneaks out of bed, I wink to Sheri and close my eyes. As he approaches, I roll over and start snoring loudly. He whispers it to me, and I respond by snoring even louder. He looks over to Sheri with a look of bewilderment, and she tells him to say it a little louder. After a couple minutes of cat and mouse, I finally wake up and thank him and Mommy (and Eric, who was waking up) for the wishes.
We're doing donuts for breakfast this morning (one of the best uses of a snack credit IMHO). The plan today is to attempt to go and FINALLY try to see the opening of Animal Kingdom. We've tried two times prior, but the transportation/dining always seemed to get us there late. We get dressed, load up everything and then do a dogbutt weather check.
We walk to the main lobby of Pop and head out for our first bus check of the day. About a 10 minute wait…not too bad. We sit down and hear that Blizzard Beach is the first stop. I look at Sheri, and she can read my mind ("we'll try to see it open next time"). I pause and just look at our family. I ask Sheri if she's having a good time. As I say that, I start chuckling. At the Moose Meet in October, the group of around 70 was assembling near Norway, and I was letting the folks know where to go for the dessert party. I had heard that Michelle (another friend from the Lodge) had wine spilled all down her shirt while listening/dancing to the Village People's singing YMCA (from here on, forever known as Wine-M-C-A). While we were talking, right after I mentioned where we were to head towards, I asked Michelle if she was at least having a good time now. She looked at me, started laughing, and asked if I was the travel guide for the group. I just stared at her quizzically for a moment wondering where the Hell that came from until I figured it out…I didn't mention that I had heard about the wine incident before I talked to her and meant to ask if the day had gotten better (regarding post-Wine-M-C-A). What came out of my mouth was nowhere near what I was thinking (wasn't the first time…ain't gonna be the last time that it happens). Oh well…at least Michelle can sympathize more with Sheri, who was currently looking at me quizzically as I chuckled on the bus to AK.
A few minutes later, I look out the bus and notice that we aren't heading towards Blizzard Beach…straight to AK. WOOHOO!!! We may still have a chance to make it to the opening!
Then we see the lines at the turnstiles.
We'll see the opening next time.
We decide to get a couple pics of the Christmas tree at AK. Sheri and I agree that we like this tree the best of all the theme parks, with its unique decorations. After the pics, we hop in line for the turnstiles. Sheri asks if I'm getting a birthday pin. I tell her that I didn't want it to be a big deal, especially since we're heading home on the 18th, and Aaron's birthday is the 19th (and Eric's is the 28th)…I didn't want any hard feelings/jealousy. Wifey thinks the boys will be fine with it. I waffle from yes to no about 5 times before finally heading over to Guest Relations and grabbing a pin. We get into the park and head for a vendor for a drink. Nice guy…though he took 5 minutes to ring up 2 drinks. Sheri gets hit with a survey while we're waiting.
FINALLY we head into the Oasis…or so I thought. A CM had a huge spider on display, and the boys had to see it. We're here for the boys, so we ain't gonna rush it. We start through the Oasis, and I finally start to realize just how well-done the Oasis is in terms of transitioning from the outside world to the Animal Kingdom. Within something like twenty seconds, all you see is vegetation. You look behind you and you can't see the entrance. Since we had already missed the opening, we took our time to look around some. Another CM was positioned at the side, and I subtly guide the boys towards him. He was talking about anteaters, and Aaron and Eric were captivated by his skeleton and talk. We pass a couple of macaws and hit the bridge to Discovery Island.
The opening was still going on! No problem…I'm happier that we took the time…we can see the opening next time. As I look at Mickey near the Tree of Life, I notice that the crowds are really low so far. The rope drops, and the masses head right towards Everest. We take the road less-traveled. First, however, we see Lilo and Stitch by the DVC kiosk by the path heading over to Camp Minnie-Mickey. We already saw Stitch, but Lilo would be a first. There were only 2-3 in line, so, in no time, the boys are running up to them.
As they interacted, I couldn't help but notice that Lilo looks a little scary when the has her head down. Instead of a smile, it appears that she's grinding her teeth in anticipation of the next kill:
Come Here and let me squish your head, sonny!
As soon as it's time for the pose, however, Lilo transforms into the smiling girl that she's renowned for. After the first pic, it's no wonder Eric wasn't exactly smiling for the photo op:
Mommy? Please get me away from the scary head-squisher girl.
We run away from Lilo as fast as possible and start making our way towards Africa for the safari. As we walk, I tell Aaron to see if he can find any animals.
"There's one, Daddy!"
"On the flagpole!"
Well I'll be... I started to look around some, and I noticed that there are animals absolutely everywhere in the design of the park. We slowed down our pace even more and really absorbed the detail.
I remember hearing about AK being a park that needs to be taken slowly to really appreciate it. It's something different every time…the last few trips we've taken have opened my eyes up to more of Disney World…so much more than just meets the eye. December 2004 opened my eyes to staying on-site and seeing everything for the first time. May of 2007 really opened my eyes up to Epcot's beauty. The Moose Meet in October of 2007 allowed me to enjoy the beauty of the Lodge Ladies. This trip…Animal Kingdom is impressing me. We had a great time looking at things and seeing how animals were incorporated into it.
We get to the entrance to Kilimanjaro Safaris. We stop. Sheri and I look at each other in bewilderment and then look back at the entrance.
40 minute wait?
Perhaps if they had only 1 truck operational.
The cast member manning the entrance had the red timer tag ready for us. Looks like we were the first time check. We enter and walk through the queue line, again taking in everything. I remember in the past trying to go through this as fast as possible to get on the ride. I honestly was floored when I saw the reception area about half-way through (Mr. Observant, here). We ditch the strollers at the drop-off and continue on walking. We finally stopped about 20 people before we were put in the rows to board. Sheri was proud of herself…she cut the wait time for everybody by 33 minutes. I think she actually let out a little "woohoo" as she handed the red tag to the CM.
We get on and, as we start, the phone rings. I didn't think I'd be able to hear them with the noise, plus the number didn't look exactly like one I've received before, so I let the voice mail take it. Eric called out all the animals as he saw them, and Aaron was listening to the driver as he pointed out the lesser-known animals. Needless to say, they loved it!