Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Animal Kingdom Day

When Scott and I were planning our trip we tried to be strategic about our park days. We thought it made sense with our littles to do one long day, then an easy day, then a long day, etc. We knew our Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studio days would be our longest days so we thought we'd stick Epcot and Animal Kingdom in-between. Therefore, we decided Animal Kingdom would be a good day for our second day at Disney. 

We love Animal Kingdom! Every time I go I feel like I experience something totally different that I've never experienced before. It's such a beautiful park. We wanted to get there as soon as the park opened at 8:00 am (we don't sleep when we go to Disney, ha!!) because we have learned the early bird gets the worm when it comes to Disney. If you get there as soon as the parks open you'll have a whole hour to hour and a half before it gets super crowded and it's so worth it to beat the crowds and get more rides in. We decided to hop on the Kilimanjaro Safari first and, as always, it was a lovely experience. After the safari it was time for our breakfast reservation.

We got SO lucky because we snagged a reservation at Tusker House which is my very favorite restaurant in AK. Tusker House had been closed since covid shut the parks down and it re-opened on the day we were in AK!!! I really would have preferred to eat lunch over breakfast but beggars can't be choosers and I was thrilled to get a reservation period. We were happy to sit down and enjoy an incredibly delicious meal while getting to say hello to Mickey and the gang. Currently Tusker House is serving it's meals family style (it's normally a buffet) and we didn't get to choose our meal, they just brought food out. It was amazing though!! Mickey and Simba waffles, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, pastries and my absolute favorite item, durban chicken and egg curry with jasmine rice. OMG it was so good. So good that I asked for an entire second helping of it. I could go on and on about how delicious the meal was. 

After lunch we walked a few steps over to enjoy The Lion King show. We love this show and it wasn't open when Scott and I went in August so we were excited to see it again. The music is just incredible and I kind of got a little emotional listening to and watching the performers. They are so talented!! 

After the show we decided to pop on Kali River Rapids. Wells wasn't tall enough to do this ride so we took advantage of Rider Swap and the boys got to do it twice. Bennett was nervous at first but he loved it and the boys thought it was so cool that they got a tiny bit wet.

Call us crazy but Scott and I made the decision to not worry about doing any of the Avatar rides this time around. The lines for them are always so long and we've done them both plenty of times. We didn't think Bennett would be up for FOP and honestly just didn't want to waste our time waiting in line for them. We also decided to bi-pass Dinosaur and Expedition Everest. We like being able to do rides together as a family and most of the rides in AK aren't Wellsy friendly so we opted out. We knew there were other things the boys would probably enjoy more, including but not limited to, collecting Wilderness Explorer Badges. 

This was something they had done the last time we were at Disney and they loved it. They love collecting things so this is right up their alley. I had shared that we were doing this on my IG stories and so many people commented that they had never known anything about this. The idea behind the Wilderness Explorer badges is borrowed from the movie Up. Basically it's a fun little activity where you start by picking up a Wilderness Explorer Handbook (you can find them all over the park) and there are 31 badges/stickers for you to collect. There's a lot of stations set up where you'll see a troop leader dressed up like Russell. You earn your badges by exploring the entire park and you stop by the WE stations to learn about different animal facts. They will give you a sticker to place in your Wilderness Explorer book (you get a flamingo sticker when you learn and visit the flamingos, a bat sticker by the bats, etc) and supposedly when you collect them all you get a special prize. We have yet to collect them all though!! You can take your book back every time you go to Disney and add more badges each time you go. It really is so much fun. The boys love it and I do too!! 

By around 1:00 Wells was getting so, so tired and honestly, we were too. We decided to call it and head back to the resort. We let Wells take a little nap then we ended our day at the resort pool. Honestly, this was probably the boys favorite part of their trip. They LOVED the water slides and went down them over and over non stop. We had planned on hanging out at the pool this evening so we didn't have dining reservations anywhere. We ordered food at the poolside restaurant, Primo Piatto. Again I depended on Disney Food Blog to tell me what to order which was the Cronque Monsieur and OMG it was HEAVEN IN A SANDWICH. I washed it down with a pina colada and I was a happy momma. 

Ending the day poolside was so wonderful. We all needed that little bit of relaxation after two big days at the parks. I highly recommend it if you're traveling with littles or even if you're not really. We managed to get the boys to bed early which they desperately needed. I'm pretty certain all three crashed within seconds of their heads hitting the pillow.

Scott and I finished the evening with wine on our balcony then rested up for our upcoming big day at Hollywood Studios!

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