Once it became apparent that we weren’t going to be going back to the National Championship game this year we started to hope that we would go to the Capitol One Bowl in Orlando so that we could take Charlotte to Animal Kingdom. It turned out favorably for us and so we headed out on December 29th to Orlando.
Mom, Dad, Jason, Charlotte, and I went down on Wednesday and Charlie joined us on Thursday since he couldn’t take that much vacation. Charlotte proved, once again, that she is a great traveler by never crying or pitching a fit and only saying “Wheeeee!” when we took off and landed! Of course, an iPad loaded with Elmo movies and Wonder Pets episodes doesn’t hurt!
We successfully navigated the airport and the rental car area and got ourselves to the hotel. At that point Charlotte was doing fine but hadn’t had a nap and so I was hesitant to take her out again. So we just ate an early dinner at the hotel restaurant and then put Charlotte to bed. We decided to go ahead and make a full switch in time zones so it did help that she got to go to bed a whole lot earlier than she would have otherwise. And she slept all the way through until 8 the next morning with no problems either — she was exhausted!
After we left that exhibit we headed over to Asia to see their animal exhibit. After trying to find some bats we saw the tigers.
The exhibit was really neat and was set in what was supposed to be this ancient ruin of a palace. We initially saw a tiger from up above (the picture above) but then got down right next to them!
The Fast Pass proved to be great because we waited maybe 3 minutes as opposed to around 25 minutes. And we were able to do basically everything else in the park that we wanted to do before the safari so that the safari could kind of cap off our trip.
The safari was really cool and I would definitely recommend it if you go to Animal Kingdom. There were a lot of big animals on the safari and you got within a pretty good distance of them. (As a sidenote, this is really the only place that you get to see the big animals — elephants, giraffe’s, hippo’s, lions, etc.)
We ate lunch at the Pizzafari which was pretty good, especially for park food. Then on our way out we stopped by the huge tree in the middle of the park to try and get a picture. As you can see, Charlotte was more interested in Panda Bear than she was in us!
I thought we were going to escape the park with our only purchase, other than food, being the bear but on our way out we saw a booth with sunglasses. On the plane on the way out Charlotte started putting her hand up in front of her eyes when the sun or lights or nothing got in her eyes and she would make this really pitiful face like she was in pain as if she was trying to tell us that we needed to do something about it. So we stopped and bought her a pair of Cinderella sunglasses to try and ease some of that drama! 🙂
Once we got back to the hotel we put Charlotte down for a nap and Dad went and picked Charlie up at the airport. We hung out and watched some football for a little while and then got ready for our big family dinner of the trip. We went to Hemingway’s in the Grand Hyatt and it was very good. We enjoyed some wonderful fish dishes and had a great time spending some of our only time of the trip as a whole family.
We got back to the hotel and put Charlotte to sleep only to be woken up again by the SeaWorld fireworks. We thought it would be neat to be across the street from SeaWorld but the nightly 11 pm fireworks weren’t the best. At least Charlotte didn’t wake up fully because of them!