On our last day in Disney World we were scheduled to go to Animal Kingdom. This was the one park that Charlotte had been to before even if she didn’t remember it. We knew that the kids would enjoy the park but also knew that we wanted to get back to Magic Kingdom that afternoon to do some things that we didn’t get to do the day before. So before we left we rearranged our schedule to cancel our pre-scheduled lunch at Animal Kingdom and made reservations for dinner at Magic Kingdom.
We arrived at Animal Kingdom with plans to do a cursory run through. We had fast passes for the Safari but ended up heading straight back there after we walked through the gardens at the front of the park. The wait was only 10 minutes so instead of using our fast passes we just walked in. It turned out that we didn’t wait at all so considering the new Fast Pass system, don’t use yours on the Safari if the wait is just 10-15 minutes.
Charlotte was enthralled from the start of the Safari to the last second. But James was pretty unsure about all the bumpiness of the ride and seeing the animals so close. I think he enjoyed it but he just wasn’t sure what was going on. Watching Charlotte exclaim over all the animals though was lots of fun and boy did we see a lot of animals!
You can barely see the hippos under water
The elephants were very close on the safari that morning!
This giraffe crossed the road right in front of our jeep!
Mama and Baby elephant
That’s one big rhino!
After the Safari everyone was all smiles! We chose to walk through the walking trails to leave the Safari and the kids got a big kick out of seeing even more animals up close.
Bats…which the kids loved and I thought were creepy
The tigers were pretty lazy that morning
We walked through the other areas to get to DinoLand. This day was by far the hottest and this pregnant girl was getting tired very quickly by this point. Letting the kids play in the Dinosaur park (The Boneyard) was the perfect end to our Animal Kingdom adventure. The kids got to run free and explore — Charlotte even climbed up a couple stories to go down the huge slide — and I got to sit down and rest.
After some fun in Dinoland we headed to Flame Tree Barbecue for some lunch. We had heard great things about it and it did have pretty good barbecue but living in the South we’re pretty spoiled on barbecue so it wasn’t the best we’d ever had. The most fun part about lunch was that there were huge birds hanging out around all of the tables so the kids got a huge kick out of watching the birds walk under our table as we ate.
We headed back to the hotel for a little rest and to cool down after lunch. Once we got cooled off and changed we left to go back to Magic Kingdom. James had been over the moon for the monorail the whole trip but it wasn’t available from our hotel. Since we already knew that if you valet at one resort you can valet at another at no additional cost, we decided to drive to the Contemporary and ride the monorail to Magic Kingdom. I’m not sure if you’re actually supposed to do this, but we did and no one questioned what we were doing.
James was ecstatic over the trip on the monorail and we got to ride the whole track before getting to Magic Kingdom. The day had turned overcast which was a nice change from the beating sun in the morning. We headed first back to Dumbo for another ride and another ride on the Barnstormer. (When we didn’t need our FastPass for the Safari at Animal Kingdom we transferred them back to rides at Magic Kingdom for the afternoon.)
The only thing that we hadn’t done that Charlotte really wanted to do was ride the AstroOrbiter so that was next on our schedule. The AstroOrbiter didn’t take FastPasses so Jason and Charlotte had to stand in line and wait. The line looked really long but the app said the wait was only 15-20 minutes so they got in line. It turned out that the line for the PeopleMover was in the same place as the AstroOrbiter so the line looked longer than it actually was.
Charlotte loved the AstroOrbiter and Jason has promised her that the next time we go to Disney that they’ll go on the AstroOrbiter at night since it lights up. While James and I were waiting on Charlotte and Jason to ride the AstroOrbiter we just walked around the area surrounding the ride. It’s in Tomorrowland so it’s pretty groovy to see everything in the area. This was when James finally fell asleep in the stroller. I guess three days without a nap when he’s used to being in his bed for 3 hours every day finally caught up with him!
We headed to our dinner reservation at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant from Tomorrowland. When we were canceling our reservation at Animal Kingdom the day before we were trying to find a table service restaurant that had openings for dinner at Magic Kingdom. We stumbled onto Tony’s and I’m glad that we did. We didn’t realize that this was where Lady and the Tramp had their plate of spaghetti! We ended up getting seated right next to the huge statue of Lady and the Tramp and the kids loved getting to see the puppies during dinner.
We wanted to see the Christmas show and the lighting of Cinderella’s Castle but we didn’t get finished with dinner soon enough. It was still really neat to walk outside and have the whole area lit with Christmas lights and to see the Castle lit up!
This night was the latest that we stayed at a park (other than Epcot) and we found ourselves in total claustrophobia mode trying to get down Main Street USA to see the castle. So much so that we only made it about halfway down before we gave up, took our pictures, and headed inside the Main Street Bakery to spend the rest of our snack credits on treats to go. I doubt the wisdom of funneling all visitors to Magic Kingdom through one small street based on our experience that night. But getting to see the Castle semi-up close was worth the crush of people.
We headed back to our hotel to get ready to head home first thing the next morning. Our trip to Disney World seemed fast but it was the perfect length for our little family. I might not have tried to hit every park if I was to do this trip again, but we had an amazing time and our kids are still talking about it and asking when we’re going back to Disney!