Monday, February 13, 2017

Our Doodle's First Disney Adventure: Day Three

Our first trip to Disney World was for our honeymoon and we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. So the Animal Kingdom, which is a cross between a theme-park and borderline free-range zoo, is a park we have a lot of happy associations with.

However, it also the biggest single park out of all of the Disney parks world-wide. It is sprawling, in no small part due to the need to give the animals a lot of space. Even with the stroller (never go on vacation without one), it was a haul. And it was also the single hottest, most humid day of our trip. Heat, we are used to that in Arizona. Humidity? That is brutal.

We started off with the Triceratops Spin, which is basically a dinosaur retheme of Dumbo, in the dinosaur part of the park. We also got our picture taken at the photo-booth in the dinosaur area.

For us, the highlight ride had been the Kilimanjaro Safaris. It is literally get in a truck and drive through large, cage-free animal habitats. You get to see a wide variety of animals and get to appreciate how big the park really is. Unfortunately, it is also a long ride. The doodle started out excited but got fidgety and bored. By the end of the truck ride, he was over it.

We then went on the Wild Africa Trek, to get him back in a better mood. It's a trail and zoo. He fell asleep in his stroller and it was really a nap stroll. Still, we got to see some gorillas and other wildlife.

Our last Fast Pass we reserved for the day was to have pictures taken with Safari-themed Mickey and Minnie at the Adventure Outpost, which exists just as a place to take pictures. The doodle handled that fairly well. Out of all the costumed characters, Minnie and Daisy were the best at drawing him out of his cute shy pose so Minnie helped for some good pictures.

One of the things the doodle's fascinations is fountains (and ceiling fans) and he insisted we stop when we past a touch fountain in Asia. He proceeded to get soaked but we made a point of carrying a spare of clothes for him at Disney.

With him now in dry clothes, we then had our second character meal, an African buffet at Tusker House where Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Daisy were featured. It wasn't bad but suffered in comparison to Chef Mickey due to having less food a three-year old would eat.

What ended up being the last thing we would do at the Animal Kingdom was visit Rafiki's Planet Watch. You take a train to the back of the park where there are some character meets, an animal hospital you can see in action from the other side of the glass (remember, operating theaters got their name from having seating for medical students to watch), more animal displays and a petting zoo where you could brush goats.

By far and away, the doodle's favorite part of this park was brushing goats. He had a _blast_.

After that, we went back to the Pop Century resort to relax before our diner reservations at the Animal Kingdom Lodge's buffet Boma. Which used to be one of our favorite restaurants at Disney World but two buffets in one day and having to take two buses to get to it (since there is no resort-to-resort bus service) made it meh.

To get back to our resort, with the parks closed, we had to take a bus to Disney Springs. Since almost the get go, Disney World has had basically a strip mall on the edge, with shops and restaurants and such. The last time we were there, it was called Downtown Disney and was nice, almost quaint. Since then, it had a big build out and is now called Disney Springs. 

We got off the bus and wanted to take a look around. Boy had it changed. It was walking into Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. It must have doubled in size and i had a lot more fancy restaurants, street performers and open air stages. It was amazing and all three of us had a blast just wandering around for a couple hours.

I have to make a special note about Pokémon Go, which my wife plays. Disney Springs was full of stops and people putting lures out. It was Pokémon heaven.

As much as I hate to say it, the Animal Kingdom is too big for a three-year old, even one that loves zoos. But Disney Springs is a party for all ages and it was the highlight of the day.

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