Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Florida Vacation - Part 2

It was our third day and we decided to go to Animal Kingdom. We did Walt Disney World in 2004 (also courtesy of FIL/Grandpa S – Thank you so much!) Flower was 5, Jelly Bean was almost 3, and Super was 7 weeks old. So there was much of the experience that they didn’t remember (especially Super LOL) and I was busy much of the trip with feeding him, and changing him, etc., but we did remember that we had a great time at Animal Kingdom. We also remembered that it had rained last time we were there and we didn’t get to do everything that we had wanted to do at that park.

The Tree of Life, as we entered Animal Kingdom

We started the day off with the Kilimanjaro Safari, and then we went on Everest. Well, most of us. Flower wasn’t feeling up to it, and so Grandpa and I stayed with her. From there, we went to Dinoland and some of us did Primeval Whirl (not me) and some of us did TriceraTop Spin (basically, the Dumbo ride with dinosaurs). After that, we went over to Dinosaur! Then we did the Festival of the Lion King show, watched the Parade, and It’s Tough to be a Bug show, We got drenched on the Kali River Rapids, and finished off the day at Finding Nemo: The Musical show (loved this!)

You can see Everest off in the distance.

The next few pictures are from the safari.
This is an Upside Down Tree.

Water buffalo

A rhinoceros

Me, Flower and Super on TriceraTop Spin

A dinosaur skeleton outside

One of the "drivers" from the parade
at Animal Kingdom. We really
enjoyed the parade.

Being silly while we waited for
It's Tough To Be A Bug! show to begin.

The next day, we went to Hollywood Studios. Last time, Hollywood Studios had been our least favorite – and that assessment was probably true this time too. We had looked at Hollywood Studios official website before we left for Florida, and it mentioned that there was a Jedi Training show, and that children were randomly picked from the crowd to learn how to use a light saber and “fight” Darth Vader. We told Super that we would go to the show, but he might not get picked. He said o.k. So Mr. Simple and I went with him to the show while the others went to go on Tower of Terror. We got there just as they were starting one show and we watched it, and then figured that we would wait for the next show to see if he would get picked for that one. We overheard someone else talking to a Cast Member (a DW employee) and they said that they don’t pick from the crowd anymore. She said that you had to come early and get signed up – and the signup was over and all the children had been picked for all the shows that day. Super overheard it and started bawling. We went over to Guest Services and told them that what was on the website, and asked which procedure was the one that they followed. They apologized at Guest Services and said that they had changed to the “sign up method” but had neglected to change it on the website. They gave us 7 VIP seat passes to the Indiana Jones show. By the way, the website still shows the “old” way of doing Jedi Training. In general, it is probably best to check out sites like or to find out the latest about specific rides at Disney. These sites also have some great general tips.
The Indiana Jones Stunt Show

We went to the Indiana Jones show (it was pretty entertaining) and then we went to go get some character signings. We got Mickey and The Incredibles at one area. This character area was organized and the lines were not overly long. Then we went to a different part of the park to get Buzz and Woody signatures – and that was pretty dreadful. It wasn’t organized, the line was long, and it was crowded and hot. To top it off, our picture turned out blurry. Ugh.

The kids and Mickey

The kids and The Incredibles

The kids and Buzz and Woody

Oh, speaking of pictures, it was at the Buzz and Woody photo op that we were first offered a Disney PhotoPass card. We declined it, but I wish, in retrospect, that we had known about it and pre-ordered it. You can pre-order a PhotoPass CD for $99.95 and then you will receive the photos from your trip taken by professional photographers at key places at the park. They also add borders and character signatures to photos. It would have been nice to know that we had professionals taking the photo op pictures as well as being able to get shots of the whole group in places like in front of Cinderella’s castle and the Christmas Tree, etc and not have to worry if the pictures were going to turn out and so we didn’t have to lug around our digital camera.

We had tried to get a FASTPASS first thing that morning for the “can’t miss” ride for Hollywood Studios – Toy Story Mania. FASTPASS is a ticket that basically “saves” you a spot in line at a certain time so that you can do other things in the park until the time listed on the FASTPASS. But they had given out all the Fast Passes already and the wait time had been 2 hours all day. We went over to ride the Rock N Roller coaster and then we were going to leave. Grandpa S was going to stay back, and while we were riding, he somehow managed to get Fast Passes for Toy Story Mania. It was a very fun ride, but honestly, if I’d waited 2 hours to get on it, I probably would have been disappointed.

Fantasmic was cancelled for that night, so we didn’t get to see that, although during Thanksgiving/Christmas Time, they do the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights on the Streets of America. It is a massive seasonal display featuring millions of holiday lights perfectly synchronized to music. We went over and watched these, and it was pretty neat, but we were all just too tired to really appreciate it.

The Osborne Family Spectacle
of Dancing Lights

We went home and tried to get to bed early. Tomorrow was Thanksgiving and we were going to be at Magic Kingdom from 9 AM until 11 PM.

Next post: Thanksgiving at Disney!

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