Disney World Trip Report 2012 Part 9
When we left off, we had finished Day 3 of our trip at Hollywood Studios. It was a fun day that included family traditions like dinner at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe and new experiences like Fantasmic! But I couldn’t help but notice that we had hit a wall. The kids were tired and occasionally crabby. And the adults were sore from walking and carrying Kara. We needed to slow down a little.
It was a good day to ease up a little. Thanks to Daylight Savings Time, we were going to get an extra hour of sleep. So I made the risky decision not to set an alarm. We were going to “sleep in”. Or at least allow for the possibility of sleeping in.
I had been setting my alarm for 6am every morning. After my shower, I’d wake Mindy and start preparing the things we would need. Once Mindy and I were prepared, we would wake and prepare the kids. Thanks to some long waits for buses, we were not making it to the parks by rope drop, but we weren’t far behind either.
This morning, we “slept in” till close to 7:00 am. This probably doesn’t sound like sleeping in, but remember that it was actually 8:00 am pre time-change. So it was 2 hours later than when we were used to getting up. Animal Kingdom had Extra Magic Hours at 8:00 which I had planned to attend. But we decided to take things easy this morning.
Josie had gotten it in her head that she needed to have Mickey waffles during the trip. Since we didn’t have any table service breakfasts scheduled, that would mean hitting up a quick service location for breakfast. Animal Kingdom doesn’t have the best breakfast options, so we decided to grab breakfast at the Landscape of Flavors food court.
Landscape of Flavors doesn’t offer Mickey waffles. But they had suitable alternatives. The menu includes “character waffles” which are essentially the same except instead of being shaped like Mickey Mouse they are circular and have the images of characters from Art of Animation on them. Also, they have chocolate chip pancakes.
Josie wanted the chocolate chip pancakes. Kara didn’t really care. I had wanted to try out some of the fancier breakfast offerings. But we had to rethink our plans when we got to the food court. The lines were insane at 7:30. And they were getting worse by the second.
Of course the worst line of all was the line for chocolate chip pancakes. I don’t think it was the pancakes that were backing things up. Pancakes take relatively little time to prepare. But this was also the line for higher-end breakfast items like the steak and eggs sandwich. I think those made-to-order sandwiches were the cause of the backlog.
Since the line for waffles was relatively light, I decided to hop in line there. I got Kara an order of character waffles. They had two Little Mermaid waffles ready, so I asked for those. I brought them back to the table and Kara was excited. I showed them to Josie and told her I could get her waffles or wait for chocolate chip pancakes. She decided to settle for the waffles rather than wait.
We all decided to go the waffle route. The lines for everything else just kept getting longer and longer. The waffles were good, but Mindy and Josie aren’t especially fond of waffles (unless they are shaped like Mickey Mouse of course).
After breakfast, we hopped a bus to Animal Kingdom. I had really hoped to get to the park before general admission started. It wasn’t that I expected to make great use out of what remained of the Extra Magic Hour. I just didn’t want to deal with the crowds at rope drop.
No such luck. We got there right when rope drop was starting. It was slow going. It was crowded. Kara was demanding to be held. I couldn’t wait to go in and get our rental stroller. I sure wish Disney would station these just outside the park gates. I understand why they can’t, but it would make life so much easier.
We finally got admitted and picked up our stroller. As soon as we did, we realized that we would need to make a pit stop for a potty break. That took us towards Dinoland. I had planned to go in the opposite direction for an early morning safari, but Dinoland worked too.
That’s when we saw Dug and Russel from Up. Josie didn’t have any business to do and Kara wasn’t interested in this meet and greet. So we split up. I stayed with Josie while we met Dug and Russel and everyone else went to the nearby restrooms.
After the first picture, I asked for one more. This time, I called out, “Everyone say ‘squirrel’.” This got Dug’s attention.
No, not the most original gag, I’m sure. Poor Dug must do this dozens of times a day. But it’s not like you can meet Dug and not say “squirrel”. The girls still think it’s funny. Kara talks about it even though she wasn’t there at the time.
The meet and greet timed out perfectly with the potty break. We all regrouped. Kara announced she wanted to play in a playground which was convenient because The Boneyard was a short walk away. Mindy and I wanted to ride Dinosaur, so my mom watched the girls while we traveled back in time. On the way, I stopped and got FastPasses for Primeval Whirl.
The last time I rode Dinosaur was 2003 and I had very low expectations. So I was pleasantly surprised. I wondered why more people weren’t excited about this ride. I wanted to reride it to see if it was actually under-rated or if I was over-rating it based on my low expectations.
I’m sad to report that the final verdict was that I had over-rated Dinosaur. It’s a fun ride, but with so many effects broken or turned off it feels a little empty. There are long stretches where you are just bouncing around in the dark. I still like the ride, but I won’t go out of my way to re-ride it any time soon.
When we got back from our ride, Mom and the girls were leaving The Boneyard. It turns out that one of the growling sound effects had spooked Kara. So, they were done playing in the playground.
The Boneyard presents parents (and grandparents) with a difficult choice. You can either climb through the tunnels with your kids or wait for them at ground level. The climbs aren’t easy on grown-ups. But if you wait at the bottom, you won’t be able to see your kids at least half the time. Apparently my mom followed the girls around the playground. That can’t have been easy.
We decided to split up again. This time, Mom and Mindy went to ride Dinosaur while I entertained the girls. They wouldn’t go back into the playground after hearing those Dinosaur noises. So instead, we made our way to Triceratops Spin.
The reappearance of Josie’s bunny ears.
Yes, Triceratops Spin is just a Dumbo clone. Only instead of the iconic elephant, you get a generic cute dinosaur. But frankly, there wasn’t much else that both girls could do.
As you can see, Kara had some reservations going in. We have a “spinner” ride at our home amusement park which she refused to ride all summer long. So, she wasn’t too sure about riding this one.
But it didn’t take long for her to decided that Triceratops Spin was in fact the best thing ever. Fortunately for me, the line was non-existent because we wound up riding this thing again and again until Mindy and my mom got back from Dinosaur.
Eventually I was even able to sit in the back while the girls rode up front. Thrill junkies that they are, they threw their hands up in the air. Triceratops Spin is extreme when you’re three I guess.
We rode four times in a row before Mom and Mindy returned. By then, it was time to use our Primeval Whirl FastPasses.
Kara was too small to ride and Mindy doesn’t do rides that spin. So that left Josie, Mom and me. None of us had ever ridden it before. It was fine for what it was. But we got a pretty nasty whiplash right at the end. The thrill level was just right for Josie. But for Mom and me, once was enough.
While riding Dinosaur, my Mom and Mindy had concocted a plan for the afternoon break. They wanted to go to Downtown Disney for some more shopping. The girls wanted to go swimming, so we decided I would take the kids back to the resort while they spent the afternoon in the retail district.
Also, Kara really wanted to see a parade. As I mentioned earlier, she loves watching parade videos at home. We saw some of the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It parade at the Magic Kingdom. But apparently that had only whetted her appetite to see a parade.
We decided to take our break a little earlier than usual. Finding Nemo: the Musical was getting ready to start. So we decided to take in the show and then split up for the afternoon. We would meet up at a pre-determined spot after Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade.
Finding Nemo: the Musical was also a new experience for us. We had tried to get in during our last trip to Animal Kingdom in 2007. But back then the show was new and the waits to see it were crazy. The show itself is a little on the long side, but everyone enjoyed it.
After the show, we exited the park. On the way out, we picked the Info Board as our meeting spot to regroup after the parade. Mom and Mindy went off to Downtown Disney for shopping and lunch at Wolfgang Pucks. I took the girls back to the Art of Animation Resort.
On our previous pool day, we swam at the Big Blue Pool in the Finding Nemo section of the resort. This time, we decided to check out the Flippin’ Fins Pool in the Little Mermaid section.
The biggest difference between the pools is size and location. The Big Blue Pool is huge and centrally located. As a result, it is filled with kids. And the pool-side activities guarantee a lively atmosphere. On the other hand, the Flippin’ Fins Pool is small and relatively isolated. It’s definitely the place to go for a quiet swim.
The girls would have stayed in the pool all day if I had let them. But eventually, I rounded them up and we went back to the room to change. Given our bad luck with buses, I wanted to make sure I left enough time for us to get back to the Animal Kingdom before the parade started.
Next up, the parade, safari and dinner at the Yak and Yeti (with a little extra “yak”).
Posted on November 18, 2012, in Animal Kingdom, theme parks, Trip Report, Walt Disney World and tagged Animal Kingdom, dinosaur, Disney, family, travel, up, vacation planning, Walt Disney, Walt Disney World Resort. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.