We recently returned from a week-long vacation in Orlando. We stayed in a pair of condos at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort just a couple miles from Disney World. We got Disney admission cards ahead of time to visit two Disney parks on two different days. We decided we would go to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. I had only been to Disney World once in my life. I was nine years old at the time. Animal Kingdom didn’t open for another eight years. So I was kind of excited to check out that park.
Shortly after we woke up the day after we arrived we decided to go to Animal Kingdom. We considered relaxing by the pool after a day of travel, but decided to make our way into the park instead. Ashley did a lot of research ahead of time and knew which places she wanted to go to. That was our original plan anyway, but in the end we let Noah decide what we’d do for the most part.
We arrived by 10:00 a.m. thinking that wasn’t too bad considering the park opened at 9:00 a.m. However, it seemed like everyone else knew the best idea is to arrive early, and most of them arrived earlier than us. Once we parked we realized that Disney is the not only the “Happiest Place on Earth” it is also the “Land of the Lines.”
First we encountered a line of people waiting to get on the tram in the humungous parking lot. Then there was a ticket line. We had our tickets, but Ashley’s parents and brother came with us and they needed to purchase theirs. After the ticket line there was a line for anyone with a purse, backpack, or bag to be searched. Finally, there was a line for us to scan our admission cards so we could finally enter the park. So, that was four lines to wait in before we even entered. There are a whole lot more lines inside the park for the many rides and attractions.
Once inside, we followed Ashley to Africa in the back of the park. We immediately got in line for the Kilimanjaro Safari. This was I was most looking forward to. We had to wait 20 or 30 minutes, but the time went pretty quick. We boarded an open-air safari vehicle that took us through jungle and savannah areas. It even drove through water a few times. We saw tons of animals. There were elephants, giraffes, antelope, cheetahs, hippos, rhinos, wildebeests, zebras, crocodiles, flamingos, ostriches, and more. We even saw a lion bathing another lion. My only regret was that I was in the middle of my row and I only had my phone so I didn’t get many good photos. Noah really seemed to like spotting all of the large wild animals. Charlotte initially showed a little interest, but by the middle of the short safari ride she moved to my lap where she watched Peppa Pig on my phone.
After we got off the ride we asked Noah if he wanted to take the train ride, but he was surprisingly uninterested in that idea. Instead, we went on a quest for a plain cone for Noah. Not with ice cream, just a cone. We asked around and eventually wandered into the Asia region of the park looking for a specific stand that sold ice cream cones. Ashley’s mom got an ice cream cone for Charlotte and a plain cone for Noah. After all that, Noah did not like the look of the cone and declined to eat it.
Meanwhile, we saw the entrance for Expedition Everest. I’m not one for roller coasters, so I volunteered to hang out with the kids while everyone else went on the rollercoaster. That sounded like a simple enough plan, but things quickly got a little hectic for me while playing the role of single dad. Charlotte was getting especially messy with her ice cream (which is expected for a 20-month-old). So I pushed the double umbrella stroller into the shade to try to clean her up a bit. I took off my backpack and started wiping her clean with baby wipes. She wasn’t done with the cone yet, so it was a never-ending battle. Then Noah abruptly said the dreaded phrase, “I have to pee!”
I had no idea where the closest bathroom was. I also feel like Noah doesn’t usually give much warning in these dire situations. I quickly grabbed Charlotte’s ice cream cone and wiped her off one more time. Then I threw on my backpack and zipped away with the kids in the stroller, back toward the Everest coaster. I took a couple of bites of ice cream and tossed the cone in the garbage as I looked for the restroom. I passed the roller coaster line and soon found a bathroom. Thankfully the family restroom option opened up right as I arrived, so I was able to wheel the stroller right in and shut the door behind me instead of bringing both kids into the Men’s Room with me. Noah did his business and I finished cleaning ice cream off Charlotte’s face, hands, and clothes. Relieved, I wheeled the kids out of the bathroom and toward Dino Land U.S.A.
The kids and I met up with the rest of the family there. Ashley said Expedition Everest was terrifying. She didn’t expect the rollercoaster to go backwards. Ashley and I took the kids to the boneyard to dig for “dinosaur bones” while the others relaxed on a bench. The kids loved digging and did it for quite a while before we decided we were ready to move on.
Next we walked to Discovery Island to admire the Tree of Life. This monstrous man-made tree is 14 stories tall and includes more than 325 animal images. It is quite a sight. I can’t imagine how long it took to build. Anyway, we decided to try out the “It’s Tough to be a Bug” 3-D show. You get 3-D glasses and it is an interactive attraction based on the movie, A Bug’s Life. It sounded interesting and entertaining, but I was a little worried about how Noah might do with it. Turns out I had good reason to be concerned. Noah was interested for about a minute, and then it got very dark and very loud. Noah doesn’t like loud noises. In fact, he doesn’t especially like the dark either. I had to scoop him up and quickly carry him out of there. Soon after, Charlotte got upset and Ashley exited with her.
Once we got out of there we were ready for lunch. The kids appeared to be tired and cranky. I couldn’t blame them. It was very hot out and we had been pretty busy in the short time we had been in Animal Kingdom. We didn’t want to push it with the kids, so we decided to head back to the condos.
We grabbed lunch at the resort. Charlotte napped, Noah “played” miniature golf, and we relaxed for the remainder of the day.