Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Elliots Do Disney (Part 3: Wild Kingdom)

On our third Disney morning, we took the bus to Wild Kingdom and we ran to be the first in line for the Everest roller coaster... but when we arrived, we found that they were doing some repairs and the ride was closed for the time being.  Disney doesn't say that an attraction is closed for repairs, they say that "they haven't yet woken up the Yeti."  I didn't really care about the Yeti, I just wanted a guarantee that when my family climbed aboard that roller coaster, all screws had been tightened and all breaks were functioning.  You'll never hear me complain about people taking time to make sure an amusement ride is safe.

We got Fast Passes and moved on to the Wild Safari.  

The Wild Safari ended up being one of my personal Disney Favorites.  It was amazing.

Within seconds of boarding the van, we had seen wildebeests and rhinos:

We saw a wonderful pod of hippos sleeping in a pond:

and you all already know how much I loved the giraffes:

Our tour guide told us lots of amazing facts - none of which I remember, one month later.  Isn't it fun growing old?  I do remember being impressed that the perky 20 year old who drove our van knew so many factoids and that all the animals seemed extremely happy with their Florida habitat.

We did eventually go on the Everest Ride (the Yeti woke up, apparently) and we waked by and admired the Tree of Life.  We also ate a great lunch (salads - those wonderfully elusive Disney treats!) and went on every animal / nature trail offered.

Our half-day at Wild Kingdom was great.  We had a few more roller coasters left on our Disney list, so from Wild Kingdom, we took a boat to Disney Hollywood Studios.  Gordy and the girls wanted to ride the Tower of Terror (Henry rode too, but thought the ratio of Terror to Tower too skewed to enjoy) and then they rushed off to the Rockin' Roller Coaster while Henry and I did a little souvenir shopping.

We spent three full days at Disney World and when those we done, we were ready to come home.  Disney was great and we had a blast, but we have no plans to rush back any time soon.  The highlights included all roller coasters, the Wild Safari, the Maelstrom at Epcot Norway, Soarin' and the pool at the Yacht Club Resort.  I'd also like to include a perfectly wonderful lemon-ice alcoholic beverage that I had with my dinner the evening we dined at Italy in Epcot.  It was that good.

Was it a mistake to wait until the children were older to go to Disney?  I don't think so.  We skipped all the character breakfasts and the Bibibity Boo Boutique.  No one wanted to wait in lines to meet any of the cast members or do the autograph books.  There were no tantrums outside the Princess Gift shoppe or the Buzz Lightyear Emporium.  

To us, Disney was just another amusement park - albeit a much larger, much more impressive amusement park.  By waiting so long to make the journey, we did miss out on the "magic" part of the park.  We saw the fireworks at Epcot one night, but we missed all the electric light parades and all the day time parades.  The children just weren't interested and in the evenings, they just wanted to be swimming in the hotel pool and riding the pool slides.  

I'm glad we went to Disney and I'm glad we went at the end of what was a ridiculously long school year.  The trip really heralded in our summer and that's what is most important.  

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