The Mellado's Disney Adventure Report
Dates: 6/26-7/5, 1999 (ten day trip)
|Day 4: Tuesday, June 29,
From the boards I've learned that we must get to the Animal Kingdom either very early or in the afternoon when the crowds go. We opted for very early. Well, very early came well, very very early. As usual, I was up before everyone else. I normally tended to get up a hour before the kids so I could make sure everything was ready to go. I had my alarm set for 6:30am, but I guess my internal clock was just too excited. I was up by 5:30! So, off to the shower, and tidy up the room. Of course, I wanted to 'encourage' the little dears to wake up early, so I turned on all the lights and the tv. By 6:30, I decided they needed just a little bit more encouragement, so I forwarded all their alarms and let them ring to wake up the kids and ring and Ring and RING. Finally, BJ jumped out of bed. I'm sure that wasn't a groan I heard. Lol. Well, after showers and breakfast of cereal & granola bars, we were ready to go. I opened the inner door, and Dad's & Lucila's door was already open. Great, all of us were ready to go, and we were on time. Anticipating a hot day (since I have read that AK is usually the hottest park around) we traveled a bit lighter. But, we did take our mister fan & bottled water. I wore my Tevas in anticipation of riding the Kali River Rapid Ride. They were very comfortable. In fact, I think I wore them more often than my tennis shoes, which were also comfy.
The day was a little cloudy, but already extremely warm. It sure was nice to be at the CBR, with its air conditioning AND ceiling fan. We could leave the air going without it getting to be too cold at night. We left in high spirits for our new adventure. The resort parking lot was pretty close, just around the corner. The kids raced to the van, we piled in, and we were off. By now I felt like a pro navigating around the World. In no time we were headed out of the CBR, admiring the lush vegetation, and the crane that always seemed to be at the big pond between Barbados and the Custom House. We turned left, and soon were passing the exit to Wide World of Sports to the left, and the road to the BoardWalk off to the right. A dominant sight is the Swan and Dolphin. What an impressive hotel (although Dad still says that no way is that a dolphin. Ha ha). Now we pass the exit to Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom - ahhh, there's the sign for the Animal Kingdom straight ahead. Everyone is happy and is anticipating exploring the Animal Kingdom. We pass Blizzard Beach to the left there - Man, is that one HUGE slide there - must be Summit Plummit. Someday we're going to check out that waterpark, but not this trip. Okay, here we go, Animal Kingdom. We park there, and are still pretty early. We see the immense parking lot that is starting to fill up. But, we still get to park pretty close to the tram stop. Out of the car and onto the tram we hop. Perfect timing! In the distance we can see the tree. I try to explain to Dad & Lucila what the tree is, but this is something we all have to see up close to really appreciate it. Off the tram and up to the entrance we walk. To the left is a cliff type waterfall - already I can see the detail in the beauty of this place. To the left we also see the entrance to the Rainforest Café.. but that is for later.
Everyone grabs hold of their passes,
and through the entrance we walk. Again, I grab the
passes for the kids. I tell everyone, "to the left!
To the left!" We had decided to do the safari ride
in the morning, so we joined the crowd streaming to the
ride. Along the way, we go through the
After the safari we came upon the
Pangani Trail. Kelly and I really enjoyed this. We're
both big animal lovers so we savored this walk. I noticed
another detail here. This is how much work went into this
place. There are animal tracks in the cement, as if
animals really walked here. Well, on the
By now the sun was actually out, which
meant that it was getting hot. We liberally used our
mister fans. Ahhh, what relief! The inventor of mister
fans surely deserves those millions he/she probably
earned (why didn't I patent that, hmm?). We walked
through the Harambe Village. It wasn't hard to really
think that we could be in Africa. It was interesting, but
we didn't stop. We were looking for a cooler place - the
It's Tough to Be a Bug show. We went through the
entrance, and kept walking & walking - there was
virtually no line. While we walked, we called out the
various animals that were 'carved' into all parts of the
tree. It's really a beautiful piece of art to behold. We
wound round and round, and finally reached the room
before you go into the theater. It looked like we were
inside the tree - where the tree meets the ground. It was
so cool in there. We had probably a 5-minute wait, and we
were ushered into the theater. I was pre-warned about the
From ITTBB, we decided to check out Asia. There is so much to see at AK, that it took us a little while to get there. We went to the restrooms, which were clean, as all Disney restrooms usually are. There is a ground-fountain there that kids were running in & out of, getting wet. Of course, our own kids just had to try it. We then went to the Maharajah Jungle Trek for more animal sightings. We saw the tapir and the Kimodo Dragon. There was an enclosure we entered, and found out it had bats in it. "Cool," according to Nick. Lucila wanted no part of it, so she didn't go in there, but waited at the other end for us. We were in a covered observation platform, and overlooked an area that had a bunch of bats all sleeping - hanging from trees. The one that really impressed me was the black one - looked just like Dracula, with its wings wrapped around its body. I got close to take a picture, and reached out to touch the glass so I wouldn't hit it. That's when I realized - there was no glass between those huge flying rodents and us! Yikes! I got over that really quickly and snapped my picture. I don't think I'd like to be there after dark, though. That was as lively as I wanted to see a bat that big that close. It was extremely interesting, though. We then continued on the trail, and came upon the tiger enclosure. There are two levels, the lower one being for wheelchairs, strollers, or for those who don't want to climb the stairs. Those tigers were beautiful. I like that they have water there, too, for the tigers to play in. We went through another aviary with a bunch of pretty birds, and soon we were out of the trail.
By now it was getting close to our 11:00 PS at the Rainforest Café. The kids longingly looked towards the Kali River Rapid Ride, but there was no time to ride it, even though I was personally prepared by wearing my Tevas (I didn't want to wait in a long line for such a short ride anyway). We walked past the restrooms on our way towards the Oasis, when I saw this vine creature walking on all fours. This creature was totally covered in vines, and looked like 'it' had stilts on its hands to help it walk. It was very slow, and walking in the middle of the crowd. It then went to one of the pillars near the restroom, kind of wrapped itself up against the pillar and looked out at us. All we could see was this solemn face looking out. Then he/she turned towards the pillar so we couldn't see the face anymore, and if we hadn't seen for ourselves that there was a person there, we would never have known. We would have thought it was a vine growing up against that pillar. I was so impressed. Darn, I should've brought my movie camera!
By now we had 5 minutes to PS, so we rushed on over to the RFC. Rushing in hot, humid weather wasn't the best experience, but we made it. We had to leave the park to get to the café, and walked through the store to get there. They took our name, and had us seated in about 5 minutes. Ahhhh, nice and cool. I was pleased to note that everyone in the family seemed to appreciate the RFC. It did take awhile to serve us, but we weren't in a hurry, and when we did get our food, it was definitely worth the wait. I had the Wallabe Wok pasta - yum! BJ had the kid's pizza, Nick had chicken fingers, I think, and Kelly had the kid's pasta (no surprise there), she ended up eating hers and finishing mine! Dad had pasta & I forget what Lucila had. But all of us thought our food was delicious. It was also less expensive than Prime Time, so Dad liked it even more. The ambience was good, and in keeping with AK, I think.
After lunch we strolled through the gift shop. Kelly bought two TY beanie babies (the kids had their own spending money, and as long as it wasn't outrageous, I let them get whatever they could afford), and Nick & BJ bought this green slime stuff in a little plastic bottle. Yeah, boys. After our purchases we were ready to go back into the park.
Now that lunch was done, we were ready to explore some more of the Animal Kingdom. The Lion King was going to be on at 1:00, and it was close enough to that time for us to go. We walked through the Oasis again (man, what a beautiful place), and headed to the left to Camp Minnie-Mickey. Along the way, we saw the "artimals," people dressed as animals in an artistic way. They were pretty cool to see. One thing to note: Although it was very hot, and those people in costume had to be perspiring or glowing (depending on gender, of course), they all had smiles on their faces - just seeing them made me smile, especially when I saw their interaction with the smaller children. Although my own two kids brought their autograph books (as they did everyday), we didn't stop to get the characters to sign, although they were there, and there were just small lines to see them. We got in line for the Lion King, and although there were big misters to cool us off - they didn't seem to. Just made us wetter. Now, our mister fans did give us some relief from the heat. As we waited in line, the boys got their slime stuff out, and squished it back into the plastic containers. They were extremely amused at the disgusting noises that the slime made, and would say stuff like, "Ewww, Mooommm," and it didn't help that some of the adults around us were snickering. (Boys, gotta love them) Finally, it was time to go in. We were to the right of the stage-in the lion section, and I made sure to tell the family to sit further up in the seats so we could have a good view. I do think that sitting back is better than the front. The show is really neat. The stage is actually in the middle, with the audience in a semi-circle around it, and the action moves around, so basically all the seats are good. We all enjoyed the show, even the boys (once we got them to put their Gameboys away).
After the Lion King Celebration, it was time to head over to Dinoland and Countdown to Extinction! On our way over we enjoyed looking at the various animals in their enclosures. Dad & Lucila decided that the Discovery Boats looked plenty exciting, and opted to ride in one instead of CTX. We all decided to meet back at the Disney Outfitters Shop (a nice air conditioned shop). After we parted, the kids & I stopped for an ice cream to cool us off. Well, we had to wait to cool off because that ice cream was f-r-o-z-e-n hard. In the meantime we moseyed over to CTX (mosey was as fast as we were going to go in that heat). We passed under the Oldengate Bridge & soon were at the CTX entrance. We were still working on our ice creams, and had to hurry because there wasn't much of a line to go on. (We were pretty lucky today, although there were a lot of people, everyone was well spread out, so we never felt crowded)
We knew that the CTX ride was similar in design to our own Indiana Jones at home. We just didn't know what to expect really, so that heightened our excitement. Per the theme park trend of watching time-killing preshows, we watched the one here about the dinosaurs, and soon it was time to get in our car. The ride was really fun, though I noticed there were more dark spots than on Indiana. It was pretty intense, though, and it even got to me. I found myself cringing from one of the dinosaurs, and that's when they took the picture, lol. After the ride we rushed to see the pictures, and laughed at ourselves. Kelly and BJ had their heads completely down, I was leaning away, and Nick was just looking. I asked Kelly if she rode the whole ride with her head down, and her response was, "Well, I looked up once and saw a dinosaur, then I looked up again & saw a dinosaur, so I decided I'd better just keep my head down." We all agreed that it was a fun ride, and that we would like to ride again someday.
We met up with Dad & Lucila at the Disney Outfitters, and Lucila was trying on a pretty dress, which she ended up buying. I asked them how the Discovery Boats were (expecting to hear what a waste they were), and was pleasantly surprised to hear that they really enjoyed it. Dad said that the CM even pointed out an upside-down hidden Mickey on the Tree of Life that you can only see from the boats. By now it was after 3:pm, too late to catch Flights of Wonder. We decided to go for some Ice Cream! We went back to Harambe and got some refreshments at Tamu Tamu Refreshments, and sat down at the outdoor Dawa Bar patio. Pretty soon, a musical combo came out with a singer and started to play. The music was so inviting that people spontaneously got up and started dancing away. It was such a pleasant way to relax in the afternoon. Dad really enjoyed this. The music was very good, and so was the singer. We spent a good time there chatting away, listening to the music, and people watching. It was one of the better afternoons, I think.
After the most relaxing afternoon we headed back to the resort. The kids went for a swim at the main pool, and I decided to take the time to go back to World of Disney and do a little childfree shopping. It was so nice at the marketplace in the afternoon. There is a fountain that you see when you first get to the marketplace. It's a topiary of Mickey, with clay pots around him. The pots spill water one to the other, until it finally is poured into the fountain. It's such a charming scene. The World of Disney is also nice to visit to enjoy the decorations. There are life-sized characters hanging from the ceiling, and the hooks on the edges of shelves are in the shape of Mickey's hands. It's really a delight in there. If you like Christmas ornaments, be sure to check out the 12 Days of Christmas. There are tree balls that someone will paint a Disney scene & personalize for you. I really wish I had got one while I was there. They were really nice. (Now, how many times have we heard, if you see something you like, don't wait, get it right away. You know the song, "I give myself very good advice, but I very seldom follow it."
It was time to go back to the resort. I stopped by the Custom House, and purchased our E-Night tickets. Dad & Lucila didn't want to go, so it would be just the kids & myself. I got to our room, and the kids were already back from the pool. I had them lay down for a nap. The boys didn't sleep, but Kelly sure did (no surprise there), and I was also able to snooze.
E-NIGHT TIME! We quickly got up, and said by to the parents, and were off to E-Night. Dad wanted me to drive, but I convinced him that I really wanted to go by shuttle, so off to the stop we went. It was now 10:30, and soon our bus came up. We excitedly waited as the bus went around the resort and then it was off to the Magic Kingdom! We walked right into the MK, and headed straight to City Hall on Main Street. We went in through the right tunnel, and walked across the square towards City Hall when I had to stop in utter amazement. The Castle what a magnificent sight!
We had no problem getting our wristbands, even though I forgot BJ's resort card back in the room. We still had some time before 11:pm, so we walked along Main Street towards Tomorrowland. There is something about summer nights and Disney. I was filled with a sense of happiness to be there on a special night with the children. I took a pic of the kids with the Walt & Mickey statue in front of the castle. Nick says that he thinks that this castle should be the Sleeping Beauty Castle because it changes colors, like in the cartoon. We decided to ride the TTA, since we don't have the Peoplemover at home anymore. It was fun, and faster than the one we were used to. It was now 11:pm, officially E-Night time. Space Mountain had a line, so the CM suggested we go on another ride, and come back in 20 minutes when the line died down a bit. There was no line for Buzz Lightyear, so we headed for that. The boys scored much higher than Kelly & me, but at least I didn't have a 0, so I was happy. It was a very colorful and fun ride. From there we went on Space Mountain. We wanted to compare it to ours here at home. The car is different at the MK - you sit single file, whereas at DL you sit side by side. The ride was a lot of fun. We're used to riding with our hands up, but when we saw how close the track above us was we decided to keep our hands down. Another comparison is that SM at Disneyland seems to be darker, and has a great musical soundtrack to it, which gets that adrenaline going. We all enjoyed SM, but general consensus between Nick, Kelly & me is that we prefer our own local one @ DL.
After SM we decided to do Alien Encounter. This was a milestone in my eyes for Kelly. When we first started planning our trip, she had stated that she would not be doing either TOT or AE, but she ended up doing both & enjoying them. We enjoyed the preshow, and my bloodthirsty kids even enjoyed poor Skippy's fate. In fact, whenever I ask Nick & Kelly, "Where's Skippy," they start giggling and say 'floating up there somewhere.' But, when we entered the main room, the tension mounted. All three kids were just a little bit nervous - they weren't quite sure what to expect. The harnesses came down on us - here's a tip: When the harness comes down, sit as tall as you can in your seat so it doesn't come down too low on your shoulders. AE is another great show and we all thoroughly enjoyed it, although, I think BJ & Kelly lost something since their eyes were shut through most of it.
From SM we went to Timekeeper. I felt so sorry for a little girl who was pleading with her parents not to make her see it, and they just ignored her. I had visions of corporal punishment going through my mind. Anyway, Timekeeper was another great show. We all enjoyed it. When we came out we saw Goofy. I told the kids, "Look there's that dog, what's his name? Pluto?" and Kelly had to tell Goofy, in between giggles, that I called him Pluto. He stomped his foot and wagged his finger at me - very cute. We got a nice pic with him. We also did see Pluto, who I had to call Goofy, and he put his hands on his hips - made the kids laugh even more. We got a neat pic with him, too.
After that we decided to go to Frontierland and try a couple of mountains. We passed by the Castle, still changing colors, still looking so magical. We next walked through Liberty Square - what a treat for the eyes. On to Frontierland, though, and there's Splash Mountain ahead of us. By now the kids were hurrying to get to the ride, and there was little time to admire our surroundings. There was a little line there, but soon enough we were on the ride. What a fun ride, and so many scenes are different from the Disneyland version. We thoroughly enjoyed this ride. Here's our consensus: Nick & Kelly prefer the WDW Splash Mountain to Disneyland's. I like them both equally, and appreciate their differences. This is what BJ told us, "It was a good ride except for all those animals in there." Nick couldn't believe BJ said that. We had to laugh. That was so funny. That's what makes Disney so, well, Disney.
Next was Thunder Mountain. The line was a bit longer. I think it said 10 minutes. Every time we'd see the clock, BJ would time it on his new Mickey sports watch, and say, "they'd better be right." It was so cute. This ride at night is a total rush. We all loved it and all rode with our hands in the air. The scenery is different than at Disneyland's, which adds to the enjoyment. Nick thinks that the one at DL is longer, but I don't know. I think they're both great. By now it was getting late, and we only had 15 minutes left to go on one more ride - kids wanted Alien Encounter (right, they had to want the one across the park), so we took off in a dash to Tomorrowland. We made it in time, and soon were seeing Skippy again. Kelly stated to me that this time she'd watch the show with her eyes open. Lol.
Now it was 2 am - time to head for the busses. We had to wait for a while for the bus to come, and finally it did. The kids were so hyper, but once we got on the bus, and on the road to the resort, they were out like a light - it seemed all the kids were out. Us adults smiled at each other in shared understanding. One boy was seated in the front on those seats that face inward. His dad was sitting across from him. The boy was sleeping sitting straight up, and then he started to tilt forward very slowly. Finally his dad reached his foot up and gently pushed him back against the chair. I'm sure he would have gotten up if he didn't have two girls using him as a pillow. When we reached our stop, a lady woke Kelly up for me, and I woke up Nick. I told him to wake up BJ, and he went to a complete stranger and started clapping his hands and saying, 'BJ, wake up.' It was so funny. He was so tired he was completely clueless. I herded the kids to the room (no other way to say it), and as soon as we got in the room they just tumbled into bed. They barely managed to take off their shoes & socks before passing out, & I didn't have the heart, or energy, to make them change into their pajamas. By now it was close to 3:am. It was a long day, but boy did we have fun!