Thursday, March 26, 2009

Animal Kingdom: Not So Regal

Note: This post was schedules to auto-post next week. But in honor of Courtney, who leaves for Orlando tonight, I want to share it early. Sorry for two posts in one just seemed important to get the word out.

Just in case you've been reading all of these vacation posts thinking,"Okay, so I get it already. You had a great time and you just want to keep bragging", then this will be the post for you.

Not everything about our vacation was hunky, dory. There were definitely some moments that were not what dreams were made of.

One of these was the day we went to Animal Kingdom.

I had been warned by MANY people before we went to not go to Animal Kingdom. I had been told that the layout was very challenging and that there wasn't as much to do there as other parks.

We didn't listen to the advice for several reasons:
A. The Lion King show looked really neat
B. My brother and SIL went last time and loved it
C. Noah wanted to ride the Yeti ride (Expedition Everest)
D. I really thought that it had to be great, just because it was part of Disney World
E. I thought the kids would have a blast in the "Big Boneyard"
F. The Kilimanjaro Safari was said to be amazing
G. I thought the River Rapids would be fun

Let's take these one at a time, shall we?

A. The Lion King Show really WAS neat...the only thing that lived up to the hype. Very cool show!

B. I think we ALL agreed that the experience of Walt Disney World 8 years ago without young children was very different than the one we had this time around

C. After seeing in a book we had about this ride, Noah was determined to go on it. The fastpasses for the ride were all gone by noon so in order to ride it, they would have to wait 95 minutes, which he and Steve did right after lunch. After the ride, he seemed prettyy excited, even though he said he definitely would NEVER go on it again because it was so scary when the Yeti jumped out at him.

We didn't know how bad it was until two days later in Magic Kingdom when Noah started crying before EVERY roller coaster, still freaked out over Everest. He was actually hyperventilating while we were in line for Splash Mountain.

Even after we
got home, he had nightmares for several nights, saying a Yeti was chasing him.

PLEASE USE CAUTION if you choose to take your child on this ride, especially if he is sensitive like my Noah.

D. Brand labeling is never a good thing.

E. Since we had about two hours to wander while Steve and Noah were waiting to go on the Yeti ride, Aaron and I went on a kiddie ride similar to Dumbo with my SIL and niece and nephew. That was fun but then we separated and I thought it was a perfect time to let Aaron play in the Boneyard.

It wasn't a digging place at all, but a big huge play area. It actually was very neat, as soon as Aaron lost me a few times and figured out his way back to find where I was. I actually would have let him stay much longer had I not been worried about him overheating or getting sunburned.

F. The Safari was the only thing we got a fastpass for all day. Thankfully we didn't have to wait before boarding and we all were able to sit together for the trek. There were quite a few animals that we were able to see and it was neat to see them in a more natural habitat than in some zoos we have been too.

The most memorable thing for me was a friendly giraffe that took to following our vehicle. It tailed us for quite awhile and I was as disappointed as the kids when we got too far ahead of it to see it anymore.

G. After waiting for the Yeti ride for almost two hours, we got to the line for the rapids ride (which fastpasses had again run out hours before) and it was an hour and a half wait again. At that point I turned to Noah and asked him, "Noah, do you want to wait for another cool ride as long as that last wait or do you want to go back to the condor and go swimming?" We were on the road fifteen minutes later, not even waiting to watch the parade that would begin in another fifteen minutes.

So, are you wondering if anything good came out the trip to Animal Kingdom?

The answer is yes.

I felt bad for Aaron being stuck in the stroller so I let him use some of his Disney Dollars to buy a water sprayer...$16 for a $3 water bottle, but he was so thrilled with it that it kept him amused for a very long time.

All of the kids enjoyed playing the many African drums

Yes, my hubby, the big kid loved it too!

Noah and Steve making rhythms together

I was also able to get a cute picture of the four cousins that will definitely be framed

The kids did actually get to visit with a couple of characters from The Jungle Book. They were the only autographs we got the whole week, due to either forgetting the books or the long lines to meet characters.

So yes, there were a few good points, but probably not enough to make me want to visit Animal Kingdom again. If you have a hopper pass and can pop in and visit the Lion King show, I suggest you do it, but I would not suggest wasting an entire day there if you can only do one park a day, like we could.

If you have had similar experiences with Animal Kingdom, I would love to hear it. My BIL and his family went to this park when their kids were little and had such a horrible time, they got their money back. That was several years ago and we had assumed that it couldn't possibly be like that.

As a matter of fact, while my SIL and I were relaxing in the condor's hot tub that night, waves of people came and went and all expressed similar stories of their experiences that day. Sometimes it's nice to know that you weren't alone when you feel things aren't what you had hoped.

I hope you are all enjoying these trips down memory lane. I am really writing this stuff down for my own sake so I will have a picture diary of our vacation for years to come. I appreciate you all coming along for the ride.

Have a great day!


Courtney said...

Thanks for sharing this & this was one of the parks we contimplated going to. We won't be going now. Can't wait to hear more and I don't think you're bragging. I think you are documenting for your kids's sake & letting us all in on your vacation.

Timmy's Girl said...

Wow...that is a bummer, but the pic with the characters and cousins are too cute!

xoxo, Veronica in CA

Stacey,momof 2 said...

blogging is not bragging... it's an online baby book -- execept it's not for babies-- it's for Mom's and kids!
I like reading your views of the parks and such-- it's like reading a real mom's idea of how best to enjoy all the different attractions.

Melissa said...

I have heard nothing but bad things about Animal Kingdom too so I dont think I will be taking the kids there anytime soon.

Dont you worry about bragging! I am sooooo loving reading every single one of your recaps. I love them. Disney is magical and I feel like I am there while reading your posts! Keep em comin!

Kila said...

Sorry you didn't have as good of a day there.

We went and LOVED it, but my boys are older than yours, and we got fast passes for the rides, so no waiting. We had a great time there.

Did you go on the Dinosaur ride? Scared the crap out of us, we loved it. Your boys would like it when they are a few years older. We loved Everest and did it more than once. Enjoyed Safari, too. The Lion King show was amazing. I won't soon forget it. Did you see the Bug's Life 3D movie? We loved it! The parade was good (we walked into it by accident), you'll have to see it someday.