November 4, 2013: First Disney Day with Dad

We were not up that early this morning.  Already the exhaustion is hitting us.  To be fair, Dominica and I had a lot going on leading up to coming to Walt Disney World so it is kind of only fair that we still be exhausted.  So it was around ten when the five of us, dad is now in tow, arrived at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to begin the day.  This is dad’s and Luciana’s first time here and Liesl’s first time since she was just turning one.

First stop was The Tree of Life and the 3D movie “It’s Tough to Be a Bug.”  Liesl and dad really liked this one.  Luciana couldn’t figure out what was going on so it wasn’t really fun for her.

We were all a little hungry, dinner had been so early last night for all of us (dad had gotten a salmon burger at the hotel on his own) that we decided to just hit Pizzafari and grab a quick breakfast.  There were not many people there and we were all in a “go slow” mood today.  On top of being tired, Dominica and my feet were already starting to hurt.

Dominica decided to run back to the hotel for a bit so dad and I took the girls on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, which is part of the real “zoo” part of the Animal Kingdom, as Liesl was anxious to get to see the giant bats that Dominica had been telling her about but we did not know where they were.  They were not on the Pangani trail but we got some exercise walking around it.

After the Pangani Trail we walked around the Discovery Island area for a while which has some minor trails of its own.  We waiting there for Dominica to return.  She got back and we hopped on the Kilimanjaro Safaris.  The girls did not like this.  It was too rough.   We noticed that the “poachers” portion of the ride had been removed.  It is less of a ride and more of a real zoo trip now.  I like the improvement.

We left Africa and headed over to Asia so that Liesl could do the Maharajah Jungle Trek as this is the one that has the bats (and tons of other animals.)  The two zoo “trails” in the Animal Kingdom are both really excellent zoological exhibits.  We had hoped to have gotten lunch in Asia but the restaurant that we were interested in did not have a single vegetarian option so we had to bypass that and hope for something elsewhere.

Next stop was the Dinosaur Land and we just gave up on finding something really neat and original and just ate at Restaurantasaurus.  I sat outside with the girls while Dominica and dad got the food.  Liesl was very restless and wanted to ride the Triceratops Spin ride there because it is just like Dumbo.  So she and I went and rode it alone and then returned to the restaurant where everyone else was resting.

The our Fast Pass took us to Finding Nemo: The Musical.  We saw this one four years ago and we really liked it.  So well done.  It’s a Broadway level performance.  Highly recommended.  A very big change of pace over most of the rides although these shows are becoming more and more popular these days in the parks.

Dad watched Luciana in a little playground area with a big plastic dinosaur for climbing and Dominica and I took Liesl to ride Dinosaur! which is a cross between a traditional Disney animatronics ride and a thrill ride.  Eric, Mark and I went on this one when we first hit the Animal Kingdom while it was still being built in the late ’90s.  Liesl and I went over first and got Liesl measured to make sure that she was tall enough for these rides.  The limit is forty inches and she measured in at a whopping forty two inches!  She truly is a big girl now.  So I texted Dominica and she came and met us.

Liesl really like the ride but took it very seriously.  The magic really worked for her on this one.  They convinced her that we really did go back in time and see dinosaurs.  She got really scared that we were not going to escape before the asteroid hit and she refused to ride the ride again because she was not confident that the ride wouldn’t cut it too close next time and not make it back.  She had fun, though, and had tons of questions about the dinosaurs afterwards.

That was our last ride for the day.  We were all tired and any other ride would have been a ton of effort and walking.  Not for us.  Our dinner reservations tonight are at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and getting from any park to any resort is always a huge ordeal so we wanted to allow plenty of time for that.

It took us an our to get out to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Dominica and my favourite place to stay and eat in WDW.  We got there quite a bit before our reservation at Boma (of course we are eating at Boma!) so we took dad and the girls to the Arusha Savannah to see the animals and so that dad could get  a feel for what the hotel was like as the rooms (like the one that Dominica and I stayed in many years ago) have views out onto the Savannah.  Liesl thought that it was fun, Luciana had fallen asleep in the stroller.

Dinner at Boma was very good as always.  It has changed very little, probably due to its continued popularity, since we first discovered it almost a decade ago.  I think that dad liked it too.  It is a large buffet so it is hard not to find things that you will like.  I got a elderflower sidecar while there, one of the best cocktails that I have had in a very long time.

We were in the hotel around nine.  Another early, but much needed, night.  Our feet are really killing us after today.  Tomorrow morning is, thankfully, not a really early one.  We are heading to EPCOT.  Nothing scheduled in the morning.

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