Oh my goodness, this past week was absolutely magical. I’m a little bummed to be sitting in my living room right now, rather than hopping around Animal Kingdom like we were exactly a week ago. I knew the week would go quickly and I tried my best to enjoy the magical moments as they happened (and move past the not so magical ones quickly) so that we could make the most out of our time.
David and I decided before we went that we would try our best not to sweat the small things. We tried to let them have their fun, do the things that they said they wanted to do, and let them enjoy more treats and snacks (aka-sugar) than we typically do. There of course were times that we had to say “no” and I think our most uttered phrase this past week was some version of “don’t climb on that” or “don’t touch that.” Why do kids want to climb onto/over/under everything they see?
Anyway, I shared bits of our trip through Instagram, but this week I will be sharing all the fun details here! I think I will probably break it down by day so that these posts don’t become too lengthy, so be sure to check back for more Disney fun as the week goes on. Next week I will share what we packed and a few Disney tips!
Day 1 – Animal Kingdom
One decision you have to make when planning a trip to Disney World is if you are going to fly or drive. We decided to save the money and drive this time. We would have had to buy 3 plane tickets since Audrey would still be able to sit in a lap, and the cost was not worth it to us. We decided to get a hotel in Valdosta, Georgia and spend the night there on Sunday, then drive 3-4 hours to Orlando early Monday.
I think this worked out great! It was definitely worth the money spent for one night in a hotel to have such a short drive the next morning. We ended up leaving close to 6:00am on Monday morning and arrived at Animal Kingdom around 10:00.
One of the first things on our must do list was the Lion King show. We wandered around briefly, took a quick photo in front of the Tree of Life, then made our way to The Festival of the Lion King. This has always been a favorite show of mine. The acrobatics and the music is so much fun to watch! The girls enjoyed it, but the show ended up making Audrey very sleepy and she fell asleep right as it was finishing up (she was up very early! I don’t blame her!)
Once the show was over, we grabbed lunch at Pizzafari before our first Fastpass time. Audrey woke up just in time to eat her mac-n-cheese – both girls ate surprisingly well here!
Our first Fastpass was for the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. Audrey (our animal lover) very much enjoyed this ride. She was very excited to see all the animals roaming around. Raley was excited at first, but she got a little bored on this one. No matter how many times I’ve ridden the Safari ride, this will always be a must-do at Animal Kingdom. It’s fascinating to me to see the animals roaming around, interacting with each other. Maybe as Raley gets older, she’ll enjoy it too.
We walked through the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail, where we saw a few lazy gorillas taking a nap and two young gorillas playing. They were pretty adorable – chasing each other, rolling around, and it looked like they were even tickling each other and laughing.
Next we made our way to Pandora, where we rode the Na’vi River Journey. This is a boat ride through the land of Pandora, which the girls thought was neat. The entire land of Pandora is absolutely beautiful! It’s almost hard to take it all in.
We did not have a FastPass to Avatar Flight of Passage, but we had heard that even if it’s a long line, that we should do it anyway. The girls are not tall enough to ride this one, so my parents got a rider switch FastPass and took the girls to do a few things while David and I stood in line for about an hour and a half.
*We used the rider switch a few times during our stay. This is how it works – see a Cast Member usually located close to the entrance of the ride. Tell them you need to do a rider switch and which member(s) of your party will be staying behind with the child who is too small to ride. Up to 3 people in your party will get a FastPass to come back and ride later. They calculate the current wait time and the FastPass starts about the time that the first party would be done. So David and I got in the Avatar line about 2:45 and my parents’ FP time started at 4:15. Since up to 3 people could ride the second time, I was able to go twice – once waiting in line with David, and a second time using the FP with my parents.
I’ll say this about Avatar – the wait is 100% worth it! If you have never ridden Avatar, you’ve got to make it happen on your next Disney vacation. No matter what the wait. We noticed that the wait times were very long in the morning when we first got to the park, but they were lower around lunch time. I don’t know if it’s always this way, but this was the case when we were there.
While David and I were in line, my parents took the girls to DinoLand, where they rode TriceraTop Spin, played some games, and danced with some street dancers. Audrey won a little dinosaur at one of the games she played, and Raley tried several times to win a toy, but never could, so she pouted a little while about that.
After we had all ridden Avatar it started to rain. We threw on our ponchos, and made our way back to Pizzafari for cover to wait out the rain, while indulging on Mickey ice cream bars.
The rain thankfully slowed up a bit, so David and I made our way to our last FastPass – Expedition Everest – and Mimi and Papa took the girls to It’s Tough To Be A Bug, which they talked about the entire rest of the trip! David and I ended up riding Everest twice. When our Disney travel agent, Alicia, booked our FastPasses, she booked them for everyone in our party, which meant for the rides that Raley was too small to ride/my parents didn’t care to ride, we got to ride them twice. This worked out great for all of us, because they got time with the girls to sit down and rest/have a snack/play games, and David and I got to ride the thrill rides that we probably would not have got to do if it was only us on this trip.
Everest has always been a favorite of mine. Of the big coasters (not including simulation rides like Avatar), this one and Rock-n-Roller Coaster are top two.
We finished up at Everest just in time to find a seat for the Rivers of Light show that they do at dusk. This show is new since the last time we were here 5 years ago (wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long!) It was a very cool show, using water and lights. Below are a few bonus photos from Disney that were included with our PhotoPass.
Once the light show was over, we grabbed a bite to eat at Flametree BBQ, then called it a night. It had been raining off and on since about 4:30, so we figured we better head on to our resort. Just before we hopped on the tram that takes us to our car, the sky opened up and it started pouring! Thankfully once we got parked at the resort, it had slowed enough to get the bags in without getting soaked.
I Lysol-ed and Clorox wiped the room, before touching anything, because we were NOT going to get sick on this trip! I’m not the germophobe type, but I’ve heard of too many people coming down with a stomach bug while at Disney World, so I wanted to avoid it at all costs. I put Theives oil on the girls and my feet every night to help keep us from getting sick as well.
Once that was done, I tossed the girls in the tub for a quick bath, then we tucked them in for bed. It didn’t take them terribly long to get to sleep, thankfully. Our first day was a success!
Tomorrow: Hollywood Studios!