It’s crazy that we have been back from Florida for over two weeks already; it’s even crazier that we actually went to Florida in the first place because really, who expects their 9 year old dreams to come true, or their boyfriend to agree to go to Florida with only 2 months notice so you can celebrate your birthday Harry Potter style. I’m still amazed that both happened.
So, on April 28, with only a couple of months anticipation and excitement behind us, we packed our bags and headed for the Sunshine State. After 7.5 hours of traveling, we arrived at our resort exhausted and elated to finally be there.
Now, I’m pretty sure that anyone who came across us over the next few days got the immediate impression that we were small town simpletons (because we kinda are) because we couldn’t stop going on and on about how nice the resort was and we spent way longer taking pictures of the resort than we should have. I actually spent 5 minutes taking pictures of the palm trees in front of our hotel trying to get the perfect shot cause, y’know, those were the only palm trees in Florida and they’re a dying breed of plant…
That’s okay though, because bright and early Wednesday morning we set out to the Animal Kingdom where our touristy ways fit right in. After missing our first shuttle (my fault, I forgot to grab my ticket…) we made it there an hour an a half later than planned and we still super excited to be there.
As we walked up to the gates to have our tickets scanned, the little kid in me came bursting out full force; I was smiling like a fool and gushing about how great it was before we even got to the gates because gosh darn it, that gift shop we passed just looked so magical!
Now, what I felt before entering the gates was nothing compared to what I felt the rest of the day walking around. Partially because before I entered the gates my legs weren’t chaffing and I had no blisters on my feet causing me pain, but mostly because Animal Kingdom was so immaculately designed I actually felt like I was in Asia, and Africa. I have to say, after going to all of the parks, decor wise Animal Kingdom was my favorite. So. much. attention. to. detail. <3
The day before we went, I booked our fast passes and picked Kali River Rapids as one of our choices, which due to the time happened to be our first stop. Again, I was amazed by how much work was put in to making the spot where you wait in line so in tune to what the ride was. If we’d had to wait in line, I think I would have been okay with it because there was so much to look at! When we got on, I picked the seat that looked the driest, suffice to say I ended up the wettest.
After that, we made our way to the Kilimanjaro Safari ride where we saw a lot of animals, but the ride was so bumpy and fast that I didn’t get many useable pictures (telephoto lens + extremely bumpy safari ride which doesn’t slow down= a lot of missed photo ops). Still, it was pretty awesome. And it’s always a good sign that when the guide informs you that “if the rhino charges us it will just shake the vehicle, neither us nor him will end up hurt”. The rhino didn’t charge by the way… 🙁
So,we’ve spent some time walking around, ate some pizza (because when in Disney, with some pretty yummy sounding ethnic food being offered, the logical thing to do is eat pizza) and made our way to The Festival of the Lion King. FYI the Lion King was my favorite movie growing up and the musical was fantastic so and I was super excited to see the show. The show 110% delivered. They had a FIRE DANCER. Dude pretty much set himself on fire multiple times and he was just so amazing at what he did it was unreal. They also had crazy monkeys who swung on everything, and these gorgeous macaw aerial dancers. I actually teared up multiple times during the show, maybe because it was just so awesome, or maybe because I was so excited and overwhelmed to be there, either way, it happened, I teared up.
The performers at the show weren’t the only ones who performed for us. It seemed like all of the animals that we saw that day unintentionally put on a show. The bats, who were sound asleep when we entered their cave, started stretching their wings as soon as we started taking pictures, and the tiger, who was still pretty new to the enclosure, was extremely active. He mostly just walked around and ate grass, but compared to the Minnesota Zoo, this was quite the treat. The real treat though, came after Ryan and I had turned off our cameras. I think the Tiger may have eaten too much grass because not only did he go the bathroom in front of everyone, he proceeded to bring up the grass plus his lunch. Yummy… When I told me step dad that we were going to Animal Kingdom, he scrunched his nose and said ‘aren’t all of the animals there animatronics?’ No, no they are no. Animatronics can not do what that tiger did!
So, now that I have left you all on such a wonderful note, a real visual, I am going to stop yammering on about how awesome everything was and put up some pictures, because pictures are the best part! Stay tuned for Day 2 of our Florida adventures!