Day 20- Animal Kingdom & Pin Trading at Coronado Springs

Yay! I want to go to Hollywood Studios to explore the Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream attraction. As we approach the parking lot, we see it is pretty full and it is not quite 11:00 a.m. This morning there was a 5K and then tonight there is the Tower of Terror 10 miler. As I assessed the growing crowd, we chose to go to Animal Kingdom instead.

On the way to Animal Kingdom, we were going past Coronado Springs Resort (one of our favorites!) and decided to drop in for some pin trading. Pin trading is a fun event, especially if you are in the parks for more than 3 or 4 days. It is fun looking for specific pins. We also took a moment to look at the beautiful lake.

Animal Kingdom proved to be a great choice. The weather was hot, but the clouds were rolling in and soon there was a good cloud cover. We parked in the Peacock parking lot and I caught the Tram while the kids walked to the gate. We arrived at the same time! I forgot my regular shoes but had a spare pair in the car. I try to keep backup shoes in the car just in case it rains or if I accidentally make it out to the car in my heeled Crocs slides.

I wanted to stop at Guest Relations to check on how many days have we been to Disney World Parks. Yesterday, we were stopped three times to take a quick survey and one of the questions was, “How many times have you been to Disney?” I said that we should pick 40 and the kids said 80… they were closer. We upgraded our Disney Tickets to Annual Passes last fall and the total to date for the annual year is 83. Then, we added in the trips since 2012, and the one trip we made in 2001. So, our grand total is, as of today, 100 park visits!

There was such a quiet bustling to the day. It was laid back, and the animals were busy enjoying the cooler air. Of course, our first ride is Kilimanjaro Safaris, my favorite. It is busy, but calm today. Our time out on the Safari was longer than normal, as some of the animals were crossing the road at a slow pace. I love these days; I can enjoy watching the giraffes and the rhinos, of course all of the other animals too, but these two are my favorite. The question of the day is: Are zebras white with black stripes or black with white stripes? The Safari was about twice as long as usual and totally amazing.

As we were walking to get tea, I noticed that the owl on the Tree of Life was standing out more than usual. The cloud cover and angle of the sun made me need to stop and take a picture. It is the most amazing tree.

We grabbed a peach tea and went to sit by the water on Discovery Island to watch the birds and reflections on the water. Now, off to find more pins and head for the front area.

As we were walking down the Oasis, a lady was talking and her friends asked her what she was saying. She told them that she was finishing a conversation from something someone in another group had said; she likes to do that. I leaned in and said, “I never do that. I never say anything about a conversation someone else is having.” They busted out laughing. I love fun people. She ended up on the same Tram we were on! I know because the guys behind us, from England, joined into our conversation and I told them about the lady at the Oasis, and she, sitting two rows in front of us, said, “That was me!”

A fun day!

Day 16- Animal Kingdom & Magic Kingdom

Today was awesome! The rain was pouring down, and it was so much fun riding on the Animal Kingdom tram with the spray of rain on our faces. Being a Texas girl, I have never seen so much rain! I would love to send some of this rain to West Texas where they only have about 30 days of water left for the whole town. Wish they had some rain, praying they get some!

Once we got through the gates, we went see the animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris, my favorite ride! We had a FastPass+, but the standby line was only 5 minutes! We had a blast! The best time to see the animals is when it’s rainy; they love the rain and the cooler weather. Today, we took off and had the longest ride we have ever been on. The safari vehicles in front of us kept stopping (there may have been an animal on the road, blocking the path!), so we got to stop every so often, it was great! Pictures? Yes, plenty as we slowed down and enjoyed the rainy day. We met a wonderful mom behind us as she was taking awesome pictures. I had a great chat with her and listened as she told me she was crazy for having 3 kids a year apart. I told her that I thought it was awesome and I bet they were really close. She said they were, but some days it is a lot! I said, “Yep, some days, my kids have to put up with me.” She laughed and said, “Yes, we all have those days!” She had a beautiful family!

We took a break from the rain and sat down by the water in the seating at Flame Tree Barbecue, across from Expedition Everest. It’s our favorite place to sit and eat or grab an iced tea. A lady a few tables away caught my eye because she just kept smiling and looking just past me. I turned and laughed; a crane was sitting right beside me on the railing! It made me laugh and I tried to grab a picture, but he left since I wasn’t feeding him.

We had planned to ride Kali River Rapids, but I just couldn’t add an extra layer of water to my day (yes, even though we were wet from the rain already!). We chose to trade pins around the park instead; we love to trade pins. Oh, I mean, my kids love to trade pins. Let’s go!

Now, I am going to go to Magic Kingdom to grab a Starbucks and warm up. Finally, we are feeling like we are home, our Starbucks friends are recognizing us! A little more pin trading and then we are headed home.

On the way to the front gate, we see cast members with hula hoops. Oh, fun! Tooti loved hula hoops when she was little; she even won a prize at Dairy Queen for hula hooping! Yep, she is now hula hooping! Soon, there are more kids and now, a dad joining in the fun! After hula hooping, we see a word scramble game in front of City Hall! Spelling game: challenge accepted! Twinkie got the first one, and then knew the second word and a young boy knew, but he didn’t want set the letters in the right order; Twinkie even asked if he’d like to help. Then, the competition was on! So much fun as older, grandparent-aged kids laughed and joined the fun!

Absolutely refreshed from meeting so many fine people and so many fun people! It was a wonderful day as we made our own sunshine! Refreshed!

Day 6- Animal Kingdom’s Kilimanjaro Safaris & Sanaa

Animal Kingdom!  After a good strong rain, we headed for Animal Kingdom.  The animals are so active and so fun to watch.  When you enter into Animal Kingdom there is the area called The Oasis, full of birds and various animals.  We were heading for Kilimanjaro Safaris!  Oh look!  What’s down the stairs in that cave?  I found myself looking at otters!  I love otters!  There were also some really big black fish.

We stopped to trade a pin with a cast member; if you don’t know about pin trading, don’t worry!  We can tell you later.  The cast member was telling us that it had rained earlier today, but now it is less “mushy” wet.  Perfect!  Now, on to Kilimanjaro Safaris.  This time we were on the very back seat.  I liked being seated there, it’s perfect if you need a picture of an animal, (or several!) following you.

My favorites are the giraffes, and they were really close to the road.  One was so close I could have reached out and touched it, but, “Please keep your hands and arms inside of the vehicle at all times,” is a rule I choose to follow.  The other favorite is the rhinoceros, but today, there were rhinoceroses!!!  They, all six, were galloping and running; a couple were heading for the road!  We just got past them and four began following us and watching the water on the road right behind us, it was so cool!  SO COOL!

After the safari, we headed for Yak and Yeti Restaurant in the Asia section and admired all of the detail in the building.  I love architecture and how detailed the Africa section was, and now admired Asia.  We had a good sit down snack of Gluten Free Sweet and Sour Chicken and a GF Cheesecake!  Oh, yum!

Animal Kingdom was closing early today (6pm), so we went to the Animal Kingdom Lodge- Kidani Village to eat at Sanaa. They have great Gluten-free Naan available with their amazing Indian Style Bread Service that includes 9 tasty dips. We tried to get last minute reservations and the only one was kind of late, so the only place available was the lounge. We had a wonderful visit with the bartender and a young family sitting at the bar with us. Had a blast! I love rainy days, which are most days in the summer in Florida! Be prepared.