Day 153- Animal Kingdom & the Tree of Life

Today is beautiful! There’s not a cloud in the sky. It’s a bit chilly today, but the breeze is soft. It is 63 degrees and the sun is so bright! I think we will head for Animal Kingdom on this perfect day. As we get to the entrance for parking, I am surprised that there are 3 cars in each of the lines. We get through the parking entrance and notice that the parking lots are full.

As we get around the long driveway, we see that they are parking in an area that has not been used on any of the days that we’ve come these past few months. Soon, I realize that all of the parking is almost full! We park and walk to the entrance. We get our bags checked, scan our MagicBands, and enter into the main gates. Tonight Animal Kingdom is open until 8:00 P.M.

We go around the Oasis where there are many animals that you can watch. It is so cool to see the unusual birds and animals. It is beautifully green as you walk up the walkway. We walk across the bridge to Discovery Island, and that is when we notice the amazing amount of people who are here today.

One of our quests today is to see the new additions to the Tree of Life! We heard that they had finished the new carvings and I can hardly wait to get to see them! As we approach the area in front of the Tree of Life, it is bustling with people taking turns getting pictures in the midst of these new “roots.” They are fabulous! The detail in the deer and its antlers are so wonderful. There are several animals, including an elephant, a buffalo, and even a Komodo dragon! It is amazing and the detail is fabulous.

We tried to get some Fastpass+ before we came, but now that we are here, I can see why the attractions we were interested in didn’t have any availability today. It is the busiest I have seen Animal Kingdom! We checked wait times, and they are all very busy,

The next stop for us is coffee at the Royal Anandapur Tea Company. The line is very long, but it will be worth the wait. We order the Cupid’s Kiss, an espresso drink with milk, chocolate, caramel, and coconut, topped with whipped cream. It was amazing! Oh, Happy Valentine’s Day!

After we get our coffees, we walk over to Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain, where we find a nice bench to sit on and drink coffee as we watch the roller coaster speed by.

We had not talked to very many people today. It seems that everyone has been busy and focused. But then, a young mom and her little one sat near us. The little one was having a meltdown since she was too little to ride Expedition Everest. I said, “Hi, I love your sweater!” and the little one got quiet as she munched on her Mickey Ice Cream Bar. Soon, she was happily talking, telling us all about her dad and brother riding Expedition Everest. She was so cute! We soon said our goodbyes and she was smiling.

We went around past Finding Nemo the Musical. A little ways down the path, you can find DinoLand USA. It is a fun place for kid’s rides, but we will stay to the right and continue around.

There are still so many people everywhere we go. I am just amazed. We are choosing to search for pins to see if there are some we want to trade. Soon, we find that we can go back toward the Oasis and search for pins near the entrance. So, we turn that way and make it to the front of Animal Kingdom.

As we are leaving, it seems that there are almost as many people coming into the park as there are leaving. It is busy, but so much fun. We figure out that it is perfect timing for us to go home since the sun is going down and the wind is kicking up. It is getting chilly really fast! Goodnight, Animal Kingdom, it has been a good afternoon!

Day 83- Animal Kingdom

It is beautiful today. It actually feels like the sun is hot enough to get a sunburn. The temperature will have a high of 82 or 83 today, and it is hot. However, the breeze is wonderful and keeps us cool. We are going to Animal Kingdom today. As we enter the parking area, it looks really busy until we see the new changes. Yes, they have refinished one huge section of the parking lot and repainted the lines; it looks great!

We ride the tram to the entrance and the tram attendant is so funny. These cast members make Disney so much fun! Soon, we are at the entrance, our bags are checked, and our MagicBands are scanned. Now, off to check the pin stroller at the stroller rental, but once we get there, we find that it is out and about. Not a problem! So, we make our way up and around the Oasis, viewing the animals on our way up. Once we are almost at the top of the Oasis, we make a turn to the left, and step across the rope bridge! I love this bridge! It reminds me of my childhood, crossing rope bridges on vacations.

Now we cross the bridge to Discovery Island, passing the Wilderness Explorer sign up station. It is so cool to find the different animals and get reward stickers! It is a fun way to make your way around Animal Kingdom.

We are heading to Island Mercantile for pin trading. As we enter, we see so many different items in the shop that we haven’t seen before! As the girls are pin trading, I browse all of the cool gifts and hats. As we leave the shop, we make our way through Discovery Island and cross the bridge into Africa. As you are crossing over the bridge, look to your right and you can see Expedition Everest. We on the side of the bridge and enjoy the view for a few minutes. There is a really cool bird that hangs out on the riverbanks here, sometimes he spreads his wings; they are so beautiful and so massive! Today, he stretches one out and also stretches his foot out along his underside. It is just beautiful!

It is rather hot, so we stop at Harambe Popcorn to see what cold beverages they have. We see Jungle Juice Slush and grab one. It is so very good! It is a perfect beverage for a hot afternoon. We enjoy our fun and tasty drinks as we continue to walk toward Asia, then cross the bridge back to Discovery Island. As we walk, I have to chuckle as an ibis sits right above a couple, watching to see if they drop any food. I had not noticed that seat before, it looks like it was carved out of rock, but the ibis sitting above them made me notice. It is a funny picture.

We are finished with pin trading for the day, so off to the rope bridge, and around the Oasis. Out the front entrance, oh, let’s check the Outpost Shop for pins! Found one! Yay!

Now, off to the tram! We sit at the front of a car, and a whole family jumps on with us. I sat by the little oldest son. I asked him, “Are you the oldest?” He said, “Yes!” I said, “You are doing good.” His dad looked at him, then me, smiled really big, and nodded. He was helping with the other 3 siblings and I was impressed with his actions. He did do a good job. See you later, Animal Kingdom; it was a very good day!

Day 68- Animal Kingdom & Magic Kingdom

It is a beautiful day with sunny skies and a few white clouds. The temperature is in the mid-seventies, with a bit of a chill in the air. We are off to Animal Kingdom, and later, Magic Kingdom. Both are very busy the week before Thanksgiving!

We park at Animal Kingdom and catch the tram. The tram attendant is so funny and has a great sense of humor. We were waiting on more people to load up, and a young man ran back to his car to get something. As he came back, the attendant called for no more boarding… just kidding! Tooti needed to run back to the car for something, and the tram attendant said we had time, so she hopped out and came back quickly! We waited for a few more people to climb aboard, and then we were off to the entrance.

Walking up to the gate, we spot Meeko and Governor John Ratcliffe off to the right. We’ve never met either one, so we venture over to the short line to get some pictures. They were a lot of fun. Apparently the Governor does not like high fives… hehe!

Animal Kingdom is nice and cool in the shade of the trees. I love the foliage! We notice how many orchids and other tropical plants grow up in the trees. It is absolutely fascinating to see how many plants can grow on the trees. Then, we grab some lunch at Rainforest Cafe. The atrium area is so cute! There is a green alligator, a purple elephant, and plenty of frogs to take pictures with in the courtyard. It is a fun place to eat.

After our meal, we re-enter the park (Rainforest Cafe is just outside of the gates) and watch the different birds that are in the Oasis. The ibis are up in the trees; they are so pretty and white. We are calling it an early day at Animal Kingdom, and head out about an hour before they close today.

Animal Kingdom now has its Christmas tree up! The decorations are so cool and there are many animals all over the tree.

We are now off to Magic Kingdom! As we enter, I hear that the Flag Retreat Ceremony is beginning. We stop, watch, and sing along. I love hearing our country and our American Veteran being honored.

After the Flag Retreat Ceremony, we head to Main Street Bakery. It is starting to get very chilly and the wind has picked up. We decide to make it a short trip since we don’t have our coats with us. So, I grab a coffee and we head back out to the Monorail. Magic Kingdom closes tonight at 7pm, unless you have a special ticket for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. The front entrance is bustling as people pour in for the party tonight.

We go up to the Monorail and the platform fills quickly. The Monorail pulls up and it is absolutely packed with Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Partygoers! As they finish unloading, we hop on, and our car fills up fast.

The last few moments of the Monorail ride, I asked a young mom and her little daughter if they had a good day. The mom said, “Yes, it is our first time to come to Disney World. I wish I had someone who knew what the best thing to do is. We only have 2 more days, and she [her daughter] loved Magic Kingdom.” I said that we love Magic Kingdom and that I would probably go to Animal Kingdom. We recommend getting a FastPass+ for Kilimanjaro Safaris; it is wonderful. Also, Animal Kingdom tends to close earlier than the other parks, so (since they had Park Hopper tickets) they could come back to Magic Kingdom or go to Hollywood Studios. She was curious about Hollywood Studios. Twinkie suggested it since they have a lot for the little ones, including a Disney Junior show. We had a nice chat and the mom looked refreshed as the Monorail arrived at the Transportation and Ticket Center. I love getting to meet fun families and offer suggestions!

After we get off of the Monorail and walk toward the exit ramp, I see an older lady on a scooter dressed in fabulous Christmas attire. Her daughter had a Mrs. Claus dress on, too! I stopped and said, “I want to go with y’all!” The older lady grinned and they both laughed! They were so cute in their festive Christmas dresses! I love Christmas, and it lasts about for 2 months at Walt Disney World!