Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Dec 14 - Animal Kingdom

May I surprise you all by telling you that we had another early start for the Animal Kingdom! Today we had a 7am appointment to meet at the bus stop. Jason unfortunately slept in so we had to go help him with his children. Although the forecast was for a warmer day, it was still very cold. I really thought that it was nearly as cold as yesterday. Those down jackets are really earning their keep!

Guess where we are!

A clue?
Animal Kingdom
Of course, being true Disney fans, a little sleep in did not stop us from reaching our target on time. We made it to Donald's safari breakfast at Tusker House and had to wait in line to be seated. Enroute, we saw HUGE heater guns everywhere spewing out yellow flames. And this being a crucial moment, I forgot to take a photo. I was too busy wondering if that were really enough to keep the animals warm...I have resigned myself to the fact that I will be relying on other's photos on this trip.

A glimpse of what's to come later in the day...
Striding into Africa...
to Tusker House

Waiting in line
Finally seated!
Tusker House was just beautiful inside, especiall the buffet area. We enjoyed our jungle juice and the slightly unusual food. Donald duck was so lovable as were the other characters. The children lapped it up and didn't seem to have tired at all of the character meets. Jonah was slowly coming out of his shell and gave Goofy a high 5!

The gorgeous buffet area

Glorious details

The much loved Goofy!
Being fast pass obsessed, Malcolm obtained some for Expedition Everest before the end of breakfast. When we walked past Expedition Everest, we noted that the ride was shutdown due to ice. Kali River Rapids was also closed and scheduled to open at 1pm. They were giving out fast passes so we collected some of those too. We followed Kwan's plan despite the Yeohs absence. Lo and behold when we hit Dinoland, we saw the Yeohs! Sam was walking and so they decided to press on. Sharon had already gotten herself on Primeval Whirl. The rest of us were behind the eight ball! When we finished at Dinoland we aimed for Dinosaur where we were re-acquainted with the lovely Mrs Huxtable! The rest of the morning was a whirlewind series of fastpasses and rider swaps ending with lunch in Asia by the river looking at the monkeys. They were the first active animals we saw!

The children waiting while the adults collected "free" Kali rapids fast pass handouts
The then quiet monkey enclosure
I just loved the details on this snack truck!

A true find of the day for the little ones!
A wonderfully themed playground
being towered over by dinosaur bones in the festive spirit
Auntie Sharon on kindergarten duty
A ride that was rather intense but a lot of fun!
The girls posing after lunch and waiting for the monkeys to come out
Aping around right on cue. Glad they knew our schedule!
Some images of Africa

After a relaxing lunch, we went on Kilamanjaro Safari where I developed a new found level of respect for wildlife photographers! I am obviously not cut out to be one so I won't bore you all with too many animal photos but the animals were abundant. We had another photo op right after the ride with the photopass photographers then rushed to the Festival of the Lion King. Once again, in great Disney style, it was a stunning show. What phenomenal sets! They were detailed, smooth, and had great movement. The whole show was not just visually spectacular but also an auditory treat. We were the bleating giraffes.

My favourite animals...sleeping hippos!
We got so close to so many animals. Simply amazing!
The highlight of the ride. The boys followed the rangers instructions to the letter for fear of being shot by the poachers! A classic moment
We stalked our front row spots for the Jungle Jammin parade and waited patiently for the white tape gang to lay down the lines before plonking down our children and belongings. As we were right outside the entrance for Tough to be a bug, the children were able to go on it to ease the waiting restlessness. I only had one complaint about our spot, the light made it tough to take good photos!

Staking our claim...
right by...
The parade
Wonderful Christmas details from front... back!
I enjoyed looking for the cute details on the floats

so much so that I missed this being a kangaroo until I the back of it!

Beautiful costumes
Being clever Australians, we were one of a few to go on Kali River Rapids. What else could be better than a water rider on a frigid winter's day? Besides, we had to make full use of our water proof ski jackets and snow boots. We then used our raincoats to cover up our jeans. To our surprise, there was no wait! We walked straight onto our raft. We escaped relatively unscathed. Jason, on the other hand, received a direct hit and got drenched. A disappointed Andrew shouted out "It's not fair, I wanted to get soaked like my dad".

Images of Asia

The Tree of life was just fascinating. The details were incredible but so very difficult to take a photo that did it justice. Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the resort. The men looked after children and the women went for dinner at Artist's point at the Wilderness Lodge. We caught a bus to the Magic Kingdom and then another bus to the Wilderness Lodge. It took less than 30 min from door to door!

The HUGE tree at the Wilderness Lodge
Wonderfully themed Christmas decorations

Close up of one of the tree hangings
The Wilderness Lodge was a beautiful resort. Dinner was magnificent. The three ladies shared an appetiser of mussels. For entree Sharon and I shared the venison and spatzle as well the tuna. Dessert was berry cobbler with black raspberry ice-cream and apple tart with vanilla ice-cream. I remembered to take photos! We caught a cab home back to the resort so grateful to have been given the opportunity for some adult time. At the same time a little sad that the fourth member was not present. Malcolm, in the meantime, had fed the kids and then bathed all 6 children. When we arrived home, the children were asleep, the washing put away and the nexy day's clothes ready and the bags packed for tomorrow. What a champion! I will have to replicate this tomorrow for the men's night out...

Mood lighting above...

and on the table

Mussels to share


Apple tart

The details in the theming have been phenomenal so far. This is for parks and resorts, down to lamp posts and decorations. This is notable with the christmas decorations all individualised to the various areas. This great attention to detail really added to the experience.

We also received some sad news. Ethel's father had passed away. We were relieved to hear that Ethel made it home in time to see him before he passed away. However, it was still difficult to be separated as family during such difficult times. We pray that the Lord will take them under his wings and provide them comfort.

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