Saturday, May 16, 2009

First Day ~Animal Kingdom

We decided to start our trip where we ended our February one, at Animal Kingdom. My parents had never been to this park so were excited to share it with them. As we were heading towards the gates we saw our first character, Meeko, from Pocahontas. Leah was very excited to get her first autograph, Laura was a little more hesitant. It was kind of a role reversal from our last visit.
Meeko is trying to convince Laura that he's not too scary. Leah watching every move.
The Disney employee even stepped in, helping Laura touch Meeko's paw. I thought it was a perfect start to our Disney visit. I love that even though there was a line of kids behind us, the employee and character still took the time to reassure a little four year old girl.

As you enter the park and walk down the paths, you see beautiful birds on both sides.
Dad helping Leah take pictures for their bird book that they have been building for a couple years now.
We went straight to the safari ride, as it tends to fill up fast. After a short wait we were seated and ready to find some animals. Here is Laura, on her Daddy's lap to get a better view.
Do you think we are the ones observing the animals, or could it be the other way?
This picture reminded me of my horse when he was born trying to reach the ground with his long, gangly legs.
The rhinos found a nice cool muddy hole to escape the Florida heat.
The whole gang striding through the park.
I live to catch the moments when they are being so sweet, and voluntarily holding hands like this.

When we rode the train over to Rafiki's Planet Watch, and look who we found...Rafiki himself!
Laura was still not too sure about going up to see him by herself, so Grandmother was kind enough to help her out.

Next up, Jiminy Cricket! The girls were very excited to find him, as we just recently got Pinocchio, so he's a favorite.

As we were walking along the path, this is what we came across. Not many trees have such a beautiful face.
We were feeling very lucky with the amount of characters we were seeing, and as we entered Dino Land we found Goofy.
I got the front seat in the Triceratops Spin, and got to watch Mom & Laura enjoy the ride.
In February we braved thirty degree days, covered in layers of clothes, and on this trip we found just the opposite. They were having record heat for May, hitting in the upper nineties each day. The girls had some ice cream to cool off.
To end the day we headed to The Lion King Show. I have learned to get to the front row as soon as possible, and the girls will be allowed to join in on the parade at the end of the show, and the performers are so sweet in there interactions with the kids. Here the girls are out on the floor with a group before the show started, learning the hand-jive.
I think they were having a good time.
At the end of the show the girls were invited to come out with the kids and march around the stage with their shakers.

As we were headed to the Park Exit our luck with the characters continued, and we were able to meet Minnie and Donald Duck.
I love this picture, the look of awe in Laura's face is just priceless.

At one of the education stations, the girls had fun learning about different animal attributes, such as hard turtle shells and antlers. When the lady would ask a question, Laura would excitedly say "I know, I know!!!" while jumping up and down. Here you can see her leaping off the ground, and this was at the very end of a very hot day.

We went back to the condo for a quick swim and rest, and then we cleaned up for dinner at Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Here is a view looking out of the back of the lobby.
My parents and the kids rocking away while we waited for our table.
The long day may have finally caught up with Laura.
There are beautiful animals to see in the grassy areas outside of the hotel. The pelicans were being quite entertaining, honking back and forth at each other and knocking their bills as if they were swords.

A wonderful end to a great first day.
Next up...Magic Kingdom

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