Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney Day #1: Animal Kingdom! 

The kids were beyond excited, Grady had his step-by-step guide tucked into his pocket (more on that in a moment), and I was ticked that my camera wasn't working - thanks so some hot tea spilled on it earlier that morning. 

Yeah, yeah, I got a a lot of pics from our time at Disney, but the flash didn't work, the zoom worked every now and then, and there's a curious blur in the center of most pics. Crud. The one time in life when I would have really liked to have good pics of my family. 

The tram taking us from our car to the entrance may have been the highlight for my boys each morning in the parks. I can't figure out why - all of us were crammed into a single row and whizzed over blacktop for less than five minutes before being dropped off. I guess it's the simple things.
After entering the park, we proceeded to the very back. Based on specific instructions from our know-everything-there-is-to-know-about-Disney friend, Juli, we had a step-by-step guide for each day were in a park. She laid out what order was best for getting on rides, seeing shows, and meeting characters. We got a tad off-schedule early on in the day and Grady looked at me and sheepishly said, "That's it. We are sticking to the list!" After that, all potential crises were averted.
Grady Lee loves anything and everything having to do with animals, so the safari expedition and the chance to touch real animals, in particular, were his favorite things. My kids have been to many zoos and nature centers in their short lives, so although seeing exotic animals wasn't anything new to them, the experience of enjoying the animals in the context of Disney was unique. And, let me just state the obvious: Disney doesn't do anything half way. Their attention to detail is remarkable!
We enjoyed seeing Nemo performed as well as the Lion King. After three loud minutes of wailing when the lights went out and the fish started singing, Annalyse fell asleep and didn't make a peep for the remainder of the show.

Grady and I have seen Lion King performed several times and it's a personal favorite. On the down side, we caught ourselves singing some of its classic tunes for the rest of the day (and the week, for that matter). "Oh I just caaaaan'tt wait... to be king...!"
I was wonderfully pleased with the boys and their self-control around all of the Disney paraphernalia that is everywhere. They never once asked if "I can have this?" or "Can you buy this for me?" In fact, they hardly seemed to notice most of it and were too busy asking "What's next on Ms. Juli's list for us to do? Let's go!"
Since we spent all day learning about exotic animals, exploring the environment and habitats of other countries, and learning tid-bits about cultures around the world, I counted that day as... wait for it... a SCHOOL DAY! Oh yes I did. And for the record, it was the funnest school day ever.
Hands-down, the highlight for me was watching my kids watch the parade. I won't lie: I got teary-eyed when the exciting hoopla began and I watched my kids sit in utter amazement and wonder and delight as characters and dancers came by. Grady Lee mentioned several times that his hand was tired from waving so much but he insisted in continuing because he "didn't want any of the people to feel sad that I didn't wave to them." And Annalyse. Oh Annalyse! She sat still - as in motionless - the entire time. My usually nonstop two-year old sat frozen as she watched the parade go by.
Disney Day #1 was a success - due in a large part to The List - and also because weather was great, crowds were light, and my family was enjoying something special together. I had three kids that were asleep before lights were out and never made a peep until Grady and I woke them up the next morning.
Which brings me to Disney Day #2: Magic Kingdom. More on that soon...


  1. Oh my goodness...Annalyse's face...totally priceless!!! I want to have a school day there!!! :-)