The start of our day at the Animal Kingdom looked a little like this. Not quite ready for it… but getting there.
(Except Clementine. Just look at her. The girl is pretty much always ready.)
It didn’t take us long to get there, though.
Just a few steps past the Tree of Life in the Animal Kingdom and we ran into Flik. Of course,
we Clementine had to stop to say hello. I didn’t pull out my big camera as I was trying to capture the meeting on video but we got some on our Memory Maker that might not be the greatest (okay, they’re definitely not the greatest) but I’m sure glad to have them.
(I’ll be including links to our Memory Maker photos where we have them – these links are really for me, as are the links to all our videos, as way to keep all the memories together. Just want to have a simple way for our family to look back on this fairy-tale adventure and be reminded of the Shook family’s astounding generosity and His unfathomable gift-giving ability.)
Since we’d not managed our time as well as we’d have liked the day before – and ran out of sufficient time to explore the World Expedition portion of Epcot – we asked for advice from Disney experts on IG and Facebook… specifically for help in prioritizing the must dos for the day.
Y’all were amazing. And we did our best to follow the recommendations as closely as we could – which made for a wonderfully busy and, honestly, super fun day.
First stop for the bulk of our crew was a fast pass at Expedition Everest, so Asher and I took the littlest to Dinoland. We tried the TriceraTop Spin – a ride that seemed like it might be Clementine’s speed.
It was. It also gave us a few minutes to just sit and watch all the fun happening around us. Kinda rubs off on a person.
Soon the rest of the crew caught up with us and jumped on Primeval Whirl. This ride looked like an absolute blast from the outside, a moment of which I happened to snap a picture of from down below.
Then, because everyone who rode it had so much darn fun, we all (except Asher and the littlest) rode it again.
Dinoland, you were good to us.
(The picture below makes me laugh every time I look at it. The moment the mom realized I was trying to take a picture… her little guy never had a chance.)
Then, continuing in our effort to help Clementine meet as many characters as possible, we waited in a crazy long line for a visit with Goofy and Pluto.
I didn’t take any pictures, just a little video, but got some Memory Maker pictures meet and greet that are pretty cute.
Clementine’s face upon finally meeting Pluto? Suddenly the long wait was a distant memory.
Next up was one of the most highly-recommended attractions at Animal Kingdom (along with Lion King), Finding Nemo The Musical. After hearing y’all share how much your kids loved it, despite not being huge “musical” fans, we just had to go.
We were not disappointed. And a half-hour or so resting in a comfy, cool theater was pretty sweet, too.
The colors, the characters, the costumes… such fun.
And, evidently, having so much fun tires a girl out. So while Clementine caught a nap on her brother’s shoulder, we went to visit Pocahontas. I think Magnolia missed her big sister braving the way ahead of her and was not interested in meeting anyone but from afar.
Jude and Shepherd, on the other hand, well… let’s just say the two of them were all goofy grins. Again, I didn’t take pictures but got a few from our Memory Maker.
Walking past the Tree of Life called for a quick family photo, minus Clementine and the big boys.
And then Chris wanted to get in one.
Another highly recommended attraction was the Kilimanjaro Safaris. Kinda crazy that this big ol’ animal habitat is right in the middle of Disney World… such a surprising departure from the other attractions.
When we were trying to plan our day, I hadn’t yet read the suggestions to go in the early morning when the animals are most active.
Thankfully, the weather was incredibly nice and most of the animals were out and doing their thing.
We had a blast on this and honestly would have loved to have had the time to turn around and done it again.
It was one ride that absolutely everyone loved, especially the moment when we came across a sweet mama elephant doing what all elephants have to do when they drink dozens of gallons of water a day.
Our driver made a silly remark about it (as I’m sure he has a thousand times because animals) and, well… we all cracked up. Because who can resist kindergarten humor.
It was over too soon but we had more fun stuff ahead.
Like the Festival of the Lion King.
This was another fun show – something we might have skipped if we hadn’t heard so many good things about it – and I’m so glad we went.
I think most of the kids enjoyed Finding Nemo a smidge more, but Clementine and the biggest boys were definitely Lion King fans.
Another view of the Tree of Life meant another photo opportunity, this time as the sun was getting low and the park was beginning to clear out a bit.
But we were just approaching the very best part of our entire day, and we didn’t even know it yet.
On our way to Expedition Everest, so I could get a chance to ride it, we passed one more opportunity for Clementine to add some signatures to her autograph book.
Enter Baloo and King Louie.
By this time Magnolia knew what was up and proceeded to run into King Louie’s arms. Clementine was a little more reserved with the really big monkey. I didn’t take any pictures of them meeting but got a few from our Memory Maker.
Finally… at Expedition Everest. And totally worth the effort to make it back for one more ride. Not just because it’s a super fun rollercoaster (and every single person in our family, besides Asher, that is old enough to ride them *loves* rollercoasters). But by the time we got there, the park had cleared out even more and, by the time we got off the ride, the wait time was only about 15 minutes.
This cycle continued and the wait time kept dropping. Eventually down to almost no wait at all. Thankfully Asher – who is not a fan of twisting rides – was happy to stay with the littlest two and fill them with snacks and drinks and lollipops ad nauseum. Because Disney.
As the sun went down we pulled out our stash of glow goodies and got ready to head for the exit. After just one more ride.
We got all sorts of hilarious Expedition Everest pictures on our Memory Maker, since we rode it so many times. In fact, these rollercoaster, hair-in-the-air, petrified-face pictures are the biggest reason we decided to do the Memory Maker.
Because pictures like these? Priceless.
Such an incredibly jam-packed, fun-filled day. Due much to the advice y’all shared about your favorite things to do at Animal Kingdom because there us so much fun to be had at this place. We didn’t get to do it all but we did a bunch.
And party due to the fact that it was on this day that I realized that Starbucks is regular-priced at Disney World – how did I not know this wonderful truth? Starbucks all around made for some very happy Animal Kingdom-ers.
Next up, Day 4: Sophie’s 13th birthday and a second chance to visit the Magic Kingdom…