Sunday, December 21, 2008

Disney Day 2

(I seem to have more self-discipline about getting a segment of these pictures loaded and on my blog each day than I do about unpacking our freaking suitcases. So far I'm only managing to curse their presence in the living room/foyer, and that doesn't seem to be getting them unpacked.)

Day Two we spent in the Animal Kingdom, which is the one park I had never been to before. The first section of the park is not really all that great. If I were doing it again, I'd skip it. There are some neat animals but nothing better than you'd see at a zoo, and you can go to a zoo a whole lot cheaper than Disney. There's my tip for the day: skip the front half of Animal Kingdom, and head for the continents.

Disney has more giant Christmas trees than one can even fathom. This one was at the Animal Kingdom entrance and was decorated entirely in an amazing animal motif:

Oh, an exception to the whole "skip the front part" advice: the "Tree of Life." It is a giant tree with hundreds of animals carved into the trunk. These were all taken in or on part of the tree:

There was a section of the park with all kinds of different drums that kids (or adults) could play.

This man is from the Congo and was playing a really cool instrument:

One highlight of Animal Kingdom was a really great petting zoo. (It's on Conservation Island or something like that, and it's the ONLY thing worth doing there. Pet the animals and get back on the train.) One thing that was cool about it was they had brushes available for kids to brush the animals rather than just walking around trying to touch them. They LOVED brushing the goats and sheep:

Another highlight was the face painting. In the past, when we've done "face painting," my kids have only ever had a little football or rainbow or something painted on their cheeks. They were willing to spend their own money (and more than a little of it!) to get these great elaborate face-paintings. (See my post from 2 days ago for close-ups of Joshua's and Lauren's faces.)

Ethan's reaction upon looking in the mirror:

Ethan's favorite ride (and one that was on pretty much everyone's top 10 list) was Khali River Rapids. I think David and the boys rode it 4 times. I rode it once and got completely drenched, so I opted out when they returned to it later in the day.

Lauren and Lane had fun playing together while we waiting for everyone else to come off of the rapids.

We ate a really great lunch at a restaurant called Tusker House in "Africa." It was an enormous buffet with all types of food to satisfy the most adventurous and the pickiest of eaters. I had to take a picture of my brother Ben's plate, because he definitely falls into the latter category. His idea of adventurous eating is to try a wheat roll instead of a white one. Imagine his surprise at learning that the tofu cubes and pearl cous-cous he put on his plate were not chicken and corn after all!

Me, David, and the kids on a bridge in Animal Kingdom:

As we were leaving when the park was closing, there was a giant block party going on at the front gate with entertainment by Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy.

We met quite a few characters at Animal Kingdom, so I've included just a few of them. You can watch the progression of Lauren's comfort level with them as she grew used to seeing them. (We went to Animal Kingdom 2 different times, hence the two outfits.)

This was as close as she would get to Rafiki:

Still not certain about Terk:

Getting comfortable with Timon:

Lovin' on Pluto:

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