Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Florida - Day 5 - Double Duty

Saturday was planned as Animal Kingdom day, and we knew that portion would end early because the park closed at 6pm.  We figured we could get a head start on EPCOT, if nothing else, since that tends to be our favorite park.  We woke up to yet another hot, steamy day, and headed out as early as we could...which still wasn't that early.  We tended to sleep in a lot on this trip--well, relative to what we do on work days and as best we could with two kids.  Usually one or the other was up by about 7:30 at the latest.  I neglected to mention that our sleeping arrangements were a king-sized bed and the pack and play in the bedroom, and a pull out chair and couch in the living room.  In theory Jacob would sleep in one of the pullouts and we'd share the bed, but some nights Jacob freaked out about being alone so Craig slept next to him--half on an ottoman--because he never bothered to figure out the pull-out couch and it was a hassle to move him into the bed.  That, and Jacob never wanted to sleep anywhere near me.  Ugh.  We made it through, though, and Craig and I even got some time together in the king-sized bed. 

Anyway...Animal Kingdom.  There's not a whole lot to Animal Kingdom.  Well, not really...there's a lot there if you're into the various activities, but honestly, we've never been into most of it.  We skip most of the shows.  I pretty much figured we'd do the safari, walk through some animal exhibits, and I'd hit up Expedition Everest (another pregnancy no-no).  And that's pretty much how it played out.

We saw some parrots first thing...
 ...and wandered through Africa to pick up a Fast Pass for the Kilimanjaro Safari, for after lunch.  We decided that morning to attempt the gluten-free diet for the day, just because Jacob's behavior was getting challenging and we needed to maintain our sanity, as well.  I did a little research and determined that a pizza place in the park would be a good option.  We were obviously new at this thing, but just like all of the online postings said, a chef came out to chat about our options, took the order, and that was that.  The boys had gluten-free pizzas and gluten-free desserts.  Not quite the same as my gluten-filled meal, but it looked good nonetheless. 

After lunch we went to the safari.  We saw a lot of animals, and even though I thought that would be one of the cooler things for Jacob that day, he managed to fall asleep in the middle of it.  Must have been the bumpy truck ride.  It's a little hard to get pictures from a moving truck on a bumpy road, but I did what I could...
Giraffes...including a baby!

Elephants...and another baby!

Addaxes...love those horns!
 We saw plenty of other animals, too...hippos, crocodiles, zebras, rhinos, ostriches, pelicans, monkeys, birds, etc., but those were the best pictures I could get. 

By the time we were off that ride, Jacob was extra brutal--hard to wake up, perpetually tired, and cranky.  Still, we managed to see more animals, play some drums...

...see a leaf man...
That is a real guy on stilts!
 ...and catch a couple great glimpses of the Tree of Life in the center of the park...

On one of the walk-through exhibits, I caught this picture of a komodo dragon sticking out its tongue!

Eventually it was time to head to Expedition Everest!

The wait was very short, thank goodness, and it was a great ride.  It was fun, had some unexpected surprises, and provided a nice breeze on a very hot day.  A long awaited ride, for sure.  That was the one whose screams elicited a Pavlovian response from me the last time we were here.  I desperately wanted to ride!

It was honestly hard to enjoy much of anything that day because Jacob was so needy and Craig was hot and tired.  Carter and I weren't much better, but it was definitely a challenge to spend much time admiring the animals or waiting for anything.  Still, we had a refreshing frozen lemonade snack when we made it to Dinoland U.S.A., and Jacob seemed to perk up a bit.  I got to go on another ride I missed out on last time--Primeval Whirl, a spinning wild mouse coaster--which was OK.  Not as exciting as I'd hoped, but nice to check another off the list...

Happily, after that Jacob decided he wanted to go on a ride with me.  This one was much like Dumbo, just with triceratops cars instead. 

He loved it, thankfully, and we had a few pleasant moments of fun without him hitting or being extra obnoxious.  Afterward we walked to an area with a dinosaur to climb on, and Jacob made friends with a little girl who was playing, too.  It was cute to watch.  He had a blast climbing, and not only did I get this nice picture of the boys...

...but Craig got in on the fun and requested this shot...
The dinosaur ate his head!
 We headed out of the park a little before closing time, and hopped on a bus directly to EPCOT.  As I said, it's our favorite park, and we decided to get some of the World Showcase done, to lessen the load for Monday's return trip (and good thing, since Monday was a bit of a washout).

I love how you're greeted by Spaceship Earth immediately upon entering.  It's just a cool symbol, you know?

We headed over to Canada, mostly because we knew we wanted to do some shopping there (based on past experience)...

And we passed by Japan and France along the walk, and checked out the U.K. as well. 
United Kingdom just looks so quaint!
We ended up eating dinner at the American pavilion, where I had read the restaurant was good for gluten-free options.  Sure enough, it was.  We had a great meal there before heading back toward the front of the park for Illuminations, their night show.  When we got near to where we wanted to be, we killed some time in the stores.  I couldn't resist taking this shot...

We headed back out for the show, which was pretty cool.  It was a combination of lasers, fireworks, and images projected on a giant globe in the middle of the lake.  It was hard to capture a picture, but this was one of the cooler ones...

Jacob wasn't really a fan of the fireworks, but Carter--despite a couple iffy moments--took it like a champ.  We headed our amidst the throngs of people leaving at closing time, and I snapped this shot on the way out...

It was a late night, but it was nice to get so much done in one day, and know there was no pressure to stay late on Monday.  Late nights are a calculated risk, but this one panned out as much as any could on this trip, I suppose.  The next day was an "off" day again, so we figured any fallout could be dealt with reasonably well.  Questionable, I suppose, but as always...we managed.  Stay tuned for the recap...

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