Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Our Disney World Vacation--Day 5

Thursday, September 18
Animal Kingdom in the morning, Downtown Disney in the afternoon

This was our last day at Disney World. We actually checked out of the Wilderness Lodge this morning and then checked back into the Doubletree hotel later in the day, again staying free with points. Packing up and moving isn't much fun, and I wouldn't have done it just to move to a cheaper hotel, but since the other hotel was free and still a very nice hotel, it was worth it.

We got up and moving pretty early. Chris pulled the minivan up to the front of the hotel, and I called bell services to come and get all of our stuff and load it up for us. Since we'd paid with a credit card, I didn't have to actually do anything to check out, so we went to the bus stop and got on a bus for Animal Kingdom.

We hadn't actually planned on visiting Animal Kingdom this time. It's our least favorite park, and with such a short trip, we didn't want to overplan. Our plan for the last day was to go to whichever park we felt we hadn't had enough time in. But we really had time to ride everything we wanted to ride at least once, and we rode most of our favorites more than once, so there wasn't anything we felt that we had to go do again. Plus, I had gotten the movie A Bug's Life for the boys for Tigger's birthday in August. They love that movie, so we thought that it would be fun for them to see the It's Tough to be a Bug 3D movie at Animal Kingdom.

We got to Animal Kingdom around 9:00. We didn't see the rope drop ceremony, but we were there right after it. I hadn't printed out Tour Guide Mike's intenerary for this park, but I knew which rides have the longest lines, so we headed straight back for Kilimanjaro Safaris. There was a 20 minute wait, so we got FastPasses and then went on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail. It's a trail that takes about 15-20 minutes to walk. Along it, you can see several different types of animals native to Africa. They all seemed to be wide awake in the cooler morning hours, so we got see them being pretty active. We all enjoyed the meerkat exhibit, and then we were amazed by how many gorillas we saw walking around. Usually you have to try really hard to see gorillas because they hide and spend most of their time lying low, but we saw a lot of them up close and moving around right next to the glass wall.

Once we were done, it was time to use our FastPasses, so we went back to Kilimanjaro Safaris. This is a really great ride. You get into a really big vehicle that looks like a Jeep but holds about 20-30 people. It's open on both sides, and you drive through what's supposed to look like one of the wildlife preserves in Africa. We saw a lot of animals right up close to our vehicle. The giraffes were eating leaves right alongside the road, and we saw a lot of hippos, rhinos, and elephants, too.

Next we went to Kali River Rapids. It's one of those raft rides where you bounce around on a big raft that seats about 10 people. I rode with the big boys because Roo isn't tall enough. We got a little wet, but some boys sitting on the opposite side of the raft got soaked. Tigger had been a little hesitant about riding this ride, but he ended up loving it. When we got off, he was telling me, "That was so cool! That ride was awesome!" (Where does he learn that stuff?)

By this time, we were starving. I could have had a half chicken at Flame Tree BBQ, but I decided to branch out and have pizza instead. We ate at Pizzafari. We didn't have any more meal credits left from our Dining Plan, so this was the first meal we paid for out of pocket since checking into the Wilderness Lodge on Sunday morning. (I didn't mention it in the posts, but we ate breakfast with food that we brought from home each morning.) Since we were paying with our own money, Piglet got to order pizza. I had pizza, too. Tigger had spaghetti and meatballs from the kids' menu. Chris had breadsticks. He'd eaten an egg roll while he waited for us to ride Kali River Rapids.

The only other thing we really wanted to do at Animal Kingdom was to see It's Tough to be a Bug, so we did that next. That's a really funny 3D movie. You smell a stink bug, get stung in the back by hornets, and feel roaches running under your seat. Piglet didn't put his 3D glasses on the whole time. I guess the movie was intense enough for him without them. Tigger loves 3D effects, though. I love watching him trying to grab the stuff in front of his face each time we watch a 3D movie.

We were done at this point. There were a few other things we could have done at Animal Kingdom, but we were tired and hot, and we decided just to leave before someone had a meltdown. We rode the bus back to the Wilderness Lodge and then got in the minivan and drove back to the Doubletree.

Our room at the Doubletree wasn't ready yet, so we went to Downtown Disney to do a little shopping. I got a call after we'd been there a few minutes saying our room was ready, but we decided that we might as well finish up before we got back in the car and went back to the hotel because we didn't want to go out again. We looked around a bit, took a few pictures, and ate at Wolfgang Puck Express again before we left. I know that Piglet and I had cheese pizzas. I think Tigger had macaroni and cheese again. I don't know what Chris had. This restaurant costs a bit more than the other counter service restaurants, so it would have been wise to have paid cash earlier in the week at a cheap meal and then saved a credit for this restaurant, but we didn't. Any time you do that, you take a chance that you won't need as many meals as you're planning on and can end up not being able to use all of your credits, so it's a gamble. It was only about 3:00 when we ate, but we just wanted to eat so that we wouldn't have to go out again later. We still had some food that we had packed, so we gave the boys some fruit and crackers in the room later.

We still had snack coupons from exchanging a full service meal for a counter service meal, so we finished up using those. Chris got some yummy baked goods for that evening and the drive home at Goofy's candy store. The boys and I didn't go in there because it's nut-covered allergy nightmare, but it's a really neat place for families without food allergies. They have pretzel rods you can dip into chocolate and all kinds of nuts and sprinkles to make your own creations. Chris just spent a few minutes in there and came out reporting that it was a candy dream. Right as we were leaving, we used the rest of our snack coupons to get an Itzakadoozie for each of the big boys and a frozen raspberry lemonade for me. We had a mini fridge with a freezer in our room, so we saved them for later that evening.

We also took a few fun pictures with the figurines at Downtown Disney.

Once back at the Doubletree, we went down to the pool and let the boys splash around a bit. The pool wasn't nearly as themed as the one at the Wilderness Lodge, but the kiddie pool was cute and empty, so they had fun.

You can see Baby Roo's feet in his stroller in the background. He slept through the time at the pool, which was fine. Pools make him break out in hives anyway, and I would have had to get wet if he had gotten in.

I don't really remember what we did the rest of the evening. I must have been really tired. I think the boys took a late nap and still ended up sleeping well that night. We were all pretty exhausted. It was a lot of fun, but we were worn out.

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