For the last year or two we’ve discussed the right time to make our first visit to Disney World. To be completely honest, your mother and I really thought about just making a trip by ourselves. We’re still kids at heart. When the opportunity presented itself we asked friends and co-workers about their experiences with taking their kids to Disney and at what age it really gets memorable for you. We had a lot of people recommend 6 years old as the minimum to get the most out of the park.
The opportunity presented itself to make our travel plans through Orlando on our way to Mumbai, so we decided to go for it and a couple days at Disney. We chose the Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom for our maiden voyage and stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Your mother and I have memories of visiting Animal Kingdom during our trip with or high school chorus, and knew that it would be a great place to start. We booked a room at the Animal Kingdom Lodge to simplify the transportation concerns, which turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
The Animal Kingdom Lodge was amazing. The room was just large enough to fit us all, plus all our luggage, but we weren’t there long enough to have it be a problem. Overall we didn’t spend much time at the Lodge, but the lodge was clean, safe, room service was great, and the pool was huge. Overall the grounds were awesome, and the pool had a slide…enough said.
Animal Kingdom Park
We planned the Animal Kingdom Park for Day 1, Saturday. The weather really cooperated for the day and it only rained when we were inside seeing shows. The day started out with breakfast at Tuskers Restaurant in Africa, where they have the most amazing fruit juice. Some kind of mango, pineapple, orange potion…amazing. We learned after arriving that Donald, Goofy, and Daisy would be joining us for breakfast which everyone was very excited for (ok, you mom knew this ahead of time, she planned all the events, but it was news to me). They arrived one after the other and you all were really excited…until they showed up at our table. You’ll notice that the below photos only have Johnathon in them. Yeah, he was the only one not crying when they showed up. I guess we’ll try again next time.
After breakfast we walked around Africa and made a pit stop over to see the hippos, painted dogs, and monkeys. Along the way we found out that Madelyn was infatuated with fish. The glass wall in the below photo was so mesmerizing we struggled getting her away.
Our first scheduled event for the day was the Lion King show. The show was a live performance with singing, dancing, and acrobats. I think everyone enjoyed themselves….except Madelyn….she fell asleep during the show.
The next scheduled event for the day was a Jungle Safari. I need to say Fast Passes are amazing! We saw all sorts of Safari animals, and even got stopped for 5 minutes to have a staring contest with a young Giraffe.
The last event for the day was the Pandora River Cruise. It’s no surprise that this one was more for us than it was for you kids, but I think everyone had a good time with the lights and animatronics.
To round out the day we made our way past the Tree of Life and spent time searching and finding all sorts of animals hidden in the trunk. The tree was amazing, and way ahead of it’s time….just ask your mother.
The weather on day two did not cooperate. It pretty much rained the entire day, but we didn’t let it stop us – until about 4pm. Breakfast started at Be Our Guest. The food was great and there was no crying. It was an awesome start to the day.
On our way to breakfast we passed the Dwarf Mine Train, a large roller coaster that did look like a lot of fun. This pretty much ruined you boys by setting the bar for rides. We had already scheduled our Fast Pass tickets to other rides so if we wanted to ride we would have to wait, 😫. We did decide to see how long the wait was so that Johnathon and Dad could ride it, but even before the doors opened the line was 60 minutes. This was going to be a problem for a 6 year old, and likely the 33yr old too.
The rides we did get to go on were more for rthe entire group. We saw Peter Pans Flight, the Monsters Laugh Floor, the Little Mermaid, and Winnie the Pooh, . The rides were great, but photos didn’t turn out with the majority of them being in the dark. On a side note, the rain drove a lot of people away from the park that day so we were able to see other shows without the need for a Fast Pass.
After experiencing all the rides, we road the train to Tony’s, an Italian restaurant near the entrance where we had reservations to have lunch and get VIP seating for the fantasy parade. The lunch was amazing and as you can see below, my desert was a hit.
After lunch, we made our way across the street to the reserved area to watch the parade. The location was amazing and from it we saw all the floats come at us and got some great photos. The kids even got some high fives, hugs, and smiles from the cast members. Lucky for us the only time it didn’t rain that day was shortly before, during, and shortly after the parade.
After the parade the rain started again. As a result, the wait times for the popular attractions dropped to a more manageable time so we made our way back to the race track only to find that everyone else had the same idea. Shortly after that, we found ourselves in the heaviest rain of the day, we were soaked. We decided to make our way back to the lodge to enjoy a dry dinner.
Overall the trip was amazing and we had the best time with you kids. Watching you enjoy the surprises and rides was worth the detour in our trip…at least in hindsight. 😊
Mom & Dad