We started off grabbing breakfast on the go at a petrol station, and I found possibly the greatest invention to hit breakfast EVER....Behold!
The Lucky Charms Bar!!
Now, for non-UK residents I have to point out why this is a MAJOR deal. Lucky Charms are practically contraband in the UK. They were banned from sale as a breakfast cereal because they were basically more sugar than cereal, and because supermarkets couldn't decide where to put them now they weren't allowed in the cereal aisle, everywhere stopped stocking them. Now you can only buy the small boxes from American sweet shops, for no less than £7.99 a box. Needless to say a number of these babies found their way into my suitcase before we left.
Anyway, Animal Kingdom...
We started off with a walk around the Oasis area. The Oasis is full of animals in their own habitats. It is a maze of little winding paths and caves and trees, with animal enclosures all around. It was really interesting and they had some really unusual animals, but for some reason I didn't take any photographs of them. I think I was still breaking in the camera and didn't want to "waste" my battery when we'd only just arrived! From The Oasis we headed over the bridge to Discovery Island.
The Tree of Life.
Aww! The King has arrived! :)
AK has Camp Minnie-Mickey, where you can meet the characters.
I tried to show Minnie my Minniecure, but it's tricker than you think to go past basic greetings. :S I don't think she noticed in any park!
Ch-Ch-Ch-Chip 'n' Dale!! Or rather, Dale (can't tell them apart? Dale has a red nose and two seperate teeth, Chip has a black nose, and his teeth are together in front). We spotted him on the way out of Camp Minnie-Mickey with not much of a queue.
We didn't actually do ANY of the rides at AK (OK, so there aren't many really, and Expedition Everest is the only biggie), but we did fit in all of the shows, starting with Festival of the Lion King.
I loved Festival of the Lion King. Universal was awesome, Islands of Adventure was amazing, but only Disney consistantly takes your breath away. I've seen the stage show of The Lion King, and this was better, even though it was only 30mins long.
By the time we got out of FOTLK it was time for lunch. Usually in the parks we just ate wherever was closest, but we seemed to be quite a way from all the food places. During the wander we spotted a massive queue for....
Pocahontas! Yup, we had to get a photograph of John, a Disney Princess...and Pocahontas. ;) I loved how interested all of the "face" characters we met were, it must be easy if you're a costume character, but if you actually have to communicate with guests it must get tricky. Pocahontas was impressed that I had brought my Chief with me. :)
We ate at Flame Tree BBQ (I know, BBQ again...John swears that there were only 2 days on our trip that I didn't eat BBQ food, and I made up for one of those by eating it twice on a different day). The pulled pork sandwich was delicious, and this was our wonderful view from the lakeside picnic area in "Asia". The actual picnica area is lovely, lots of little covered areas with tables and chairs, and condiment stands, all set in Asian-themed huts and pathways.
After lunch we wandered some of the little shops and stalls, and we actually got stuck in the parade crowd whilst trying to find somewhere selling drinks (did I mention the sunstroke? Well this would be a primary reason...no fluids and watching a parade in full sun! :S), so we decided to stop and watch.
Mickey's Jammin' Jungle Parade.
The "animals" in MJJP were so cool, they reminded me of the animals in Lion King Broadway, but on a larger scale. So clever, and such beautiful designs. If you have time look at the larger versions of the photographs to see the detail.
Man Mouse himself!
In the afternoon we went to the Finding Nemo stage show. The set for the show is super-cute, the stage arch is made up of bubbles, and after a while the bubbles start shining with water patterns...then every few minutes you can spot Nemo swimming from one to another. :D Awesome. The actual show is a mixture of puppets and dancers, and I found that after a while I didn't notice the dancers, just the fishies!
One thing I have to say is that next time, to get a TON more done, we might just have to not go into every single shop. I'm going to make a wild guestimation here, and say that on the whole Disney parks have more shops than rides. Every big ride has a shop, and then there are tons of other shops as well. We did ALL the shops. Literally, every one. Someone told me that each shop has items that you won't find in any other shop, and because I had to see EVERYTHING, well we had to look in every single shop. In a lot of cases I'm very glad we did. :) The great thing about Disney shopping is that it's not like other shops. You cane take photographs, and they don't care. You are encouraged to try things on and take pictures with them, and you can play with the wands/swords and other toys.
One thing I found in AK that I never saw again anywhere else were these adorable hats:
Chip ♥ Dale!
Once I'd been forcibly dragged from the hat shop, we headed to find more shade. Under/inside the Tree of Life is the Bug's Life theatre. "It's Tough To Be A Bug!" is another awesome "4D" show. They say "4D", but it's more than that, there are smells, breezes, and a few other buggy surprises along the way as well! This wasn't my favourite show, I'm not overly keen on spiders and, well, bugs, so it wasn't my favourite subject matter, but I loved how it was done!
We wandered the nature trails for a while after we'd returned our "bug-eye" specs. I was hoping to happen across DeVine, but we didn't see her. :( I'd also read that Thumper and Miss Bunny were sometimes out and about in AK, but we never found them. :( However, we did find...
POOH!! :D Winnie the Pooh is easily one of my very favourite Disney characters (along with Thumper, and Marie from the Aristocats)...And I got to see him twice in one holiday! I also managed to sneak another Winnie the Pooh into the case for my collection, from the gift shop at his ride in MK.
The photographs taper off after that point, I was already starting to feel a little unwell, so we just spent the last hour or so wandering around looking at the shops and scenery.
The Tree Of Life. I wish I'd walked all the way around and taken more photographs, but the sunstroke was already taking hold at this point! Each of the leaves was fixed on by hand, it really is fantastic.
Stunning carvings. Studying The Tree Of Life is definitely on the Disney Bucket List.
Compared to the other parks, Animal Kingdom closes REALLY early, at 7pm. We decided to head to Downtown Disney for something to eat, probably T-Rex. We finally found the Walmart that we had been looking for since we arrived, and stocked up on drinks. Vital tip for later, people: If you feel ill, don't drink vile coloured Gatorade. In fact, don't drink Gatorade at all because it's pretty vile. Stick with water. It's much less...er...luminous, should you have to see it in reverse.
Anyway, needless to say we did NOT go out for dinner at T-Rex, in fact we drove once around the DTD car park and then I insisted on going back to the hotel, which ended up being rather a smart move. :( The sun and I do not mix!