plan ahead

Disney World Resort Recap Day 1 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the largest of the theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.  The park is built around The Tree of Life, a massive 14-story artificial tree sculpted with animals 360 degrees around the trunk and branches.  It’s split into 7 themed areas that are all incredible.  There is so much to see and so much going on all day, it’s difficult to visit the entire park in one day.  As with most things Disney, they take everything little detail into consideration to captivate the audience and keep everyone safe – not an easy thing to do when your target audience consists of little people who have commercial break attention spans.  Aside from all the animals you see everywhere in large simulated habitats, there is also a safari-type trek where the animals are in spacious grassy and drylands.  There is a DinoLand with roller coasters and rides, games and food that you’d find at a carnival.  There are air-conditioned museum displays, petting zoos, train rides, musicals and elaborately done stage performances and plays that were absolutely amazing.  The Disney characters were in a designated area taking pictures with everyone and a Lion King parade that didn’t disappoint.  There is a passport book that kids can pick up and participate in brief educational activities to earn stamps in their books.  The staff are all very friendly and helpful and other than being tired from taking the red-eye flight in, we had nothing to complain about.  Since they are animals that need rest, the park closes fairly early in the evening, which was just fine with us and our tired feet.

Even though our spring break was short, we made it a point to go back a 2nd day to finish up what we weren’t able to see on the first day.  It was well worth it that day, too.  It was hot so we took our time, kept the mochis watered and fed, and enjoyed ourselves at Disney World immensely.  It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a really good idea to either go to the website, airport or hotel information center and pick up the brochure for each park you plan to visit.  That way you can plan your day and hop from land to land taking in all the available shows and exhibits.  For instance, we planned the safari and train rides where you sit for longer periods of time in the afternoons when the mochis were more likely to be tired of walking.  During the mid-day blazing sun hours, we trekked to the air conditioned exhibits.  And at the end of the day when Baby Mochi could nap, we went to see the musical shows that she would probably be a little bored sitting through.  She ended up sleeping through the Lion King show and tht’s when I took Big Mochi to DinoLand where the roller coasters and rides for kids who meet the height and crazy bravery requirement.  We strategically avoided a melt-down when Baby Mochi woke up whiny and tired by excitedly announcing that it was time to see Minnie Mouse, as Baby Mochi is Minnie’s ultimate fan.   So do it the Disney way: Plan ahead and take every little detail into consideration when you can.

Part III – Packing for your theme park activity

G carried the backpack with everything in it.  We had packed cameras, spare batteries and memory cards, phones, room keys, tickets, and jackets.  We were wearing our sunscreen and hats.  Big Mochi carried a small backpack with a couple of capri suns, their gameboys, and any assortment of the following: fruit rollups, fruit snacks, crackers, fruit cups, applesauce, bananas, apples, grapes, chex mix or granola bars. These are all great snacks that can be eaten at room temperature and don’t melt.  It also offers a sense of independence and lightens G’s load a bit.  If she insisted on buying a souvenir or gift early in the day, she was also responsible for lugging it around instead of picking it up on our way out.  We packed our homemade lunches when we could.  That let us avoid high prices and long lines during the lunch rush.  I’ve heard of people half-freezing their water bottles so it would stay cool for extended periods of time.  I preferred to just bring reusable bottles to fill up at water fountains and I’ve never been turned down when asking for free ice at any place that serves drinks.  We did have a couple of dasani water bottles on hand just in case no fountains were available nearby.  That saved us from spending outrageous prices for bottled water at kiosks or carts. 

For the most part, wherever you go, always pack the basics: drinks, snacks, meals if possible, and be smart about it.  If  you pack chocolate bars, it’s bound to get smooshed in your bag or melt… not to mention the 2:00 meltdown if there was no place to nap.  Cameras, phones and extra batteries and memory.  Just allow time to think about how the day might go.  Think about the weather and your meals.  The key is to plan ahead.  A lot of the times it’s easier said than done, but if you can implement just a few things that will save some money and time, it will be well worth it!  One less thing to worry about means more time spent enjoying the moment.  And that, my friend, is priceless.

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