FINALLY! My conference was over, so we all made it to rope drop at Disney’s Animal Kingdom together. Last year when we were at DAK, Jonathan was totally absorbed by the scenery and atmosphere of the park, but he refused to ride any rides. This time, he was game for anything! If you’re wondering what the weather was like, just look again at that photo from the welcome show. It was hot and muggy – so much so that it took a good half-hour for the fog to clear out of my camera.

We started with the dash to Expedition Everest (though the crowd level was so low, the dash probably wasn’t necessary). I grabbed FastPasses and then Mikaela, Jon and I rode Everest together (Miriam’s back was bothering her, so she took a pass). Mikaela loved it as much as she did last year. After the ride, Jon said he didn’t like it so much and didn’t want to do it again, so it was just Mikaela and I using FastPasses to re-ride. He and I talked about it again later, and I realize now that if I could have gotten him to ride it a second time, he would likely have enjoyed it. He definitely liked Big Thunder Mountain better the second time he rode it, explaining to me that he liked it better when he knew what to expect.

After Everest, we headed to Africa for Killimanjaro Safari. We got some really nice views of both the black and white rhinos, giraffes, and wildebeests especially. And Jonathan was intrigued by the Thompson’s gazelles, the ones with the “racing stripe.” Then, on the way from the Safari back toward Kali River Rapids, we stumbled across DeVine. Both kids thought she was really cool. Her costume is amazing, but it’s the CM who really makes DeVine special. It’s not just the ability to walk around with stilts on her hands and feet. But rather, her very movement is vine-like. When she dips her head to hide her face, she is indistinguishable from an actual vine, except that she moves faster than a vine would grow.

When we got to Kali River Rapids, the line was moving rapidly and we all decided to ride. We rode once, and got pretty wet. As we were exiting, Mikaela commented that she wished we had gotten wetter. We happened to be walking past the point at which the FastPass line and Standby lines merge, and we got a little CM pixie dust. The CM at the crossover opened the queue and invited us to circle back into line. So we rode Kali River Rapids a second time, and got REALLY soaked (as you can see in the picture). Being that wet actually felt really good in that weather. With an occasional slight breeze, it was like our own personal air conditioning.

At this point we moved on to Dinoland U.S.A. Each kid has a favorite here. Jonathan and Miriam rode Triceratops Spin while Mikaela rode Primeval Hurl (um, Whirl, right, WHIRL) solo. I relaxed in the shade on a bench in between the two ride. 🙂 There was one more attraction left on our AKL must-do list, and that was Dinosaur! We’d skipped it last year. Mikaela generally dislikes rides where you’re being “chased,” and Jon wasn’t riding anything last year. But Jon LOVES dinosaurs, and Mikaela was sure she was ready for it this time, so we all road Dinosaur! together. I know this attraction has more than it’s share of haters, but we all loved it. The audio-animatronics are fantastic, and the storyline is fun. After we got off the attraction, I asked Jon what he thought of it. His response? “Well, it’s a good thing I’m still alive.” Yes Jonathan, yes it is.

After Dinosaur, we enjoyed lunch at Flame Tree BBQ (another terrific counter-service meal) before heading back to the Resort to rest up for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

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