I forgot to mention yesterday that when we returned to our villa, there was a GKTW duffle bag waiting for Ashleigh.
Today we had donuts and milk in our villa and headed out early for Animal Kingdom. We wore swimsuits anticipating a water ride before we left. We started with a train ride where you can see some of the behind the scenes things like the cages where the animals are kept at night (it takes 2.5 hours to call all the animals in). They dropped us off at the convervation center where they show kids all about taking care of animals and preserving our environment. You can watch the vet operate on animals. Today there was a bird who was getting an exam and checkup. They put a little mask on him with anethesia, and were going to draw blood and check him out before releasing him again. They had some of their more famous xrays on display including a snake who was found on the golf course. He swallowed a golf ball, but couldn't digest it. The vet mentioned that some of their diving birds (birds that dive in water for food) are hard to get to sleep because they are capable of holding their breath, and when the anethesia is given to them, they will just hold their breath instead of breathing it! The girls got to pet some goats at the petting zoo. Ashleigh met Jiminy Cricket in this exhibit.
We got a snack and decided to take the kids to see the Lion King performance. They were wanting to ride something, but we were hoping that with Ashleigh's GKTW button, we would have a different experience than last time. We sat on the first row, and Ashleigh was taken around to teach the audience the hand movements for the Hakuna Matata (sp?) song during the show. Then both girls got to participate in the show. Several actors would come by and growl at us, and one particular monkey actor would stop and pick "fleas" out of the girls hair. He motioned for me to take his picture, and stuck his tongue out at Ali during his performance. (see him on the right). It was another AWESOME performance, and a neat experience from the front row.
Off to ride a new ride called Expedition everest. This is a roller coaster that stops and goes backwards for some of the ride. Ali went on it, not really knowing what she was getting into. I'm not sure if she would ride it again, but it still doesn't compare to yesterday's Kraken. We then got into the line for the water ride, much like Astroworld's thunder river. It was a nice cool down since it was so hot and muggy today (and no rain in sight!). We stopped for an Animal Kingdom pin in the gift shop, and headed out to the car to go over to Magic Kingdom.
After putting on some dry clothes, getting caught in the 3pm parade on main street, we finally got some lunch. I'm afraid I was pretty grumpy at this time. We found a nice burger place that was cool and also served iced tea (we don't find tea at a lot of places), and I got back to my usual cheery self (haha). I think we are all tired from the fun, as the girls were bickering a little more than usual today as well.
Refreshed from some food, we headed over to the one ride we had hoped Ashleigh would be tall enough for, the speedway! She is now tall enough to DRIVE the race cars. Both girls need some driving lessons, however, because Alex and I were bounced from side to side as they kept trying to jump into another lane. I'm glad they have to wait till they are 16!
We headed over to AdventureLand so Ashleigh could ride Aladdin's Magic Carpets. Then the silly boat cruise and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride. Another round of the Magic Carpets and we decided to take a break from the heat in the new Wish Lounge. This is an air conditioned area specially designated for Wish kids to rest and cool down. Alex and I reviewed the map and decided it was time to head back to GKTW. They were showing a movie at 7pm, and Ashleigh has been asking to see a movie since we got here. On our way out of the park, we saw Chip and Dale. When Ashleigh went up to see them, and they saw her GKTW button, they gave her some special attention. They did a little dance and twirled Ashleigh, and gave her special kisses. Alex got some great photos.
We barely made the movie! One thing we liked about our last trip (2004) was that we stayed in one of the Disney resorts, and travel to and from the parks was simpler. We have a rental car (a cool SUV) so we are comfortable as we go back and forth, but the large parking lots are a hassle. By the way the license plates on this SUV are from NEW YORK! Get a rope!
Alex and I snuck over to the Gingerbread House for supper while the girls were watching the movie. When we went back, Ali wanted to get out of there, so Alex stayed with Ashleigh, and I took Ali back to the villa and ordered a pizza. When I returned to the movie with my camera, Alex and Ashleigh had left the movie and joined the Princess and Pirate party that was outside. They gave Ashleigh a makeover, some princess gifts, and there was a presentation of the princesses and pirates on stage. Shamu and Dolly the Dolphin came to join in the fun as well. When we returned to the villa, there were more DVD's for the girls and two animal hats.
Then at 9:30 a special treat (that's why I'm posting this so late). A tuck-in from Mayor Clayton's wife, Merry. She came to our villa in her pajamas, hugged Ashleigh, gave her an autographed photo, and tucked her into bed for the night! It was so sweet, and Ashleigh wasn't quite sure what to do with all the attention! These are the kinds of things they do to make this a once in a lifetime experience.
Tomorrow we plan on spending all day at Magic Kingdom, including the late night parade and fireworks. I will probably be posting tomorrow's events on Sunday. We are kind of bummed, because today marks our halfway point. While we are enjoying each day and taking our time to let Ashleigh enjoy herself, it is still going to fast!