First Full Day ~~ Animal Kingdom and MGM

It's always hard for those of us on the west coast time to get up and running early on the east coast time. Every year we try to force ourselves out of bed to get to the parks as close to opening as possible but it just doesn't happen. Especially with the little kids. If you wake them too early you'll just end up with a bunch of grumpy bunnies.

This morning we got up at 8 AM Florida which is 5 AM our time. We got out the door and to the bus but not all of us were awake and happy about it.

Smile Katherine!

I guess not.....

The running theme of the trip began right away when it started to pour rain as soon as we got off the bus.
Thankfully I brought ponchos for everyone.
Ponchos in general are a mixed blessing because although they keep you dry, you feel like you are in a sauna while you have them on.
As it turned out, the dollar store ponchos everyone tells you to buy to save money felt like we were wearing saran warp and they ripped and tore and never lasted more than one wearing (if that).
I definitely will NOT use these again.
I bit the bullet and purchased Disney ponchos for everyone since there was heavy rain forecast for the entire week due to Tropical Storm Faye.
The one perk of Disney ponchos is that if the kids tore them (which they did several times, usually at the neck) any place that sold them would replace them for free.

Here are Bri &Alex modeling the cheapo ponchos:

A least the rain kept the temperatures down which was very nice.

Our first ride in the park was Dinosaur which was a great way to stay dry. Then everyone except me and Jeffrey (he was too short) rode Primeval Whirl. He and I shopped in the stores and I got him a caramel apple that he ate while we sat on bench out of the rain. It was nice to just be here and taking in the all the sights, sounds and tastes.

Our first sit down lunch was at the Tusker House for an African themed buffet. We arrived 20 minutes early and didn't have to wait very long before we were seated. I cannot tell you how much I love this place.

Here Jeffrey gets a little love from Bri as we wait to be called:

 Erin & Alex before we ate:

And a couple of pictures of the buffet area.
Not very crowded!

After we stuffed ourselves to bursting we headed towards Expedition Everest and our first Fastpass ride of the trip. I had been dreading this for months. I kept telling myself I was going to go on the ride and not be scared (who was I kidding?). The closer we got, the more my stomach hurt. Before I knew it, I had all but stopped walking, my eyes were welling up and I was trying to tell everyone that I had changed my mind about going.

Everyone completely ignored me and kept bee-lining right for the Mountain. Mom? Mom who?

Before I knew it they were heading down the fastpass lane and dragging me with them. I literally had tears dripping down my cheeks. Finally Emily noticed me, but all she did was give me a hug, tell me it was going to be OK and kept herding me along. There was no line at all and I was caught up in the middle of the family parade and until suddenly found myself pushed into a seat and buckled into the ride. I somehow ended up next to Jeffrey. I don't think anyone else wanted to ride with me.

My heart was beating out of my chest but I was trying to keep it together so Jeffrey didn't freak out. Em and Bri were in front of me and kept turning around to check that I wasn't trying to escape. As soon as we left the station Jeffrey said "It's OK mommy, this will be fun."  I guess I realized at this point there was no turning back so I took a deep breath and tried to relax.

Overall the ride was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it still gave my stomach a good lurch during the backwards part. The huge drop was not too bad either because it was over before you realized you were dropping.

Here's the picture of us as we about to drop. The front row is ecstatic, Jeffrey looks stunned, and back row is lovin' every minute. Erin and Katherine were in the car behind us.

I was SO incredibly happy that I survived.

Next we went on the safari and because it was so cool and overcast there were lots of animals out.

Here is an artsy picture I took of Katherine reflected in the drivers rear view mirror:

We walked the Pangini trail next and that was pleasantly cool and beautiful.

This first picture is in the building that you have to go through with all the small caged animals:

Em's favorite animal is the hippo, so of course we had to take a picture of her here:

NO Bri don't do it!!

Even the gorillas thought it was cool enough to be out and about:

By now Jeffrey's legs were giving out so we headed back to the room for a rest.

Its had been a fun first day so far.

Tonight we are going to go to Hollywood Studios so Jeffrey can ride Tower of Terror (which he had been talking about forever) and then get some dinner.

After we all rested and changed clothes we headed to DHS (NO NO NO MGM).

On the way over Alex was telling Bri all the interesting facts he knew about the bus service. Jeff said Alex needed to start his own "Bus information hotline" where he could impart all sorts of trivia on the Disney bus system. (Alex loves to talk endlessly about stuff like this). Everyone was laughing and Alex said "My service is now out of business". Everyone laughed even harder.

When we got there, we split up. Jeff, Em, Bri, Alex, Katherine and Jeffrey went straight to Tower of Terror. Erin and I passed on the ride and headed to soak up some AC in the gift shops then went and waited for them in the TOT basement and watched the groups of people come out and view their "terrifying" pictures. Jeffrey had never ridden this before and when he got off he kept saying "I was floating".

We ate at the ABC Commissary for dinner where they took FOREVER to get us our order and then got it wrong but we ended up with a free burger so it worked out.

Then off to The Great Movie Ride and Star Tours. We walked around the New York backlot streets and there wasn't a soul there. It was like they closed the park and it was just us. It was really cool.

We passed Toy Story Mania and the wait was posted at an hour but we figured what the heck and got in line. We waited for about 40 minutes before we got on and it was SO much fun. This was the first time any of us had ridden it.

The queue is a lot of fun with lots of different things to look at.

By the time we got out it was 10 o'clock and Fantasmic was starting in half an hour.
Since none of us had ever seen this either, we decided to give it a try.
Here we are on the way:

The theater was half empty and everyone enjoyed it.
This was the only shot that came out:

We got back to the room about 11:30 and were all asleep by midnight.

We had a really great fun first day.