Monday, February 2, 2015

Disney's Animal Kingdom with the Bean Girls

For Whitney and I's last day at Disney World we decided to spend at Animal Kingdom.  It was Whitney's first time and I knew she and the girls would love it there.  Animal Kingdom is gorgeous and truly feels like your hiking through the jungle.  It's perfect because there is so much shade with all the tall trees.  There was also perfect cloud coverage with only a little rain.  We were all in such better moods, especially our little ones!

Outside the entrance

Our first stop was the Finding Nemo Musical.  Disney always puts together such fun shows.  It's about an hour long, which can feel a little long for a 2.5 yr old, so we made sure to bring lots of snacks for the little ones.  Finding Nemo has been adapted into a musical with incredible costumes, using the same techniques (lots of puppetry similar to Lion King) and bold beautiful colors.  The music is really catchy and fun as well.  We had a few minutes to wait before the show started so we let Daxton and Macy run around  at the front to help get their wiggles out.  I really do love those two together.  They are so silly!

After the show we made our way over to Asia.  The thing I love about Animal Kingdom is that each enclosure is designed so beautifully.  There are so many different animals to see and fun trails to explore.

The kids had so much fun watching the monkeys swing and play on their island.  We even got some cute pics of the best monkey impersonations!  Love these kiddos together!

After watching the monkeys for awhile we explored the different animal trails in Asia.  We saw interesting lizards, tons of bats, lots of different birds, but sadly we couldn't find the tigers.

So in love with all the detail they put into making you feel like you were hiking through the Himalayan Mountains.

After exploring Asia we made our way over to Africa.  Daxton's favorite spot is all the African drums as you enter.  He could literally stay in this one spot the whole day if I let him.  The kids were so cute, running from drum to drum.  I loved how Macy would stick her head up the bottom of one long drum and Brooke would pound on the other end.  Daxton was in heaven trying every single drum over and over again.

On our way to the Safari there was an awesome African band playing.  I think one of the reasons I love Animal Kingdom so much is how it quickly brings me back to my time in Uganda.  Hearing the different African drumming and rhythmic instruments and beats.  It immediately makes me want to break into tribal dancing.  I'm reminded of all those beautiful faces I taught, sang, danced, and loved while living there.  Those are such cherished memories and I love how quickly it all comes back here.

Loved hearing the music and watching the fun dancing.

We were super excited that our friend, Joslyn, and her adorable little girls could meet up with us.  Joslyn recently had moved from our ward in south Florida up to Orlando.  We were able to all get fast passes for the Safari together.  I loved how the kids naturally started swinging on the railings like monkeys.  It was pretty fitting!

It was so fun to see all the different animals on the safari.  
Some of our favorites...

Elephants and Lions

I love this picture of all the kids together growling like lions.  Daxton's looking at all the girls like they're crazy!

The coolest thing that happened while we were visiting Animal Kingdom that day, was running into my high school friend!  Lisa and her family were visiting all the way from Washington state.  We had tried to meet up the first couple days, but she her little boy wasn't feeling well.  As I turned a corner, there she was with her family!  I was so excited to see her and meet her little family.  It had probably been at least a decade since I had seen her.  I wish we could have spent more time together, but my friends were all waiting for me at another ride with our fast passes.  It was so good to see her.  She has such a beautiful family and is so happy.  It made home feel a little bit closer.

We had a very fun day exploring the rest of Animal Kingdom and seeing our absolute favorite...the Lion King.  To finish off our day we ended in Dino land.  Joslyn introduced us to the fun of The Boneyard where kids could climb and play on all sorts of dino bones.  There was also an awesome Fossil digging site where the kids had their own shovels and buckets.

The kids had so much fun and were completely occupied, which was the perfect place for us to relax.  Joslyn and I had the best talk about our families, our experiences living in Africa, and pretty much everything else you could imagine.  It was such a fun time getting to know her better.  I really wish we could have spent more time together while she was living in south Florida.  I really look up to her and the incredible mom she is for her girls.

Right before we left, Daxton found a guy drawing characterchures. Without saying a word Daxton walked over to the man, sat down in the chair facing him, and smiled widely.  The man looked at me and asked if her should start drawing.  I told him to go ahead.  Daxton sat there smiling at the man for a good 5 minutes.  He was so funny!  He got up a few times to watch the man draw Daxton.  The characterchure turned out so cute.  We now have it framed in his room and he talks about it everyday.  It was such a fun way to end our awesome day at Animal Kingdom.

As we were leaving we were able to get one last picture of all of us together.  I sure do love these girls!  I'm so glad Joslyn was able to meet up with us.  It was such a great day together. 

Whitney and I piled the kids into my car a little after 6pm.  We grabbed a quick bite to eat on the way and started our three hour drive home.  The kids watched a few shows on the iPad and Daxton quickly fell asleep.  We were able to make it home safe and sound; all very exhausted and ready for a good nights sleep!
Thanks for a great week, Whitney!

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