Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Disney Trip: Animal Kingdom

Our day at Animal Kingdom was one of our best. None of us had ever been to this park before and I suppose that added to our fun. We arrived by bus just in time for the welcome ceremony.

You can see the mass of people walking in slowly.

Then we quickly made our way to Dinoland, USA, where Cozy and I both rode the Triceratop Spin with Jackson.

There was a really cool roller coaster right by it called Primeval Whirl that I would have loved to have ridden, but Jackson wasn't tall enough. He nearly had a meltdown when I told him he couldn't ride it, so I figured it would be mean of me to do it myself. Oh well, maybe next time!

Here's my sweet girl - always along for the ride!

I think I've failed to mention until now that I had been praying for weeks before our trip that Jackson would reach 40 inches in height. I actually didn't know how tall he was but I figured he was pretty close. At 40 inches a whole new world of rides opens up to you. It wouldn't have been the end of the world if he didn't make it, but it would have added to our fun. So a week before our trip, Curt measured our boy. He was 39 inches flat footed. So close! When we measured him in shoes he was 39.5 inches. Now that was so close it was almost heartbreaking. We resolved to try to get Jackson to 40 inches. So Curt went out and found some really humongous tennis shoes that he thought were cool and I thought were hideous. (We never agree on shoes.) He bought some heel inserts to go in them. That put him right under our goal. Then my Dad came though big time by making another heel insert with some cardboard. That did it. Forty inches he was! And let me tell you, he rode all those rides with gusto!

The one time we regretted taking advantage of this contrived height was when we road a ride called Dinosaur. Jackson is totally into dinosaurs and we really wanted him to see the animatronic dinosaurs on this ride. Looking back, we definitely should have ridden it first before taking him. Y'all, it was hands down the scariest ride I've ever been on in my life. It starts out okay but halfway through it gets very intense and loud.

For the first half, you should have heard how obnoxious Curt and I were when we would point out a dino and celebrate it wildly and happily as we tried to keep our guy from being scared by how real it all looked. Halfway through, I knew there was no salvaging it. I just covered my baby's eyes until it was all over.

Honestly, there is no way I can describe how scary this thing was. At the very end, as the t-rex was roaring about 5 feet from our faces and blowing hot air while our vehicle was shaking like crazy and lights were flashing, I nearly started bawling because I just wanted it to end already! I felt so horrible that we had subjected our three-year-old to it. Jackson was a little shaken up but he didn't cry. He certainly did not want to go on it again. (If you click on that link above, you can watch a short video of the ride. I know, we should be horse whipped.)

Curtis is so great with Jackson. He kept telling him afterward how brave he was. For the next few days he kept saying, "I'm brave! I'm very brave!" That night I told Curt how awful I felt and that we should start saving for his therapy. Curt said, "Amanda, he probably doesn't even remember it. All he knows is that he's brave." The next day Jackson said, "Daddy, there are no more monsters because I'm brave!" How much do I love that kid?

After Dinosaur, Curt, Jackson and I went on the Kali River Rapids. It was one of my favorite rides of the day, but I left my camera behind so it wouldn't get ruined. We had a ride like this at Astroworld called Thunder River when I was growing up. I specifically remember going on it with my Memaw. Basically, you get in a big floating tube with a bunch of other people and you go through a river and get very wet. Curt let me wear his hat to protect my hair. We had so much fun. When we got splashed really big at the end, Jackson's eyes got really big and he looked like he was going to spaz out about being soaked. We had a two-second window to convince him that getting wet was awesome, so Curt yelled, "Yeah! We're all wet!" Then his face lit up and Jackson said, "Yeah! I'm all wet!" Way to go, Hubs.

Next we did the Kilimanjaro Safari. Here's Jackson waiting to go next. You can see how wet he got. This was a great experience. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

I'm not sure if the disturbance in the water was some hippo gas or if it was the pond's aeration system.

I was trying to photograph a bunch of lazy alligators, but my camera focused on that little lizard instead. I never even saw that thing until I uploaded the pictures on my computer.

I remember seeing a picture of a tree like this from my parents' Africa pictures a couple years ago.

Sorry, UT peeps. These guys pretty much put Bevo to shame. They were enormous!

This guy came out from between the rocks right as we drove by. It was awesome!

Here he is with his woman.

Here are some ostrich eggs that we all thought were probably fake.

After the safari, I had to go feed Annabeth. The baby care facility in this park was amazing. I even had a private nursing room there. Not to be gross, but Annabeth hadn't pooped in 3 days and I was on high alert for a blow out. Nothing yet. While I was there, Jackson got to play in The Boneyard (dinosaur playground) with Daddy and Nana.

Then we had some really great pizza at the Pizzafari.

After lunch, Annabeth's little bowels woke up from their long nap and we narrowly missed a blow out. It was back to the baby care center for me!

Here's the back side of the Tree of Life. This is when we also saw a modelesque woman covered in green vines who hangs out in the trees. A little weird.

Next stop, Expedition Everest! That mountain housed an awesome roller coaster. I was so much fun. We three adults took turns going on it.

The scenery and atmosphere in this park were absolutely amazing. I felt like I had visited several different countries in one day. That truck was a snack shack.

By this time we were very hot and getting a bit cranky. Orlando was having record highs and we were in the mid to upper 90's. This is not unusual for a Houstonian to experience, except I would never choose to be outside in it for hours on end unless I was swimming.

Anyway, here's Curtis trying to entertain Jackson with his race cars while we waited for the bus to pick us up.

I have no idea why I took this.

After we rested back at the hotel, we went to the pool. One thing I remember about the pool was that a little boy - probably 5 years old - started talking to me and telling me all kinds of stories while I was watching Jackson from the side of the baby pool. When Jackson realized that another kid was taking up my attention, he was bent on getting it back. Then he looked at me with this priceless expression - like he loved me so much. It was a very sweet moment between us, right there in the urine-filled baby pool.

This was a wonderful day. It either tied or came in slightly under Magic Kingdom. Next park: Hollywood (MGM) Studios!


Tara said...

Wow, Animal Kingdom is awesome! I've never been there, but from your pictures it looks like it was a fantastic day!

PS. The picture of Curtis posing for the camera is hilarious! My husband does that all the time too! Is it a hint that they are tired of us taking pictures? Ha ha ha

Spicy Magnolia said...

Your trip sounds like SO much fun! (And so did last weekend's dedication, too!). I'm glad Jackson was able to ride on all those 40 inchers. Is he still talking about Disney World these days?

We'll be heading to the pool again with Brennan probably this weekend, and on numerous occasions I have thought about how I'll now be sitting in a urine infested pool. I'm trying to block it out, but well, it's kinda hard to do, huh?

You took some great pictures, too.

The Santa Ana's said...

I've ridden the Dinosaur ride and I'm 27 and that scared the mess out of me. Love reading about your adventures.

Tree Frog Creations... said...

We are going to WDW in October. We have a 3 year old daughter. Your pictures have made me want to go even more! Thanks for sharing!!!

Cindy said...

I'm loving your recaps. We have had the best family vacations at Disney. My husband and I love it and it is awesome to see the wonder in our kid's eyes there.

Toknowhim said...

I am feeling your pain... I remember riding the Dinosaur ride too, and I was scared to death and I knew it was fake...that T-rex screaming at the end was crazy... I just wanted it to be over... Seems like Curtis did a great job helping Jackson recover.

I love the mom/son moment you had at the pool...priceless...

Bobbie said...

Amazing safari!! I love the shoe insert idea--we struggled with our two children through this tough stage.

Your very brave little mister proved to be mature enough to understand what Curt was telling him!

Loving the pics!

Sarah said...

Oh yes. The Dinosaur ride. I don't ever want to go on that thing again!

Great pictures from the day! We went to Animal Kingdom on our last day and felt really rushed to get through it. I wish that we would have had another day to go back.

The Everest roller coaster was my absolute favorite! We were given ultimate fast passes, so my husband & I used the kids' tags for it and went on it three times in a row. :)


The pictures of animal kingdom are great and our little meista look like he had a blast thank you so much for taking time out to post the pictures and thanks for sharing your life with us. Feel somuch apart of your all's life and glad that we feel that way. That picture of Curtis at the end look like he was posing for a camera shot he was probably saying you just caught me at the right time. Again thanks so much love and hugs to you all tell your mom I am praying for he conference this weekend. Love to you all have a safe memorial weekend
Carol Albuq.NM

Jennifer said...

Thanks for the head's up regarding Dinosaur. I was unsure for my little ones (10, 8, and 5)and now I know to walk on by!

Thanks so much for taking the time to share details from your vacation with us. I'm taking notes, as I'm planning our upcoming WDW vacation!

Your kids are so adorable!


Finally an Abrigg..... said...

This was a great post! :) Annabeth looks precious in that picture!!!!!However, I'd appreciate it if you'd stop torturing me with all these adorable infant girl outfits. :)

Sharon said...

How fun!! :-) The pictures are awesome!

Tanya said...

I'm enjoying reading about your Disney trip as I start planning ours for the fall. When we went 2 years ago, my kids ages 3 and 4 1/2 were TERRIFIED of the "Bug's Life" 4-D movie at Animal Kingdom. We had to leave, and I felt like a major "bad mommy."

Tara G. said...

We took a train ride in Norway to the highest point to then go on a cruise or something like that and there were some transfers involved. One train stopped in front of a waterfall and music started playing and off out of the rocks, some lady came out twirling...weird, if not a bit disturbing. And once we took a river cruise down the Dneiper and we got off and were met by a bunch of babushkas singing- certainly not Fantasy Island. Anyway, at the end some girl was doing acrobatics in a tree. Interesting that they've imported this stuff to Disney! It's a small world after all? Glad you had a blast, Amanda!

valerie said...

I loved reading all about your day.
You captured some amazing pictures.
I'm so glad you guys had so much fun.
Your kiddos are just adorable.

Honeycutt Family said...

Sorry Dinosaur was so bad. I LOOOOVVE that ride, but yeah, it is totally not little kid-friendly. Oh well--at least Jackson was so brave! Glad you skipped "It's Tough to be a Bug" inside the tree because that one freaks even ME out!
We have stayed at the Wilderness Lodge before too. It is a fun place.
Glad Disney was a hit! Love all the pics and stories! :)

Krystal said...


First off, I love your blog. You crack me up and your kids are just beautiful! :)

And girl, that Dinosaur ride SCARED ME TO DEATH. I went to DW when I was in eighth grade and I CRIED during it (while with ALL my friends). When I started to read about it on your post, I thought "oh no..." I'm glad Jackson is more brave than me! Ha

Thanks for sharing! :) Your family is beautiful!


ajnrileysmommy said...

i JUST took my 8 and 6 year old boys on that dino ride, and felt like the worst mommy after!!! funny, though - i think it scared me more than it scared them!! haha

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...

I am glad y'all had so much fun!!

Thunder River - Amanda, when we were in Mexico, we went snorkeling in these cenotes, which are fresh water ponds formed by collapsed caves, and the first thing I said was, "Doesn't this look like The River of No Return?? You know, at Astroworld??" I don't think Walker got it, and I SO needed someone to get it. If you had been there, YOU would have gotten it.

Moose Mama said...

You are so kind to share this wonderful family time with us.
There's just nothing like a Disney vacation, I don't care how old you are!
Some day you will all laugh about the dinosaur ride and how you almost ruined your child. No, really, you will!

Melana in Wyoming (T minus less than 24 hours till Laramie LPL!!)

zum the mum said...

So fun! We are so hoping to take the girls to DW when Campbell is old enough to remember it (or at least enjoy it while she's there).

We took Karson when she was about 4months old (about Annabeth's age), and she did the same thing! No poop for 4 days. I was a nervous wreck the whole time wondering when (and more importantly where) the blowout would come. Isn't that weird? Must be something in that Orlando air!

Looks like you had a blast. And those sunglasses on that sweet baby girl...PRECIOUS!!!!

Holly said...

The green vine lady is called "Devine" - clever, huh? She is a bit creepy!

Angela said...

I love reading about your days at Disney! I can't wait to take my princess one day! Such sweet memories!

Jen said...

My best friend from elementary school's dad was a Disney imagineer (architect) for years and years, and he designed all of Animal Kingdom. Unfortunetly he's a Longhorn, so the only college mascot you will find on the tree of life is, you guessed it, a big ol' Bevo. His last thing he designed for Disney was Everest. Rockin' Roller Coaster is his too- they got to personalize the license plates on the backs of the cars and pick the song that plays in their car (he picked Sweet Emotion). :)

Callie said...

I am SO glad that someone else thinks that ride is scary!!! We ride it each time we go to WDW and every time I hate it. Why WDW??? WHY???

The Barfuss Family said...

The shoes are hysterical. I just started laughing about the possibility of them doing shoe checks now. ha ha Glad Jackson got to enjoy some of the rides!

Kelly @ Love Well said...

I know these posts probably take sweet forever to write, Amanda, but they are really fun to read. I love hearing stories from other people's vacations.

Plus, how awesome is it that you're recording your thoughts and memories right away? Blogger scrapbooking 101.

Kiki@Seagulls in the Parking Lot said...

I feel so sad for all 3 of you about the Dinosaur ride. It sounds like Jackson handled it really well.

So many fun memories.

Rhonda said...

Just told my hubs we needed to go to Disney - resounding no. On that last picture- the better question would be why is Curtis posing like that? I'd have taken the pic too if my hubs suddenly struck a pose. Hearing madonna singing "Vogue, Vogue". Thanks for sharing. Appears that it is as close to real thing as I will get:)Be blessed sweet sister in Christ. Be blessed:o)

Marla Taviano said...

LOVED reading about Animal Kingdom. We had so much fun there in December! Thanks for sharing so many great pics!

And Ava and Nina were terrified during It's a Bug's Life. Crying, clinging--it was slightly awful. :)

Ashley said...

Loved all your pics and I'm so glad ya'll had a great Disney vacation!! We went over Spring Break and if you ever want to know what a Disney trip looks like "gone bad" read my post on our Disney trip; you'll be thinking yours was most magical! Your baby girl is just getting so big and adorable; loved their Disney mouse shirts... way cute!!!

Big Mama said...

Your family's dedication to giving Jackson the extra inch he needed just made my whole night.

Kristin said...

Sounds like so much fun! We took our kids on that same Dino ride when we were there 4 years ago. They were 6 & 4 and they DID cry! It was the worst feeling in the world to be stuck on this ride while they were scared half to death. I remember telling them to close their eyes and trying to cover they're ears so they wouldn't hear all the noise. If memory serves me right I think the map leads you to believe that it really is a children's ride. I remember being so excited because my son loved dinosaurs as well! It was awful...but I really don't think either of them remembers it now at all!

Heather said...

I have heard mixed opinions about Animal Kingdom but after reading your post and seeing pics I totally would want to go now when we do. The animals were great and so many different ones!! What a great time and good for you on great nursing rooms!!

Teresa @ Grammy Girlfriend said...

We just got back from a week at Disney and stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge...It was our favorite place we have stayed....we always stay somewhere different...and this time the zebras were right outside our balcony....I had planned another Disney post today, but a friend's precious
little 9 year old girl was diagnosed yesterday with an inoperable brain tumor. Please check the post on my blog and pass her name on to any prayer groups and to the LProof family.

Disney can wait...It seemed too frivolous to post today.....

I have loved your Disney posts...

Allison said...

I love the shoe story...I remember these days at Astroworld...ahhh.

screamofcontinuousness said...

I love how open you are. You didn't have to tell us that about the ride that scared Jackson, but you did and it will help others feel okay when they mess up. Though I really don't think you messed up badly. clearly Jackson has forgiven you ;-)

Sunni-Nichole' said...

I have alot to say today. :)

First off- Be glad that you were spared from the Primevil Whirl. My husband and I tried it on our Honeymoon and I nearly got a black eye. It is extremely rough. (We were also blessed to ride with a couple who shouted the most colorful array of swear words we've ever heard. Probably added to the horror of the experience.)

-Way to go, Jackson! Dinosaur is very scary. I had to give myself a big pep talk just to get on it in January. I'm 27!!!

-I'm also so proud of him for riding Kali River Rapids. What a big boy!

-You got amazing shots of the safari. I hope you realize that. I can't count the number of times I've done the safari and he's only been out once.

P.S. I'm an ex-cast member, not just a crazy obsessed Disney freak. :)

Lauren Kelly said...

I'm seriously jealous, Amanda... (I know, I know, the bible says not to be, haha), but I live in Orlando and even I've never been to Animal Kingdom. How fun and I'm loving all the pictures you're sharing :)

Casi said...

This time next month we will be at Disney so I'm really enjoying your day by day experiences - it's helped me so much with planning. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing details :-)

P.S. Annabeth is absolutely adorable as is her big brother!

Annie said...

I love that yall would go to "great lengths" (or "many inserts" in this case) to make sure your boy got to do the fun stuff!

Amy Beth @ Ministry So Fabulous! said...

I l-o-v-e Animal Kingdom! And just for the record, I actually cried on Dinosaur. I am so ashamed to publicly admit that, but it's true! I just couldn't handle it.

MGM is my favorite, favorite, favorite park ever, so I am anxiously awaiting what you have to say about it!!!

fuzzytop said...

You know we went to Disney Animal Kingdom ~2 years ago, and we all thought the Dinosaur ride was terrifying too. Yikes! But Expedition Everest is my favorite roller coaster, followed by the wooden roller coaster at Dollywood.
Glad to hear you had such a wonderful day, and the photos are gorgeous Amanda!


Kimberly and Grace said...

I'm pretty sure we were there on the same day! However, our experience was quite different. A friend of mine, who frequents Disney, gave me the heads up on what to see and do. I had written notes on the map that said things like "very scary" or "will get wet". After Grace read those she decided that she did not want to go on any ride that got her wet and she was not into riding anything she deemed too scary. So no Dinosaur for us or Kali River Rapids. Your 3 year old is much braver than my 9 year old. LOL

We started that morning with breakfast at the Tusker House restaurant which was really fun. Then we got our fast passes for the safari. We loved it! The whole park was really great. And yes, we rode the Triceratops spin as well.

We loved the Tree of Life and got to see The Lion King performance. No Everest for us though...we're too old and Grace was too scared! Thanks for sharing! It was so much fun!!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Little Momma, I loved your pics, when I was there, I didn't get to see that much!:) They pics were great! Little Momma, I wanted to let you know, I had my blood test today to see if I was pregnant from the in vitro and it came back POSITIVE!!!! I am SUPER excited!!! I wanted to let you know:):) PRAISE THE LORD!!!


amanda said...

We just visited Animal Kingdom for the first time and thought it was really cool. WE skipped Dinosaur and now I'm bummed (since we're both 30 and could maybe have handled it). I didn't realize it was such an intense ride.

That viney woman is called Devine. I read about her on teh Disney boards when we were planning our trip. IT's really cool that you saw her. Disney buffs go crazy over trying to see her...apparently it doesn't happen often.

amanda said...

PS-If it makes you feel any better, there is a Jurassic Park ride at Islands of Adventure at Universal that's sounds similar and when we rode there was a family that was forcing their 3/4 year old little boy who was literally kicking and screaming onto it. They swore it was no big deal and made him go. WEll, you know what happened in Jurassic Park. It started out mellow and got crazy. At the end we crashed into a T-rex's mouth and down a huge hill. I'm sure they felt awful.

Renee Swope said...

Just popped by to say hi and catch up on your sweet and oh so precious family! Now I think we may need to change our summer vacation plans. Animal Kingdom looks and sounds like so much fun!! We've only taken our boys to Magic Kingdom and MGM Studios.

God keeps you and Melissa in my thoughts so I have been praying for you both, and your mom, while I run in the mornings. By the way, my new favorite verse is the one your mom chose for Annabeth - Blessed is she who has believed...Amen girl!!!

creative gal said...

Animal Kingdom is my fav! Love the shoe idea!!!

valerie said...

I thought I'd tell you, I made hotel reservations yesterday for the Houston Scripture memorization event! Usually I travel with my sisters or my mom or even one of my Bible study friends. Nobody in those groups are bloggers. (I've tried like everything to get them involved) :( I quickly thought of a friend I met on the blog who is a pastor's wife. We never knew each other and met on the blog after I went to San Antonio last year. Turns out she lives about 15 miles from me. AND, we are both memorizing Psalm 139!
We didn't know that ahead of time either.
So.....Sherry and I will be traveling partners next Jan.
Just thought I'd share the excitement!
I'll get to see your mom at Deeper Still in OKC in Dec. whooo hoooo!
Have a great weekend, Amanda!
I'm so excited!

theweaver said...

Oh, I am itching so bad! We are going to WDW in September and there are times I don't think I can stand the wait!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Hey Amanda, I want to thankyou again for praying for me. I feel super blessed right now! The Lord is so GOOD! I am still praying for you all, and your momma (LPM event this weekend, right?) and your fam:)



apulling said...

I totally agree with you about the Dinosaur ride. All I knew about it was that our pregnant friend couldn't ride it because it was too bumpy. I thought I can handle bumpy and so I read all the signs and there we no parent warnings about it so I thought I am good. I even thought oh it's just friendly fun dinosaurs. Oh my goodness I was SO wrong! I don't know if I have ever been so scared in my life and the pictures showed it! But like you I would have taken a kid on it because there were no warnings. Now I tell everyone I know!

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

So fun! Annabeth's outfit is precious (Janie and Jack???)!

connorcolesmom said...

Oh yes I remember that Dinosaur ride well!
I took Cole who was 4 and that dern ride is SCARY!!
I finally tucked him in my lap, covered his ears, and eyes
I got off the ride and was shaking!!
Cole was fine!
I am enjoying the Disney recaps -
keep them coming :)

Kelly said...

This comment really has nothing to do with your most recent post - although it looks like a great trip and it did make me laugh a few times - especially the part about rigging your son's height! :) But I just recently started reading your blog from a link on Stuff Christians Like so I haven't been around long. I was catching up on blogs after a busy week away and was looking at your pictures from your daughter's dedication and saw the picture of your mom keeping the two kids occupied and thought..."Hm that lady looks a lot like Beth Moore." And as the pictures kept coming I kept thinking "Wow she really does look like Beth Moore" and then I saw the one titled "The Moore Girls" and felt like a dork.
By the way - I love your sweet girl's big bows! I make some pretty cute big flower headbands for our local Farmers' Market that would be pretty darn cute on her too! :)
Sorry for the LONG comment! I'm not usually this longwinded!

Fiery By Design ✞ said...

We took our 3 1/2 and 6 1/2 year olds on the Jurassic Park ride at Universal 8 years ago this month. We still talk about how going into that T-Rex's mouth scared all of us silly! Ever seen that commercial where the mom is shoving her two kids into her bosom as they go down the hill? Yeah, I think they got us on video and used the idea for a commercial. lol

I felt like such a rotten mom then but I didn't know the ride was so scary. It was dinosaurs and my son loved we went on it. Although we still talk about it we laugh about it now. It's one of those good memories from our trip. :) Funny how God turned that into a good, huh?! *wink*

Kimberly said...

I have been enjoying looking around your blog...found you through a friend of mine who follows your blog...and I just had to stop and say THANK YOU! Thanks for the heads up about the Dinosaur ride! We are about to take our three little girls to Disney for the first time. Animal Kingdom is on our list...and they LOVE dinosaurs. I am sure we would have taken them on it!

Thanks for all of the fun and helpful mommy tips about Disney!
Kimberly :)

Immeasurably More Mama said...

I've been reading through your Disney posts again...we are taking both of our boys next month (ages 2 1/2 and 9 months). The story about the Dinosaur ride about did me in! I was reading it out loud to my husband and laughing so hard that I don't think he understood a word I said. Hubs measured our boy tonight and he is only 37 inches tall. I don't think even the biggest pair of shoes with homemade inserts will work for us. :)