Day 3 of our Disney adventure dawned, and we rolled out of bed, the adrenaline for a new adventure overpowering the developing bone deep exhaustion. We marched into Animal Kingdom, two among two hundred who had arrived before opening. First thing on the agenda: get FastPasses for Animal Kingdom’s new (to us) roller coaster: Everest. Our next item on the to do list was to get in line for a Kilimanjaro Safari through the giant wildlife reserve on the property. In hours of likely unnecessary research, it was recommended we go on the safari first thing in the morning so that the animals would still be eating and visible.
We picked the best time to go because, as we pulled into the giraffe area, our guide informed us that the baby giraffe was out. This was only her second day in the enclosure and we were lucky enough to get close and see her. We also had an interesting encounter with some rhinos who had decided that they were going to cross the area. We were slowed down to a crawl as we followed two large rhino bottoms as they ambled along the path. Our luck continued because we were able to see the male lion snoozing on the rocks closer to the trail taken by the caravans. Our guide was shocked that he slept so closely when on a typical day he rested much farther back from the road. I can’t speak for Rose, but I know that I was envious of his snoring frame.
After the safari, we set off to climb Everest—through the FastPass lane. I had warmed up to roller coasters after not dying the previous day at Hollywood Studios. Due to the aforementioned hours of Disney research when I was procrastinating my schoolwork, I uncovered one of the secrets of Expedition: Everest; it goes backwards. I gleefully revealed this tidbit of information not when we handed in our FastPasses, not when we pulled the bar down across our laps, nor when we started riding up the side of mountain. When the sounds of a Yeti ripping up the tracks sounded overhead and with a devilish grin, I shared my newest joy. We screamed loudly enough that you could probably hear us all the way in DinoLand.
Hair flying every which way, a photographer took our picture in front of the “mountain” that we conquered. If you can tear your eyes away from the frizzy hair corona of light around my head, you can see the coaster going into the mountain on the left side of the picture.
We were much too warm after our trek through the icy mountains so we decided to cool off in the Kali River Rapids. It wasn’t what we expected, but spraying other people with water as they finished the ride was certainly entertaining. To take a break from the rides, we went poking around the shops in the Africa area. It was there where I think I had the best idea of the week. Rose searched for a birthday present for me, and she thought to get me a bracelet. We found some leather braided bracelets that you could have the shop-owners burn your name into, but the largest one was still a little small on my wrist. Enter fabulous idea: we could get the extra small size and use them as keychains. Nicknames burned into three ‘keychains’, we walked back toward the Asia area with wide smiles.
We snuck into the bird show just as they were about to start. It was hilarious, and part of the show was even off book. The crow flew over to one of the benches while its handler was telling the crowd about how smart crows were. She tried to call him back because he was not supposed to leave the stage at that point; however, she discovered that he had found a cherry underneath a bench thirty feet away from the stage. The audience and trainer waited patiently for the crow to finish his surprise treat before the show could resume.
After the show, we walked across the park to DinoLand to travel through time to save a special dinosaur. The animatronics were great, and the T-Rex was scary! Further punishing our poor leg muscles, we walked back to Asia to tackle Everest again. I was getting a little slaphappy at this point in the afternoon, and as can be expected, I started photobombing Rose’s pictures. The photographer in her aimed and shot at beautiful landscapes and idyllic views. I danced around and succeeded in adding my face to a few.
When we walked back to DinoLand (again), I almost lost my phone. The baby coaster there was one where you sit and are spun side to side and jerked around instead of large drops. We were leaving the ride, and I went to pull out my phone to check the wait times for the other rides. Frantic backpack upheaval did not result in its appearance. We rushed back to the main area and begged the ride operator to look for it. Rose called my number and he checked the chairs as people got up until we could hear the sounds of AC/DC’s Back in Black coming from underneath a cushion. The phone must have slid out of my pocket during one of the whirls, but the people who got on after us did not notice it. They just sat on top of it! Reunited with my phone/camera/life, we profusely thanked the cast member then ran off. We caught Mickey’s Jamming Jungle Parade as we left the park. One of the people in the parade shouted happy birthday at me in the middle of the parade when he saw my button!
After two days of fierce to-do lists and goals to be accomplished, we decided to take a more relaxed view on the rest of our Disney vacation. Day four was Magic Kingdom, but we had already visited many of the “classic” rides that were usually hidden behind hour long lines. It was with mutual joy that we agreed to sleep in and attempt to recover a portion of the sanity that comes with regular sleep.