First, here is another giraffe picture. All four of them happened to be hanging around a tree right outside our room yesterday afternoon! It's definitely fun to look out the windows and see what animals are out there.
Yesterday evening we decided to head to the Magic Kingdom park after dinner. It was dark by the time we got there (and it takes a while to get there -- car to the main parking area, then a tram to the monorail, and then the monorail to the park entrance). But the Christmas decorations were beautiful by night, and the crowds were a little less than we would have seen mid-afternoon, so it was a nice time to go.
We decided to try to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, arguably the one ride Carter is allowed on that might be hardest for a toddler. It's a boat ride, much of it's in the dark with sort-of-scary pirate animatronics, and there's an unexpected downhill drop in total darkness. The line was short, otherwise there's no way we would have tried to do it, but it turned out to be no problem. Carter was curious, but never seemed scared at all. Here's a picture of us waiting in line.
After that success, we decided to try the Haunted Mansion ride. It's a slow, gentle ride; only the scenes you pass are scary. And they're scary in a Disney way, so it's really not that scary at all. That line was also mercifully short, and Carter did fine. The only time we had a problem was when the ride stopped for some unknown reason for about 5 minutes. He wasn't so keen in sitting still, LOL! But overall, those two rides went well, and those were the two we were most worried about. We thought about it later and realized that there's no reason he would be scared by anything he'd seen, as he hasn't yet learned that stuff is supposed to be scary.
We decided to head back after that, having established a rule for ourselves that the time at which we're thinking, "Hey, we could probably do one more thing before we go", is the time to actually leave. This has been working really well for us, and we've yet to have a meltdown or anything more than mild fussiness! Leaving the park when everyone is still happy and smiling is a good way to go.
I had a video to insert here, but I'm having trouble getting the videos to upload. I may have to make a video post when we get home, hmmm.
This (Friday) morning, we slept in a bit and then headed to the Animal Kingdom park after breakfast. It was a bit more crowded, and maneuvering around with the stroller was actually difficult in the crowd. We decided to go on a walking trail through the African section, and saw some cool stuff. Carter loves fish, so the spots where we got great underwater views of fish were a big hit. When we walked away, he was saying, "More fish!"
We were hoping to see the hippos, but they were off in a far part of the pond. The gorillas, however, provided an excellent show. This big male, to the disgusted delight of the children in the crowd, came right over to the glass window, squatted, pooped, then picked up the poop and ate it. Yes, ATE it. It was pretty funny.
We saw another gorilla a bit up the trail.
At this point we'd given up on keeping him in the stroller -- he wasn't able to see anything but people's behinds from down there, so I put him in the carrier where he would have a better view of the animals. Here we are in front of a waterfall.
After the walk, we got a FastPass ticket for the safari ride, which we had previously thought Carter was too young to go on, but found out we could take him on it after all. While we were waiting for our time to come around, we had some lunch and listened to some live African music. Carter LOVED this, and had a great time dancing and running around. He didn't want to go out and join the group dancing, but notice that he still copies the movements of the guy dancing.
There is a cute video of this, which I'll upload later.
After that, we still had half an hour to kill before our safari ride, and Carter was clearly starting to get tired. We finally decided we should head back to the hotel, and try to come back earlier tomorrow to do the safari. I'm sure that will be a lot of fun, and we're really excited about it!
Oddly enough, the part of the amusement park experience that Carter seems to enjoy the most so far is riding the parking tram. He loves it! When we pull into the parking lot he starts getting excited and saying, "Tram! Ride tram!" When we leave the tram he says, "Bye-bye tram!" and waves at it. When we head towards the exit, we tell him we're going to ride the tram, and he gets excited again. It's funny how the things he gets excited about are not what you'd expect!
Finally, here's a picture of me and Carter in front of the African-themed Christmas tree.
We had dinner at the Boma, a buffet restaurant in our hotel. It was good, but expensive. I mean seriously, $100 for a buffet for 3 people? Please. I'm starting to see why all the guide books recommend you get a rental car and eat outside the resorts. You'll make up the price of the rental car just by avoiding the Disney restaurants.
We headed back to the Magic Kingdom tonight, where the highlight for Carter was a toss-up between the tram ride from the parking lot and It's a Small World. He really seemed to like that one, and by the end was bouncing up and down and cheering. I took a few pictures tonight, but I haven't yet downloaded them from my camera, so they'll have to wait for tomorrow.
We're up early in the morning and plan to go do the safari ride at the Animal Kingdom. We'll see how it compares to the real thing!