Our Really Very Big Long Day

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Okay, the lions come later when we went back to Animal Kingdom Park (get the Park Hopper!  It's worth the extra money!)  But we started out very early, before the sun was up, to get to Magic Kingdom and our breakfast reservations at the Crystal Palace.  Here's where it gets tricky.

We've been here a few days by now and my daughter has been avoiding people in costumes.  "The characters kind of freak me out."  We sit down for our Breakfast with Pooh, and I lean into my husband and say, "This is gonna be a waste of money."

Then they show up.  Suddenly, we're all six years old and OMG, half the delight is watching the really little kids light up in stunned amazement.  It's Pooh Bear!  And Piglet!  Such dear old friends.  And...  The costumes are blessedly pristine.  You want to hug them, they look so invitingly adorable.

If you could see the ear to ear grin on this sixteen year old cynic's face after this encounter...

And here I am with my favourite pal:

We had expected to spend more time in the Magic Kingdom but some of the Big Kid rides were down for maintenance and it's a lot like the park in Disneyland.  We enjoyed our time here, but felt it was geared more to the little ones and decided to head back to Animal Kingdom Park before hitting Epcot for dinner and Illuminations.

Now, I'm a sucker for parades at the best of times.  We were all a bit worn out so when we heard the parade was coming, we took a vote, picked a spot and sat down then sent my son for ice cream.  We happened on a place with a great view of the Tree Of Life, which is an amazing structure when you take time to study it the way we did while waiting for the parade.  Here's one shot of a portion of the trunk:

And finally, along came the parade, for which I had fairly low expectations.  I guess I thought Mickey would be dancing on some kind of float while "It's A Small World" sent you into convulsions.  I don't know what I expected, but as my daughter pointed out to me, "Disney does not do things half-way."  It was a spectacle of puppetry the likes of which I have not seen.  Here's a stellar shot she took of Rafiki, from the Lion King.  

And the music was upbeat and awesome.  Of all the parks, Animal Kingdom was hands-down our favourite.