WDW: Nov 13

November 13th

We all slept until 6:30. As in, SLEPT, until the clock said nearly 6:30.  We weren’t lying awake at 5:25 praying the girls would shut up and go back to sleep, we just woke up and it was 6:30.   I can’t tell you the last time that happened.  Anyway, I spent the first part of the morning packing up our luggage for the transfer to Kidani Village, and we were still at the Animal Kingdom entrance by about 8:30.  The crowds seemed a bit lighter, though still more than we had anticipated.  We got a few photopass pictures taken, and then took our time checking out the various Christmas trees in Camp Minnie-Mickey, seeing some Tree of Life animal habitats, etc.  Our first (and maybe only) priority was Festival of the Lion King, so we mostly just hung around until the first show at 10:00.  It was great, and the girls were enthralled.  These trip reports get easier to write because those things are always true, ha! 🙂

After the show we stood in line to see Mickey and friends in their newly acquired (for the season – as in, yesterday they had non-) Christmas attire.  Elise and Avery were happy to see each of them, but I think the aforementioned glee had worn off.  Dare I say it, they were tired of Mickey!  Naah, mostly they were just tired of waiting in lines to see characters.  And just tired.  It was, after all, nearing lunch time and naptime!

We made the short trip over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge to eat and get settled in while the girls (hopefully) napped around the resort.  They caught a quick glimpse of a zebra out the elevator lobby window, and began what would be 4 days of adorable animal observation 🙂

Lunch at the Mara was delicious, and we all especially enjoyed our Zebra Domes (a first for the girls!).

While Kyle walked around with the mobile cave  stroller (including the walk from Jambo House to Kidani Village), I checked into our studio and got settled in.  Our room was ready (again!), and was near the lobby as requested (again!).  I couldn’t help but feel a bit of a second “first day” excitement as I unpacked, though not enough to overcome the unsettled first half (and the fact that this would be the shortest trip ever if it really were our first day!).  Bell services took absolutely forever to bring our luggage up, so Elise had napped and woke up by the time I was really unpacking.  It was ok though, I couldn’t be annoyed at her “interference” when she was just so excited to “see another animals! I don’t see any snakes!  I don’t see any elephants!  I see a zebra! I see ANOTHER giraffe!”.  She wanted desperately to go find Daddy and Avery to tell them about the animals “in our hotel room”.  Soon enough, her wish came true and Avery joined her on the balcony.  I swear, they just don’t nap as well in the seclusion of the resorts.  I guess it’s like the idea of a white noise machine – when they fall asleep in the peace and quiet, every little noise thereafter wakes them up.  Whatever, at least we realized that very early on in our first trip – and it’s given Kyle and I lots of extra “grown up time” in the parks.  Win-win!

Anyway, we did a bit of laundry, ate some snacks, watched some more animals, and generally got settled in to our second home away from home before dinner.  Eventually we headed over to Epcot, and took a leisurely stroll to the World Showcase (including another visit with Duffy).  Good thing we had time to be leisurely, too, because we had to stop every few minutes for Elise to spend more time in corners.  Ahh, two-year-olds.  And don’t worry, the other was giving us fits, too – but hers was mostly in the form of regression and peeing in nearly every pair of jeans we brought despite having been potty trained for 8 months. *sigh* toddlers 🙂

Dinner was at the long-anticipated, newly-opened Hacienda de San Angel.  I am a sucker for authentic Mexican food, adore the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, love World Showcase dining… but was always ridiculously disappointed by San Angel Inn.  Admittedly, my hopes for la Hacienda were high after reading several reviews!  I have to say, it didn’t disappoint – at least not completely.  It wasn’t the best I’ve had, but definitely an improvement… and the building itself is remarkable.  The girls were well-behaved despite dinner taking absolutely forever (all about authenticity ;)), and before we knew it we only had about an hour and a half to wait for Illuminations.

Of course, that’s an hour and a half to wait with two two-year-olds, so it could have been an utter disaster!

It wasn’t.  They were absolutely saintly.  We sat right along the rail in the Mexico Pavilion (a first for us, with regards to viewing spots), and had a really, really nice time just hanging out.  The weather was great, we met a few fun families nearby, and Elise and Avery couldn’t have been more pleased.  It doesn’t hurt that we came prepared (thank you Walmart and Target, for the savings of probably at least $30 over park prices).

Unfortunately, the fun and quiet wouldn’t last a nanosecond into Illuminations.  Despite making a “deal” with Avery and Elise to cover their ears and just watch the beautiful fireworks (and despite at least one of them them loving them last trip (and the other tolerating the “boom booms”)),  it was a disaster.  They were ghost white and screaming hysterically.  It was quite sad (and yet Elise wanted so badly to watch during the quiet parts, so we stood our ground anyway).  They did their best, but oh my gosh it created two little firework-fearing monsters. To this day, if we are out when it gets dark Avery tears up and says, “No fireworks!”.  When we passed the globe from Illuminations in broad daylight one day later in the trip, she lost her mind (more on that later).  I fear she won’t recover until she’s in high school, but it won’t be for lack of trying…

Once we were out of the viewing area (which, by the way, was awesome), they were totally fine.  Very tired, but in much more pleasant moods.  At about 9:35 we were in the van, and I realized they had never in their cognizant lives (post-infancy) been out this late.  They really did so well, considering!

In less than 60 seconds, literally, Elise was sleeping so soundly she was snoring.  When we got her to the hotel and changed her into pajamas, she never budged except to get more comfortable.

Avery wasn’t far behind…

Pictures added to the album, and this day in particular has some very cute ones that didn’t fit here.  You should check it out.