Disney Honeymoon Day 2
We got up and had breakfast at the hotel because it was provided in our ticket cost. They have a nice little buffet area where you can either get foods that are made already, or you can order an omelet (which we did every day after the first day) or pancakes. There was something for everyone! It was a great way to start the day and kept us from being super hungry until lunch time.
We hopped on the Shades of Green resort bus around 1030 and took it over to the park. We decided not to drive if we didn't have to because it was $7 a day to park the car in the garage and take a bus verses $20 a day to park at each park. The choice was obvious!
I haven't been to Animal Kingdom since my mid-tour leave from Afghanistan in July of 2012. It has changed a lot since then, but definitely not in a bad way. Disney is always growing and expanding it's parks and I think it's awesome.
The lady at the ticket counter was nice enough to tell us about the Magic Bands as we were exchanging the tickets from our Post Travel Center for actual Disney tickets. Basically, it's a wristband that you wear and it holds all of your Disney information. It holds your park tickets, Fast Pass reservations, dining reservations (if you make them), and photos that are taken by the Disney Photographers. It is all connected to an app that you can have on your phone so it is all easily accessible. It's fantastic and only costs $12. They are reusable and come in multiple colors, and if you plan on visiting Disney often (like we do), they they are definitely worth the additional $12.
The first thing we did once we were inside the park was to look for the Honeymoon Buttons that you can get for free because why not?!?!?
If you've never been to Animal Kingdom and checked out the Tree of Life, you really should. It is a giant tree that is in the center of the park on Discovery Island. There is something like 200+ animals carved into the trunk of the large tree and it's really impressive. This is the symbol of Animal Kingdom (like how Cinderella Castle is the symbol of Magic Kingdom).
You can go inside the Tree of Life where it "It's Tough to be a Bug" is performed. At night this tree lights up in "Tree of Life Awakenings", where the "animal spirits within the tree come alive in mesmerizing color and light approximately every 10 minutes." We didn't get to check it out, but I am sure it's spectacular.
After checking out the Tree of Life we headed over towards the park's newest attraction "Pandora- the Land of Avatar" based on the movie. The architecture is very beautiful and realistic. We didn't get on any of the rides (because my fibro wasn't really letting that happen), but we still enjoyed the park and walking around. It makes me want to watch the movie again.
After that we headed over into Africa and went to check out Rafiki's Planet Watch. We took the Wildlife Express Train over to the Conservation Station and followed the cool little path to the building where you can walk through some interesting areas and learn more about their conservation efforts. They also have a Petting Station, but we didn't go inside because we got hungry.
We didn't figure that we would be in Animal Kingdom all day, so we decided to head over to Dinoland USA, because Lee is obsessed with dinosaurs. We got a caricature done like Jack and Sally because it was Halloween the next day. The artist (Steve I think?) was super nice and we had a nice little chit chat while he drew.
After that we headed to Restaurantasaurus for a quick and easy lunch. They had a nice mural painted on the wall that definitely caught Lee's attention. On our way out of the park we stopped by the Garden Gate Gifts shop. I purchased a set of little notebooks (kind of like Moleskine notebooks) with Pandora decals on the front and I decided to use one to write out my notes for our trip.
We decided to head back to the hotel and grab the car and head over to Disney Springs. When I was in Orlando back in 2012 and actually went, it was still called Downtown Disney. I believe it changed it's name in 2013 to Disney Springs. It was like two miles from our hotel and it's kind of awesome. They have a lot of high end stores, but they also have things like Starbucks, World of Disney, and the Lego Store.
We started in the Coca Cola store just outside of the parking garage (parking was free). It's a three story shop that is full of nothing but Coke related products. The top floor has a Rooftop Beverage Bar, where we tried a Cherry Coke Float (I prefer root beer floats personally).
Our first stop after that was to check out the Lego Store. If you hadn't figured it out, my husband still LOVES Lego's. He didn't purchase anything, but he did enjoy walking around and seeing what they had in stock. This is another reason I am thankful that we drove to Disney instead of flying, we don't have to worry about fitting everything into suitcases (which means we wouldn't purchase nearly anything as souvenirs). We definitely have more room in the car! We also stopped by World of Disney, where we picked up some pins for trading as well as a Lion King movie on Blue Ray.
We went back to the hotel so Lee could take a quick nap before heading out to dinner. We decided to head over to City Walk to have dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Lee has this thing where if he is close to a Hard Rock Cafe that he hasn't been to, we have to go there. Their food is pretty good, it's a nice treat, and he has the chance to pick up a set of their drumsticks for his collection. He's got like four different sets now (I think).
After that we decided to head back to the hotel and get some rest. It was a lot of walking for our first day, and the next day was going to involve WAYYYYY more walking.