January 2021 Animal Kingdom Day

Every year in January the kids have school off on a Monday for Martin Luther King Jr so we typically head down to Disney πŸ˜‰

This year Britt had the brilliant idea to skip school on Friday. Usually we are SUPER concerned about missing days and trying our best to work the system by checking the kids out half way through the day so they are counted as “present” just to avoid having too many absences.

But this year? They have hardly missed ANY days at all and especially when it comes to non-excused day. PLUS this year the people in charge aren’t taking hardcore attendance anyway due to so many kids being out and the fact that they are encouraging kids to stay home if they don’t feel well.

So why not skip a day? We headed down Thursday and let the kids have a super chill day on Friday! We all just hung out and Zach and I worked on nailing down our change of plans for the Christmas trip to Mexico as it was announced that proof of a negative test would be required when re-entering the US soooo we canceled it and spent the morning booking a trip to Key West instead πŸ˜‰

Another thing on our to-do list for the weekend was to make Spear an official Disney KID! Now that he’s three he is required to have a park ticket so we headed to Disney Springs to hit up guest relations to secure his first ever ANNUAL PASS!

Disney World right now is NOT selling annual passes but they are allowing for renewal of passes so we renewed ours (even though they don’t technically renew until May) and went ahead and bought one for Spear! TRULY a big kid now!

The kids were bummed that we didn’t hang out at Disney Springs for awhile especially b/c it was not crowded at ALLLLL but we are trying to cut down on spending and it’s just wayyyy cheaper to get a pizza from Domino’s and take it back to our Disney rental house than it is to eat at Disney Springs.

Daddy upped the fun factor by swinging through and getting slushees to go with our pizza feast πŸ™‚ We also had to stop by Target bc #momfail I totally forgot to bring ANY underwear for Spear! We keep his underwear in the bathroom for easy access and I just completely forgot to pack ’em!

When planning the weekend I let the kids lead the way on which parks we’d do and they all wanted to go back to Animal Kingdom.

It was a VERY chilly morning which helped tremendously with the crowded factor. We did our typical arrival an hour before opening thing and the ONLY ride in the entire park that opened before opening was Flight of Passage. So we headed straight there and walked right on!

It was a BEAUTIFUL morning. I’ve never never been so in awe of Pandora. It was just beautiful! Getting to really see the details without the crowds was awesome!

Spear and I hung out around other moms and their toddlers. It was a bit frustrating that Disney didn’t go ahead and open Na’vi. Disney is meant to be a place for FAMILIES and so often I do think they drop the ball when they fail to consider the needs of kids who aren’t tall enough for popular attractions.

Flight of Passage is a LONG ride. Smugglers Run and Rise of Resistance at Hollywood Studios are LONG experiences.

There is NOTHING for little ones to do or places to play or ANYTHING in either area. Pandora has Na’vi and it’s a GREAT all-ages ride so it was frustrating that they waited until just a few minutes before park opening to let us all get on when so many parents with little ones were literally just hanging out around the entrance freezing.

Spear did really well though being patient (and was only asked to wear his mask at park entry) and we exited the ride just as the rest of our crew was finishing up with Flight of Passage! We all headed straight over to Kilimanjaro Safari and it was only a 5 minute wait! SCORE!

I don’t typically take a lot of photos of the animals when riding the safari but it was an AWESOME animal morning! I think the cold weather maybe had them more active to stay warm? I also think they had just been fed their morning meal so that helped too?

It was the first time we did not see ANY giraffes which is odd but it was a first time seeing lots of animals we don’t typically see or ones that are usually asleep so it was a perk! Even the lions were playful!

They also have added a new goat area at the end of the attraction and I’m assuming it’s the goats from the petting zoo area since it’s closed?

We split up after safari and Zach, Kye, and Tess went to ride Everest while Britt opted to hang with Spear and I and look at some more animals. My hunch says that long term Britt is going to be like me and just not be a fan of thrill rides. She will sometimes want to ride and sometimes not want to. Whereas Tess and Kye ALWAYS want to be on ’em!

We had a magical moment getting to be THE very first guests to see a new animal on it’s first day! We had a beautiful walk through the Gorilla trail as Spear really wanted to see monkeys. We also had a funny interaction with some birds. We enjoyed ourselves so much, and the crowd level was so low, that Zach sent me a text that they were done on Everest before we were even halfway done with the animal trail! Oops!

I’m telling yall first thing in the morning is THE JAM for animal time! We saw SO many who were all SO active! We were walking through the trail about 20 minutes after the park officially opened. We also had basically the whole place to ourselves!

We headed to meet the thrill seekers and stopped along the way to snap some pics. Someone dmed me on Instagram and said that “Fichwa Fellow” means “Hidden Mickey” which I LOVE!

Britt wanted to ride Dinosaur with the others so Spear and I hung out and waited on them. He didn’t want to ride the Triceratops Spin and instead just wanted to walk around and check things out, especially the Donald’s Dino Bash truck πŸ˜‰

When everyone finished up with Dinosaur we met up and rode Triceratops Spin as a family! Spear did his favorite Disney pastime…taste testing the rides πŸ˜‰

Spear is in a HUGE Daddy phase and Britt is in a bit of a Spear phase so we had a lot of Daddy+Spear+Britt moments that day!

Kye was so funny wanting to control BOTH the front and rear controls and Tess and I didn’t mind one bit. We’re always just along for the ride πŸ˜‰ When the ride ended and the announcer said “gather your belongings” she turned to Kye and said “I’m your belonging!”

One of my favorite pics is Spear on Kye’s shoulders and just sweet little Mama Tessie watching with pride πŸ™‚

The girls and I were wearing matching shirts and I wanted to snap a pic of us together in them so we went to a super quiet area (which the entire park was pretty dang super quiet anyway) where NO ONE was nearby and went to take a picture together.

A cast member just so happened to come out from behind the fencing we were standing against and they just STOOD THERE and watched us, waiting to get onto us for removing our masks. I mean I get it. There are rules but c’mon. Outside. NO ONE AROUND US. Not just like 6 feet kinda distance I’m talking we were FAR away from anyone else. Whhhhhy stand there like that and just stare at us waiting to say something?

We waited ’em out then snapped our quick pic. Again, it’s SO against my nature to “break the rules” but it is also just beyond any sort of common sense at times!

We had SUCH a great morning. It was BEAUTIFUL and SO EMPTY that we did it ALLLLLLL in just about 2ish hours! Crazy right?!? We were out of the park and heading back to the house before 11 am! Zach’s ideal park day πŸ˜‰

Since it was so early we stopped by and grabbed some fresh Krispy Kreme Donuts (located just a couple minutes from our Disney Rental House) for the kids and had a bigger lunch with tacos since we had the time to chill a bit and enjoy a larger meal!

A GREAT morning to kick off our weekend away!

Here’s a little video…be sure to check out Tess’s dance moves πŸ˜‰

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Emily Parker

Hey Y’all, I’m Emily! I’m a stay at home mom and consider parenting to be my passion. Disney is my happiest place and I love making memories as a family together. I’m a big believer in transparency and share all of my real-life moments as a mother of four.

My work has been featured on Love What Matters, Today Parenting and Babywise.Life. I’m also honored to be a member of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network.

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