It's our last full day, and the first time we headed to Animal Kingdom. It was also the first time we headed to the park early, although still not quite for rope drop. It was raining as we were getting ready, but it had stopped by the time we left for the bus stop, and never rained on us again.
As we headed to the Kilimanjaro Safari, which is always our first ride at AK, we stopped at the new Wilderness Explorers hut. Wilderness Explorers is a great new activity at Animal Kingdom based on the scouting-type group that Russell was involved with in the movie Up. You receive a Handbook, learn the motto, and then try to earn badges (stickers that go in your handbook). There are 31 activities scattered throughout the park that you can do throughout the park to earn badges. Some of them are as simple as going on the safari or talking to someone. Others are specific things that you have to find or little games to play. They do a nice job of helping you see things in the park you might have missed and learn things about what you are seeing. Another nice things is that you can do as many or as few as you want. Just bring the book back with you on your next visit and you work on the badges you haven't earned yet. Our kids had a lot of fun with it.
In addition to earning a bunch of badges, we also made our first trip to the Festival of the Lion King. It was really fun. I can see why many people consider it to be the best show in Disney World. DD4 was enthralled by all of the costumes and acrobatics. DD2, on the other hand, wasn't as interested and became very restless by the end. I might have taken her out before the finale, but because of the way the show is set up, once it starts there isn't an easy way to just slip out unnoticed. So I would say that the show is kid friendly, but not necessarily toddler friendly.
Then we decided to head to Hollywood Studios to get a few autographs because DD2 wanted some characters to "write in my book." They visited a few of their favorites, like Sofia and Jake.
After a few meet-and-greets, it was off to the Polynesian for dinner at 'Ohana. It was fantastic, as usual. It's probably my favorite place for dinner in all of Disney World. They provide some good options for kids who don't like the main family style menu. Also, they handle allergies well. My sister-in-law is allergic to shellfish. Within two or three minutes after we sat down, the chef came out to talk to us. He assured us that each of the proteins was cooked on a separate grill, and there is no cross-contamination. The only thing on the menu she needed to avoid was a shrimp. She had no issues at all.
After dinner we made a quick stop at the Grand Floridian to see the two-story gingerbread house. It's really impressive. It's definitely worth hopping on the monorail to check out.
Finally, we ended the night with a little shopping at Downtown Disney. We picked up some toys for the girls and some Christmas presents. Unfortunately, when we left DTD, we had to head back to the room to pack. We needed to have everything ready to go to the airport before breakfast on Wednesday. It has been a great trip that is ending much to fast.