On our second day at Walt Disney World we woke up bright and early to go to Animal Kingdom before it opened, and we were escorted to the brand new Pandora – World of Avatar section of the park. We felt like rock stars getting to walk past all the people waiting to enter the park!

Animal Kingdom

early entry

Confession: I’ve never seen the Avatar movie. It came out when I was pregnant with Annie, and there was no way I was sitting my barfing butt in a movie theater chair for three hours. But I’m thinking I need to see it now, because the visuals in the park were stunning. The pictures I took do it no justice whatsoever.


I took a picture using this cool 360-degree camera that gives a slightly better look at the lush greenery.

Mike and Annie went on the main attraction there, Avatar Flight of Passage. James was too short to ride, and I don’t do well on motion-simulated rides, so I sat it out. They came off the ride RAVING about how amazing it was. Annie said, “Mom, I feel sorry for you, because you didn’t go on the best ride I’ve EVER BEEN ON.” I’d say that’s a good review. James and I did go on the Na’vi River Journey, which is a boat ride through Pandora. Think “It’s a Small World,” but replace the tiny robot children with robot Pandora creatures.

When we left the Pandora section of the park, it had opened up to everyone. We could NOT believe how long the line was for the Flight of PAssage ride. It was ~literally~ five hours long. LITERALLY! There’s not much I would wait in a five hour line for, but Annie said, “I would wait five hours to ride it again!” That’s pretty high praise coming from a kid who can’t wait for a hot dog to be microwaved.

We really loved the Safari at Animal Kingdom. The kids went wild for the zebras, giraffes, elephants, lions, hippos, you name it, they were excited.

african elephant


This ostrich was very interested in us.

Sup losers

My parents had given each kid some spending money, and James chose to spend his on safari binoculars. He was (and still is) obsessed with them.

bino james

We spent the rest of the morning at Animal Kingdom. Mike and the kids went on one of those rides where water dumps on you (NO THANKS!), and then Annie and I went on Expedition Everest (similar to the Matterhorn for you Disneyland peeps). That was a really fun ride but OMG I didn’t know that for part of the ride you go backwards because dude. I was not prepared.

Before we left, we hit up Dinosaur Land. We went on the “Dinosaur” ride there and my favorite part was watching the pre-ride video starring circa-1998 Phylicia Rashad. Everything after seeing Mrs. Huxtable was just gravy.

When we were done at Animal Kingdom, we decided to go back to our hotel and rest for a bit. Mike and I said we should do this because “surely the kids are suffering from jet lag,” but um, yeah, it was really so Mike and I could take naps. We stayed at the Coronado Springs Resort, which is in the Animal Kingdom area of Disney World. It’s a very large resort spread out around a big lake. It’s undergoing some major construction, but they gave us some fun pins to thank us for “not minding their dust.”

disney construction pins

We didn’t spend much time at the hotel, so I can’t speak to the pool or anything like that, but the service was great (typical Disney excellence) and the food they serve there is very good – especially the Mexican food!

After Mike and I had naps, it was time to hit up Hollywood Studios…home to James’ beloved Tower of Terror. This is where I’m going to wrap it up today, because James experiencing the Tower of Terror deserves its very own post. It was amazing.