On Day three we went to Animal Kingdom. We anticipated that this, being a smaller park, would be a shorter day for us and it was but we were still there longer than I had guessed. The kids enjoyed the 3d It’s fun to be a bug show, Cailee loved the Dinosaur ride (JJ and I both got a switch pass and rode with her) while Connor did the flying Dinosaurs, and we all enjoyed the Safari ride. JJ and I decided that is how we like to see the zoo, being escorted by vehicle through the exhibits. We rode the train (we didn’t miss a single opportunity to ride a train as these were Connor’s favorites) to the petting zoo, and JJ rode the Himalayan roller coaster (Cailee was quite disappointed, she missed the height requirement by less than an inch), but they don’t budge on the height limits at all. In fact, we heard a bus driver saying how some people have tried to add cardboard to the bottom of their shows to gain a few inches.

We had lunch at the Tusker House restaurant, an African inspired buffet with Disney characters (our first of many), dressed up in Safari gear. This was where we learned the Character dining drill – 1. put your name on the list (even though we had reservations), 2. stand in line to take a picture that they will later try and sell to you for 35 bucks (no thank you) and then 3. wait some more for someone to take you to your table. Thankfully, once seated, the kids did enjoy meeting the characters (although, Connor’s favorite saying the entire trip was “I’m stuck” – a reference to being bounded by a high chair, or being forced to sit on one of our laps). This helped keep their attention while we ran back and forth to the buffet line.

We had dinner at Chef Mickey’s in the Contemporary Resort – so for the first time we experienced the Monorail. Connor was always enthused by things when he saw them (aka airplane, trams, buses, monorail) but when we actually rode/flew in them – it was like he didn’t realize he was doing it. This time we met Mickey, Donald, Minnie, Pluto and Goofy in their traditional garb. Connor was getting a bit more comfortable around the characters this time around – so much so that he reached for Minnie’s nose with a handful of M&M grime – JJ had to wipe off her nose.

As if we couldn’t make the day any longer, we headed to Epcot to see the fireworks show – arriving just in time – but still snagging a great seat to see the water + lights show. It’s a quite impressive show – so much so that Cailee exclaimed her wonder throughout the ENTIRE show. She can really be a chatty cathy especially when she has an audience.

Luckily our long days made for easy nights. The kids were out within minutes of their heads hitting the pillows.

The most memorable thing of the day for me though, was when Cailee woke me up early (well, 8ish) and said, “Mommy, Disney is out there – we can’t keep sleeping” So her and I snuck out while the boys still slept, and visited the beach at our resort. It was a special moment and one that I’ll cherish more than even some of the most exciting things we did all week.