WDW Trip Day 4 – Animal Kingdom

This was the half way point through our trip.  Not only were we going to check out Animal Kingdom it was also our nephews 1st birthday.  What a lucky little guy to have his first birthday celebrated in Disney.

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But before I get to his special birthday dinner let me take you through our day in Animal Kingdom.  This park does have quite a few penny machines, but they don’t see to change too often which made for an easy day on my end as there were only a hand full of machines I needed to visit.

Unfortunately this was one of the parks that we had to take the Disney Transportation Bus to, the ride wasn’t too long but getting everyone board and trying to maneuver 2 strollers was not a great experience.  Upon arriving I ran over to guest services and got our nephew a birthday pin which was really fun to see the cast members throughout the day wishing him a happy birthday.  Next we headed up towards the tree of life and took a nice family picture in front of the tree.  Next we were headed towards Dinoland U.S.A.  Along the way I stopped into the Disney Outfitters shop and used one of the machines located here.

Disney Outfitters

Another great thing about the machines in Animal Kingdom is they have really unique cabinets with a lot of detail.  This machine has 3 designs: Randall, Duffy and John Smith.  I quickly caught up to my group and we entered into Dinoland.  This place has a lot of great things for the kids to explore and ride.  Our kids were immediately drawn to the Tricera Top Spin.  This is almost identical to the famous Dumbo ride in the Magic Kingdom but with dinosaurs instead of the famous elephant.

My wife took Hanna, my sister and brother-in-law took our niece Ava and headed in line.  I wanted to use the camcorder to film them so I sat this ride out.  There was about at 10 minute wait to get on so I took this opportunity to check out the next closes penny machine which was located  in Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures.

Chester & Hester

There were a couple of kids in front of me trying to figure out how to use the machine.  They didn’t speak English which would have made helping a little easier, but I managed to walk them through the process by pressing my coins.  They saw the finished product and were so excited they ran off to get more change from their parents.  The machines 3 designs were: 2015 Nemo, Iguanodon, and a Carnotaurus.  (Thank you presscoins.com I wouldn’t have guessed those dinosaur names if my life depending on it)  With my new coins in hand I walked out of the store and stood by my father just as our kids were getting on the Tricera Top ride.

After that we checked our The Boneyard which was a big playground area with all sorts of slides, cargo nets, ramps, bridges and more.  We spent quite a bit of time here and had to drag the kids out kick and screaming but we had so much more to do.

We headed towards Expedition Everest and was surprised to find out my sister and brother-in-law weren’t going to ride it.  The wait was over an hour so I couldn’t completely blame them.  As we passed by I ran inside the gift shop called Serka Zong Bazaar to use the machine.

Serka Zong Bazaar

Sorry for the dark picture there just wasn’t much light inside the gift shop.  There were 3 designs: The Yeti, Mickey with the Yeti, and the Expedition Everest logo.  By this time it wasn’t quite noon but we were all getting hungry and decided it would be a good time to stop for some lunch.  I knew that nearby was a great restaurant that I had visited only once before but knew it had some great food.  The dilemma was that we didn’t want to fill up too much because we had a big special dinner later on.  The Yak & Yeti restaurant was where we stopped in for a light lunch and it appeared they were just opening as no one was in there.  While we waited for our table I used the machine located right inside by the hostess desk.

Yak & Yeti

This was a 4 design hand crank machine.  I pressed the coins and we were taken to our table.  The food is Asian inspired and worked out well for our light lunch.  After finishing up we headed outside and made our way to the Harambe Train Station.  Now in the past I have always referred to this as the train to nowhere.  It does actually go to Rafiki’s Planet Watch but to be honest as an adult I never found this place very interesting.  Usually we would just use the restrooms, get an ice cream and would jump on the train to immediately take us back.  This time however ended up being a little different.  While we waited for the train to arrive my little penny collectors made me so proud they asked to use the machine without my prompting.

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I gave them some extra coins I had brought and they pressed their own coins.  They also helped me press my own set and did a great job.

Harambe Train Station

I only needed to use the quarter designs.  There were 3 in total:  2015 Pluto, Simba & Nala, and Shere Kahn.  After taking the short train ride we exited and headed up towards to big building.  But we decided to let the kids try out the petting zoo which was officially called the Affection Station.  This was one of the biggest hits we had all week with the kids.

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There were pigs, goats, sheet, and horses all available for petting or brushing if you were able to find one lying around.  This was another place that we spent quite a bit of time in and the kids just didn’t want to leave.  Eventually we were able to convince the kids we had to move on, and we headed back to the train for another quick ride back to where we had started.  At this time we had our one Fastpass to do which was for the Kilimanjaro Safari which the kids enjoyed looking for all the animals along the jeep ride.

With the safari over we were all pretty beat and ready to head back to the resort for a rest.  I still have 2 more machines to visit but luckily they were on our way out and I quickly used them while my family continued on.

Duku La Filimu   Island Mercantile

First was the machine at Duku La Filimu with 3 designs: Tarzan & Jane, Safari Pooh, and Rafiki.  The last machine was located in the Island Mercantile also with 3 designs: Festival of the Lion King logo, Kristoff & Sven from Frozen, and Tigger bouncing on his tail.  With these final machines collected I met up with my family and we headed back to our resort by bus.

After a few hours of resting we jumped on the monorail over to the Polynesian Village where we were having the special birthday dinner at O’Hana.  This place is awesome.  We usually try to eat here every time we visit Walt Disney World as it’s just a wonderful experience with great food.

We started with the sweet Hawaiian bread, salad, noodles and the pot stickers (I could have just eaten those).  Everything was all you can eat and as soon as the plate was empty we were quickly given another one to work on.  Then the main course starts to arrive with was chicken, and steak cooked on large skewers over an open fire.  There were some other meats that came around but I was in such a food coma I don’t even remember what they were.  About 2 weeks before our vacation I called Disney’s Cake service and requested a special birthday cake for this dinner.  Unfortunately there was a little mix up and the cake wasn’t available.  But the chef personally came out to explain the situation to me, and let me know they were making a cake immediately and would be on the house.  I was a little disappointed we wouldn’t be getting the Mickey shaped cake I had originally ordered but appreciated everything the staff did to help make sure we still had something special for our nephew.

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As you can see in the above picture the came still was very impressive, and tasted really great.  We had 9 people in our party, but we barely put a dent into it.  They did wrap up the leftovers and we ended up indulging in cake the rest of our trip.  Thankfully our resort room had a full size fridge to accommodate this cake.

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We sang Happy Birthday with the help of the entire restaurant and Luke immediately dove into his piece.  This really was a special day for him and our entire family and were so glad it happened at the Happiest Place on Earth.

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