As a blogger, I may be compensated in some way (either pay, product, or experience) for sharing the post below All opinions are my own. ~Heidi
***This post was originally published on January 10, 2014. One of my absolute favorite things about the Animal Kingdom is their Wilderness Explorer program, which teaches kids about animals and how they can help them, etc. We had SO MUCH FUN participating in this program on our last trip – and we all learned a lot. I even made us Wilderness Explorer shirts, having no idea how popular they would be among the Cast Members. I’m linking this post up with Riding the Rails at the Magical Blogorail, as I think this program ties in quite nicely with the Earth Day message.
About our shirts for the day . . . when we did our shirt planning way back in the summer, we decided that we wanted to make Wilderness Explorer shirts. We’re all fans of UP, and the kids and I enjoyed meeting Russell and Dug so much last fall that we wanted to pay tribute to them. However, when it came time to actually make these shirts, I kept putting it off. There was something about the design that really intimidated me. I thought I was just being silly, until I actually started making them. The paint didn’t cooperate. It bubbled in places. I was SO disappointed with the finished product. I almost didn’t pack them. In my heart, I knew they would look nice from afar and be great on pictures, but I just felt awful about them. Funny, but true, story, though . . . these shirts generated us the most compliments! We were even stopped by a Cast Member who asked to take our picture to show to some Disney higher-ups! She said they’d been begging Disney to make shirts like this ever since they started the Wilderness Explorer program at AK.
Sure, we might have clashed just a bit with Mickey and Minnie in their adorable Christmas attire, but we looked darn good with Russell and Dug. (Have I mentioned how much I absolutely ADORE Russell?!)
We had a FastPass for Festival of the Lion King. It made me sad to think of them closing this show for the next several months while they complete construction on the new theater (over behind Tusker House in Africa). This is my all-time favorite show on Disney property. No matter how many times we see it, I’m still amazed at the talent! I think I take a video of the Tumbling Monkeys ever time – obviously, I never bore of watching them!
The Flights of Wonder show has been highly recommended by my friend Beth at Pursuing the Magic. So, I insisted that we watch it. We were amazed! Beth was right! If you haven’t seen this show, I’d highly encourage you to add it to your Must-Do list for your next trip.
Like Toy Story Mania at Hollywood Studios, Kilimanjaro Safaris ranks up there on the “twice per trip” list! We had FastPasses, but wouldn’t have needed them.
One of our goals was to find the last few places to earn Wilderness Explorer “badges” (aka stickers) and complete Ian’s book. Of course, all the Cast Members were noticing our shirts and complimenting us on them! Ian was so proud to take the Wilderness Explorer Pledge on our way out of the park.
By the end of the day, I had actually learned to appreciate these less-than-perfect shirts!
We left the park in the mid-afternoon to head over to Magic Kingdom to meet up with our friends Melissa and Drew from Disney on Wheels. Gracie had decided on some purchases she wished she had made while at MK, and they gladly bought the items for her and met us at the entrance with them. Gotta love friends (especially friends with AP discounts!)
We went back to our resort to drop some things off and regroup before heading back out to the Polynesian to meet up with some local friends. We got dinner at Captain Cook’s and sat outside and visited with them for quite awhile. We even got to see the Electrical Water Pageant passing by.
If you’ve missed my previous trip reports, you can catch up here: