This past weekend we ended a week-long celebration of Bean’s birthday at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Now, the animal kingdom isn’t really my cup of tea. I’m more along the lines of the thrill seeker type. Actually ANY other park would have suited me better. Magic Kingdom has a few pretty good rides, Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) has a great roller coaster and the Tower of Terror, you can drink around the world at Epcot, Seaworld has two great roller coasters and they give you two free beers, and Universal Studios has the best rides around. For the men out there, these are the parks that you want to focus on when visiting.
The problem for me is that Katie hates thrill rides. She gets nervous watching them fly down a 100′ drop and turn into a barrel roll and twist and turn as fast as they can. So… because of that and because the little man is a little too little to get on those rides we ended up going to the Animal Kingdom. However we had a great time and they have one coaster, so I was happy. Mount Everest is nothing crazy, but you sit in a train car and zip around a few corners. The ride got pretty exciting when half-way through it came to a stop and went backwards down a different track in the dark. That part was great. They also have one of the typical water rides in a big round raft that 8 other people sit in. It’s not the best one I’ve ever seen, but its great for a hot afternoon in Orlando.
What I loved most about the park was their attention to detail. Of course all of the parks have details so amazing that you sometimes can’t tell if its real or fake, and I love seeing all of that stuff. Given my background in scenery, I always appreciate the work that goes into it all. This was my favorite:
They paved the road on the safari to look like mud with tire tracks. Yes… That is a paved road with fake tracks… That is freaking brilliant. And it looked amazing.
Bean Man was a trooper that day. I mean, I was dead at the end of the day but that little guy just kept on crusin! He loved every minute of it. I have to admit, at first I was against the whole let’s spend $80 a person to go to the park for a day for Bean’s first birthday. To me it was going to be a total waste of money we don’t really have right now. He was only turning one, which means he wasn’t going to remember the day, so why waste the money?? But I will tell you, and just keep this between you and me, Kate was absolutely right on this one. After seeing his eyes light up at the shows and the characters, it was 1000% worth every penny. Bean Man won’t tell you, but I can tell you that it was probably the best day of his little life. He had so much fun!
I learned a valuable lesson in parenting this past weekend. When kids are little, even though they don’t know any better, it is still SO important to value those times together and make those days just as important as if they were 5 or 10 or 15. Sure they aren’t going to remember the day years later, but that’s why you take pictures and videos. Your kids deserve the best that you can give them whether that’s a blow up swimming pool in the backyard or a day at the parks. As long as your spending time with them and celebrating their big day, they will think its the best thing ever.