THE CAST: MKFan-PR: Me, 34. Disney nut since my parents took me when I was 5. This is my 10th trip overall, number 6 with my DW and number 2 with my DD. Carmen: DW, 38. Her 7th trip (6 with me). Knows a little English but enjoys Disney a lot. Larissa: DD, 3.5. This is actually her 2nd trip, but this is the first that she will actually have memories of. Has been excited about the trip ever since she saw the vacation video. We live in Puerto Rico, so a trip to Disney involves quite some planning and investment; it is very difficult to go more than once a year. With Larissa starting school this will be the first time that our family will NOT be going off-season, and who knows when we'll be able to return, so this trip is extra-special for my DW and me. 8/7: Day 7-The 'Exotic' AK To all who have read the previous posts... thanks! Woke up at 9:40AM. As I write this, I miss those wake-up times. We did our usual breakfast drill, and we were on our way to AK by 11:30AM. It's a rainy morning, but we would soon find out this would make for a great day. As we head to AK, we get a glimpse of the new Pop Century resort. There is a new section of buildings in construction, while there are some already built. Some can actually be seen from CBR, when you go beyond the bridge, into the Trinidad sections. It looks interesting. Some of the icons that we can see look like bowling pins (but we're so far away it could be giant pineapples and we couldn't be able to tell the difference! ). We went fairly quickly through security, then stop for some pictures with Rafiki, Baloo and others that were at the entrance. We finally go through and start through the paths in the oasis. At that moment we realized something: this park is great in the rain! With the rain and the cooler temperature all the animals were out, it didn't feel 'stuffy' and it was great seeing all those animals in so many wonderful colors. Plus, the rainy atmosphere make the park look, I don't know, kind of more 'exotic' . We really enjoyed the park like this, and made the day much easier. We stopped in the 'hub' in front of the tree, where we say kangaroos and some colorful cranes. We oriented ourselves, then went to ITTBAB, the 3D movie, with about a 10 min. wait. It was hilarious! Larissa was a bit startled by some of the effects, but she enjoyed it a lot (A Bug's Life is one of her favorite movies). There were a couple of girls in front of us who where were completely 'creeped-out' when the roaches 'exited' the theater! We then moved on to Africa, where we went into the Safari. Again, with the rain and warm temperature, all the animals were out. In our last trip we took great pictures of giraffes (Carmen's favorite animals), but in this trip we had one practically beside our car! Larissa was thrilled seeing 'live and in person' all those animals she'd only see on TV! We get our stroller back, then went through the 'Exploration Trail'. Larissa loved the fishes, and it was fun exploring all those areas. Carmen and I loved the area where you can see the meerkats peeking. We hoped to see a Gorilla in the glass vieweing area, but the guide told us they were spotted near a bridge further down. We went there and spotted it, more or less bored, but still in plain sight. After a while exploring, we decided to have some lunch and rest our feet. We decided to go to Tusker House, since we really enjoyed it in '99. We weren't disappointed. For us this is one of the best values in counter-service restaurants in all WDW. Carmen had the 'Catch of the Day' (salmon), while I had the rotisserie chicken (Larissa had a little of both). Excellent! We had good food (large portions) and fast food prices. And we love the decoration! After that, we went to Camp Minnie-Mickey to catch the FOTLK show. We went in line and into the theater just as it started to rain. And rain it did! Hard! Just when the show is about to start, probably 'inspired' by the rain, Larissa wanted to go to the restroom! We usually carry a couple diapers in our bag for just such emergencies, but the bag was... you guessed it! In the stroller outside! The CMs were very nice though, leading us up and through the back of the theater to a restroom (which was thankfully close by). When we returned the 'floats' were already in place in the four corners, and Timon was just starting his show with the Tumble Monkeys. Darn! Missed 'Circle of Life'! But we still loved this show! Larissa was excited to see all the characters, and she was mesmerized by the whole show. Another thumbs up! After the show, we went in line to see Mickey, and everything was ok until our turn came: Larissa froze! After trying just a couple of times to get her to move (she wasn't scared, but she wouldn't budge), I picked her up and we got our picture (I didn't want to delay the people behind us). She did like the kiss on the cheek Mickey gave her, and she waved happily to him when we exited. When we were out, she said she would give him a kiss and a hug when she saw him again (she kept her word when we saw him later in the week). We decided to skip Tarzan, then headed out to browse some shops and get some Mickey bars. Our family later loved the pictures of Larissa eating hers with her chocolate-smeared face! We went straight through to Asia, where I rode KRR and the ladies went through the Jungle Trek. I love KRR! While boarding the raft someone said 'No ponchos! We all get wet!' and so we all got soaked! After meeting up with the ladies, they declared their love of tigers. We went down to DinoLand, where I rode Dinosaur, since there was no wait. Then we rode the Triceratop Spin. Since the PW ride had a height restriction, we decided to skip it. A note on the 'Dino-rama' area: I understand the themeing, but, at least to us, seems kind of 'out-of place'. I've read great reviews on the PW ride, but I think it could have been added in a much better way, without changing its mechanics. It was closing time now (AK closed at 5:00), so we strolled slowly and relaxedly to the exit (we didn't want to ride the bus standing), stopping in the Oasis along the way to enjoy the animals. Once at the bus stop, we thought about getting on the bus to AKL to check it out, but decided against it when thinking about the bus transfers we would need to get back to CBR. That would prove to be the other only regret of this trip. We had such a smooth, relaxed day, that on the way to CBR we decided we wouldn't go to use our remaining day in US. I didn't want to go through all the parking and walking and exiting hassle. We would use that extra day to enjoy some other things. Since the remaining day in the tickets doesn't expire, we now have another excuse to come back! Once back in our room, we freshened up, had dinner at OPR, then we enjoyed another late dip in the Main pool. Larissa loved the slide and the waterfall (I was easing her in for when we went to TL later!). It's incredible how this child who would cover her eyes at the start of some rides is fearless in the water! I make more exercise keeping up with her inside the pool than by actually swimming! Plus, with her 'floaters' (those thingies you put in the child's arms), she actually swims great! After enjoying our night swim (we're liking it a lot!), we refilled our mugs, then headed back to the room for a shower, a change and bed. The ladies fall fast asleep, while I read an ESPN quote book I bought the previous day at the Marketplace. I realize then that it is Aug. 7, and since we leave on Aug. 11, we are now in the final stretch of our vacation. Darn! Already? Only three more full days to go. I'm not going to try to do a whole lot of stuff and 'pack' the days, but we still would like to do a couple things. One thing is certain: we are going to enjoy it! After an hour or so and seeing there's nothing on TV. I join the sleeping beauties. Next - Boats, pools, TL and a pleasant suprprise! Stay tuned!