DAY 9 - Animal Kingdom and Celebration Sunday 15th June Good morning all! I wake at 5:45, and lie quietly, checking emails and Facebook etc until Amanda also stirs at 6:00am. I note that our friend Cat, who arrived yesterday, is up and wandering locally, as she's posted some pics. Today is our 9th anniversary (of meeting) and also Father's Day, so I open cards from Amanda and daughter Beth. It's a promising start weather-wise, with blue skies and already warm as we head off out for our ritual circuit of the lake. We take some lovely photos once again. As we pass the Beach Club I see someone familiar walking towards us, waving. It is Catriona, a fellow insomniac! Cat and family arrived yesterday, and had hoped to meet us in time for Illuminations, but we didn’t see them. She explains that by the time they reached the park entrance, Guest Services were closed, and they could not activate their Magic Bands and passes. They tried to spot us in the crowds leaving, but we must have slipped by in the dark, as we sprinted for Jellyrolls! She has left her husband Colin and son Michael asleep in their room (two floors below us) and gone for a wander. We natter for a while before saying goodbye and heading back up to the room for breakfast (we toast the bagels we bought yesterday) and showers. I phone down for our car (very movie star, eh?!) and we are driving off to Animal Kingdom at 8:00am, arriving and parked by 8:15 (unicorn 26). It's early, so the lines are quite short and we restroom before joining them. They start to let us in at 8:45. I anticipate another hold at the entrance to the central hub, but nope, as at the Studios, this seems to be a thing of the past. We continue quickly across to Asia and get in line (6 from the front) for Everest. Ah, this is where the 'old' Disney habits return - it's 8:50, but the ride doesn't open until exactly 9:00am. I love this park, especially when it is quiet. The theming is exquisite, with tiny details hidden everywhere, from leaf prints in the concrete paths to the artificial ageing of 'rusty' corrugated iron sheet roofing. The clock clicks round to 9:00 and we are admitted. There's now a fair line behind us. We're loaded and rolling at 9:03! What a buzz! I had forgotten how intense this little coaster is! Fabulous! We head west, past the monkey island, make a quick restroom visit then on towards Kali River Rapids. Now, although I don't mind getting wet, I'm not a fan of squelching round in damp underwear for hours, but it is already so hot I reckon we'll be dry very quickly. There's virtually no wait - most of the early crowd has almost certainly split into two groups, half typically heading to Everest and the rest to the Safari. Well, it's not the world's longest water ride, but we get well and truly SOAKED! Off at 9:25, and across to 'Africa' for our Fastpass+ (9:00 - 10:00 slot) We're straight on, aboard by 9:40. The safari has (happily) been updated, and extended somewhat since our last visit 6 years ago. I, for one, am not sorry to see the back of the tired and patronising Little Red storyline! We enjoy the journey, with plenty of animals spotted, and exit the ride at 10:15. Ok, another FP slot is open.