Sunday, September 10, 2017

Visiting Animal Kingdom - Walt Disney World Day 1

Going to Disney World had me absolutely giddy! Since everyone was along for the ride and really had no idea what to do down there, I pretty much had everything planned out for us. I think next time I'll make sure we look at all of the parks to see what rides they all want to do. My plan was to wake up early every single day and spend our day in wide eyed wonder until the very last firework at night. My family didn't share my enthusiasm.

We started our four day excursion to Walt Disney World at Animal Kingdom. Fred once again had to do two trips to bring everyone. He dropped Brieanne and I off first. She and I immediately headed for  Pandora - The World of Avatar. It was pretty amazing to see how incredibly detailed Pandora was.

First, before I go any further, download the My Disney Experience app! I absolutely wasn't going to do it. I thought it was dumb. I mean, really, I didn't need that. I had it all planned out. HA! Then as the day went on, my hubby kept telling me the ride times and when our first FastPass was. Let me tell you, it will be your favorite app! I still haven't taken it off my phone.

Now, back to Pandora. Brieanne and I got in line for the Na'vi River Journey. I think the wait was about an hour by the time we got there. Thankfully they have fans blowing down at various intervals. It was stinking hot at 9am! We got onto the ride after about 70 minutes and the rest of the family was getting to the park. They took the Wildlife Express Train over to Habitat Habit! where they got to see an aardvark having its annual exam. Then they went to the Affection Section where they got to pet and see farm animals.

Our first FastPass+ was for the Kilimanjaro Safaris so after the Na'vi River Journey, Brieanne and I made our way to Africa while we waited for the rest of the family. We walked through Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and African Birds. Sadly we didn't make it to the Maharajah Jungle Trek to be able to see the tigers.

We all met up at the Safaris and it was so cool! I remember it from years ago and it was still just as wondrous. Seeing all of those animals really makes you feel like you're on a safari. And yes, I know what that's like since I did an actual safari in Kenya.

Our lunch that afternoon was at Tusker House with Donald Duck and friends. We had fantastic buffet that had an African flair. I was like the little kids when the characters came into our section. My kids were all, "Mom, sit down, let the little kids go see them first. They'll come to our table." I'm sure my face fell. What if they DIDN'T come to our table? What if they missed us? lol I had nothing to worry about. They each took the time with us as we took a variety of pictures. One thing to remember with meals you've reserved, if you don't cancel within the time Disney specifies, you'll be charged a fee for each person.

While we were walking around at some point, I decided I needed a lanyard. Well, that took me to the deep end and I really haven't recovered. I became a pin trader. Oh my goodness...I didn't realize how addictive it could be. The one tip I have for pin trading, get a handful of the inexpensive pins that are in bags that are surprises. They're the cheapest and you can trade them with employees who probably have better ones. Trust me I found some great ones and missed one I'm still kicking myself over.

We finally got our family photo in front of the Tree of Life before we headed to the Primeval Whirl. As soon as everyone was done with the ride, the heavens opened up and gave us a downpour for under ten minutes. That's the best part of storms down in Florida is that they are so short lived. We brought down the cheapest ponchos you could ever find, but honestly, unless you're determined to walk in the rain, they weren't necessary. You could find shelter easily and wait it out. Heck, they ran the Primeval Whirl and TriceraTop Spin throughout the whole storm!

Then we split up 3 and 3. Three went to ride Expedition Everest and three went to help me find a Dole Whip. I'd heard the most amazing things about it, and absolutely had to try it. Since it was hot as Hades I figured it was the best time to finally sample it. Well, I was underwhelmed. lol I know, for all my Disney friends out there, they're reacting with horror. It's ok. We tried lots of other treats and loved them.

Disney Animal Kingdom

After Fred, Amber, and Buddy rode Expedition Everest not once, but twice, they met up with us and we headed back to Pandora to try out the Avatar Flight of Passage. I had high expectations with wait lines upwards of 190 minutes. Yes, you read that right. One hundred ninety minutes! It's a 3D ride on the back of a mountain banshee. It. Was. Incredible! I was so glad we were able to experience it together. If you take a second while on the ride, you can look around and watch everyone else experiencing it. Don't look for long because you don't want to miss a second of the flight. This is a FastPass must!

It was dinner time by the time we got out and we decided to eat at Satu'li Canteen. The food was good and interesting. It took us quite a while to decide what to have because the options were so different. Amber and I wanted to try the Night Blossom and Mo'ara Margarita. I'd wanted to try the Night Blossom since I saw a picture of it. We opted not to add the Unadelta Seed which would make it glow in the dark with a souvenir cup. It was almost $10 more. lol

From there we made our way over to the Tree of Life to watch the Awakenings nighttime spectacular. I'd heard it was amazing, but I wasn't prepared for how wonderful it was. They have several "short" shows to watch as they lead up to the spectacular. The photographers kept reassuring us we'd know when it started. Boy did we ever! I have to admit, I got very emotional watching it. It reminded me of when my children were little and it ended with the lion on the tree. You don't want to leave without experiencing it!

Disney Animal Kingdom

The rest of the crew headed back to the time share. I opted to stay back because I wasn't ready to leave yet. Besides, I might find a pin to trade with someone! I actually moseyed around the park and ended up watching part of the River of Lights nighttime spectacular. Wow, was that impressive! I didn't get to see all of it because my chariot arrived before it was finished.

It was an amazing first day at Disney World. I was sad because it meant that the next day Amber was heading back to Minnesota. This is the last time I will have all 4 of my kids with me on a vacation like this. Next time Brieanne will be married and who knows where everyone else will be. Remember, it's been 13+ yrs since our last vacay!

Disney Animal Kingdom

The FastPasses I'd get for Animal Kingdom are:

Animal Kingdom: Avatar Flight of Passage, Expedition Everest, and Na'vi River Journey


Terra Heck said...

I've never been there but it looks like a superb place to visit and experience. I'm not sure I'd wait ninety minutes for any ride! I have a Season Pass to Six Flags and go during off-peak times just so I don't have to wait forever and a day. That River of Lights is very pretty.

Dianna said...

Oh, I'm craving a Dole Whip Float now...... We were in WDW in November, and missed all the new Avatar stuff. I'm anxious to see it! My favorite places to eat at Animal Kingdom -- Yak & Yeti and Flame Tree BBQ.

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.