Disney World, Vacation

Rope Drop at Animal Kingdom and an evening at Magic Kingdom!

Tuesday at Disney World was full of animals and Disney magic! We were at Animal Kingdom before rope drop which was pretty easy since our hotel was less than a 5 minute drive away! While we were waiting to be let in, I was complimented a few times on my dress and tiara which made me feel pretty princess-like. Pro tip: you can get away with things like tiaras at Disney World so make the most of your princess days!

The only park opening we missed was on Thursday at the Magic Kingdom (stupid monorail) but of all the other parks, the opening at Animal Kingdom was the most spectacular. We were told that the Macaws were going to fly over our heads and not to duck or they’ll just fly lower. It was a really cool thing to see and experience – you can get an idea of what happens here.

 

They allowed us to go free into the parks at the stroke of 9 and we headed directly for Expedition Everest in Asia by going through Discovery Island instead of Dino Land. We were able to walk straight onto the ride twice in a row which was great since it’s one of my top two favorite rides in the park (Pandora wasn’t open yet)! However, since we did it twice in a row, it gave Brady a bit of motion sickness so I did some shopping in Africa while he took a break. We were also trying to kill time before the 10 am train left for Rafiki’s Planet Watch because I was hoping to catch an animal surgery.

 

 

Since we got on the first train, we were greeted by staff who were all waving and welcoming us as we pulled into the station. I’d read that they do procedures on the animals first thing in the morning but unfortunately the area was closed for refurbishing so we spent some time talking to cast member, Alex and he shared a lot of behind the scenes information with us. I’m pretty sure we spent at least 15 minutes talking with him before we wandered around to a few of the other exhibits.

While we were there, I got “ambushed” by Doc McStuffins who came out of nowhere and engaged me with a meet and greet! I laughed the whole time because it happened so quickly and unexpectedly but it was a fun moment. I’d share the photos but they’re PhotoPass watermarked and I’m not about to have Disney coming after me.

 

 

Next up was finally watching the Flights of Wonder bird show in Asia which I’ve never seen before. It’s a 25 minute show featuring a variety of birds including a few that fly out over the audience. It’s mixed with a bit of silly humor but it was overall entertaining and a great chance to sit in the shade and eat a few snacks. This lady was holding this great horned owl outside the amphitheater before the show and sharing information about him – she asked the audience to guess how much he weighed. Take a guess…

 

 

About 4 pounds! Pretty crazy right? I think I guessed 16 pounds but that didn’t make too much sense since she’d been holding him like that for quite a while and 16 pounds is fairly heavy. We grabbed a couple frozen drinks from the Royal Anandapur Tea Company cart before heading over to the Tree of Life to see It’s Tough to Be a Bug. Be aware that you can’t go in unless you have a lid on your drink. Mine did but Brady’s didn’t so he had to get it down pretty quick – cue a brain freeze.

After the show, we wandered throughout the trails below and around the tree of life which are new exhibits since the last time we were at Disney World. As we were doing so, we saw a couple impromptu meet-and-greets with Tarzan and Flik going on. I was pretty surprised to see how… fleshy the Tarzan character was! lol.

 

On our way to the Gorilla Falls Trail (formerly known as the Pangani Trail), we stopped for a couple photos at the entrance to Africa in the same spot we’d taken some photos on our honeymoon. While Brady stepped into the restroom, I made friends with a 5 year old named Ryan from Pennsylvania. He was waiting for his mom to finish changing his baby sister so we spent some time talking about all the buttons on my bag. He was entertained and the parents were appreciative so it made me pretty happy.

 

Hippo

Meerkats

Daddy gorilla – father of all the children in the same enclosure.

Gorgeous pink flowers on the way out of the trail.

 

We used our Fastpass reservation to get onto Kilimanjaro Safaris but we still waited in line for 20-25 minutes to get on the ride. Every safari ride is different and this time we had a great view of the giraffes. There were quite a few of them situated very close to the dirt road and when you drove past, all you saw was their body and the base of their neck. There were even a couple babies which was very cute.

 

 

While we waited for our fastpass at Kali River Rapids, we went through the Maharajah Jungle Trek which I usually prefer over Gorilla Falls. The tigers weren’t on display because they were readying the area for breeding which was a shame but we already knew that. We headed straight for the aviaries – They’re somewhat small areas but I like going through them and using the provided guides to identify all the different birds. 

The standby line for Kali River Rapids was claiming to be a 90 minute wait but there was a HUGE discrepancy in that number. WE didn’t even need the Fastpass because everyone in the line was walking right onto the ride. I threw a poncho on because I was wearing a white dress which made me feel lame especially when our raftmates were poking fun at me. As we came down the largest hill at the end, I was facing backwards and a tsunami of water came right over my head and gushed all over me. I got drenched despite the poncho. The river had it out for me because I was wearing a poncho.   -_-

 

This is where the line started and you can see the start of the ride right there.

 

I guess you cant even see it, but I was soaked all the way up my back.

 

It was around 3:30 or so at this point so we began making our way to the car with a quick stop at the Anandapur Ice Cream Truck for some yummy soft serve.

 

 

We went back to the hotel and I watched HGTV while Brady took a nap and we were back out the door around 6:30 pm headed for the Magic Kingdom. We were staying the farthest away from this park and it takes the longest to transport into so it was around 7 by the time we got into the park which really isn’t bad for the Magic Kingdom. We wandered over to Tomorrowland to ride Buzz Lightyear but the line was longer than the standby line claimed and the air inside was stagnant so we jumped out of line. We grabbed a raspberry smoothie and started walking the trail behind Tomorrowland Speedway and it was so pretty and pleasant until we realized that the reason it was so quiet was because it was a smoking area and you had to walk through the clouds of smoke instead of past it.

Side note: It never ceases to amaze me how many people I see at Disney World that are sitting around in a smoke cloud with their kids just hanging out with them or strapped next to them in their strollers. It’s sad and it makes me sick. 

 

 

We walked right onto Dumbo which was a childhood throwback. The last time I rode Dumbo was actually in Disneyland when I was 9.

 

 

Then we jumped onto the railroad and did the whole circuit around the Magic Kingdom which was fun since I’ve never done it before. The best section for me is definitely between the Fronteirland Station and The Fantasyland Station. 

 

 

We got off the train just at sunset and made our way over to the Little Mermaid ride. There was a hold up for a few minutes but it was still only a 10-15 minute wait. I know it’s a kiddy type of ride but I always like to do this one – It’s a dark conveyor-belt buggy ride (in your own clam shell!) that takes you through the scenes of the Little Mermaid. My favorite scene is where all the sea creatures are performing the song “Under the Sea”.

Next up was the same type of ride but a new one to me; The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh takes you into the storybook in your own Hunny Pot. Imagineers have created some interactive areas within the line to keep the little ones entertained while you wait. One of the interactions was this wall of honey (pictured below) where you could use your hand to wipe away the honey and uncover characters. Fun fact: It seemed that my rings allowed me to do the drawings without even touching the screen.

 

The Tangled Rapunzel tower and bathrooms.

 

After getting off of the Pooh ride, we wandered around before finding a spot to watch the beginning of the fireworks. I wanted to stay close to the edge since I get anxiety from being stuck in large crowds. We also wanted to be on the edge so we could dip out a little early and head to Fronteirland to use our 9:15 pm Fastpass (our 4th reservation for the day) for Big Thunder Mountain. I’d read that this was a good one to ride at night so I was glad we’d snagged a Fastpass. I probably would have skipped watching the fireworks, but I also knew that this was the last time we’d see Wishes (the show) before the new Happily Ever After show replaced it 3 days later.

We watched the first half of the fireworks before we left for Fronteirland. We picked up a Dole Whip on the way. We finished watching the Fireworks outside of Big Thunder Mountain where there was a decent view. The fireworks show soundtrack gets being blasted around the park and there were quite a few people that had been just watching the show from Fronteirland. Once the the show ended, we walked right onto the ride using our Fastpass. It was good for us since standby was a 30 minute wait. By the time we got off, the Fastpass line itself was at least a 20 minute wait.

I have to say that Big Thunder Mountain really is SO much better at nighttime. Not to say it’s bad during the day, but it was a lot more fun only having the glow of the moon to give hints as to where you’re going around the track.

 

Big Thunder Mountain lit up at night.

 

At this point, we left Fronteirland to stroll back to Main Street and enjoy the quiet streets of Liberty Square on the way. The wait for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train had dipped to 30 minutes during the fireworks but had jumped back up to 90 minutes by the time we reached the castle so we decided to skip it and head towards the entrance before the Celebrate the Magic projection show on the castle started at 9:45. 

 

 

The biggest miscalculation of this trip was how long it was going to take to get back to the car. We started walking out of the park towards transportation before the the projection show ended but the lines for the monorail were looking pretty long. In hindsight, the monorail was probably the MUCH better option. 

We jumped in line for the ferry and it was a dodging game to try and slide as far forward as we could without being blatantly rude. We waited 45 minutes just to get onto the ferry. I was struggling with being stuck in a crowd of people and was trying not to have a panic attack so we jockeyed our way into a position so that once we got on the ferry, we’d be on the front line to get off and I’d have full breathing room. I decided to document this by taking a picture to show the contrast of the open view in front of me vs the packed crowd behind me. I made a silly face and noise as I did this which caused a group of girls to start dying of laughter which you can see in the photo below. 

It took almost 10 seconds for me to realize that I was the reason that they had started laughing… Oh well. Even if they were laughing at me I’m glad I was able to make them laugh their butts off.

 

I think we finally made it back to our hotel by 11 pm which was late considering our plan to be at Epcot for rope drop the next morning. Magic Kingdom felt extremely crowded to me even though it was low season. The transportation speed was also the worst I’ve ever experienced so that was also a bummer.

Still, it was a great Disney day and we still had three more to go! 

 

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