Disney World, Vacation

Disney World Day 2: Animal Kingdom and 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. The only park opening we missed during the week was on Thursday at the Magic Kingdom – which I’ll recap soon – but of all the other parks, the opening at Animal Kingdom was spectacular. They told us 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! However, since we did it twice in a row, it gave Brady a bit of stomach trouble so I browsed the shop in the middle of Africa while he sat. We were also trying to kill time before the 10 am train left for Rafiki’s Planet Watch. 

 

 

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 some of the animals in the morning and I was hoping we’d get to see that. Unfortunately the window was closed for refurbishing so we spent some time talking to one of the people there named Alex and he shared a lot of behind the scenes information with us and answered any questions we had. 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 the whole thing happened so quickly but it was a fun moment since she grabbed Brady and pulled him in on the fun as well. I’d share the photos but they’re PhotoPass watermarked and I don’t wanna get in trouble.

 

 

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. We also stopped at the bathroom and while I was waiting for Brady, 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 it still took about 20-25 minutes to get on the ride. The best view we had of any of the animals was the giraffes. There was a good number of them that were situated very close to the dirt road and we were so close that when you drove past, all you saw was their main 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 probably prefer over the other. The tigers weren’t on display because they were readying the area for the male and female to breed but we knew that going in so we went straight for the aviaries. I like going through them because they have guides you can use to help find and identify the birds they have in that area. Brady and I have a thing for watching nature so this is always a fun spot for us.

The standby line for Kali River Rapids (KRR) 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. The river had it out for me because as we came down the largest hill, I was facing backwards and a tsunami of water came gushing down straight on top of me and I. Got. Drenched. Sigh.

(The line going into KRR)

 

 

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 so we could get to the Magic Kingdom. We were 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. We wandered over to Tomorrowland to ride Buzz Lightyear but the line was longer than I think the standby line claimed and the air was a bit stagnant which was making me feel sick 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 it 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. Judgy rant over.

 

 

We walked right onto Dumbo which was a childhood throwback. The last time I rode that ride was actually in Disneyland when we first moved the US 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. 

 

 

Once we got off, it was just at sunset and we made our way over to ride 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 moving buggy dark ride (where you ride in your own clam shell) that takes you through the scenes of the Little Mermaid so it’s an infant friendly ride. My favorite scene is when you go through the largest room where all the sea creatures are performing “Under the Sea”.

Our next ride was the same type of ride but it’s one I’d never done before and was really interested in trying. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh takes you into the storybook on another buggy but this time instead of a clam shell, you get to ride in your own Hunny Pot. One of the neat things they’ve done with this ride actually comes before the ride, they’ve given some interactive areas to keep the little ones entertained while you wait through line. One of those things was this wall of honey (pictured below) where you could use your hand to wipe away the honey to uncover characters or just to draw patterns in the honey. It seemed that my rings allowed me to do the drawings without even touching the screen which was a funny discovery.

 

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 being stuck in a crowd especially if it gets too warm. We also wanted to be on the edge so we could dip out a little early and head for Fronteirland to use our 9:15 pm Fastpass (our 4th reservation) for Big Thunder Mountain. I’d read that this was a good one to ride at night so I was glad we snagged the Fastpasses. 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 starting to walk over to Fronteirland and we picked up a Dole Whip on the way. We finished watching the Fireworks outside of Big Thunder Mountain which was a pretty good view (the soundtrack is being blasted around the park) and there were quite a few people that had been just watching the show from that area. We jumped straight into line and walked right onto the ride even though there was a 30 minute standby. By the time we got off, the Fastpass line itself was probably at least 20 minutes.

So I do have to say that Big Thunder Mountain is SO much better at night than it is in the day. Not to say it’s bad during the daytime, 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.

 

Once we got off we decided to stroll back to the hub and enjoy the quiet streets of Frontierland and Liberty Square. We noticed that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train wait had dipped to 30 minutes but it had jumped back up to 90 minutes by the time we reached the castle so we decided to skip and head towards the entrance before the Celebrate the Magic projection show on the castle started at 9:45. 

 

 

The biggest thing that I miscalculated on 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, that 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 too 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 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 from the ferry towards the landing dock and then turning the photo around and capturing the crowd of people 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 we were getting up early again to be at Epcot for rope drop. Magic Kingdom felt very crowded to me which is sad considering it was low season and the transportation speed was the worst we’ve had it on any of the trips I’ve been on before so that was a bummer.

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

 

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