Girls' Trip Day 2--Animal Kingdom

After arriving later on May 4th and settling in to our POR Royal Court room (see prior review and pics), my DD19 and I (54) started our park tour at AK on Sunday, May 5th.
With wet weather threatening, we stored our rain ponchos in our small purses and headed to the park about 11:30am. I know a lot of you are thinking 11:30am! No RD, No breakfast ressie, No morning scramble to avoid the crowds and heat??? Yes, that’s how we roll. After my DD just completed her sophomore year at Univ. of Alabama and I coming from the California, mornings are for rest and recuperation.

BTW, this was only our 2nd visit to WDW. We live in CA so DLR is our Happiest Place on Earth. Our first WDW visit was in Presidents’ Week 2011 with DH & DS.

Not wanted to waste time waiting for a bus, we took an Uber directly to AK and was dropped off close to the entrance. Worth the $8. No lines to get in and you can see the joy on my sweet girl’s face!

We headed to our first FPP destination which was KS. We had only ridden this ride once before in Feb. 2011, and didn’t see many animals that time so we were pleasantly surprised to see hippo, hyenas, giraffes, elephants, rhinos, lions, etc…Loved it!

After KS, we walked through Gorilla Falls…Didn’t see any primates but loved the colorful fish and birds.

Now it’s about 1pm, and we are hot and sticky…Thank you Florida weather. An inviting Dole Cool Whip hit the spot, and brought back childhood memories of DL Enchanted Tiki Room.

The poor lady behind me needs a refreshing Dole Whip too!

We then explored Pandora…I was definitely impressed; then dismayed when we discovered that FoP was offline. I didn’t know that Disney automatically converts FFPs to Anytime FPPs when rides go offline. What a relief to be able to go back to the ride anytime later in the day and use your FPP! I hadn’t read that in all my research. These situations make you really appreciate advances in tech and the ease of the Disney app.

So we posed for photos with a handsome CM photographer in front of the big Pandora waterfall.

It looks like the water is pouring right over my Delta Gamma Girl.

Here’s one of the CM pics that I bought. Didn’t purchase a MM because I only liked 3 pics from our entire trip.

Toured the rest of Pandora hoping FoP would open up…The line for Navi River was posted at 60 min so no thanks.


Hello Florida Thunderstorm!!! We chose to tour the most open park on the worst day of thunderstorms during our trip.

At least we look cute in our colorful ponchos.

The heavy rain was off and on for about 90 mins which wasn’t too bad, but the lightening closed down EE. Thank Disney for Anytime FPP conversions. We avoided most of the heavy rain and lightening by seeking shelter under an Asia tin roof (real smart–metal conduct lightening). We laughed when we saw a young father walking backwards to protect the two soft serve ice cream cones from the rain.

By then we were hungry so after the heavy raindrops subsided we headed back to Pandora to get a late lunch at Satu’li Canteen–wasn’t impressed! I didn’t like the interior design; it felt like just one big hanger. I also didn’t like how you entered through a gauntlet of strollers and outdoor tables and chairs. It didn’t create a good first impression. We got our meals fast and luckily the dining hall was pretty quiet. My DD didn’t like her Slow Roasted Beef Bowl. She asked for the sauce on the side and it was refrigerator cold…yuck! It just had no real discernible taste. I ordered off menu and asked for an adult cheeseburger pod meal (after researching all the Disney Foodie blogs). I would recommend it. The pods were tasty but needed more meat and cheese and less dough. The chips and slaw were delicious.

After lunch we headed to the day’s headliner…FoP which had opened up again and the FPP was quite quick. This would be our first time riding FoP.
FoP was one of the definite highlights of our trip and OUR FAVORITE RIDE!
We were totally thrilled but the immersive experience…I kept wondering what it would have been like if I had indulged in DreamWalker Sangria before the ride! For the rest of the day, we kept talking about the incredible visuals and interactive splendor. Way to go, Disney Imagineers!
We then rode EE which is our favorite rollercoaster at WDW–another top immersive experience…love the detail and afterwards I swore to my DD that we went upside-down but she said I was nuts!

We went back to Pandora because the wait for Navi River shortened to 20 min. It was just ok…I liked the beautiful colors and the ride brought some relief from the heat and humidity, but NR just didn’t tell a story…boring!
Rode Dinosaur—Please Disney make this into a Indiana Jones Adventure (another excuse to go back to DLR)…This ride was very sad and dated.
We shopped a bit and then finished our day at The Lion King Festival–lovely colorful musical for the entire family!

We left AK before sundown which was a bum since I love the parks at night and hadn’t seen Pandora lit up. But we had to get back to POR to freshen up before our dinner at AKL Jiko which we enjoyed.


DH thought we went upside down too and I also looked at him like he was nuts. :rofl::rofl::rofl:

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Even though I “know” that it doesn’t actually go upside down, every time I ride it I have a hard time believing that it doesn’t . . . something totally crazy happens with my equilibrium on the backwards segment and I truly lose all sense of which way is up and what direction I’m moving in. :upside_down_face:

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and it’s the only ride I have experienced this true loss of sense…spatial reality…and it happens every time!:crazy_face:

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Totally loving your report! My 20 year old DS and I travel together! Aren’t those the best times? So nice to get away from the “real world” and reconnect! It’s also so much more relaxing to travel with your kids as adults and not have to worry about lugging all of our worldly possessions to the park! I loved our adventures when he was little but I really love them now too!!

I am laughing at the woman in your dole whip pic. She definitely has what I call “theme park face”. It’s the look that haggard, hot parents get in the afternoon at any theme park. It’s the “I paid too much to be here and this isn’t fun” look! :joy::joy: I have really tried to slow our touring style down over the years to hopefully avoid this look!

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I hear ya! My children are now DS 17 and DD almost 20. I remember those stressful days when you had to have a stroller even when they could walk because you took so much to the park, and the constant keeping an eye on where they were (our DD until about 5 was a constant wanderer). Luckily until the kids were 8 & 11, we lived 25 min from DLR and had APs so much less stress to get your money and time’s worth at the parks.
On this WDW trip, we witnessed parents needing to chill firsthand. If you don’t have young kids with you, I think you notice it more. I try to help them out if they are in close proximately and there is something I can do like pick up something that fell or distract the crying child. But there are somethings you witness…In line for The Haunted Mansion, we saw a very pissed off mom literally yank her 8-10 yo son by the foot (he almost lost his balance) to move him to the side to shove his shoe back. She loudly chewed him out because he was the reason they couldn’t get in the “elevator” portion of the ride and now they had to wait. As soon, as she got his shoe back on he cowered behind dad. She continued going off until the lights went down and the portraits began to stretch. She was scarier than the ride! Yikes! Hopefully he rode the doom buggy with Dad!