PJ Family Trip Report: Part 4, Animal Kingdom


#1

Goal for Sunday: RD AK, mid-day swim, dinner at Y&Y

Theme for the day: Holy humid disappointment Batman! (With a lovely evening)

Since we only had 2 days at the parks I decided to RD both of them. I don’t know if that was a mistake per se, but it definitely came at a cost.

We started out with a lovely PPO breakfast at Tusker house. This was a rare occasion where the whole family, even DS7, enjoyed a meal together. DS7 also enjoyed meeting the characters. DD9 probably could have done without them, but I enjoyed high-fiving Goofy :slight_smile:

I left breakfast early and walked all the way down to FoP for a DAS checkin. There’s no way DS7 was going to stand in a 2 hour line so I wanted to make the checkin early and come back around lunch.

I met the family at Safari and we had a great tour. The animals were out and we got some great pics. Really enjoyed the experience.

The TP had us doing Gorilla Falls next, but the weather forecast showed rain and thunder in the evening and I was afraid we wouldn’t be able to use our EE FP, so we called an audible and rode it standby around 10:00am. The queue wasn’t too bad, maybe 20 minutes, and DS7 did remarkably well through it.

Unfortunately, everyone (again, except me) hated the ride. Even though DS7 had seen a video and knew what to expect it scared him. I neglected to warn DD9 or DW about it going backwards, and so all 3 of them left the ride looking a bit shook.

That experience, plus the overall exhaustion and rapidly rising humidity, was putting the kids in a bad mood. I hoped that FOTLK would salvage their spirits so we resumed following the TP and made the 11:00 show. DS7 was not happy; I’d told him it was “the story of the lion king told by acrobats”, which turns out to be incorrect. It’s acrobats and characters from the story doing the songs, but with no narrative. He was not happy and while he didn’t quite throw a fit, he was unhappy through the whole thing. (For the record I thought the acrobats were amazing and generally enjoyed it)

At this point I was ready to just head back for an early rest because the kids were so totally drained and exhausted but they really wanted to do FoP, so I relented and we used the DAS to return and use the FP+ queue. This ride was interesting: it was the only one where both adults loved it, but both kids hated it. (DS7 now says he only “kind of” hated it, just the drops. DD9 remains steadfast in total opposition) I thought the ride was amazing and I was SO BUMMED they hated it, because I’d planned to use DAS to ride a 2nd time in the evening.

We had lunch at Flame Tree BBQ to give everyone some calories and that really helped. I liked the food and was able to enjoy a cold beer which always improves my mood, and the kids at least ate enough to improve their moods a bit and resume acting like real people and not robots.

Due to the heat and humidity we called another audible. Instead of walking Maharajah the kids went to the Boneyard and I went back to Africa for a Dole Whip. (I grabbed one en route to FOTLK but it was a sloppy mess and I had to throw half of it away to enter the auditorium, and I wanted to properly enjoy one. Not sure I’d call these things God’s gifts to desserts, but it was damn tasty

Boneyard helped the kids get back into things but we wanted to take a proper break so we went back to swim. Got lucky and was able to use a bus instead of a Minnie Van for once. Got about an hour of pool time in before they closed it due to lightning in the area. The Powers That Be did not want us to enjoy Stormalong Bay!

Despite the short swim we were feeling revived so we decided to keep our 545 ADR at Y&Y. Another Minnie Van and another trek through AK and we were seated in a nice upstairs corner spot. DS7 didn’t care for his meal (no surprise) but the rest of us really enjoyed ours. It was our final TS meal on the DP so we did it up right.

With full bellies we went outside to find the temperature had dropped and it was turning into a nice evening, but unfortunately we got a late email saying that Navi was down for maintenance and we wouldn’t be able to use our FP for it. ARGH! They gave us a bonus FP but at this point there was nothing we wanted to ride that we needed a FP for.

Disappointed, we watched the light show on the Tree of Life (amazing) and then headed over to Dinoland for Primeval Whirl. DW wanted no part of it so the kids and I rode together, basically a walk-on at 7:15 at night, and we all loved it. We did it twice in a row and had a blast.

Finally, we trekked one final time across the park to see Pandora at night. It was a pale substitute for Navi (I’m guessing) but it was still pretty neat.

Like idiots we called a Minnie Van instead of taking the bus that was ready (didn’t see the bus until after MV confirmed pickup time), but we had another pleasant CM experience on the way home that made it OK. On the ride back it rained like CRAZY and the CM said he hadn’t seen weather like this since June. Figures.

All in all AK went nothing like I’d planned and I was bummed that the kids didn’t like more of the rides, and it got pretty rough mid-day, but we had a really nice evening experience that made up for it.

Back to the hotel for some late night packing - they grab the bags at 8:00am as we transition to the cruise part of our trip! So long WDW… I think we’ll come back, a bit wiser next time :slight_smile:


#2

Thank you for sharing your trip! I always feel like the heavens open up when we hit a meal that my whole family likes and has a good time at. Glad you got one of those at Tusker House. Let us know how everyone likes the cruise.


#3

Thanks for these great trip reports. They were a pleasure to read


#4

Thanks for the report! None of my family have done Pandora - it wasn’t open the last time we were there (2017). So it will be very interesting to see what happens.