7/29 - Animal Kingdom + HDDR
Ok, these daily reports are long y’all!! So sorry.
Today was the closest we got to sleeping in. It was an 8am EMH at AK but we were skipping Pandora today and RD Dinosaur (I know y’all. Don’t judge) so I wasn’t in a big hurry. Plus we had 3 anytime FPs from last night’s storms on top of our 3 prebooked ones so I was anticipating a pretty low key day. Goal was to be in the park by 9.
I was planning on waking up at 7, waking the kids up at 7:30 and hopping into our car by 8. All of us ended up being awake on our own before we had to be which was so nice!! We all ate some breakfast in the room and headed to hop in the car.
Our Lyft dropped us off just before 8:45 and there seemed to be a ton of people arriving!!! Fortunately, they were prepared and had a bunch of additional bag check stations set up off to the side which no one else seemed to be noticing so we went to one of those and got through in a minute or so.
We made it through taps and headed in and met resistance where they were holding non-resort guests off until 9. I thought “dang. They are making it tough on us to get it!!” and excused myself up through the masses until finally asking someone if they were scanning resort guests in at the front of everyone. She told me, no, that resort guests should’ve gone to the left of Oasis Trails to scan while non-resort guests were being held to the right of Oasis Trails. Oops. By this time is was 8:55 so we just camped out and slugged our way in with the non-resort crowd at 9.
We made our way over to Dinoland and walked right into the pre-show at Dinosaur. When we got off the kids wanted to go again so we used one of our anytime FPs to ride again. Then we rode Triceratops Spin, grabbed some frozen lemonades from a snack cart in Dinoland and made our way over to Expedition Everest.
Those lemonades take DD5 forever to eat so it was a nice treat for her to have while DS and DNiece rode EE. I had them ride once with their FPs and a second time with DD5 and DD8’s FPs. I had also thought we could play at the Boneyard during this hour too but we didn’t really have time having to RS EE and it was way too hot anyway. When DNiece and DS went on their second ride DD8 declared she realllly needed to go to the bathroom!!! So her and DD5 and I went to the ones near the Finding Nemo theater and had DNiece and DS meet us there when they were done with their second ride. My plan had been to use my EE FP to ride solo before the 11:00 Finding Nemo show. The kids all hung out in the stroller parking area for the show while I hustled back to ride. I didn’t get over there until 10:42 or something and decided I’d be too stressed about the time if I hopped in line so I just grabbed a frozen banana from the snack cart right there and went to meet the kids.
Then we headed into Finding Nemo! I loved this show in February when we went and it was just as good the second time around this trip! I got “Big Blue World” stuck in my head the rest of the day. I love the whole production of this show. The puppetry, singing and overall performance is simply excellent. A great break from the heat too.
After Finding Nemo, the kids were hot and crying “let’s go home!! We want to take a break!” and not responding well when I told them we likely had three more hours left in the park. Our plan after the show was to ride KRR and I played that up big to the kids. “We’re gonna get so wet guys!!! It’ll be so refreshing!!! Woohoo!!!” We made it over there and put our stuff into lockers fully expecting to all come back drenched. We hadn’t ever had a chance to ride KRR before as it’s always been closed for refurb when we’ve gone in January/February. I LOVED the queue!! I’m sure it would’ve gotten less entertaining waiting in it in SB but we didn’t have to wait long and enjoyed studying all the little design details. The kids enjoyed shouting out all of the fruits they recognized in the fruit carts they had set up as a part of the queue.
We finally got on the ride with great anticipation! Please get us wet KRR!! Well, SOME of us got wet. Like, soaking wet. BUT DS and DD8 and the other family in the raft with us barely got more than a spray. Overall, and I know this is a common complaint for KRR, it felt too short. We loved the ride in UOR that is similar — someone’s barge?? Can’t remember the name. We rode that multiple times and wound up soaked. I’d much prefer the ride there than KRR. Oh well!! We all at least got cooled off and DD5 and DNiece got soaked.
After KRR we grabbed our stuff out of the lockers and went down MJT. I was disappointed in this trail this time around. It seemed as if several animals were “out foraging” and they had recently acquired a new family of bats who weren’t on display yet as they were still acclimating to their new environment. The kids did enjoy the aviary but the birds were all pretty inactive because it was so hot.
By the time we came out of MJT it was 12:45 and we were hungry. I mobile ordered some food at Harambe Market. I over ordered but wanted the kids to try a Frozen Lemonade and I wanted a Leopard’s Eye. Both ok in taste but refreshing because they were cold!!! I also ordered corn dogs for the kids, chicken bowl for myself (super tasty!) and a most beautiful cake (it was ok. The outer icing is almost jello-ish in texture which is weird. But the cake tasted good.). Oh and more water. We easily went through the two cases I ordered from Prime plus 4-8 waters per day in the parks. We weren’t gambling with hydrating y’all!
Around 1:20 we headed toward the Wildlife Train. We had never been to Rafiki’s before and we had FPs for the new Animation Experience there for the 1:45 show. We were so excited!!! Especially DNiece who is a super talented artist and did the Animation Class at HS back in the day when it was still up and running.
I think our FP was technically from 1:25-1:40 for the 1:45 show. We showed up right around 1:40 and they had started letting people in stand by into class but we made it in just fine. I had gotten a FP for it just to be safe (I didn’t want to trek all the way out there to find the class full) but I think it would’ve been fine if we had showed up around 1:30 or so without one.
The animator welcomed everyone to class, made sure we all had our paper/clipboards/pencil and introduced the class. We were drawing Ed, the lowest ranking male hyena from The Lion King. He showed us a short video clip of one of the hyenas on the safaris at AK that the Disney animators used to model their live action hyenas around. He said that those animators had come out to AK to study the animals there on the safaris, which I thought was so cool! Anyway, we started the class and 20ish minutes later we were done!! It was so fun you guys. I was nervous that DD5 would get frustrated and feel like she hadn’t done a good job but she didn’t. All of the kids loved it!! With an 8 year age range amongst the kids in my group I’d call that a win for sure. I really enjoyed it too! I am not talented in the drawing department at all but I kept up with the instruction and was happy with my end product.
After our class, we explored Conservation Station for a while. We were sad there weren’t any animal procedures going on when we were there. They had the day’s schedule on the tv in the operating room but it would be helpful if you could access that schedule information somewhere outside of Conservation Station to help plan your visit. The kids had a blast petting the animals outside (what kid doesn’t right?!) and I had to coax them to leave so we could have a decent break before dinner.
We rode the train back to Africa, stopped into Creature Comforts (I NEED my espresso. It’s essential.), and decided to walk the Discovery Island Trails on our way out. We ran into Pocahontas with a couple of CMs but no PhotoPass people. She also had zero people lined up to meet her so I’m assuming she was heading in for break. But the CMs offered to take a picture of us with her using my phone so we stopped for that. Then, pointed out animals on the Tree of Life as we walked along. Grabbed a car and got into our room for a break just before 4.
We got a Minnie Van to take us to Fort Wilderness around 5:30 for the 6:15 HDDR show. It was kind of looking like rain when we got there so we got checked in and hung underneath the side porch until they rung the dinner bell and almost everyone else had gone in. HDDR seems to always get shuffled around in my plans somehow. Last trip, I had booked Category 1 and then had to switch our night to see the show and were left with only Category 3 as a choice. This time, the same thing happened but we managed to be able to snag Category 2, which I was hoping would be a decent step up from 3. We were still sat in the balcony but in the center so we had a great angle to view the stage.
I love this freaking show. It is hilarious, y’all. If you can appreciate some good ol’ slapstick humor and have never seen it do yourself a favor and go. We were all dying laughing and the kids were cheering and singing and having a ball participating in the show. The food is secondary in the appeal of this show to us but we ate plenty to fill our bellies. DNiece teased my kids a bit because they are completely clueless in how to eat chicken off of a bone. Total southern mama fail on my part. I hate eating meat off of a bone so I hardly ever serve it at home.
As we finished up our server came over and gave each of us a ballpoint pen with his name and some other information on it. He explained to us that he is celebrating his 40th (!!!) anniversary there with the show and is giving all of his customers pens as a way to commemorate the milestone. I thought that was so awesome! I was amazed at how many CMs we chatted with who have been with Disney for decades. It’s incredible!
After this our evening took a frustrating turn. I didn’t realize that Lyft couldn’t pick us up where our Minnie Van had dropped us off but at some other spot. My Lyft driver was there but couldn’t come to where we were but didn’t tell us to move…he just said he’d be there shortly. Well, he never showed up. I had no idea where we should be going to get to the ride share pick up spot so we hopped on a bus to MK. I decided to order a Minnie Van to take us back from there. It was rumbling with lots of thunder and lightening and my Minnie Van driver could not figure out where we were. DS had said he needed to go to the bathroom right when we got there but I thought our MV was minutes from arriving to pick us up and he said he could wait. Well, 20 minutes (and three phone calls with our driver) later we finally figure out what’s wrong - he went to TTC, not the MK bus stop - but literally one minute before he gets there DS says he cannot hold it anymore and NEEDS a bathroom. I explain it to our driver and he says he’ll wait and that there’s a bathroom just up past the bus stop. DNiece stays there with the girls while I try to take him. I’m stopped by a security CM and told I have to go through security to take him to that one but that there’s another one in between bus stations. Oh my word. I hustle him over there and he goes in record time. We finally make it back to the bus stop and head home. I held I together fairly well but definitely didn’t do the best I could have and had to apologize to the kids for getting frustrated during the whole process. They were sweet to tell me that it was ok and gave me great hugs. They’re the absolute best.
We finally got to bed around 11 with EMM at MK slated for the next day. I did manage to get one FP tonight from the storms to use in MK tomorrow so that’s a nice little bonus! Here’s hoping we all sleep well!