At 6am Monday morning the alarm goes off, and we head over to our home for the week. We have to stop in at the resort to get our magic bands activated before we can go to our breakfast ADR in the park.
Still groggy, I take a few quick cell phone pictures as we walk up in the dark stillness. The sound of crickets and birds quietly drift across as you head to the doors.
There’s a savannah out there, I’m told.
Very Lion King. Also the last time you will see a sunrise photo from me.
Check in was very smooth, but they had no anniversary buttons left. Every time we checked back, they still didn’t have any and we never got any offer to have some dropped off. I was told to stop at Guest Services in the park, but whenever we thought to do so there was always a line and we just didn’t want to wait. So we never did get any.
The room wasn’t ready yet, but I certainly didn’t expect one at that hour. Our bands got activated, and we headed on over to the first park for the trip.
Parked in the Unicorn lot.
How pretty these were, with the early morning dew and sun turning them into glittering fluffs.
A few quick shots. (I was LOVING this selfie stick. As much a fan as I am of photopass photographers, the ability to grab a shot together anywhere anytime was amazing.)
Some photos of the entrance – before getting nudged by Chris to get a move on for breakfast.
Tusker House! Since we were staying at Kidani, we decided to go the full African food experience and start by grabbing breakfast here. I figured it was a good way to fill up before taking on the park as I’m not fond of most of the other food choices in Animal Kingdom.
We check in, and get our photopass picture taken.
I get a few shots of the waiting area before our name is called and we’re seated.
Once we’ve got a table I take a quick run through the food stations and get photos, before grabbing a selection and letting Chris get his plate.
While he’s gone, Donald comes around. I get my camera settings in place while he’s at the next table and next thing I know I have a duck in my viewfinder. :rotfl:
Chris got back in time for the rest of the crew.
I commented to Goofy – “Oh my, you’re tall. But I like tall guys *gesture at Chris*.” Goofy makes a blushy motion and then gives me a big bear hug.
I texted my mom – “Tragedy averted! Almost left breakfast without Mickey waffles.”
I thought I’d taken more food shots but I must have skipped it in favor of the general photos. I got up at 6am, I wasn’t exactly running on all cylinders yet! So I’ll just sum up what I had and what I thought. I tried just about everything other than the basic bagels/pastries and fruit. I just don’t do bananas.
The bobotie was interesting – until I hit a raisin. Then it got weird. I warned Chris to stay away from the bobotie. He doesn’t do fruit with his meat. (oh behave)
The mealie pap was soo good. It had cheese and sautéed onions for sure, kind of a smoother porridge grits. The mealie cornbread was also very tasty, again a finer grain cornmeal gave it such a cool texture. Like the lightness of a flour muffin.
The potato and leek frittata wasn’t bad. It needed something.
All the standards – biscuits and gravy, bacon, tater tots, were as you’d expect.
The ham was good but SALTY. There was a mustard sauce that was STRONG but good. Go lightly and you’ll be happy.
I thought the Jungle Juice (Orange Juice, Guava Juice, Passion Fruit Juice) was pretty good. Chris took a sip and pushed the glass towards me. When I told him the fanatical following it has and the lengths some go to to get more he gave me a look. He was not feeling it.
I personally enjoyed the food better at Crystal Palace – Chris especially was missing the custom omelette station. The character interaction here was amazing however. So if you’ve got kids, give this place a go. They’ve got the standard “safe” foods for them. Otherwise, I’m glad I hit it once, and probably won’t need to again.
We headed out towards our first FP+ of the day. Stopping for the random photo or shop for pin trading along the way, Chris spotted this in one little store.
Ancient tape deck. Do you see the tape in it?
A little closer. Yes – they actually have a Lion King cassette in there. Details! Disney knows how to do them right.
Speaking of details – you know these wires don’t go to anything live, but just look at this “authentic” mess of a box on the side of the shop hooking it up to the electrical pole.
Our first ride of the day was an easy pick – early morning, full belly – let’s go sit quietly somewhere!
Sure the Kilimanjaro Safari trucks aren’t the smoothest ride, but it’s not Dinosaur! at least. I’ve heard that early morning is a good bet to see the most animals, so I knew this was the must-do right after breakfast.
As we hoped – we did indeed get a very good ride with a great variety of animals out and about. I’ll just let the photos do the talking:
After the warthog our journey ended.
You can see it all live (albeit a bit shaky – go easy, the cameraman is an intern ) on the video:
We had a bit of time before our next FP, so we wandered to see the gorillas.
Past the lovely flowers and waterfall.
It was pretty crowded – everyone trying to get a look (and a picture with their cell phone) – so I stood off to the side and shot through the leaves.
Finally he’d had enough of us and turned around. Most people got bored and left. I took one more picture.
Then some more detail shots.
Then we stopped for a bit outside the black-and-white colobus monkey area.
It was finally time for our next FP.
It was already getting warm so I stopped for a SmartWater before getting in line.
These must be new – as they have the “share a Coke” tagline.
If you don’t recognize the queue – we’re here for
It wasn’t set up at all like I envisioned – but I wouldn’t say I’m complaining. It’s just interesting how what you picture in your head can sometimes be very different from what you experience. There are four grandstand style seating areas, and FP guests are led in first. The center is open, with each of the seating sections at compass points as it were.
Our hosts come out and introduce themselves, and are “assigned” to a particular section of seats.
Swish swish swish.
Kiume says we are in the Elephant section. He asks someone to please give his best elephant impression.
The arm gesture is there – but the sound. Well, if it were me I would have told the guy he needs to go on the Safari next and find out what an elephant sounds like…
Plenty of song. The show doesn’t follow the movie, but is its own entertainment setup. Lots of beautiful lights and color. A ton of pictures coming up and again, mostly I’ll let them stand on their own.
One of my favorite shots. The monkeys were a riot – and obviously fun to watch. Great acrobatics. I’d love to have a job where I get to trampoline and stick my tongue out at people for pay.
The fire dancer is always cool to see.
There are plenty of videos out there with the full show – but here are a few highlights:
We had one more pre-selected FP for the day but it wasn’t quite time. So we decided to get a little action in and head to Kali River Rapids. It was closed for refurb (the downside of visiting in January) during our last trip.
We packed everything into the camera bag, and put on its rain gear.
What should have been our raft…
However, the seat belt was just ridiculously short. Chris couldn’t even find where it connected. Despite some helpful tips from the CM’s to try and make it work, I abandoned ship and we headed out. I got a wet bum for nothing. :(
At least the wait time wasn’t terribly long – we killed maybe 20 minutes and I was over it before we even got out onto the main path again. My mantra this trip was “I will try everything I want and be damned what doesn’t work and be thrilled what does.” I worked hard to be here, to be healthier, and to have fun.
I texted mom: No Kali – don’t fit.
Her reply: BS
She doesn’t really swear so that made me
It really is kind of ridiculous – I have 20 feet of belt on something like Tower of Terror where I’m FREEFALLING but a little lazy river ride has a 12″ belt? Meh.
We moved on – it was time for our Fastpass for something else I didn’t get to do last trip.
First – more monkeys!
How awesome would it be if the food trucks in Detroit looked like this?
Ok for real – we had arrived. Moment of truth. I was going to see if I could ride:
In 2011 I tried the test seat and that bar just wasn’t going anywhere past my knees. Like in a “start a giggle fit hell to the no” kind of way. So we went around to the single rider line, to test it out again. There’s some dude just chillin’ in it like it’s a bench. :/
He finally decides to get up and Chris and I take a seat… and I can pull the bar up. It’s not comfortable mind you – but I’m confident I can ride!! Aww yeah.
I try a couple of shots in line to capture the excitement.
Um, hello photobomb lady…
We have to wait for the last car in the train so we can get the door that swings out to make it easier for me to get in (since that’s what’s on the test seat and what I was familiar with). I am now muttering “what the hell am I doing here?!?” to Chris. He laughs. I don’t.
I sit down. The bar actually is a teensy bit more comfortable than the test seat!
I don’t dare take pictures. Chris takes video.
Or so it feels. Especially when I see the ride photo:
The video isn’t much better:
I lose my voice most of the rest of the day. I have a bruise on the outside of my thigh (and curse the Yeti whenever I see it) that lingers for the next few days. I declare it totally worth it.
I conquered Everest.
We have one more ride we have on the “must do” before leaving Animal Kingdom for lunch – Primeval Whirl
On the way there, we pass the Winged Encounters show which was just about to end. We got to see these beautiful macaws fly overhead.
These four don’t do rush hour.
On to Dinoland!
Primeval Whirl here we come – 5 minute wait!
Setting up the video…
A quick shot of the ascent
We both did video because I wanted to compare the two cameras – but I wasn’t paying close attention to how much space I had left and mine cut out just before the end.
Ugh, I thought it would be best to sit in the middle, but I quickly was thrown around and had to scootch to the outside and throw a hand out to brace myself. After this and the Yeti I wanted a massage and/or a chiropractor. Those squeaks, yelps, and swears were not for comedic effect!
We gingerly make our way off the ride, and I get a few more shots as we walk under the track.
I never noticed the exit signs are painted on license plates before!
We were getting close to lunch time, and still had to officially get our room at Kidani, so we headed out of the park. It was a good thing anyway, as I was getting overheated. I was very happy to be able to hop the tram to our parking spot and crank the air conditioning.