Our decision to skip the Magic Kingdom last night was, it turns out, a wise one. Freddie set the tone by sleeping for a full twelve hours and I think we all needed that early night and some extra sleep. Of course, being decidedly middle-aged I didn’t benefit too much as my days of sleeping for twelve hours ended sometime in the early 90’s when the girls destroyed my ability to sleep beyond 8am or have a positive bank balance.
We were all up, dressed and out by 9.30am and unusually so early in a trip, heading for a second day at Animal Kingdom. In its early years you’d be lucky to get a full day out of this park but now it’s all grown up and a place you can spend multiple days with no issue.
Unlike our last visit, we had some useful FastPasses and after arriving and taking the obligatory “I’m at Animal Kingdom” photos….
our stroll brought us to Everest for around 10.20 to use our first FastPass of the day.
With baby swap sorted, Rebecca and Tom rode first and I took the chance to play the “Ready Steady Go ” game again with Freddie over by the wall. The rest of us then rode taking more obligatory photos and screaming in a way that might call into question my masculinity.
It seems that everyone else in our party has forgotten how to do things of a morning. Only I had prepared for maximum touring efficiency by having breakfast in the villa so now we needed to feed people. This will not be tolerated on a long term basis.
We wandered over towards the area near the safari looking for something suitable. As testament to how long it has been since we sought food in this area, we approached Tusker House. In years gone by this was counter service style (I think) and you could sit out back and listen to someone washing up. If you know, you know.
However, now it appears to be a high-end dining experience at $55 per head for lunch, which they were now taking seating for. This was not what we were looking for so we snuck away and went next door to the little bakery thing and ordered some sweet stuff and drinks. I mean, as if any idiot would blow that much cash on a walk-in last-minute lunch in a theme park. Seriously, what sort of fool……I can’t imagine anyone being so silly…..anyway, onwards……
I appreciate that I had already eaten breakfast but if you think I was going to sit and watch everyone else eat without tucking in, then where have you been all these years? The danish thing above was lovely.
I have to be honest, I don’t remember what this is, or who ate it. It looks veggy friendly so probably Emily.
This photo doesn’t do justice to the size of this thing. A phrase I have never used before.
So we sat and ate our stuff for a bit, forming a nice sweat in the ludicrous heat.
Hopefully, you can still see Freddie there despite his camouflage.
Like a hungry chick, he awaits his chunks of Mickey-shaped goodness.
Having wasted vital touring minutes with non-essentials such as eating, we finally moved on to the gorilla trail thing. I accept that may not be the attraction’s formal name.
I apologise now for the nakedness in this next photo.
Freddie found these little chaps fascinating and a kindly cast member allowed him under the rope so he could go right up to the glass for a better look. I promised I wouldn’t tell anybody.
At this point, after a good breakfast, inevitably, we encountered turtlehead.
Whilst Freddie dealt with that, I “toad” him I’d be just next door with this chap.
We continued our tour of the various animals…..
At one point coming face to face with my future reality.
I made a mental note perhaps to skip dessert this evening.
One more photo from the Freddie with animals series…..
These were impressive Zebras….
but next to them were mere cats, so I didn’t take their photo.
We spent a good amount of time watching the gorillas as they were all close to the window and one of them had a newborn. I took several photos, all of them failing to capture it.
I assumed that the baby’s head was that hairy thing inbetween the Mum’s legs. I didn’t want to contemplate the possibility that it wasn’t!
Onwards further along the trail and to the silverback, avoiding decent photos of himself since 1997.
As we exited the trail we had fifteen minutes to kill before being the allowable ten minutes early for our safari FastPass. We spent that time in the shop, browsing and not buying. Some liquids were onboarded though.
We needn’t have bothered killing that time as when we tried to enter the ride via the FastPass queue the signs to the stroller parking for FastPass guests were so confusing and incoherent that it took about twenty minutes to find it. Moist, mad and middle-aged, I harrumphed my way back to the queue.
Eventually, amidst my many tuts, we boarded our truck.
A more paranoid person with hang-ups about their weight may have felt the universe was talking to them….
Overall, with this being almost the middle of the day, we’ve seen more on other safaris, but we did OK.
If you like giraffes this will be your favourite trip report day ever.
Our guide told us that giraffes only sleep for about twenty minutes at a time. That took me back to Rebecca’s newborn days. Clearly, she is part giraffe.
Freddie with his, “why is Grandad taking all these photos” face.
and this may be the most anyone has seen of the lions on any AK safari in living memory…..
It was now 12.55 which left about four and a half minutes to get the next Lion King show. We used all of the available time and just took our seats as the show was starting, with the benefit of not having to learn the hand jive stuff whilst we waited.
I did some more Facebook live-ing here….so if you want to watch it, and why wouldn’t you, here you go.
We left the show high on the joy it always brings and headed for Pandora. We had a Navi FastPass at 13.55. See how our touring experience seamlessly flows when I don’t have to re-plan it on the day.
On our way there, we decided we needed a drink. Normal families might alight at a drinks cart and get some water and cokes and spend about $3.50 each. Not us. We spotted the new Nomad Lounge next to Tiffins and decided to have a look. As I approached the cast member out front, my tired, weary legs spotted the plush looking banquettes (this place is too posh for just sofas) and as soon as the cast member confirmed we could bring a napping Freddie in, still in his stroller, I was sold.
This place is lovely. Very comfortable seating, top class service, lovely cocktails (and the diet coke is fine) and a lovely setting. It’s odd that it is right in the middle of a theme park yet somehow they have managed to make it feel secluded and peaceful.
We chose from the menus, not only ordering cocktails at the price of a weekly shop back home but also some “light bites”. If they want us to keep visiting this place they should reconsider their marketing messaging of their food.
The cocktails arrived first….
Hmm, diet coke…..
Then our lunch.
Those were the sliders, and these the chicken satay….
I had the bread service, because, presented with that as an option, why on earth wouldn’t you?
We spent over an hour here and enjoyed every second. We also Facetimed my Mum & Dad back home….all this and WiFi too! It was peaceful, relaxing and with lovely food and drink. So yes, with multiple rounds of cocktails, we blew $200 on a walk-in last-minute lunch in a theme park, but that figure, which would horrify me back home, meant little. We work so hard to get on these trips that every now and again you have to do things like this and I loved it.
Our relaxing time here meant that we had just gone past our FastPass for Navi. We decided to head there anyway, hoping the ten minutes grace period would save us and it did. Between getting from the front entrance and down the path to the queue, the heavens opened, and we got a few seconds of a drenching, which wasn’t all that unwelcome, other than we were then stood in air conditioning for a few minutes.
This isn’t a thrill ride by any stretch but it’s interesting, and one that everyone can go on, and Freddie spent it pointing at stuff that I wondered how his little mind was making sense of.
With all our FastPasses spent as we left the ride I fired up the app and secured another for the Rapids. restrooming happened and we made our way over to the ride as the time slot for our FastPass was nowish.
On our journey there we stopped to watch some dance party stuff going on but still managed to arrive at the Rapids ten minutes early. Our bands got the magic bleep anyway and we were in. Louise volunteered to sit out with Freddie. We looked with appropriate disdain at anyone wearing a poncho in the queue. That’s like having some soup at home before going out for a large meal so you won’t eat too much. The whole point is that you get yourself wet.
One thing I noticed was the waterproof cover thing in the middle is gone, so if you have anything with you that you would normally put in there, you can’t and it will get wet. Having said that, compared to the mother of all raft rides, Bilge Rats at Universal, this is nothing. Sure, we got a bit splashed, but nobody comes off Bilge Rats without feeling like they sat in a bath for an hour.
At this point, we headed for the exit. We wanted to get back to the villa for showers before heading out to eat. We were home around 5pm and I spent all the time other than the five minutes it took me to get ready resting and watching TV. We left the villa close to 7pm and headed up the I4 to Lake Buena Vista and Bahama Breeze.
The roads felt unusually quiet, perhaps brought on by the incessant TV coverage of everyone’s impending doom at the hands of Dorian, and the restaurant too was pretty empty. We chose to sit outside.
We ordered some drinks, an appetiser combo and a goat’s cheese dip thing.
I had a mocktail.
Tom ordered what I think was called the Dell Boy.
The ladies had stuff like this.
I had a Chipotle Chicken Taco Salad (the hippos today clearly having a subliminal effect on me).
Rebecca and Louise had the Jerk Chicken Pasta
Emily, the Black Bean Tacos
Tom had the Taste of Jamaica
and Freddie the Chicken Tenders.
I sacrificed my Virgin Bahamarita to Freddie who loved it.
As was becoming a tradition now, Freddie laid his hands on the camera and started randomly pressing the button. To be fair, if I hadn’t told you that, you probably wouldn’t have noticed much difference to my photographic skills.
Hippos be damned, I had a Key Lime Pie and Tom had a Chocolate Cake thing. The Key Lime Pie is excellent here and Tom cleared his too, but to be fair that can’t be used as any sort of comment on quality as he always tends to do that.
The bill, driven by a lot of cocktails was a slightly pricey for off-site, $250. The service wasn’t the best tonight, not bad, but we’ve had better, so I only left 15%. I tend to overtip all the time in my attempt to assure US servers that Brits aren’t always destined to leave no or little tip, but when the service isn’t that deserving I will knock a bit off.
Once again, our full bellies and heavy eyelids scuppered our best intentions of going to Disney Springs and everyone just wanted to go to bed. We did so by 10pm allowing our bodies to convert today’s calories into fat nice and early.
Till the next time……