Observations: May 17, 2014 – a 2 park feature!

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Hi Everyone!  I had the best Saturday of park hopping and I wanted to share some observations with you.  My day started when we parked at Animal Kingdom at 8:45am.  While we were walking in we noticed it was much more crowded than we’d expected.  Umm… oops… your trusty host had forgotten about Extra Magic Hours!  I was so delighted to get a Fastpass+ for the Kilimanjaro Safaris at 9:05am that I hadn’t paid attention.  Well, we decided to walk back and check the wait time to see if we could sneak on then use the Fastpass+ for a second ride.  Luckily, it wasn’t too crowded.  We were able to pretty much walk on the first time but 30 minutes later we were so glad we had the Fastpass for a quick second ride!  The line was already very slow moving for standby.

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The animals weren’t terribly active on either of our morning rides.  All the giraffes were awake but I noticed several animals missing or napping.  At least the king of the jungle decided to snooze in a spot where we could see him!

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Of course, we saw lots of the other animals.  But I was on the right side of the ride vehicle on both of our safaris.  The left is much better for photography.  If you’re here from out of town and taking photos I would recommend you ask for the left hand side.  You’re able to see from the right side but it is tough to line up a shot.  Luckily these yellow billed storks were posing for me!  (I noticed them even though neither one of our guides pointed them out!)

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Next we decided to head out of Africa but we stopped because who could walk past this band?  These guys are so much fun!  We only had 10 minutes to make it over to Flights of Wonder but we had to stop for a little bit of dancing, at least.  One of the guys keeps pointing to my husband in the video.  Luckily, we made it past without getting pulled into the show.

Just around the corner we found these two beautiful macaws perched in a tree.  We’d never seen them in this area so we assumed everyone was crowded around watching Divine.  When we saw several of the trainers from Flights of Wonder we realized this was something else and spotted the birds.  They have been doing a fly over before the show that I assume is training for the larger fly over planned to start this summer.  Well, something had spooked the birds and they weren’t budging!  We watched them for a little while then walked on so we wouldn’t miss the show.  The birds flew along with us and gradually made it to the theater, stopping many times along the way.

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Below is the one shot that I’d been planning for in the bird show!  I’ve shared lots of bird show info in previous posts so I didn’t feel like I needed to cover old tracks.  However, the below photo took lots of planning and three separate visits to nail.  So here it is, from my favorite seats just beside the dove release.  I finally caught those guys!! :)

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Next we went on a quest to go find Daisy!  I’m sure everyone knows she is one of my all time favorites and I’d heard there was a new fastpass+ only way to meet her.  I’d reserved a fastpass for the only character meet and greet I could find so I headed off to see if she was there.  On the way we bumped into King Louie and Baloo!

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When we arrived to the Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost I was informed that this location still only had Mickey and Minnie.  If I wanted to find Daisy she was greeting over just before the entrance of DinoLand U.S.A.  When we got there, ironically, they don’t take fastpass at all.  It really didn’t matter because even though lines were growing for everything else it was still only a few minutes to meet Donald and Daisy.  (How cute is she???)

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After this we went to see It’s Tough to Be a Bug!  It was easy to swap out my character fastpass for this show on my phone.  I really like this show even though it can be terrifying to children.  Since it’s going down for refurbishment soon I wanted to make sure I stopped by.  I was stopped when heading into the theater and asked to put my camera away, which had never happened before.  I didn’t realize no photography was allowed!  Of course, I packed up as I’m not one to break the rules!  After the show it was a little after lunch time so we left Disney and headed over to 4 Rivers for some lunch.  (Anyone interested in hearing about this mind blowing off site restaurant?)  

After a big lunch and a bigger nap we decided to end the night with some Magic Kingdom.  I didn’t want to fight the crowds so we purposely got to the Transportation and Ticket Center just as Wishes was lighting up the sky.  It was very easy to get into the Magic Kingdom at that time of night but the crowds leaving were astounding!  Just as we made it to Main Street, Celebrate the Magic started.  I hadn’t pulled my camera out yet and didn’t want to fumble with it in the dark but I certainly shed a tear watching this beautiful event!  (Here is an older recording I made)  After the show ended I bolted for the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover.  Here is one of the coolest scenes from that ride:        

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I had run for the Peoplemover and to make a fastpass reservation for later because I expected lines to still be long.  It ends up I was very wrong about that!  Upon exiting we saw Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin only had a 15 minute wait.  Since the crowds were dying down we went for Fantasyland.  After stopping to take a long, long look at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (will it ever open!!?) we went to check the line at The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  It was only 10 minutes!  We went on two back to back rides before heading over for our fastpass+ at The Haunted Mansion.  

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I was excited to ride The Haunted Mansion because I’d heard the scrims in the graveyard scene had been cleaned.  These are the clear barriers that separate you from the ghosts and give them their ethereal appearance.  The rumors were true, the ride looked great!  Unfortunately, it didn’t make a bit of difference in getting decent photos of the graveyard scene.  But here is some preshow fun for you:

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Next we took a quiet walk through Liberty Square and Adventureland.  Even though the park was open for 90 more minutes it was empty!  We finally ended up over at the Jungle Cruise.  This is a ride we normally skip because of the long, hot line.  But with a walk on wait and not even a full boat we couldn’t pass it up.  Our skipper was really adorable and we had a great time!  He kept teasing and calling me his paparazzi!  The temple really looks great at night.

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Next we walked back through Liberty Square to check the wait for Peter Pan’s Flight.  It was still 15 minutes so we decided to skip it and wait until later.  I know what sounds crazy but everything else had no line at all so we didn’t want to wait.  We moved on to Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid and knew we’d made a good choice. We were literally the only people on the ride.  There wasn’t a single other occupied clam shell that we saw!  At the end of the ride they offered us to stay on again, but I had another plan!  

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Since we were right beside Dumbo the Flying Elephant I wanted to ride a few times to try to get the below photo.  We were the only ones riding and had the entire spinner to ourselves.  The ride attendant told us to stay on as many times as we liked.  We flew with Dumbo three times before deciding to try The Barnstormer.  Again, there was no line at all and we were able to ride twice before deciding to exit.  

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After the Barnstormer it was just 5 minutes until the park closed.  We looked at each other and new it was time…. to RUN for Peter Pan’s Flight!  (You didn’t think we were leaving, did you??)  We made it just seconds before they closed the line.  We were on the ride in just a minute or so and flying high over Neverland.  

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When we exited the ride the park was quiet, the carousel had stopped spinning, and cast members directed us to the exit.  We’d squeezed every little bit of magic out of our night and started the long walk back to our car.  If you ever have the option of going in for a few late hours after the fireworks you should try it!  These late nights never disappoint.

So does anyone have any questions or requests for next time?  I can’t wait for the 24hr Disney day!  Is anyone else lucky enough to be attending this event?  Have you ever spent a super late night at the Magic Kingdom?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!  As always thanks for reading! :)

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Posted on May 20, 2014

17 Responses to “Observations: May 17, 2014 – a 2 park feature!”

  • by Angela from Ohio on May 20, 2014, at 12:30 pm EST

    On one of our first trips we took my then 4 year old on Barnstormer 6 times in a row – late hours are great! We felt a little bad my other child was asleep, but later in the week he was the one up late. Another trip the grandparents watched the little ones and after a nice dinner we headed over to Magic kingdom and rode space mountain several times during extra magic hours

    • by Daisy Lauren on May 20, 2014, at 11:02 pm EST

      Hey Angela! I’m jealous of your extra magic hours. Since we live here we don’t stay on property very much but the few times I’m done super late extra magic hours they were the best!! I’m so glad you got to try it. Sounds like you guys have had great luck on your trips. :)

  • We took my then 3-year old niece about 20 years ago. After the fireworks we rode It’s a Small World at least 6 or 7 times in a row without getting off (in my mind, it was 30 or 40 times). Still wake up with nightmares from that experience…

    • by Daisy Lauren on May 20, 2014, at 11:03 pm EST

      Oh, Scott, there’s no cure for that! You’re a stronger person than I am. ;) Joking aside, I like Small World. But 6 or 7 times of anything is too much. You’re a great uncle!

  • I’ve always hesitated to use up precious time by leaving a park to eat. Please tell me about 4 Rivers. How long does it take to get to get there and why is it worth it?

    • by Daisy Lauren on May 20, 2014, at 11:09 pm EST

      Hey JoAnn – I’m not sure where you are from? My work used to take me to Tennessee often and I got used to having really good BBQ. Lately I’ve been getting my fix in Texas. 4 Rivers is the only BBQ place I’ve found in Florida that has the good stuff. There is a location about 15 minutes from Animal Kingdom. It isn’t anything special but the BBQ is “slap your mama” good. The prices are really affordable and to top it off they have some of the best desserts this cupcake connoisseur has ever tasted!

      So it’s worth the trip if you like good BBQ, no frills, and good prices. Not worth it if you don’t have a car or desire for what they’ve got. I hope that helps. Let me know if you have questions. :)

      • I’m from Pennsylvania…no good BBQ here, but I love it and will definitely try and go to 4 Rivers my next Disney trip! Thanks.

      • Which location is 15 minutes from AK? The only one I saw in Orlando was about 40 minutes from Disney? I would love to take my parents when we go in June.

        • There is one in Winter Garden, about 25 minutes from US 192 (south of AK), 1047 South Dillard Street Winter Garden, FL 34787. We rent a house just off of 192, we may try 4 Rivers in a couple of weeks!

          • by Daisy Lauren on May 23, 2014, at 11:27 am EST

            Hi Guys – sorry for the late reply but Roland is right on.

            - As you’re leaving AK there are 3 lanes that go left and an unmarked single lane that goes right. Get in that right lane.
            - Immediately merge all the way left and turn left at the first light onto Sherberth Road (sp?)
            - This will take you to 192 – go west (right)
            - Take this until 429 North(toll road) on your right.

            This is the fastest way to get there. From 429 you can follow directions from anywhere but the above will save you some time getting away from the parks. Hope this helps and that you love 4 Rivers!

  • I love reading your posts & seeing your pictures.
    Just a note — we met Daisy at Tusker House when we were there. I know, more expensive, character meal, but I LOVE all the safari outfits on everyone! :)

    • by Daisy Lauren on May 20, 2014, at 11:11 pm EST

      Hey Tonya! Thank you for reading and for your nice words. I really appreciate you.

      We haven’t tried the Tusker House breakfast. I’ll have to work on the hubby for that one. How was the food? ;)

  • We were there that night too. It was awesome!

    • by Daisy Lauren on May 20, 2014, at 11:13 pm EST

      Hey Marion – that is so cool! I sometimes think I’m the only one that likes to read trip reports from other people from days I was there. I think it’s fun to see what other people do. How did you spend the night? :)

  • WOW !!!! That Dumbo shot is unbelievable !!!!

    • by Daisy Lauren on May 23, 2014, at 11:29 am EST

      Hey Sophie – aw shucks – thanks!! Let me know if you’d like the file. I’m happy to send it to you. The quality is good enough to print it poster size on the original.