Hi everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re starting somewhere a little unconventional, an overpass leaving Disney property! This sunset was too amazing not to share, and this is truly how it looked. I just snapped the photo out my car window with a typical point and shoot camera. No editing wizardry here! Any week that starts like this has to be a good one, right?
Next, let’s head to Animal Kingdom for the bulk of our updates this week. First up is the new Macaw Fly Over. I didn’t go into this expecting a lot, but we totally loved the show. I’d go out of my way to see it. While it’s over quickly, it’s amazing to see all of those lovely birds flying together. I know my video can’t do it justice, but if you’ve never clicked on one of my videos this is the one to start with! Make sure you check this out on your next visit.
The other new show starting at Animal Kingdom this week is It All Started With A Mouse. I was set up to film this one too, but I realized quickly that I should have sat in the back to film. The performers walk up and down the aisles frequently, which left the video a bit motion sickness-inducing to watch. I thought I’d include photos of a few of the animals instead. Why did it have to be snakes??
The highlight of the show is when a kunekune pig creates a painting with a little help from the audience. This little guy totally steals the show. Unfortunately, there isn’t much to steal. While I’m happy to see something new in the parks and have this space put to use, the show isn’t that great. It’s loosely held together with a few old videos of Walt Disney, but for the most part the show is very skippable. That isn’t to say it’s bad, it’s just not as good as everything else in the park.
The show takes place four times a day at 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, and 2:30pm. If you happen to be back at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, then it’s worth 20 minutes to say you’ve seen it. The show also featured a macaw, porcupine, skunk, vulture, and other animals not pictured here. There were also several rats used in the show! (I’m a big fan of rats and have had them as pets in the past. I loved seeing them featured here and not villainized.)
Back at the front of the park, the times board is now completely walled off. When I heard Disney Outfitters was expanding, I didn’t realize this was the space it was moving into. I guess we’re supposed to get wait times from our phones now, but that often doesn’t work well. I guess time will tell if this change sticks.
Not news related, but I grabbed a few awesome shots on the Kilimanjaro Safaris this weekend that I wanted to share. My driver pointed out a fact that I’d never heard before. (That’s saying a lot… I’ve been on a ton of safaris!) One way you can tell a reticulated giraffe from other kinds is that they’re white from the knees down. You can see what I’m talking about in the photo below. Neat, huh?
Also, I had a rare male lion sighting! Or should I say, a rarely seen awake male lion spotting?
After the safari, on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, I spotted a baby pygmy goose. I wanted to get a photo to share with you, but something kept getting in my way. I couldn’t tell what it was though my viewfinder, so I just focused on it to see the culprit. The result was the photo below. A very unhappy mommy pygmy goose kept jumping in front of my lens! You can see the baby blurred out in the background. What a good mama!!
Okay, last photo from Animal Kingdom. I’d never seen the meerkats get fed until this last weekend. The animal keeper pictured has the patience of a saint! She’d put a tiny bit of food on the tongs and lowered it ever so slowly near the hole. Then three little heads would pop out nervously and look, sniff, then pop back in the hole. Maybe one out of every ten tries one of the meerkats would actually take a little food. I’m sure the crowd that had gathered to root them on didn’t help!
Next we’re heading to Epcot, where I tried my first coconut frozen yogurt, now offered at Refreshment Outpost. Wow, was this excellent! Totally worth a try the next time you’re out wandering the World Showcase. They also sell pineapple frozen yogurt or the two swirled together!
The cart in front of Germany was behind construction walls last week, and it looks like they did some work to slightly enclose the booth. I imagine this will help keep the booth functional during our torrential summer rains.
This is another one that I’m not sure is new, or just new to me. But now there’s a beautiful projection that paints over the Mayan Calendar Replica (Thanks, Scott!) at the entrance of the Mexico pavilion. I can confirm that it’s a projection because my hubby couldn’t help jumping in front of it and doing a little dance for the crowd! 😉
Next, as promised, I finally managed to get over to a Sounds Like Summer Concert! Here’s a video of the grand finale from the show. It’s great that Epcot puts on these concerts. Even though they are cover bands, it’s so nice to be able to grab a cold beer and go watch a show!
Heading over to the Magic Kingdom, there’s just one little bit of news to share, but it’s a doozy! Now, if you’ve read my observations post, then you already know this; if not, brace yourself! The Astro Orbiter is GONE! It’s under refurbishment, but wow! You can find all the latest refurbishment information here.
Filed under biggest let down of the week is Trucks on the Town at Downtown Disney West Side. Take a look at the below photo of trying to get into the parking lot. It should have been a red flag when at 6pm the traffic was backed up all the way to Bonnet Creek.
Once we finally got into the parking lot, it took us 45 minutes to find a parking spot! It was unreal! If you’re planning to head to Downtown Disney any time after 11am, I strongly recommend parking somewhere off site and taking Disney transportation. One note: the only bus stop at the moment is all the way down near Disney’s Days of Christmas. If you’re looking to go to the West Side, you might want to catch a boat from Port Orleans or Old Key West.
After we’d spent nearly an hour fighting to get to the event, we finally walked up to the food trucks. But what did we find but more crowds!? The lines for each truck were easily 20-40 people deep, with confusing lines that snaked in all directions. Not only that, but there were very few restrooms available, leaving the available ones to have lines just as long. Add to that the fact that a huge storm was moving in, and we decided to just give up and go to Olive Garden. If Disney does this again, I hope it will be more organized!
Let’s end with a little shopping update! The Park Starz series 3 is now available in the parks, so I had to try my luck! My first try was at Epcot, and I got the barker bird.
At Animal Kingdom I was even luckier and scored Trixie! (Ok, I cheated and rattled the box. Her big bottom is kinda easy to find.) At $18.95 these are overpriced, but I normally splurge on a couple of them when a new series comes out.
Of course, I might have to try for a third this time since Dreamfinder is still out there! That wraps up our news from last week. If you’re heading to Disney World next week, here’s a look at what you can expect:
Crowd Calendar: It looks like we’ll be getting a little break in the crowds leading up to July 4th. It sure isn’t September, but it isn’t the wild summer crowds we’ve been having lately.
Weather: We’re settling into our normal pattern of bone-melting heat and afternoon showers. Come prepared for heat, rain, and lots of fun! Remember the parks are best after the rain so pack to brave the storm.
This week Disney’s Hollywood Studios unveiled the Rock Your Summer Side dance party. The action all takes place at the Sorcerer’s Hat Stage nightly from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Guests will be able to rock their summer side until August 22. I’m looking forward to sharing this new event with you next week!
It’s never too soon to start planning for July 4th! You can get all the latest information here.
Here’s my top tip for this week: Air conditioning is something almost impossible to find at Animal Kingdom. If you find yourself getting too hot, head over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch. This spot is never crowded and always icy cold! Not to mention, there are some interesting displays to explore while you cool off.
Do you have any news I missed or any requests for coverage next week? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading! I’m wishing all of you the Best Week Ever, until next time!