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We’ll visit Epcot on the afternoon of Friday May 8th. I think it’s been a while, but don’t worry…you haven’t missed anything. We’re headed into the last weekend of the Flower and Garden Festival, which means Mickey and his fake topiary friends are headed back to the warehouse on Sunday.

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We begin at Shutters at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, the property’s table service restaurant. There are virtually no reviews of Shutters from the various Disney blogs, which may be unfortunate because in my opinion, the restaurant is actually pretty good. My previous review covers more of the atmosphere and some background on the chef change, in addition to some nighttime photos around the resort: http://www.easywdw.com/uncategorized/shutters-review-and-caribbean-beach-resort-at-night/.

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We’ll hop on the ferry over to Magic Kingdom to see what’s fresh on the morning of Friday May 8th.

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We’ll head out to Animal Kingdom on the morning of Friday April 24th, 2015. I’m in the process of updating the various cheat sheets, so this should give us a good idea about whether or not our touring strategies are up to date. What the cheat sheet says:

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According to the crowd calendar:

Animal Kingdom is recommended with Epcot attracting resort guests with evening Extra Magic Hours. Hollywood Studios is a better choice in most scenarios and some guests may want to take advantage of being able to see both nighttime spectaculars at Magic Kingdom, but Animal Kingdom works very well too. As always, arrive prior to Park opening and take care of Kilimanjaro Safaris and Expedition Everest first thing and/or stay through close because waits only decrease as people leave in the afternoon.

What happened:

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Part 2, which covers food options and reviews of Mara, Jiko, and Sanaa, in addition to the pool bars and a look at resort merchandise, is available by clicking here.

This review is sponsored by by DVC Magic Resales at www.dvcmagicresales.com (they used their DVC points to book the room and in exchange will also be posting this review and reviews of the other properties). If you’re looking to buy into the Disney Vacation Club or purchase more points for less than you’d pay Disney directly, they’re a great choice. They also take excellent care of those looking to sell their contracts independently.

Past reviews:

I’ll admit that I may have lied back in the Wilderness Lodge review when I said it was my favorite Disney resort to visit. Depending on the day and which way the wind is blowing, my favorite is sometimes Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL). There’s just so much to see and do there – from the savanna viewing, to the fantastic restaurants and lounges, to the exquisitely detailed public spaces, there’s nothing else quite like it.

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This review continues from Part 1, which introduces the resort, includes a walkthrough of a 1-bedroom villa, and covers the various resort activities like swimming and safaris.

The Food

Animal Kingdom Lodge’s culinary landscape rivals the best of Disney’s resorts. It would be hard to argue that it’s better than Grand Floridian on the high end, with Victoria & Albert’s and Citricos among the best restaurants on property, but that’s the only real exception. And when you add Sanaa over Grand Floridian Cafe, The Mara over Gasparilla Grill, and Victoria Falls over Mizner’s (arguably), you could make a real argument that Animal Kingdom Lodge offers Disney’s best overall food and beverage. Let’s take a look at what it has to offer, whether you’re staying on property or visiting from an area resort.

The Mara, AKL’s principal quick service, is located down this covered path behind the main building, and extending out toward the Uzima pool.

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It’s been a while since we’ve taken a good look at merchandise. Most of the pictures below are new-ish things, though occasionally something old will catch my eye that I don’t think there has been a picture of previously. A link to the last merchandise update is available here. Part 2 is available here.

World of Disney at Downtown Disney:


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Continued from Part 1.

Keystone Clothiers at Hollywood Studios:


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It has perhaps been too long since we visited the joy that is Downtown Disney/Springs.

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I’m not sure when we’ll get to it next, so we’ll take a very short opportunity to visit Hollywood Studios to check out the new Studio Catering Company menu. This post from a couple of weeks ago offers a more robust view of what’s going on at the Park.

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