Off to Animal Kingdom today, where it’s decidedly “not Christmas yet.”
Here we are arriving around 1:45pm. Animal Kingdom was the only recommended Park. I don’t like to limit your choices like that, but it’s really the only option on a Saturday during the Food/Wine Festival. Normally I like Epcot on the weekends, but not from September 30 – November 13. Magic Kingdom was also crushed with long hours of operation, Main Street Electrical Parade, Wishes, AND EVENING EXTRA MAGIC HOURS!!! ON A SATURDAY!! We’re talking 90 minute waits at Space Mountain, 50 at Jungle Cruise, 40 at Pirates of the Caribbean, 60 at Big Thunder Mountain over at Magic Kingdom and 80 minute waits at Soarin’ and 60 at Test Track over at Epcot. You could have gotten away with Hollywood Studios had you arrived early and “toured smart,” but November 6th will be so much better that it really isn’t worth risking.
Oh no!!!! My favorite piece of concrete is closed for refurbishment!! VACATION RUINED.
Not a lot of people entering the Park. Looking good.
Most of the stores in Animal Kingdom aren’t lit well for photos, but you should be able to get the idea. One warning about Duffy – he is sort of like the dark side of the force. The more you try to resist, the more likely you’ll end up in carbonite. Or something. This stuff is all in Island Mercantile in Discovery Island.
Some good looking shirts. JUST A WARNING!!!!! We’re going to be seeing a few more non-holiday-specific items.
These shirts are all $29.95.
A Tinker Bell shirt too.
Another throw that I don’t think we’ve seen previously:
Cute, but pretty expensive.
Considering Disney’s well publicized push for “nutrition,” they certainly don’t do a good job of offering healthy alternatives in the way of holiday-themed food. Christmas Carrots, anyone? I’m just saying.
We’ve seen all of this.
And the ornaments. Full size for a better view: https://www.easywdw.com/reports/ornamentwall5.jpg
Some nicely themed merchandise.
Lilo and Stitch meeting in Discovery Island outside Island Mercantile.
They can also appear around the corner on the left hand side as you walk toward Camp Minnie-Mickey and Festival of the Lion King.
Hopefully this isn’t the brain eating algae Florida is so famous for.
It’s so thick that it actually makes the water look like sand. Several people commented, wondering if it was “really water down there.”
Some cute setpieces in Camp Minnie Mickey. Sort of want to take one of those ducks home with me.
Pocahontas was meeting guests near the entrance to Festival of the Lion King.
This is the downside to the Festival of the Lion King’s proximity to the Character Greeting Trails in Camp Minnie-Mickey. Whenever a Lion King show gets out, the area is inundated with a thousand people. As they say, “Once the kids see Mickey, it’s all over.” My recommendation is to head over to the Character Greeting Trails when they open (usually 10am) or right as a Festival of the Lion King begins.
Another good piece.
Kind of icky, whatever it is.
Heading up to the Africa section along Discovery Island.
But we’re on a bit of a roll here. Let’s pop into this store on the left hand side. This set of four ornaments is $19.95.
How cute are you!
And you guys too! This is one ornament with both characters attached. All of these are $11.95 to $14.95.
And you! It’s the lamp from the Pixar logo in case it isn’t obvious.
And Rex with Mickey Ears and a Mickey Bar! Someone must have a lot of fun with these.
Wall-E/Eve, Nemo, and Crush.
Mike and Sully.
They are small. You can see a Buzz/Woody and a Jessie/Bullseye as well.
No shortage of Phineas and Ferb merchandise:
More cute stuff.
One of the major “bottlenecks” in Animal Kingdom. You’ll “virtually always” see a lot of people around here. We have the very popular entrance/exit to Kilimanjaro Safaris, the entrance/exit to the Wildlife Express Train that takes guests to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, the entrance/exit to Tusker House Restaurant, Kusafiri Bakery, Harambe Fruit Stand, Dawa Bar, Mombasa Marketplace, and bathrooms all along a narrow walkway.
Examples of some of the Kusafiri baked goods.
Short waits at Kilimanjaro Safaris with FASTPASSes 40 minutes out.
If Animal Kingdom was “busy,” we would see waits of 40+ minutes and FASTPASSes that are long gone.
Taking a look at Mombasa Marketplace, one of my favorite stores:
Already a bunch of unique items and we haven’t even gone inside yet!
Wine for sale. Purchase a bottle and they’ll send it up front to pick up on your way out.
Not horrendously overpriced. This bottle of Goats Do Roam Red would run you about $10-$12 in a typical grocery store.
And an opportunity to buy a nice holiday wine cozy! How convenient, Disney!
Some nice Fairview wines as well. Everything here should be African. This is a $15 bottle in stores, so $16 at Disney is a bit of a steal.
Most of this stuff isn’t available elsewhere.
Mombasa Marketplace – on the right side as you walk toward Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Do you see it?
Walking the path that connects Africa and Asia.
King Louie meets along here as part of the “Africa Character Greeting Trails.” Flik and Turk are the other two most common characters.
Now that it’s freezing in Florida (i.e. highs in the low 70s), Kali River Rapids may or may not offer FASTPASS. It can vary from day to day and the Times Guide is often inaccurate as far as whether or not Kali will offer FASTPASS. At the moment, the posted wait time is 10 minutes. As you may recall from the summer, Kali often had waits of 50+ minutes in the afternoon, mostly because of a relatively low capacity.
Everest looking majestic even with the clouds.
Continuing on to ride.
Modest waits at Expedition Everest.
FASTPASSes just over an hour out – not bad at all for this time of day.
Expedition Everest is one of three attractions that offers a “Single Rider Entrance.” Test Track at Epcot and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios being the other two. The single rider line at Expedition Everest is pretty good. My total wait/ride time was 13 minutes, which isn’t bad at all. The entrance is to the right of the standby/FASTPASS entrance. Note that underneath the word “ENTRANCE” is a sign that indicates whether the Single Rider Entrance is “open” or “closed.” It may not be open in the early morning.
There are a couple of (potential) downsides to the Single Rider Line at Expedition Everest. Obviously, you won’t be riding with other people in your party, which isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the world depending on your situation. Second, you have the lowest priority. Theoretically if everyone had two people in their party, the single rider line would never move. Of course there are always groups of 1, 3, 5, etc. but the line only moves when there is a seat that needs to be filled. At Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, I’ve heard of people that had to wait for 30+ minutes in the single rider line, while the regular queue was less than ten minutes. At least at Expedition Everest, the single rider line seems to move fast. Finally, you won’t get to walk the normal queue, which is beautifully themed. The short single rider line just winds around near the loading bay. If the wait for Everest is more than 20 minutes and you don’t mind the detractions, I recommend the Single Rider Line. Assume the wait will be about 30 seconds for every person in front of you.
Tropicals, the Caribbean band that plays near Finding Nemo the Musical, will perform their last show on November 19th. Hopefully they will be replaced with a similar act.
My back hurts just watching people get tossed around on Primeval Whirl.
They were tinkering with the FASTPASS machines, so maybe we’ll see the other half of the queue open soon!
Just a terrible capacity at Primeval Whirl.
This half of the queue remains boarded up. I laugh a little to myself every time I see it.
More cute t-shirts. The one on the right glows in the dark. Very cool. I know a group of special ladies that all own the one on the left. You might be wise to buy one and try to fit in.
The current buy more…buy more promotion throughout Animal Kingdom. It’s the same Tote as we saw yesterday at the Emporium.
Kind of generic, but not bad!
I don’t go into the stores very often because I always end up wanting to buy everything.
A more interesting sweatshirt for adults as well:
Mom, I want it!
I saw someone wanted the UPC for the red holiday shirt:
You don’t necessarily need it, but it’s easier than trying to describe the item to whoever you get on the phone in merchandise. Luckily (for you), the phone merchandise people do this all day, every day, and they probably know what you’re talking about before you get the fourth word about it out.
10 minute wait at DINOSAUR. I’ll take their word for it. Too scary to ride!! Actually, I’ve been on this thing over 50 times and it still horrifies me.
I have a big head…and little arms. Other than Pluto no longer being a planet, I think the most disappointing thing I’ve ever heard is that the tyrannosaurus basically ate leaves and berries. Pluto, you will always be a planet in my heart. And tyrannosaurus rex, you will always be a man-eating monster in my heart.
No turkeys were hurt in the construction of Trilo-Bites. In the operation on the other hand…This is your spot for Jumbo Turkey Legs in Animal Kingdom. It’s located just after the main entrance into DinoLand USA from Discovery Island across from The Boneyard.
Also nearby is the Discovery Island Character Landing, which currently houses the Winnie the Pooh Meet and Greet.
Other than Mickey, I think Pooh would have to be the easiest character to meet, since he’s in all four theme parks at the moment. Considering he’s so widely available, it was sort of odd that they chose to build him a semi-permanent indoor Meet and Greet area in the Animation Building at Hollywood Studios (in my opinion). Especially considering how many characters aren’t represented at all!
Lunch today is at Flame Tree Barbecue. I feel like it’s one of the more difficult places to find in the Animal Kingdom because it’s sort of oddly positioned on a corner, but the trees block most of it from the main Discovery Island walkway. In this image, we’re looking out from Flame Tree Barbecue.
This is actually a relatively “new” entree, though it’s made up of items that were previously on the menu. This is the Ribs and Chicken Combo ($11.99). Considering the Half Chicken is $9.69 and the Half Slab of St Louis Ribs is $10.69, getting a half chicken and quarter slab of ribs for $11.99 seems reasonable. While I miss the corn bread muffins (and don’t like coleslaw), Flame Tree Barbecue remains one of the best quick service locations on Disney property. It’s a tough choice though because Yak & Yeti is very good, Pizzafari has a good Hot Italian Sandwich and Antipasto Salad, and there’s the Shrimp Po’ Boy Sandwich at Restaurtosaurus. Since most people will just be eating one quick service meal at Animal Kingdom (if that!), it’s a tough choice! It’s hard to go wrong at Flame Tree, though. Plus they accept the Tables in Wonderland card for a 20% discount (with no gratuity). You can also use Tables in Wonderland at Pizzafari and Restaurantosaurus. They’ve the only theme park quick service locations that accept it.
Some close ups!
Looks good, right? It is. The beans especially. I usually add extra sweet & spicy barbecue sauce to the ribs.
Fresh condiment bar shots!
Great views of Expedition Everest from the seating area.
Watch out for these birds. They’ll attack you and your food if you aren’t ready to defend your turf. I turned my back for two seconds to grab a fork and the birds dug in =[ Bird germs.
Don’t forget to look up! Great details all around the seating area.
Look mom, no hands!
Owls freak me out, but I sort of want one for a pet.
Bugs on the top of this seating section. They’re all different.
Just a beautiful area:
And a good place to stop and take a break during off-peak meal times. There are maybe eight people in the entire section at 3:30pm.
People getting ready for the 3:45pm Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. We should see the switchover to the Jingle Jungle Parade on Thursday. I prefer to see the Parade in Africa or along the path that connects Asia and Africa. Right around the entrance to Flights of Wonder is a great spot and you can see the Parade twice if you are positioned in Africa. It’s the only Parade that winds its way back to where it began.
Nominal waits at 3:40pm.
Some geniuses decided it would be a good idea to play “catch” out in front of the Animal Kingdom entrance. Because obviously the 20,000 other people in the Animal Kingdom won’t be annoyed. Of course they are terrible at it and managed to throw the ball out in front of the parking lot tram. At least they didn’t hit someone in the tram or something.
The Epcot Monorail was down in its entirety this afternoon on one of the busiest days of the year thus far. When that happens, bus transportation is available in the charter lot just past the bus stop to Hollywood Studios. This is the line for the bus at the Ticket/Transportation Center. Within about ten minutes, the line was back to the ticket booths.
Ugly. A long wait just to get crammed into a full bus. This is about the time you get a cab or walk to the Polynesian, take the bus to Hollywood Studios, and then walk or take the boat to Epcot. Epcot is about a ten minute drive from the Ticket/Transportation Center, so the cab fare wouldn’t be too bad.