Weary traveler reminder:
Myself – Disney-phile, ex-Amusement Park worker, Camp Counselor aka Slave Driver
Donald – Returnee for the Rick B tour, glutton for punishment, Instagram-er Extraordinaire
Barb – Mother, Returnee, Seriously needed a getaway
Natalie – Cousin, newbie, no clue what she was getting herself into
Day 2 – Saturday, October 5th: Animal Kingdom and Epcot Food and Wine Festival
Weather: ~90 Degrees with 85% Humidity
Planning and completing a whirlwind trip to Disney World is all about time management. The best approach is to understand a combination of park hours, extra magic hours, and FASTPASS’s. In addition, you really need to have an idea of everything you want to see and ride before going into the parks. Sure, there is always room for flexibility and changes, but start with a good plan.
On Saturday, Animal Kingdom opened at 8 am with extra Magic Hours. Since AK closes the earliest, I always recommend starting there in the morning. Typically, I only leave myself 4 hours to see the whole park…yes 4 hours. I find it more than enough time to see and do everything.
“You only have to run once during the whole trip, and today is it,” I told Barb, Natalie, and Donald. Despite some grumbles, they reluctantly agreed on the promise that it would be well worth it. If you get to AK at opening, you should run (or race walk) immediately to Kilimanjaro Safaris. Getting there first thing means that you should be able to walk on the ride when, in 30 mins, it could be a 45 min wait. The added benefit is that most of the animals are out, active, and are typically just being fed. Despite a less than enthusiastic guide, this Safari did not disappoint. We saw a ton of animals, and even had some close up encounters with the giraffes.
We exited the ride around 8:30 and from there we were off to Expedition Everest. This is a very popular ride and one of my favorites. Since it was still early, we grabbed FASTPASS (return time was 45 mins later), and immediately got inline for an advertised 10 min wait. It wasn’t, we walked right on. Barb and Donald had ridden before, but Natalie was a little apprehensive. Needless to say, she enjoyed it. I wish they could figure out a way to get the Yeti to work, though.
From there we headed to Dinoland. Walked on Dinosaur, TriceraTop Spin, and Primeval Whir. By this time it our FASTPASS’s were available and we headed back to Everest. In 2 hours, we had ridden 6 rides, not half bad.
I knew it was coming, but I still held out hope that we could skip it. The group requested a viewing of Festival of the Lion King. Not my favorite, but we were making good time and the majority ruled. We killed time at the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail and the Maharajah Jungle Trek before Lion King. I have to admit, it was more enjoyable than I remembered and the rest of the group really enjoyed it.
We were back in the car and on our way to Epcot by 12:15, starving and ready to eat our way through the World.
Up Next: First day of Epcot Wood and Wine.