Day Three. Midway through the vacation, pouring rain…and, honestly, the best.
We got up early to catch the first(ish?) bus to Animal Kingdom from our hotel. We dressed in layers and with rain coats, and didn’t let the weather hold us back. I was SO GLAD. Animal Kingdom was about as empty as Disney parks get. Wednesday morning with bad weather = Disney heaven.
One downside – we did not do Avatar Flight of Passage. I couldn’t get a FastPass for it and was not waiting on line for two hours in the rain with a morning full of FastPasses and empty lines. Instead, we did so much else.
Animal Kingdom Rides
~ Dinosaur – I’ve always loved this ride. Wee man was a little nervous, but later confessed as to how much he loved it.
~ Expedition Everest – first LEGIT roller coaster for wee man; he was a little shaky after, but claimed he loved it. This was our last FP of the day.
~ Kilimanjaro Safaris – the best views of the animals I have ever seen, since it had stopped raining for a brief period during our scheduled time and the animals began emerging from their shelters. Absolutely beautiful – worth the FP.
~ Na’vi River Journey – another Avatar ride, which we had a FP for. Absolutely stunning ride.
~ Touring – what I love about Animal Kingdom that isn’t exactly an attraction is the opportunity to walk around, see all of the beautiful animals, enjoy Pandora, partake in the carnival atmosphere of Dinoland and…of course…hang with the characters (we saw Scrooge McDuck!).
There were also many impromptu shows with incredible music, and we even ran into Kevin from “Up!”.
We grabbed lunch at Flame Tree Barbecue (delicious!) and some ice cream before heading back to our hotel for some R&R and, I’m sure you guessed it…pool time!
After freshening up, we grabbed an evening boat ride over to Magic Kingdom to catch dinner and some more rides.
I made a last minute reservation at Liberty Tree Tavern, around 8:15 pm. The wait was about 15 minutes — not terrible by Disney standards. So let me say that when I booked this, I thought buffet meant an actual buffet — not family-style set menu. I wish I had known that going into it. The food was actually really, really good and authentically American. Pot roast, roast turkey, pork roast, potatoes, vegetables, gravy…it’s endless and pretty darn tasty. Only problem was that wee man is anti-food, and refused to eat anything offered except a dinner roll. Add to that, the Wishes fireworks display. Full day of Disney + Hunger + Fireworks = Epic Meltdown.
Apart from a disastrous dinner experience (through no fault of the restaurant – I blame myself for not researching better!), we were able to hit some more rides that we missed the day before. We were even able to take advantage of the park’s Extra Magic Hours, where we were able to keep going on rides after the park closed to the general public because we were staying at a Disney hotel.
Magic Kingdom Rides (Round 2 – No FPs)
~ Big Thunder Mountain Railroad – always a crowd-pleaser roller coaster, plus it was pretty chilly that night and it was nice that part of the wait was indoors.
~ The Magic Carpets of Aladdin – there was no line for this, otherwise we might have passed. Fantastic for younger kids, though.
~ Peter Pan’s Flight – I was tempted to FP this, since I heard such wonderful things. Thanks to all the hype, I had built it up in my head a bit and was a little let down. We went on this ride during Extra Magic Hours, so the line was considerably shorter than at any other point of the day. Wee man fell asleep on the ride…that’s when we decided to call it a night.
~ Pirates of the Caribbean – a boat tour through Jack Sparrow’s pirate tale. No line at night and tons of fun!
~ Swiss Family Treehouse – my mother would like this attraction (not a ride!), my son was bored to tears.
There is something so special about Disney parks at night — it really does feel magical.