Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Disney Jan 2018 ~ Animal Kingdom, Part 2

Soon after we returned from Rafiki’s Planet Watch it was time to return to Pandora to ride Flight of Passage again using our FastPass+ reservations.  We were excited to experience this ride again as truly it is an experience!!
The island of Pandora is nothing short of spectacular!!  It was designed by Disney’s Joe Rhode and Director, James Cameron so we knew it would be great but it is beyond that!!  When you are visiting Pandora, you are truly visiting Pandora!!
One of the portions of the preshow is the creation of a digital Avatar for each person.  LOL – can you tell who’s who?
Preparing to board our Banshees!
Another one of the quieter, educational things we did this time was many of the Conservation Stations in Animal Kingdom.  Hannah enjoyed these opportunities to learn about our planet and things we can do to take care of it and in turn filled up her passport with stickers.
One of the stations gave us a ‘new to us’ view of the Tree of Life.  So pretty!
Now that Animal Kingdom stays open later in the evenings something we enjoy doing is riding Kilimanjaro Safaris around sunset.  Many of the animals are more active around sunset and it’s neat to see them moving around.  We hoped to see the baby hippo who was only a few weeks old at the time but unfortunately he was camera shy.  But other animals were not!
Lions that are finally awake although daddy might be getting sleepy!
Later in the evening Hannah did some digging for bones and artifacts in Dinoland
and we ended our time in Asia with our traditional evening ride on Expedition Everest. Wheee!
We wandered back to Pandora one last time with hopes of riding the other new ride there ‘Na’vi River Journey’ with a reasonable wait and it worked out perfectly!  Even though the wait time showed 35 mins we were on the ride less than 10 minutes later.  Getting in line for a ride close to closing is a good tip for some of the busier rides.  Looking forward to visiting Pandora again another time!
Na'vi River Journey

Disney Jan 2018 ~ Animal Kingdom, Part 1

Wednesday was an early morning as we were both excited for the day ahead so we were up and out of the room before 7am!  We were on our way to Animal Kingdom  and going to check out Pandora – The World of Avatar, a new land that had opened since our last visit!  Pandora has been open for less than a year and one of it’s rides is the current hot item ticket at Walt Disney World!
We caught an early bus and arrived at the park around 7:15 for a 9:00 opening. 
We were able to go through bag check and security and were in line at the tap stiles before 7:30am.  By that point every tap stile as lined up about 30 people deep and the line continued to grow behind us.
I believe it was shortly before 8:00 that the tap stiles were opened and we quietly sauntered lightly jogged towards Pandora.  We had made friends with a family in the line and Hannah kept up with them as this mama isn’t used to moving at much more than that gentle saunter mentioned above.  We met back up on the bridge on our way to Pandora and the next wait began.
This was the group in front of us….
And the line extended further than the eye could see behind us….still about an hour before park opening!  And yes….95% of these people were all headed to the same ride!!!
The ride of choice, Avatar Flight of Passage
I will say I was surprised that the line did not start moving into Pandora until 9:00 as it’s common for Cast Members to begin the controlled walk towards the ride early.  I will say that Disney has mastered the controlled walk when you think of the thousands of people that were now in line and how they moved it forward slowly and from 25 people wide to single file without pushing, shoving and just moving forward.  It really is quite neat and while it would give my friend M Winking smile heart palpitations to be in a crowd like that, it’s part of the excitement for Hannah and I. 
As we entered Pandora and made our way towards the ride I snapped a few pics of this amazing new land.  They really did a phenomenal job of theming it!!!
I don’t want to spoil the surprise but if you’re going to WDW, try not to miss Flight of Passage (FoP)!  It is breathtaking and unlike any other ride I’ve ever been on!  We were thankful to have FP reservations for later in the day so we knew we’d get to ride again.  Woot!
We exited the ride about 9:20 and by that time the standby wait was over 2 1/2 hours long!  Oh yes, arriving early was the key for sure!!
After FoP we made our way towards Africa to Tusker House for our character breakfast reservation.  The food at Tusker House is delicious and the character interaction great. 
Mickey told us Minnie was busy fixing her makeup so we didn’t see her but we did visit with him and some of his best friends.
Hannah had never been to Rafiki’s Planet Watch so we boarded an oh-so-crowded train and took the 5 hour minute ride to the Planet Watch area.  Yes, we had this entire car to ourselves.IMG_0888
Rafiki was there to greet her.  She was a little hesitant about greeting him at first but after a few minutes she warmed up to him and decided he was an okay dude to go see.
My niece Rebecca was the same when she was Hannah’s age and she exclaimed that she was not going to get anywhere close to ‘For-freekie!’ Winking smile
We took time to visit the small petting zoo before taking the train back to Africa.
A great day was under way and it was still only early afternoon. 
Tomorrow, part 2 of our day at Animal Kingdom.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Disney 2018 ~ Magic Kingdom, Day 2, Part 2

After enjoying a great day at the Magic Kingdom we took a friendship boat to the Polynesian Resort to ‘Ohana, one of our favourite places to eat!  Their food is delicious!
Umm, I’m pretty sure we won’t go hungry and could possibly eat for an entire week with the amount of food they brought to our table! Surprised smile  There is a large wood fire grill in the centre of the restaurant and they bring giant skewers of chicken, steak and shrimp to your table throughout dinner.  ‘Ohana is one of our new favourites that we now book each trip.
Noodles anyone?
That’s better!  My beautiful girl.  Oh how I love her!!
Hannah also enjoys the coconut races at ‘Ohana.  Love the extra activities offered at many Disney restaurants.

We also decided that this would be the day that we celebrated Hannah’s 9th Birthday so when they asked for birthdays she went up.

After our delicious supper we wandered around one of the stores at the Polynesian that Hannah enjoys browsing through.  From there we headed back to the Magic Kingdom with plans to see Happily Ever After since we had missed it Sunday night due to rain.
We had an opportunity to go on a few rides and then staked out spots for the castle projection show, ‘Once Upon A Time’ and the new fireworks and projection show, ‘Happily Ever After’. 
A friend loaned Hannah this coat and it was perfect for our trip.  It bundled into a tight little package and weighed next to nothing but it was warm when she needed it.  Thanks so much Liz and Ava!  I want to keep an eye out at Costco to pick one of these up for Hannah next year.
The projections on the castle are nothing short of spectacular and SO detailed!  I had purposely not watched the shows online as they were both new in 2017 and I’m so glad I waited!!
Although we hung out in the hub for a while waiting for the crowds to thin, one glance behind us let us know getting anywhere fast wasn’t going to happen.
It was easy to decide that now was the perfect time to surprise Hannah with her early gift that I had been planning for her for the past number of months….a Pandora bracelet.  Buying it at Disney with her first charm being from there was an easy decision.  And she quickly knew exactly what charm she wanted too!
Cinderella’s Castle…..perfect for my Disney loving girl!!
Happy 9th Birthday Hannah!  Mommy loves you sooooo much! Red heart

Disney 2018 ~ Magic Kingdom, Day 2, Part 1

We were excited to enjoy a second day in the Magic Kingdom (MK)!  There is so much to do in the MK that one day isn’t near enough for us.
It was a chilly morning but we weren’t wearing winter coats so we were excited.  Hannah decided to use some of her spending money to purchase these cute new ears.  The bows are interchangeable so if she wants to purchase other bows in the future she can.
This left her silver ears up for grabs so mommy was happy to wear those.  Love how Disney offers everyone the opportunity to be a child again!  Yup, works for us!

A trip (or 3) on the People Mover is a must every single trip! 
I’m hoping that once Tron is open in a few years that the People Mover will be rerouted through that attraction!
Hannah has often looked at the personalized parasols that can be created and this time she decided to buy a little one.  So cute!
Hannah’s snack of choice is the dole whip and I decided to try a citrus swirl.  The ice cream was a tangy treat but I wasn’t crazy about it being served with orange soda.  Next time I think I’ll just stick with the ice cream in a cone or dish. 
Each trip there are a few rides that Hannah considers trying.  Most times she decides to pass and that’s just fine with me but this time she was ready to take on a new adventure!  (LOL – I don’t think it hurt that her 5yo cousin rode it last September and she was not going to be outdone! Winking smile)
Space Mountain, here she comes!!!  Check out that confidence!
And, she never looked back!  I was concerned as this is a roller coaster completely in the dark but she loved it!
Another new thing we tried this time was, ‘A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasure of the Seven Seas’.  We picked up a map in Adventureland which led us around the area.  Using our MagicBands we found secret hidden treasure locations where her MagicBand would do cool things like shoot off a canon or cause buried treasure to be revealed.  Lots of fun and another new way for us to enjoy park time!
After our treasure hunt we were off to ‘Ohana to celebrate an early 9th birthday for Hannah.
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