Day 3 – Animal Kingdom
Gwen loves animals, so we knew we’d have to hit up Animal Kingdom during our stay. Thankfully it’s a much smaller park than Magic Kingdom, so we were able to do a lot of fun things without the FOMO.
We started off by meeting Mickey and Minnie in their full explorer attire; the kids hadn’t met any characters in Magic Kingdom, so we figured this was a good first stop. The wait was longer than expected, but when they finally met their favorite mice, the kids were thrilled. Worth it!
Next, we used a FastPass for the Kali River Rapids, where we got thoroughly soaked. Thankfully the damp clothes didn’t bother us as we walked the rest of the park; it was so warm, we were mostly dried off by lunch time. We even had our photos taken.
We sat down for lunch at Yak & Yeti, where I indulged in a mango daquiri with my chicken tiki masala, both excellent.
Our next FastPass was well spent at the Kilimanjaro Safari, where we saw lots of animals; giraffes, rhinos, hippos, monkeys, the whole lot. This was a favorite, and Gwen watched in rapt attention the whole ride.
We had a later afternoon FastPass for Na’vi River Journey, but we were once again exhausted by 3 p.m., so we skipped the ride and went back to the resort to relax at the pool. We learned we are definitely not all-day-parks people, and that’s OK! Next time, we’ll plan to stay a little closer to the parks, and probably use Lyft rather than renting a car.
Day 4 – Disney’s Hollywood Studios
This park was an unexpected favorite; we planned it mostly for the Star Wars features (Tim and the girls are Star Wars fans) but there was a lot of fun to be had. It seems they’ve moved most of the character experiences to this park and Epcot, so a lot of our day was spent taking photos with some of the kids’ favorites.
I got to hug Goofy, who has always been my favorite Disney character. Side note: I was not quite five when I first went to Disney World, and I was so shy about meeting Goofy. I have a vivid memory of standing next to him for a photo and feeling overwhelmed. This meeting was much more casual!
We ate at the 50’s Prime Time Cafe, where I had my favorite meal of the week: an amazing pot roast with a classic chocolate shake (I am easy to please). The decor alone was worth the trip; heck, it was a trip.
We used a FastPass for the Star Tours ride (Tim does not recommend it if you’re prone to motion sickness), then met up with a bunch of the Disney Junior characters and BB8. We’d planned to use our final FastPast at Toy Story Mania, but the ride had problems so we swapped it for a quick Little Mermaid performance, and topped off the day with Disney Junior Live.
Again, we started flagging around 2, so we left to spend the rest of the day at our hotel, but not before taking a final family photo with Fantasia Mickey outside the park.
Next time we come back, Hollywood Studios will have a whole new Toy Story section to explore. We still didn’t get to meet everyone – Donald and Daisy were there, but the lines were too long, and we didn’t have the patience to wait for Chewbacca. We could easily spend another full day here to get everything in. I’m already planning our next Disney vacation, with the idea we’ll take six days to explore the parks instead of three.