our next stop around the walt disney world resort was animal kingdom park. and we were all pretty delighted when we got outside and found that it was overcast, cooler and not quite as humid as the previous days. from our vantage point outside the restaurant that we mobile ordered breakfast from, we could see the castle over in the magic kingdom.
i, of course, opted for mickey waffles to start my day.
we hopped onto a resort shuttle bus that took us right to the entrance to the park.
and then we had our first animal sighting even before we got inside.
one of the first things we noticed when we went through the gates was the massive, iconic tree of life.
there was only a *little* moaning and groaning when i requested to recreate another old family photo. we weren't in the same spot and didn't gather in the same formation, but i had to take what i could get.
the overcast skies had given way to a little drizzle which turned into a much more steady drizzle, so we stopped in one of the shops to pick up some rain gear because we're delicate flowers who might melt.
as we made our way through the park and entered "africa," we somehow got separated from the bean and the hub. no worries, though. it's not like we didn't know where we were all headed - the kilimanjaro safari ride, to see all the non-audio-animatronic animals.
because the weather was so nice, we got lucky and got to see lots of animals who might not have been out had the sun been out in all its glory.
if you look really closely here, you'll spot the cheetah:
and then we turned a corner and saw a lion and lioness lying next to him. i think the entire jeep was holding their breath as we just stared at him in utter awe and amazement. he stared back at us, but it was more disdain than anything else. heh.
we got to walk through the gorillas as we exited the ride queue.
the bird show wasn't open for obvious reasons, but i still stopped to appreciate the signage for it.
off in the distance, we caught our first glimpse of the peak at expedition everest.
this was the ride that the bean had been dreading. she's conquered the incredicoaster back at california adventure, but she knew that this ride is a little...spicier than that one. i knew she didn't want to go on it, but she did anyway. and i really think she enjoyed it, even a little, but she'd never admit it.
we had a fun little encounter with donald, daisy and launchpad, gliding by underneath us on the river.
the old lady and her fiancé were super excited to check out the avatar-themed section of the park, but since the rest of us hadn't seen the movie we were a little less enthused. instead, we sent them on ahead to get in line for one of the rides there while we stopped to grab something to eat. by the time we got to "pandora," they were still waiting to ride and so we got in line for the other ride in that section, which was much shorter and was kind of like "it's a small world."
the hub and i even had time to have one of the WDW photographers take some snaps of just the two of us.
and then it was time to say goodbye to animal kingdom and head over to hollywood studios to round out the day.
our first stop was to grab a late lunch at fairfax fare. these chili cheese dogs were huge and ridiculous...heartburn city, as we found out later. and i couldn't stop myself from grabbing one of their s'mores for dessert. hey, we were at disney world...all the walking and sweating burned all of those calories and then some.
the line wasn't too bad for mickey's runaway railway, so we did that first.
but we were most excited for tower of terror, because while we had it for years in california we knew that florida's version is way better. if you know, you know.
i really wanted the old lady to experience the slinky dog dash ride over in the toy story area, but even though it was closing time the line was still way too long. bummer. so we made our way out of the park and headed over to grab a bus to disney springs to meet up with the hub (who hadn't joined us for the second park) for dinner. we would've loved to take a ride on the skyliners, but those lines were just as long.
the bean and i had asked the hub if he would get into the virtual queue for gideon's bakehouse, a newish addition to disney springs. they're known for their giant, damn near half-pound gourmet cookies, and like everything else at disney was in high demand with a crazy wait time. and so he had gone over, snagged his virtual spot in line and then headed to the cigar lounge to relax. the wait was right around two hours at that point, which put him back at the bakery just before our dinner reservation at STK. he sent us these pictures as we were on the bus:
our dinner at STK was...disappointing. the service was terrible, the music was at club levels in the dining area, the food was just meh. and pricey, of course. ugh.
but that's okay. we'd had a really fun day, so one shitty meal wasn't going to bring us down. and there was still more to come! much, much more.
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