Thursday, January 03, 2008

WDW Trip Report - Day 5 (Animal Kingdom)

Wednesday did not start out well. Some of the bad vibes from the day before hung over and we started out a little grumpy. But we resolved to REALLY take it easy (not just say so and then run around at breakneck speed) and enjoy our last full day at WDW and so we did just that. This was the only day that we had to take a Disney bus to the park, but the wait was not too long. It was a little warmer but we decided up front that it was still too cool to ride the Kali River Rapids (you really do get drenched on that one - much wetter than Splash Mountain). We took a stroll past the critters near the entrance and made our way back to Asia where we got our first look at the new Everest ride. I'm used to Disney Imagineering but I have to say that I was blown away by the mountain they've built and the way they disguise the ride until you're standing right in front of it. Very nicely done! The single-rider line was short (as usual) despite the crowd in the park (all of the parks were more crowded than we'd expected but none of them uncomfortably so) so I jumped on in while J poked around the scenery. While I was in line, I saw one of the Cast Members actually take a couple of teenagers to task for trampling over some poor schmuck with a baby and then, when the delinquents jumped into the FastPass line, she let them wait through it before pulling them out and sending them to the back of the single-rider line again. Yay for her!! Too often it appears that the Cast Members are afraid to call out a guest, even when they are annoying or endangering other guests, so kudos to her! The ride was really good - it's a Big Thunder-type of mine train ride but much smoother (newer, of course) and the Disney touches are really well done. I highly recommend it and it more than made up for missing Kali.

We didn't have lunch reservations and had planned on just hitting walk-up somewhere, but J suggested seeing if we could get into the new Yak and Yeti sit-down restaurant. It was after 2pm (we got a really late start) and we were seated right away - on the second floor at a window overlooking the "street", which was great. The food and service were both quite good - definitely worth a return trip. Given how late we started and how early it was getting dark, we decided not to try to rush through lunch to make it to the African safari, so we meandered down the Maharajah Jungle Trek to look at tiggers and bats and wildebeests instead. And birds, including what looked to me like a Norwegian Blue (lovely plumage!).

The normal park closing time was 6pm but this was an Extra Magic day (planning!) so even though we had dinner reservations back on the Boardwalk at 8:30, we got our wristbands so that we could enjoy the park for at least a little bit after dark. We did a little gift shopping in Harambe and wandered back to the shops near the entrance, enjoying NOT rushing off to the buses like most everyone else. I missed Kali and I missed the safari and we didn't get to the Boneyard at all, but we had a wonderful, relaxing last day at the parks and enjoyed it thoroughly.

We got back to the room in plenty of time to get dressed up a bit for our dinner at Flying Fish. I had been looking forward to it for weeks and they did not disappoint. I'd stack them up against most restaurants around Chapel Hill and Durham (and there are some phenomenal restaurants around here). The other real treat was a big concert band (local high school maybe?) playing on the lawn at the Boardwalk - we stopped to listen to the Christmas music for awhile and then were able to open the doors to the balcony in the room and listen to their last set while we did a little packing. What a great surprise! Last nights can be a little sad but since we weren't leaving for the airport until after 3pm, we knew we had some time to do some more stuff on Thursday (including taking back the t-shirt J bought at the Rock'n'Roller Coaster since it didn't fit). So Wednesday turned out to be the kind of relaxing, restful day that we'd kind of intended them all to be.

JennySlash at the Animal Kingdom Christmas Tree


Here there be tiggers!

More Day 5 pictures are in the gallery here.

Next: Still some time before we leave

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