Started off the morning with a quick breakfast in the room and then met the rest of my group at the bus stop at 8am. Boarded a bus to the Animal Kingdom and arrived prior to park opening. 15 minutes or so prior to opening we were able to walk up toward Discovery Island. At rope drop we joined the mass heading for Africa and the Safari. We never really slowed down until we were waiting to board the next truck. After the Safari had about 15 minutes until the first Festival of the Lion King show of the day so headed that way. Then walked up the path toward Asia and caught Flights of Wonder. Continued on to Asia and watched the gibbons for a while then walked the Jungle Trek. Strolled around the Rivers of Light lagoon checking out the new seating areas and then stopped by Dinoland for lunch. Walked around Discovery Island and made our way to the Oasis and exited the park. Waited quite a while for a bus to the Hollywood Studios. Wandered up Hollywood Blvd and then walked out past Toy Story to the dead end. Then back to Hollywood Blvd for the Star Wars a Galaxy Far Far Away show at Center Stage. Walked back and around to the Muppets dead end. Then circled around by the ABC Commissary and headed to the Animation Courtyard. Then returned to the Chinese Theater for the Great Movie Ride which we had a FastPass+ for. After our trip through the movies roamed around Hollywood Blvd and made our way to a waiting Friendship Launch. Took it all the way to Epcot. Walked around World Showcase to the American Adventure stopping by Japan and hung out to watch the 5:30pm Garden Rocks concert featuring Georgia Satellites this weekend. Only lasted a couple songs into their set then decided to walk by Japan, Morocco, France and continued on to see the topiaries by the United Kingdom and Canada on our way to Future World. Stopped by Innoventions East to get this month’s lithograph and then some wanted to eat so we stopped by the Electric Umbrella. Booked a FastPass+ for Spaceship Earth and after eating used it (did not need it though since it was a walkon). Then headed for the bus to call it an early evening. Stopped at Everything Pop! For a bite to eat on the way back to the room to call it a night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- The Pop Century bus stops were busy but not crazy this morning. I was expecting a bigger crowd for a Sunday morning after 8am. The Animal Kingdom was not too bad either but the crowd was building.
- Pandora – The World of Avatar appears to be inching along toward completion. I was expecting more visible progress on the floating mountains since December. Some more detail was visible but it was still very similar looking from the couple vantage points you have in the park.
- The rope drop/opening moment of the park now features the Winged Encounter Birds. It is a nice touch and better than nothing. But compared to the character ones of the past it was a let down. The crowd did seem to appreciate it and clapped for the birds.
- First stop the Safari since I did not have a FastPass+. Nothing too interesting to report. Some more lights are visible for the night time version but that is about it. The dogs were out. No sign of hyenas yet. I think the dog area on the savanna could use some more help blending it. It looks very much like an enclosure and not very natural to me.
- Stopped by the first Festival of the Lion King show of the day. Surprised the theater was only half full. Nice to be able to spread out a bit and enjoy one of the best shows Disney puts on.
- Next up Flights of Wonder. Show was basically the same just a new roof. I thought maybe they would have taken the down time to tweak the show some.
- On the Maharajah Jungle Trek the Komodo Dragon was very active walking around. Was talking with the cast member and Disney has two. A mother and off spring (I want to say son but I don’t remember now). Only one is out at a time due to mothers and offspring not getting along in the species. In the wild the mothers will actually eat them if the opportunity arises.
- Further down the trail only two tigers were out, one on each side and neither was active.
- I was extremely disappointed that Rivers of Light was delayed so I would not be able to experience the new night time activities and shows at the Animal Kingdom. The new theater for the show had the walls down so you could see it and walk around. Overall it blends in better than I thought… but it looks awkward and not as good as the original landscaping did. The theater seems really small to me and the viewing angles do not seem ideal for projection screens. It will be interesting to see how the show plays once it finally opens later this year.
- My bus luck was not good as we left the Animal Kingdom and headed to the Studios. We waited about 20 minutes for a bus to show up. Then as luck would have it we crowded into it, just making it on and another pulled up right behind. I wish they communicated better.
- Today marked the Studios 27th Birthday. Hard to believe since I can remember watching the opening celebration on television. There seemed to be absolutely nothing happening in the park today to mark the event. Some cast members had a button but that was it.
- Even in the daylight walking through Pixar Place there is no real visible progress on Toy Story or beyond.
- Watched the Star Was Galaxy Far, Far Away show at Center Stage. The show is really a series of clips and character appearances. It was ok, but there is zero shade in the main viewing area so you are exposed to the sun and seeing the screens was a bit of a challenge in the afternoon sun. There are a half dozen shows from 12:30-6:30pm so all would face similar issues.
- There was nothing else going on at the Studios and after visiting a couple of attractions and trying to see if there was any visible progress we decided to head for Epcot. Had much better boat luck than bus luck as the cast members held the boat when they saw us coming. So no wait at all.
- Epcot World Showcase seemed calm for a Sunday afternoon/evening. I was expecting it to be more crowded given the Flower and Garden Festival but maybe since has been running for several months the crowd is more even.
- The Flower Power Concert series was replaced with Garden Rocks Concert Series and the groups now span many decades. The concerts only take place Friday to Sunday. Today was Georgia Satellites, next week Gin Blossoms. I am not a fan of either and could not name a song either performs. I listened to a few songs in the Georgia Satellites set before moving on. I was very disappointed with my timing this year that the two groups performing during my visit were not ones I would seek out.
- Spent some time walking around and looking at the topiaries around the park as I always like to do during the festival. Nothing really new or unique throughout most of the park. Some new placements and arrangements but more or less status quo. The Rancher Mickey to celebrate the National Parks anniversary was well done. The front entrance topiary features Daisy Duck this year and was average to me. Future World seemed to have more topiaries this year than the last time I visited. On the west side there were several Fantasia Topiaries.
- This year each month of the festival they had a different lithograph for Annual Passholders. I was able to pick up April yesterday and today May. And thanks to a friend who picked up March I had the full set.
Pedometer Information for the day: