Arrived at Disney’s Animal Kingdom a few minutes after park opening. We roamed the park and made our out to Kilimanjaro Safari to use a FastPass+. After our ride paid a visit to Pandora because I wanted to take some pictures and soak in the new area a bit. Then we headed to Dinoland USA for lunch and to let the 1 year run a bit in the Boneyard area. Looked at our watch and had a few minutes until Flights of Wonder was about to start so headed for Asia. After the show used a FastPass for Flight of Passage then back to the Boardwalk for a little R&R before strolling over to Epcot for dinner. I grabbed something in France, the others by the American Adventure. Watched the 6:45pm Candlelight with Jodi Benson and then walked back to the hotel to change clothes and meet the rest of our group that was off property today. While there watched Jingle Bam from our balcony. We walked back to Epcot to catch Illuminations and wrap up the night.
Thoughts & Observations:
- Today we did not have a lot planned. Most of the group went to Universal for the day and those of us that stayed entertained the 1 year old and roamed the parks. It is a very different experience with a stroller, baby, and associated gear. It makes navigating the parks a little harder and more thinking involved.
- We started the morning off at Animal Kingdom with a FastPass+ for Kilimanjaro Safari. It turned out to be one of the best safaris we have had with plenty of animals moving around including a cheetah and the male lion.
- I spent some more time in Pandora taking a second look around and some pictures. My first impression held up, it is a very detailed and immersive land but I do not see it as some place I would want to just go an sit, like I do in Cars Land for example.
- I had a FastPass+ for Flight of Passage so went for my first experience on the signature attraction of the land. I was disappointed that the FastPass path misses much of the queue, you cannot even see it. The pre-show video and multiple rooms made for a really drawn out experience for me and instead of heightening expectations I got to the point of asking myself when will I finally reach the attraction. The flight experience itself was impressive. The ride seats were a bit awkward and not that comfortable for me. The video clarity was great. The motion worked well. But a completely CG world just does not draw me in. It looked nice but compare it to say the real destinations in Soarin I was not as interested. Also the Banshee seemed to do a lot of unnecessary dips just to make it feel more thrilling and not really push the story. As I walked off I surveyed our group and the consensus was it was a fun attraction but they were all glad we did not wait hours for it.
- Decided to have lunch in Dinoland and since I was not really that hungry and did not want anything greasy I opted for a hot dog. I was extremely disappointed with it. So I was 0 for 2 with hot dog meals this trip. This one was at least cooked but only luke warm. The bun was small and not fresh. All this for $8 (I wanted it without fries, which meant I could not to do the mobile order again).
- I spent the evening at Epcot today. On the other end of the value scale from the overpriced and bad hot dog I had at lunch are the fresh banquettes in France. Costing only three dollars for a couple feet of bread is a much better deal and it was fresh!
- I took in a Candlelight Ceremony. Jodi Benson was the narrator this evening. She does a very dramatic reading and really is into the show. As I have mentioned in year’s past. The Epcot Candlelight is much more of a production whereas Disneyland is more of an event. Both are good and worth seeing, but the Disneyland staging is much more impressive and grand to me. It is hard to beat Town Square. The Epcot show on the hand allows for better views for many and shorter waits. Also the arrangements and selections are different between the two. The Disneyland version feels more traditional whereas Epcot more contemporary with the music.
- Closed out my evening with Illuminations: Reflections of Earth and the Holiday tag. This year the Holiday tag felt like it had less fireworks. The finale was not as earth shaking and some effects such as the floating fireworks that burst out at the opening of the sequence were not there this year.
Pedometer Information for the day:
Other Picture sets from today: