Disney World {Part 3: Animal Kingdom}

Welcome back for some more Disney travels! 

On the third day in Orlando, we were able to “sleep in” until about 7. Oh heyyy, vacation! 

This day my mom and I had planned to meet my brother’s girlfriend, Maegan {she’s my friend too!} and her mom at Animal Kingdom. The weather forecast had us nervous, but we were hopeful since the predicted storms had held off the day before. I was so excited because I have never been to Animal Kingdom before and am an avid animal lover… my kind of place! No bit of rain was going to get in our way!

Naturally, my mom and I were dying to wear our new runDisney kicks. Despite the forecast, we donned our beautiful sneakers and received countless gasps and dropped jaws. I told you these are a big deal!

Since we were staying at a Disney Resort, we had the exciting opportunity to use the “extra magic hour” and enter the park an hour before they opened to other non-resort guests. I have to say, this is the best perk EVER! By doing some light research, I knew that the character spot opens at this earlier time and we made our way over to the correct location. I actually used a map successfully {BIG accomplishment for me! I’m as directionally-challenged as they come} and we were {drumroll, please} the FIRST PEOPLE IN LINE. To meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse. What?!? This day was already starting out on a much better foot than the day before!

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The moment we realized that we are the first people in line!

We had our picture taken once they opened the door moments later and were both practically skipping out the doors!

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                                                         Hanging out with our favorite mice

Following our borderline VIP photo, we walked over to a self-guided animal tour. Again, we were the only people there! We saw many different birds, a couple of tigers {if they weren’t so dangerous, I would totally want one. So cute!}, and bats. I convinced my mom to go into the room with bats and am so glad I did. They were actually adorable… looked like baby foxes with wings. I think/ hope my mom was pleasantly surprised by how cute they were. I was curious and asked the zoo keeper a bunch of questions regarding White Nose Syndrome, a disease affecting some bats that I learned about in one of my college biology classes. {Look at me remembering stuff!} Don’t fret, this species of bats are not affected. 

Following our animal tour, we found an employee and asked what the best rides were in Animal Kingdom. She assured us that Expedition Everest was always a good one. Although we had a Fast Pass for that ride later when Maegan and her mom arrived, we decided to try it out early with little to no wait time. What good advice that was! We waited in line for less than 30 seconds and were given the front seat. Did I say this day was amazing? The ride was a blast. I loved the surprises and decor! We had such a good time that we rode again!

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                             No wait… again!

We then went on pretty much anything that we wanted for a couple hours. This included Dinosaur, Finding Nemo the Musical, and some others I can’t seem to remember at the moment. The Nemo musical was great- I’d recommend that for people of all ages! By the time the musical let out, it had started raining and we headed over to meet Maegan and her mom, who had arrived! As we were walking, I spotted Louie and Baloo out of the corner of my eye. I have a knack for finding characters! Naturally, we lined up.

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                                  Louie and Baloo

 The timing was perfect to get in line for our Kilimanjaro Safari Fast Pass time. This was one ride I was looking forward to for months. It did start raining during our tour, but the vehicles were covered and I don’t melt 😉 A lot of animals were out and we had a great time viewing them all! My favorites on this trek may have been the giraffes. Or maybe the hippos… they’re so big!

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The rain started really coming down harder and we stayed underneath a shelter until it let up a little bit. Although we had rain jackets and umbrellas… my mom and I were wearing THE SHOES. Puddles were not okay!

We wanted to go on both Dinosaur and Expedition Everest again and were thankful for our solid Fast Pass picks.

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The rides were just as fun the second and third times around!

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My mom and I are in the middle row, and Maegan and her mom and her are below us. Woooooohooo!

By now, it was almost time for us to leave and make our early dinner reservation. Due to our transportation obstacles the previous day, we left plenty of time to make it to BOMA- Flavors of Africa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Since luck was on our side, there were no issues with the busses and we made it to our reservation… an hour early. We browsed around the hotel gift shop, fixed our crazy roller-coaster blown and rained-on hair, and listened to some awesome bongo drum musicians. 

Before I get carried away, I have to tell you upfront. This restaurant is quite possibly in the top three places I have eaten in my life. I wasn’t so sure initially about “African-inspired” food, but I am here to tell you; you will not be disappointed! Since this was our last real meal before the race, I wanted to stick with some normal foods that I knew would not upset my stomach and cause problems in the morning. 

It was a buffet and had plenty of options! Though I got some great chicken for my protein, the stars of my plate were the Carrot Ginger soup {YUM} and peanut rice. Maybe it’s because of my sweet teeth {let’s be honest, it’s more than one tooth} but these sweet sides were right up my alley. In fact, I got seconds of the soup because it was so amazing! The rice tasted like it was made with peanut butter. There were no actual nuts in it, so the texture remained true to form.

For desserts, we decided to get a little bit of everything and share them all. The desserts were mini anyway, and this worked out perfectly for our stuffed bellies! Below, you will see our sweet selections:

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                             Dessert spread

From the top going clockwise, we had a sweet potato bread pudding, almond orange cheesecake, chocolate coffee tart, strawberry mint panna cotta, and a zebra panna cotta. My favorites were the almond orange cheesecake and the zebra panna cotta, but everything was absolutely delicious.

So there you go! Our third day at Disney was phenomenal and I wouldn’t have changed anything. I would jump at the chance to go back to both Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge! What amazing places! 

Race day recap coming soon!

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