Today we woke up slightly late and only because we had a late breakfast reservation at Kona Cafe located at the Polynesian Village Resort. I kept telling Chloe this was a must do for the Tonga Toast alone! Not only that, but it allowed Chloe to see some of the deluxe resorts Disney has to offer.
The tonga toast did not disappoint! I highly, highly recommend a breakfast at the Kona Cafe! After breakfast, we explored the resort and then jumped on the Monorail. Every time I go to Disney World I love to do the Monorail loop. This loop has stops at Magic Kingdom, the Ticket and Transportation Centre, the Contemporary Resort, the Grand Floridian and Polynesian. Each resort is themed beautifully and has its own appeal as to why I love visiting each one. One of my first memories of staying on property as a kid was at the Contemporary. I love the nod to Mary Blair here as well. There is something so nostalgic about the Contemporary, I just love visiting. We stopped off at each resort exploring and shopping our way through them all.
Once our loop was complete, we jumped on the bus to Animal Kingdom. This park is my second least favourite park. But I must say, since adding Pandora to the mix, the beauty of this park has increased immensely. I hadn’t seen Pandora at night time yet, so this is why we chose to do a half day at AK. Chloe and I were also hoping to catch the night time show, Rivers of Light. In all the years I’d been to AK, I’d never seen it.
Some advice for AK: wear proper shoes and loose clothing. It can get HOT at AK and there is A LOT of walking. Unlike the other parks where the walkways are smooth, the pavement here at AK is indicative of walking in the wilderness; uneven. There are many attractions here, but there is also plenty of walking attractions like a zoo. Trails that lead you to different areas of the park are worth seeing, just make sure you’ve got water with you because some of these areas there are no refreshment posts near by.
Another good tip for AK is to use your Fastpasses properly. My number one attraction to FastPass is the Kilimanjaro Safari. This queue can be one hell of a wait and it goes on foreverrrrr. Another attraction to snag a fastpass is the newest ride in Pandora, Flights of Passage. Having said that, I personally wouldn’t use a fastpass here but that’s only because I get motion sickness. Since I had my sister and Anna with us today, we fastpassed it so that Chloe could go on it! I followed them right up until it was time to get on the banshee and I walked off. If you’re ever worried that you can’t follow your group on a ride in fear that you cannot exit just before getting on, don’t worry! Cast members can guide you off the ride to the nearest exit. No biggie!
So we started our day off at the Safari. You are guaranteed to see all kinds of animals on your tour. I’ve never been on this ride and not seen an abundance of wildlife. It’s a great way to beat the heat and to get up close to some of Africa’s infamous wildlife.
After our safari we continued our explorations into Asia where the legend of the Yeti has haunted the locals. Expedition Everest is a great ride for the thrill seeker! Up until I was 30 I enjoyed this ride! Since then, I can’t do it. Like Flights of Passage, we used a fastpass on this one so that Chloe could experience it. I went to the local bar and got myself a cool drink and waited out their exploration. I should say that despite AK not being my favourite park, it is one of the most beautiful ones. With the lush garden spaces and authentic feeling atmosphere, you could swear you were walking through small villages in Africa, Asia and well, nature itself!
They survived the Yeti! Phew! Leaving Everest in the rearview, we wandered through the winding walkways to Pandora. It is the latest addition to AK based on the wildly popular, Avatar. Now I’ll admit, I’ve never seen Avatar in its entirety. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the film and I really don’t get why it was so popular. But having said that, what James Cameron created with Disney Imagineering is a feat in and of itself. Pandora is absolutely breathtaking! The way they transition you from the rest of the park into Pandora is remarkable. The floating mountains are an engineering feat and literally jaw dropping. I had been to Pandora earlier this year, but had never experienced it at night. We had fastpasses for Flights of Passage, so we made our way there. Like I said before, I followed them to the banshee then left.
Pictures do no do Pandora at night justice. Everything glows beautifully. You can wander this area of the park, exploring all the details. It’s truly a must see when you go to AK! If you don’t want to do a whole day at this park, then plan for half a day in the evening. You won’t be disappointed! Emma and Anna had to leave us in Pandora. They had dining reservations at Hollywood Studios. Chloe and I hung back for the Rivers of Light show. We didn’t get there til really late, but that sort of worked in our favour! We were sat in the ‘fastpass’ section and we didn’t have fastpasses. It was an empty section they needed to fill so we lucked out! We were a few rows from the water. But honestly, this was the only good thing about this show. It was boring and felt long. There are no actors involved. Just boats with lights and projections. Obviously there are no fireworks due to the animals in the park, but the whole show was a dud. I would not recommend waiting around for it!
After that disappointment, we went back to Pandora to snap some more photos! We couldn’t get enough of it. Eventually we made our way to the exit stopping for photos in front of the Tree of Life of course. We had taken Chloe to the ‘It’s Tough to be a Bug’ show inside the Tree of Life earlier, so she had seen it in the light with all the carvings on the tree. Seeing it a night is just as beautiful.
After our long bus ride home, we dropped whatever shopping bags we had and made our way to Disney Springs. Chloe had some shopping to do for friends and family back home. Disney Springs is the place for WDW souvenirs and the like. It literally has everything you can think of and then some! But one pro tip for shopping at WDW….if you see it, you love it, buy it! If you find it at any one of the parks, it may not be anywhere else! Especially park themed gifts, you won’t find those at Disney Springs. I’ve been caught at times making last minute runs to MK or Epcot because I saw something I should have bought but didn’t. Nowadays, Disney has more universal gifts that you’ll see just about everywhere. But I’m talking things you see at let’s say, the France Pavilion at Epcot. You won’t find that at Disney Springs.
We had a late dinner at Earl of Sandwich and got our shop on! I think we did fairly well. Chloe managed to get all the things she wanted, as did I. I think this was a great day! We hopped on our boat back to the French Quarter. The boat ride is such a relaxing way to end any day. We are lucky that we have this mode of transportation right at our fingertips!
Tomorrow is our last full day at WDW! I cannot believe our week has come and gone so quickly!! We’ve got a full day ahead of us so stay tuned for a delicious way to end an amazing vacation with my Twinsie and capturing the last bit of Disney magic before we fly home.
Until next time…