Ohboyohboy. These are my favorite blog posts to write – our trip reports! I get to relive our Disney days, and apparently, you guys don’t mind hearing this. Sah-weet! Here’s the quick stats:
Trip Report for Day 1 of our August 2018 Vacation
Lodging: Pop Century
Parks visited: Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios
Notable dining: Character breakfast buffet at Tusker House
# of FastPasses used (or no wait): 12!
Longest wait: none
Approximate crowd levels: 6 for Animal Kingdom, 3 for Hollywood Studios
Arrival time: breakfast ADR at 10:30am, started touring at 12pm
If you’re a follower of mine, you know Amy and I love our breakfast buffets, and a personal goal is to knock out all of them – including the character ones. While character meals may not be worth the splurge for adult-only parties, we have an absolute ball. And with Tusker House being one of the highest rated and not having tried it yet, it only seemed appropriate that this should be the first stop of this trip.
We had arrived from Magical Express at about 2am the night before, so I needed sleep (I always do). We knew we wouldn’t want to get up for park opening, and we also wanted to try our…
Brunch Buffet Overlap Sneak.
You know, where you book your reservation so that it starts during breakfast, but ends during lunch. It’s legit, and I recommend it.
It worked great, and the cast members did a perfect job of making sure everyone got to experience breakfast while lunch was coming out.
I of course ate as many Mickey Waffles and other sugary delights immediately, but absolutely appreciated getting to enjoy the Cape Malay Chicken Curry when they brought it out. The protein is always good for me too, as a sugar monger. Don’t want to mess with the blood sugar too much on the first Disney morning.
We had a ball with the characters, and they came around like clockwork. I always hear other bad buffet stories; food running out, characters not coming by tables, etc. – and we have never had this sort of poor luck. So we will continue to do character breakfasts!
The best part is that there is always one of the gang of characters that just loses it over my Disney World tattoo. Check out Goofy below. It was hysterical.
After storing our energy away for the day, we headed to Kilimanjaro Safaris to use our first FastPass. The safari never gets old, and I’m always surprised at what I will learn and see.
This is one of the 239034 times at Disney World where I think I should leave my profession and go into whatever is in front of me, aka “I want to be a zoologist!!!”.
I’m a bit of an idea and mental spazz, and this happens allllll the time at Disney. As a learner personality and someone who likes change, my trips to Disney always have me wanting to jump into something new (a few days later on Living with the Land, I was convinced I should move to the countryside and start a giant, sustainable farm. Sounds nice, but not me. But this is the magic of Disney for adults…gets your creative juices flowing).
I will say, this trip inspired me to get a membership to my zoo here in Colorado Springs. Animals are the coolest.
Next was off to Asia to ride the thrill trio of Expedition Everest, followed by Dinosaur and Primeval Whirl. Another tip I highly recommend for Animal Kingdom is trying to consolidate your touring in areas, cause the park is huge. We ended up doing 15 miles this first day alone (which is at the extreme end of the scale), and much of that was probably from this park.
Now, the interesting thing on this trip was how our Line Hacks strategies worked this time at Animal Kingdom. Once crowd levels start to go over 6-7, is where our FastPass strategies can be pretty hard to predict. We usually see a decent amount of Expedition Everest pop up, but it was tougher than usual this time. Alternatively, we saw a ton of FastPasses continue to pop up for Kilimanjaro Safaris, which can sometimes be tough on busier days.
Oh – it should be worth mentioning – there were more Navi River FastPasses available than Expedition Everest, which I’ve never seen before!
I’ll talk more about touring strategies below, cause the day did get interesting!
Once the clock struck about…eh, 2 or 2:30pm…Amy and I decided it was time for Disney day drinks. I have no interest in consuming alcoholic beverages during the daytime hours at home, but, this changes at Disney. Especially when there’s margaritas left and right. I also have to drink these drinks in the name of research for all you lovely site readers looking for adult activities for your next trip!
Animal Kingdom is almost like it’s own EPCOT World Showcase, it has that many spots for alcohol. There are multiple full bars you will readily hit just walking around, such as Thirsty River Trek, and Dawa Bar.
And what do I like to drink on my vacations? Margaritas! And tiki drinks. They’re super fun, and I just can’t get them at home the way they are at Disney. Or I don’t go seeking them, at least. Ya know. Vacation makes everything different.
We decided to stop at Thirsty River Trek, and I had the Durbar Margarita, which is
Jose Cuervo Gold Tequila, Triple Sec, Ginger, Sweet-and-Sour and fresh Lime Juice per Disney.
I was a bit surprised to see that it was blue – and immediately become a bit of a snob – ehmm…why the hell is my drink blue?
The bartender let me know that they simply used blue colored Triple Sec…which I assume is Blue Curacao essentially. Had I known, I probably would requested regular Triple Sec, but who knows and who cares. It’s 2pm and I’m at Animal Kingdom having a freaking margarita to get my next hit of sucre after the Mickey Waffles. Onward!
FYI. You are allowed to bring any beverages, even alcoholic, into the attraction lines and through most exhibits. We took our margaritas and went and explored Maharajah Jungle Trek, since we skipped it on our January sister trip. I learned very interesting facts about tigers, such as they are solo and territorial animals that very quickly do not recognize their partner or young. Which means, the cubs and papa tiger were in separate enclosures, cause papa would fight or eat the cubs if not. I can be quite the know-it-all…and I had no idea. Cool?
Oh, GUYS! We quickly scored a day of FastPass for Navi River Journey that was within an hour – FYI. These are really starting to open up. I don’t believe people should be concerned with trying to rope drop to make sure they can get on Navi River, unless it’s a crowded time of year. As always, I have to mention my amazing product Line Hacks. Check the system out if you’re still waiting in any type of lines. It’s a game changer, so promise me you’ll at least look at some of the tips on the site.
We decided to hit It’s Tough To Be a Bug on the way to Pandora after our jungle trek. This 3D movie never gets old to me – I get a major case of the giggles, and that’s a great feeling for my often grumpy butt. I always say that it’s a must-do, for all ages. I can’t wait to watch my very apathetic husband’s reaction in October to this hilarious show.
After Navi River, we were constantly looking for a Flight of Passage FastPass, but we COULDN’T GET IT! This never happens to me, guys. I was bummed. I did end up scoring two within an hour later on the trip, so that made up for it.
I only spent a few minutes on the hacks, and probably could have scored one if I tried harder. But we were sitting in Pandora and decided…hmm…we’re antsy…let’s get out of here…and go to Hollywood Studios…
AND CHECK OUT TOY STORY LAND CUZ WE CAN’T FRIGGIN WAIT UNTIL TOMORROW NIGHT LIKE WE HAD PLANNED.
So yeah, we couldn’t wait. We hit the major attractions we wanted to at Animal Kingdom, and decided we’d come back Saturday to do the things we didn’t. We were ready for a round at Toy Story Mania, and to check out the new land.
So we left Animal Kingdom coming up on 4pm, to head to the Studios.
I am rarely spontaneous with my WDW touring (I mean, it’s really hard to be with ADRS, FastPasses, blah blah blah). But boy, did it feel good! It was enlightening! You other Type A planaholics can probably understand.
Our evening jump to Hollywood Studios worked great. I am a big advocate to hit a new park in the evening hours, due to the sheer availability of FastPasses that usually become available. We scored immediate FastPasses for Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours, and Toy Story Mania. Whoop!
Oh, and guess what? I GOT TOP SCORE OF HOUR ON TOY STORY MANIA, GUYS.
This is huge for me. I usually beat Amy and get Top Score in the Vehicle, but…Top Score of the hour…all those poor souls who came before me that past 59 minutes.
And Toy Story Land, ahhhh. Walking into Toy Story Land was so great. I’m a bit strange about my travel in general, and I actually don’t like looking at pictures or reviews of something I know I’m going to soon experience myself. This has been tough, because the Disney blogging community is very “the more you know”. So it’s been difficult to avoid all the news, gossip, and pictures of this project that has been underwraps for years. Rightfully so, as it’s a huge deal.
This is coming from the girl that still refuses to take the Keys to the Kingdom tour, not because I don’t really want to (I do), but…I just don’t really need to know. Or want to know. I love how things work, but not at Disney. Keep it magical. I want my mind to stay as innocent as possible at Disney World. Rant over. So walking into Toy Story Land was super fun, and I won’t give spoilers for the same reason I just mentioned above.
We couldn’t score a FastPass within a reasonable time for Slinky Dog Dash, so we didn’t get to experience that this first day. We had no problems with Toy Story Mania though, so I am now highly recommending booking Slinky Dog Dash as your 1 tiered FP, and attempting Toy Story Mania for day of FP/rope drop/closing hour.
And since we really enjoyed our more low-key vibe this trip, and we love the ambiance at Hollywood Studios, we enjoyed just sitting under an umbrella on the Starring Rolls patio having a drink while a quick rainshower passed. Even though I’m still upset that Dis closed Starring Rolls, grr.
Photo by Dining at Disney
We ended our evening at the Boardwalk, grabbing some late appetizers at Big River Grille. This restaurant doesn’t always rate high, but we’ve always had great success with the appetizers (it’s hard to mess up fried food and melted cheese). Unfortunately the patio was already closed, which is why we typically visit, but we always enjoy ending an evening at the Boardwalk nonetheless.
Our vibe today was definitely more low key (even though we walked over 15 friggin miles, yowch), in case you’re thinking about making an itinerary out of this report.
We didn’t catch any shows we’ve seen in the past year, and only hit the headliners once, if that. We definitely enjoyed having a leisurely brunch, margaritas and animal watching, and the spontaneity that park hopping offers
If you’re unaware on how to score this many FastPasses and not ever wait stand-by like us, check out the Line Hacks system if you haven’t already. I can’t recommend it enough, it will take you from tourist to advanced-Disney-expert-top-1%-know-it-all-do-it-all-er. 🙂
Stay cool and always reach out if you have questions about doing WDW proper!