Listen up folks. Day 12 was super fun. A great day.
In fact, some would say Day 12 is…
(pause for laughter)
Oh sorry. That joke will make more sense once you get into the post. But I’ll just let you in on it now. We went to Animal Kingdom.
Also there is something else in addition to that that makes this an awesome day. Jeff and Shannon! Yep. My brother and my niece. And more importantly, they’re my friends.
THREE gifs before the day even starts? Eh. Pic. LESSGO.
Day 12 – I looooove animals
Our plan on Day 12 was to get up and out the door early because we had one of the more coveted FastPasses in the morning and we were hoping to hop on it standby so as to save our FastPasses for our company.
So up we were at like 6:30AM for our day at Animal Kingdom! The gates were set to open at 9:00 AM but we had heard they were opening the gates early so we planned on being there by 8AM. Our bus picked us up at 7:30 or so and we were on our way.
Nickie decided on some apropos giraffe ears for the day.
Myles spent the bus ride over being a teenager.
We arrived at the park just around 8AM and as expected, lines were forming at the entrance already.
Oh also, CHRISTMAS TREE!
And yep, they DID let everyone in early. I think we were in the park by 8:15 AM.
When we were in the park, there was some disagreement as to where to head actually. While most of us agreed we should head straight for Pandora, Myles was already afraid of what the line would be. Nickie doesn’t ride it so she went off with Myles while Owen and I journeyed to Pandora – World of Avatar.
And when we got there, the line for Flight of Passage was under 30 minutes. Which is much MUCH less than the 4 hour line Owen and I waited in last year. I mean, that’s just simple math.
So we hopped in line and I texted Myles to let him know. He hurried back to join us in line and we only made fun of him and his doubt for like maybe a minute and a half. Which is good. For us.
And the line moved insanely quickly. We were inside within 15 minutes, I’d say.
And Flight of Passage continues to be m favorite attraction in all of Walt Disney World. It’s beautiful, thrilling, and innovative. LURVE it.
When we got out, Nickie was waiting at the exit with breakfast for us from Pongu Pongu. She got us some coffee, breakfast biscuits…
And some lumpia, which is a sort of spring roll filled with pineapple and cream cheese. Both of these were delicious.
And best news is that we still had our 9:30 to 10:30 FastPasses! Four of them as Nickie got one too. And this worked out as we were having more visitors. Jeff and Shannon, my bother and niece from Florida, were meeting us today so Nickie and I were planning on giving them our FastPasses so they could ride Flight of Passage with the boys. Yes yes. I know. I AM very generous.
We were so excited Jeff and Shannon were coming as they would be with us not only today but also for Day 13. And we were planning on cramming in a lot of fun over the next couple days. Get excited. For the cramming.
They showed up, we exchanged some quick hugs, and then ushered them right onto the attraction with the boys. Nickie and I hung out in Wind Traders for a little bit and watched the Pandora Utility Suit pilot interact with guests outside the shop.
It was pretty cool and it honestly took me a while to figure out how the whole thing worked. I won’t spoil it for you guys but I will say, once again Disney has on its hands a very unfortunate acronym. PUS? Seriously, PUS? Ew.
Our next FastPass started at 10:55, so we decided to try and jump on Dinosaur. Wait, sorry….DINOSAUR. Why does Disney put that one in all caps? Are we supposed to yell the name?
It’s not top of the muffin TO YOU!
The wait was looking relatively short so we walked over to DinoLand.
And we pretty much walked right on. Well, all of us except Nickie. She sat this one out. When on the attraction, the plan was to do the Young Gravy.Dr. Evil pose. Things sort of worked out.
After our Time Rover made its way back to present day, we met back up with Nickie and it was time for our next FastPass – Kilimanjaro Safaris!
This ride is Animal Kingdom, isn’t it? I mean, I love a lot of the attractions here but can you go to Animal Kingdom and not do the safari? I mean, I guess you could. But it would be idiotic. Don’t be an idiot. Ride the safari.
We had a really nice safari this time around as well. We saw…well, eh. I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
After all that time out on the savannah, we were all famished. It was time to head back to Pandora…
…for lunch at Satu’li Canteen.
For lunch, a bunch of us got create-your-own bowls. And I can’t be expected to remember what everyone got. I mean, there are a lot of options here. I will say I got the combination beef and chicken bowl with rice and beans and chimichurri sauce (I think? Maybe?) They top the whole thing with vegetable slaw and boba balls. I paired it with an IPA.
I wish I remembered what everyone else got in their bowls, but I mean it was over a month ago. Mine, however, was delicious. The beef was especially good – very tender. I actually think next time I may forego the chicken and just get the beef as my protein.
Owen got a bowl as well but he opted to just have the beef and rice. Plain Jane, that one is. Well, a Plain Owen.
Kid does love his beef though. He ate the whole thing and I was happy to be able to get him something other than cheeseburgers and mac and cheese.
Myles got the cheeseburger pods though, of which I did get a picture.
And I just noticed these are actually off the menu at the moment? Womp. I had these last time we visited Satu’li and while I think the bowl is the better option, these were also quite good. He paired his meal with a Pandoran Sunrise.
Boba balls. Everywhere.
For dessert, we all split a Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse.
I was very excited to try this as we didn’t get a chance last time here. And not only is this thing hella-insta-worthy, but it’s also really good. Had a really nice balance of creamy and tangy.
Overall, lunch was delicious and Satu’li still ranks as a solid counter service option.
After lunch, it was time. For something epic. Well, I mean…epic for this blog.
Myles was going to ride Expedition: Everest! Myles has not ridden Everest since he was super little. On account of I made him ride it and scarred him for life. I’ve since only ridden Everest with Owen. Before this trip, Myles made a vow to ride it. I was sure though he would totally chicken out when it came time. I thought we would get to our ride time and he would decide it wasn’t for him. I thought he would do what he usually does and find an excuse to not ride it.
Let that one sink in. Yeti didn’t.
There you go.
Anyways, we were excited. Shannon graciously stayed back to keep Nickie company, being the husband I could never be. So it would be Myles, Owen, Jeff, and I expeditioning. Expeding? What, spell check? What’s the word. Whatever. The point is…EVEREST!
And Myles loved it. I mean, of course he did. It’s a fantastic coaster. Just look at him there. Having an amazing time.
So proud of him though. He faced his fears and he in turn ended up finding something else to love about Disney.
To celebrate, we walked over to the Dawa Bar to meet back up with Nickie and Shannon. And to…erm…do some of this.
That up there is a Ngumu Jungle Juice. A mix of vodka, peach schnapps, and Passion Fruit Orange Guava juice. Yeah, alcoholic POG juice. It was like some sort of dream I once had.
But we moved quickly onto beer. And more beer. And like, a little more beer after that. The kids meanwhile loaded up on sodas. Well, and chips. For some odd reason, Owen was obsessed with potato chips that day. I dunno. But we ended up spending a couple hours hanging out at the bar and having way too much fun. We joked. We laughed. We danced. Yup. We danced. The kids were less happy about that.
At one point, this older guy came up behind me and said I forgot something. For a brief moment, I though I was being arrested. I turned around and he started flossing.
No, no. Not that kind of flossing.
Hm yes. It was kind of like that. In that it was awesome.
We seriously had soooo much fun just hanging out at the Dawa Bar. So much of the laughing.
But we had to leave at some point, right? So we headed out of Animal Kingdom and grabbed some PhotoPass on the way.
The plan was for Jeff and Shannon to head back to their room at All-Star Movies and for us to go back and chill at the Beach Club. So we went our different ways.
Except not really. Because we weren’t ready to put any kind of pause on the fun. So I called Jeff and asked if we should just take the bus back to his resort and meet them there (they had already gotten in their car.) We walked to the other bus stop and grabbed a bus headed for All-Star Movies.
And it was really cool over there. Like literally and figuratively. The temperature was definitely dropping. But yeah, also figuratively. The place was all decked out for the holidays. And I have no pics of that. So.
But we walked through the pool area, grabbing some beers on the way, and over to Jeff and Shannon’s room. Which was really nice. They had one of the refurbished rooms. With the hardwood floors and the pull-down bed. Disney has really done a good job with upping the Value resorts for sure.
We hung out for a bit and all decided instead of going back to the park, maybe we hit up Disney Springs. So that is what we did. Hit up Disney Springs. Yeah.
For dinner, we went once again to The Polite Pig. Actually, us going to The Polite Pig in the first place was due in large part to Jeff’s suggestion so it only seemed right.
The night was definitely cold but we decided to still sit outside. Because the cold never bothered us anyway.
Plus, there were heaters at the table. So it was all cozytown and what not.
And we ordered like champs tonight. To start, Jeff and I got a couple of Sweet Tea Old-Fashioneds.
Which was like all kinds of deliciousness. And for dinner, we wanted to “treat” Jeff and Shannon to dinner using some of our extra dining credits so we decided to get two Butcher Boards.
Yup. TWO Butcher Boards.
Pork Shoulder. Smoked Chicken. Brisket. BBQ Cheddar Sausage. Slaw. Cornbread. Cardiac Arrest.
And each board comes with a choice of two sides, so we got potato salad, mac and cheese, BBQ waffle fries, and BBQ cauliflower. The side decision was a tough one though. As legit everything looked amazing.
It was all really really REALLY good. I couldn’t get enough of the brisket and sausage. And pork shoulder. And chicken. And mac and cheese. And cauliflower. And slaw. And cornbread. And old-fashioned.
I am pig.
After dinner, we wanted to show Jeff and Shannon the treats at Amorette’s, where we had dessert on our first night at Disney this trip. And yeah, we just went to show them things. None of us were actually hungry. But everything was so purty in there, including this gingerbread house they must have just built because it wasn’t there the last time we visited.
Jeff and Shannon also recommended we try out The Void, this virtual reality experience in Disney Springs.
The Void has been up for a little while, offering a Star Wars virtual reality thing-a-ma-what. I had heard good things, including from Jeff and Shannon, about how awesome this thing is. And they just introduced a whole new Ralph Breaks VR experience based off Ralph Breaks the Internet. Nickie decided this probably wasn’t for her so the five of us headed in.
Then they told us we had to finish our drinks first. So the five of us headed out.
Then we finished our drinks. And the five of us headed in.
The guy working the front told us that, while both experiences are super cool, the Ralph one used the newest technology so we decided on that one. Plus, Jeff and Shannon had already done the Star Wars one.
The experience is about $30 a person. You start by filling out a waiver at a terminal in the lobby and then they let you pick a character you want to be.
You then line up for your experience and are soon brought into a room for an introductory video. After which, you wait in another line until its your turn. But no worries – it didn’t take that long. Once it’s your turn, they bring you to an area where they equip you with a helmet and vest and explain the process. And finally, they lead you to a sort of “blank” room to start your adventure.
I wasn’t able to take pictures inside but this was AWESOME. So much more than I expected. I have done VR stuff before and we even own an Oculus but this was a whole other level. Once we started, we became cartoon characters. I could look around and see Myles and Owen next to me (Jeff and Shannon had to go on their own) and touch them. Like I could see my hand touching Owen’s shoulder or giving Myles a high-five. Only it was a cartoon hand interacting with a cartoon Myles and Owen.
And you weren’t stationary. You walked into different rooms. You picked up weapons and interacted with buttons and what not. Seriously cool and totally worth it.
After we got out, we met Nickie at the Christmas Tree Trail. Well, actually…first, there were hula hoops.
I deemed myself the official hula hoop photographer as I seem to have not been blessed with the hula gene. I don’t understand how one can be so bad at hula hooping. But here I am. Bad at hula hooping. Shannon and the boys though? They legit rocked it.
We met up with Nickie soon after and she had done some shopping in the Marketplace Co-Op while she was waiting. She picked up this super duper new Mickey Mouse club hoodie for me, of which I DID NOT take a pic. Womp. But it was this one.
And I have pretty much worn it every day since. She obvs knows me.
She was also waiting with some egg nog cotton candy. Of which I also did not take a picture. Man, I was THE WORST today. But you know what was the best? Egg nog cotton candy.
The Christmas Tree Trail was once again super duper fun (you may remember we visited it first on Day 5) and it was of course super duper fun spending time with Jeff and Shannon.
Since this was going to be our last time at Disney Springs for the trip, the kids wanted to pay a visit to Goofy’s Candy Company (https://www.disneysprings.com/shopping/goofys-candy-company/) for some customized over-abundance of sugar.
They each opted for Rice Krispie treats. Which is really always the best choice.
And they looked so good that Nickie and I decided to split one as well.
While we were there, Jeff asked the guy behind the counter how he stayed so skinny working there. His answer? “I DO SPORTS!!” Those caps and that extra exclamation point are totally on purpose. He was very excited about the fact that he does, in fact, do sports.
Day 12 was such a fun day. We rode some awesome attractions. We ate some delicious food. We made some amazing memories. And being able to spend it with Jeff and Shannon added a ton of extra fun points to the day. And lucky us…we still had them for Day 13 as well. So keep an eye out for that post. It’s magical. And it takes place in a kingdom.