NOVEMBER 2020 ROAD TRIP TO WALT DISNEY WORLD DAY 7 (ANIMAL KINGDOM DAY!)

Welp, here we are with another post detailing our November 2020 trip! And yeah, I know these have been slow-coming. But I mean – it IS the holidays. So cut me a little slack, hey.

Speaking of though, I wish you all are having a great holiday season, celebrating however it is you celebrate. It’s a different type of season this year for sure, but we are making the most of it. And I hope you are too.

We have been holding on tightly to whatever traditions we can, paring down where necessary to stay safe of course, while still keeping it as insanely Christmas as possible around here. And I mean, duh…of course there is a ton of Disney going on.

Outside…

Aw, I miss when there were 32 days of Christmas left.

…and inside.

We even made a Disney gingerbread house. Erm, sort of.

That thing is definitely not structurally sound

Sooo DIsneyChristmassy.

So please, have a happy and safe holiday!

Oh, and enjoy the post!

Day 7 – ANIMAL KINGDOM!!

Ah, Day 7. Our last day waking up at Bay Lake Tower. Sad face.

Eh, but don’t fret. This is for sure not our last Disney day. We are simply switching resorts. You should have seen your face.

But yes, that switch required us to get up and get the room and car all packed up before heading out for the day. But you guys don’t wanna hear about that. Just know it was done. And it wasn’t the most enjoyable thing in the world.

But once that was all handled, we were ready to head out and start our day. The original plan was to grab breakfast in the park on Day 7 but we ended up being out of the room and ready earlier than anticipated so it was gonna be a little while until the park opened.

And that meant one thing…

Yup – McDonald’s breakfast! I know, it doesn’t seem that exciting but whenever I get breakfast at McDonald’s, I try to think back to how special that felt when I was a kid. Seriously, those of us that grew up in the 80s? McDonald’s breakfast was legitimately “it.” Honestly, even through high school and college, when you could get out of bed before 10:30AM to make it before they stopped serving breakfast, it was kind of a big deal.

Now you guys – with your multiple breakfast options and breakfast all days – you don’t know.

Plus this McDonald’s was the new McDonald’s on Disney property. Place was pretty swank.

We didn’t get to see the inside though. On account of COVID and what not. We did the whole drive-through thing and ate at the car. Egg McMuffin and hash brown FTW!

After our delicious and light-by-Disney-standards breakfast, it was time to head to the park. And our Day 7 park? Disney’s Animal Kingdom!!

Once again, while the official park open time was 9AM, it was expected the gates would open early so we got in the car line at around 8:00 AM.

We reached the actual park gate and were let into the park around 8:30. And guys? I found Christmas again,

Once we were through the gates, the boys and I made straight for Pandora to ride Avatar Flight of Passage, which up to this point, was considered (by me, at least) to be the best ride in all of Walt Disney World. I stress “up to this point.” Just….make sure you read the next post.

Anyways, as I said, we were making our way to Pandora. By way of the Tree of Life of course.

Soon enough, we were in the queue for Flight of Passage.

We didn’t have to stop and wait once as we made our way through. I mean, I stopped to take pictures but that’s about it.

A walk on at Flight of Passage? I’ll take it!

Notice our “Disney 2020” matching shirts in the picture above? They’re pretty awesome, no? With the masks and what not? Current events, amirite?

Anyways, Flight of Passage was OF COURSE awesome. Something about that attraction always wows me, no matter how many times I ride it. The boys liked it as well.

And we were off by 9:15. 9:15 AM and we had already ridden the park’s best attraction.

Now, it was time to meet back up with Nickie at Na’vi River Journey.

NAVI RIVER 3 NOV 2020 TRIP DAY 7

Na’vi River is enjoyable enough but nowhere near as awesome as Flight of Passage. However, this animatronic is pretty amazeface.

As are these floating mountains just outside the attraction.

Next attraction on the list was over in Asia. This big mountain there. Rhymes with Schmexpedition Schmeverest.

I’ll keep it a surprise.

On the way, we of course snapped some pics.

Wait – there’s Christmas!!

And there’s Asia!!!

And I think its time to let you in on the attraction we were visiting next. I realize my clue was a little cryptic. Our next ride was Expedition: Everest!

There she is, off in the background – the forbidden mountain.

We walked over to the queue entrance and hopped in line at around 9:50.

I do love this queue. It’s definitely one of the best “storytelling queues” out there. It really sets up the whole narrative.

Plus, there’s POO.

The line itself looked long, but looks were for sure deceiving. It wrapped all around and even went into the back area we’ve never even seen before but it never stopped moving and it’s length was mainly due to social distancing. We were on the train within ten minutes.

After we hopped off, it was time to meet up with some friends!

Our friends Kayce and Bella (Kayce=mom, Bella=daughter) met up with us outside of Everest and the 6 of us all decided to hop on Kali River Rapids.

Here we are. Dry. For the time being.

That didn’t last too long. I didn’t get any pictures of it but trust me, we were wet.

Next up was Kilimanjaro Safaris.

And yeah, a 45-minute posted wait. But eh, we weren’t NOT gonna ride the safari. What do you think we are? Stupid or something?

And as was the case with most posted waits, the actual wait time was MUCH shorter than posted. According to my photo timestamps, we got in line at 10:50AM and were in our jeep by 11:05.

As you can see, Disney put up these barriers in between seats. You know with COVID and all. Honestly, if everywhere took this thing as seriously as Disney, maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess.

Anyways though. ANIMALS!

After the safari ended, we split off from Kayce and Bella (for now…don’t get too upset. We will still see them again on this trip!) and headed towards Dino-Land since the boys wanted to ride Dinosaur.

Sorry – DINOSAUR. Not sure why Walt Disney World decided on all caps for this ride, but they did. So I guess you’re supposed to yell it. Or maybe an old person using Facebook came up with the name.

But yeah. Dinosaur.

This actually being the attraction where we waited the longest. We hopped in line at noon and it was over a half hour before we boarded our vehicle.

Also, I got a good shot of how they were socially distancing here. See the tape on the ground?

But we did end up finding the Iguanadon thankfully and all was right.

After our harrowing journey through time, the boys then wanted to do something we had never done before – visiting Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama!!

No no. We have visited Dino-Rama before of course. But there is something in Dino-Rama we have never done before.

And that something we have never done before? Playing the games! While we have ridden the attractions in Dino-Rama before (RIP Primeval Whirl), eaten food in Dino-Rama before, and met characters in Dino-Rama before, we have NEVER played the carnival games.

They have a few game options but we landed on Bronto-Score, the basketball toss-type game…you know, where you have to make a basket to score a prize.

How it works is you have to go to the main ticket booth to buy tickets to play. It’s 5 bucks a play, which gets you three tries. We each got a ticket and tried our luck. The more baskets you make, the better the prize.

And I would like to make clear. Right here right now. That even though my kids constantly talk about how terrible I am at basketball, I was the only one that made a basket. It was one out of 3, but still. I stood alone.

And for my prize, there were some choices – there were some Mickeys, Minnies, and a good assortment of dinosaurs. I went with this little guy – the Iguanodon we caught earlier.

A regular Larry Bird I am.

For lunch, it remained boys vs. girl. The boys wanted to eat at one specific location while Nickie had her own ideas. Sooooo….we split up. Sort of.

You see, Nickie wanted to have lunch at Nomad Lounge and the boys wanted to eat at Satu’li Canteen.

So what we did was we met up with Nickie at Nomad so that we could grab a snack/drink with her and put a mobile order in at Satu’li to pick up after we were done. Genius, right?

OK, so Nomad first. Nickie got there before us so we met her out on the outdoor patio. Oh, and of course I gave her the Iguanodon.

She gave herself the wine. Oh and yes, we were using our masks as silverware rests.

For her lunch, Nickie ordered the Impossible Sliders with Yucca Fries.

Nickie let me have a bite and I gotta say, that’s a good slider. The only thing Impossible about this is how impossible it is that this isn’t meat. Amirite?

Hm? Oh.

That’s what they mean by “impossible?” So I am just stating the obvious then. Got it.

OK. Moving on.

Since I was gonna be there for a little bit, I grabbed a drink for myself. I ordered up an Annapurna Zing (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Passion Fruit Purée, Mint, Simple Syrup, and Lime Juice topped with Ginger Beer and a glowing Lotus Flower.) Look how pretty.

And this was really good. I like, don’t hate gin drinks but I also don’t order them as a normal course of action. But this was seriously delicious. The citrus flavor was there without being too “burn my stomach to death” and it was super refreshing.

The Nomad Lounge patio location is always great, right on the water. But during COVID? It’s even better. Because we got to watch friends float by from our seat. We were there long enough to see a couple boats go by.

We also put in an order for some churros to eat. While we were waiting. To go have lunch.

This is how you do Disney.

But it was time for our lunch, so we made plans to meet up with Nickie at the exit after we finished and we headed back to Pandora for lunch at Satu’li.

I let the hostess know we were there and we put in a mobile order so she said to wait for a little bit. While we were waiting, Myles went over to Pongu Pongu to get one of his favorite treats – a Night Blossom (layers of Apple and Desert Pear Limeade topped with Passion Fruit Boba Balls).

I completely sucked at taking pictures of everyone’s food here I guess. But the boys both got some cheeseburger pods. I opted to get a Beef Bowl (Slow-Roasted Sliced Grilled Beef marinated in a blend of Garlic, Herbs, Red Pepper Spice, and Red Wine Vinegar topped with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Boba Balls). I chose rice and black beans as my base and I honestly cannot remember what sauce I chose. I think maybe I went with the black bean vinaigrette. But it could also very well have been the creamy herb dressing. Whatever I got, it was delicious.

And I paired it with a Mo’ara High Country Ale.

And I know. We already had churros but we HAD to get a Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse (Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse with Passion Fruit Curd) for dessert. It’s tradition.

Not only is this dessert hella-IG-worthy, but its really really good. Like, “top 5 desserts at Disney” good.

After we finished up with lunch, we met up with Nickie at the park exit and said goodbye to Animal Kingdom until our next trip. It was a really fun morning at Animal Kingdom though and we got to do a lot. Plus we got to hang with friends and ate some super yumtown foods.

And we had business to attend to. We were checking into our next hotel y’all.

It was time for us to check into our 1-bedroom at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Villas & Spa!

So exciting.

We got the message that our room was ready so we pulled up, unpacked our bags, and went right to our room.

Room tour time!

Well first, check out this fountain in the lobby! What?

Anyways, right. The room.

This place definitely felt spacious. And super dupes luxurious.

The kitchen was so pretty. Nickie was legit in love with that sink.

I, meanwhile, couldn’t stop gushing over this refrigerator.

I want this refrigerator. Look at that ice drawer. Our dog, Lilo, would go nuts for that thing. She is a big ice fan. Huge.

The living room area…

…was very roomy. And I dunno. I have heard people say the Grand has a stuffy feeling to it but this place felt very homey and cozy.

The master bedroom was GINORMOUS.

And the balcony spanned both the bedroom and the living room.

We had a nice view of both the water…

…and some of the hotel exterior. You could even see the Polynesian off in the distance.

Under the TV, there was a pullout with an all-kinds-of-creepy painting of the Banks children from Mary Poppins.

And there were so many cute little details. I mean, LOOK AT THESE SILHOUETTES!

So yeah, I loved this room. Seriously. I will say, though, while the bathroom was super nice…

…we missed having our two full bathrooms like we had at Bay Lake Tower. That was one disadvantage. But other than that, this room was pretty magical.

We unpacked real quick and got dressed for the next part of our day – Super Fancy Photoshoot Time!

But yup. We decided to go all Vogue and what not and book a photoshoot. And we booked it with The WDW Couple (Josh and Taylor), this couple we watch on YouTube. They do a lot of dining reviews, vlogs, and what not. So not only were we getting a photo shoot but we could also stalk meet some of our favorite YouTubers. Win-win. I mean, both of those wins were for us. But still.

“Hey Wayne, can we see the photos?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I don’t wanna show off or anything…”

“Pleeeeeeease? Come on.”

“I mean, I wasn’t really prepared to show…Oh, ok.”

We clean up nice, right?

Yeah, they did a great job with the pictures for sure. These obvs made their way to our Christmas card. And bonus? We ended up going out for a drink with Josh and Taylor. You guys know how I like drinks.

Myles and Owen went back to the room and the four of us headed to the Enchanted Rose in the Grand Floridian lobby.

Place was really pretty inside. And I didn’t take one picture of it. Blogger of the year here.

I did get a pic of these coasters though.

For my drink, I ordered the Seasonal Old-Fashioned (Widow Jane 10yr Straight Bourbon Whiskey, House-made Seasonal Syrup, and Bitters). The seasonal syrup was a maple, I believe. And man, this thing was good.

Nickie ordered her usual – a Cosmopolitan.

We had a lot of fun hanging out with Josh and Taylor. We talked about Disney (of course), food, dogs…you know the important stuff. But yeah, it was a good time. As evidenced by this blurry selfie where my hair is doing something weird.

At around 6 or so, though, we had to head back to the room. We had to get ready for dinner AND we had a little bit of pre-dinner awesomeness for Nickie in the room as well.

So we said our goodbyes to Josh and Taylor and headed back. I snapped a couple pics on the way. I mean, the Grand Floridian lobby is just begging to be photographed.

I love the Grand Floridian grounds at night as well, with all the popcorn lights and what not.

Like I said, awesomeness for Nickie. You see, her birthday was coming up later in November and we can’t have a close-proximity-to-birthday Disney trip without having some sort of cake. Cake=must.

Look at this beauty.

I noticed once I put it in the fridge, the light really hit the cake well and captured all its sparkly sparkleness.

We didn’t want to dig in just yet but just so you guys know the cake inside was a marble with a white chocolate mousse. We know because eventually we did eat it. Just not right now. There was dinner to be had.

And dinner tonight was in Disney Springs!!

It was an especially exciting Disney Springs dinner because it was at a spot we have never tried before – Morimoto Asia!

I walked up to the hostess up front and let her know we were there, a little earlier than our reservation, and she said she would text me when our table was ready. Since we had time to spare, we sat down at a bench just outside the restaurant and I got some drinks at the bar outside Raglan Road.

And as soon as I got back to the bench with the drinks? Texty texty.

Our table was ready. Which meant I got to bring my drink into this swanky restaurant. Which meant I got to start our fancy meal with this bad boy.

And guys, this place was schwank.

I mean, they had ducks. Just hanging there. That’s when you know.

When we were seated, the waiter brought over a card for Nickie. Which was nice.

While I did BMOS (Bring My Own Seltzer), that obviously wasn’t going to last the meal. So I ordered a Forbidden Lounge Highball (Suntory Toki Whiskey, Sparkling Water, Kiwi.) Isn’t she beautiful?

We started off with some Pork Dumplings…

…and 3-pc order of Morimoto’s famous Spare Ribs (Pork Ribs, Cilantro, Hoisin Sweet Chili Glaze.)

And yeah, they look amazing right? Well, these were even better than they looked. Seriously, these ribs were the stuff of dreams. The glaze was super flavorful and the meat literally fell right off the bone.

For his meal, Owen ordered the Kids’ Orange Chicken. The awesome thing about the kids’ orange chicken is that the orange sauce is served on the side. So Owen could choose as much or as little as he wanted to use. And it looks especially nice in a blurry photo.

Nickie got the Beef Lo Mein (Stir-Fried Noodles, Beef Tenderloin, Napa Cabbage, Carrot, Bean Sprout, Mushroom, Scallion.)

She LOVED this dish.

Myles chose the Tonkotsu Ramen (Rich Pork Broth, Egg Noodles, Roasted Pork, Soy Marinated Egg, Woodear Mushroom, Pickled Ginger), which he really seemed to enjoy.

And I went for the Duck Ramen (Peking Duck Broth, Egg Noodles, Duck Meat, Scallion, Soy Marinated Egg, Cilantro.) I mean I had to – they had all those hanging ducks. I couldn’t let them go to waste. And I knew no one was going to split the Peking Duck for Two with me.

Seriously. This dish was incredible. SO much flavor. So much duck. So much awesome. I know there are probably so many awesome things on the Morimoto menu but I feel like I would just keep getting this no matter how many times we go back.

While we were sitting there, a guy came over with a camera. Which is never a good sign. But he assured us there would be no push for any kind of sale. He just wanted to take our picture, for free, and give us a photo keychain.

He took the picture, brought our keychain, and then pushed for us to buy a picture. And eh, it was a good picture. And we don’t respond well to sales pushes. So here is the picture we bought.

We skipped dessert in favor of finding something in Disney Springs. I know. Actually writing the phrase, “we skipped the dessert” was as difficult for me to write as it was for you to hear.

Also, remember when I promised more Kayce and Bella? Well, I am delivering on that promise right now. On account of we met up with them after dinner.

Before dessert, everyone wanted to check out World of Disney.

Now, you may think we would have entered the store through either of those entrances I posted above. But, thanks to COVID, the entrance was instead in the back. So it felt like we were in prohibition times visiting some sort of speakeasy.

Which may seem cool, but it did mean we had to wait in line. To shop. And then wait in line at the cashier. To give them money.

Times are weird, my friends.

Also, while we were in line and had waited there for about 10 minutes or so, Owen informed me he had to go to the bathroom. Which meant getting out of line, finding a bathroom, and then getting back in line to wait some more. Which, you know, was fun. We obviously met everyone else inside.

But we do love it in this store.

I don’t want to get into everything we bought, but let’s just say we bought A LOT. Knowing how much work it is to get into World of Disney in the first place, we obviously felt like we had to get all our shopping in while we could.

And all that shopping worked up an appetite, so it was dessert time. FINALLY.

So off the 6 of us went over to Amorette’s Patisserie.

I love walking into Amorette’s. Being surrounded by all those treats. Everything they make is legitimately gorgeous.

Even if everything tasted terrible (which it does not), it’s hard to beat the feeling of walking out with something from Amorette’s.

Nickie and I each got a glass of Iron Horse Fairy Tale Celebration Cuvee and split a Yule Log…

…and a Holiday Mickey Mousse.

So good. And while the desserts and champagne were lovely, it was the company that really made this. We hung out at a table outside, enjoyed our treats, and had all kinds of laughs. It was so much fun hanging out with Kayce and Bella.

And of course our conversation touched on many important subjects, like politics and High School Musical. Well, honestly, it mainly touched on High School Musical. Which of course proves that, in our hearts, we are all just teenage girls.

No? Just me? Oh, ok.

Ahem.

Anyways, we finished up and, as we were walking out of Disney Springs, WE FOUND CHRISTMAS AGAIN!!

So yeah guys. Day 7. Pretty great day. Thanks for reading!

Last Post – Day 6 (Magic Kingdom Day!)
Next Post – Day 8 (Hollywood Studios!)

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