If you haven’t had the chance to read my post from last week, be sure to check it out before reading this as it has the first part of my trip report from my recent April visit to WDW! With that being said, on with the report! I hope reading this will bring a little Disney magic to your day!
On Wednesday morning, my mom and I were up bright and early to get to the Animal Kingdom well before it opened at 8am for Extra Magic Hours. After waiting by the gates, we were eventually let in as far as the beginning of Discovery Island where we waited for the official rope drop. Once the clock hit 8, we took part in the mad rush towards Kilimanjaro Safaris. We’ve found that nothing beats those early morning rides, as it is not only cool, but also feeding time for many of the animals. Thus we’ve seen the hippos swimming, lions play fighting, and cheetahs stalking all first thing in the morning. This trip did not disappoint! Though we barely got to see the lions (my favorite animal), we got some great close encounters with the giraffes. After our first safari, we decided to hop right back on to experience the savannah again. Afterwards, we walked through the Pangani Forest Trail where we had a great glimpse of a baby gorilla cooling off with a nice block of ice. We then wandered over to the Maharajah Jungle Trek to check out the tigers who were happily snoozing right up against the glass windows. Next up was a visit to Expedition Everest where I was able to ride twice in less than twenty minutes (thank you single rider line!). Expedition Everest is still one of my favorite rides on property, especially those first few seconds when you plunge backwards into the dark caverns of the mountain. After Everest, we took some time to wander through Dinoland USA as we usually just head straight for Dinosaur. I really do love the great touches such as signs and tiny details surrounding the Restaurantasaurus area. Since crowds were so low on this Wednesday morning, we were able to ride Dinosaur twice and still have plenty of time to wander back over to Asia in time for our 11am reservation at Yak & Yeti for lunch. Yak & Yeti was absolutely delicious, a fact proven as we ate every bite of our meals! I had the stir fry beef and broccoli and the pineapple wontons for dessert. I also had a Safari Amber, which if you read my post a few weeks ago then you’ll know it’s one of my favorite drinks on property! I definitely recommend trying it! After lunch we wandered over to It’s Tough to Be a Bug and finally over through Camp Minnie Mickey to take in a showing of The Festival of the Lion King. I haven’t been over in Camp Minnie Mickey in years, and I was completely blown away by The Festival of the Lion King. From the amazing acrobats of the monkeys to the great crowd interaction, this show is definitely near the top of my live entertainment list in WDW. After the show, we headed back to Port Orleans French Quarter to hop the boat to Downtown Disney. Aside from shopping, the highlight of our Downtown Disney time was running into Lou as he was streaming live from the Ridley Pearson book signing! I even got to make a cameo on the other side of the box! After saying goodbye and heading back to the resort quickly, we were on our way Epcot to spend the night in World Showcase. But of course, there had to be a stop at Spaceship Earth first! Afterwards we wandered through Norway and rode Maelstrom, and then decided to stop and eat at Cantina de San Angel. Who can say no to guacamole, chips, and a margarita on the rocks? Not this girl. We were even lucky enough to have a table right near one of the railings on the water for a great viewing of Illuminations! This is definitely a new favorite viewing spot for Illuminations, and combining it with great food makes it a must do. After the show, we decided to stay put and let the crowds thin as we took in the ambiance of World Showcase. We didn’t linger too long though as we had another early morning ahead of us the next day.
Thursday morning brought us to Disney’s Hollywood Studios bright and early. We usually will always visit Hollywood Studios on the morning that it has Extra Magic Hours, however on this particular trip it wasn’t possible as there were no corresponding days. So we opted to be at the gate before the 9am opening to get a jump on the mad rush (or what I like to refer to as “the running of the tourists”) to Toy Story Mania. Our strategy ended up paying off big time when the gates opened at 8:40am! I later asked a Cast Member why the park opened twenty minutes early and was told that it is actually not that uncommon. Just goes to show it can pay to be there early! We headed straight for Toy Story Mania where we grabbed a FastPass and jumped right on the stand-by line. As we were getting on line, there was a whole film crew set up recording a couple with a young child walking through Pixar Place. A Cast Member told us they were filming for a Brazilian talk show, pretty cool! When we got off of Toy Story Mania, the wait time was still only ten minutes, so we hopped right back on knowing this was our last day at Hollywood Studios. After our second ride, we headed over to The Magic of Animation, something we haven’t experienced in years. We did both portions of the attraction, and in the drawing class we ended up back with the film crew for the Brazilian talk show! They were filming the same couple and child drawing Mickey in the back row of the studio. Once we finished the drawing class, it was time for our FastPass for Toy Story Mania, so we headed back through Pixar Place one last time. We then headed over to ride Star Tours and upon exiting realized that my camera battery was dying as I had somehow completely forgotten to charge it the night before. When I’m on vacation my camera is literally attached to my hand, so this proved to be a dire situation for me. We decided to forgo the plan of riding Tower of Terror and Rock n’ Roller Coaster one last time in favor of quickly returning to the resort to charge the battery for a half hour. After recharging quickly, we headed over to the Magic Kingdom where we hopped a boat for Wilderness Lodge for our lunch reservation at Whispering Canyon Café. I have to say, I was really excited about eating at Whispering Canyon as we never had before and I’ve heard some great things but it was overall a pretty big letdown. Despite both of us being really disappointed, we didn’t let the experience get us down as we were still in Disney and headed back over to the Magic Kingdom for the night. Unfortunately somehow in the hour we were eating, the boat dock was closed for construction. So we hopped a bus back to the Magic Kingdom and headed straight Space Mountain. While my mom got a FastPass for the attraction for me to revisit later that night, I waited on the stand-by line. Next up we rode The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and got FastPasses for Peter Pan’s Flight. By this time, it was time for my FastPass to Space Mountain, so I doubled back across the park then met up with my mom at the Haunted Mansion. After a visit with the Country Bears I indulged in one of my favorite moments of a Disney trip: the Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar. After devouring my treat, we tried to ride Big Thunder Mountain but unfortunately it was down due to technical difficulties. Instead we headed over to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and the Enchanted Tiki Room. At this point, the sky was looking pretty ominous, so we headed for the most logical attraction in a storm: the water based Jungle Cruise. We actually ended up getting really lucky as the minute we were safely seated under the canopy of the boat the rain started pouring. It was actually pretty cool to navigate through the exotic rivers in the dusk and heavy Florida rain. Fortunately the rain also let up right as we were getting off the boat, so I guess we somehow managed pretty awesome timing. We were really lucky all week weather wise as this was the only time it rained during our whole trip. As our FastPass time was approaching, we headed back over to Fantasyland where we rode it’s a small world before using our FastPasses on Peter Pan’s Flight. We decided to stay in Fantasyland for a while as it was pretty empty due to the hour and the recent rain. We rode Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid and Prince Charming Regal Carousel. We have a great tradition in my family that every year since I first visited at the age of two, my mom takes a picture of me on one of the Carousel’s horses. It’s great to be able to look back over the years and see a memory of each visit. Does anyone else out there have any sentimental traditions like this? We next headed over to Dumbo and were basically allowed to bypass the circus tent and get ride onto the attraction. There were so few crowds that the Cast Members actually announced at the end of the ride that if we wanted to experience the attraction again that we could just remain seated! We realized at this point that Wishes was fast approaching, so we headed over to the Astro Orbiter to be able to view the fireworks while in the air. Unfortunately, someone on the ride before us dropped something, which led to the Cast Member searching the ride with a flashlight for a while. This resulted in us watching all of Wishes from the loading platform of Astro Orbiter, but it was still an amazing and unobstructed view! We then tried to experience the Tomorrowland Transit Authority as we love the nighttime ambiance of Tomorrowland, but it was down due to technical difficulties. So we decided to ride Bull Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin and then call it a night. We even got one extra treat on our way out of the Magic Kingdom- they were filming the finale of America’s Funniest Home Videos! As a big Dancing with the Stars fan, I was hoping for a glimpse of Tom Bergeron, but unfortunately he wasn’t filming at that moment. There’s always next time.
Friday brought our last day in WDW, so we woke up early to give ourselves enough time to check into our flight and leave our bags at the luggage storage for our Magic Express bus later that afternoon. We made it to the Magic Kingdom in time to watch the whole opening show and to enjoy the entertainment. Once we were allowed into the park, we headed to Adventureland and went on The Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the Jungle Cruise. We then tried Pirates, but it was down due to technical difficulties, so we headed over to Big Thunder Mountain instead. Once again, crowds were so light that the Cast Members announced to everyone as we pulled into the station that if we wanted to ride a second time we need only stay seated. After a quick trip to the Briar Patch on Splash Mountain we headed back over to Pirates but had no luck, it was still down. So we went over to Country Bears instead and then checked back afterwards once again afterwards with still no luck. Afterwards, we headed over to the Haunted Mansion and it’s a small world then grabbed FastPasses for Peter Pan’s Flight. By this point, we were starving so we headed over to Cosmic Ray’s and had some delicious turkey sandwiches. We then paid a visit to the Carousel of Progress where we had an interesting experience: at the end of the first full scene, the music started and we moved about halfway into the next scene before stopping. The scenes then restarted and we found ourselves half listening to the twenties scene and half listening to the forties scene. Then in the middle of the scene, we completed our rotation to finish out the forties scenario. Not sure what exactly caused this, anyone else ever experienced that? We rounded out Tomorrowland by riding the Tomorrowland Transit Authority and Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin again before heading back over to Peter Pan’s Flight to use our FastPasses. Unfortunately, the time for our Magic Express bus was fast approaching (is it really that magical on this end of the trip?) so we reluctantly wandered down Main Street, made a quick stop in the Confectionary for some snacks, caught the bus back to the resort, and changed into our warm clothes for our return home.
All in all, my mom and I had a wonderful week in Disney. We got to experience many new things including restaurants, attractions, and the Flower & Garden Festival. We were incredibly lucky with both crowd level and weather. This time of the year is truly a great time to visit, and it rivaled our beloved fall vacation period. And as always, we were fighting the “return to reality blues” by planning our next vacation before we were even on the bus leaving the Magic Kingdom. So until next time, see ya real soon!
I hope you enjoyed reading my trip report and that it shared a little Disney magic with you. Do you have any WDW traditions like ours on the Carousel? Ever experience what we did in the Carousel of Progress? I would love to hear any thoughts or comments you may have, so let me know in the comments below!
Caitlin Corsello was born and raised in New York. She graduated from Adelphi University with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling in 2012. Her love for Disney started as an infant and has continued to grow with family vacations to Disney parks almost every year since. She holds a particular interest in WDW’s parks and attractions, never passing up an opportunity to visit. She looks forward to continuing to explore and learn about all things Disney and to share that passion with readers.