After the short ride from Port Canaveral and a futile stop at McDonalds in search of Diet Dr. Pepper – we arrived at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Previously we had only ever walked through the lobby of the resort to look at the animals, never actually stayed there. It is a beautiful and HUGE resort. Our room wasn’t ready, so we got breakfast from The Mara and explored the pool area at both Kidani Village and Jambo House. We also had reservations for Sanaa for a late lunch to try the naan, I highly recommend it!
After a very chill afternoon, we made our way to the Polynesian for The Spirit of Aloha Luau. David had gone once as a kid and had good memories, so we thought it was a good addition to our list of things to give a try while travelling without kids in a small group.
One very valuable reminder we got on this trip was how big Walt Disney World resort is. It’s a long, long ways from AKL to pretty much anywhere else on property. I’m sure on future trips we will always choose to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge ONLY when visiting Animal Kingdom.
Prior to our dinner show, we went to the Tambu Lounge to try some of the much-hyped adult beverages. I tried the Backscratcher and Lala got the Lapu Lapu – both were highly satisfying.
We LOVED the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. The food was incredible, the show was interactive and entertaining, and the ambiance was pure Disney magic. David was forced to participate in the birthday dance, Lala and David shared the Anniversary dance, and Michael was chosen to perform on stage by some of the dancers. The bottomless beer and wine didn’t hurt, and we all had a blast.
Sadly it was a long bus ride back to our resort and we were all beat by the time we got back.
However bright and early the next morning as per usual on a park day, I was first up and ready to go!
We all got to the park just in time for our breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table. The princesses were as pretty and gracious as ever. And Cinderella was very obliging in helping Lala and I recreate a picture from our very first trip to visit her Royal Table.
Next we got to take Lala and David on their first tour of New Fantasyland. First up was Under the Sea – the Voyage of the Little Mermaid and visiting my favorite princess in mermaid form. That was followed by Dumbo the Flying Elephant and the Barnstomer. We went over to Adventureland next for Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room and to wait for the parade. This was the first time any of us had seen the Festival of Fantasy parade and it was mesmerizing! Seeing Anna and Elsa was exciting, but my favorite was Maleficent! We had lunch at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café which was extremely crowded, but it’s worth it for the burger bar!
After lunch we proceeded to ride all the rides! Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, PeopleMover, Walt Disney World Railroad, and Pirates of the Caribbean. After Pirates, we stopped for DoleWhip on our way to visit our beautiful home resort, The Grand Floridian. I highly recommend a break in the middle of a hot, crowded park day. Mizner’s Lounge is the perfect spot for a little rest, a cool beverage, and to freshen up. The Concierge was also able to help us book an additional FastPass reservation for the Haunted Mansion which we hadn’t gotten to yet. After an hour or so we headed back to the Magic Kingdom to use our last FastPass and have dinner at the Beast’s castle. Be Our Guest Restaurant is a magnificent part of New Fantasyland and we were lucky to get the reservation!