Monday, May 25, 2020

Disney 2019 day 3: 20-Aug-2019

Banshee Released ala Beast

Supporting the theory that I may be allergic to photons, I woke up with a funky eye this morning. 

We assembled everyone together with a tad more chaos than usual (a considerable amount on good days for us) and somehow made it to the Animal Kingdom opening.  Morgan, as traditional with younger family members, began a journey of a collection his siblings and cousin gave up on a while ago, smashed, printed pennies. While it increases the Where will We Go Next Guy challenge a little when each family member has their own side quests, it usually works out.  This way everyone has something to focus on when someone else is distracted by the near infinite legitimately distracting things in Disney World. It also helps on the near infinite bathroom breaks needed with nine people navigating the World.

We went straight up into Discovery Island, because no one cares about the Oasis animals besides me. Honestly, now that the anteater is gone, I care a lot less than I used to.  Early morning emptiness allowed speedy PhotoPass ninja work in front of the Tree of Life before continuing our nature exploration. 

While the bulk of our squad natured over to the far right of Asia, Grandma and Rosa avoided any thrill ride thoughts by separating and doing some shopping and sightseeing.  The rest of us took the FastPass line on Everest.  We’d later learn that, in general, Everest isn’t the kind of "good to the last drop” suggested for starting your day.  Morgan swallowed a bug on the trip, but found it more of an enhancement than a problem. 
We originally thought it was having to ride alone that rattled Kim as much as it did. However, Veronica was fairly off as well.  Even Anabelle and I, usually ready for multiple thrill rides at a moment’s notice, weren’t tempted by the single rider line.

Once we stabilized, and Aurora grabbed some llama socks she needed (cementing her belief in family uses of the word "need") we rounded the rest of Asia into Africa to hunt down our non-coastering family members. With a bit of cell phone magic, the gang combined on the Festival of the Lion King line.

For a large change we were in the giraffe section.  It was the general consensus that this was the greatest cast we’d ever seen in the many times viewing this show. And that includes the MANY MANY times some of us saw it on this trip, but more on that later. 

The feather hat guy was excessively into listening for the animals approaching, and the big, other hat dude gave us waves and winks as he started up.  Anabelle freaked out for days concerning the crazy well pointed toes of the flying bird ballet dancer, going so far as to send a complimentary e-mail to guest relations.

Speaking of crazy -which is my main area of expertise when it comes to performing- we had, by far, the best and craziest tumble monkey I’ve ever seen. He was a non-stop ball of lunacy.  Using odd props to interact with the crowd, making constant bizarre faces, sliding upside down off of the float, and screaming at the guests in loud staccato bursts for no reason on a regular basis.


Following the show we retraced our steps briefly over the border to Asia, and cooled off a tad in the fountain we nearly lost five year old Anabelle in.  We also used the convenient rest rooms sharing the same water source.  Try not to think too hard about the side effects of that sharing.

Having skipped it completely on our last visit, (not that I'm bitter or anything) I steered the refreshed group through the Maharaja Jungle Trek.  The komodo dragons are first. Why do I never remember that?  The giant bat enclosure was empty. Alas.  This was because they had some new bats who were spoiled by inside time for vaccinations and stuff, and showed they were far smarter than we were by choosing to avoid the August Florida heat and humidity.

We did get to see one sleeping tiger, and were told by a Cast Member to look out for Alfred the Giant Argus bird in the cage portion. We didn't see him, but the giant pigeons in there were cool. 
The huge flock of other birds that dive bombed (dove bombed? dove boomed?) our faces in the cage was far less cool. Disney’s record for frightening children (and adults) in unexpected ways is secure.

Due to clumped FastPasses and dining reservations in Africa, I was keeping us generally close to that land.  Over the years I had taken to saying, “Lead on MacDuff” when telling others to take point. Once my daughter had reached Shakespeare reading age, she borrowed the phrase from me.

Due to
A) Me being the Where Will We Go Next Guy and therefore in the frequent position of “leading on” and
B)  Anabelle’s cousins being younger and unconnected to The Bard as of yet:

the general command when we were crossing lands became:
“Lead on McMuffin!”
We’re so fun in public.

As I was leading on, I paused to view a bird with a gorgeously brilliant yellow stripe on its plumage.
I paused very briefly, as that was how long it took to realize it was a monochrome, dark colored bird, holding a french fry in its beak. 
I tried and failed to take a photo anyway.  Oopsie.

We reached Africa and I gave our name in for the reservation at the Tusker House. I also gave my flip phone number to get texted, as I did at the Plaza. Instead, however, the hostess came out calling my name old fashioned style. I wouldn’t discover why until much later, he said with a bit of self-depreciating foreshadowing.

Anabelle was getting up for photos while talking about seeing the best Duck ever as Donald came up behind her.  He was even happier than when his sombrero form was on our shirts!

Mickey came over shortly thereafter, and was clearly able to smell “tween leave me alone”ness on Aurora. He was way into signing, and thrilled at the amazingness of the experience along with the rest of us.  In case anyone forgot, Disney is Awesome.

Speaking of which, our waiter, who I'm pretty sure we’ve run into before, was the awesome (even above and beyond normal Disney Awesome Happy standards) Neil.  He’d been with the company for decades and has been shipped out for special openings all over the parks. He gave us some inside tips and pointers, as well as a rundown of the buffet’s highlights.  There was a new carving station, not to be missed, award winning macaroni and cheese on the “kids table” and other bits of awesome.

The corn dog delivery was a little late, sending us into a brief panic, but otherwise the meal was outstanding.

Goofy came by! So I went up to see him!

It really is outstanding (and, yes, awesome) how the characters make it feel like they have the same “lifelong friend returns” moment when they see you as when you see them.
Again, YAY!!!!

Daisy came too!!!
All the kids said her name with a southern accent.
I have no idea why.
Neither do they!

Bidding farewell to Neil, the characters, the corn dogs, the bread pudding that Anabelle formed a strong emotional attachment to and hasn't stopped talking about as of this writing, and the extra silly soda cart guy outside; we went back into Africa towards more animals.

Gorilla Falls greeted us with a huge amount of amazing animals from the African Continent…including a hippo taking a poop, because that’s how our luck runs in zoos.

We exited back into the main Africa square, due to poorly oriented bathroom signs.
(Note for other Where Will We Go Next Guys and Gals:  The signs by the Gorilla Forest trails point into Africa for restrooms, but they're across the entire land. Going back into Asia nets a much closer one with the cooling fountain.  
This has been a W.W.W.G.N.G. P.S.A.
M...O...U...S ...Eeeeee.)

The drum band was fantastic, but the echoing of the area and that type of beat grated on some members of the group, so we needed to kill time elsewhere until the next African FastPass.  So much of "excellent grouping" Where Will We Go Next Guy.

Crossing the bridge to Discovery Island, we explored behind the Tree of Life and made a discovery (appropriately enough)-  Pocahontas! 

We also discovered none of the children cared about Pocahontas.  Alas.
Not wanting a woman in a suede minidress to be sad, Dave and I took a picture with her.
We’re so fun in public.

We finished just in time for the skies to bucket down on us rivaling McGinley EPCOT Downpour levels. A little alcove under the tree provided a hiding space, until the wall opened behind us and hordes came out. 
This let us know how close we were to the “Tough to Be a Bug” theater, inspiring us to dash around the artistically covered tree trunk to it.  As always the show was a fun mix of goofy jokes and straight out terrifying moments.  I believe that is a perfect summary of life in Disney World in general.

The rain stopped about the same time as the film did, and we exited into our little alcove in a much dryer state before crossing back into Africa and the Bumpy Bus FastPass.

Our safari guide was far more festive than any other we’d had, enhancing the experience.
It became much more of a live action Jungle Cruise than a serious adventure.

Baby season was in full swing with an adorable little(ish) giraffe, hippo and elephant.
(None of which i got good pictures of, alas.) 
There were naturally, (HA!) many other awesome animals.

Finishing the ride, we were still in Africa, meaning there was some confusion and wandering before we fully formed up.  I watched some turtles down off the bridge toward Avatarland while waiting. Then it was time for another Festival of the Lion King Show, 'cause it’s us!
Slightly less nice toes and less crazy monkeys, but still…

The plan was to walk down to the Discovery Island Dance Party, which was over by the time we got there. Nice planning there Where Will We Go Next Guy.  

It did work out in the end. We were near the big store, allowing the gang to do some shopping, Morgan to do some penny hunting, and Anabelle to do some Cast Member pin trading. She swapped Pinocchio’s body for an Aquata pin, one of her favorites of Ariel’s sisters.

Yes, we are so Disney oriented that we have favorite minor characters that most viewers think of as indistinguishable. 

Rosa wandered down into Dinoland to see their dance party, since she was in dance party mode, and her Chip and Dale sense was tingling.  We discovered the other benefit to wandering down to where the first dance party was no longer happening. It was no longer happening directly in front of the Flame Tree Barbecue!  YAY!

We ordered in groups, me placing an order for a platter large enough to cover when Rosa came back after saying she wasn't hungry.  I am a master of many Disney games.

Ordering in separate groups made it entertaining for other guests as they could see me screaming from the pavilion to the restaurant, “IT'S A SNACK!!!!!” as Grandma tried to figure out if she needed to pay extra for some of her and Morgan’s food.
We’re so fun in public.

Anabelle reached a Zen like understating moment after tasting Disney ribs for the first time:
“I get it now.”
*Cue angelic chorus*

Overall it was filling and amazingly fantastic dinner we shared with the wandering ibises in that area. My initial buying into the idea of including alcohol on the dining plan came at this moment as well.  The Safari Amber brewed by Anheuser Busch especially for the park was the closest I’ll ever get to the Red Wolf beer I fell in love with in college that they stopped making…and it’s on tap!

Our last FastPass of the day required crossing Discovery Island for our collective first trip (except for Anabelle’s scouting mission) into Avatarland.  It was a truly immersive, cool and beautiful experience. It probably would be more so if I could work up any enthusiasm to see the movie, but never mind that now.

We MagicBanded into the Flight of Passage FastPass line and wound through amazing alien paths and mountains until we reached the pre-show scanning and screening room. True to form, Grandma broke another computer.

The ride had an insane amount of hype, which it lives up to well above and beyond any of my expectations. Grandma and Rosa had some 3D issues, addressed by periodically closing both and one eye respectively.  Other than that it was insanely awesome!

The kids were all in their own section and we could hear them cheering, whooping and gasping through the wall.  We were just as immersed. 

At one point Kim yelled, “AAAAAH!!! 
Why am I screaming there’s nothing there... 
We’re so fun in public.

What amazed me the most is - while it feels infinitely more thrilling- the setup is much safer than Soarin’. If someone really worked at it and wiggled out of the seat that truly feels like you’re sitting on a living creature flying hundreds of feet in the air, the drop would be about two feet.

We finished the ride, exited the gift shop and marveled at the illuminated Avatarland.  While grabbing some PhotoPass moments we let the kids decide how to end the night in Animal Kingdom.
The Lightshow?
The River Rapids?

The most “aye’s” came from ending the Animal Kingdom night immediately and going to relax a bit in the pool.  This marks the documentation of highly rare McGinley family behavior in its natural Disney Habitat, but it is not without precedent.

While exiting, Anabelle did a quick trade of her old Cinderella and Snow White together pin (she has them separately at home) for a Pinocchio hat. Sometimes trading is just about getting rid of one for a slightly more interesting replacement rather than scoring a “keeper.”  In other words, as she’d frequently state in a southern drawl to annoy Aurora, they’re for “Drummin’ up BIZZ-ness.”

Aurora augmented the trip vernacular as well when she misread a bus sign, adding the new destination to the family quote list:
“Sassy Gouda Greetings from Port Orleans.”

While we were on line for the bus, the text came to my flip phone that our lunch table was ready, forcing me to reassess the notification methods for the remainder of the adventure.

Seeing the effectiveness of Dave’s and some of the kids’ ones, Rosa had already gotten a cooling towel for herself. Anabelle followed suit by the end of the trip as well.  I don't know the chemistry, or possibly the psychology, behind them but they did seem to work. 

Grandma sensibly got some sleep, but the rest of us had a relaxing and fun time in the surfing themed pool.  The kids alternated between asking to be judged on aquatic versions of dancing lifts, and identifying each other’s kid show quotes under water... 

And mostly giggling a lot and being fun in public.

The mug run was done with a still broken hot chocolate machine and now no cream, perhaps we needed to hit the place earlier.  With our schedule, we’d never find out.

As we sunk toward coma like rest states, immortal Awesome Happy Disney Stacy naturally joined us once more for Must Do Disney!  

9 miles 
20,008 steps 
2 floors

Click to Continue

Click To Return to Index

No comments: