View Full Version : Sans Friends - Downtown Disney, Yak & Yeti, Evening EMH at Animal Kingdom

07-27-2009, 05:29 AM
Wednesday, 12th November

After our late night at MVMCP yesterday, it’s 8ish before we rise this morning and, as usual, we spend half an hour on the balcony consuming a breakfast of cereal, orange juice and coffee. Apart from the first couple of days, we’ve been really lucky with the weather and it’s another beautiful Florida morning which greets us today.

We have a 4pm ADR for Yak and Yeti at Animal Kingdom and, after last Wednesday’s aborted attempt, intend to stay for the evening Extra Magic Hours (5pm – 8pm). Our usual MO is to avoid parks on their EMH days, but we have been known to make exceptions for specific purposes and those at Animal Kingdom afford just about the only opportunity to experience it after dark.

This evening marks the occasion of one of two big annual awards ceremonies in the country music calendar, the CMAs. Most trips see us slobbing out in front of the TV on at least one evening, but it’s not often that we actually schedule such an activity into the itinerary. As luck would have it, they start at 8pm, which dovetails very nicely with the Animal Kingdom plans.

I have yesterday’s trip notes to write up, plus around 250 photos to upload, so we know we won’t be out early today. We want to conserve energy to make the most of the evening EMH, so decide we’ll just have a stroll over to Downtown Disney for some shopping in the Virgin Megastore.

By the time we leave the room, it’s started to cloud over. As we’re not in any hurry, we take the scenic route around the water’s edge, rather than the shortcut across the parking lot.










We spend some time browsing in the Virgin Megastore – I particularly like the area full of quirky t-shirts and gifts – but as we’ve forgotten to research the items we’d intended to, we leave without buying anything.


We amble along taking photos as we go. A Christmas Tree and some display cases have popped up in the area alongside Raglan Road.





07-27-2009, 05:30 AM
It’s now past the yardarm, so we head inside Fulton’s for a Sonoma Cutrer chardonnay for me and a Corona for Matt. Our MVMCP activities yesterday evening didn’t lend themselves to eating, so we’re both ravenously hungry. However, we’re also conscious of an early dinner engagement with a Yak and a Yeti, so don’t want to spoil our appetites. We ask to see a menu and elect to share the Blue Crab Cake entrée. It’s very small for the price, but it suits our purposes today.



Before moving on, we head on up to the second deck to take some photos.



As we leave, there’s some slight precipitation in the air, so there’s nothing for it but to stop by the bar at T-Rex. Matt goes for the Sam Adams Seasonal and I decide to live dangerously and order the Cosmo Cotton-Tini. Candy floss is first placed in the martini glass and then the Cosmopolitan is mixed in a souvenir shaker before being poured over the candy floss. From the point of view of making an impact, I can’t help but think it would be better if the candy floss was floated on top (as depicted in the menu picture). It tastes surprisingly good – not too sweet at all.



Next up is Ghirardelli (say it with me, Gear-ar-delly) where we’re on a mission to buy a bar of their milk chocolate for a friend from the DIS (Claire, it’s still sitting here at home, if you’re reading this :o). A bar of peanut butter filled milk chocolate doesn’t skip my radar and, when we get to the checkout to pay, we’re informed that it’s “buy 4, get 5th free”, so we end up adding a raspberry filled, an intense coffee and a chilli to the stash. Although we’ve been inside this store on several occasions, this is the first time we’ve actually bought anything.




We continue on around Marketplace towards the boat dock and make the rash decision, just for purposes of comparison you understand, to have a drink at the bar in Rainforest Café – a Cheetah Rita and a glass of shiraz respectively. It’s an inspired decision as, just after we take our seats at the bar, the heavens open. That said, stopping at a bar is never less than an inspired decision






Once the storm has passed, we take the boat back to Saratoga Springs to get ourselves ready for our evening out at Animal Kingdom.



07-27-2009, 05:31 AM
We arrive with little time to spare and have to hot-foot it straight to Yak and Yeti for our 4pm ADR. We’re seated at an upstairs window table overlooking the parade route just as it’s about to start. Result! It’s definitely a bonus, but I wouldn’t go to the trouble of trying to orchestrate it. For a start, there’s no music which is a big part of any parade and what, in my opinion, makes this the best of those currently on offer.





When we last ate here, in January this year, we loved the starters, but were disappointed with the entrees, so this time we order a selection of appetisers to share - Lettuce Cups (minced chicken breast, chopped vegetables, maple tamarind sauce served in crisp lettuce cups), Pork Pot Stickers with soy lime dipping sauce (we go for pan seared, but you can choose to have them steamed), Seared Ahi Tuna (chilled, sesame-encrusted ahi tuna, wasabi aioli, and sweet chili slaw) and prawn cracker with peanut dipping sauce. As we’ve had just a bowl of cereal and half a crab cake each since yesterday lunchtime, it doesn’t take us long to devour the lot, along with a Kirin each to help it all down.





After dinner, we make our way to Expedition Everest and ride with minimal wait. The Yeti has either put his back out or is simply lazy as he no longer swoops at the end. What is it with mythological creatures these days? Such a shame. I know he was prone to frequent breakdowns in testing, but it seems so un-Disney to just give up and not even bother to find a solution to whatever ails him. All the effort, time and money spent in researching folklore, sourcing artifacts and traveling the Himilayas and the poor old Yeti is just languishing there minding his own business.


As we walk on past Dinoland, taking photos as we go, the skies begin to look ominous and we decide we need to find somewhere to take cover.




We make it to Disney Outfitters in Discovery Island just in time. We pass through the shop and out the other side where we find some stools under the porch from which to sit and wait for the rain to stop. It’s pretty relentless and, from our vantage point overlooking the main walkway, we witness a steady stream of people leaving. Amongst those sharing our refuge, there’s a fairly high turnover as folks make the decision to call it a day. Our sole purpose for being here, though, is to see the place after dark and we’re determined to get some photos.

At around 6.30pm, after an hour of waiting, it starts to ease up and we decide to make a move. After taking a couple of shots of the Tree of Life, we head off in the direction of Africa, getting a little bit damp from the slowing rain (and our flip-flopped feet getting very wet from the standing water).


As we approach Africa, we’re stopped by a Cast Member who informs us it’s closed. We hadn’t anticipated that, although the signs at the entrance announcing the departure of the last Safari at 5:45pm should have sounded alarm bells. We are allowed to take the path across to Asia where, rain having abated, we get some good shots of Expedition Everest and the Tree of Life. Those of us who refused to give in are rewarded with a near empty park and some of the prettiest sights anywhere on property. This is something we’ve been meaning to do for some time and, although it doesn’t host an evening extravaganza like the other parks, Animal Kingdom at night is a very special place to be.




We carry on past Dinoland for the second time this evening, stopping to take a few more shots of the Tree of Life as we reach Discovery Island.


We arrive back at the room with just enough time for me to change into my PJs before settling in front of the TV for the CMAs. We enjoy a little picnic of nuts and Cheetos with wine and beer. We also eat the slices of cake we bought at Publix yesterday and which turn out to be disappointing – nowhere near as nice as they look.



I’m determined to stay awake, but at some point I must just zonk out. I certainly don’t recall that feeling of nodding off, but I wake up at 12:30am to find Matt asleep in front of an NFL game and surrounded by empty bottles of beer. Seems I must have dozed off for 5 minutes.

Postscript: After a promising start, a somewhat wet day, which almost threatened to put the kibosh on our evening’s activities.

Kevin Stringer
07-27-2009, 06:40 AM
Thanks so much for the wonderful photos of the Animal Kingdom at night, Deb.

I've often wondered what it must be like and it looks just as beautiful as I've imagined. Something we must do one day.

Yak and Yeti looks empty. It was packed the day we went, although we were there during prime lunch seating. Your photos make it look nicer than I remember!


07-27-2009, 07:20 AM
Once again, lovely photos Deb

The food at Yak & Yeti looks delish, we really must try there one day :thumbsup2

I also thought the idea of the Cosmo Cotton-Tini sounded a bit sickly, but I will take your word that is was nice, and may give it a go next time :)

07-27-2009, 07:24 AM
Lovely report Debs, fab pics too :thumbsup2

07-27-2009, 01:04 PM
Another entertaining report, Debbie, packed with details about so many different places and things that I started taking notes so I wouldn't forget what I wanted to write in reply!

First, just a blanket statement about how wonderful your photos are--again--all beautifully composed and every one an appropriate illustration for your report.

Now, about:
Fulton's--I was so happy to see the pictures taken there, inside and out. I've never seen ANY before nor been inside myself, though Scott told me about the wonderful three hour dinners he and his family enjoyed there back in the days it was the Empress Lily and the only premium restaurant in WDW.

Ghirardelli--Love it that this hallowed place got more photos per amount of text than anything else in this report. Deservingly so. And extreme chocolate--intense coffee and chili!! I love it!!

Photo of Matt at the bar in Rain Forest--does it look like Matt chose his clothes to match his tail that day to anyone else?

Yak and Yeti food--Asian tapas!! My idea of fusion cuisine that makes good sense (Asian food/Mediterranean style). I hope it was as delicious as your photography made it seem.

Yeti in retirement--You said: After dinner, we make our way to Expedition Everest and ride with minimal wait. The Yeti has either put his back out or is simply lazy as he no longer swoops at the end. What is it with mythological creatures these days? Such a shame. I know he was prone to frequent breakdowns in testing, but it seems so un-Disney to just give up and not even bother to find a solution to whatever ails him. All the effort, time and money spent in researching folklore, sourcing artifacts and traveling the Himilayas and the poor old Yeti is just languishing there minding his own business.
In Disney at Dawn Book 2 of the Kingdom Keepers series (books for older children and young adults and a lot of fun, I think) we learn what really happened to the Yeti. I can't tell you because it would it be a spoiler for anyone who hasn't read the book yet.

Finally (right?!)--Animal Kingdom after dark. I really try to live my life without jealousy, but have to admit I'm very jealous of the hours you spent in AK after dark, something I've longed to do. Your gorgeous photos will hold me until I get the chance to see it for myself.

Hugs, Susan

07-27-2009, 01:23 PM
The photos of AK at night are fantastic :thumbsup2

07-27-2009, 01:26 PM
The photos are again wonderful, I've never been to Animal Kingdom in the dark and it looks stunning.

I'm not a fan of chocolate but I could really be fancying some of that peppermint one, I love peppermint.

Back to Saratoga and into your jammies, I love settling in some nights in my jammies with a glass of wine, its like a second home. Last year I couldn't settle and was driving Ian mad - I couldn't pinpoint what was wrong with me and then realised it was *** I hadn't got my jammies with me, soon fixed that with a quick trip to the store and full relaxation was soon restored.

I too would have thought that the candy cocktail would be sweet, but I shall be sure to give it a go on your recommendation.

07-27-2009, 01:27 PM
And yet there is another thing I simply must return to WDW for: EMH at Animal Kingdom. Your pics are great, Debbie!

Looks as if this shaped up to be a wonderful day, despite the wet stuff.

07-27-2009, 01:31 PM
" slight precipitation " :rotfl2: we have had some of that today !!

once again your photos are fab and im very impressed you still have Claires chocolate ;)

07-27-2009, 03:46 PM
Next up is Ghirardelli (say it with me, Gear-ar-delly) where we’re on a mission to buy a bar of their milk chocolate for a friend from the DIS (Claire, it’s still sitting here at home, if you’re reading this :o).

I'd forgotten all about that! Thanks Deb :thumbsup2 Does Chocolate mature like wine?

once again your photos are fab and im very impressed you still have Claires chocolate ;)

I'd have eaten it long ago.

07-28-2009, 04:10 PM
Lovely report again Debs, I've always wanted to see AK after dark, fantastic photo op. and great results. :thumbsup2

Tammy Stringer
07-29-2009, 07:36 AM
Another great day Deb

Have to agree AK at night looks really wonderful and so atmospheric - will put on our to do list next time we are in WDW.

Funnily enough we bought our first Ghirardellis in May - Georgia fancied the raspberry one and it was absolutely delicious. It was also great to try the samples

Can't wait to read more


07-29-2009, 11:59 AM
Looking forward to stocking up at Ghirardellis once more; bizarrely, despite not being a fan of peanut butter, I too love the peanut butter chocolate from there! Must admit to not being AK's biggest fan, but Yak and Yeti looks very nice - some lovely photo's once again.

07-30-2009, 12:46 PM
ahhhh, it is such a shame that the rain forced you to frequent more drinking establishments than you would normally have done :thumbsup2