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Old 01-23-2011, 06:33 PM   #91
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Day 6... Animal Kingdom, Wilderness Lodge.. and a Festive Surprise?!


Monday 13th December

Another early wake up call today.. as it was Extra Magic Hours at Animal Kingdom!

Before sunrise on the Boardwalk.. I love how calm it is..



Then after sunrise



(sorry.. I realised I took far too many photos from our balcony this trip.. it was just so picturesque!)



Luckily, we checked the weather forecast before leaving our room.. the high was only going to be in the low 50s?! we’re in Florida, right?!
So we put on a few layers & jumpers – and headed out to the bus stop.

Very soon, we were at the park,



We arrived just after the opening ceremony; shame because I really like seeing that!

First, we headed to Harambe & Kilimanjaro safaris.. we were on the first safari tour of the day!
We had a whole row of seats to ourselves which was great for photos.. Steve took most of these as he had his DSLR camera with him..






Because of the cold weather, there were a lot less animals around that we’d normally see (and most were stood in sunny areas, trying to keep warm!)– but we saw some that are normally never there!

Like the cheetah…




And the lions were very active.. (actually, the male lion tried to jump on top of the female lion when we drove buy!! Everyone giggled!)



After the safari, we walked over to Asia to ride Expedition Everest… the wait time was minimal, but we got a fast pass too so we could ride later in the day.



We got the back row on Everest!









I’m not sure if it was the cold weather, but my eyes were streaming by the end of the ride.. I realised I had a problem with one of my contact lenses, couldn’t really see out of my right eye anymore!! So I just took the lense out.. I’m not that ‘blind’ without the lenses in, so I just took it out! (Reminded me that I need to take plenty of spare pairs for honeymoon.. I only took one extra pair this trip)

So.. we carried on to Dinoland USA – and rode Dinosaur.. there was a few minutes of queueing in the first room that’s like a museum, and we got to see some of the show in there (where the lights change & tell the story of how dinosaurs became extinct), it was nice to see it again.



After rescuing our dino, we decided to look for some breakfast.. and ended up at Pizzafari, I’d not eaten here before..




We each had a Danish & coffee, nice food & loved the décor!

We returned to Everest to use our Fast Passes.. this time, we asked the CM at the front of the queue if we could possibly have the front row… he smiled, and said “just stand over here”.. we stood in a little standby line.. and in a few minutes, we were in the front row of the train!
Really like the front of EE as you can see so much of WDW when you get to the top.. and also the track section rotating when you switch from moving backward to forward!

After escaping the Yeti.. we decided to go see some bugs..


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Old 01-23-2011, 06:38 PM   #92
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This was the one & only time of the vacation we encountered a South American tour group… they weren’t very loud like the ones we’d seen in July ’09 (this group was all girls too).. but they were in front of us in the line for It’s Tough to Be a Bug.. and the stopped at every possible moment to take photos!! Usually, we’d never walk past someone in a line.. but we just had to for this attraction otherwise we’d have taken ages to get there!



Next we went to Camp Minnie Mickey to see the Festival of the Lion King show.

Nemo’s tree..





(while in the line, I noticed a lady with a lime green mickey head on her rucksack.. sorry I didn’t say hello if you’re reading, I got shy!)

For the first time ever, we weren’t in the Giraffe section of the audience! This time, we were lions.



Just when the floats were about to come out, there appeared to be a technical problem, and none of the floats would move forward!!
We could see Timon on the front float, and he was pretending to push the float, then kick start the ‘engine’ with his foot.. it was quite cute.. I was worried the show would be cancelled… the four singers were fantastic and just kept ad-libbing to the musical rift.. and after a few minutes, the floats started to move!

I really, really enjoy this show… everything about it is wonderful!




After the show, we went to explore the Pangani Forest Trail.. and the Maharajah Jungle Trek


The tigers were also more active than normal.. I think big cats must prefer the cooler weather.


It was quite windy too… there were cast members checking on the bamboo on the trail because it was really moving & bending in the wind!

We stopped at the Tree of Life for a Photopass photos…



I think you can see from these that it was very sunny, but also very very cold.. we were very happy when the photographer asked us to hug each other, a moment to try & warm up!

Few photos in Harambe..



For lunch, we stopped at the counter-service to Yak & Yeti.. we ate at the restaurant a few years ago, and really enjoyed the quick lunch here too.. I had orange chicken, and Steve had a beef dish.



After lunch, we decided to head out of the park.. it was about 1pm and we’d achieved a lot this morning, despite the cold!
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Old 01-23-2011, 06:45 PM   #93
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Once back at the Boardwalk, we decided to head out to Fantasia Gardens for a round of mini golf.

Walking through the Swan & Dolphin..




It was definitely getting cold.. the plants had blankets on…


Approaching Fantasia Gardens…



(Tower of Terror in the distance.. with scaffolding on, they were repainting)



With our AP discount, it only cost about $12 for both of us to play!



We picked the Fantasia course, it’s a bit easier






After a fun round of mini golf (Steve won, as usual!) and receiving our free golf ball, we headed back to the Boardwalk.. and decided to go for a walk around the lake to do some resort hopping!





The Yacht Club (stayed here in July 2009 with Steve’s family, so it was nice to see it again)











Then round to the Beach Club… noticing that Storm Along Bay was closed due to the cold!






Beach Club







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Old 01-23-2011, 06:49 PM   #94
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We stopped in the ESPN Club for a while, as they were showing (English) football on some of the televisions.. there were 2-3 groups of other Brits there too doing the same thing!



(Hidden Mickey on the wall)




Walking back to the Boardwalk.. the plants outside Kouzzina were also covered up!



We stopped to look at the Boardwalk lobby decorations in more detail



Back in the room, we spoke to my parents & Steve’s parents on Skype.. and got ready to go out for the evening.


View through the window..



On Skype!



For dinner this evening, we had a reservation at the Whispering Canyon Café … we had a few options on how to get there, but decided to get the boat to the Studios, and then a bus to Wilderness Lodge.


Waiting for the boat..



This is the first time ever… I have worn a coat & scarf in Florida!!






On the boat..






Arriving at the Studios,





We waited about 10 minutes for the bus, then were on our way to Wilderness Lodge.. first time visiting this resort!

I thought the lobby was really spectacular..



Something that really struck me though was how busy it was?! There just seemed to be so many people sat around waiting.. maybe they were heading home or waiting for other people.. it just seemed much busier than the Boardwalk/Yacht Club/Saratoga Springs lobbies to me!

We located the restaurant and checked in.

I had mentioned to Steve that this was an usual restaurant – but I don’t think he remembered! While we were stood waiting with our buzzer, we heard a waitress yell out that someone hadn’t finished their vegetables, and everyone started to sing a song about it… Steve said “oh I hope she’s not our waitress!” … uh oh!!
We waited for about 10 minutes, then were seated at our table. Luckily, we were seated out of the main dining room, it suited us better I think because we still had a fantastic waitress but were not in the craziness of the main area!

(Christmas decoration near our table)


So.. our waitress introduced herself as ‘Foxy Roxy’.. she noticed straight away that we had ‘just engaged’ on our dining reservation – sat down at an empty seat on our table, and said to me “Lemme see the ring!”
She seemed impressed with it, and even got another waiter to come over to look at it! She said to me, “you know.. you can just dump the guy now & keep the ring, if you wanna?!”
Roxy talked us through the menu.. we decided to go for the bottomless skillet.






While we ate, there was a bell choir performing in the lobby.. it made it very festive!


We both really really enjoyed the food here.. and witnessed a little of the infamous events of WCC – as the table next to us requested ketchup!


Now, this evening.. I had a little surprise planned for Steve after dinner. Our reservation had been at 6.50pm, and the surprise was at 8.30pm.. we were a little tight on time, but I thought we’d be ok… then… Steve ordered dessert!! We hardly ever order dessert in WDW, but this time.. he did!!
He got the apple pie, which was delicious.. but I was by now getting nervous about the time!
I asked Roxy to bring us the check.. she said she’d not brought it out yet because she knew British people didn’t like to be rushed at restaurants (which is usually true!) – I thought afterwards.. that I should have told her in Spanish (her nametag said she was from Chilli) about the surprise & I needed to speed the meal up a bit… never mind!

(Steve got a bit artistic with the crayons provided on the table!)


So.. we get the check, and I tell Steve that we have somewhere to go next… We headed out of the hotel, and onto a bus to Fort Wilderness.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:40 AM   #95
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Great update! I just love your Boardwalk view from your room - keep posting all the pics you took! You got so much done at AK; I'm impressed! I've only ever been at AK when it's felt like about 120 degrees, so we never do that much.

So funny to see the plants covered up in the cold - it must have been really chilly!
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:40 AM   #96
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oh, i can't wait to hear how the surprise goes!

love all the pics- and yes, it was so darn cold, i couldn't believe it. Isn't the WL gorgeous. I think it is more crowded in the lobby during the holidays because a lot of guests not staying there come to eat or see the tree and hotel.

Looks like you had a great time at the AK too and got so much done in a short time! it was funny, we took the safari about 9:30am or so and were afraid there would not be many animals out, but there were more than usual!

Can't wait to read the rest- great photos!!! i love all the BW balcony ones too- i would have taken a bazillion from my room overlooking, since you had such a great view!
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:48 AM   #97
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Great photos. I really like your pink jacket. I never ate at Whispering Cannon Cafe but that Skillet sounds yummy. OOO excited to hear about the surprise....
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Old 01-24-2011, 12:58 PM   #98
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Monday December 13th, I was in Animal Kingdom that morning too. We spent the EMH time on the trails by the Tree of Life, and had Breakfast at the RainForest Cafe at 8:45. We may have seen each other.
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:15 PM   #99
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Sounds like you guys had a productive day at AK! I'm glad i am hearing all these good reviews for Yak and Yeti counter service. I havebeen wanting to try it! I can't wait to hear how the surprise turns out!
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:25 PM   #100
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Looks like you had a great day at AK, some great shots on the safari

So Whispering Canyon was a hit with Steve? Food looks delish
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Old 01-24-2011, 02:54 PM   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleOrville View Post
Great update! I just love your Boardwalk view from your room - keep posting all the pics you took! You got so much done at AK; I'm impressed! I've only ever been at AK when it's felt like about 120 degrees, so we never do that much.

So funny to see the plants covered up in the cold - it must have been really chilly!
yes it was so strange to see the plants covered.. something I'd never thought about suffering in the cold! .. in Epcot, entire topiaries were covered (like the Christmas Mickey & Minnie at the entrance to World Showcase)

I know people complain that Animal Kingdom is the hottest park.. but after being in there twice now on chillier days.. I won't mind at all when we go in June & it's 90 degrees + ! ... Kali River Rapids was closed for most of the time we were there.. not that I can imagine anyone would have wanted to go on it! brrr


Quote:
Originally Posted by exwdwcm View Post
oh, i can't wait to hear how the surprise goes!

love all the pics- and yes, it was so darn cold, i couldn't believe it. Isn't the WL gorgeous. I think it is more crowded in the lobby during the holidays because a lot of guests not staying there come to eat or see the tree and hotel.

Looks like you had a great time at the AK too and got so much done in a short time! it was funny, we took the safari about 9:30am or so and were afraid there would not be many animals out, but there were more than usual!

Can't wait to read the rest- great photos!!! i love all the BW balcony ones too- i would have taken a bazillion from my room overlooking, since you had such a great view!
Thank you for reading along! ... it was quite nice that the safari was so different in the cooler temps... we didn't see any elephants though .. and they are my favourites!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephie77 View Post
Great photos. I really like your pink jacket. I never ate at Whispering Cannon Cafe but that Skillet sounds yummy. OOO excited to hear about the surprise....
thank you! I actually bought that coat last April/May.. it was on sale for Ł25 (about $40!).. I knew I wanted a really bright coat to take to NYC.. didn't think I'd be needing it in Disney too!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daddy_of_Princesses View Post
Monday December 13th, I was in Animal Kingdom that morning too. We spent the EMH time on the trails by the Tree of Life, and had Breakfast at the RainForest Cafe at 8:45. We may have seen each other.
oh we might have seen each other! I think PRMamiEdos was at AK that morning too

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephielela View Post
Sounds like you guys had a productive day at AK! I'm glad i am hearing all these good reviews for Yak and Yeti counter service. I havebeen wanting to try it! I can't wait to hear how the surprise turns out!
we were really pleased we chose Y&Y counter service.. our favourite at AK is Flame Tree BBQ, and it was hard not choosing that! Someone actually came up to us while we were eating and asked "where did you buy that rice from?" lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefy View Post
Looks like you had a great day at AK, some great shots on the safari

So Whispering Canyon was a hit with Steve? Food looks delish
yup Whispering Canyon Cafe was a hit! we both played along with our server & the jokes.. like when she was putting down the little napkins that go under drinks, she was just throwing them down and they were going all over the table and floor! it's a really fun place, with lovely food too... we really liked the pulled pork, chicken & the bread


update coming soon!
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Old 01-24-2011, 03:06 PM   #102
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Day 6 - continued...

We arrived at Fort Wilderness, and got off at the first bus stop.. I think it was called the Outpost.. and went inside the building which was like the check-in area.




Steve went to the restrooms, which gave me time to ask a cast member where we needed to go for ….. a sleigh ride!!
Unfortunately, we were in completely the wrong place… but, the CM arranged for someone to drive us to Crockett’s Tavern!


I’m so glad he did that, it was much further away than I’d imagined… Fort Wilderness is huge!!

So.. I then tell Steve what the surprise was… he said it was ‘a bit random’ ! and then said he thought I’d planned a Wishes fireworks cruise (we now have one of those booked for honeymoon

We met our driver & horse…. Ralph



We got up onto the carriage, and wrapped ourselves in the blanket provided.


This was by far the coldest evening of the vacation, it must have been in the low 40s or near freezing.. we were very, very cold . Because of this, it was quite hard to fully enjoy the sleigh ride… Steve said afterwards that he didn’t really like it …. I enjoyed seeing the decorations, and a part of WDW that I’d never seen before …. But maybe the ‘haunted carriage rides’ would be better.. milder weather too!

At one point, we had to stop – as Ralph needed a bathroom break – we realised then that he was wearing a nappy (diaper) !!


The way people decorate their trailers & camp sites is fantastic though!



(also.. due to the movement of the carriage, it was very hard to take good photos!)

Our driver told us that people can stay at Fort Wilderness for up to 6 months, and they get a lot of snow birds.



After the chilly sleigh ride, we said goodbye to Ralph.. and got a bus back to the Out Post… then another bus to Downtown Disney….

We got off the bus at the Marketplace, and walked along to Team Mickey shop for Steve to have a look at the sportswear & NFL things.

We were both quite cold & tired by this time, so we got a bus back to the Boardwalk – and headed to bed.

Emma x

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Old 01-24-2011, 04:44 PM   #103
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Sounds like a nice day! I love all of your pictures of the Christmas decor! WCC looks so yummy-- we can't wait to eat there on our next trip! Sorry the sleigh ride wasn't a huge hit with Steve-- maybe if the weather was better. I didn't know they did Halloween rides?! That sounds really fun!
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:00 PM   #104
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Sorry the sleigh ride wasn't as great as you had hoped. It's hard for me to imagine a sleigh ride without snow. But a haunted carriage ride does sound fun. I would love to do a Wishes cruise. We did the Pirates and Pals and that was great, but without kids I'm not sure it would be as fun.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:37 PM   #105
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Quote:
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oh we might have seen each other! I think PRMamiEdos was at AK that morning too

Yes, I can vouch that PRmamiDEdos was at AK that day. This was our first meeting.
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