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Wild Africa Trek, a Disney Wedding, AoA photoshoot, and more!Aug 2013 TR update 12/21

Discussion in 'Disney Trip Reports' started by librarygeek, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. sookie

    sookie DIS Veteran

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    That is one of the best meet and greets ever!
     
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  3. benji2012

    benji2012 Mouseketeer

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    Just joining in! Can't wait to hear more!
     
  4. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    I know, me too! For my bachelorette party I organized it myself (most of what we did at this one was a surprise for the bride) and we just went out to dinner. I kind of wish we'd been able to do something a little more exciting!

    It really was incredible! :goodvibes

    Welcome along! Happy to have you!
     
  5. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    :faint:

    Oh, man, that is unbelievably awesome! :yay:

    That sounds like such fun! And I like how they were in character giving you a wave or other shout out -- Aladdin and Prince Eric are both pointing, but one's doing it like a street rat and the other like a born prince who isn't much for royal fussiness.

    Heh. Right about the citrus swirl pic, I was thinking you had the best prince of all those pictured here. ;)

    I like the pic of you two in front of the castle, but the one of you guys on Buzz is extra fun; he's so focused and I agree with whoever said you look mischievous there. :)
     
  6. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    Yes, I love how special they made us feel, pointing us out during the parade! They were very good at staying in character, which is extra impressive since so many of them are only in the parade and don't really get to interact much with the general public face-to-face.

    I love fun pictures, especially ride pictures! I like to get the PhotoPass plus but since we only had a few park days and most were half days this trip it didn't really make sense. But it is nice that Disney doesn't care if you take a picture of your picture! ;)
     
  7. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    Bachelorette Party!

    For the night time portion of the bachelorette party, we were heading to Downtown Disney first - and then we had some non-Disney things planned!

    We went to Splitsville for dinner. We were originally planning to bowl and eat, but most people didn't arrive on time and we were on a bit of a schedule, so we decided just to eat instead. I like bowling and kind of wish we could've done it, but I think things would've just been too hectic. We had a group of about 12 at this point.

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    They sat at us at a really nice round table upstairs that we were able to squeeze everyone around. The chairs were these fancy leather chairs on wheels that were super comfy and not at all what you would expect at a restaurant! I ordered the Parmesan chicken tenders, which were really good:

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    After eating we had to head out to our next destination - which was a pole dancing class! Sorry, I won't be sharing pictures from this segment of the trip ;) But let's just suffice it to say that it was much more of a workout than I was expecting!

    We had a limo pick us up after the class, and we headed to Universal CityWalk. Unfortunately Disney doesn't have much of a late night atmosphere happening - I think that's one thing they're missing now that they got rid of Pleasure Island. So we were on our way to CityWalk instead!

    It was actually my first time in a limo except for one trip when I was very young (I didn't have a limo for my own wedding, and for prom we had a party bus instead!). It was kind of fun, and a good way to transport multiple people, though I wonder if limos are perhaps a bit overrated. We also busted out the goodies for the evening - a pin and veil for the bride, and glow rings for everyone!

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    At least in a limo you can all cram together for a group picture!
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    We decided to go to the Rising Star karaoke bar. It's actually not karaoke but a live band, which is awesome. I'd been here once before and performed and it was such an incredible experience! It was pretty crowded so I decided not to try and sing this time. However, the bride did - and she got called onto the stage and did a fantastic job! I had never heard her sing before but she sounded great! She performed Miranda Lambert, Kerosene.

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    We had said we might check out another club after Rising Star, but this one was so addicting we just stayed there til 12:30, when we had to leave because the limo was picking us up. I'm really glad we stayed there because I like it. We had a big table way in the back and were all singing and dancing to everything. I'm not really into most current music so I don't particularly enjoy clubs, but since this was karaoke it had a good variety of new stuff, country (my favorite genre!), and oldies/classics. My kind of music!

    One of the bridesmaids also got the chance to sing. She was called up at 12:25, right before we had to leave, so it was perfect timing! She did "Before He Cheats," by Carrie Underwood (which is the song I did last time when I was there!)

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    Before we left CityWalk we made sure to get one more group shot!

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    The limo picked us up and then dropped us all off at our resorts. I got back to the room around 1:30am and fell asleep almost immediately! We had to be up in the morning to do Wild Africa Trek!

    By the way, if anyone is looking for something to do at night and can get off property, I highly recommend Rising Star at CityWalk. It is so much fun and I really wish Disney had pretty much the same exact thing. If it was at Disney I would probably be there at least once every trip!
     
  8. TheMaxRebo

    TheMaxRebo DIS Veteran

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    wow, sounds like you all had a lot of fun!

    I agree about Disney missing the night-time element now without PI .... I'm not a big club person either but had fun at places like the Beach Club and especially my beloved Adventurers Club - really hope something comes back when they are done with Disney Springs (though the names sounds more like a retirement community than a center of night-life activities)
     
  9. MrsDrewsky

    MrsDrewsky DIS Veteran

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    Joining in. I also had to subscribe to your blog after clicking your link. I really enjoyed your gift guide.

    It sounds like you and your husband had a very memorable trip.

    My jaw dropped when I read about your meet and greet with the Princes. What an incredible opportunity!

    The bachelorette party looks like so much fun.

    I can't wait to read about your Wild Africa Trek experience.
     
  10. JessM

    JessM We all have a dream

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    What a fun Bachelorette Party!

    One of my BFs friend's, fiances (that's a mouthful) did a pole dancing class during her Bachelorette party and she said it was a blast, it sounds fun!

    The Karoke bar looks fun too! Karoke is my favorite thing to do on a cruise, I go almost ever night! I never sing because I'm terrible but I love to listen
     
  11. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    Great update! :)
     
  12. RGirl

    RGirl Change Is Good

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    Oh wow!!! What a totally fun bachelorette party! :cool1: That particular bar at CityWalk looks like a blast. Someday, DD and I will make our way over to that part of Orlando, but now until she is quite a bit older. ;)
     
  13. shalom

    shalom DIS Veteran

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    I think pole dancing is a lot like ballet, and part of that is that they are both extremely athletic forms of dancing. Belly dance and dances that originated as folk dances are a lot more forgiving.

    I wonder if CityWalk benefits from being more centrally located so they can attract more locals and more people who're in town for reasons other than the parks. Downtown Disney and WDW in general are way off on the edge of the city, meaning they're a less convenient place for locals and also more hassle to get to for people in Orlando for non-Disney reasons. CityWalk, OTOH, is not far out and right off the highway.

    Sounds like a fun night!
     
  14. jedimeg16

    jedimeg16 Mouseketeer

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    Just joining in because I have never seen non-promotional pictures of a wedding at Disney and I just can't stay away. When my husband and I got married in 2007 I had the choice of a Disney wedding with only a few people there, or a wedding in my hometown with everyone there and a Disney honeymoon - I chose the honeymoon. But we're currently saving up for a tenth anniversary vow renewal trip.
     
  15. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    I really wish I could have experienced the Adventurers Club. I've heard so many great things about it and would have loved to have gone there!

    Thank you so much! I'm glad you like the blog. It was a pretty wonderful trip!

    Pole dancing was fun, but it was a huge arm work out and I do not have a lot of upper arm strength! I was pretty sore and bruised after that!

    Thanks!

    Yes, it's definitely my favorite spot on CityWalk! When your DD is older I'm sure she will love it!
     
  16. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    Good point - I do a lot of dancing for the play I'm in, and while that's also athletic, pole dancing was athletic in a way that I was not used to!

    I would guess that probably helps for CityWalk. Though the disadvantage is that since it's right next to the theme parks it doesn't have its own parking lot. So you have to go to the parking garage, go through security, walk all the way down there, etc. So that's kind of an inconvenience compared to DTD.

    That's so exciting! I had the same option - Disney wedding with a few people or bigger wedding at home with a Disney honeymoon, and I made the same choice as you. I haven't quite gotten my husband on board for the vow renewal idea yet, but there's still time for it - even if we do a 20 year one ;)
     
  17. DisneyKid4Life

    DisneyKid4Life DIS Veteran

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    No joking, I have heard those pole dancing classes are pretty intense.

    Rising Star does look like a lot of fun. I think that's the first time I've seen "karaoke" with a live band. I really like that. You are so right. This would be a perfect fit for Downtown Disney, perhaps as part of Disney Springs which is supposed to add more 21+ stuff.
     
  18. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    It's true, they really are! In some ways I kinda regretted doing it because I was so sore for the rest of the trip - but it was fun!

    I definitely think the concept behind Rising Star would be perfect for the new Disney Springs. I am really looking forward to seeing what they do with Disney Springs - there is so much potential there!
     
  19. elphie101

    elphie101 Left my heart in Tomorrowland

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    All caught up (after a mini DIS hiatus!) Looks like a ton of fun so far - and glad you had such an easy group while touring the parks!

    Now off to read the dining reviews (of course!)
     
  20. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    Wild Africa Trek

    The next morning we had scheduled the Wild Africa Trek! We were planning to get into the park around 11, since the Trek started at 11:30. I had my annual pass but Jason didn't have a park ticket, so my CM friend very kindly agreed to meet us at AK that morning to let Jason in. I have some truly amazing friends :goodvibes

    Being at AKL we got to AK earlier than we needed to be. So we grabbed some breakfast at the coffee stand outside of the gates - a blueberry muffin for me, and a donut for DH! Once my friend arrived we headed out to the Wild Africa Trek to check in. We were still early, so we poked around in the gift shop before going back.

    The Trek was absolutely incredible. To start off, they suited you up in your gear. You were weighed to make sure you were in the weight limit, and then they put a vest and harness on you. We also each got a water bottle for the trek, which we got to keep as a souvenir afterward. And we were given headpieces so we could hear the guides talking. Finally, if you wanted to bring a camera (and of course I did!) they gave you a clip and a string to secure it to your vest. Anything else had to go in a locker (wallet, keys, cell phone, etc.). Here's our group all suited up!

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    We started out by going on part of the Pangani trail, the one that is open to the public. However, it was great having the guides there, as they pointed out things you might not have noticed and provided some interesting tidbits along the way.

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    Then we were "off roading" it, going up a path that is off limits to the public. We followed our guides who led us to... the hippos! The ear pieces were great, as I could hear everything they were saying, even when I fell a little behind to take some photos (They warned us that if we got too far behind the ear pieces might not work anymore).

    We ended up right above where the hippos were on the safari. They attach your harness to a metal pole so you can stand toward the edge and look down at the hippos without having to worry and still being safe! A third guide came out and told us a bit about the hippos. Apparently hippos kill more humans than any other type of animal. He said this is because they are very territorial, and if a human happens into its area the hippos feel like they have to protect their area.

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    They then spent some time feeding the hippos, which brought them right over to us! One came close by, with his head up out of the water, opening and closing his mouth to eat. It was neat to get to see his head up and mouth open! Talk about a great photo opportunity!

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    Next up on our journey was the crocodiles. This is when we crossed over a "rope" bridge above the crocodile pit. Of course it's Disney, so everything is very secure and safe, even though it's made to look treacherous. And of course they harness you in and everything. I get scared of a lot of things, but this wasn't scary at all! It was such a fun, unique opportunity! You actually crossed over 2 different rope bridges. The first one went over where the safari vehicles drive by the crocodiles, so I had this view:

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    You can see the height of the rope bridge from this picture of me crossing:

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    And here's DH, clearly fascinated by something below him:

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    And I love this picture of me with my camera, because I think it's very typical of me!

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    One thing I'll also mention here is that the guides have their own cameras that they take pictures with throughout the Trek. That's how we have pictures of ourselves. They take pictures of everyone on the Trek at various points, as well as their own pictures of the animals, so that if you didn't bring your own camera you can still get photos of the experience. Then at the end of the tour they give you a download card with a code, when you can find all of your photos! I thought that was a really great idea!

    The second rope bridge is the one that goes over the crocodile pit.

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    Once we all made it over, we took a more in depth look at the crocodiles in the same way that we did with the hippos - by being attached to a metal pole so we could look down on the crocs.

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    Up next was our own private safari ride through the savanna. This truck is set up differently than the regular safari trucks. There are also designated spots throughout the safari where our driver could pull over. That way we got to spend longer periods of time looking at the animals, and we could stand up and take some time to get some good pictures.

    We got to stop near the giraffes - and the baby giraffe, Mosi, was there! They told us at this point it was only Mosi's third day out on the savanna. The giraffes are always my favorite, and it was so cool to see the baby!

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    We also stopped for awhile near the elephants:

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    Then, halfway through the safari, we pulled over to a small outdoor building where we got to have lunch. They gave us little buckets with a taste of different things. It was really delicious! Check out my dining review if you want the full details, but I really enjoyed the chicken curry.

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    Yum, I'm ready to dig in!

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    After eating and using the restrooms that were there, we also had some free time to just watch the animals and take pictures.

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    (Umm, of course I'm taking pictures of the giraffe!)

    Then we were back on the truck to finish up our safari ride. This time we stopped near the rhinos and the zebras.

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    We got lucky with the zebras. Not only were they out, but they were super close to the truck!

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    As we ended our tour, they told us that a portion of the fee we paid for it would be donated to the Wildlife Conservation fund. They let us choose which animal we wanted to give to, by putting a rock inside a box with the pictures of animals on it. I, of course, chose giraffes!

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    I highly recommend this tour to anyone that might be considering it. The experience was incredible, especially for someone like me who loves the Animal Kingdom. And if you are a photographer it provides some amazing opportunities for animal pictures!

    Jason and I grabbed some ice cream before heading back to AKL to get ready for our photoshoot at Art of Animation that evening!
     
  21. librarygeek

    librarygeek DIS Veteran

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    I've had a mini DIS hiatus too with everything going on in my life! I've spent the past few days catching up on trip reports and dining reviews ;)
     

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