A Disney Anniversary - Halloween Time at DLR, UOR and WDW - Sept/Oct 2019 - COMPLETED 01/09/2020

RachelleBeaney

PrincessShelle
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary in Disney World last Jan. Like you, I'm a crazy Disney planner. Been planning our next visit in Sep 20 for over 6 months now. Have everything booked, days planned, restaurants chosen, days planned on Touring Plans already (crazy lol).
My hubby is also an avid photographer, only problem, sadly, is that he doesn't share my passion for Disney, so every time I plan a trip, it takes some convincing. But, I just can't do without me dose of Disney magic.
Wow, not sure I could handle it if Jared didn't love Disney as much as me! I hope he comes around soon!

Your next trip sounds exciting. Will this be your first Halloween time trip? Will you be doing a party? And it doesn't sound crazy to me, I tend to come home from a Disney trip and I start to plan the next one, it helps the "Disney blues" you get when you don't know when you'll next be going (which is me at the moment!).

Your pictures take me back..*sigh*. Won't be going back for years, unless the US has a recession and everything drops.
I loved Pandora, but was underwhelmed by FOP. I think my expectations were TOO high after all the hype, and it is another screen ride. Still EE is my fave.
I agree with you, Navi River was nice.
Also agree re: don't come to Perth. Many places here way better. Loved Cairns when I went.
I understand that - with our dollar like it is it's SO much more expensive than when we first started going in 2009. I hope you do get back at some point. I'm glad my pictures can remind you of the fun you had at Disney, that's half the reason I write these reports!
I understand your point about screen rides, I know some people prefer a real and tangible environment. I have always enjoyed screen rides simply because, if done well, they create more immersive action than a classic dark ride. But I do miss the realism of seeing things right there in reality. That being said, when Disney combines the two (like they've done in the new Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Shanghai Disney) it is the most amazing thing ever! I hope one day they bring that version of the ride to the US parks because it is the template for the perfect ride. It has a number of fluid and realistic AA figures, amazing indoor dark ride sets, all combined perfectly with really amazing action that you can only get adding in screens. But it's all so seamless! I am hoping that Rise of the Resistance will be a similar type of experience (from what I've heard it will be) which is why I was sooo excited for it (and so bummed to have missed out on seeing it).
 

ilanakan

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 20, 2012
Wow, not sure I could handle it if Jared didn't love Disney as much as me! I hope he comes around soon!

Your next trip sounds exciting. Will this be your first Halloween time trip? Will you be doing a party? And it doesn't sound crazy to me, I tend to come home from a Disney trip and I start to plan the next one, it helps the "Disney blues" you get when you don't know when you'll next be going (which is me at the moment!).
Can't wait. I'm literally checking flight availability every day, multiple times a day, to snag us a good deal.

DH loves me, so if I want Disney, I usually get what I want. lol

My 3 girls also have the bug, and it's not that he dislikes it, but a Disney trip is pretty expensive, especially for a family of 5, so he would rather travel elsewhere, while I want my Disney. To appease him, we also do a few days of Universal - he does love those parks, especially everything Harry Potter related. It's a sacrifice I'm prepared to make (not really a sacrifice, as we are all big Harry Potter fans).

This trip it will only be three of us (my big girls are at Uni, and can't miss out on school), but we have done Halloween in the past, and are can't wait to do it again. Loved MNSSHP. 2019 was first time we did Jan, and never again. Level crowds were horrible, packed with groups, especially from Brazil and Mexico. The behaviour in the park was not as we had experienced in the past - pushing in line, no personal space, and more. Cast members were so frustrated. Sadly, it took away some of the magic. From now on, we are back to Sep or Oct visits to Orlando.
 


RachelleBeaney

PrincessShelle
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Day 6 - Part 2 - Morning on the Savannah

After our successful morning in Pandora we had to split up. Derrick and Becky were headed to an ADR at Tusker House, and Jared and I planned to get onto the Kilimanjaro Safari first thing. We'd never done the safari so early in the morning, and I'd heard that was a better time to see more animal activity, so it was a priority this trip to try doing it early.

We escorted Derrick and Becky to Tusker House (Becky had advised she was terrible with directions so they preferred to follow us hoping we would lead them to the right place :P!). We then headed to the safari. The posted wait when we arrived was 20 minutes, which wasn't bad at all though I think we ended up waiting about 30 minutes before we were on board (but we did get the front seat which was fun). I don't mind a long wait for this one, as it's such a long attraction.

We were this close to the rear-view mirror!



This was probably the best safari experience we've had at Animal Kingdom! We saw so many animals. Morning really is the best time for animal visibility. We also managed to spot a few rabbits and squirrels, which was strange as we were in Africa :P.

Our driver was great too, quite hilarious and very informative. It helped that we were up the front so we could hear him well!

Anyway, let me take you our a tour of the Kilimanjaro Savannah that morning:

The first animal we saw was a strange one! It was a antelope nicknamed "ghost" because they are so rare to see in the wild. Though it looks related to a zebra, with it's weird stripped legs, though I believe our driver said this creature is more closely related to the giraffe (though don't quote me on this, my memory from a month ago is limited!)



We actually saw a number of these "illusive" antelope as we entered the safari



After encountering these ghosts (appropriate since it was Halloween) we headed on, passing some beautiful scenery as we did.



On our way to the watering hole we found some Rhino's (I'm pretty sure these were the Black Rhino's - sadly I didn't make any good notes while we were on board, so I don't remember a lot of the details). I'm pretty sure they are Black Rhino's though. My thinking is that these Rhino's look skinnier than the ones we saw later, and I know the White Rhino's were named Wijd Rhino's by the South African's because Wijd was the Dutch word for wide. The English settlers then thought the Dutch were saying "White" and so the Rhino's got their name.









Shortly after our Rhino sighting we arrived at the watering hole. Here we found some Hippo's napping! Hippo's terrify me, ever since our trip to the Night Safari in Singapore! We saw one with it's mouth open, waiting for food I think, but it's teeth were HUGE! It made me understand a little better why Hippo's are the most dangerous creature in Africa. These ones didn't look inclined to attack though, they seemed very peaceful (as Hippo's mostly do). Seeing the Hippo's this docile it's hard to imagine them charging and attacking lions or people without hesitation, but they do!



Sleeping Danger! :oops:


Awake Danger....I wonder if he was coming for us!



Leaving the watering hole we headed out onto the Savannah. There were a number of Safari trucks out, all pausing to see one of my favourite Africa animals....the noble giraffe. I love giraffes, they are such calm and unique creatures. There also seems something slightly dorky and uncoordinated about them, which makes them even cuter!

I especially love the Disney giraffes! On our last trip to Walt Disney World they were kind enough to make Jared's birthday dreams come true. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge (Kidani Village side) and all Jared wanted was to see one giraffe out his bedroom window. And we saw 5, at one point all together (good giraffes).













There were some adorable baby giraffes out on the savannah too



Here they had organised themselves in height order :rotfl2:






And we caught this guy doing a blep (if you don't have a pet you may not know this is the cutesy term used when your animal accidentally gets stuck with his/her tongue out. It more commonly happens with cats)



We also managed to spot some Hyena's



And some buffalo type things with EPIC horns



Leaving the Savannah we ran across some African Elephants



I do love elephants too, they are so gentle and apparently, so intelligent! One of Jared's really good friends works at the Perth Zoo, and is often getting to spend time with the Elephants there. She said the elephants remember her (even though she isn't a keeper or vet) and are always pleased to see her!



Ear flap!





Trumpeting!



We finished up with the Elephants and ran into some Flamingos. I suppose you native Floridian's find them boring, but I love them! Did you know they are only pink because of the diet they eat (shrimp mostly). They are born white!



And then we ran into more Rhinos. I am guessing these are the White (aka wide) Rhinos. Don't they look wider to you??



They were so close to the road, we had to drive past very carefully!



My greatest desire on this safari was that we see some big cats. I think we'd only ever seen 1 big cat on Kilimanjaro, back on our first trip to Animal Kingdom back in 2011. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to go in the morning is I thought there might be a greater chance of the cats being active or visible!

And low and behold, we had a great run of luck. It started with the Cheetah's being out of the shadowy parts of their enclosure (where you have to strain to spot them)





And then we were able to glimpse the King of the Savannah himself....Simba (well, a lion, I'm going to call him Simba).

We took a lot of picture of Simba as he dozed on his very own pride rock









We did see a Nala (aka a lioness) too but weren't in the best position to get pictures of her.

Heading past the cats we did see some other antelope and I think a few zebra, but Jared must have tired of photos, so we didn't take any more!

We headed back to base, really chuffed with our Morning Savannah Tour!

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  • RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Can't wait. I'm literally checking flight availability every day, multiple times a day, to snag us a good deal.

    DH loves me, so if I want Disney, I usually get what I want. lol

    My 3 girls also have the bug, and it's not that he dislikes it, but a Disney trip is pretty expensive, especially for a family of 5, so he would rather travel elsewhere, while I want my Disney. To appease him, we also do a few days of Universal - he does love those parks, especially everything Harry Potter related. It's a sacrifice I'm prepared to make (not really a sacrifice, as we are all big Harry Potter fans).

    This trip it will only be three of us (my big girls are at Uni, and can't miss out on school), but we have done Halloween in the past, and are can't wait to do it again. Loved MNSSHP. 2019 was first time we did Jan, and never again. Level crowds were horrible, packed with groups, especially from Brazil and Mexico. The behaviour in the park was not as we had experienced in the past - pushing in line, no personal space, and more. Cast members were so frustrated. Sadly, it took away some of the magic. From now on, we are back to Sep or Oct visits to Orlando.
    Aww that's sweet! And if the girls love it too then it's 4 against 1, so that's only fair :rotfl2:

    I do love Universal, particularly Harry Potter (I'm a huge fan too) and when in Orlando we always make time for both resorts.

    I'm guessing you went in early January? I hear late January is very quiet and manageable. We were there mid-Feb (the winter season) and it was fantastic. But I believe the first few weeks after the new year can be pretty crazy.

    October is getting a lot busier at the World, from the research I've done, though September still remains a good month. I didn't love it though, the weather was a bit too much for me. I think we will stick to February/March (avoiding Easter), we really enjoyed spring at the resort.
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 6 - Part 3 - Expeditions in Asia (plus some Pixie Dust)

    By the time we were done on the Safari it was about 9:30am and Jared still hadn't had any coffee o_O . We were both feeling a little worn out, probably due to the early start, the pace of the morning and the heat. So we decided we would stop for breakfast and caffeine (coffee for Jared, coke for me). I was happy enough to take a break because we were ahead of my touring plan scheduled.

    We stopped at the Yaki and Yeti cafe and grabbed cheese and egg sandwiches and hash browns! We didn't think we had a dining credit (later we realised we had plenty!), so we payed for this meal, and realised after that we probably would have done with just one serve (there was so much food!)



    After breakfast it was time for our 9:40am - 10:40am Kali River Rapids fastpass. We'd made this fastpass because we thought we should make a third one, and we thought this would be a busy attraction in the Florida heat. I'm not the hugest fan of the ride itself, which is a bit of a meh rapids ride. Still I'm glad we did get the fastpass, I was really hot by this point and the standby queue was 50 minute by the time we went on (which was just before 10:00am). Regardless of the quality of the attraction, it was wonderful to cool down by getting a little splashed!

    I was dismayed to discover, as we boarded, that they'd gotten rid of the clear plastic covered area in the centre of the raft for bag storage (I'm not crazy, this used to be a thing right?). Luckily our camera bag is really water resistant and so Jared wasn't worried about the camera equipment getting wet. Still, if it hadn't been we'd have had no other option for storage for our expensive camera gear whilst we rode. Seems silly!

    As we got on the ride I decided I'd risk a few shots with my iPhone (as I could easily tuck it away in my pocket).





    I didn't realise, you can spy the peaks of Everest from onboard!







    Kali River Rapids is really nothing special, and definitely nowhere near as good as Grizzly River Run at DCA, but it served it's purpose, which was to get us a little wet and cool us down!









    After we were done we met back up with Derrick and Becky. They had just finished up the Maharajah Jungle Trek so were in the vicinity. We decided we would head over to Expedition Everest, and see how long the single rider wait would be (as the posted standby was 50 minutes which was just too long for me).

    We took our time wandering over as the views of Asia from across the water were just perfect! These photos ended up being some of my favourite of the trip! The light was just sublime.









    Becky was debating about whether she'd ride Everest, as we had a fastpass for later on and she wasn't sure she wanted to do it twice. We approached the ride, and were having a discussion about where to find the single rider line (it's hidden away near the ride exit) and a CM noticed us. Then he offered us 3 multi-use fastpasses, just like that!!! It was a fantastic pixie dust moment, and one of the only moments like it we had this trip. We aren't sure if the CM spotted our anniversary badges or just heard us debating if single rider would be too long to wait, but either way we were so grateful. Since we only received 3 passes Becky found it easy to make up her mind to not ride. Instead she decided she'd wait in the area where you can view the coaster heading down the main drop, and see if she could photograph us on the ride.



    We were ready to board our expedition in 5 minutes, which was fantastic. Plus we all got to sit together. We were very happy and grateful. As there was only 3 of us riding Derrick was assigned a single rider to go with him. Turns out she was the nicest girl who'd just got engaged and was planning wedding at Disney World! She also congratulated us on our respective marital achievements (Derrick and Becky were celebrating 23 years). We had a great chat during the ride too, about where we'd met and all the Disney parks Jared and I had been too. She was really impressed we'd stayed friends after meeting on a Disney Cruise 4 years earlier.

    Expedition Everest is hands down the best Disney coaster out there (in my humble opinion). We love it. Jared was tasked with photographing it this time around.



















    After riding we headed down to the coaster viewing area where Becky was waiting for us. Jared decided to have some fun with the wide angle and get some photos of the coaster zooming by.













    We had seen Becky while riding, and waved at her, but apparently she hadn't seen us. As a result she'd just been taking pictures of each coaster train that came by. She had managed to capture us, though from a distance, so the zoomed in picture is pretty grainy! You can make out Jared waving at Becky though, which is cute!



    I'm not sure why but I can't seem to find a ride photo from this expedition up the mountain either.

    Oh well, we'd escaped the disco yeti (how amazing would it have been to see him moving properly) and we were rewarded with an encounter with his adorable fluffy cousin.



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    ilanakan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 20, 2012
    October is getting a lot busier at the World, from the research I've done, though September still remains a good month. I didn't love it though, the weather was a bit too much for me. I think we will stick to February/March (avoiding Easter), we really enjoyed spring at the resort.
    Might try spring (not spring break) next next time :)
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 6 - Part 4 - Making Memories

    Jared and I had decided not to purchase Memory Maker, as another small way of saving a bit of money on this trip. It was a decision that we had started to regret, even on our first park day, as I really wanted some shots of all of us (especially with Derrick and Becky) in the parks. Just as Jared and I were discussing how we'd set our camera to give to the Photopass photographer, Derrick cut in and told us not to worry, they had memory maker and they'd send us all pictures of us!! This was so kind of them, as we were completely not expecting to be able to access our Photopass photos at all. We started off thinking they'd have to be with us to scan their magic bands when we took pictures but it later turned out, as we had linked our My Disney Experience accounts, that any photos we scanned to our bands showed up on their account as well. Anyway, thanks again Derrick and Becky for your generosity and for all the wonderful memories we got to take home!

    I mention all of this now as, on our way towards Dinosaur, we saw our first Photopass opportunity. We even managed to get a dinosaur to pose with us!





    Our first "magic" shot. I'm not sure the photographer got the brief right! We were supposed to look scared......of Huey, Dewey and Louie??



    This was the first and last picture any Photopass photographer took with our camera!



    Does anyone know if this guy has a name? If not I will call him Gunther!



    We headed on over to Dinosaur. It was definitely a busy day as the posted wait was 30 minutes (this is one of the less popular attractions in the park now days I believe). We figured since we hadn't done any big waits yet we could wait 30 minutes, and have a good chat in line. In case you are thinking "30 minutes, that's not a big wait" it's about as long as I will wait for any attraction (and honestly with a good plan and use of Fastpass it's the longest you should ever wait. My wait time philosophy generally doesn't including any new headliner attractions (which I will wait 1 hour for) or the time we were at Shanghai Disney when we were happy if the wait was ONLY 50 minutes! (we didn't plan that well with the Chinese New Year crowds). And of course we avoid holidays and summer at any of the resorts!

    Anyway, back to Dinosaur. We only waited about 15 minutes in the end, which was a bonus!



    The first time I went on this attraction I loved it (it's no Indy but it was still great) but perhaps it's because I've done it a number of times, or technology has moved on elsewhere in the parks, but the ride doesn't thrill me as much anymore. The dinosaurs are looking old and tired and could use some love. I think this is evidenced by our only mildly surprised faces on the ride photo!



    Also you have to laugh at the guy at the back who is purposefully looking away from the dino!

    After Dinosaur we split off from Becky and Derrick and headed to the Satu'li Canteen in Pandora for lunch. Asian inspired food wasn't to their taste and after their big breakfast they just wanted a snack, so they went their own way to do that. I love Asian food and thought the Canteen looked great, so we headed off again to Pandora.

    We ran into Kevin from Up on our way to the bird show (a movie I've still never watched because I don't want to cry for a week - Jared saw it on a plane recently and even he almost cried!). Kevin is such a fantastic name for a bird too (it's so mundane).





    We stopped on our way towards Pandora for some shots looking back towards Asia. It's such a beautiful view:





    There was a Photopass photographer at this location but at this point we still thought we couldn't scan the photos if Derrick and Becky weren't with us, so we just took our own.







    We arrived in Pandora and found a spot in the blessed shade to do a mobile order for Satu'li. We knew it would be crazy busy (and it was) so we thought this was the best way to avoiding waiting. While we were waiting for the food to be prepared we decided to take some shots of the wonder that is Pandora!



























    I am sorry for the vast number of photos, but the place is so beautiful you can't not photograph it from every angle! Our fish eye and wide angle lens were very helpful here, helping us capture so much of the scenery in one photo. It hadn't realised just how close you actually are to the floating mountains (as evidenced in the shot above) so the wider lens really helped us photograph the whole picture that you see while there!

    Jared had some fun drumming, though he gave up when he couldn't really hear himself over the noise of people having fun (honestly how dare they, who has fun at Disney!) :rotfl2:


    We put ourselves in the picture too. We had to use the fisheye lens to get us, and the background but I don't mind the effect on our faces at all! In fact these are some of my favourite shots of us (individually) for the whole trip!







    We ran into a lovely lady while resting in the shade, after our photo tour. She asked if we would take a few pictures of her and her daughter, and then asked if she could reciprocate the favour by taking a shot of the two of us. We just did this on the iPhone to make it easier for her!



    Can you tell that we are hot? Our faces were so red from the time rushing around in the full sun! The temperature and humidity were also the worst that first day! We were really ready to sit in some air conditioning for a while!

    Running around we also noticed how busy the area had gotten since we saw it that morning. We were very grateful we'd managed to get on the two rides early in the morning. When we headed back in for lunch Flight of Passage was down (but had been posting 2 hour waits), and the Na'vi River Journey was an 100 minute wait!



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  • RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 6 - Part 5 - Tree Trails

    When we left off, we were waiting for our food at Satu'li Canteen to be prepared (thanks to the fantastic invention that is mobile ordering). When we were notified our food was ready we were really really ready for a rest and for some cool!

    Jared headed up to the mobile order line and I headed into the Canteen to try and find a table. It turns out it was a good thing I did this, the place was PACKED. I walked about 3 laps around the place before I managed to catch a group leaving a table, so I swooped in and grabbed it. By the time Jared arrived with the food we had somewhere to sit and eat it (yay).

    We both ordered the Grilled Beef Bowl, Jared ordered the rice and I ordered the noodles. I also greatly enjoyed the delicious herb mayo and the boba balls (which made a satisfying pop and squish when you ate them).





    We also ordered the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse, mostly because it was so adorable!





    The mousse surprised me with it's purple interior! I liked the mousse, but I was glad it was small as it was quite rich and I don't think I would have wanted too much more than what I got. The tropical flavours were a nice touch though.



    The drink you can see in the pictures above was fantastic too. We had ordered some water, as we'd already drunk our way through 2 x 1L water bottles. Jared would fill them up at the Canteen but we really craved some COLD water, so we bought two smaller bottles as well (we drink a lot of water, and even more so in the heat and humidity). We really didn't need another drink, but the "Pandoran Sunrise" sounded too good to pass up, especially as it contained Powerade and those fantastic electrolytes to help hydrate us! It was really refreshing, and delicious.

    Overall we really loved the food at the Satu'li Canteen. The best thing about it was the unique combination of flavours, which really took us by surprise (Asian with herb mayo turned out to be really good). I really appreciate Disney World's vast menus, and how you can find something for every taste (and that it's not all standard theme park junk food).

    We were also grateful for a cool place to rest, the heat and humidity had really gotten to us, probably because it was our first full day in the parks, expending a lot of energy in the heat. I also don't do well in humidity. Perth gets very hot in summer, but it's a dry heat (I would rather it by 40C (104F) and dry, than 30C (86F) and humid). The Floridan humidity in September was not as bad as what we experienced in Singapore, but it was pretty close! And it was draining me!

    We were also glad we'd managed to hit all the headliners by lunch. By 1:00pm, as we were finishing up lunch, the wait times were bad:
    • Flight of Passage - 170 minutes
    • Na'vi River Journey - 95 minutes
    • Kilimanjaro Safari's - 80 minutes
    • Expedition Everest - 60 minutes
    • Kali River Rapids - 60 minutes
    • Dinosaur - 40 minutes
    So rather than try ride anything, we headed out of the Canteen to meet Becky and Derrick at the Discovery Island trails.







    We discovered they'd purchased a spray water bottle and fan (a fantastic purchasing decision, well I thought anyway, Jared wouldn't let us waste money on one of our own :P ). We sat in the shade and took advantage of that for a few minutes. Then we took a stroll around the Tree of Life Gardens.

    See if you can spot me in the background of this picture!



    The Tree of Life always amazes me! The artistry that went into the carvings is utterly incredible! And how they fit so organically around the tree base is amazing.









    The trails offered some beautiful views of the Tree. We'd never gotten up this close and personal with it before.

















    The sun was in the most perfect spot too, and burst through the tree's leaves perfectly!















    We had about 10 minutes or so to wait for our Expedition Everest fastpasses when we were done with the trail. So we headed over to the dock in front of the Tree of Life and managed to grab a table in the shade where we could wait. First though, we had to take some pictures. It was at this point Jared had the biggest scare of the trip. He forgot to zip up the side pocket of our bag before swishing the bag back around onto his back, and three of our lenses came tumbling out! Thankfully none were damaged (or ended up in the water). The only damage that was done was to the cap for the fish eye, which still fits on the lens, it just doesn't clasp properly.

    Lens disasters averted, we went back to taking pictures:







    This is also one of my favourite shots we've taken at Animal Kingdom! Ever! The lighting, reflections, cloud dispersion, everything really, was just perfect!



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    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 6 - Part 6 - We can confirm, the Yeti is real!

    We were all ready for our Everest fastpass (which was from 1:50pm - 2:50pm). On our way to the Yeti infested mountain we got waylaid by more photos though!

    First we found a Photopass photographer, and we wanted some Everest Photopass shots.







    Not sure what, but something was clearly very funny to Derrick and I in this next photo.



    For our magic photo we needed to employ our very best acting skills, and pretend to be cold (when we were EXTREMELY hot)!



    I really enjoy the magic shots videos, which allow the magic to "come to life" around your photo. In this video I think Everest way trying to shake the snow from it's snow-caps off onto us!


    Then we photographed the mountain itself. The mountain had amassed some ominous looking cloud cover by this point in the day. But never fear, they did not empty their contents on us!









    Our Everest fastpass was timed perfectly. The wait had jumped to the highest I'd seen it all day (90 minutes) so we were really grateful to pretty much walk on with the fastpass (it took us about 5 minutes I think). Becky decided to be brave and ride with us this time! She looks like she had fun right?



    Jared had decided that we should both try and give Derrick and Becky "mickey ears" in the ride photo, but of course I forgot! Jared remembered, though Derrick's "ears" are floating very high above his head. :P

    I love the "passenger ticket" on the ride photo. It's conclusion, the Yeti is real (hehe).

    Leaving the Everest vicinity we bumped into another Photopass photographer with no line. So we thought, why not! I actually really love this location, with the mountain close up behind you! I also think it should be a Disney rule, if you see a Photopass photographer with no line, you get a photo.





    This photographer got creative too, with fun angled shots and some low angles as well! I always appreciate the Photopass photographers who clearly have some photography training, or a natural eye for it (they are not professional photographers - or at least not all of them are based on some of the pictures we've gotten from time to time).





    We acted cold again :rotfl2:




    Jared and I got some great individual shots here too:



    If you look closely at pretty much ALL photopass photos of us looking at each other over the years, you will see Jared making this same face! This is because apparently something about looking at my face while being photographed makes him say "awww". :love::rotfl2:





    As cute as the concept is it always makes for slightly weird pictures where his mouth gapes open like he's dumbfounded, so I asked him to resist the urge later on in the trip (though not until we got to Disneyland I think).





    One final faux cold shot!




    It was probably about 2pm by this point and we were done, and ready for a rest back at the hotel!We arrived back at the hotel at 2:45pm. But we'd be back to enjoy an evening in the parks....

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    KEK1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2017
    Think that was the best photo tour of Safaris I have seen :)
    Amazing pics of Animal Kingdom, my fave park. Definitely agree about EE!
     
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    LivingforDisney

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2014
    Caught up, great photos. We visited once in Sept, it hot/humid, but not as bad as I was expecting. We only got rain/storm the night we were at Fantasmic, U guessed it we didn't take our ponchos that day lol. We were soaked as by the time we got on a bus, it rained for about half the next day and that was it. I was actually hoping to see one of the famous thunderstorm I had read about in Sept, but we didn't get one in the 14 days there.i did notice your faces were a little flushed lol.
     
  • RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Think that was the best photo tour of Safaris I have seen :)
    Amazing pics of Animal Kingdom, my fave park. Definitely agree about EE!
    It's my favourite park at Disney World too! It's just so beautiful! I'm glad the pictures we took did it justice. I'm really glad you enjoyed the Safari Tour, it was really one of the best we've had (for animal encounters).

    And yes, Everest is the best!

    Caught up, great photos. We visited once in Sept, it hot/humid, but not as bad as I was expecting. We only got rain/storm the night we were at Fantasmic, U guessed it we didn't take our ponchos that day lol. We were soaked as by the time we got on a bus, it rained for about half the next day and that was it. I was actually hoping to see one of the famous thunderstorm I had read about in Sept, but we didn't get one in the 14 days there.i did notice your faces were a little flushed lol.
    Maybe I'm just a wuss when it comes to humidity, I'm sure it's much worse in summer! We were lucky as well as we only got two brief bits of rain. I really should say only one, as the rain we got the day we were at Universal Orlando lasted literally 2 minutes and then it was done. I know what you mean though, the day we were at EPCOT and it rained consistently for an hour or so was the day we didn't have the ponchos with us! I think we got really lucky given that a few weeks before we arrived the outer edges of a hurricane hit the resort! And yes, I turn terribly tomato red in the heat! It's awful!
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 6 - Part 7 - Night in the Animal Kingdom

    Back at All Star Music we had a decent rest for a few hours. My shoulders were extremely sore from where my backpack (which had carried our water to take some weight from Jared) had dug into my fresh sunburn all day. Jared kindly agreed to just carry the camera backpack that evening, even though it would be much heavier with water plus the tripod.

    We agreed to meet Derrick and Becky at the Intermission Food Court for a quick dinner at 6:00pm. We then left the resort for the park at 6:39pm (I don't know why but I wrote the time down specifically) and we got to Animal Kingdom again at 7:15pm.

    Derrick and Becky were seeing the first showing of Rivers of Light at 8pm, and we were headed for blue hour shots in Pandora, followed by our Flight of Passage fastpass (from 7:35pm - 8:35pm). We had originally planned to see the first showing of Rivers of Light, and had booked a dining package at Tusker House for lunch that day. Then we could only get a fastpass for a second ride on Flight of Passage from 7:30pm. And after that happened I realised that, with having to show up to the show 15 minutes before the 8pm show started, we'd have no time for blue hour photo in Pandora. I was stressing and then Disney added a second showing of Rivers of Light at 9:15pm (after park closing) and I was thrilled.

    There wasn't much of a sunset that evening, at least not at first, it was still a bit overcast and miserable looking.







    We sat waiting for it to get darker, and then it was time for our Flight of Passage fastpass. We had planned to ride closer to the end of our window but we figured there wouldn't be much of a sunset, so we should just ride and then when we were done blue hour would have arrived.

    Of course, as we got into the line the sky suddenly lit up beautifully! You'll have to excuse these next shots, they were taken hand held, and as a result aren't that sharp or good!











    As we boarded Flight of Passage Jared took a few iPhone pictures of me in my "Avatar chair"





    The ride was just as fantastic as the first time - I loved it!

    Once we were done, since I think took about 25 minutes in total, the sun was well and truly set. There wasn't much "blue" in the blue hour, I think because of the light pollution from the area.

    Before I show you our night photos taken in Pandora there are two things I'd like to point out.

    Firstly, we felt quite rushed getting these shots. I actually left Jared to take the last few while I ran over to grab a standby spot for Rivers of Light (turns out I needed have worried so much but more on that later).

    Secondly, the photos are a little misleading. Somehow the camera, even without editing, saw a lot more light and colour than our eyes did that evening. In fact, when I came out of Flight of Passage and saw the lighting in the area I was quite disappointed. Having seen so many beautiful photos of the mountain lit up with vibrant blues and pinks, I expected that was what the area would look like in reality. To be clear, all of our photos are edited and made to look more vibrant, as they are artistic interpretations of what we saw when we shot the picture. However, I've never seen pictures of an area at night that different so greatly from what you actually see in reality, as I have with pictures taken of Pandora (and now the shots we took).

    The fact that the camera found so much light and colour is a credit to it (it is a good one). I had also heard complaints from people that the night lighting in the area had diminished somewhat since the area was opened in 2017. Was anyone there when it first opened, and again more recently who could confirm this? I had heard so many wonderful things about Pandora's "transformation" to the bioluminescent world at night, so I was unpleasantly surprised! I will say, the lit up pathways were awesome, however I was disappointed they only existed in the small pathways in the centre section of the land. If you had been walking one of the main walkways you could miss these lit pathways all together! I guess it wasn't as I'd imagined it and as a result I was a little disheartened. Hopefully Disney can do something to improve the lighting here in the near future. I think this is a fair request, since it is such a big draw for the park. It also makes sense as it's one of the only real land within Animal Kingdom that was created with night lighting in mind. It, along with Rivers of Light, was one of the reasons Animal Kingdom started getting extended night hours at all. I recall on all our other visits Animal Kingdom was only really ever open as late as 6pm.

    Anyway, now that I've complained about the lack of colour I will show you my pictures, which look reasonably bright and vibrant!













    This pavement is pretty cool though!



    Another "behind the camera" shot.



    Here is an example of how the lighting in the plants was dim, and sometimes non-existant



    Closer down to the main floating mountain the waterfall was well lit.











    Overall I was a little underwhelmed with these photos, I think I just had different expectations to reality. Also we were very rushed. Still as they were the only photos of the trip I was really disappointed about, that's a pretty good average.

    While Jared finished up in Pandora I headed very quickly over towards Asia. Power walking from one side of Animal Kingdom to the other is no small feat (in my mind) so you can imagine how depressed I was to find that I had arrived on the WRONG SIDE of the lagoon for the standby seating (I was on the fastpass side). I don't know why I didn't just keep going around past Everest but for some reason I decided to head back towards the Asia bridge and to the path leading to Dinoland! When I arrived at the Standby queue it was completely empty! So I needed have worried. They had let a few people into the area but they'd only filled a few rows in the centre most section.

    The fastpass line had been really long, so I'd say we actually had it better doing standby for the show! The fastpass section has a slight edge in terms of the view (though technically the shows centre is in the centre of both viewing areas) but we still had a fantastic spot!

    While I claimed our seats Jared was still taking photos. His next location was across the water from Everest. I could actually just make out his camera light blinking in the distance from where I was. As you can see from this next picture, the fastpass viewing section was not that full at all (so why they'd stopped handing out fastpasses I'll never understand!). Only one of the sections was filled on the standby side!



    I had some fun messing with the reflections in photoshop later. We had some decent reflections in the photos we took, but I wanted a bit more clarify in them.



    Here's a before and after shot.









    Another before and after:





    Jared started to head towards the standby viewing area (the correct way I might add) and took this shot on his way.



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    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 6 - Part 8 - 1.5 showings of Rivers of Light

    Jared found me easily enough at about 9:00pm. Then we anxiously waited for Rivers of Light to begin. I had been very excited to see this show. From pictures I'd seen of the show and it's fountains, vibrant colours and lit up water floats I thought it was the kind of night-time show that I'd love. Plus it looked a little like Tokyo Disney Sea's version of Fantastic (which I think is superior to the US versions).

    This was our view from our seats:







    The show began and right away I had to catch my breathe! I didn't expect the beautiful projection screens or the versatility of the flower floats, and the way the fountains danced so beautiful (I loved this part particularly because it reminded me of World of Color, my favourite Disney night show). The music was just as fantastic!













    The boats with their lights and complimentary projections were amazing as well!





    Then the lit animal floats came out and I gasped again (they are just so beautiful and bright, and the colour changes they can undertake is amazing). I was a little disappointed that the Tiger and Elephant floats were not closest to our section (they looked a little cooler).











    Then, very suddenly, and not long after the animals had started to move around the lagoon everything went suddenly dark!





    It was very strange! Jared and I decided we were being shown a special version of the show, called "Rivers of Darkness" :rotfl2:!

    Clearly the show had run into some kind of technical glitch. We were played the "we are sorry for the delay, and we'll be underway again shortly message" for about 5 minutes before the light returned and the "Rivers of Darkness" show ended. :P

    Rather than re-commencing from where the show left off the whole thing begun again, hence the title (1.5 viewings of Rivers of Light). Really we were only about 5 minutes into the show when it stopped.

    I will admit that, as the show went on, its hold over me diminished a little. All of the individual elements were amazing, and the moment they are revealed is really wonderful. And I did continue to enjoy the movement of the flowers as they, and their fountains "danced". However after about 10 minutes I felt myself waiting for something "more" to happen, rather than the same floats, boats and flowers moving and changing colours. I'm not sure how Disney could build to a finale a bit better with the show (there is limited room on the lagoon) but it just felt like it needed to add a little more to keep the wonder going. Either that, or have a shorter run time.































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    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 6 - Part 9 - Animal Kingdom's Kiss Goodnight

    I hope you aren't tired of Rivers of Light photos, because there are more to come!

    I really did appreciate the shows theme and message, about the inter-connectivity of all plant and animal life, and our responsibility to care for the wondrous nature given to us. It seemed so fitting with Animal Kingdom's message, without being too preachy. Since Animal Kingdom is a great combination of a theme park/zoo it felt like a great way to "sum up" everything you saw and experienced in the park.









    This shot gives you an idea of how close we were to the centre of the standby section (that pole blocks the entrance to the lagoon where the parade floats enter and exit).





















    By the time we were finished with Rivers of Light the park was well and truly closed, so we headed out. We did make a sneaky trip behind Flame Tree BBQ though for one final photography shoot.







    We finally made it to the Tree of Life, to see the wonderful Tree of Life show begin. It really is like Animal Kingdom's version of the "Kiss Goodnight" (the small light show played on the Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom at park close). We sat and watched happily for a few minutes.













    Sadly I had stopped filming before the truly beautiful part, where the tree lit up with so many colours and light, the way I'd imagined Pandora would at night!







    When the show was done, we took one final shot of the tree, lit up beautifully!



    We left the park at about 10pm, and there were still quite a few people around. And there didn't seem to be any rush to get people out, even a good hour after close. We needed our rest though, so we headed out and were back at the resort by 10:30pm, ready for a good long sleep (whether or not we'd have one will be a story for the next chapter!)...

    So ends the tale of our first theme park day of our trip! I loved starting with my favourite park at The World, and we had so much fun at Animal Kingdom, even though it was a busy and crowded day. All in all we walked 16km (10 miles) and 24,600 steps on our first full theme park day at Disney World. This kind of step count would become normal for the majority of days on the trip, so we felt a little less guilty about the food and snacks we consumed knowing we were doing a lot to work them off!

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    KEK1

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Aug 23, 2017
    Your pics are works of art. Just stunning. I was also underwhelmed by Pandora at night. Much nicer during the day.
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Your pics are works of art. Just stunning. I was also underwhelmed by Pandora at night. Much nicer during the day.
    That's so kind of you! I'm really glad you like them. I'm glad it wasn't just me then! Perhaps my expectations were just too high, but seeing the Na'vi River Journey and knowing how beautiful the bioluminescent forest is I was just expecting...more. Oh well!
     

    ilanakan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 20, 2012
    That's so kind of you! I'm really glad you like them. I'm glad it wasn't just me then! Perhaps my expectations were just too high, but seeing the Na'vi River Journey and knowing how beautiful the bioluminescent forest is I was just expecting...more. Oh well!
    We felt the same. Don't know if it was the crowd levels (packed) or the bio-luminescence that just wasn't all that. Loved Pandora during the day though. The sounds, the rides. But I think maybe there was way too much build up for night time Pandora, so it was a disappointment.
     

    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 7 - Part 1 - A late morning

    We had plans to again wake at about 5:30am so we could arrive 30 minutes before the opening of Magic Kingdom's extra extra magic hours at 7am. Sadly, at 1:30am I still hadn't been able to get to sleep. I don't know if I was just wired from my first day of theme parking, or if the jet lag was still getting to me. I woke Jared in tears saying I just couldn't face getting up in 4 hours. I was really upset, as I had been determined to get to ALL extra extra magic hours offered. Jared talked me down, and told me it was ok, we had fastpasses booked for all the main attractions bar Big Thunder, which we could do during the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party we were attending that evening. He also reminded me we were going to be in the park late the next evening for the party, so not only was it ok to sleep in, it was probably smart. His logic was sound, though I was still disappointed to miss sunrise at Magic Kingdom. We had to message Derrick and Becky (hoping it didn't wake them) and let them know we'd meet them in the park later. This was one of only 2 times on the trip where I felt a little down. In this case I'm pretty sure the jet lag had gotten to me and was effecting me more than I expected it to.

    I took a 1/4 of a sleeping tablet and went straight off to sleep (clearly the weight of needing to be awake early off my mind). I woke at 8:30am feeling well rested. We left the hotel at 9:05am and got to Magic Kingdom by 9:40am, 40 minutes after official park opening. Derrick and Becky had decided to still go to the park early, and had had a wonderful time during the extra extra magic hours (apparently the park was dead quiet). As sad as I was to have missed that I was glad I had slept, especially knowing we'd probably be in the parks until about 1am that evening (or the next morning technically).

    Walking into the Magic Kingdom made me smile! There's just something about Main Street, here and at Disneyland, that make me feel home!

    Halloween was in full swing at the Magic Kingdom. Animal Kingdom doesn't really participate in the holiday so this was our first taste of Halloween in the parks!







    Halloween is such a "Disney" thing for us. To explain, we don't really celebrate Halloween in Australia. It has become a bit of a bigger celebration in the last decade, I think due to the saturation of US TV shows and their "Halloween" episodes that have become a thing in the last 10-15 years. Still, we personally don't celebrate the holiday (other than perhaps singing a few Disney Halloween songs). Back in 2009 when we took our first trip to the US (on our Honeymoon), Halloween really wasn't a thing in Australia, at least not commercially. So seeing the Halloween decorations and the parks all dressed up was such a fun new experience for us. The very first Disney fireworks we ever saw was Halloween Screams (which I later discovered debuted that year we saw them at Disneyland). Because of all this the holiday has very nostalgic connections for us to Disney and our love of Disney parks. However, we hadn't been to any Disney park at Halloween time since that first trip, so we were really excited!

    It was nice showing up late, as we felt no need to rush off anywhere as we knew we'd missed the boat on short standby lines anyway. We had maybe thought we'd head over to Big Thunder Mountain, but the wait was already 40 minutes so we vetoed that idea. So we headed up to the Main Street train station and photographed the wonder that is Main Street!





    I love Disneyland's Main Street, and Disneyland is my favourite out of the two US "castle parks". I have such a nostalgic connection to Disneyland, and I love it's quaintness and the fact it feels like Walt's place. Still I can't deny that the Cinderella Castle works so much better as a draw card at the end of Main Street and there is something so much more majestic about it!



    I really do love any Main Street (except maybe Hong Kong's, it was clearly constructed cheaply). I think Walt was a genius when he decided to create an entrance to his parks that would suggest a nostalgic and idealised town, a place where people could feel at home and a place people could feel they "belonged". This sense of belonging to a place and community is one of the reasons, in my mind, that Disney differs so much from any other amusement company world wide. I know you guys understand, as here on the DIS boards we are a community through a shared love of Disney, something which I love and appreciate.

    With Main Street, Walt created such a timeless entrance concept that just can't be beaten. And every time I walk Main Street I'm filled with such anticipation and joy, and I feel like I'm home, in a place where I can put my worries away, and I can let my inner child out and play! It takes me back to that first trip down Main Street (at Disneyland) with Jared, and how we gasped as the castle was revealed, and as my heard swelled when my childhood dream of going to Disneyland finally came true! And every time I head down Main Street I feel that gratitude of being able to come to the happiest place on earth and let all my cares go. Even now, sitting here at my computer, remembering that feeling makes me brim up with tears. It's this feeling that can't be re-created elsewhere and it's why Disney is so special to me and why I keep coming back!

    Anyway, enough gushing from me about Disney! Back on Main Street, we were enjoying the Halloween decorations.







    We had texted Derrick and Becky when we arrived in the park, and they told us they'd come meet us on Main Street. When they arrived we decided some Photopass shots would be appropriate (they'd had a whole pile already that morning but humoured us anyway!)







    Our first fastpass of the day was for Splash Mountain from 10:00am - 11:00am so we decided to head in that direction. Becky and Derrick headed off as they'd chosen not to ride Splash with us. We caught a little of the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! street party coming down main street as we headed in!





    Then, thanks to the parade there was absolutely NO one in front of the Cinderella Castle! It was too good a photo opportunity to pass up, so we stopped and took some (I love these pictures so much!).







    We strolled slowly into Frontierland, enjoying that it didn't feel too busy (I do love the wider paths at Magic Kingdom for that reason)! We finally arrived at our destination:



    We walked straight on to Splash with our fastpass, and had a blast on the ride. At this point of the trip, it was still Jared's favourite (hehe I'm really building to this "break up" Jared had with Splash, aren't I - you'll all have to wait until Day 6 of Disneyland for the full story!)





























    I do love how every Splash is slightly different. Many of the "clone" attractions have small differences from park to park, but I think I notice them most with Splash, because of the differences to the show scenes. I see those differences a lot more in the Tokyo Disney version (which is my favourite version) but there are a number of differences between the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland versions too. Disneyland, with it's cast of animals from the America Sings attraction, has more critters and less "scenes" of Briar Rabbit, Bear and Fox, I believe. I think the Magic Kingdom version is slightly better than the Disneyland version too. Both the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland versions were looking a little tired this trip though, I reckon it's about time they got some TLC!

    We had the back row, so we didn't get too wet (a little disappointing given how hot it was). I love this ride photo though! Pretty much everyone in our log committed to the photo moment! I love the Princess poses from the girls in front of us!



    Once we had escaped the Briar patch, we decided to continue having a Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah day, by taking in this view of Splash unique to the Magic Kingdom (it's the only park where you have such a great view of the logs turning around after the big splash).





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    RachelleBeaney

    PrincessShelle
    Joined
    Jun 12, 2012
    Day 7 - Part 2 - Fantastic Fantasy Fun

    Derrick and Becky had informed us they were ready to meet up with us again, so we advised them we'd meet back at the castle.

    Ambling slowly back to the hub, we saw this gorgeous view:





    When we arrived in the hub, we saw that the morning show was going on, and the castle was surrounded with people. We thought we'd watch a bit of the show while we waited for Derrick and Becky.








    I told Jared I had an idea for a castle photo, and he asked me why we'd bother, with this many people around! I said, I bet you the angle I'm thinking of will make it look like there are hardly any people around. He really didn't believe me, so I set off, determined to prove him wrong. I'll let you decided if I succeeded with this next shot (honestly, one of my favourites from the whole trip!)



    I absolutely love framing things with the fish eye, it leads to such amazing photos. I know you can see people in the shot, but thanks to the frame, which draws your eye directly to the castle, you really don't notice them, so I think I proved my point to Jared. :P I was also excited I came up with such a fun composition!

    Even foregoing the arches as a frame it was still a beautiful shot! We were experiencing another perfect day! Just the right amount of clouds and beautiful blue skies! And it was a little cooler this day, thanks to a slight breeze (I mean, it was still not cool, it was hot and humid, but it didn't feel as bad as the day before).



    When the show finished up we headed back to the partners statue, wanting to take advantage of the beautiful light to get some pictures.











    Derrick and Becky found us and we decided we would head towards Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid, mostly because it only had 15 minute wait. I also do really love this update on the classic dark ride. I also love singing along as the Little Mermaid soundtrack is one of my favourites.

    Jared decided to try some new settings on the 50mm prime, to see if it helped with the focus issue we'd been having with it. I don't understand the specifics, but he informed me that it would allow him to focus while he used the camera in a sweeping motion (which sounded ideal to me for a dark ride).



    We captured Derrick and Becky riding too! Believe it or not, this was their first time on the attraction. They really enjoyed it too.













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    I was absolutely THRILLED by Jared's new technique, and how the pictures turned out. They were some of the best dark ride shots we'd taken to date and I was happy Jared had conquered the new lens.

    Back outside, we headed back to the front of New Fantasyland. Our destination....the Seven Dwarves Mine Train for our 11:25am - 12:25am fastpass.







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