Yesterday, Animal Kingdom had Extra Magic hours for resort guests, so we headed out early to take advantage of some time in the park before it got too crowded. The last time we were here, Pandora (based on the movie Avatar) was not yet open. While we arrived at the park only 5 minutes after it was opened for resort guests, by the time we got back to Pandora, there was already a 75 minute wait for Avatar Flight of Passage, the very popular thrill ride. Instead, we took the calm Na’vi River Journey, which was very beautiful and only had a 10 minute wait. We then wandered around Pandora to soak up the atmosphere and marvel at the engineering of the floating mountains. By the time we left, the line for Flight of Passage wound around the walkway into Africa with an anticipated wait time of about 2 hours. If you want to go on that ride, definitely book your fast pass a couple months in advance.
Meanwhile, we headed to Africa, where we only had a 15 minute wait for the Kilimanjaro Safari. We definitely took the safari ride at the perfect time. I don’t remember ever seeing so many animals up and about during our previous rides. We even saw the male lion walking about and emitting small roars, while every other time we’ve taken the tour we’ve been lucky to spot him sleeping.
We then trekked the Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail where the gorillas and other animals were out in force. We took a break to watch Up: A Great Bird Adventure, a remake of their bird show with characters. The highlights included a parrot singing Old McDonald Had a Farm. He actually had pretty good pitch, but took a few liberties with the lyrics.
While we were in Asia, we wandered through the Maharajah Jungle Trek and managed to catch a glimpse of one tiger sleeping … those tigers can be pretty illusive!
For lunch, we headed back to Pandora after placing our food order in the My Disney Experience app on our phones. Once we arrived at Satu’li Canteen, we simply clicked on a button in the app to indicate we’d arrived and then picked up our food. They do a variety of bowl dishes with your choice of meat, base, and sauce. I had the hearty salad with wood grilled chicken and creamy herb sauce, which was delicious. For dessert, we split a blueberry and lemon cheesecake that was certainly the most colorful dessert I’ve had in a while.
On the way out of the park, we watched a keeper hand feeding spoon billed storks, in an attempt to keep the local birds and ducks from eating all their food, I’m sure. After a long nap, we headed to Jambo House for the magnificent buffet at Boma. And yes, the chocolate banana bread pudding was just as good as I remember it! Good thing we’re averaging about 14,000 steps per day!