Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Events: Disney World Vacation 2016 (Part 5)

Alright you guys, I'm just going for it. After almost an entire year (wow almost exactly to the DAY which wasn't even planned), I'm finally taking a break from all the products I have to review and going back to finish my April 2016 Disney World vacation write-ups! Most of you probably never even realized that I didn't finish up writing about that vaca, but this is something more for me that I hope you can still enjoy all this time later. I just couldn't go on another Disney trip (which we leave next week for) without finishing documenting this one!

Now it's time to dig deep into my memory (and thousands of pictures) and see what I can remember from day five (Wednesday, April 20th 2016)...

NOTE: If you missed the previous posts (not that it really matters all this time later, ha!), you can still check out PART 1, PART 2, PART 3 and PART 4.

The first half of this day was spent in the beautiful Animal Kingdom! We were there right at opening and went directly over to one of my favorite Disney coasters, Expedition Everest. Unfortunately it was down (don't you hate when that happens?!) so we headed over to Dinoland.

Dinosaur was next up on our agenda (well, more of a plan B). This is another one of my absolute faves— I have so many nostalgic memories of this ride (and the film it's based on) and I'm always excited to hit it up. I remember being there the year it opened (I was nine years old), back when it was called Countdown to Extinction. Who else remembers that?!

Snagging pics of us with some of the dinos in that area is always a must. And notice how I themed my shirt for the day? Yup, it's my The Good Dinosaur Disney Store tee! I thought it was a good choice, if I do say so myself.

As we made our way back towards Everest, we noticed it had just re-opened! We jumped right on that chance to ride it without any wait times.

Our next stop was the Kali River Rapids...which was (in hindsight) not a good choice (but also in hindsight, a pretty funny story—but not at the time). I don't think Brita had been on it before and neither of us expected how drenched we would actually get. I had a blast...Brita not so much. Let's just say she was not happy about her hair and makeup being undone by a giant tidal wave of cold river water which completely covered her from head to toe. Maybe some of you girls out there can empathize!

The next half hour or so was spent trying to find ways to dry off (I vividly remember using the electric hand dryers in the bathroom and getting lots of weird looks :P). Between that, paper towels and some basking in the sunshine, we eventually were dry again and ready to move on.

Oh, and yah...we won't be doing this one on our upcoming trip. I can almost guarantee that! ;)

We then walked through the beautiful Jungle Trek (the theming/imaginearing there is incredible; you really feel transported to another country), took some pics by the outstanding Tree of Life and played some drums in Africa.

animal kingdom drums

On our way to lunch we saw that Flik from A Bug's Life was out meeting and greeting! That was a must do. It was so much fun seeing him in Animal Kingdom again (since apparently he had been gone for some time and had just returned in the fall of 2015).

By the way, I always find the "Disney language" that cast members use funny; specifically when characters have to, let's say, "take a rest." For example, while waiting in line I remember it was announced by a cast member that Flik had to "go check on the colony", but that he would be right back. Sure Flik, whatever you say! :D Brita and I had a good laugh about that.

a bug's life flik animal kingdom

Lunch at Pizzafari! This was our first time eating at this particular quick service restaurant and it was pretty good. Nothing super great or special (not rushing to go back or anything), but good for just a quick bite there in the park.

I got the baked pasta bolognese with a garlic knot and Brita got the Mediterranean pizza (both come with an antipasto salad, which consisted of roasted veggies and marinated mozzarella cheese I believe). The menu there is different now (Disney menus are always changing), so I guess this isn't good for a timely review.

animal kingdom pizzafari lunch 2016
animal kingdom pizzafari lunch 2016

Next to where we were eating was a big wall featuring Avatar. Beyond that, secret work was being done on the new Pandora: The World of Avatar land of course. It's crazy that it's just about done at this point and will be open to the public next month!

avatar land animal kingdom

After lunch we hit up some of the big gift shops full of Finding Nemo merch.

finding nemo merchandise disney world dory faces shirt
fish are friends not food shirt

 It's Tough to be a Bug is a must do. Never gets old!

animal kingdom it's tough to be a bug

And we always have to stop by and see our good friends Russel and Dug. SQUIRREL!

animal kingdom russel and dug

Back to Dinoland USA for some more shops and rides. This is my dinosaur attack pose (which I'm not sure the kid to the side of me totally appreciated).

dinoland usa animal kingdom

I remember being really surprised with the lack of The Good Dinosaur merchandise there in this area. It had just come out five months prior and this was the perfect place to have a plethora of it. I found one gift shop that had some of the standard toys, but that was it.

dinoland usa truck

Finding Nemo: The Musical! It's a good one. Super cheesy, but fun. It's worth seeing it for the fantastic costumes, sets and props. Sing it with me... It's a big, blue world!

finding nemo the musical
finding nemo the musical
finding nemo the musical
finding nemo the musical

The show was our last hoorah there in Animal Kingdom (for us it's almost always just a "half day" park). Now that I'm looking back I realized we didn't the the safari though! That's usually a must. Oh well, wait times were probably long.

animal kingdom tree of life

From there we scooted right over back to my favorite park, Hollywood Studios! We had been there a couple days before, but we always return there a few times before the week is over.

We ended up doing the classic The Great Movie Ride, Star Tours again (I was the Rebel Spy!!), and the Star Wars Launch Bay again. This time we were able to see Chewbacca, who was much less intimating than meeting Kylo Ren.

star wars launch bay chewbacca

Next up was Pixar Place (and a t-shirt change)! It was fun to just hang around there (with no rush to get anywhere) and appreciate all the details of this area. I've been here so many times but always seem to catch new things.

pixar place hollywood studios pixar place hollywood studios
pixar place hollywood studios green army man

Toy Story Mania is still one of our all time favorite attractions. We'll ride that however many times times we possibly can if the wait time is reasonable (which is rarely the case), but usually we only get on if we have a fast pass. It's a real treat! Oh and I won again :P Sorry Brita (thanks for always being the best sport about it though)! One day, one day...

toy story mania

I always have to get a picture of/with the giant Tin Toy Little Golden Book there inside the ride. If you follow my blog posts, you know I'm a big fan of and collector of Pixar Little Golden Books. I SO wish this one was real.

toy story mania tin toy little golden book
toy story mania tin toy little golden book

Here's the classic billboard outside Pixar Place that always (or usually I'd say) has the next Pixar film slated on it! At the time we were there, Finding Dory was less than two months away. I'm assuming right now it's Cars 3'll be fun to go next week and see if I'm right!

At the end of Pixar Place, where the walkway use to lead to the Studio Backlot Tour and NYC street, it was closed off with big walls showing off the upcoming Toy Story Land concept art. I'm assuming not much has changed since then in that area.

toy story land concept art hollywood studios
toy story land concept art hollywood studios
toy story land concept art hollywood studios

We wrapped things up with one last exciting ride, another classic, Tower of Terror! Always fun catching this one at dusk or night time since it enhances the creepiness. So glad this one hasn't turned into a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction.

hollywood studios tower of terror dusk
hollywood studios tower of terror dusk

If you've never gone before, make sure to keep your eye on the Hollywood Tower Hotel sign near the entrance. You just may see the words "The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror" creepily appear on it...very cool effect.

hollywood studios tower of terror changing sign

That about wraps things up for day five of our trip! Such a memorable day and a beautiful evening. I'm really hoping to finish up with these write-ups before we leave for Disney again next week. I hoped you liked this continuation, even if it's a year too late! Look forward to more right here soon.

Let me know your thoughts on any aspect of our day in the comments below!

hollywood studios dusk

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