Tag Archives: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Day

On a cloudy Tuesday we made our way to Animal Kingdom. We rode Na’vi River Journey for the first time. It was magnificent! It was like being immersed in a whole new world. The colors and the vegetation, the huge insects and animals, and the sound track of life in Pandora blended into most memorable moments.

Then it was on to Kilimanjaro Safaris. We have ridden this many times, but because there was cloud cover and it was feeding time, we saw more animals than we had ever seen before. I always love seeing the flamingoes, and there were lots of them out and about. Ida loved the rhinos, with their big horns, instead of noses.

And one of the highlights of the day was a Memory Maker moment. Jake became Rafiki and baby Elinor became Simba. It was magical!

Then we had a delicious dinner at Yak and Yeti. Oh, that mango pie! And we tasted a new favorite: the green bean appetizer. So good!

Another lovely day at Walt Disney World!

Meet me at the Kingdom!



Final Vacation Itinerary

Gosh! There are only five days now until we head for Walt Disney World. Our itinerary (see below) looks very busy, but actually it gives us plenty of time to chill out by the pool at Old Key West, or head to Disney Springs to wander and shop and nosh. Today I will do laundry, so I can get my clothes into the suitcase and be mostly packed to go. I have so much stuff in my huge suitcase, that Mike may need to pack some of my clothes. But that means I’ll have plenty of room once I unload everything at our villa. My suitcase will be much lighter on the way home. ūüôā

Final Plans for Walt Disney World

Day 1

  • Travel to Florida
  • Eat at Good‚Äôs Food to Go

Day 2-Magic Kingdom

  • Breakfast at Crystal Palace
  • FastPasses-
  1. Peter Pan’s Flight
  2. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  3. Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Dinner at Olivia‚Äôs Caf√©

Day 3

  • Dinner at Artist‚Äôs Point

Day 4-Animal Kingdom

  • Lunch at¬†Yak and Yeti‚Äôs in Animal Kingdom
  • FastPasses-
  1. Na’vi River Journey
  2. Kilimanjaro Safari
  3. Festival of the Lion King

Wednesday, October 24-EPCOT

  • EPCOT-take advantage of the Food and Wine Festival for lunch
  • FastPasses-
  1. The Seas with Nemo and Friends
  2. Turtle Talk with Crush
  3. Frozen Ever After

Thursday, October 25-Hollywood Studios

  • Dinner at Minnie‚Äôs Seasonal Dining at Hollywood & Vine
  • FastPasses-
  1. Toy Story Mania!
  2. For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-along Celebration
  3. Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Friday, October 26

  • Breakfast at Olivia‚Äôs Caf√©
  • This evening we will attend Mickey‚Äôs Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.
  • Dinner at Be Our Guest

Saturday, October 27-Magic Kingdom

  • Lunch at Tony‚Äôs Town Square
  • FastPasses-
  1. Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater
  2. Jungle Cruise
  3. Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Sunday, October 28

  • Breakfast at Olivia‚Äôs
  • Travel home

Meet me at the Kingdom!


Na’vi River Journey

In just 42 days we head to Walt Disney World. This trip is coming just as there is much turmoil in our lives. Mike’s 98 year old mother is transitioning her living arrangement, and even more is going on back home in the U.P.¬† It is a time for deliberate and focused prayer. And through it all, God be praised!

Anyway…Pandora, The World of Avatar, has opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom since we were last there.¬†Avatar¬†Flight of Passage¬†is the newest, hottest ride in the park, however, since we have two tiny ones with us this time, we didn’t FastPass+ this. Instead we Fastpass+ed Na’vi River Journey. (I must confess these rides that allow the little ones to ride are my kind of rides!) Here’s what Disney has to say about Na’vi River Journey:

Journey deep into a bioluminescent rainforest in search of the Na‚Äôvi Shaman of Songs, only at¬†Pandora ‚Äď The World of Avatar.¬†

Guests gaze in wonder while floating through a bioluminescent rainforest aboard Na’vi River Journey

A Family-Friendly Adventure

Glide down a gentle, mysterious river and feel a sense of wonder as the full beauty of Pandora reveals itself. Located within the¬†Valley of Mo‚Äôara, Na‚Äôvi River Journey offers explorers an experience that has to be seen‚ÄĒand heard‚ÄĒto be believed!

As your expedition begins, climb aboard a reed boat and drift downstream. After coasting through a series of caves, and passing by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures of the rainforest, you’ll soon find yourself face-to-face with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs.

The adventure comes to a conclusion as the Shaman demonstrates her deep connection to the life force of Pandora‚ÄĒand sends positive energy out into the forest through the power of her music!

Distinct Na‚Äôvi artifacts and d√©cor adorning the landscape all around Pandora ‚Äď The World of Avatar

Here’s what Disney has to say about:

Pandora ‚Äď The World of Avatar

Journey to an awe-inspiring land that celebrates the magnificent power of nature.

Located within¬†Disney‚Äôs Animal Kingdom park, Pandora ‚Äď The World of Avatar provides eco-tourists the opportunity to join Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE) for the transformational experience of a lifetime‚ÄĒfilled with unforgettable expeditions, floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest, winged mountain banshees and more.

In partnership with ACE, visitors of every age will have the chance to explore the values and culture of this exotic place, and celebrate the striking beauty and overwhelming power of the natural world.

Welcome to Pandora‚ÄĒa world similar to Earth‚Ķ but distinctly unique in so many ways!

Hike amid floating mountains, glowing fauna and flora, a native drum circle and many other wonders at¬†Pandora ‚Äď The World of Avatar.¬†

Exotic plants and magnificent floating mountains adorn the landscape of Pandora ‚Äď The World of Avatar

Behold A Land That’s Beyond Belief

Walk about through the Valley of Mo’ara and get ready to discover a world like no other!

There‚Äôs more to Pandora than expeditions like¬†Avatar Flight of Passage¬†and¬†Na‚Äôvi River Journey‚Ķ much more! All around its enormous floating mountains, you‚Äôll quickly uncover the valley‚Äôs one-of-a-kind dining and shopping experiences‚ÄĒalong with sights, sounds and experiences that include:

  • Exotic plants that come to life with beautiful bioluminescence each night
  • A Na‚Äôvi-built drum circle, containing instruments playable by all
  • Na‚Äôvi totems and other cultural items found throughout the land
  • Brand-new¬†Wilderness Explorers¬†challenges and badges to collect

You may even come across tour guides from Alpha Centauri Expeditions (ACE), scientists from the Pandora Conservation Initiative (PCI), or even an eclectic expat or two!

A family of 4 walking past a waterfall

Explore Nature in Pandora

The Pandora Utility Suit showcases natural wonders in dramatic fashion.

Under the control of its pilot‚ÄĒa Pandora Conservation Initiative scientist‚ÄĒthis 10-foot-tall mechanical suit roams the Mo‚Äôara Valley to study fauna, collect plant samples and explore the rough terrain. While the suit traverses the land, its pilot will interact with Guests, discuss the otherworldly landscape and share details about conservation efforts in Pandora.

There will be plenty of new ground to explore together. Meet me at the Kingdom.


P.S. Sending prayers to family and friends up north as transitions take place.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant

Happy Labor Day! There are only 47 days until our trip to Walt Disney World!

On our third full day in Florida we will go to the EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival. No restaurant reservations that day. Click the link to check it out:   https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/events-tours/epcot/epcot-international-food-and-wine-festival/?CMP=KNC-FY18_WDPR_WDW_ACT_EROC_WorldProduct_EFW-EXACT|BR|G|4181003.WW.AM.01.01|NA_NA_NA_NA&keyword_id=kwd-314822540590|dc|epcot%20food%20and%20wine%20festival|274602075041|e|5084:3|&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIi-iRiZif3QIVARtpCh1bpw-XEAAYASAAEgIQcfD_BwE&s_kwcid=AL!5084!3!274602075041!e!!g!!epcot%20food%20and%20wine%20festival&ef_id=UpEK6wAAAEDUVH3i:20180903155050:s&dclid=CKe1oIuYn90CFY_CwAodVukI1w

On our fourth day we’ll head to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It will be fun to check out the new Avatar section of the park, and to ride Na’vi River Journey, a boat ride through Pandora. We are scheduled for lunch at Yak & Yeti Restaurant. Here’s what Disney has to say:

Travelers can relax and replenish with a pan-Asian feast in this beautiful Nepalese-style restaurant. 

Another perspective of the restaurant with more Asian artwork

Family-Friendly Feast

Discover exciting pan-Asian cuisine at a quaint village home that’s been transformed into a restaurant. At the base of Expedition Everest sits Yak & Yeti Restaurant, a table-service eatery serving delicious dishes from various regions across Asia.

Decorated with the proprietor’s collection of Southeast Asian artifacts, this eclectic eatery offers a menu of sweet-and-sour chicken, ahi tuna nachos, pork pot stickers and Kobe beef burgers. Vegetarian options abound, as do kid-friendly choices like egg rolls, cheeseburgers and chicken tenders.

Unique alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages include cocktails, chilled sake, Asian beers, wine and an assortment of hot teas. Those with a penchant for exotic tastes might try a specialty drink from our full-service bar. 

Be sure to save room for one of our sumptuous desserts‚ÄĒchocolate cake, mango pie or fried wontons served with fresh pineapple and ice cream.

Reservation Information Reservations are highly recommended and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit. Please note that reservations can be booked online until one hour prior to closing.

We ate there three years ago and really enjoyed it. That Mango Pie is no joke. It is absolutely delicious!

I have spent a total of approximately eleven hours in Disney’s Animal Kingdom in my life, so I’ve spent many more hours in the other three parks. I am so excited to put in another day here!

So, that’s it for today. Meet you at the Kingdom.


FastPass+ Anticipation

We head to Walt Disney World in just 65 days. This means I’m just five days away from scheduling our FastPass+es. We are choosing kid friendly rides so the grandkids can go on them. Rides/attractions like Dumbo the Flying Elephant and Peter Pan’s Flight, Na’vi River Journey and Festival of the Lion King, Frozen Ever After and The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Toy Story Mania and Voyage of the Little Mermaid.

I sure hope we get them all. Although my favorite thing for this trip will be sitting in the same general area as Mike, the kids, their spouses and the grandkids. What a joy it will be! I’m especially looking forward to hanging out at the pool together at Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Ahh… Instant stress relief.

Meet you at the Kingdom.


Dining Changes

Just 69 days until our trip to Walt Disney World. Woo hoo! By the time we go, it will have been three years for me, Mike, Jake and Eliza. It will have been six years for Emi and James. And this will be the first time for Ida and Elinor. We’ll have to get them their free “First Time Visitor” buttons¬† when we get there. ūüôā

Today I made a few dining changes to our schedule. It turns out that Minnie’s Halloween Dine is happening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios while we’re there. According to the Disney website: “Visit Minnie‚Äôs favorite happy haunt for a spooktacular Halloween feast that‚Äôs frightfully delightful.” Minnie Mouse just happens to be one of Ida’s favorites, so I booked us in and canceled our reservation at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. Then since we have more than enough character dining experiences, I canceled our Donald’s Safari Buffet at Tusker House in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In its place I booked us in at Yak & Yeti Restaurant. (They have an amazing Mango Pie with shortbread cookie crust, whipped topping and raspberry sauce. And I hear delicious things about their Fried Wontons, which are skewers of fresh pineapple and cream cheese wontons, vanilla ice cream with honey-vanilla drizzle.) Yum!

I haven’t been eating sugar, so I am looking forward to a few sugary treats when we are on vacation. But we tend to order just two desserts and six forks/spoons. Just a taste is plenty and so satisfying when you’ve been sugar-free. My weight is back to just below my lowest point since my stroke. Now to just keep eating well and taking my daily walks.

Meet you at the Kingdom!




Hiya all,

Just 71 days to go until our trip to Florida. On August 21st, we can book our FastPass+es. These passes let you skip the long lines and ride/take part in three attractions much more quickly. Only so many Fastpass+es are available per day. Our travel agent will attempt to schedule our Fastpass+es for us. Better her than me! The last time I scheduled, them my palms were all sweaty and my heart was racing by the time I was done.

I picked Fastpasses that the grandbabies can take part in. These are the ones we hope to get:

Sunday, October 21-Magic Kingdom– FastPasses‚ÄĒThe Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Peter Pan‚Äôs Flight,¬†Under the Sea-Journey of the Little Mermaid

Tuesday, October 23-Animal Kingdom– FastPasses‚ÄĒNa‚Äôvi River Journey, Kilimanjaro Safaris, Festival of the Lion King

Wednesday, October 24-EPCOT– FastPasses–Frozen Ever After, The Seas with Nemo and Friends, Turtle Talk with Crush

Thursday, October 25-Hollywood Studios– FastPasses–Toy Story Mania, Frozen Sing-Along, Voyage of the Little Mermaid

Saturday, October 27-Magic Kingdom– FastPasses‚ÄĒDumbo the Flying Elephant,¬†Jungle Cruise, Meet Mickey at Town Square Theater

Wish us luck. Meet you at the Kingdom.



Fuel and Motion

Day 367 in my determination to reach Mickey in a healthier state (2 months and 1 day to go)

Today’s plan was to begin again: to eat healthier meals and snacks and to move more.

  1. I picked the best foods available to me today.  For instance, for lunch I had a Boca veggie burger, some mini-carrots and some grapes.  At dinner I made sure to include a salad of greens with our chicken and boiled carrots.  My snacks today: an banana and a Greek yogurt.
  2. Moving more was easy.  While I was away over the last five day, my office was carpeted.  So today I moved things back into my office, not all at once, but every hour I walked down to the storage area and moved a few more things back into my office.

I am tired and a bit sore, but it was a good work day. ¬†AND I slept so much better last night. ¬†Halle-J-lujah! ¬†I am one grateful woman tonight. ¬†I stayed sugar-free today, too. ¬†I am going up to bed to fall asleep and dream sweet Disney dreams:¬†Mad Tea Party, Journey of the Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast: Live Stage Show, Spaceship Earth, Festival of the Lion King and my very fave, it’s a small world.

Meet you at the Kingdom!


Day 270 in my adventures toward getting ready for Mickey and Walt Disney World in October.

Today’s plan was to investigate¬†Disney’s Animal Kingdom. ¬†I have a dvd all about it that is, admittedly, a few years old, but I know so little about it. ¬†I spent one morning there several years ago. ¬†We had to leave the park early to make it to¬†Fort Wilderness for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Review. ¬†(BTW: Seeing my brother in his Detroit Lions’ jacket and a tutu dancing across the stage was a highlight in my life!)

I really enjoyed our morning at Animal Kingdom, but I have never been back, for various reasons. ¬†So…I wanted to study the layout and make some plans. ¬†We have Disney’s Animal Kingdom¬†down for one morning and one different afternoon/evening while we’re there. ¬†I’m thinking for the morning¬†Kilimanjaro Safaris, Festival of the Lion King, Kali River Rapids and Expedition Everest (for those brave enough–not me!)

And for the afternoon¬†I’d like to explore DinoLand U.S.A. and Discovery Island. ¬†I want to ride DINOSAUR and Primeval Whirl, ¬†and I want to experience Tree of Life (It’s Tough to Be a Bug), and Finding Nemo: The Musical.

What do you think, Disney Pros? ¬†Can it be done? ¬†If it’s too much I’ll be happy with just wandering the grounds. ¬†ūüôā

Meet you at the Kingdom!

BTW: Still waiting for my Magic Kingdom Starbuck’s mug. ¬†I’m so excited!

Reserved! (Reservated? Twitterpated?)

Day 251 in the reality of Disney Dining Reservations and meeting up with Mickey (5 months and 27 days to go)

OK, so I was up at 4:30 am this morning ready to get online and make our meal reservations for October. ¬†The online reservation system opens at 6:00 am Eastern Time, which is 5:00 am Central Time. ¬†Am I tired now? ¬†Oh, yeah! ¬†But I’m jacked to have made the reservations. ¬†It’s always a better idea to make reservations and then cancel the ones that you cannot do.

My plan for today is to share  the reservations that I was actually able to make:

Tuesday, October 13–Fly to Florida. ¬†Dinner at Olivia’s Cafe at Disney’s Old Key West Resort¬†(Our home away from home)at 7:15 pm

Wednesday, October 14–Breakfast at The Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom at 8:15 am. ¬†I had hoped for Cinderella’s Royal Table, but it wasn’t available. ¬†I can’t be too disappointed though, because the Crystal Palace is beautiful and elegant and…oh who am I kidding…Winnie the Pooh is there!!

Thursday, October 15–Dinner at California Grill at the Contemporary Resort at 5:25 pm. ¬†I had hoped to eat at Be Our Guest Restaurant that afternoon, but it wasn’t available. ¬†(Fear not though it’s a-comin’.) ¬†We have an early dinner so we can¬†head to the Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween. ¬†Woo hoo!

Friday, October 16–a day out of the parks. ¬†Breakfast at Olivia’s Cafe at 10:15 am and Dinner at Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. ¬†This is Mike’s favorite restaurant in Walt Disney World. ¬†He and I have been there three times, and each time it has been a delicious, memorable, special experience. ¬†Every time we’ve been there he has said, “We have to bring the kids here sometime.” ¬†Maybe this will be the time. ¬†But they are free to completely plan their own day, as they wish.

Saturday, October 17–Lunch at San Angel Inn Restaurante at EPCOT at 12:30 pm and Dinner at Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. ¬†I had to swap out 50’s Prime Time Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, because of no availability¬† (But it’s coming later.)

Sunday, October 18–Lunch at Yak and Yeti at¬†Disney’s Animal Kingdom¬†at 2:00 pm.

Monday, October 19–a day out of the parks. ¬†Mike and I will have Breakfast at Olivia’s Cafe at 10:15 am and Dinner at Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant at¬† Downtown Disney Area at 7:15 pm. The kids plan to go to Universal Studios this day, to experience all the Harry Potter-ness of it. ¬†ūüėČ

Tuesday, October 20–Lunch at¬†50’s Prime Time Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios¬†at 12:40 pm and Dinner at¬†Be Our Guest Restaurant¬†at¬†Magic Kingdom at 4:55 pm.

Wednesday, October 21–¬†Breakfast at Olivia’s Cafe at 8:00 am. ¬†Then we fly home.

So there it is in black and white, dear readers.  It should be fun!  Meet you at the Kingdom!