November Trip Report, Day 4
Tuesday morning we ventured back to Animal Kingdom. We were running late as usual and didn’t arrive until an hour after the park opened. On our way to Dinoland, we stopped and took pictures with the Pooh characters in their Christmas outfits with no wait.
We rode Dinosaur, and then made our way to the Maharaja Jungle Trek. I find the beautiful story and environment of the trek to be just as enjoyable, if not more, than the animals.
Once we were done with our trek, a Flights of Wonder show was getting ready to start. This was the first time we were able to see the show, and we were pleased with the pacing and interesting show. If you’re afraid of birds, stay far away from this show. I’ve watched a family member’s bird before, so I’m particularly amazed by how well trained these birds are. One of my favorite moments of the show is the bald eagle. I’ve seen bald eagles both in zoos and in the wild, but never so close. I was stunned by just how large of a bird it is.
We only spent 2 hours in the park, then left and went to check out Art of Animation.
We were lucky enough to take a tour of some of the resort while it was under construction, and I was excited to see it again with everything open and operational.
First, we filled our bellies at Landscape of Flavors. I ordered the chicken burger, which is topped with queso fresco and black bean relish. It was very messy, but very good. They also have seasoned french fries, which were fantastic. Overall our food was good, but service was not. Tom couldn’t decide what he wanted, so I let the lady behind me order first. Tom wondered off to look at the other bays’ menus, so I ordered soon after her. By the time Tom had decided what he wanted, ordered from the same bay I had, and got his food, that lady was still waiting for her order (and visibly upset). Trying to pay for our food ended up being another ordeal, with sloth like service that drug the process out entirely too long. We did end our meal on a positive note, as there was a pleasant Cast Member around who took our empty dishes from the table. I give the food here two thumbs up, but I hope the service issues were a fluke.
After checking out the cute lobby Christmas tree, we explored each of the themed buildings.
The Finding Nemo area is closest to the main building and Pop Century. This is where the feature pool is, which has a zero entry and underwater speakers. It also has abovewater speakers, which make this a loud area during the day. All pools here are gated, requiring an Art of Animation room key to enter. If you’re staying at neighboring Pop Century, you can walk over to Art of Animation, but you will not have access to the pools.
The Cars section is very cute and is ripe with photo opportunities. This section has its own “quiet” pool. Cars, Lion King and Finding Nemo sections are all Family Suites. They are the equivalent of two rooms in sized, but with a unique layout. From the interior hallway, you first enter the living area of the suite. There is a sleeper sofa, table bed, kitchenette, television and bathroom. A table bed is exactly what it sounds like, a table during the day, bed at night. It’s designed to easily fold down into a bed without pinched fingers. The bathroom in the living area has a regular tub, which is perfect for the kids’ baths. Off the living area, there is a bedroom with a queen bed and second bathroom. This bathroom has a shower in place of a tub. Family Suites sleep up to 6 people (plus one child age 0-2), and are great for large families or multigenerational families traveling together.
The Lion King section is part grassland, part badland. The Scar figure above is just one of several characters poised throughout the courtyard. There is no pool here, but there is a play area. We saw a few kids running around the structures as we walked through. The design of these Family Suites is my favorite of the three, and has some elements that remind me of Animal Kingdom Lodge & Villas.
The Little Mermaid section is the only place you’ll find Standard Rooms. It’s the farthest from the main building, but not a bad walk. There is a “quiet” pool in this section as well. You may notice in this picture that this section has the exterior hallways found at the other value hotels.
After that, we took a nice stroll across the bridge to Pop Century, rested in their lobby and perused the gift shop. I thought they had a good selection of merchandise.
We waited only a few minutes for a bus to the Magic Kingdom, where we walked back to our room and did some mid-trip laundry. So exciting!
This is the end of this installment, but up next – the rest of our day at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Click HERE to read!