Monday, May 05, 2008

Two words: Expedition Everest

Welcome to the last installment of Julie and Julie go to Disneyworld.

It's always sad when you find that little package hanging on your doorknob containing information on taking the Magical Express back to the airport. But we knew the day would come. Why does it always come before I'm ready to leave?

We decided to spend our final day at the Animal Kingdom. We got up, checked out, got our boarding passes, got a little breakfast and headed to the bus stop. The line wasn't very long, so we decided to sit on a bench and eat before getting in line for the bus. To our dismay, as we ate, we watched the queue grow longer and longer without any sign of a bus coming to pick anyone up. Seriously, we watched at least 5 buses for EPCOT come and go, and at least 7 buses for the Magic Kingdom come and go. Where the heck were the Animal Kingdom buses?

Finally, I suggested getting a cab. So Julie got in the long line for the bus while I went back to bell services to find a cab. I told the cast member that I needed to go back and get my friend who was waiting in line, but they said that the cab could just pull up to the bus stop. Awesome!

Less than 2 minutes later I was sitting in the cab and we did pull up to the bus stop to get Julie. I had trouble unlocking the door, so I just rolled down the window and started waving my arms like a crazed person and yelling "Julie!" Someone shouted back "She's coming!" While I was gone, a bus had come and now Julie was stuck in the middle of the queue.

Long story short, we arrived at the front door of the Animal Kingdom before the bus that had just left. How cool is that? For future reference, the ride from the Pop Century resort to the Animal Kingdom will run you roughly $15.

So we still made it into the park before the inner ropes were dropped and then we booked it as fast as we could to... get ready for it... Expedition Everest! It should be called Expedition Awesome!

We took the route that went past Dinoland USA which did not give us the best position for the FastPass distribution or the ride queue. If you go, take the route that goes through Asia, as it puts you in a better place to get in line for the ride. This area first thing in the morning is a mad house. It's very confusing and everyone is trying to get Fastpasses, while the standby time for the ride is really only about 10 minutes.

Once we realized this (after I worked my way through the crowd to get Fastpasses) we got right in line for the ride and all our wait time was spent just walking through the queue area. After we rode, we got right back in line again and rode it again with minimal wait. AND we still had Fastpasses for later.

Then it was off to Africa. A quick stop at Flights of Wonder first, of course. I am absolutely terrified of birds, but I love this show. From there we picked up Fastpasses for Kilamanjaro Safaris and headed off to see It's Tough to be a Bug. Since I practically know the movie by heart, I just sit back and wait for the mayhem.

From there we were off to Dinosaur, one of my other favorites. Waiting in line, Julie commented on how they have a lot of "institutes" at Disneyworld. We got through our orientation video when they started directing us toward the exit. Huh? Oh, technical difficulties. Rats! At least they gave us Fastpasses as we exited so we could return later.

Well, at least Primeval Whirl is right there with a short wait time. I like to refer to this as the ride where "if you didn't already have a neck injury, you do now."

We had lunch at the Flametree Barbecue. It had been overcast all day and it finally started to rain as we were in line. So tables were at a premium. We ended up sharing a table with a couple of high school girls who were there with their band.

After lunch, we went to Kilamanjaro Safaris, followed by Expedition Everest again, and by then we were really about done. We stopped by Dinosaur one last time to see if it was going and at first it wasn't. But while we were contemplating if there was anything else we wanted to see while we were there, suddenly we heard someone yell "it's open!" and we joined the crowd to get in line. We rode one time on standby and then immediately got back in line to use our Fastpasses from before -- awesome!

By then we were ready to head back to Pop Century. We still hadn't had much time to explore the grounds there and were determined to take our pictures with the giant Mr. & Mrs. Potato Heads. Mission accomplished.

And that about wraps it up. We caught the Magical Express back to the airport. Our flights were on different concourses, but they were on the same side of the airport, so I was able to wait with Julie for her departure as I wasn't scheduled to leave until a little later. My flight was a half an hour late, so I was pretty tired by the time we took off. For the first time ever, I was so tired I didn't even care about the small amount of turbulence during the flight.

It truly was a trip I will always cherish, not just because it was Disneyworld, but because I got to spend time with a great friend (and sister and twin, apparently). We ended up with two more items to add to our list of all the things Julie and I have in common:
1. Got a blister at the same spot on right foot at the same time.
2. Spent 40th(!!!) birthday at a magical place known as Disneyworld.


  1. So, no one in my family would ride Everst with me. I was so bummed. Ben did not want to ride the dino. ride. It was not an exciting day at AK. However, we took the Sunrise Safari! We were on the safari ride for over an hour! It was AMAZING! I should post about it. I should actually do a trip report. We had some amazing adventures!

  2. I would love to hear about it. Do you have to be a quest at the Animal Kingdom Lodge in order to take the Sunrise Safari? Or is it open to anyone?

    When Dave and I went to DW last May (without the kids!!) we took a Segway tour (awesome!!) and we did the big 8-hour long behind the scenes tour. Again, simply mind blowing.