Spontaneous Pandemic Trip: Day 4 – Monday
Our original plan was to return to Epcot Monday for more Food & Wine enjoyment. Since the park doesn’t open until 11, we made breakfast reservations at Olivia’s at Old Key West (we’ve never eaten there before) and figured we could grab a bus to the park after.
Sunday night, I started thinking, and while we still had food we wanted to eat, we’d had all the top things we wanted to try and rode all the rides we like to ride (except Living with the Land, which was mysteriously shut down). My husband’s favorite park is Animal Kingdom but it’s so hot there and there’s not a ton we love to do there and it just wasn’t in the plan this time. But I checked the park calendar and there was Animal Kingdom availability, so I asked the hubs if he wanted to switch our park and just hop to Epcot when we were done. He was so excited!
We still started off at Olivia’s and it was great! It’s the cutest, cleanest diner I’ve ever been in and the food was super yummy. We also still got a bus from Old Key West to the park, it was just to a different park than we originally planned.
Animal Kingdom opened at 8 and we got there just shy of 10:00 and Flight of Passage was only showing a 20-minute wait so we speed-walked our way over to Pandora and got in line.
This was the only accurate wait time of the whole trip and we couldn’t believe our luck. We have never ridden Flight of Passage, despite several trips since it opened. We’ve never been able to get a FastPass for it and are unwilling to wait several hours for a ride, so it’s just never happened. Of course, now we know what we’ve been missing because it was SO incredible. Visually stunning and brilliantly done and just so much fun.
Na’vi River Journey, while not really worth much of a wait in our opinion, showed it only had a half hour wait, so we headed there next. We probably waited about 20 and we do really enjoy the relaxing nature of the ride and the gorgeous bioluminescent scenery. The final scene, with the Shaman on Songs, complete threw us both, tho. We always thought we remembered the Shaman being this big, impressive animatronic that was always so cool to see, but she was just on a screen, meant to sort-of be off in the distance, tucked away a bit. Not like it was make-or-break for the ride, but it was always the big finale moment and was pretty lackluster without her there.
From Pandora, we made our way to Africa along a pathway we’ve never noticed before and ran into Donald, Daisy, and Launchpad on our way! We emerged near Harambe Market and made our way into the queue for Kilimanjaro Safaris, which was another walk-on.
My husband loves Expedition Everest but I just can’t ride it, despite wanting to and liking it. He told me he was fine skipping it since I don’t ride it. I insisted he ride if he wanted to. For one, we’ve experienced such great wait times this trip, but also this trip is for both of us and I didn’t want him to skip his favorite ride just because I wasn’t going on. I can easily find a place to hang an wait. So he got in line and I took some pictures, found a shady spot to sit, and just hung out and melted a bit while we was conquering the yeti.
From there, we headed into Dinoland to ride Dinosaur (I will continue to say this forever but they never should have changed the name from Countdown to Extinction). Not only was this a walk-on, but we were the last ones in the pre-show room and no one seemed to know how this works so we were the first ones out and down into the queue and onto a Time Rover.
It was just about 1:00 when we finished at Animal Kingdom and headed out. We know you can’t park hop until 2:00 but figured we’d see how long it really took to walk to the bus, the bus to come, the trip over, the walk to the gate, etc. and it was actually already 1:42 when we arrived. The Cast Member told us the scanners officially unlock to let people hopping into the park at 1:50, so we grabbed a bench in the shade to wait the 8 minutes til we could get in.
We finally got a real look at the new fountain in front of Spaceship Earth and then we saw Goofy and Pluto out greeting! I love love love Pluto and my husband was all too happy to take my photo with each of them. He even caught me waving like a crazy-person at my beloved Pluto.
You know what’s next: more food! Our trajectory towards the World Showcase took us to Hawaii first so my husband got in that line while I headed to the Swanky Saucy Swine (a new booth this year) and we met on a bench in the shade with the pork slider and cheesecake from Hawaii and the roasted porchetta and sticky ribs from Swanky Saucy Swine.
Next up was China and the chicken dumplings, beef bun, and jasmine beer. I wasn’t expecting to have strong opinions about these but I super loved the beef bun.
We knew we were closing in on our last few bites of food of the festival, so we narrowed down what was left on our list and picked 2 more dishes and 2 more desserts. The 2 dishes were the coffee rubbed steak in Kenya and the teriyaki chicken bun in Japan (the line was much shorter this time). Desserts were the almond tart at The Alps and the other was going to be the creme brûlée in France but I ended up too full and skipped it.
And that’s it. That closed out our amazing whirlwind of a trip. We went into this trip with no expectations at all and it was such an incredible 3 nights and 4 days, visiting all 4 parks, spending parts of 3 of those days enjoying Food & Wine Festival food and drinks, riding every ride we wanted to ride. Next to the trip my husband proposed on, this is the best Disney trip we’ve ever had and we are so glad we went.