We have made it to the final day of my trip to Disney World. I know you're sad, but not nearly as sad as I was when I woke up that morning. How are you supposed to go from the fun and magic of the magic, to the dreariness of an airplane ride back into reality? It's really just unfair.
Waking up that Saturday, Wes and I decided that we should spend our morning at Animal Kingdom before we hopped into and Uber and left for the airport. So, out with our suitcases we went to the lobby where a nice old man took our bags for safekeeping until our return. We hopped on a bus and off we went. This was May 27, 2017. For those of you who didn't know, this was also the grand opening of Pandora. Yeah, that world from Avatar? The one with the blue people? That one.
Getting off the bus and heading into the park, I (naively) thought it wasn't even that crowded. We got right in and I didn't see any line; what I did see was some mysterious tape leading all the way back to the entrance and Rainforest Café. But, of course, I had no idea what that was for.
Walking into the Animal Kingdom and seeing the Tree of Life was just as magical as I thought it would be, and maybe just as breathtaking as seeing Cinderella's castle for the first time. Obviously, our first stop was a photo-op in front of the tree with my sparkling gold Minnie ears. After checking my handy-dandy app about wait times, we hightailed it straight over to the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. With no FastPass to use, we actually had to wait in line which was more than painful. It went by fairly quickly and in no time we were sitting in the front seats of the safari bus. Seriously, it was one of the best things to ever happen to me, no lie. The animals were everywhere, being all majestic and not eating each other which was awesome. I got to see some elephants, some hippos sleeping underwater, and a little rhino chased us! #Goals
Next, on our travels through the park, we came upon a line and a guy holding a sign alerting everyone that the end of this line was where he was standing. This line traveled all the way through this park and led into the new world of Pandora. That tape I saw earlier? Yeah, it was part of the line at one point. The wait to get into Pandora at the point the guy was standing at? 3 HOURS. I can't stand in one place that long to save my life, are you kidding me! We easily passed up standing in that line for a more favorable option. Like going to the market places, smelling food and not being able to decide what we want, and then getting annoyed at each other. I blame the heat.
Eventually, we decided to use our time to ride something else; this time it was Expedition Everest. We stood in line there for a while, too, thanks to no FastPass, and got to look at all of the weird and cool articles and artifacts they had posted along the way. On the ride, I found out that not knowing what direction I was going to go in really freaks me out. Up a hill, down a hill, swerving into a cave to get attacked and then coming out backwards. I mean, c'mon Wes, you could've warned me. Regardless, it was fun and I wanted to ride it five more times, even after Wes tried to convince me that the Yeti was really in there and we barely escaped with our lives.
We continued our walk around the park, looking for Arlo from The Good Dinosaur for my niece. Just so everyone knows, that freaking dinosaur is located nowhere in that park.
At this point, it was time for us to get some food and get out of there. After much debate and back and forth, we decided on Rainforest Café, mainly because I had never been there before. On our way out, we happened to pass the (much shorter) line into Pandora where the guy holding the sign was now telling people it was about a 45 minute wait to get in.
*Insert Wes and I freaking out here*
Sadly, we only had time to eat and go back to our hotel. Our meal consisted of us being very sad at how close we were to being able to go to Pandora THE DAY IT OPENED. And also, it thunderstorms inside the Rainforest Café which is awesome. And about every 5-10 minutes a waiter comes out of the kitchen yelling "VOLCANO" because someone ordered the dessert. So, it was a blast.
This was about the time I got an email saying that our flight was delayed a few hours.
*Insert Wes and I freaking out because now we were going to go stand in line for Pandora*
After shoveling down our rather delicious meals, we also ordered this infamous volcano. The lady sitting next to us looks over at us and whispers "It was the worst decision we've made. I loved it." So, we were scared. This chocolate lava mountain cake was exploding with chocolate volcano goodness. And yes, we did die and probably gain five more pounds. But we were going to sweat them off in line.
At this point, the line is a measly little rope boundary with three aisles to make your way through. And we were in front of this cute British
family so it was pretty much the best 45 minutes of my life. And then it was our turn.
Don't get too excited though. The lines to get into the rides and gift shops were almost as long as the lines to get into the freaking world in the first place. So instead we walked around and took pictures and made our way through the world as one of the first two people to be inside of Pandora, minus the thousands who had been in there before us that day.
Needless to say, it was amazing. Breathtaking. There were literally floating mountains, people. Next time I go, I hope to actually ride some rides. Fingers crossed.
We left to let some other people into Pandora and because at this point we were sweating, we headed to Kali River Rapids where we also stood in line and watched people with FastPasses go ahead of us. I never realized how much I hated people with FastPass until I wasn't one of them. I also hated everyone around me because they were annoying. That may have been the heat talking, though, I'm not sure. Or maybe it was the handful of people that went on the ride in PONCHOS. The point of this ride is to get wet, and you're wearing a PONCHO? You disgust me.
Finally, it was our turn and we got on the ride with the people who annoyed me in line. So I was really just hoping they would just get drenched on this ride and be sopping wet for the next 20 minutes.
Another thing I learned that day was that sometimes your little raft just doesn't find the right rapids and you get more wet from sitting in the seat than you do from going on the ride. As Donald Trump would say, "Sad."
Making our way back through the park, it started to hit me that I had to go home. Today. And I wasn't ready for that, I don't think anyone is when they have to leave Disney. But, Wes put my butt back on a bus and back to Port Orleans we went for the very last time. Except, instead of going to get our bags, we were rebels and went right to the pool, took our shoes off, and jumped in that glorious pool clothes and all. Talk about some magic.
Sopping wet, we get our bags and change into some clothes we had kept out. Wes called up yet another Uber and back to the airport we went. All the way back to West Virginia.
I learned a lot on this trip. I learned that nothing ever goes the way you planned. Apparently, if you move the air off of you on an airplane, you're basically asking for a virus. Uber drivers aren't all out to kidnap and murder you. And Disney is just as magical as I always thought.