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Julia’s Best Week Ever, November 2, 2017: Off to Animal Kingdom

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Those who have been following Best Week Ever for the past few weeks have watched me squeeze in “just one more park” before my work schedule changes, making it more challenging to take a quick morning trip to the park. I’d already done Magic Kingdom and Epcot, so Animal Kingdom was the obvious choice. (Sorry, Studios!) After dropping my daughter at school, I headed on to Animal Kingdom. The weather was brisk, and the crowds were as well. Thankfully, I have an annual pass, so off to the passholder line I went. I love this perk!

With most of the crowd going to Pandora, I started making my way to the Safari, but first I stopped to see the river otters. They’re only out for a little bit each morning, but they are so fun to watch. This morning they were running around chasing birds and then jumping into the water for a quick swimming game of tag.

With the animals being in such a good mood due to the cooler temperatures, I figured that I’d have a good Safari ride. It was only about a 15-minute wait and I was off through the wilds of Africa.

While on the Safari, we saw a couple groups doing the Wild Africa Trek experience. This is on my bucket list to do someday. It sounds like such an amazing experience. I have no idea how I’d do on the rope bridge part of it, however. Have you ever done it? How scary is it to be up there?

There were plenty of animals wandering around as we made our way through the trails. The Ankole Cattle are so amazingly photogenic at any time of day or night.

But by far, my favorite animals out there are the giraffe. And you can’t go wrong when you get to spot a baby giraffe or two. Is any animal cuter than a baby giraffe? I don’t think so…

The feeding truck was out in the morning, and so we ran into a giraffic jam. Nothing you can do but sit and wait for them to decide to move, but I don’t think anyone was complaining.

After the safari, I decided to go get breakfast. Unfortunately Satu’li Canteen in Pandora  no longer does breakfast during non-peak times, which is a shame because this oatmeal was one of the best things I have eaten on Disney property for breakfast. And yes, you have to show ID to order it–as you can tell by the amount of bourbon pooling around it, there’s a reason why it is a 21 and up entrée. (And why it was a favorite of mine.)

But since that wasn’t an option, I went for the next best thing: pineapple cream cheese lumpia. Since Pandora’s opening, the serving size has gone from two lumpia to one, and although the price has gone down some, ordering two now is more expensive than when Pandora first opened. It’s still good–just not a great value.

While I was there, I started gathering pictures for the next Merchandise article, and as a sneak peak, I have to share these air plants. I’ve always loved air plants, and selling them in Pandora actually makes sense. Here’s the plant they’re selling….

…and here’s what you can find in Pandora. The similarity is pretty amazing, I think.

I had planned to go on the Na’vi River Journey, but the ride was down for the whole morning. Alas, no Shaman of Songs serenade for me on this trip, so here’s a picture from a previous trip. I really do enjoy the ride immensely.


It was getting late, and I did need to get home and back to work, but I decided to pick up some lunch before heading home. There was a new dish at Flame Tree that sounded interesting, so I ordered it and wrapped it up to take home. (Because of the safety concerns for the animals, there’s no lids, but if you ask nicely, sometimes you can get some foil to wrap up plates for carry out.) This dish was mac ‘n’ cheese, pulled pork with BBQ sauce, coleslaw, and onion rings on top. Overall it was okay, but I wasn’t a fan of coleslaw on it, which is odd because I do like slaw on a BBQ pork sandwich. Maybe it has to do with the idea of putting slaw on mac ‘n’ cheese?

And so that was it for the quick trip to Animal Kingdom, but I’ve got a couple bonus photos for you this week. On Sunday night, we headed over to Art of Animation to grab some dinner, and there was a decorated pumpkin contest going on with entries from various cast members. I had to share these because they were so creative and amazing. Which one is your favorite?


The new job has started, and it has been a delightful adjustment working “normal” working hours. Much as I love to joke about people who retire from certain jobs to “spend more time with family”, sometimes that does happen–and it really helps keeping each week the Best Week Ever. See you next time, and no matter where you are, keep having your own Best Week Ever!

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Julia Mascardo

Former writer, editor, and social media manager of TouringPlans. Embarking on new adventures with husband, kid, and cats.

5 thoughts on “Julia’s Best Week Ever, November 2, 2017: Off to Animal Kingdom

  • In case anyone is interested, the Cocomora (sp?) pumpkins were the ones that won the contest.

  • I’ve done the Wild Africa Trek twice, first time was mid Oct 2011 and the second was the very next year at the end of Sept. I love this tour! It’s a must do in my books!

  • Depending on when you actually visited, the animals all had pumpkins in their enclosures to play with! So much fun!

  • Thanks for a great article! Love the “giraffic jam” joke and yes the baby giraffes are the cutest things ever.

    Bought my flights to Florida today for a March trip and I see that there’s a sale on park ticket prices for Canadians so I’m getting excited!

  • My adult daughter and I did the Wild Africa Trek experience last January and we had a blast. it was actually so cold the week we visited that they had to cancel the first Trek of the day and reschedule us for mid-day so that we could actually see animals. Apparently, many are not released until it is warm enough, which makes sense given where they are from in the world. We rode in the safari truck wrapped in blankets and had a wonderful Tusker House catered lunch on the veldt. We got to see the hippos being fed up close as well as the crocodiles (all brothers from the same clutch!). The rope bridge isn’t all that bad. You are completely harassed in and there is no way you can fall. You have chaperones before and after your group keeping a careful eye on things. If you are truly afraid of heights this may not be for you, but my family trusts in the Disney magic (and their well-deserved safety record!) and we didn’t regret going.

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