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Trip Report Broken lifts, EMTs, and spitters (oh my!): WDW with a wheelchair and DAS

I’m back, Magicians! For those who don’t know me, my name is Emily. You may recognize me from my sister @krause's Disneyland trip report from this past April, which was in celebration of my 30th birthday! I also wrote a report in September 2018 from a trip with my friend Kaitlyn and @krause wrote one other from a WDW trip from February 2018 for a trip with her family, myself and our parents. The last time I was in WDW was November 2019 (don’t remember a report? You can blame @krause for that as she took the notes) and I cannot wait to get back!

Let's get to the details!

Who: Myself, and my friend Jenny. This is us (I'm on the right):
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Some background on Jenny: Jenny was born with cerebral palsy which, for her, means some physical and cognitive disabilities. Jenny will be using an electric wheelchair on our trip. Her physical disabilities affect her life far more than her cognitive disabilities and she lives very independently. That being said, we know that getting the DAS pass will make this trip much more comfortable for her and so we plan to try to get the DAS using the online chat option when the time comes. Jenny has been to WDW before, as a child in 1996 and then again as a teenager (2006ish?). She remembers very little about her ‘96 trip and as a teenager she only did one day at Magic Kingdom, so lots will be new to her!

Some other (probable) players include: My parents, and my sister Kaely, her husband and two children. They are at WDW similar days as us (arrive and leave two days later than we do) and are staying off-property. Our trip dates just happened to coincide but we plan to meet up with them for dinner one night and potentially in a Park if possible. Here's us on our 2019 trip (not sure where the @krause crew was during this photoshoot):
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From L to R: Mom, Dad, my sister Kaely, her kids G and B (who are much bigger now!), her husband K, and myself.

When: October 25-November 3, 2022. We are flying in the afternoon of the 25th from Winnipeg, Canada where we both live.

Where: Pop Century Resort. This is only my second stay on property after staying at Port Orleans Riverside in February 2018. I liked the idea of having Skyliner access so that we don’t have to load the wheelchair on a bus each time we want to hit a park. I have not yet been on the Skyliner so having a wheelchair on there actually scares me a little bit but I’m pushing through the fear!

Up Next: The "Why"
 

LeighM

Well-Known Member
I always considered the bride to be a ghost inhabiting the body of a little doll LOL. Much like the Nadja doll in What We Do in The Shadows. It's the only way that part of the ride will make sense to my brain. And a friend of mine has a son who uses the DAS pass and is usually in his wheelchair. Some transfer rides can be a struggle. When she was planning their first trip, she did struggle to find information that would be useful with handicaps. So now, whenever I ride a new attraction at WDW that they haven't experienced yet, I check out the loading areas and ask the CM questions about transferring and will immediately text them to her so that I don't forget. There's a whole different kind of planning with disabilities are involved that can make it so complicated. Because of that, I'm taking notes about flashing lights, jerking movements that could affect the neck, etc.
 
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AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I’ve never had a problem with the tiny ghost….UNTIL NOW! 😉🤣
Haha whoops, sorry about that :oops:
While I completely understand the need for a password to the accessible viewing area, sounds like the implementation is stupid. There has got to be a better way of ensuring that you really belong there without getting mad at you for not whispering it.

And I am finding the information on accessibility really interesting, so thanks for sharing it with us 😊
Yeah when I asked if I could leave and come back and she said “yes, but there’s a password” I honestly thought it was a joke :facepalm: They definitely could have communicated everything better.

I’m so glad you’re enjoying it!
I also thought Enchantment was a great show and don't understand the hate.
Yes! Not that I won’t be happy to see HEA again too :inlove:
Absolutely loving the Many Faces of Jenny! Sooo sweet and fun!
Right?😂 There’s more where that came from😊
Late but made it to the dance! great start!

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So glad you’re here!
dance party dancing GIF by Disney Pixar

I always considered the bride to be a ghost inhabiting the body of a little doll LOL. Much like the Nadja doll in What We Do in The Shadows. It's the only way that part of the ride will make sense to my brain. And a friend of mine has a son who uses the DAS pass and is usually in his wheelchair. Some transfer rides can be a struggle. When she was planning their first trip, she did struggle to find information that would be useful with handicaps. So now, whenever I ride a new attraction at WDW that they haven't experienced yet, I check out the loading areas and ask the CM questions about transferring and will immediately text them to her so that I don't forget. There's a whole different kind of planning with disabilities are involved that can make it so complicated. Because of that, I'm taking notes about flashing lights, jerking methods that could affect the neck, etc.
Haha it very well could be! 🤷‍♀️

And that’s so smart (and kind of you)! There are one or two good online resources, Diz-abled being one of them, but there are definitely holes in the information you can find online and in many cases I really had to dig or simply leave it up to fate haha.
 

AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
October 27, 2022
Day 3: Epcot


When I originally planned this second Epcot day I did not think we would achieve as much as we did on our arrival day at Epcot. We had already done Gran Fiesta Tour, Nemo, Living with the Land, Soarin’, Spaceship Earth and Ratatouille! Not bad for arriving around 4:30. Oh well, we’d make the most of it!

Early Entry started at 8 this day so we were up at 6. I of course had to try for a Guardians Boarding Group at 7. How did it go?
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Score! I was so excited.

We of course took the Skyliner to Epcot. Jenny and I had lots of questions about the Skyliner so decided to ask the CM -
"How many accessible cars go for every regular car?" "I don't know."
"How many people load per minute?" "I don't know."
"How much do the cars weigh?" "I don't know."
"How do you tell the accessible cars apart from the regular cars?" This one they had the answer to - see the little red bar at the very top of the arm above the car?
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No? How about now?
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That's the only way they know! By the way, the answer to question #1 was that they send 10 regular cars between accessible cars (I counted). The cars can take up to 10 people so they could send up to 100 people per every ECV group. The accessible cars are sent approximately every 90 seconds (this could be seen at the CM's station) so that's up to approx. 67 people loaded per minute (if my terrible math skills are correct):hilarious:. We never did find out the weight of the cars. One CM guesstimated 2,000 lbs. 🤷‍♀️

We entered the park to a beautiful sunrise by 7:38.
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For those entering the park from the International Gateway, there is a rope drop right after France and after the U.K. We decided to hit Nemo first (wouldn’t typically be my rope drop ride but when you have DAS passes for the “good” rides later in the day, why try to beat the crowds?). Not in a rush, we wandered around an empty U.K.
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I think we would have been the first ones on Nemo that day if we didn’t need to wait for the accessible vehicle.
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Bad picture but it reminded me that it took some work to convince Jenny that they were real dolphins and not Disney magic😂

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:inlove:

Once off Nemo, our Boarding Group was already called so we headed around The Wall (I feel like it needs a capital “T” and “W” as it’s quite the monument :D) to Guardians. Jenny was obviously nervous after her SDMT experience the day before. Having never been on Guardians before and having avoided spoilers, I could neither confirm nor deny her biggest concerns about the coaster. She was really worried about the drops, but the Cast Members told her there weren’t any really big ones :D After much cajoling we were off (as with the other coasters the side of the car opens up to make it easier to transfer - this was not nearly as snug as SDMT)! Let’s go save the galaxy!
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:hilarious: Jenny strikes again!

I love the Guardians movies and this ride was no exception! There are truly no words. It was epic! I was a little nervous about getting motion sick and was pleased to find I felt fine (other than perhaps a small amount of lightheadedness that passed quickly). We got September for the song which only clicked with me about ¾ of the way through the ride :p Surprisingly, Jenny was okay with it. She didn’t think she’d do it again but she didn’t hate it like she hated SDMT. To each their own 🤷‍♀️

After saving the galaxy we needed a Starbucks break. Jenny had a bad habit of running into poles after going on the big rides LOL. It truly happened each time. It’s like she was so distracted by what just happened that she didn’t see the poles right ahead of her. I even saved her from a few and then it still wouldn’t be long before *DONG* :D So yeah, Starbucks was in order :D

Up next: More Epcot
 

amjt660

Well-Known Member
Great pic of the two of you and Marlin in front of the seas

When i read you were going on GOG and that Jenny did not enjoy 7DMT I was concerned with the outcome
Glad that she enjoyed it - even if she did not want to go again

"Bumping in poles after a big ride" - very funny


Max
 

AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Back home in Winnipeg, Mother Nature decided to drop us a reminder that we are most decidedly NOT in Florida anymore.😒 (There was no snow yesterday, not that my husky seems to mind at all.)
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I'm sitting down now with hot chocolate in my Haunted Mansion mug :inlove: (with a little something added to keep me warm - hey, I might not be on vacation anymore but it's still effing cold out there:hilarious:).
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AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Great pic of the two of you and Marlin in front of the seas

When i read you were going on GOG and that Jenny did not enjoy 7DMT I was concerned with the outcome
Glad that she enjoyed it - even if she did not want to go again

"Bumping in poles after a big ride" - very funny


Max
Thank you! Yeah the poles were in issue - it wasn't even just catching the edge, it was a direct hit every time:hilarious: (I laugh only because she never hurt herself)
 
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AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 3 continued

After Starbucks, we had a DAS for Frozen. I wasn't sure how transferring would go for this one. My research had told me that they had a transfer device that could stick on to the side of the boat - it had handles on either side and essentially two "steps" that would help you lower yourself into the boat. Steps aren't exactly Jenny's forte, especially into a boat, but again we decided to try each ride at least once. Off we went to Norway!

As we entered the Lightning Lane - *DONG* - "Jenny! Oh my goodness..." She had, of course, ran straight into an umbrella right outside Akershus :facepalm: So much for the Starbucks break to collect ourselves!

As we got to the front of the line, we asked for the transfer device. The space between the row dividers is quite small in this ride so it was difficult to get her chair close. Jenny was able to maneuver herself on to the top "step" of the transfer device. After this we had to swing her legs towards the back of the boat and over. She was then able to maneuver herself down the steps and into the boat. Phew!😅 Again we were very grateful for the CMs' patience and again that little question came up... how will we get out??

We can't worry about that now! We're off (looking a little bedraggled lol)!
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The boy ahead of us was having sensory difficulties 😟 it really is VERY loud on that ride! Sensory overstimulation was something that Jenny and I were also prepared to manage on this trip but Jenny overall did really well with that (I think the crowds were harder on her than the rides - which same here, to be fair 😄).
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We had a great ride but when we got to the unloading area a new CM came with Jenny's chair. He brought the transfer device but, as previously mentioned, Jenny has trouble bearing weight on her legs. This meant getting out would be harder than getting in. I do think, given time, we would have been able to maneuver her out, but the CM seemed at a total loss as to how to offer help (completely understandable - I know her body's capabilities well and still often don't know how to help). We didn't try long before he offered to call the EMTs for us - yes, the EMTs. In the meantime, around we went again! 😬 (This would, naturally, count as mishap #3)

On our second trip around the mountain, we got stuck (in a different way). The boat stopped for 5-10 minutes just before you see Marshmallow and the lights turned on.
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Since it was our second time around, I told Jenny to do a silly face for the camera - she couldn't quite manage it😂
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While we were stuck the woman ahead of us was talking to us and asked when the boat would turn facing forward again. We let her know it would be right away. When we got back to the unloading area the same woman saw the EMTs and said "oh we must have been stopped because there was a medical emergency." "Oh, no, they're actually here for us... she can't walk." She very quickly got off the boat :hilarious:

I think there were 5 strong EMT men waiting for us at the gate. They were incredibly helpful and friendly and made the whole thing go very quickly. One gave me a hand out of the boat (since I was on the other side of Jenny from the exit) and then three or four of them lifted Jenny out and into her chair. Jenny explained to one of them that we didn't know she wouldn't be able to get herself out. He was very kind and when we said we went around twice he said, "well now you know the secret!":hilarious:. Despite it not being a great situation, Jenny and I laughed all the way to the gift shop! What a situation to be in! Definitely something I'll never forget. Here's the only photo I got of the EMTs.
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And here's Jenny hugging an Olaf in the gift shop for stress relief 😅
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Despite the trouble, Jenny still maintains that Frozen was her favourite ride, and so I believe the EMT call was worth it. Would we do it again? No. But both of us are glad she was able to experience it. "Emily, Anna and Elsa EVEN BLINK!" 😂

Coming up: More Epcot
 

AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 3 continued

After our Frozen adventure, we had a Soarin' Advance DAS Reservation coming up but decided to stop by Figment (drive-on accessible vehicle) first. We had a Pooh sighting on the way there!

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Driving on! (You kind of drive on to a turntable which they turn towards the front of the vehicle once you're on. These drive-on vehicles all have space for one person to sit beside them).

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That ride is so weird lol.

We did Soarin' again and then had a DAS for Test Track. This was another one I didn't know about transferring on. While you can go to a separate loading area, you still have to step over the side of the car and in like everyone else. While we were still smiling after Frozen, we did not want to have another emergency call (though it probably would have been the same EMTs again so that could have been kind of funny:hilarious:). Still, we weren't going down without a fight!

Jenny designed this beaut. Good thing I took a picture because we never saw it again!
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When we got to the area where everyone boards we let the CM know we would have to be able to pull Jenny's chair right up to the ride vehicle. She sent us towards this tiny service elevator (I think the Disney Parks community has a mistrust of service elevators in general and I am no exception:hilarious:).
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It took us up a level to where the CMs double-check everyone's seatbelts before the ride begins.
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From here we could pull up right next to the car! Jenny had very little trouble getting in.
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Off we went!
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Never have I EVERRRR heard ANYONE scream SO LOUDLY as I did on this ride. The fact that my ears still work is a miracle😅. I am CERTAIN that everyone in the vicinity (if not all of Epcot) heard Jenny scream that day. As the ride came to an end I told Jenny that I think she busted my ear drum. "SORRY" she said screamed, still at full volume :hilarious:🙉

When we got back to where we loaded, we asked the CM if we could go again. He was confused for a minute, having already forgot we boarded there and thinking he just needed to check our seatbelts haha. But he let us go again!
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Jenny was able to put her hands up this time around but it didn't last for the ride photo. She screamed just as loud.

She absolutely loved this ride. I'm not very keen on this ride myself, but was very pleased she loved it. We had no problem unboarding😊

Up next: More Epcot
 

AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 3 continued

After Test Track, it was time for lunch. We had packed a lunch that day but we still found a spot in Connections Eatery to sit down. As we sat there I noticed Club Cool across the way. When we finished eating, I led Jenny there. We tried all the different types, and of course the Beverly. Jenny was not happy.
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I don’t find the Beverly all that horrible. Considering the fact that I’m not a fan of carbonated drinks in general, I feel like it’s fine. My favourite was the Korean one.

We headed to Mission:Space next. We decided to start with Green. For this ride they had a transfer seat that is at the same height as the ride’s seat. I’m not sure how much help it actually was to Jenny but we used it anyway. You still have to manuever yourself around the wall of the ride vehicle but Jenny did okay. Once we got in there it took a while before the ride began. I don’t consider myself claustrophobic but I did not love being trapped in that box. I think I may be over this ride haha. I was glad we didn’t do Orange. Jenny really enjoyed it though and was very impressed.

We were on our way out of the Park at this point but first, a Ratatouille DAS. We took a photo by the rat fountain.
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This ride is so much fun! That being said, one woman who was using the accessible vehicle before us told us they had waited 2 hours:oops: I do not believe the ride is worth a two-hour wait. 40 minutes TOPS imho.

We had another great ride before hopping back on the Skyliner around 2:30. We had already had quite the day!

Back at the hotel, I don’t have any notes or pictures so I assume we just napped. We had a goal of going back around 6 to find some food but when we woke up from our naps Jenny decided her body needed to rest some more. I went and grabbed her some supper from the Pop quick service and then headed out on the Skyliner around 6:30 for my solo ride.
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I had no plans for my evening at Epcot and just went with the flow. I hadn’t had any supper yet so the flow included Food and Wine.

Here it is, another round of Where in the World? I thought this one would be easy, but my family struggled.
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The Crispy Paneer and Mango Lassi (alcoholic version) from India was delicious!
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I continued to make my way around the World Showcase. The vibe in the park was really great, and I enjoyed the live music in America.
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I needed some good fortune.
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What’s this? Another Where in the World? round?
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@KMD guessed I was on a Tinder date:hilarious:

Hunted for Donald... and found him!
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And stopped at Appleseed Orchard for some ciders. The first two tasted too similar to me although I believe I preferred the first over the second as it was a bit sweeter. The third was my favourite as the aged cherry made it more interesting. A guy near me as I was sipping my ciders in the Canada pavilion had got the beer flight. He threw two of the three straight in the garbage after taking a sip of each. I was happy with my choice (I’m not a beer fan anyway).
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I found a place to park myself near the International Gateway about 20 minutes before the fireworks began. It was clear they were having issues with the audio when at 20 minutes to showtime they played the message that it was 30 minutes until showtime (at 15 minutes it was corrected). As the show was about to start the area music stopped and started several times. At about 10 after, a CM came around telling us that the show was delayed and they didn’t know when it would start. I decided my night had been successful enough and to not push it. We had one more day at Epcot ahead of us after all.

I left the Park at 9:14. At 9:27 the fireworks could be seen from the air. Ah well! I was content.:inlove:

Up next: Day 4 at Animal Kingdom!
 

AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
October 28, 2022
Day 4: Animal Kingdom


It was an early day this morning. We got up at 5:30 for a 7:30 opening! I have to say, both Jenny and I like to sleep in at home and are notoriously late for everything so the fact that we kept pulling this off was truly a miracle.😂 Only for Disney!

The sky was still dark when our Daisy bus arrived around 6:45.
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It was starting to get light by the time we arrived here though!
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😍
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There's that beautiful sunrise!
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Jenny took one look at that moment and said "nope!" :hilarious:
No Way Comedy GIF by CBC

But there was no line so I had to go solo!
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It's giving... t-rex🦖😂 I think I was mid-putting-my-hands-up-in-the-air lol.

After reuniting, we made our way towards the actual Dinosaur. :hilarious:
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Another winner! I think Jenny may have been cursing at me the whole time:hilarious: Meanwhile I'm pretty sure I laughed the whole way through. Jenny said the ride was okay but she wouldn't do it again.

By the way, I think there just wasn't enough people in line to load anyone with us, otherwise they probably would have loaded the first two rows. After going through the pre-show room we went down an elevator instead of going down the stairs and entered the vehicle from the exit side. Jenny could pull her chair right up beside the ride vehicle from there. We exited the ride using the same elevator.

At this point, we got in line to meet Mickey & Minnie but unfortunately they were having some technical issues and so we left the line. I believe we were waiting for our FoP DAS return time so we killed time and went to see It's Tough to be a Bug.
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After getting our bug eyes, I told Jenny that she can stay in her chair, but she probably won't get "the full experience" unless she transferred to the seat😏 She trusts me too much.
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We almost had a miracle moment as I thought Jenny was going to hop right on to her two feet and run out of there when the bugs exited the theatre :hilarious: This was also a one-and-done for her.

It was time for our FoP DAS so off we went! I was very excited for Jenny to experience this ride and we had re-watched Avatar before our trip to prepare.
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For FoP they have a transfer wheelchair. It has a kind of divot in the front so that it fits right up against the back of the "bike" seating and it also has footrests that are far apart so that they can go right into where you slip your feet. Using that, Jenny was able to just scooch herself forward and into position.

Jenny absolutely loved the ride and liked how you could feel the banshee "breathe" beneath you.

Smiling faces!
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Up next: More Animal Kingdom
 

AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Your photos from this AK day are just fabulous!! The Tree of Life at the beginning is an excellent shot! But Dinosaur and Jenny - is it wrong of me to say she's making me laugh right out loud?
Arts And Crafts Love GIF by Nickelodeon
Thank you so much! Haha it's not wrong - we definitely had a good long laugh each time we pulled up our newest ride photos 😂
 

AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 4 continued

I realized I missed that between ITTBAB and FoP we stopped by the otters to see if we could spot any. We’d been there a short while when I saw movement. Can you spot him?
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I tried for the next 5 minutes to explain to Jenny where he was. “Do you see the tree?” “Yes.” “Do you see the stump?” "Yes.” “And there’s the log that goes like this?” - I turned my arm into an arch shape - “... yes” “Don’t lie to me”:hilarious: “No, I see it” “Okay, right in front of that log his little arm is up in the air.” - I held my arm up like the little otter arm - *Blank stare* :facepalm: 😂

If you, too, haven’t spotted it yet, here’s some help:
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Also, I did show Jenny that picture and it still didn’t click haha. Meanwhile 20 people came through and I explained to them where he was and they all ooh’ed and aah’ed. Eventually, Jenny did spot him when there was movement:joyfull:And we realized there were actually two there in a cuddle party.

Finding Nemo Disney GIF by Disney/Pixar's Finding Dory


Annnyways, after FoP we headed towards the Safari for one of our Advance DAS Reservations. We had a bit of time to kill and, lo and behold, as we were nearing the ride entrance Jenny spotted something that I’ve never thought twice about at Disney if only to wonder, who participates in that?

What is that?
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Face painting! Jenny saw the different face painting examples and knew immediately that she wanted to be a princess!

This is the face of no regrets!
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She got a lot of compliments the rest of the day :joyfull:

After that we did our safari. Once you get near the loading area for the safari there’s a separate path that those with ECVs can take to load. If you cannot transfer then there is one spot at the front where you can drive up the ramp and on to the truck. They belt your chair down of course (they do on most rides) otherwise you’d bounce right out of there. I know they tried to make the safari feel authentic with all the bumps but it’s always felt kind of out of hand to me - this trip especially, seeing Jenny bounce around in her chair.

Here's just a couple pictures from our safari:
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Despite the bumpiness we had a great safari and saw all the animals you’d hope to see.

We had a quick Starbucks break (and a photo opp!) before heading to get in line for Festival of the Lion King.
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FoTLK remains awesome!! Of course for those in ECVs they sit on the floor and the rest of their party sits behind them on the benches. Jenny found it a bit awkward because we were pretty much dead centre so there was always a performer directly in front of her and it was a bit too close for comfort haha. But it was still a lot of fun!
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Up next: A bit more Animal Kingdom
 

AKemily

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Day 4 continued

After FoTLK, we had a mobile order at Satu'li for lunch so we headed there next. Jenny had the hash with chicken I think and I had the noodles with the shrimp. The shrimp were fantastic but I did not love the vinaigrette on the noodles. As a cilantro-hater, I feel like it needs to be disclosed 100% of the time:hungover::hilarious:. I do wish Satu’li had one or two more sauce choices as well. I got the blueberry cheesecake thing so at least we ended it off with a palate-cleanser.

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We had an Advance DAS for Na’vi at this point but I really didn’t know if Jenny would be able to get on it. You basically have to climb down into the boat like everyone else and I believe these are pretty deep boats. I did not feel Na’vi was worth another call to the EMTs. The cast member confirmed what I already knew and we decided to skip it. Why oh why does Disney build brand new rides that aren’t accessible? I am a believer that if they wanted to, they could. I have to believe they value-engineered it out and that’s just sad.😔

Apparently after this we did FoP again so at least we could do that! Then we headed towards Gorilla Falls.

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Apparently this is the only photo I took of the gorillas but we saw at least 8 of them. They are SO cool!
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I forgot to mention that Jenny had forgotten to charge her chair overnight and by this point we were running on fumes. We were never long for this park but we did accomplish quite a bit!

On our way out of the park, we browsed the gift shops, hit another photo opp and grabbed some Mickey ice cream sandwiches.
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I believe we left the Park around 3:00. We both got some rest that evening and I went down to the Hippy Dippy pool and watched the movie they were playing down there, which was The Haunted Mansion (2003). If you’ve never seen it, you’re not missing much (I had seen it before so I did know what I was getting into). I hope the one coming out next year is much improved.
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And that’s Day 4! I can’t believe I’m not yet half-way through our trip! Thanks for sticking with me!

Up next: Day 5 Magic Kingdom
 

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