Trip Report Just the two of us! AKL Feb 4 - 12 2020 (updated 3/8: the rest of our day at MK)


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One of my favourite things to do while getting ready for a trip is read about everyone else's on this board and another. I'm paying it back by posting my own trip report for the first time. I will be posting the exact same report on both boards :geek:

I love Disney and I think this is my 8th trip. DH had never been before he met me so I made him go before we had kids so he could see how awesome WDW for adults. He loved that first trip and has been back twice since - once for a week with our son when he was 5 and then last year for just one day before a cruise. This trip is just DH and I again (!!) - we have 8 nights at AKL - Jambo and 7 day park hoppers. We don’t have a dining plan and only a couple of ADRs to give us lots of flexibility. Our big splurge for this trip is the Keys to the Kingdom tour coming up on Saturday!

We did a lot. Like I said, we had 7 day park hoppers and used them to our full advantage with multiple visits to every park and a few days where we hit 22,000+ steps. A quick summary:

BTMRR (my fave) x2
TSM x2
FoP x4
Soarin x3
SDD x2
ToT (my other fave) x4
EE x3
Star Tours x3
Nemo show at AK
Little Mermaid show at HS
Maharajah Jungle Trail
Gorilla Falls (saw Baby Grace!)
Discovery Island trails

Plus lots of food, drinks, some shopping, a couple visits to Disney Springs, the Boardwalk, and a lot more. Here we go!

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Day 1 Tues Feb 4 - travel day and Disney Springs

We had a very early wake up - the alarm went off at 3:30am to be at the airport at 4am. We arrived in Orlando at 11:15am

First stop was pizza at the airport then we headed to DME (shockingly, it wasn't good :hilarious:).



We arrived at AKL at 1pm and as we expected, our room wasn’t ready, no biggie. We had rented DVC points and had a deluxe studio standard view booked. We told the front desk we would prefer to be close to the lobby with a partial savannah view if possible. She was very nice and said she would do what she could.

As we waited for our room, we changed into our swimsuits and hit the hot tub with drinks in our hands - sangria for me and a strawberry margarita for DH. I’m a redhead and burn very easily so I was very happy to find a hot tub with some shade!


After a soak, we explored the resort. We checked out some animals, wandered the lobby, heard some drummers, browsed the gift shop.




We saw an ostrich egg that had been laid the day before and DH saw the parents tending to it but when I joined him, they had abandoned it (it's in the pic below - right in the middle through the fence). The next morning, the egg was gone. The animal guide who was there said the birds can tell by the weight of the egg if it is fertilized or not and if not, they will abandon them. But the CMs gather the abandoned eggs and make crafts from them with profits going for something or other.


We also saw giraffes, zebras, other birds, waterbuck…

At 3:30, our room was still not ready so we decided to head to Disney Springs for some food.

Next: Disney Springs then we crash
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Day 1 Part 2: Disney Springs

We didn't have a very long wait at the bus stop that I can recall and our first bus ride of the trip was on this:


There were so many cool wraps on the busses, we were still seeing new ones on our last day!

Our plan was happy hour at Jock Lindsay’s Hangar bar but as it turns out, happy hour ends at 3pm (the all ears site said it started at 3:30 - nope).




We shared a couple of appetizers - the chicken tacos and the beef sliders. Both were really good. Jock Lindsay's is much smaller than I imagined it would be but lots of cool things to look at and inside the diving bell (in the picture above) was a booth for a larger party.

From there, we went to Morimoto street food and tried the ribs - also really really good.

Once our bellies were full, we headed to World of Disney to look for a pop socket for my phone but no luck - I eventually found one the next day at AK. We didn’t stick around long because we had received the room ready text when we first arrived at Jock Lindsays.

We were assigned a room overlooking the lobby with a partial savannah view


It's not the prettiest sight but you can't beat the location. We were in room 5206 overlooking the lobby so it was a very quick back to our room at the end of each long day. We saw ostriches almost all the time and a couple of other very large birds slept on the log that goes across the watering hole. In hindsight, we would have asked for a pool view - it was gorgeous


Once we got into the room and unpacked, we decided we were done. The day had caught up to us and DH was snoring by 8pm.

Up next: our first park day, Epcot & HS!
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Day 2 Wed Feb 5 - Epcot and Hollywood Studios

Given how early we went to bed, it's no surprise we were up early. Our first FP was at HS at 12:15 so we had the whole morning to fill. Once we were dressed and ready, it was 8am so we decided to go to Epcot to go on Soarin’ - DH’s fave.

We arrived at 8:28 and they had just opened the gates so we walked right in with the flow of people


Without planning it, we ended up rope dropping Epcot!

By 8:49 there were a lot of people behind us


They were holding us back just past Spaceship Earth but let us through about 10 mins before park opening and we practically walked on Soarin when it opened! When we came off the ride, standby was up to 70 mins! Such great timing to start our trip.



Next we did the Living with the Land - we have never done this attraction before and I loved it! I can’t wait to take our son the next time we go - he is always asking how different things grow so he will love seeing the rice, cotton, bananas and the pumpkin shaped pumpkins.



After LWTL, it was snack time so we split a turtle brownie and banana from Sunshine Seasons with a plan to eat lunch someplace in World Showcase.


From there, we headed toward Nemo but the standby for the ride was about 30 mins so we just went straight to the aquarium which I think is the best part anyway. We explored around and saw most of the exhibits and watched them feed the fish in the big tank.


From there, we crossed the park to go on Mission Space (green side) - we did the orange side years ago and it ruined DH for the day :depressed: so we picked green this time and it was also fun! It’s a different experience on each side so I would recommend doing both sides.


We made a quick stop at the Epcot Experience and then took the boat to Morocco.


Up next: lunch then over to HS!
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Day 2 Epcot & HS Cont'd

One of my favourite places to take a picture in WDW:


The whole Japan pavillion is very photogenic


Our first plan was to eat at the quick service in Japan at the Katsura Grill but they didn’t open for another 20 mins and we had other choices so we kept moving. We ended up at Les Halles in France - another first for us. It wasn't busy at all! We walked right up to the ordering counter (this was at 11:20am)


I had the ham and cheese croissant and DH had the ham and cheese baguette - both very good. We passed on all those amazing looking desserts for now because we wanted a grey goose slushy and grand mariner slushy but the drink stand wasn’t open yet so DH went with the frozen martini from the Festival of Arts booth in France to drink on our way to the skyline. It was ok - but I really want that Grand Marnier slush.


As we passed through International Gateway, we saw Goofy, Minnie, and Mickey doing greets with really short wait times. We don’t do the character meets when our son isn’t with us so we just enjoyed watching the others get their pics taken. So nice to see all three of them.


Next stop: The Skyliner to HS for our first ride!
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Day 2 cont'd Epcot and HS

We were headed to the Skyliner for our first ride!



We had a car to ourselves and made the very easy trip to Hollywood Studios arriving just when our first FP window opened - Star Tours. I love this ride and so does DH. We had the first row this time which was awesome.

Our next FP was in TSL and we decided to walk through SWGE for our first time. It is so much bigger than I expected! I don't have any really great pics from this walk through but there are lots around the boards

We tried the blue milk - it wasn’t too bad at all but not worth $8 for a small cup of it. Plus it gave me brain freeze. It was nice to see the water bottle refill stations - we used it a couple of times to refill.

From there we went to Toy Story Land for Slinky Dog Dash. We had some time to kill so we explored the new-to-us TSL and took a rest while watching others ride SDD.

Again, so many great details to take in! I loved "grown up drinks" on the list of items available at Woody's Lunchbox 🍹


Soon enough it was our turn and we had first row - not the best since you just see the back of his head but we enjoyed the ride!


I had booked a show for 9am as our other Tier 2 FP for this day but when we tapped into SDD at 1:30, the show was still showing as an active FP so it did not drop off which I’ve seen others report. We went to a GET stand and the CM there was quickly able to delete it so we could start booking our 4th, 5th, and so on. Our first grab was ToT (one of my favourites!) which was available immediately so that’s where we went! We made a quick stop for our first Mickey Bar of the trip.


As we were in line for ToT I was telling DH how I was hoping to ride a few times and he dropped this little bomb on me - “yeah, I’m not really interested in going on rides more than once” - WHAT?! Well, I would just have to go without him then! Spoiler alert: apparently it's only ToT he has no interest in riding more than once because we did a lot of rides more than once! 🤔

As soon as we tapped into ToT I tried for a RnRC which only showed one available at 6:30 which was 4 hours from then. I grabbed it anyway and immediately modified it and one popped up for 3:40! I tried to modify it to sooner (it was about 2pm) but no luck so when were done on ToT, we grabbed a beer from Eddie’s Cantina and sat down and rested for about an hour. It was a really nice break actually.


RnRC was awesome, just as we remembered but I’m 11 years older than the last time I rode and I must say, my head didn’t enjoy it very much! I had a bit of a headache afterwards so I won’t be scrambling for a second FP for that one. However, I did want to do ToT again so I grabbed a FP that was available just when we would be done RnRC - I tried to convince DH to join me but he opted out. No biggie - the FP line moved super quick and I was on again very quickly. This time was a different sequence than our first ride and it was even better. Too bad for DH!

While I was doing that, DH picked up some food from Fairfax Fare - I don’t know why this place isn’t more popular. Rosie’s All American Cafe had big lines but Fairfax had none. We really enjoyed the empanadas and fajitas. All so yummy. Forgot to get a pic but it was really tasty.

We decided to do one more attraction before heading out of the park - MFSR. The wait time showed on the app as 40 mins, the ride entrance showed 50 mins, and we actually only waited about 35 minutes.


DH tried to do the game on the Play app but couldn't set it up quick enough and the line was moving.



We were both gunners and our pilots did not speak english so I’m not sure they understood the instructions but this was still so much fun! I have read some bad reviews on here but we loved it. Even being in the gunner position, I have no complaints whatsoever. It was awesome that the buttons actually worked and when I fired the guns I could see the results out the window. We’ll try again and hope for pilot positions next time.

As we were walking out of GE toward the busses, our son FaceTimed us and wanted to know where we were at that moment. Here’s the thing - we didn’t really tell him where we were going on vacation. He knew we were going to Florida but I was vague on the details. But when he facetimed us, we had to show him the MF - as soon as he saw it he knew where we were - busted! :hilarious:

Before you think we are bad parents :joyfull:, he was here 3 years ago when he was 5 and we will be back for a week when he’s 10. We also have a one day visit planned for next year before we go on a cruise. And I had asked DS which he would be sadder about missing out on - WDW or a cruise - and he was adamant that he would be very upset if we went on a cruise without him. I said “not Disney?” and he said “meh, I’ve been there”. Spoiled much? :hilarious::hilarious::hilarious:

Next: the Boardwalk for some dualling pianos!
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Day 2 cont'd: the Boardwalk

So, back to our trip - we headed out of the park and back to AKL for a rest before going out to the Boardwalk to hit up JellyRolls! (see, we couldn’t do that if we had our son with us). On our way, we stopped at Boardwalk Bakery where I found the stainless steel Skyliner refillable mug I wanted. This was a great purchase - it's commemorative of the new Skyliner and our first time on it, it's a tervis cup which I will use a lot at home, we used it for water refills in the park, we took coffee and baileys in it to the parks and to the pool, and we had free coke refills all week at the resort! Score! :happy:


For supper, we also shared a pulled pork sandwich from the Boardwalk to Go (I think that was the name) - the take out place in front of Flying Fish. This was probably the best pulled pork sandwich I’ve had that wasn’t homemade! So messy though! We used all our napkins and then needed more!

Next was one of the things I was looking forward to most on this trip: Jellyrolls! 🎹🎹🎹

I love the piano bars on the cruise ships (and DH loves me so he goes) but they have really gone downhill over the years. On our cruise last year, the piano player hardly spoke english and didn't know any of the common songs! Not sure how he got the job but it wasn't fun.

Totally different story at Jellyrolls! These guys are amazing! There were 4 piano players and usually 2 were out at a time but sometimes all 4 would be on stage for a big song. They knew every song, they were talented singers and piano players, they were funny and so entertaining!

Such a fun night. Some of the songs they did were
Paradise by the Dashboard Light (he kept saying how much he hates the song and just wanted it to be over but it was totally funny)
Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It - and one of the bar tenders got up and danced to this one)
Sweet Caroline (of course)
Livin on a Prayer (my favourite song)
Total Eclipse of the Heart
Africa by Toto
Dancing Queen
Jessie's Girl
Tiny Dancer
and a bunch of others including the typical ones like Piano Man.

They were so entertaining! We will definitely do this again on another trip even though they didn’t play either of my two requests. I put $5 with each request but I guess I should have paid more!

The bar was much bigger than I expected with quite a bit of seating and standing room.



From there, we went back to AKL and jumped in the hot tub to soak our sore legs and backs. We walked almost 21,000 steps that day and had a blast. We fell into bed around midnight. Not a bad first full day!

Up next: DVC tour and DAK!
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Day 3: DVC Tour and DAK
Thurs Feb 6

Our overall plan for this trip was to sleep late and get to the parks late morning or early afternoon but so far it wasn't working out that way! On our first park day, we were wide awake and too excited to get started and were out the door at 8am and now on our second park day we had another early start because we booked a DVC tour that started at 9am and our pickup was 8:40. When we stopped by the DVC desk at AKL the night before, she said she would give us a FoP FP in addition to the regular offer of 3 FPs if we booked at 8:30 or 9:00am. Easy decision :teacher: In addition to the 4 FPs, we were both given $75 gift cards.

We had rented DVC points for the first time this stay which set DH off on a research mission for DVC ownership - we were seriously considering buying a small contract on the resale market and wanted more info about direct purchase as well as resale plus the ins and outs of DVC ownership.

The tour was good - they picked us up in a van and took us to Saratoga Springs. We could have chosen Riviera but are more likely to buy at Saratoga so we went there. Our driver was fantastic - Chris, a former NYPD from Brooklyn now living the dream at WDW. Once we arrived, we checked in at the desk and then helped ourselves to tea, juice, pastries, and fruit.


About 5 mins later we went to a small meeting room with Nate who answered all of our questions and went over some numbers. After he answered every question we came up with, he showed us the model suites which included a model of the room from Riviera. They are so nice! They met and exceeded our expectations by far.

On our way to the model rooms, he showed us a hidden Minnie!


There was a Mickey on the other end of the design 😊

Once we were done viewing the models and chatting, Nate took us to the ice cream parlour and made arrangements for our ride to AK park. He also had 4 FPs added to our MDE account plus $150 in gift cards. The morning was interesting, no pressure, great service, and we were well compensated for our time.

In no time at all, our driver was pulling us up to take us to Animal Kingdom!

Next: a day at AK!
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A poster mentioned that she can't see my pictures in this report - could someone else kindly chime in and let me know if you can see them? They show on my computer...

Thanks! 🌸


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I can’t see them 😭
Not seein’ any of your pics here either...just 6-digit numbers in their place.
ditto. No pics
Thank so much everyone. I think I fixed it in my second post but it's awaiting moderator approval so I can't check it. If you can see it, could you kindly let me know if the pics are there in any of the posts and if they are full size or thumbnails?

So sorry to be a pain - I don't want to go through and redo every one of them if I'm still not getting it right! :banghead:


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Day 3 cont'd: DAK!

From Saratoga, our van took us to AK around 10:30am. Our first pre-booked FP wasn’t until the afternoon so we decided to start our day with that new FoP FP. We took our time getting to Pandora and explored the Oasis for a bit. This is exactly how I pictured and planned for our AK day - it is my favourite park and I didn’t want to rush through it.

I took this pic somewhere in the Oasis but I have no idea what animal is in it 🦝🦊🐰🦡👽 ? I dunno 🤔


The last time we were here, it was for just one day before a cruise and we zoomed through Pandora so we took our time and took it all in. It's impossible to capture this place in pictures...


We tapped in for FoP and basically walked until we got to the CM who assigns groups. In our preview room, there were 5 empty spaces! 3 on our side and 2 on the other!?


There was a 180 minute standby line and they were running our group with 5 empty spaces! :confused: Anyway, we were on and it was amazing, There was a little girl in line right in front of us who was a little nervous but she had done Mission Space Orange the previous day so we assured her she’d be fine! And she loved it. This was our 3rd ride on FoP (twice on our trip two years ago) and it was just as amazing as the first time we rode it! 😍

This next little story from our day is long. It is the start of our issues with those multiple experience FPs we received at our DVC tour that morning. Each time we had an issue, it worked out for us but we wasted a little bit of time because of system errors with each one. Here goes:

As I said above, we had received a special 4th FP specifically for FoP and were told to make sure we didn't use it close to the window for any of our booked FPs. We were there way before our booked FP so it shouldn't have been a problem but...As we were leaving the ride, we checked our FPs and noticed our 3rd pre-booked FP for that day was gone - it was a 6:40pm FP for FoP and it was gone. GONE! :jawdrop:

Oddly, DH now had an 11am Safari FP which we hadn’t booked (and it was now past that window). What?? That’s not good. We went to a GET CM (these are a great addition to the parks - there was no wait, we walked right up and had a super knowledgeable CM to help us) - he discovered the system had taken our evening FP even though we tapped in around 11am. For some reason, the system allowed us to use a FP 7 hours early! 😲

The good news was that our anytime FoP FP was still there and we could still use it any other time! This worked in our favour because now we didn’t have to wait until 6:40pm to start looking for our 4th+ FPs, we could start that once we tapped into the Safari at 4:35. Oh, and that 11am Safari FP that mysteriously showed up on DH’s account? He said it was just a system glitch and we could ignore it - we had no choice since we couldn’t access it to modify or cancel it! It didn’t interfere with our FPs at all that day.

I started feeling like we were having really good luck this trip - we rope dropped Epcot without trying and walked on to Soarin on day one, we got a perfect room assignment, everything was going really well! 🙌 That’s not foreshadowing, we really did have a great trip!

Side trip over, back to the fun ✨✨

After our first trip on FoP, we stopped at Satuli Canteen for lunch. It may sound odd but I was determined to try to remember to look up on this trip. When we were in stores, ride queues, restaurants, everywhere. Here's what I saw when I looked up at Satuli Canteen (outdoor seating):


This is one of the things that makes me love Disney - all the details. Usually we're so busy rushing through or focused on what's right in front of us, we miss a lot of those details like this covering on the outdoor seating area. And this is inside:


Back to lunch. We ordered using mobile ordering. I had the kid’s meal with the chicken bowl with rice and beans, DH had the beef bowl with noodles. We both really enjoyed this but both liked the chicken better than the beef, and we liked the noodles better than the rice and beans. We talked about getting dessert but decided to wait a bit and headed to Nomad Lounge instead.

There was a newly vacated table for two on the patio so we grabbed that. Our waiter was Nate and he was really good. DH ordered the Spice Trader something something and I got the Zingiber Fizzie. DH’s was yummy, I took one drink of mine and almost spit it out - yuck. It was awful. :depressed::hungover:



We also ordered the Tiffins Bread Service which we both enjoyed - there were 3 kinds of bread and 3 sauces/spreads. So many combinations of amazing flavours!


After we paid our awesome waiter (Nate), we walked through the lounge just to see it and discovered it was very loud in there! Made me glad we found a table next to the water outside.

Next: More AK!
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Tagging along! When you did your DVC presentation, did you get the gift cards immediately? I have heard so many different things about how they are received.
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