Trip Report You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home - September 2020

Hello friends, and welcome to another K and J trip report!

We will be returning to Walt Disney World together after basically a year away…more on that later. This is my fourth trip report so I’m sure many of you know us by this point, so I’ll keep the introductions brief…well, brief for me anyway.

Who: Me, Katie

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And my husband, Jason

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We both visited Walt Disney World as kids, but our love for the Disney parks truly blossomed when we went to Walt Disney World together for the first time, for our first wedding anniversary back in 2014. We had the best time and made so many cherished memories, and we loved it so much that we ended up booking our next WDW trip before we even checked out!

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In total, we have been to Walt Disney World together 11 times, and Disneyland twice in the span of 6 years.

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In December 2017, we finally took the plunge and became annual passholders at WDW, and that’s when our trips started becoming more frequent – we average 3-4 Disney trips a year…with the exception of this year. As you may remember, I went on a Disney cruise with my mom, sister, and SIL back in February, and we spent one night at WDW, where I flew solo in Epcot for a couple hours. J and I had plans to do a WDW trip in April, and then COVID-19 happened. April became May, May became June, and then when our June trip was cancelled by Disney, we decided to cancel that trip altogether, and go to the beach in Palm Coast, FL instead. While in Palm Coast, we made a quick trip over to Disney Springs for a few hours. Aside from that time in Disney Springs, Jason and I have not been to Walt Disney World together in nearly a year. In fact, it will have been almost exactly a year when we return. I know we are so fortunate to be APs and be able to visit as often as we do, so I hate to feel like I’m complaining about my champagne problems, but I know many of you have felt the same way we have over the last few months. Being unable to be in our happy place, our home away from home, has been so hard for us, emotionally. We are so beyond ready to be back in Walt Disney World. Speaking of being back…

When: September 8th-13th

We had originally booked our trip for September 9th-13th, but then an Annual Passholder room discount came out in July, and we were able to add another night to our trip and still be paying less than what we were originally going to pay! Since we were going to be going down the Wednesday after Labor Day (the 9th), we were already planning to take the 8th off, since we didn’t see the point in being off work the 7th, working the 8th, and then being off the rest of the week. We’re excited to have a nice long weekend to get packed and prepared for the trip, rather than working all day the day prior, coming home and finishing last minute packing and preparation, and going to bed way too late the night before our trip.

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Where: Pop Century!

We have not stayed at Pop since March 2017, prior to the room renovations, so we are excited to be back. We have stayed in a renovated room at All Star Movies and loved it. I know a lot of people view the new theming as sterile, but we don’t mind it. I view it as a clean, modern look, and we absolutely love all of the added storage and USB portals/outlets. I know many folks don’t dig the “hardwood” floors and prefer carpet, but our entire house is hardwood and tile, so we’re used to it.

Our last (and only, up to this point) experience at Pop was defined by what felt like hundreds of school groups and sports teams staying at the resort at the same time as us, so we don’t exactly look back on our time at Pop with the fondest of memories. It’s not that there was anything wrong with the resort, it can just get frustrating to be surrounded by tons and tons of teenagers any time you go to ride a bus to the parks or eat in the resort food court. None of them were poorly behaved, as far as I can remember (at least not as poorly behaved as the cheerleaders when we stayed at CBR during a cheer competition, but that’s another story for another day)…there were just so many of them, everywhere, all the time…We are excited to make new, hopefully fonder memories at Pop. Jason is very excited about the Skyliner. I….am anxious. If you read my Disneyland trip report from this past December, you may remember that I have a pretty intense fear of heights. I told J that I would try the Skyliner at least once, since it’s important to him. If I absolutely can’t stand it, we’ll have our car with us, so we can drive to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

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Why: We love visiting Walt Disney World in the Fall (and the Spring, and the Holidays, and…). Typically, September/October trips mean Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. While we are totally bummed that MNSSHP is cancelled, we understand why. There will always be other years. As far as Food and Wine…we are actually looking forward to the new, scaled-down version of the festival. I have always felt the usual 30+ booths to be overwhelming, especially if you’re only at Epcot for one day. We’ve already made a big list of things we want to enjoy at Food and Wine, and I know we won’t be disappointed!

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So there’s my “brief” summary of the trip…look forward to more detailed plans coming soon!

Up next: Daily plans
 
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Doc Disney

Well-Known Member
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I was rudely awakened by the alarm clock, after my usual routine of restless sleep the night before a trip. Thoughts of "Did I remember to pack everything?" "Is my ID in my travel wallet?" "Wait, our reservation is for tomorrow, right?" kept me up throughout the night. Please tell me I'm not the only one that gets pre-trip jitters. I always have to quadruple-check that our reservations are indeed for the dates that I reserved them for...and yet still, then night before, I have nightmares that we're going to get there and have nowhere to stay.

I'm here ! Albeit super late to the party :joyfull:
And thats me too - I can never sleep the night before a trip and I check my itinerary 5 times before I go to bed/the middle of the night/etc etc
 

sheriffwoody

Well-Known Member
I was rudely awakened by the alarm clock, after my usual routine of restless sleep the night before a trip. Thoughts of "Did I remember to pack everything?" "Is my ID in my travel wallet?" "Wait, our reservation is for tomorrow, right?" kept me up throughout the night. Please tell me I'm not the only one that gets pre-trip jitters. I always have to quadruple-check that our reservations are indeed for the dates that I reserved them for...and yet still, then night before, I have nightmares that we're going to get there and have nowhere to stay. Before our wedding, I used to have nightmares that I forgot to buy a dress, forgot to buy shoes, forgot to tell Jason what time to be there...you know, the longer I go on about this, the more of a weirdo I appear to be...
Just started the report, but I have to reply to this. I 100% do this about EVERYTHING. I am a wedding photographer and I almost always have a dream before the weddings that I've forgotten my memory cards or I can't get to the wedding. Or I'll wake up (in my dream) and realize the wedding was yesterday. It always feels so real! And I regularly dream about going to Disney without packing. Even when I don't have a trip coming up :hilarious:
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
View attachment 499647
(eating at wdw is hard)
Ugh, I know! Hopefully now that we know what to expect, things will go a little more smoothly next time.
Glad you enjoyed the Skyliner and I agree that the unwrapped ones have a better view to them! I'm starting to get the general theme on all these TR's that ordering food at CS restaurants is a frustrating thing at WDW these days! ;)
I will say, the QS in the parks run a lot more smoothly than the QS at the resorts. I think I only had to wait maybe 2 minutes one time for my order to be ready. At the rest of them, our order was ready as soon as we pushed "I'm Here."
I've never been to Fantasia Gardens as Winter Summerland is my favorite course as well. It's a bummer it wasn't open for this trip but hopefully in a few months you'll be singing "It's summer time, summer time, sum-sum-summer time" 😁
I hope so! We love love love Winter Summerland, especially around the holidays!
When my husband and I played Fantasia Garden I beat him by quite a lot. And that’s unusual. Now he never wants to play that course anymore. 😁
Haha, imagine that... 😂
I'm here ! Albeit super late to the party :joyfull:
And thats me too - I can never sleep the night before a trip and I check my itinerary 5 times before I go to bed/the middle of the night/etc etc
Just started the report, but I have to reply to this. I 100% do this about EVERYTHING. I am a wedding photographer and I almost always have a dream before the weddings that I've forgotten my memory cards or I can't get to the wedding. Or I'll wake up (in my dream) and realize the wedding was yesterday. It always feels so real! And I regularly dream about going to Disney without packing. Even when I don't have a trip coming up :hilarious:
Haha maybe we should start a club! The Disney Anxiety Society 😂
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Just started the report, but I have to reply to this. I 100% do this about EVERYTHING. I am a wedding photographer and I almost always have a dream before the weddings that I've forgotten my memory cards or I can't get to the wedding. Or I'll wake up (in my dream) and realize the wedding was yesterday. It always feels so real! And I regularly dream about going to Disney without packing. Even when I don't have a trip coming up :hilarious:
I had to add another reply to this one...I went to a wedding one time at a church in the middle of nowhere. There was another, larger church of the same name nearby, and the couple had printed directions to the church and put them in the envelopes with the wedding invitations so that people would show up at the right place. Well...the ceremony was about to start, and the photographer had gone to the wrong church, and had gotten lost trying to find the correct church. They ended up doing the ceremony without the photographer. 🙃 Thankfully a family member had a DSLR that they took some pictures with, but the whole situation was just crazy.
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Wednesday, September 9th - Animal Kingdom Day

This was our first park day, and the first day of the newly shortened park hours. Animal Kingdom was open from 9 am to 5pm. We woke up around 7:15 am, quickly got dressed and ready for the day, and we were heading out of the room around 8:15. We made the looong walk up to the front of the main building, just to find that the line for a bus to Animal Kingdom was stretched almost all the way to the airline check-in area. We realized that we would be lucky to make it on the 5th or 6th bus, so we decided to just take the car instead. The only problem was, Jason had left the car keys in the room. So we headed back to our building, and he ran up the three flights of stairs to grab the keys out of the room. We ended up leaving Pop via car around 8:30. It's a pretty short drive from Pop to AK, and it was around 8:45 by the time we made it through the parking gates and got parked. We made the trek up to the front for temperature screening, no issues there. Then, it was time for our first experience with the new bag check. We took the umbrella out of Jason's backpack, and my camera and phone charger out of my bag, but both bags still set the metal detector off, so we both got pulled for additional screening. By the time we made it into the park, it was just after 9:00.


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As we were walking into the park, through the Discovery Island area in front of the Tree of Life, there were cast members on both sides of the walkway waving to all of the guests, welcoming everyone into the park. Between the beauty of the Tree of Life, being back in a park for the first time in forever, and seeing the cast members, I became emotional, and the tears started flowing. I didn't have time to cry it out though, because we were on a mission. Our first destination? Flight of Passage! If you read my September 2019 trip report, you may remember that we had to skip Flight of Passage, which is my favorite ride at WDW, due to a neck injury that Jason sustained from attempting to sleep in a bunk bed. It had been nearly 16 months since we last rode FoP, so we needed to remedy that situation ASAP. When we walked up, the wait time showed 35 minutes. No problem! We hopped in line, and started the long trek through the queue. Before we got inside, I had to stop to grab some pics!

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One good thing about having fewer people in the parks and physical distancing in the lines is that you don't feel like you're holding up progress if you stop for a couple seconds (seconds, not minutes!) to grab some pictures in line. We started walking through the queue, taking in all of the details that we had never seen before - we had only done FoP with a FastPass in the past, so the standby queue was a completely new experience for us. We enjoyed looking at the detailed areas in the queue, especially in the laboratory area.

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We were most excited to finally see this guy in person!

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Soon enough, we were getting our briefing from the "Um" guy...I can't remember his actual name off the top of my head.

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And then it was time to ride! We hopped onto our ekron, the restraints came up, and then...high pitched screaming. There was a kid in the next room who was not feeling it. "No! NoOooO! NOOO!! I don't like it! I don't like it! I don't like it! Let me out! Let me OUT! LET ME OOOUUUTTT!!!!" This went on for a couple minutes, and then the restraints came down, and we heard "Attention, your flight has been delayed, and will resume momentarily." Then, screaming kid and his dad (and brother, who did not look thrilled to be getting off) exited behind us. I'm glad the dad did the right thing and didn't force his kid to ride. We've been on FoP before with a kid that screamed the entire time, and it was not a pleasant experience for anyone. Soon enough, the restraints came back up, and we were off. Since it had been so long since we had ridden FoP, I wanted to soak in every moment of this experience - the feel of the ekron breathing beneath me, the mist off of the water, the smells, the scenery...I enjoyed every moment of it. It is truly a stunningly beautiful experience, and I was in tears by the end of it. And evidently, I wasn't the only one. As we were walking out, J turned to me and said that he had forgotten how amazing that ride was, and he teared up a little bit. Overall, I think FoP was definitely a fantastic choice for our first attraction of the trip!

Up next: Africa!
 

Katiekitten

Well-Known Member
I have yet to try either mini golf but it is something I will have to try next time! Your picture of the Mickey Krispy treat is making me want one!!
 

sheriffwoody

Well-Known Member
I had to add another reply to this one...I went to a wedding one time at a church in the middle of nowhere. There was another, larger church of the same name nearby, and the couple had printed directions to the church and put them in the envelopes with the wedding invitations so that people would show up at the right place. Well...the ceremony was about to start, and the photographer had gone to the wrong church, and had gotten lost trying to find the correct church. They ended up doing the ceremony without the photographer. 🙃 Thankfully a family member had a DSLR that they took some pictures with, but the whole situation was just crazy.
LITERALLY MY NIGHTMARE. Thank you, now I'll probably have this exact dream before my next wedding :hilarious:
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Wednesday, September 9th - Animal Kingdom Day - Continued

After our flight, we decided to head over to Africa via the bridge between Pandora and Africa. On the way over, we saw maybe 2 other people. It was a quiet morning in Animal Kingdom! On our way into Harambe, I snapped a few pics. I firmly believe that Animal Kingdom is the most photogenic park! There are so many details that you'd never notice if you didn't stop and look around.

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Speaking of hidden details...if you zoom in really reeealllly closely on this picture, you can spot one. Look near the top left of the lion banner.

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While we were in Africa, we also had our first character sighting of the day! Pocahontas and Meeko!

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After taking some pics, we headed over to Kilimanjaro Safaris. The wait time showed 35 minutes, but we only waited about 20. Soon enough, we were on our way! Twende, let's go!

First, we spotted the ghost of the forest- the African Bongo

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Then, a Black (?) Rhino

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Some hippos...

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Crocs....



No, not those! These!

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And zebras! And some...antelope?

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Up next - more safari pics!
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Wednesday, September 9th - Animal Kingdom Day - Continued

More Safari pics!

I think these are Springbok?

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I'll give you three guesses as to what my favorite land animal is...

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Some elephants, including a "baby!"

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And a flamboyance of flamingos! The little gray fuzzy baby flamingos that you saw back in July and August have gotten a little bigger, and have gotten their feathers - you can see a couple of them on the left.

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Some White Rhinos...

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And the King of the Jungle, and J's favorite animal!

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I also grabbed a pic of this structure that they're building. I *believe* they're going to be doing some kind of farming demonstration here? That's what I've heard anyway...

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Kilimanjaro Safaris is one of our favorite attractions, and while we always enjoy it. a lot of the enjoyment has to do with your safari guide. We've had great guides, who gave us some insight into some of the animals' personalities, including the love triangle between the three lions. And then we've had guides who have memorized the script, and don't say much else. This guide was in the second category, but we enjoyed the safari nevertheless!

Up next: Finishing up our time in Africa
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I have yet to try either mini golf but it is something I will have to try next time! Your picture of the Mickey Krispy treat is making me want one!!
Just realized that I never replied to your comment! 🤦‍♀️ I'd highly, highly recommend trying out the Disney mini golf courses! Winter Summerland is our fave, because it's just so cute and cheesy, and we love Christmas, but you really can't go wrong with either one! And I looooove the Mickey Krispie Treats - only the fresh ones though! Hoping they have more variety the next time we're there!
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Before I continue with this trip report, I would be remiss if I didn't take a moment to mention the 28,000 Cast Members who will be laid off in the coming days, due to the lasting effects of COVID on the travel and tourism industry. Disney hires some of the most special and incredible human beings to work in their parks and resorts, and cast members make up so much of the magic of Disney. If you are able, please consider donating to Cast Member Pantry - they are a food pantry run by cast members, for cast members. It breaks my heart (and angers me a little if I'm being honest) that this is something that is needed, but I am glad they are there when something like this arises. You can find Cast Member Pantry on Facebook and Instagram. If you aren't on social media but are interested in donating, shoot me a DM and I can send you their Venmo information and Amazon Wishlist.
 

k8einwdw

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
Wednesday, September 9th - Animal Kingdom Day - Continued

After we got off of our safari, we didn't have far to go, because we wanted to check out the Gorilla Falls trail. For years, we have enjoyed perusing the animal viewing trails located throughout Animal Kingdom, because 1) animals, duh and 2) they are usually a break from the crowds. This trip, we found them to be fairly crowded, so it was a little difficult to physically distance ourselves from other guests, but we made it work. Here are some of the animals we saw on the trail!

Zebra booties

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A meerkat! The CM standing nearby said that he was standing guard. It reminded me of Lion King 1 1/2 - "Panic and run! Panic and run!" If you've never seen Lion King 1 1/2, check it out on Disney+!

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A lone (male?) gorilla

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And a family of gorillas! The baby was having fun playing. Meanwhile, the parents look exhausted.

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After we exited the trail, we were both feeling H-O-T! I tried to find a gif of Michael Scott on the steel drums (if you know, you know), but couldn't find one, so you'll have to settle for Blanche.
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So we popped into Zuri's Sweet Shop to grab some waters. We looked at their candy selection, hoping to find one of the animal-print Mickey Krispie treats that I normally get from there, but all they had were the same two treats that we had seen at Goofy's Candy Co. the day before. 🙃

Once we were felling adequately hydrated, we stopped by to see our favorite fellow...

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And grabbed one last pic of beautiful Harambe.

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Then, we saw Timon and Rafiki, who were having fun dancing. J joined in as well!

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And close behind, we saw my favorite chipmunks, and a lovable Goof. I blew some kisses to Dale, he's my favorite (don't tell Chip)!

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And that wrapped up our time in Africa!

Up next: Let's eat!
 
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ajrwdwgirl

Premium Member
We are now interrupting your regularly scheduled program with an important message: I made dining reservations for our next trip this morning! So beyond thrilled to have another trip to look forward to so soon!


Dance Feeling It GIF by MOODMAN

Awesome! Curious on the dates because I might someone that might be going down there over the Thanksgiving break. ;)
 

Darstarr

Well-Known Member
In the Parks
No
Wednesday, September 9th - Animal Kingdom Day - Continued

After we got off of our safari, we didn't have far to go, because we wanted to check out the Gorilla Falls trail. For years, we have enjoyed perusing the animal viewing trails located throughout Animal Kingdom, because 1) animals, duh and 2) they are usually a break from the crowds. This trip, we found them to be fairly crowded, so it was a little difficult to physically distance ourselves from other guests, but we made it work. Here are some of the animals we saw on the trail!

Zebra booties

View attachment 501763

A meerkat! The CM standing nearby said that he was standing guard. It reminded me of Lion King 1 1/2 - "Panic and run! Panic and run!" If you've never seen Lion King 1 1/2, check it out on Disney+!

View attachment 501764

A lone (male?) gorilla

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And a family of gorillas! The baby was having fun playing. Meanwhile, the parents look exhausted.

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After we exited the trail, we were both feeling H-O-T! I tried to find a gif of Michael Scott on the steel drums (if you know, you know), but couldn't find one, so you'll have to settle for Blanche.
Water Bottle Reaction GIF


So we popped into Zuri's Sweet Shop to grab some waters. We looked at their candy selection, hoping to find one of the animal-print Mickey Krispie treats that I normally get from there, but all they had were the same two treats that we had seen at Goofy's Candy Co. the day before. 🙃

Once we were felling adequately hydrated, we stopped by to see our favorite fellow...

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And grabbed one last pic of beautiful Harambe.

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Then, we saw Timon and Rafiki, who were having fun dancing. J joined in as well!

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And close behind, we saw my favorite chipmunks, and a lovable Goof. I blew some kisses to Dale, he's my favorite (don't tell Chip)!

View attachment 501771
View attachment 501772

And that wrapped up our time in Africa!

Up next: Let's eat!

 
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