Wednesday, April 16, 2014—Tusker House, Animal Kingdom, & Hollywood Studios

On Wednesday morning we had breakfast reservations at Tusker House which is located in the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It took us almost an hour and a half to get from Old Key West to the restaurant because the buses were running fairly slow. When we arrived at Tusker House we had our photo taken by the photographer but unlike the lunch meal, the photo isn’t with Donald Duck. It is just a photo outside of the restaurant. The characters present at the meal are Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Donald Duck, and Daisy Duck all in their wilderness attire. Donald Duck especially liked that I was wearing my Donald Duck hoodie because it was a bit chilly to start the day.

After breakfast we went to the Upcountry Landing which is the site for the meet and greet with Baloo and King Louie. When I met both of the characters they referenced my Donald Duck sweatshirt and I told them that they should have their own ride in Disney along with merchandise and they started dancing around!

Next we visited Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse in Discovery Island. Mickey and Minnie are wearing their safari attire at this meet and greet and when I arrived Minnie hugged me and I asked her when Mickey was going to finally propose to her! This caused a good comical exchange for the photograph.

We then made our way to DinoLand USA for more character fun. The first stop was with Tigger and Winnie the Pooh. Then we met Goofy and Pluto. And our final stay in DinoLand was with Donald Duck who was in his safari outfit. Donald absolutely LOVED my hoodie and had me turn around so that he could get his picture taken with his likeness from the back of my sweatshirt.

Our final character meeting was with Dug and Russell on Discovery Island. We just had to ask Dug about his squirrel to which he got excited and brought out his squirrel. When we told Dug that we had squirrels at our house he made like he was going to follow us as we left but the cast member told him he had to stay!

We couldn’t leave Animal Kingdom without the obligatory picture from the cast member photographer in front of the tree of life.

Unfortunately we did not make it to see Pocahontas as we had to get to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in order to make it in time for our Fast Pass selections.

And so we took the bus from Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios and went directly to Toy Story Midway Mania which is located in the Pixar Place section of the studios. I didn’t do as well this time on the game but it was still fun. I was so happy to have the fast pass as the line was really long given that Walt Disney World is particularly crowded this week.

Since we had time before our next fast pass we went character hunting some more! This time we made our way to The Magic of Disney Animation and we met my favorite girl Minnie Mouse. Unfortunately the area of Minnie’s meet and greet is not labeled well as she is in a room to the right of Sorcerer Mickey’s meet and greet. Therefore she doesn’t usually have a long line. When then went to Wreck-It Ralph’s Meet and Greet but unfortunately by the time we got to the front of the line Ralph had left and it was only Vanellope doing photos. I usually tease Vanellope so this time I decided to take a different approach this time and I told her that in the movie it proved that she is a princess and that I thought she should have a spot next to Cinderella and the other princesses. This got a good reaction from the video game character! Sorcerer Mickey’s line was fairly long but we just had to see Mickey (for the 3rd time this day!). By this time it had warmed up a bit and I no longer had my hoodie but instead my 2013 Disney shirt which, of course, has Sorcerer Mickey on it which Mickey liked very much and he imitated the pose on the shirt.

Next we used our Fast Pass to go on the Great Movie Ride. Ever since Fast Pass + has come about, this attraction has become a zoo. The wait time said only 20 minutes but the line was out the door, around the side and back to the front of the building. We never used to have to wait for this attraction but now you do. So thankfully we had a fast pass. I’m on a roll where each time I go on this attraction I get the Mugsey sequence when I’d like a change of pace so I can see the cowboy bank robber sequence.

The American Idol Experience 5:00 PM show was our next adventure. They had three good singers two of which turned out to know another. The second contestant, a 17 year old girl, was the student of the third contestant who is the song and theater teacher at her school. The teacher had a very nice voice and sang “Circle of Life” and ultimately won the vote during the show.

Muppet Vision 3-D is a must see attraction and that is where we landed next. Unfortunately I got my times mixed up and I was 13 minutes late for my fast pass for Star Tours but they let us in anyways (thank you Disney!). The sequence we saw Darth Vader, Hoth, Transmission from Admiral Ackbar, Death Star, and Rebel Ship. One thing I noticed when going through Tattoine Traders at the end of the ride was that the characters being featured on new merchandise are original trilogy characters. This is a smart marketing ploy by Disney as the new movies are going to be post-Return of the Jedi as opposed to prequel based so they are getting fans more adjusted to original trilogy era.

Since Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream was open we had to stop. Although I watch what I eat, a Walt Disney World trip just isn’t complete without a waffle cone of soft twist ice cream from Gertie’s!

We ended our day by doing some window shopping at Mickey’s of Hollywood. My last experience was that I saw a cast member photographer without a line and since my family was still in window shopping (and I have the memory maker) I asked for my photo in front of the Sorcerer Hat. This photographer had a lot of fun with me. He had me strike multiple poses including pointing to the ground, pointing at something that wasn’t there with a surprised look and putting my hand out. The photographer smiled and said that I will have some surprises when I download my pictures. I just love when the photographers are so gracious and get into their craft like that.

It was then back to Old Key West where we did some window shopping at their figt shop (Conch Flats General Store) and then filled our mugs up at “Good’s Food to Go”.