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Ape Family Vacation WDW Jan 2018

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Thank you for the kind responses. We opted to not ride Primeval Whirl I think it was a half hour or more wait each time we were by it and we just didn't want to waste that much time on something we had to take turns doing since the kids couldn't ride.


I must have missed out on some good food as I was smelling it all around the park but of course we decided on the most basic of places just because that is what we were by at the time.


If you have enjoyed the photos of my kids so far just wait until the Hollywood Studios report as this is where my favorite photos are.

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Thank you for the kind responses. We opted to not ride Primeval Whirl I think it was a half hour or more wait each time we were by it and we just didn't want to waste that much time on something we had to take turns doing since the kids couldn't ride.

Yeah you made the right call in that situation. Probably only worth doing if your kids could do it and were excited by it.

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Great report so far!


I'm always torn about Animal Kingdom. There are a lot of things I love about it: Everest, Safaris, Dinosaur, the theming, the way the park looks at night, and Pandora (haven't been on FoP yet). I'm not much of a show person, but I enjoyed Festival of the Lion King and I haven't ever seen Finding Nemo. What I'm not crazy about: I work for a zoo and, while the animal exhibits are top notch, I don't think they're particularly unique or worth much of a second look. That makes it less than a full-day park for us (my wife and kid feel the same way about the park). My wife and I skipped the park entirely on our trip last summer and we did the early part of the day on our family trip in 2016. We're headed back in June and we'll probably hit AK later in the day, so they can see the park at night. I was able to do that during IAAPA in November.


You made a good choice with Restaurantosaurus. It's one of the better generic quick service options at any of the parks. The only other food I've had at AK was at Flame Tree and it was great even if it wasn't exactly my favorite type of BBQ. I'm from Texas, so I come by my BBQ snobbery honestly.


Keep up the reports. Can't wait to hear and see about your day at the Studios.

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Great report! I remember visiting Disney World in 2002. I'm the oldest, which would put me at 11, and my other brothers at 7 and 5. I still vividly remember them absolutely HATING Tough to be a Bug and Honey I Shrunk The Audience Those unexpected effects will totally get a reaction out of the little ones, but you don't know if it's going to be laugh or hysterical cry until you ride it!

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It was funny to me because she had the glasses on and when the butterfly came out she was reaching for it and clapping. It went way down hill after the grasshopper got all pissed off. The show even got to me a bit because i had a moment of panic from the "bee sting". A real bee sting could kill me and my mind instantly jumped to oo shit mode.

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I don't think this is what Disney is going for at all, but I sort of feel like Animal Kingdom might be a better park to visit without kids. It's a GREAT drinking park, the theming is insane and it's a great place to take it slow and relax (two things kids have no desire to do ever).


Personally it's my favorite park at the resort by a mile but I think our love of animals and the fact that we don't have kids (so we can do things like ride Everest whenever we want or take a Flight of Passage Fastpass over a River Journey Fastpass if we ever actually see Flight of Passage pop up) makes a big difference.


That said... I liked Navi River Journey but I was sort of happy we didn't get a Flight of Passage Fastpass in a way. If I ever have to choose, I'll pick Flight of Passage with no hesitation but I feel like I'd enjoy River Journey a lot less if I actually waited any decent amount of time for it. With Flight of Passage, it's an awesome ride and standing in an hour long line for it won't dampen your opinion of it at all. Plus it has a much better queue.


Honey I Shrunk The Audience


Oh my god. "Honey I Shrunk The Audience" absolutely traumatized me when I was little. Jesus...

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This was a day we took things a lot slower. I will look forward to going back to the park one day and seeing if I like it better but it just didn't compare to the other two we visited. We usually hit the Zoo here in Cincy a couple of times a year and have visited San Diego zoo so I guess I just felt kind of board with the animals other than the cubs and the safari.


I heard one of the workers at Na'vi River Journey say Fast Pass this and wait for FoP you wont be let down after waiting a couple of hours for it.

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I must have missed out on some good food as I was smelling it all around the park but of course we decided on the most basic of places just because that is what we were by at the time.


Yak and Yeti


we STILL talk about that restaurant years after we visited Animal Kingdom.

outside of Epcot, it's our favorite property restaurant (tho we loved the theming, if not the food, and Mom's and Sci-Fi Drive In over at Hollywood Studios)

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Our first ride was Na'vi River Journey. The visuals were really cool but wow was that ride short compared to everything else we did.

Huh... What's interesting about this is...


Na'vi River Journey is just over 6 minutes long. Compared to:


Winnie The Pooh: 2:50 minutes


Peter Pan: 3:00 minutes


Tower of Terror: 3:00 minutes


Dinosaur: 3:30 minutes


Test Track: 4:00 minutes


Nemo: 4:30 minutes


Frozen Ever After: 4:30 minutes


Buzz Lightyear: 5:00 minutes


Toy Story Mania: 5:00 minutes


And it's about the same length as rides like ...


Little Mermaid: 6:00 minutes


Gran Fiesta Tour: 6:00 minutes


Journey Into Imagination: 7:00 minutes


Really, the only similar style attractions that are longer are rides like Mansion, Pirates, Small World, and Spaceship Earth. Sure you could throw Safari's, Land Boat Ride, or Peoplemover in there too, but those really are different kinds of attractions. Na'vi River Journey is either longer or on par with the length of just about every other dark ride at Walt Disney World.


While I agree that it's not my favorite ride and I think it "looks cool" but really the star attraction in Pandora is Flight of Passage. Na'vi River Journey fills a very needed gap of rides at Animal Kingdom that "everyone could ride." As really the only other two attractions without height restrictions at that park (other than the shows) are Safari's and Triceratops Spin. Everything else is between 38" - 48" so having a height restriction free ride like River Journey was certainly needed at the park.


It's a shame you missed out on Flight of Passage, and I think if you would have done that attraction, you would probably have seen how nicely the two rides balance each other out. And no, I wouldn't wait two hours for River Journey either, not even one hour, but if you do your research you should never have to wait more than about 20 minutes for River Journey and I think that's a perfectly acceptable wait for that attraction.

Edited by robbalvey
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I never looked up times so thank you for that. I guess it just felt real short to me. when we turned that last corner I was thinking we were headed into another room. I am not a person that just writes off a ride after one ride unless it beats me to death, the next trip could I could end up feeling completely different about it.


The more I think about the trip and the park the more I feel that AK could have felt underwhelming to me thanks to a hangover effect from the long day the day before at MK. When we make it back I am hoping to stay a week or more and break up the park days with hanging around the resort and hitting Disney Springs.

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All I know is that the Navi song that the animatronic "sings" has replaced "It's a Small World After All" as the most irritatingly catchy song on Walt Disney World property. It's been firmly engrained in my head since my first ride on it and it still hasn't gone away like two weeks later. I'm perfectly okay with this.

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Hollywood Studios


I won't lie when we were first booking the trip I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to this park but since it had some Toy Story stuff I knew we needed to because my kids love the movies. I was a little bummed that the new Toy Story Land wouldn't be opened yet, it is okay though because it just means more to look forward to when we make it back. By the time we make it back they will have two entirely new areas open and since this park ended up being my favorite of the trip I cannot wait. I went into the day not really caring about Star Wars and left thinking I had been missing out on a lot and I cannot get enough. We have watched the original 3 movies since we got back lol.


The plan for this park was to do what we could in the morning and head back to the hotel after our last Fast Pass at 1:40, take a break eat some dinner and relax before heading back at 5:30 or 6 to finish out the night watching Fantasmic and Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. Some minor things got in the way of executing the plan to perfection that will get mentioned, those however didn't stop this from being a great day. I must once again rave about the bus system. To Hollywood Studios it took a whole 10 minutes there and back each time. I don't know if our timing was just good or what but we managed to walk right onto a bus every time.



It can be hard to focus with so many things to look at.


We got to the park right at open did the usual bag check and having myself "randomly" selected for the metal detectors and in we went. We had no idea what we wanted to do to start our day, the first Fast Pass wasn't until 10:35 so we just walked in and went left at the dinosaur. Where we ended up led to what made this trip so incredibly special to me. We saw that meeting Olaf was only a 15 minute wait. The thing I like so much about many of these character meets is that they keep them hidden until it is your turn and they can snap photos of the initial reactions. What you're about to see is a sequence of pictures that I have probably looked at 100 times or more since we got back I love them so much. Memory maker is absolutely worth the price for stuff like this. I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I do even though it is not your kid...



Mind Blown!






Must hug












Once I wiped away the tears from a proud papa moment and just seeing my kids so happy we walked over to check out the March of the First Order. This is the moment I jumped on the Star Wars bandwagon. It was such a simple thing yet it made for a great beginning of the day. I loved the way the Storm Troopers interacted with the audience.



They are serious and not to be messed with!


Next it was time to check out the Pixar area. First up was meeting Buzz and Woody before heading over to Toy Story Mania. It was about a 20 minute wait to meet Buzz and Woody but that went by quick with the way they have the line setup for the kids to get their pictures taken in different scenes or backdrops from the movies. Both of my kids enjoyed not only meeting the characters but also the line which is odd but makes it easy on the parents. Toy Story Mania was a lot of fun and I probably enjoyed it way more than I should have. All 4 of us had an absolute blast on it. I liked how with each section you came to you were shooting at different targets and using different ammo. I believe it has been around for a while now but this was my first time experiencing something like this. It really makes me wish my home park had something this cool as Boo Blasters just does not cut it anymore.



The Claw.....

















I don't mean to brag but I did wipe the floor with a 4 year old on this...


We went straight over to Voyage of the Little Mermaid once we completed Toy Story Mania and were seated right when we walked up. It was an alright show from what I can remember. I enjoyed the projections and the water effects but the show wasn't overly memorable to me with everything else we did. The kids seemed to enjoy it though I don't think they care too much as it is one of the only things they haven't brought up since we got back.


As we were walking out of the show We noticed Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far away was getting started so I sent the wife and kids over to that while I got us some snacks. I stopped at the little stand right out by Center Stage. What was notable about this stand and I am sure there are others like this around the park was you could by a pretty cool collectible it was I believe a foot tall AT-AT popcorn holder. I noticed several people just buying this and giving the popcorn to whatever parents with kids that were near by. For me I got a refill on popcorn and a couple of Mickey pretzels for us to snack on. I don't know what it was about these pretzels but I was addicted to them throughout the trip. I am normally not one to go the soft pretzel route as well. Soft pretzel and cheese was $6 at each park we visited.


When we finished our snacks it was time, time to see if I would crush my sons trust for the rest of lives or not. We had Fast Passes for Tower of Terror and I intended to use them. Jamey loves Halloween so I just kept telling him it was a Halloween ride that went up and down while not fully knowing what it was myself as I had not watched any POVs of it. He really enjoyed it up until the point all of the up and down actually started lol. The ride even caught me off guard as I didn't realize just how much up and down was involved but I loved every minute of it. When we got off I asked Jamey what he thought, the response " I likes all of the scary stuff dada, I did not like the elevator dropping it got my belly." when asked if he would ride it again "no dada no".



Only thing I wish was different is that we could see his face more. he hid during this part.


Since we were near Rock N Roller Coaster we decided it was a good time for us to take turns on it and let the kids rest. I had heard there was a single rider line that usually went quick so we tried to use this to our advantage. I did not think about about utilizing parent swap at the time and it burned me. Courtney went first and it ended up taking 50 minutes which I think is what the length of the stand by line was at the time. Since this took so long and we were trying to make Frozen Sing a Long at 1:30pm I opted not to wait and try to get a Fast Pass after we used our last one.


The Frozen Sing a Long was fun for the kids but I noticed most were bored through the majority of the show. They have Anna come out with two others that I don't remember from the movie, the two others narrate the story and they play through the songs on a screen for everyone to sing with while Anna is out looking for Elsa for her party or something. The kids really didn't seem to care except for when the characters they knew were on stage. Now when Elsa shows up it really is a cool show for the kids with the snow effects in the theater and her singing Let It Go. The show ran about a half hour. I did take a short video and Millie will watch it on loop over and over again some evenings which is cool, it was during the big finale.



I think Elsa may have farted.




We had a Star Tours Fast Pass after Frozen Sing a Long, the three of us that rode it really enjoyed it. What was odd for me was that I actually started feeling motion sick and I never get that way with any rides. It didn't hinder the experience for me just left me with an odd feeling in my stomach for a short bit. When we got off the ride of course my son just had to have some Star Wars toys so I let him pick something out. He loves figurine sets so he went that route. I kind of wish he had choosen to do build your own lightsaber but hey then I would have ended up with one to. I think this was a favorite ride of the trip for my wife.


As it was now around 2:45pm it was time for our break. We hopped on the bus and went back to the room. When we got there it hadn't been cleaned yet I thought it was unusual but its a huge resort so I am sure it takes a ton of time to take care of all the rooms. at 3:50 we got the knock on our door and they told us they were about to clock out for the day so it was either we leave and they clean now or they wouldn't do it that day which I understand no one likes to stay at work longer than planned. I guess we were the very last room to be taken care of. We decided to just grab our stuff and go get dinner at Landscape of Flavors in the resort so our room could be cleaned. Not as long of a break as we wanted to take but it didn't mess with the day really at all it just meant we got back to the park sooner.


At Landscape of Flavors I decided to try the Jumbo Stuffed Meatball, I would not recommend this to anyone as I absolutely hated it and it left me feeling like I had an upset stomach. I am not sure exactly why I hated it so much I just know it wasn't good. I am a big boy that likes food I don't come across foods I absolutely hate very often. Everything else that we had got here was pretty good though so I guess one bad meal out of the bunch isn't bad.

Edited by Ape
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We got back into the park right around 5pm, we wanted to do some shopping then do the Star Wars character meets. We were trying to make Fantasmic so we only ended up doing BB-8 and Chewbacca. While we were waiting in the line for Chewy a couple of Storm Troopers that were walking around stopped and interacted with my kids. They first asked Jamey if he was for the First Order and the normally really shy kid ended up saying yes! the Storm Trooper said Excellent and turns to Millie and asks her if she has clearance for that sector and that they are suspicious of her. She just stared at them and they finished with "the First Order will be watching you...". I mean this is such a little thing and not a huge deal but this little part of the day is what really makes me fall in love with parks like this. Anytime I saw the characters interacting with the kids mine or anyone else's kids it was great and the kids were left with smiles on their faces.





for the First Order







I enjoyed our conversation.


It was about 6:30 at this point I had got a Fast Pass for Rock N Roller Coaster so we booked it over there to try and do that before going to Fantasmic. It ended up taking a little longer than expected and through text the wife and I decided to skip Fantasmic this trip and take it easy until the end of the night Star Wars Galactic Spectacular. I really enjoyed Rock N Roller Coaster. I think what made it so enjoyable for me other than the theme was that I didn't feel completely squished into the thing like I do on other coasters like this. What I am saying is the ride is fat boy friendly and it was appreciated.





this was a bit creepy.







My wife did not ride Tower of Terror earlier in the day and since we were skipping Fantasmic she went and rode it while I stayed with the kids. They were having a blast running around by Rock N Roller coaster and there wasn't a lot of people over there so I let them burn their energy and run since they had been in the stroller a lot of the day. When she got off Tower Of Terror we took our time walking through the park and looking at stuff until snagging a spot for the final show. We ended up being center with the Chinese theater about halfway back which seemed like a perfect spot for us. We all absolutely loved the shows to end the night, there isn't quite anything like having lasers shot at you on screen and fireworks going off to match them. Both kids were clapping and oohing ahhing at everything. This was seriously one of my favorite parts of the week. Everything was perfect and put a perfect ending to the trip for us. Once they finished we just kind of hung out and let the crowd get out of the way while taking in the last little bit of the park we would. It was tough to leave with how great everything went and how much fun we had.



The last photo of the night. Jamey looks exhausted.


This trip is one of those I know I will remember for the rest of my life and watching the kids grow up. Whenever I have someone say Disney is too expensive to me now I just tell them those memories are worth every penny spent and you really cannot put a price on the experience we had. If anyone reading through this hasn't been to the parks and you have young kids I absolutely recommend you try to make it at least once because we just do not get these chances for very young with how quick kids grow and change.


I may do a small follow up report with odds and ends that I left out but thank you very much to every single one of you that have read through this and commented. I never though any of my reviews would to over 1000 views. I am happy to answer any and all questions people might have whether its here or in a pm.

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Really enjoyed this report, thanks for sharing it.


Funny you say that about Star Tours I felt the same way. I have never really had any motion sickness problems, and never had a problem with Star Tours growing up. But the last time I rode it I was definitely a little queasy afterwards. Maybe it has something to do with the upgrades somehow. It's nothing that would make me avoid it completely next trip but I don't think I would ride it back to back without a break in between. A couple of friends I was with who don't have any motion sickness problems felt the same way too.

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That Olaf moment was beyond cute....I'm sure you'll cherish it.


Funny thing about rides and getting to "that age". I'll never forget taking my kids on one spinning ride after another at Knoebels, then finding myself in the bathroom blowing chunks. "What in the world happened?" The year before, I was fine, no problem at all...following year, and beyond, no can do!


Awesome reports, really enjoying them!

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^ ...and rides like merry-go-rounds, swings, and a small spinning coaster, seem more...easy to ride.


Awesome TR, guy! Lots to enjoy, visually and reading-wise. And your whole family looks like they had

an amazing and fun trip. Thanks for putting the TR all together!

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