A Very Merry Wine and Dine Half Marathon Trip: November 2018

Anne

Well-known member
Then a Trek across a bridge over the crocodile enclosure (harness hooked into a track above)

Wild Africa Trek Bridge.jpg
Wild Africa Trek MeBridge2.jpg
Wild Africa Trek Croc2.jpg

Once across the bridge we were hooked into another track and walked out to view the crocodiles up close and ask questions of an animal specialist.

Wild Africa Trek MeCroc.jpg
Wild Africa Trek Croc3.jpg
 

Anne

Well-known member
We removed the vest and harness and boarded a small truck for the remainder of the tour

Wild Africa Trek  (2).jpg
Wild Africa Trek elephant2.jpg

Stopping here for a snack

WIld Africa Trek Platformpic.jpg

Stock photos of the breakfast offering

Wild Africa Trek Breakfast.jpg

And lunch

Wild Africa Trek Lunch.jpg
 

Anne

Well-known member
Some toads who joined us for the meal

Wild Africa Trek Toad1.jpg

We spent some time viewing the animals from the observation platform

Wild Africa Trek Hoof1.jpg
Wild Africa Trek Hoof2.jpg
Wild Africa Trek Hoof3.jpg
Wild Africa Trek Springbok1.jpg
 

Anne

Well-known member
Then back into the truck for more animal viewing. We traveled to the same areas as the safari but we stopped off to the side several times and had time to ask questions and spend more time viewing the animals.

Wild Africa Trek Giraffe1.jpg
Wild Africa Trek Giraffe2.jpg
Wild Africa Trek Cheetah.jpg
Wild Africa Trek Lion.jpg
Wild Africa Trek flamingos.jpg
 

Anne

Well-known member
Wild Africa Trek Zebra.jpg

The ostrich is a stock photo (the rest of the animal pictures were all from our tour that day), we saw ostrich but they didn't make it into the tour photos

Gallery Images Ostritch.jpg

At the end of the tour we received a Disney Conservation Fund pin and were told a portion of the cost of the Wild Africa Trek goes to the conservation fund.

Wild Africa Trek Conservation Button.jpg
Wild Africa Trek Conservation Fund.jpg
Wild Africa Trek Map.jpg

A very enjoyable and worthwhile three-hour tour. I asked Jason about the evening tour “Savor the Savanna: Evening Safari Experience”. I’ll be traveling marathon weekend with my mom and aunt who are in their late 70s. I’d love for them to have this kind of experience but I don’t think they would be comfortable navigating the bridge. It sways and there are large gaps in the boards. The evening tour is run by the Wild Africa Trek group and guides. Jason said the focus is more on the food. One hour at the observation platform with a more extensive menu and wine pairings. There is time on the Savanah for viewing the animals from the truck as well but the sections that require a safety harness and more mobility are removed (hippos and crocodiles). The evening tour is ok for those who need ECVs or wheelchairs, they just need to be able to transfer. It sounds like it is similar to Wanyama Safari at Animal Kingdom Lodge.
 
Last edited:

kmc8826

Active member
Glad you had a good experience once again. For some reason I had it in my head that children had to be older than 12 or 14...my youngest just turned 8 so I guess we should consider doing it. That is nice the guides do the pictures like that.
 

Anne

Well-known member
Glad you had a good experience once again. For some reason I had it in my head that children had to be older than 12 or 14...my youngest just turned 8 so I guess we should consider doing it. That is nice the guides do the pictures like that.
I had been telling my kids it was 12, and then a coworker said they were going to take their 10 year old and I looked and low and behold it is 8. Did it used to be a higher age or has it always been 8 and my memory is poor???
 

Anne

Well-known member
That looks like a really cool experience. I’d be a little nervous on that bridge though!
It was a lot of fun! It looks more thrilling than it is in reality. They have your safety vest harness hooked into a track above (it's interesting that it doesn't really show up in the picture that well) and although the bridge sways and there are artful gaps between the boards there is a net in the space under the boards.
 

runDisneygirl

New member
Oh man, I started reading this awhile back, got interuppted, and then forgot to come back!

Finally getting back to this.... and what a great start! Awesome deal at the GF, wow. Travelling sans kids is amazing, isn't it? ;)

Isn't having the rental car a game changer? Time is money, and I just wouldn't do it any other way. Especially if it's a race weekend! I love how you could make that Princess breakfast so easily. Sweet!

Great info on the AK trek. I've been eyeing this one up for a long time. I hope they keep doing it for awhile because I have no idea when I'm making it back there again.
 

Anne

Well-known member
Oh man, I started reading this awhile back, got interuppted, and then forgot to come back!

Finally getting back to this.... and what a great start! Awesome deal at the GF, wow. Travelling sans kids is amazing, isn't it? ;)

Isn't having the rental car a game changer? Time is money, and I just wouldn't do it any other way. Especially if it's a race weekend! I love how you could make that Princess breakfast so easily. Sweet!

Great info on the AK trek. I've been eyeing this one up for a long time. I hope they keep doing it for awhile because I have no idea when I'm making it back there again.
I would definitely make it a priority the next time you get back to WDW!
 

Goofballs

Member
I know, it was rough! I was going to write that I was disappointed about missing out, which I genuinely was, but was afraid it would sound disingenuous. It was a pretty good "problem" to have :)
Reading about the GKTW project and missing the cut was seriously an emotional roller coaster for me :) So I believe you that you were disappointed. And I’m glad the alternative was an epic solo day at WDW.

I have no connection to GKTW other than participating in community Make a Wish events, but the place holds a very special place in our hearts. We have been volunteering there on our trips to Orlando since my oldest turned 12 (that’s the minimum volunteer age unless you are an alumni family). Next year we are doing 2 shifts at the request of my boys. I HIGHLY recommend taking time to volunteer if you can swing it.
 

Anne

Well-known member
Reading about the GKTW project and missing the cut was seriously an emotional roller coaster for me :) So I believe you that you were disappointed. And I’m glad the alternative was an epic solo day at WDW.

I have no connection to GKTW other than participating in community Make a Wish events, but the place holds a very special place in our hearts. We have been volunteering there on our trips to Orlando since my oldest turned 12 (that’s the minimum volunteer age unless you are an alumni family). Next year we are doing 2 shifts at the request of my boys. I HIGHLY recommend taking time to volunteer if you can swing it.
What is the process for volunteering if you aren't part of a group? I would really like our family to do this once the kids are old enough.
 

splinteroh

New member
That looks like a really cool experience. I’d be a little nervous on that bridge though!
We did this years ago, with my (at the time) teenage son who "has a thing about heights".... he was nervous, but got through it just fine and we all really enjoyed the tour
 

Anne

Well-known member
We did this years ago, with my (at the time) teenage son who "has a thing about heights".... he was nervous, but got through it just fine and we all really enjoyed the tour
There were a couple people our tour who had issues with heights but did ok with the bridge. If you have serious issues and aren't sure the bridge is for you I was told they can accomodate and go a different route and still enjoy the rest of the tour.
 

Anne

Well-known member
Magic Kingdom
The convention had an evening “President’s Reception” complete with fancy dinner. Since none of my friends or colleagues were attending and there weren’t any continuing education credits linked to the reception, I opted for Magic Kingdom and HEA like a good Disney fanatic.

I dropped the car off at Grand Floridian and took the monorail to the park. The day before WDWNT had posted on twitter that there were extra cast members at parking lot entrances at GF and some of the other deluxe resorts to help with identifying guests for overnight parking charges. I didn’t encounter them any of the times I entered the lot and am not sure if that has continued. The first time I entered I wasn’t sure where to park and went through on the guard side. Every time after I entered by scanning my magic band on the right. No parking charges showed up on my bill. But the terms of the convention room also stated the rate included “all parking and resort fees”. I’m not sure if the magic band scan would trigger a parking charge otherwise?

It had started pouring. But armed with a baseball cap and a poncho I wasn’t going to let that stop my plans. No lightning so none of the rides were shut down. I know everyone has their preferred rain gear, but I will put in a plug for my favorite, the Disney poncho. My poncho has stayed with me through three trips. It has good coverage (protects my handbag) and is thick and heavy so it doesn’t tear and doesn’t blow around. I’ve used Target disposable ponchos (the best I’ve found of the disposables) and they are fine for a light rain on a hotter day where you are just going to toss it in an hour. But for multiple hours, cold weather rain, and wind I feel like I can go all day as long as I have a hat with brim, Disney poncho, and a water proof shoe (Crocs sandals or Oofos flip flops).

I took the train from Main Street to Frontierland for my first FP, the wildest ride in the wilderness, Big Thunder Mountain Rail Road. Splash had a 15-minute posted wait when I got on BTMRR (why NOT ride a water ride in the rain) but it was down when I got off. Headed to FP #2 Mine Train. My favorite way to ride MT, at night and in the zippy last row.

MT-me.jpg

I was done with my first two FP at 7:25 pm, earlier than I expected. I tried to move my after-fireworks Haunted Mansion FP to earlier but even for one person I didn’t find anything after some brief refreshing. I didn’t try too hard because I was hungry and decided I would see if I could swap my after-fireworks dessert party for the before-fireworks dessert party.

When I booked the after-party it seemed like a good idea because park close was 9 pm with a 9 pm HEA and I’d be eating when I couldn’t be riding. But then park close was extended to 10 pm and the after-party now encroached on good low-line ride time. The CM was pretty nice about my request. Maybe because I looked wet, bedraggled, pathetic, and hungry? The party was full but she checked with the manager and he said they would “make an exception since you are just one person”. Yay! I have to admit I enjoyed the food a lot more this time around. Every other time we’ve done a dessert party we’ve had a dinner ADR earlier in the night. This night because it was just me, I hadn’t bothered with an ADR. They say hunger is the best sauce! Love the little logo on the strawberry.

HEA-dessert.jpg

I may or may not have had several cheeseburger spring rolls too (delicious but not so photogenic) …it was my dinner after all. I think the filling is the same as the cheeseburger pods at Sautuli. It is uncanny how much it reminds me of a McDonald’s cheeseburger.

I headed over to the viewing area at 8:35 pm. Most people were already done eating at this point. There was a Photopass photographer doing pictures.

HEA-sign.jpg

Definitely more people than in the past. I tried to get an idea of the view for the kids so took this photo crouched down.

HEA-view1.jpg

I also stood behind a rail to get a gap between myself and people in front. But it filled in and you can see the kids-eye view ended up obstructed.

HEA-view2.jpg
 

Anne

Well-known member
The guy next to me held his son on his hip for the whole show. I felt bad for him, I could tell he was getting fatigued and a few times let his son rest a little on the rail but it wasn’t a comfortable position for either of them. I will say one plus of the viewing area was even though it was tighter than in the past, it wasn’t as tight as outside the enclosure and people were very polite and conscious of trying not to block others around them.

Here is the spacing right before HEA started

HEA-crowd2.jpg

Standing view for an adult still has a pretty good view of the projections.

HEA-Tiana.jpg
HEA-buzz.jpg

I think the value of the party was still there for me as a single adult. I’m not sure I’d want to pay for the party for the whole family and have to hold my kids on my hip through the show. With the ages and temperaments of my kids, right now I think I’d prefer to have a side-view of the projections and sit comfortably at Tomorrowland Terrace. As much as I’ve complained about the tables at Tomorrowland with roof obstruction, for us at this point it’s still the better option. The dessert party decision is very individualized and your family may have different priorities. But I hope this at least gives a picture of what the viewing area is like during a moderately busy week with sold out before and after parties.

After the party I headed over to BoG to say a quick hi to my niece who is working there on the college program. She’s enjoying the program and said she feels very fortunate to have gotten one of the best assignments (in comparison to her peers).

On to HM for my last FP (it probably wasn’t needed) and finally stand by at Peter Pan. Entered the queue at 9:53 pm with a posted wait of 25 minutes. I realized I have never been through the standby queue since it was redone. It’s very cute and fun! I was at the merge point 11 minutes later and done at 10:10. Not bad!

The back of the castle was so pretty with the lights from Cinderella’s Royal Table and the holiday garlands already in place.

MK-Castle Back.jpg

Kiss Good Night

MK-Kiss good night.jpg
 

Anne

Well-known member
I did a little shopping on Main Street to let the crowds dissipate. Then caught the boat back to the hotel. I decided I still felt a little hungry and didn’t get off at GF, traveling on to Polynesian. I guess there wasn’t enough sugar and grease at the dessert party? It was 11 pm and there was still a 45-minute wait for Trader Sam’s (shakes fist at race weekend) and every single table on the Tiki Terrace was taken. I ordered a HippopotoMai-Tai from the to-go window and drank it at Captain Cooks' outdoor tables next door while waiting for a to-go sushi roll.

Hippopotamaitai.jpg

To-go turned out to be for the best, the monorail probably wouldn’t have still been running if I had eaten at the Polynesian. Apparently, they don’t allow obviously alcoholic drinks on the monorail and the guy next to me and I both had to bottoms-up and toss our cups before boarding.

Back at the hotel it was straight to bed with an early wake up the next morning for the work portion of the trip. Altogether a really great solo day!
 

runDisneygirl

New member
Fantastic evening! Glad you could switch the dessert party to the earlier one, that worked out great! Good point about the viewing angle for little kids. I've taken my kids (when they were each 10 yo, and much shorter!), to this and we stood at the railing for one and stayed seated for the other. The one where we stayed seated was when this was brand new and not super popular yet, and in fact nearly everybody stayed seated! It was awesome. But yes, these days the view is very much obstructed for little kids and tiresome to hold the kid on your hips! btdt for parades!
Hippopotomai tai is my favorite. Yum!
 

lovett1979

Member
I am really loving this trip report. Solo trips can be awesome, and it looks like you are taking full advantage of all the Disney magic!
 
Top