Another early start for a visit to Animal Kingdom to get in the early morning queue for the Flights of Passage ride. We decided to take just one car as we had all agreed we would leave after our final fast pass today as sadly Neil had to get to the airport for his flight home this evening. I tried to not let his pending departure hang over me this morning.
It was another beautiful day as we made our way into the park. Although we were in the park by 8.30am, some 30 minutes ahead of the official opening time there was still a considerable queue in front of us waiting for the rope drop at 9.00am. We amused ourselves by playing Pointless on my phone. At 9.00am we all did the Disney Shuffle into the Pandora land to the ride. Some lads tried to jump the queue by walking on top of a wall but were booed loudly at by the crowd and told to get down.
Once we eventually reached the end of the line it did was moving constantly. Even so it still took us a further 30 minutes to get into the building itself. The theming is very well done, even if I am still not sure I understand all of it. It does still seem like a strange choice for Disney to base a new land on. I am reliably informed by my 2 resident Disney experts that it was a panic knee jerk response at the time to Universal getting the deal to build the Harry Potter rides. Since then Disney has acquired the rights to Star Wars and Marvel amongst others which I am sure they will exploit even more so going forward.
Nevertheless the Flights of Passage is terrific. Being ‘strapped’ to your own ‘Banshee’ and then experiencing flying takes the concept from Soaring to a whole new level. We all came off with a big smile on our face. Karen wanted to ride again but the wait time was now 195 minutes and this was on a quiet day in this park. Whilst we were still in the Pandora land, Neil took advantage of being able to buy some Pandorian food.
We all then headed off to the Tiger Walk again, which was hot but enjoyable.
It was then time for the Kali River Rapids. Having had a bad experience of the River Rapids in California a couple of years back I was taking no chances and had brought my cagoule. There is nothing worse than being sodden through and then having to walk around doing more rides. That particular time it was my trainers and socks that took the impact. I tried to wring them out but in the end I had to buy expensive Disney replacement socks to wear.
Karen & Ellie also wore ponchos to try and keep dry. Just as we were about to get on the ride we were barged out of the way by an extremely rude lady who demanded to be let through to join up with her family. She had been delayed parking her disability scooter. Well by her manner, speed of movement and aggression, we concluded she was only using a scooter to get to the front of the queue. I hoped the Rapids gave her their own retribution by soaking her.
The ride was fun and we all got off with just being splashed until the very end. At this point we came to a stop in line where people off the bridge were pressing the buttons for the elephants to shower us from their trunks. Barry & Neil both got quite wet. Of course afterwards as we crossed the bridge we did the same to the next rafts coming around.
Then Karen & I sat and ate our pre packed Cheese Roll (not my favourite) whilst Barry, Ellie & Neil went and got their lunches from the Yak & Yeti diner. They enjoyed them far more than I did my cheese roll.
We then wandered over to Dino Land where we met and had our photos taken with Scrooge McDuck and some other Duck character that I had never heard of. Normally we never bother with these, but the characters were both favourites of the boys from when they were little and we were still trying to squeeze out maximum value from the Memory Maker Pass.
The next ride was Dinosaur. Not a real favourite of mine but everyone else really enjoyed it. Miraculously we just made it back to safety again just before the asteroid strike that wiped out the Dinosaurs completely.
It was then time for our final fast pass and Neil’s final ride of the trip. Fittingly it was Everest which is a favourite of all five of us. As ever it was really really good. I think I might ask Graham if he can help me build one in the garden at home.
Sadly we then had to go back to the villa for Neil to do his final packing before we took him to the airport. As ever, being the big girls blouse that I am I got upset that he was having to leave before us but did try my best to hide it. He would have been here longer but had run out of holiday to take from work.
This holiday has been up there with the very best for me. I don’t think you can ever forget the first time in Florida (which for us was 1993), but this has been a very close second. I have absolutely loved every minute of having the boys and Ellie here with us. We have done so much and yet we can all reel off a long list of other things we haven’t got round to this time. The boys has been an enormous big part of this. There have been no rows or disagreements and the relationship between Barry & Neil at times now makes me burst with joy as there is now tolerance and thoughtfulness on both sides. Ellie has also been so good with Neil and it lovely to see the normally introvert Neil actually starting conversations with her and enjoying her company.
A few tears were shed at the airport as we dropped him off (and yes I know we will see him again in 48 hours). Some of it for me though is the not knowing when we will all be able to spend the quality time together. My biggest wish currently is that we can all do this again very soon, but I understand that they may have other priorities and places they want to visit. Nevertheless this is my blog and I can say this is what I would like.
Neil promised to message me of updates on the progress of his journey which he did do.
Back at the Villa, we sat all in the Spa for a while before going out for a meal with Barry & Ellie at Bahama Breeze. The food was very good. Ellie managed to order a Salad that also contained so much fruit that it was like her entree and a dessert all on one plate.
We then took Ellie for her first ever experience of a Super Target which she enjoyed immensely coming out with her much wanted ’Stitchee’ T Shirt.
After a but of tidying up we were all tired and went to bed reasonably early. I knew that I would be awake during the night checking on Neil’s flight and progress home (Yes I know he is old enough and more than capable but I still worry).