Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Our 2024 Disney World Vacation, Day 4 - Animal Kingdom and Pool Day

Happy Wednesday, y’all!  Today I’m recapping day four of our trip, and this was our day spent in Animal Kingdom and at the pool!  On our last Disney vacation we dedicated an entire day to Animal Kingdom and an entire day for the pool, but this year, we decided to combine the two days since we don’t usually need very much time in Animal Kingdom. 

If we hadn’t combined them, and we’d done an entire day for each, that would have also put us coming home on Sunday, and that was not appealing to me at all.  The thought of getting home in the evening on a Sunday from an exhausting trip and then not having a buffer day to sleep in, unpack, and do laundry sounded awful… I did not want to get back and then immediately have to wake up early and head back to school the next day!  So, we decided to cut our Animal Kingdom day in half and then spend the second half at the pool relaxing, and it ended up being perfect. 

Animal Kingdom day was another early one and we were up at 5:45 AM and walking to the bus by 6:45 AM.  Whew.  Doing rope drop every morning at the parks is not for the faint of heart.  ;o)  Also, it was freezing that morning – 57 degrees in Florida in April, WHAT?! – so we had to bundle up.

On the bus, B and I secured our first lightning lanes for the day – Avatar Flight of Passage and Kilimanjaro Safaris.  Those lines are always the longest, so it was nice to know that we were ready to go.  :o)

We arrived at Animal Kingdom and walked into the park right at 7:30 AM for early entry (for people staying in the park).  Then we made our way straight to the Tree of Life for PhotoPass pictures.  The lines are always short first thing in the morning, and you can usually get good shots without 84,000 people in the background.

Once that was done, we ran straight to Navi River Journey.  That line also gets very long later in the day, so we always run to that one first thing.  However, when we got there, we saw that the ride was down, so we decided to pivot and run all the way across the park to Expedition Everest so the boys could ride.  That line also gets very long, but thankfully, the boys were able to get right on.  Olivia had no desire to ride, and I wasn’t about to either with my vertigo, so we were happy to stand in the observation area and watch them. 

B texted me when they were boarding, so we were able to get a picture and a video of them coming down.  They’re in the second row.  That was Jacob’s first time riding that one, so we asked him what he thought when they came out, and he said, “Well, it was… thrilling.”  Haha.  Then he told us at one point he thinks he almost passed out.  Lol.  He recovered quickly, though, and he didn’t seem the least bothered by it after that.  He said he’d probably ride it again, too.  He is his father’s son!


By the time that was done, it was time for our lightning lane for Kilimanjaro Safaris.  We’d always heard that it’s best to go on the safari early in the morning because that’s when the animals are the most active.  Well, I don’t know if we caught the animals on a bad day or what, but we barely saw any of them.  It was most definitely the worst safari ride we’ve ever had.  We definitely saw more animals on the previous two trips, and we rode much later in the day both times.  So, whoever says to ride earlier, well, that’s not always true.  Hahahaha.  Granted, it was really cold that morning, so maybe they were all hibernating?  Who knows!!!!

After the ride, we all took a bathroom break and washed hands, and ate our breakfast bars while walking around.  We stopped at one of the PhotoPass spots in the Avatar world…

And then we stopped to buy Jacob some sunglasses since he’d lost his at Epcot. 

We decided to walk to Dinosaur next, but on the way, we happened to see the line to meet Moana, so we stopped to do that first.  She is tucked away in a place where you’d never find her, so we lucked out.  The line was pretty short, too, so we only had to wait about 15 minutes.  We were excited because we’d never gotten to meet her before, and she was able to autograph the kids’ books!

After our meetup with her, we continued to the Dinosaur ride, and I decided not to ride that one because the whole thing is in the dark and it’s kind of jerky.  I didn’t want to risk it with my vertigo, so I waited in the sun and warmed my bones because I had been freezing all morning.  It was a GORGEOUS day Thursday, but it sure did start out cold.


They didn’t have to wait long, and they were done with the ride in less than 30 minutes, so we headed to TriceraTop Spin next since it was right next door.  That one is one of the ones that lifts you in the sky and you fly around in a circle, so it’s pretty tame which meant that I was able to ride.   

By the time we were done at TriceraTop Spin, our lightning lane window for Avatar Flight of Passage was open, so we headed there next.  On the way, we made two stops – one to see a couple of boats sailing down the river, one of which had a band playing music, and one that had Timon from Lion King on it!   

Then, we just so happened to be walking by when Kevin, the bird from Up, was coming out to take pictures with people.  They only let him stand out there for a couple of minutes, so we got lucky and were able to snag some pictures with him.  He was so funny and he kept posing a bunch of different ways with the kids.  It was great.

I was on the fence about whether or not to ride Avatar, Flight of Passage because it’s such a cool ride and I really didn’t want to miss it, but I ultimately decided it wasn’t a good idea since it’s so immersive.  It made my belly flop the last time I rode it when I didn’t have vertigo, so I was worried it might do a number on me since I’ve been having so many issues these last nine months. 

While Brian and the kids went to ride, I found a nice spot in the sun to sit and hang out while I waited, and then I did some browsing in the Avatar Flight of Passage gift shop.

Both kids wanted one of the Avatar shoulder buddies when they got off of the ride, so they used their Disney gift cards to purchase those, and then we headed out in the direction of Navi River journey since B had been able to book a lightning lane for us.

As we were walking that way, I heard, “Lindsay?” and I looked in the direction that my name had been called to see a lady that I didn’t recognize.  She introduced herself, and it turned out that she is one of my blog readers!  What a small world!! 

That was the first time I’ve ever been recognized from my blog, and it was a surreal experience to say the least!  We ended up chatting with her for a bit, and she got to meet Brian and the kids.  She was such a lovely lady, and I was so happy she’d stopped me to say hello!  We took a picture together, but I forgot to ask her permission to post it here, so I’m not posting since I didn’t get her consent.

It was just a really neat experience, though, and it was so nice to meet a reader!  If you ever see me out in public anywhere, feel free to say hi!!  Unless you’re some sort of psycho creeper… then please don’t.  Hahahaha.  KIDDING.  I know I have the best readers and I’m very grateful for all of you.  <3

After that, we headed to Navi River Journey, and we hardly had to wait since we had a lightning lane. 

By the time we were done there, the only thing left to do was go see the Komodo dragons.  Jacob always likes to see them when we’re there.  Every time we go, they’re always asleep, and that day was no exception.  One of these days I’d really like to see them walk around or run or something, but they’re always lazy when we’re there.  Haha.

Once we were done there, we decided we’d done everything we wanted to do in the park, so we walked back to the bus stop to head back to the hotel.  It was noon, so it was time to get some lunch and head to the pool!

When we arrived back at the hotel, we went straight to Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory.  They have tons of grab and go options, so we knew it would be quick and easy.  I opted for a grilled chicken sandwich, and I figured it would be pretty basic, but it was actually delicious as it was topped with fresh mozzarella, basil aioli, balsamic glaze, arugula, and tomato.  Disney food never disappoints! 

After lunch, we walked back to our room, got changed into our swimsuits, and we headed straight to the pool.  It was a GORGEOUS day, but the high was only 75, so there weren’t many people at the pool… I think since it had been so cold that morning, people just decided it was not the day for a pool day.  Haha.  So, we were able to grab loungers right by the water slide which meant that B and I could both relax and watch the kids at the same time.  Two years ago when we went, we were barely able to find chairs anywhere at all, so to be able to get a prime spot was awesome.

The kids got in immediately and played for the next three hours… neither of them were ready to go when it was time.  They both went down the water slide countless times, and it was a nice, relaxing afternoon.  Brian got in the water with them a couple of times, but I never so much as put my toe in because I had been freezing all day and had no desire to get in a cold pool.  They do heat the water and keep it at the same temperature year-round, so it wasn’t very cold, but everyone was freezing every time they had to get out.

By the time we were done at the pool, the kids were starving since they’d played so hard, so we walked over to Scat Cat’s Club – Café to grab beignets.  Yes, ma’am!  One of the things I love about Port Orleans French Quarter is how close everything is.  We were able to go grab those straight from the pool and eat them right outside at a table on the sidewalk in our swimsuits. 

We bought a three-pack to share, and we opted for the warm caramel sauce to dip them in.  Those things are pure heaven, and we were all looking forward to having them again.  The kids have mentioned them often since our last trip two years ago.

When we got back to the room, we all took turns showering, and we all got ready for the evening.  We had a dinner reservation at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and we were all excited about it because it was something new that we’d never done. 

Sanaa is African and Indian cuisine, and I’ve never had either, so I was a little nervous about eating there since I have a sensitive stomach.  I love trying new things, though, so we decided to go for it, and I’m soooo glad we did because it was ah-mazing. 

Sanaa is located in the Savanna of Animal Kingdom, and it has sweeping views of all of the animals roaming around.  When we arrived, we had to wait about five minutes for our table, so we walked out onto the deck to observe the animals.  There weren’t many close by, but we were able to see some giraffes (which are my favorite!) and a couple of other animals that I wasn’t able to identify.  Lol.  Once we were seated in the restaurant, I could still see the giraffes from our table, which was really neat. 

Brian had read that the Indian-style bread service is a must at Sanaa, so we started our dinner with that + some Prickly Pear Mules – VUSA African Vodka, Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur, Prickly Pear, Ginger Beer, and Lime.  They were divine. 

The Indian-style bread service was incredible… oh my goodness, it was so delicious.  It came with five breads – traditional naan, garlic-ginger naan (it was incredible), spiced naan, onion kulcha, and paneer paratha.  The bread was accompanied by nine different sauces – cucumber raita, roasted red pepper hummus, mango chutney (which was my favorite), tomato-date jam, tamarind chutney, coriander chutney, garlic pickle, red chile sambal, and spicy jalapeno-lime pickle.  They ranged from spicy to mild, and we tried all of them. 

When I say that we tore up this massive bread board, I mean it.  We have the pickiest kids on earth when it comes to food, and they LOVED it.  We all agreed that the garlic-ginger naan was the best, and the kids ended up eating most of it.

After our bread service, they delivered our entrees, and oh my word, the food was just incredible.  I opted for the braised beef, basmati rice, and rajma masala.  They serve everything in separate dishes, but the server told me to dump it all out and stir it together for the optimal culinary experience, and – *chef’s kiss* – she was right!  It was so dang good.

The kids opted for American food from the kids’ menu, but I was so proud of them for trying the different kinds of naan and sauces and loving them.  Jacob was super stoked about the basmati rice, though… he did get that for his side because he loves rice so much.

The kids’ plates came with dessert, and they both opted for the “Timon Grubs” a la Lion King.  The Timon Grubs was a bowl of banana pudding topped with graham cracker crumbs (to look like dirt) and it’s topped with chocolate rock candy and gummy worms. 

Neither of our kids like bananas or banana pudding, so we had asked our server if she could just bring them a bowl of the chocolate rocks and gummy worms and leave the banana pudding, but they accidentally brought out the whole dessert for both of them.

We assured her it was fine because they could just pull the chocolate rocks and gummy worms off of the pudding, but she still went back to the kitchen and brought each of them a big extra bowl of the candy.  DISNEY GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND ALWAYS, Y’ALL!

And since the kids didn’t want their banana pudding, that meant that Brian and I were able to eat it.  Oh, my word, was it delicious, too!

We were all stuffed by the time we left, and everything was just exquisite from start to finish.  I cannot recommend that place enough, y’all!  Just note that you do have to have a reservation to eat there, and the reservations book quickly.  We booked ours 60 days in advance of our trip, which was the earliest possible.

After dinner, it was dark outside, but we decided to take a walk out on the deck one more time to see what we could see, and there were various animals walking around.  We saw a zebra and a couple of other large unidentifiable animals, as well as some large birds.  You could also hear the animals making various noises.

After that, we drove back to the hotel, filled our water bottles at the hotel café, and then we got to bed early because the next day was… MAGIC KINGDOM DAY!!!!  We saved the best for last, and my goodness, was it the best day ever!

And just in case you want to see our entire day summarized, here it is…



Hours spent in park – 4.5 (7:30 AM – 12:00 PM)

Rides/Attractions – 6

Characters met – 2

Autographs obtained – 1

Disney Photo Pass pictures and videos taken – 30

Steps taken – 16,447

Miles walked – 6.50

Weather – Sunny, high of 75 degrees, low of 57 degrees



Wake at 5:45 AM

Walk to bus stop at 6:45 AM

Bus at 7:15 AM

Arrive 7:30 AM

PhotoPass Pictures at The Tree of Life (everyone)

Expedition Everest (Brian, Jacob)

LL – Kilimanjaro Safaris (everyone)

PhotoPass Pictures in Avatar World (everyone)

Shopping for sunglasses for Jacob (everyone)

Met Moana from Moana (everyone)

Dinosaur (Brian, Jacob, Olivia)

TriceraTop Spin (everyone)

LL – Avatar Flight of Passage (Brian, Jacob, Olivia)

Souvenir shopping (everyone)

Stopped to talk to a blog reader (everyone)

LL – Navi River Journey

Saw the Komodo dragons (everyone)

Left park at 12:00 PM (everyone)

Quick service lunch at Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory (everyone)

Pool time from 2:00 – 5:00 PM (everyone)

Beignets at Scat Cat’s Club – Café (everyone)

Back to the hotel room to shower and get ready (everyone)

Reservation – Sanaa for dinner (everyone)

Back to hotel for early bedtime

Happy Wednesday, y'all!


  1. We always find that a 1/2 day is enough for us at the Animal Kingdom too. We love Port Orleans and I'm so excited to see that beignets are now Mickey shaped because they didn't used to be! I can't remember the last time we stayed there though... we upgraded to much larger rooms once the boys all became full on adult sized! Your recaps are really making me want to book a trip there!

    1. Yes, we will be having to upgrade eventually, too, because we will outgrow those tiny rooms soon, I'm sure! Y'all should go sometime! We always have such a great time!

  2. I love all of the different restaurants you chose. I must keep these in mind!

  3. Everest makes me sick so good choice not to go on it!

    1. Oh that's so good to know! I probably wouldn't have gone on it anyway, even if I hadn't had my vertigo. Haha. I don't like crazy roller coasters anymore.

  4. So FUN! We love Everest! Glad you didn't risk it!!

    1. I used to love big roller coasters like that, but the older I get, the less I like them. So I didn't mind missing it one bit!


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