A Change of Heart

We are hitting the denouement of our Girls’ Trip. We packed up our bags and made our way to the front of the resort. This was the first time we actually got to see the grounds of Port Orleans Riverside in the daylight. It was quite serene.

A leisurely walk to the main building where we would be checking out.

We checked our luggage to be picked up later, then headed to our first mode of transportation. When I had planned this trip, I wanted the moms to have the best experience possible in three short days. In my eyes, Magic Kingdom is the must see for any Disney virgin. Of course, one has to experience my absolute favorite, Epcot. In order to have the most intensive experience, and keeping in mind that we weren’t going to be taking in many thrill rides like the ones that are found in Hollywood Studios (not to mention it’s a construction mess right now) or be wanting to do too much extra walking in the very spread out Animal Kingdom, I planned an extra day at Magic Kingdom to round things out. After day two we had a confab and decided that the ladies had seen all that they needed of Magic Kingdom. On a whim, this lady changed all of our reservations, plans and fastpasses and we instead went to Animal Kingdom. I’ll let you ruminate about how big a deal that is for me while we have breakfast at the Polynesian.

After some monorail transportation issues, we landed by boat at the rear of the resort. A new view for me.

Boat dock at the Poly.

New lobby’s still a hit with me.

The menu had changed a bit since our last visit. No more Pulled Pork Hash. Boo! Thankfully, my fave pancakes are still there!

Pancakes – with Macadamia Nut Butter, Pineapple Sauce and Spiced Ham (yup that’s spam)

Polynesian Egg Platter – two eggs-any style with fresh fruit poke, bakery-fresh muffin, and home-fried potatoes with your choice of spiced ham, bacon, or sausage

Tonga Toast – Banana-stuffed French Toast rolled in Cinnamon Sugar and served with a Strawberry Compote and a side of  fruit poke.

Creamy Grits – with smoked gouda

I don’t remember who had what cause we all shared. Everything was splendid as usual. The service was friendly but molasses slow. What are you gonna do? We made our way to the lobby to catch our bus to Animal Kingdom when we had a classically wonderful interaction with a cast member. She gave us all flower leis and took some photos of the girls. I believe her name was Karen. I did not take her picture, true to form.

Thanks, Karen (I think)!

Flora looking splendid.


We made it!

While we were on the bus we learned from another guest that the Animal Kingdom Park would be closing early due to a soft opening preview of the new Pandora-World of Avatar. This would be bad news for those who were staying on for a few more days. One would want to get in a full day at any one park, especially if you didn’t have the hopper option. We however, would have to be leaving by 5:00pm anyway to catch our ride to the airport.

Sorry, folks. The moose outside shoulda told ya!

This revelation turned out to be what we Disney nerds refer to as a bit of pixie dust. Normally this park is  quite close and congested, one of the reasons I had ruled it out. We practically had free rein the whole day!


Pandora sign, newly in place.

I got to work right away making fastpasses, which was easy peasy since everyone else bailed. We made our way to Africa to take in Kilimanjaro Safari.

Gonna take a lot to take me away from you…

You guys, we were the only ones on our safari vehicle. This day was going freakin’ awesome!

Look how happy they are!

Mom, getting all the pictures.

The animals made a pretty good showing, though my pictures don’t reflect it.

After the Safari we were trying to make the next show of The Legend of the Lion King Musical. We somehow ended up on another nature trail that took us the long way around.

Excuse me, sir. Can you point me to the…sir?

Almost there!

We had just minutes to spare. Arlene was enjoying some live music from a couple singers outside and I know she wanted to stay and listen, but I coaxed her away because I knew how much she would enjoy this show!

Hakuna Matata!

Due to traveling with someone in a scooter, we got to sit right up close. By no means does this mean you get a  “free ride” by traveling with someone who has any sort of challenge. I have read and heard a lot of snark from people in the Disney community over the years about this. I can say from our experience that Disney is superb at accommodating everyone. I would also say to those able-bodied people who gripe about scooters getting on busses first or being up front; be grateful that you have the blessing of being free to move about at your will. There is no “advantage” that trumps your health. Done rant.

Wow! I can’t even wear heals.

Tumble Monkeys!

Big Finale!

We had no other plans for attractions but we decided to take a nice stroll around to some of the other lands. It was so amazing to essentially have the walkways completely empty. Just to give you an idea of how remarkable this was, here is what we encountered…

Look out for the tumble weeds!

…and here’s what was in store just a few days later!

All the nope.

We made our way to Asia. I love all the details here. Prayer flags hang all throughout.

Shrines surrounding Everest.

Maybe I’ll stay here next trip.

The clouds were rolling in. More about this later.

It was getting close to closing time. We were walking past Expedition Everest when  Meghan noticed there was just a five minute wait. She announced that she was just gonna hop on and headed over. Hey! I love Everest too!!! Wait up!

Made it just in time!

Whilst we were on the coaster, knowing our moms/grandmoms were waiting outside, we saw that storms rolling in. We got off the ride and rushed over to them but it was too late. We were all exposed and just stuck in the wide open as a freaky wild storm blew through. We got our ponchos on and tried to buckle down but moving anywhere undercover was not an option. I couldn’t document this because I stuffed my phone down into my pants…any port… but here’s a view into the kind of rain we encountered:

Again, because of these new circumstances we made some changes. I wanted to have a late lunch at Sanaa in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. However, we were drenched, so I cancelled our reservations. We all decided that some warm, dry clothes, a cocktail and  some snacks back at Port Orleans while we waited for our transit would be a better call.

Our home, sweet temporary, home.

My mom dipped into the gift shop to burn some gift cards. She scored the cutest ever jacket!

My minnie momma!

We settled into some cozy seating at the River Roost Lounge. Disney aficionados know that this is home to Yee-Ha Bob. This is also home to some tasty bar snacks. Just what we were after.

Bayou Buffalo Wings – served with celery sticks and blue cheese

Mardi Gras Fritters – house-made pimiento cheese fritters with pepper jelly

Our snacks met our immediate need but the girls craved some sweets not available at the tavern.  We reached out to the quick serve for dessert.

A magic cookie bar, Mickey Brownie, Red Velvet cake.

I am not a sweets person, but the magic cookie bar is something that is of legend, so I tried it. Oh my! So buttery good!!!

Now’s the time to say goodbye!

Before we knew it, our coach had arrived. This trip was unique to be sure. Meghan and I got such a thrill sharing such a magical place with the moms. I hope they had as good a time as I did. I’m so grateful for all these ladies in my life!


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