This morning we slept in again, this time until 9:30. We got ready quickly and left for Hollywood Studios around 10am. We figured that if we were lucky, we could power-walk to TSM and manage to snag one of the few remaining Fast Passes for the day, which we did, with a 5:30-6:30pm return time.
With the day’s most urgent task out of the way, we strolled back to Starring Rolls for breakfast, sharing a bagel, blueberry muffin, and bananas and having what passes for a WDW latte.
Facing the same HS-boredom problem as we did earlier in our trip, we departed HS for Animal Kingdom, where we went directly to Expedition Everest for a trip through the single rider line. We then doubled back to Dinosaur, which I admit still scares the crap out of me, no matter how many times I warn myself of the audioanimatronic being that’s going to start screaming in my ear.
After browsing the dump shop, we went back to EE for another ride, and just managed to beat a tour group into the single rider line. I sat next to a business man who was riding for the 1st time with his colleagues, and although he feigned bravado with them, he surreptitiously caught my eye and asked how scary the ride would really be. I reassured him, and off we went.
As you probably expected the businessman did just fine, and after concluding once again that CP is incapable of appearing in a ride picture with a smile, we departed Animal Kingdom with the intention of heading back to Downtown Disney again for lunch. We decided the fastest route would be to take a Saratoga Springs Resort bus and walk to DTD, which wasn’t a bad plan, but was made a bit less enjoyable by the long jerky bus ride we endured and the hot walk in the midday sun from the Congress Park bus stop at SSR to Downtown Disney. A caprese sandwich at Earl of Sandwich later, we were both restored, and wandered through Goofy’s Candy Company, browsing the sweets and sampling some fudge. Tired after what had been a very hot morning on the go, we headed to the bus stop for yet another long, noisy bus ride back to Animal Kingdom Lodge.
Let’s take a minute here and discuss the Disney bus situation. Now, I’m a big believer in public transportation both for its convenience and for its sustainability. After three mid-2000s visits to Disney relying solely upon Disney transportation, I am ready to buy a fleet of cars, marry a car dealer, and buy as much stock in Hummers as I possibly can. Well, not really, but the truth remains that the Disney buses are so unreliable and frustrating that I will never again visit WDW without renting a car. Something changed in the mid-2000s regarding the way Disney dispatches its buses, and it’s now a rare occasion when a bus comes in a timely manner and/or said bus isn’t filled to capacity. Further, there is something so horrible about the Downtown Disney bus route from every Disney resort imaginable. I don’t know if it’s the two DTD stops, or the inevitable stop at Typhoon Lagoon to pick up soaking-wet passengers, but something makes the trip seem interminable. Especially interminable should your bus driver be scheduled for a break at the DTD West Side stop after he’s picked you up at the Marketplace. Add another 20 minutes to your trip? Why not!
Anyway. Once back at Animal Kingdom Lodge it was time for more afternoon napping and a check-in with Oprah. We left AKL again around 6pm to head back to Hollywood Studios, arriving around 6:20pm, giving us ten minutes to use our TSM Fast Passes. Walking briskly we arrived right on time, and were both pleased to finally break 100k each.
Afterwards it was time for another dinner of champions: the Tune-In Lounge milkshakes.
Sipping our chocolate and peanut butter and jelly concoctions we walked down Hollywood Boulevard, out of the Studios, and down the lakeside path to Epcot, stopping at both the Boardwalk Inn and Beach Club to both browse the resorts and find a restroom. At one restroom we stumbled upon a group of drunken Food and Wine revelers, tooting furiously while lamenting the sauerkraut they had just consumed. Ummm…yikes. We moved quickly on, and soon were at the International Gateway, and then headed to Morocco for Casa beer and falafel pitas.
While eating our snack we noticed a private event setting up on the World Showcase Lagoon. Always interesting in these types of affairs, we lingered for a few minutes, watching the staff set up. It was then we noticed one staff member eating right off the trays of food, or rather grabbing his food and then stealing away to eat it behind a topiary. This deeply inflamed my sense of righteous indignation, so I found the first manager I saw to let her know. Whether or not she did anything I don’t know, but I’m hoping she dealt with the situation – if I had paid beaucoup dollars for a private Disney event, I’d be pretty peeved if a server ate my food, and with his bare unwashed hands to boot!
After walking away indignantly, we meandered through the massive crowds, finally stopping at the Puerto Rico booth for another torched cherry colada. We walked by Test Track to scope out the line, but CP wasn’t feeling particularly good, and we decided to head back to AKL. One very fish-smelling bus ride later, we were back in our room for soda, showers, and sleep.
Highlight of the day? Walking from the Studios to Epcot. Sometimes I think the price of theme park admission (or the cost of a Disney trip, really) would be worth it even if we never rode a ride; it feels a privilege to meander through such an interesting, often beautiful built environment. The path between these two theme parks is secluded, quiet, and quite lovely.