This is part of a series about our BFF vacation in May 2017. All the posts about our trip will be listed here! Make sure you read the other posts first 🙂
I’ll warn you now this post is not gonna be like the last one – we did a LOT of fun things and there are a TON OF PHOTOS!! So settle in for a long read 🙂
THURSDAY, MAY 25, 2017
I am so excited to write about today because it was a highlight of our trip – today we had a full Animal Kingdom day planned AND it’s the day we did Wild Africa Trek!!
If you aren’t familiar, Wild Africa Trek is a specialty experience that takes place (obviously) at Animal Kingdom. It’s about 3.5 hours and it’s basically a behind the scenes version of Kilimanjaro Safaris. The tour allows you to take a better look at the animals on the safari and learn more about them. I love it so much that this was actually my third time doing it! It was Chris’s second time and Sarah & Ana’s first. It’s a great experience and I highly recommend it.
But I’m getting ahead of myself! So we headed into the park and booked it back to Africa to check in. At check in they had us sign a waiver and everyone is weighed to ensure they are given the correct safety gear. They also had us lock up all our items – the only things allowed on the trek are sunglasses and cameras or phones that have a strap. They gave us little loops to put on our sunglasses so they would stay on. We also got cute little name tags!
Something cool this time that was new from previous trips was that we could bring our phones! They had these little straps you could put on your phone case so you could bring it with. The reason it has to have a strap is because part of the trek involves walking across suspension bridges, and they don’t want you to drop your phone or camera into the crocodiles. That would be bad.
So anyway – we were all ready to go with our gear on and super excited! We had a group of 10 people on our trek.
One of the coolest parts of Wild Africa Trek is that the guides take tons of photos of you and the animals and you can download all of them once you get home for free! We made sure to be extra nice to our guides so they took lots of great photos of us lol… but they would have anyway I’m sure – something consistent across every time I’ve done the trek is that EVERY cast member there is amazing. And this was no exception! Our guides were Daniel, Morgan and Paola and they were all super nice and knowledgeable.
So once they got everyone loaded up they walked us back to a trail near Africa, to make sure everyone’s equipment and earpieces were working. Before long we went off the trail and ~into the forest~ to a path that’s right along the Safaris track. There we met up with another cast member who was feeding the hippos!
We stopped for a few minutes to learn about the hippos and ask some questions. They were real cute and loved their snack of lettuce.
This was also where we got to put our gear to use for the first time – there was a large metal loop that they strapped us in to so we could go out and stand over the cliff safely and watch the hippos! It’s hard to explain but it makes sense in person lol
The hippos were super cute and silly and we learned some cool things about them. Once we’d had our fill we were on our way. And our next stop was a big one because we were headed to the suspension bridges!!
So you have probably seen these bridges if you’ve ever been on Kilimanjaro Safaris – they’re just before the crocodile section off to the left of the truck. If you have ever seen people up there, they were probably doing Wild Africa Trek! We saw a few safari trucks go by as we were up there, it was fun to wave to them haha
Before going across, they briefed all of us on some safety measures first – nothing too complicated, basically just listen to them and don’t do anything stupid like hang out over the edge or something. There’s two suspension bridges, and they spaced us out enough that they could get solo pics of us each walking across both of them. From our group, Ana went first, then Sarah, then me and then Chris!
There’s Ana in the distance starting on the second bridge and Sarah in front of me!
The bridges are one of the coolest parts of the trek. You literally walk RIGHT OVER the crocodiles!!
I didn’t really think of it as “scary” because like…well first of all, I’m not scared of heights lol but also you’re completely safely strapped in, and at no point did I ever actually think I was gonna fall or anything. It is exhilarating though, and both Chris and Ana ARE afraid of heights so I’m sure it was even more thrilling for them!
They had one of the guides head to the end of the bridges to get some great pics of us as we were coming across!
You can even see the crocodiles right below us in some of those photos! 😱
After the bridges they had a little spot to get a drink and sit while we waited for the rest of the group to get across. It was a good spot for a little rest and we talked about how we were having so much fun so far!!
After everyone was across, we strapped back in to another spot like we had for the hippos so we could go to the edge of the cliff and get a better look at the crocodiles!
Once we’d had our fill of the crocs it was off to our next destination, and we were able to take our gear off! We headed out of the foresty area we were in towards a small truck to go out onto the safari. In the truck they had binoculars and cold towels for us to cool off a little bit which was pleasant. From there we went out toward the regular path that Kilimanjaro Safaris trucks go on but we were off to the side – it was like having a private safari!!
It was really cool to drive around and be able to ask questions, and get closer to the animals than we would in a normal safari. They also shared a lot of cool facts about what Disney is doing to help save endangered animals in the wild. It was really neat to hear about all the conservation efforts that are being made to protect animals we were seeing right in front of us!
Between our photos and the guides’ photos, we got some really amazing shots of the animals! Like this glamour shot of the giraffe:
One of our favorites and a highlight of the trek was that a new baby elephant was out on the savanna! Her name was Stella and we all quickly fell in love with her.
She was SO cute and was running all around and playing – we were obsessed!!!
We also got to pass by the flamingos! They’re also some of my favorites because I love pink things and I too spend a lot of time standing on one leg.
Me when faced with any form of adult responsibility.
Before long our stomachs were rumbling, which was good because it was time to eat!! We pulled up to the little hut you can see in this photo here, called a boma (like the restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge):
The meal is one of my favorite parts of Wild Africa Trek so I was very excited!!! We pulled up to the boma and they paused to let us go to the bathroom and take some photos – we were literally RIGHT on the savanna so we had a great view!
I love a good themed bathroom sign.
Lunch is served in these little tins called tiffins (like the restaurant at Animal Kingdom…it’s all making sense now) and it’s an assortment of cute little foods! They told us that the kitchen is shared with Tusker House but almost everything we ate was specifically made for Wild Africa Trek.
Here’s what’s inside:
On the top one there’s a selection of meats including salami and prosciutto my fav!!!! Then there’s a little fruit salad, and the yellow stuff is an AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS curry chicken salad. I’m obsessed with it. And in the middle is an edible flower!
Then on the bottom there’s some shrimp, a pinwheel of I think a salmon spread? that was really good, and then some tomato hummus with little bread rounds to eat all of it with. Everything was SO GOOD – I seriously love the food on the trek and it is a highlight of the day for me!!
We all loved everything!! Oh, and the best part – they had my beloved jungle juice to drink 😍 if you aren’t familiar, it’s the juice they serve all over property (under different names – it’s moonshine at Trail’s End lol) that’s basically passionfruit, guava, and orange juice!! I love it so much!!
While we were enjoying our lunch, our lovely tour guides were snapping some more pics of the animals for us:
And some of us as well!
Once everyone was finished, we hopped back into the truck and continued on the trail!
I missed the memo that we were all taking a binocular picture here.
This rhino friend got SO CLOSE to our truck – he must have wanted some of our delicious lunch too.
Soon we were on to another highlight – the lions! They were actually all up and about walking around which was awesome because they are usually asleep when I go lol
Well…they walked around and then laid back down haha
We finished up the last part of the safari route, passing a few other animals:
And when we got to the end our trek was coming to a close. At the very end when we got off the truck, they let us know that a portion of the cost we paid for the trek goes towards conservation efforts for some of the animals we had seen that day. They let us designate where we wanted our proceeds to go by placing a pebble they gave us into a bin for big cats, rhinos, elephants, or giraffes. We all chose elephants because we fell so much in love with Stella.
Before we left, we had to get a photo with our amazing trek guides!!
And we found this cute photo of them on our photopass afterward too! Asante sana means thank you 🙂
The trek lasted about 3 hours, so we were already about halfway through the day! We had so much fun though – all of us said it was a highlight of the trip and I’m so glad we got to do it together.
After trekking we still had some time before our dinner reservation, but our first order of business was an outfit change. Sarah & I brought a change of clothes so we weren’t wearing leggings the rest of the day lol. We wanted to get some cute photos before the end of the day and look nice for dinner! So we quickly went from this:
We took a bunch of photos here by Everest, and they’re some of the best ones from the trip!
And there’s Chris being Chris.
After we were more comfy and took a few photos, Chris left us for a bit to go home and check on Teddy. We kept ourselves busy and headed to something that was a first for me – Flights of Wonder! This show has since closed, but it was a cute little demonstration of some cool birds doing cool things.
This bird got very close to us.
After that we wandered around Harambe for a while where we found a super cute roaming photopass photographer that took some amazing pics for us! We basically had a full photoshoot, it was great.
We got soooo many cute photos – this roaming photopass was a such a hidden gem!! In Harambe we also picked up this yummy drink adorably titled the Frozen Flamingo:
After that it was time for our first fastpass which was for Dinosaur. We enjoyed it:
*pretends to be shocked*
And by that time Chris was back! We headed to the front of the park to get him as it was just about time for our dinner reservation.
Look at the joy in Chris’s eyes haha
Finally after we had finished working up an appetite with all our photos…it was time for dinner!! Which would take place at:
Tiffins!! This is a meal we were SO excited about and looking forward to the whole trip. This was a new place for all of us and we had heard great reviews. It was really beautiful inside!
We had booked the Rivers of Light dining package, where you pay a fixed price and get an appetizer, entree, and dessert plus reserved seating for Rivers of Light. It ended up being a great deal for us because we all wanted to try the more expensive things on the menu anyway lol so it worked out! Normally when we eat out together, we try to order different meals on the menu so that we can all try the maximum number of things – but this time we all took advantage of the set price and mostly got the same stuff. Here’s what we tried:
This photo almost looks like a joke by itself LOL but ok look at this – this was a lobster popcorn Thai curry soup. They bring out this part first, with the popcorn, and then the server pours the soup over it in front of you:
And THIS SOUP WAS SO GOOD. If you’ve been reading my blog (especially travel/food posts) for a long time you may already know that I love me a good soup. If given an opportunity to get soup I will usually get soup. I JUST LOVE SOUP SO MUCH. And this one did not disappoint. It had so many flavors and really just warmed you right up, I loved it so much. The meal was off to a great start! It’s truly tragic that this isn’t on the menu anymore but they have a butternut squash one on there now that I hear is really amazing too.
Chris decided to be different and got a charcuterie board for his appetizer:
It was good, but it was no soup if you know what I mean.
For our entrees, Sarah, Ana & I had known what we were going to get for months haha – this meal is the main reason we decided to do the dining package. It’s the wagyu beef strip loin:
It’s served with rainbow carrots, Peruvian potatoes, and THE MOST DELICIOUS SAUCE I’VE EVER TASTED??? Omg. This was SO good. It was cooked perfectly, the vegetables with it were perfect, the sauce was perfect. It was one of the best Disney meals I’ve ever had. We all had this in mind when we were talking about going to Tiffins, and this entree is the most expensive one by far at $53. The dining package was $67 a person…so for just $14 more we could also get an appetizer, a dessert, AND reserved seats at Rivers of Light? It was a no brainer. I literally loved that entree so much. Like I clearly remember trying to slow down eating it because it was so good and I wanted it to last longer lol. It’s making me salivate thinking about it again now. It was so good.
Chris had to be different again and he got the duo of venison for his entree:
It was also REALLY good – that stuff on the side is called “leek ash” I think? It didn’t really have a taste, it was just there for pretty plating I assume. This one was good, but again I think we had the superior choice.
And for dessert, we actually all got the same thing because it was the one that sounded the best and nobody wanted to share hahaha
This is a South American chocolate ganache. The ganache was rich but not too heavy, and I’m a big fan of fruits paired with chocolate in desserts to balance it out a bit. It was the perfect ending to an amazing meal!!
Once we were all stuffed to the brim and extremely satisfied, we received our seating vouchers for Rivers of Light:
I think all of us were extremely pleased with Tiffins. I stand by the fact that it was one of the best Disney meals I’ve had anywhere – and as you may have guessed, I’ve eaten at a lot of Disney restaurants! Everything we ordered was perfectly prepared and all the dishes were just really interesting and different. It was an expensive meal but I think it was worth it.
After dinner we still had time before Rivers of Light and it was time for our next two fastpasses, for Safaris and Everest. The safari was pretty good, it was really cool to go on it after the trek and see everything we had walked over and talked about that day! Everest was perfect as always, and it was almost dark which made for a great ride. Before long it was time to head over to our seats for Rivers of Light.
With our dining package, there’s a section that’s reserved for only people with those vouchers. Individual seats aren’t saved or anything, and you still need to get there early-ish if you want like the very best seats there, but we ended up with a surprisingly great spot in the second row!
I won’t bore you with tons of photos because you can watch the whole thing on youtube if you want lol
This was the first time any of us had seen it, after much buildup and anticipation since it had been first announced so long ago. It was a fine show, if a bit underwhelming. I honestly feel like it was built up to be a lot more than the sum of its parts…but it has a lot of cool effects and things going on and it was entertaining enough. There were some really beautiful parts and the performers seemed to be enjoying themselves a lot, which is always fun to watch.
We all liked it fine but we also definitely didn’t come out proclaiming it our new favorite nighttime show or anything. I haven’t gone back to watch it again since then, but then again I don’t exactly make an effort to go to the parks a lot when my friends aren’t visiting anyway. Still, it’s cool that Animal Kingdom has a night show now and gets to stay up late and hang out with the older kids.
After the show we were feeling pretty pooped from a long day of adventuring, so we headed out towards the front of the park. We caught the projection show on the Tree of Life on the way out, and actually liked it better than Rivers of Light lol
Once we got home we quickly looked at our Wild Africa Trek pics and watched some Survivor before bedtime. It was SUCH an amazing day – I think all of us said this was one of the best days of any trip we’d had together! Wild Africa Trek was so much fun and I think it’s always going to be one of our favorite experiences we’ve shared 🙂
That’s all for this one! Only one more day left of this trip, and it’s going to be another big one since it was our last full day together. I hope you’re enjoying this series! Stay tuned for more like this and thank you for reading 🙂