The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/9

Disney's Animal Kingdom photo op

Time for another trip report! I’ll be covering my 2022 WDW Marathon Weekend trip. Find all the posts in this report here. Onward!

The bus back from the marathon finish area dropped us at Pop first, and I hobbled back to my room after the fashion of Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein. Never had the ’80s section felt so far away, and it already felt pretty darn far away.

Of course I eventually made it, and I immediately leapt into the shower. I see you your shower beer and raise you a shower Powerade (red).

Afterward I busted open my post-race snack box, which I was dismayed to discover contained only tortilla chips and cheese and apple sauce. I later discovered Erika also got sunflower seeds and goldfish cookies in hers, so maybe when I asked for a box without a banana they thought I wanted allergen-free or something? But if that’s the case, I weep for the food sensitive because that box was borderline worthless. I miss the Oreos. (I ate the chips and cheese, naturally.)

Once Erika returned, it was nap time! As I’ve noted in the past, attempting to power straight through after a race ends in me zombie-walking from ride to ride, which I then fall asleep on. A nap for me is ultimately for the best.

WDW trip report - Pop Century bed

We woke up a couple hours later and discussed our plans for the afternoon. I floated some options, but we ultimately ended up sticking with the original scenario, which was an evening in Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The thing about the Skyliner is that it makes you sooooo spoiled about transportation. Or maybe it’s just me. Now I’m like, a bus? A BUS? Yet it remained the only free way to get to DAK. Anyway, we got lucky – a bus pulled up mere minutes after we arrived at our stop.

Said bus was empty. The driver got out and pointed to the bus parked at the stop next to us, which had a Daisy Duck wrap. “Do you know what that is?” he asked.

“A bus?” we replied hesitantly.

He fixed us with his best deadpan stare. “It is,” he said, “a sitting duck.”

And that’s how we wound up with our private chariot to the Animal Kingdom.

Where, just as I had hoped, people were leaving! It was late afternoon with a closing time of 7pm, and the stream out of the park was steady. Before I charged in, though, I noticed there was no one at the photo op outside the entrance, so I dragged Erika over there first.

Disney's Animal Kingdom photo op

Rest assured that pose was requested by the photographer. I start to wonder if some of these PhotoPass photographers are hazing us.

Once inside the park, I immediately pulled up wait times in the app and noted a mere 10 minutes for Kilimanjaro Safaris. Not even – we all but walked right on. I got some great shots of the lions, but my favorite was a very mundane collection of pelicans and similar. They were all swimming over for snacks and it was so cute!

Kilimanjaro Safaris pelicans
Kilimanjaro Safaris lions

All that animal-spotting left me thirsty, or tired, or both, because I suddenly felt a yen for some coffee. We backtracked from Africa over to Creature Comforts for lattes, where I think I may have encouraged the cashier to try a runDisney race? Who knows; I do it so often now it all blurs together.

We headed over to Dinosaur next, where the posted wait time was a mere 15 minutes and the actual wait time was practically nonexistent. I do love the preshow; something about the cadence of Phylicia Rashad’s speech really works for me.

On the way out of Dinosaur, I was chased down by some of what Liz Lemon would call “youths” who wanted to know where I got my The Emperor’s New Groove Llama Kuzo dress. “Hot Topic,” I told them, and they nodded sagely. “I get all my clothes there,” one girl said with approval. I’m telling you, it’s the place for IP clothing!

WDW trip report - Dino Santa

At that same point, it occurred to me that I had a) run a marathon that morning and b) never had lunch. Erika was similarly snack-y, so we put in a mobile order for some cheeseburger pods to split at Santu’li Canteen and wandered over to Pandora to meet them.

My hope had been that after finishing our mini-meal we’d be able to pick up a ride on River Journey or Flight of Passage, but both rides still posted a hefty wait. Instead, we trekked back to Dinoland USA for another walk-on spin through Dinosaur. We switched seats so that I would be on the outside this time. I ain’t afraid of no Carnotaurus!

Dinosaur on ride photo

If you hate walking, never come to WDW with me, because we will fight. Luckily Erika had no problem racking up the steps, because once again I sent us back to Pandora to take a chance on Flight of Passage. The wait was posted at 65 minutes, but as the park was closing soon and the queue was well inside the floating mountains, I was willing to bet it would be shorter. Sure enough, we were in a preshow room in no more than 40 minutes.

By the time we exited Flight of Passage the park was closed, and we considered our options. We pondered going to Disney Springs, but apparently Disney hasn’t re-instituted the afternoon direct buses from the parks. Boo. We could’ve gotten a Disney Springs bus from Pop, of course, but I was frankly kinda tired at this point and wounded up convincing Erika to go the next day instead. I know, total party pooper.

I can’t say I didn’t enjoy having a low-key evening, though. We grabbed some dinner at the Pop food court and hung around the room a bit before bed. There’s nothing like a full night’s sleep after a race. And if there’s more Disney fun to look forward to in the morning? So much the better!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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