The Rivers of Light Opening That Wasn’t – WDW Trip Diary Pt. 1

David and I just spent a SUPER QUICK weekend trip at Walt Disney World, flying in late on a Friday night, and flying out on a Monday morning. When Walt Disney World announced a couple of months ago that Rivers of Light would be debuting on Earth Day, April 22nd, we knew that we HAD to be there (responsible bloggers that we are). So we booked a last minute weekend trip, including eating at most of the restaurants at and staying at The Animal Kingdom Lodge – it was going to be an Animal Kingdom themed weekend. However, several weeks ago, Disney announced that the Rivers of Light opening would be delayed, with no new date set. Also delayed where the other new nighttime offerings at Animal Kingdom, which will now be debuted on Memorial Day. We were obviously disappointed when this news was announced, but we would rather Disney take the time to do it right, than debut a half-ready show in an effort to make a deadline. Our trip was already booked and planned, and we couldn’t change our airfare without paying a huge fee, so we decided to take the weekend trip anyway.

We arrived late on a Friday night, and after checking into The Animal Kingdom Lodge, we headed to Disney Springs. After our amazing experience a few weeks ago at Morimoto Asia, we were dying to try out The Boathouse. We knew that some of the restaurants in Disney Springs were supposed to be open until 2 am, but we were still surprised (pleasantly) to find that at such a late hour, and with so few people in the restaurant, none of staff seemed hurried, or wanting us to leave. The service was amazing, the drinks were great, and so was the food. We loved the ambiance of the Boathouse – we sat on the outside dockside bar, and loved the views. (We’re already wanting to go back and sit inside as well!) We have the feeling that the dockside bar at The Boathouse will be high on our list of favorite Disney hangout bars.

LJP_0079LJP_0080LJP_0086LJP_0089LJP_0088We got to The Animal Kingdom Lodge late, and crashed for a few hours, before getting up early to grab some Mickey Waffles (the best breakfast food ever) from The Mara. We ate them poolside – the weather was BEAUTIFUL, and then spent some time walking around the lodge. It was our first time staying at the lodge, and we loved it! (We will follow with a full review later). We were able to get a savannah view room, which is a huge item crossed off our bucket list.

LJP_0096LJP_0104LJP_0108LJP_0117LJP_0127LJP_0139We headed to The Magic Kingdom, which was insanely crowded. Honestly, we saw some of the largest crowds this weekend, and we couldn’t understand it. We kept asking ourselves if there was some event going on that we didn’t know about. We used a few Magic Kingdom fastpass+s, and then headed to lunch at The Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace is one of our favorite character buffets at Walt Disney World. It’s rare to find a character buffet that combines good food, with good atmosphere, with great character interaction – and the Crystal Palace manages to do that. After lunch, our goal was to conquer the Magic Kingdom mountain range – so we consecutively went on Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain. After getting soaked on Splash Mountain (and I do mean completely drenched), we decided to avoid the crowds by going back to our hotel, to spend the afternoon poolside. We love the pool at the Animal Kingdom Lodge – we love how it’s a zero entry pool, and how it has a great view of the backside of the lodge.

LJP_0143LJP_0147LJP_0148LJP_0160LJP_0163LJP_0175LJP_0185LJP_0188LJP_0191LJP_0199LJP_0235LJP_0238After a relaxing afternoon, we headed to one of our favorite hidden gems of Walt Disney World – The Kona Cafe, for as much sushi as we could eat. I have nothing but high opinions about The Kona Cafe, and consider it one of the best, most affordable places at WDW.

When dinner was over, we headed to The Magic Kingdom and set up for pictures of the night time entertainment. We wanted to get pictures of The Main Street Electrical Parade and Wishes, with the partners statue in the front, so we camped out for a while.

LJP_0270LJP_0271LJP_0282LJP_0353LJP_0405LJP_0417LJP_0448LJP_0463After the nighttime entertainment, we did what we do best – we closed down The Magic Kingdom, to ride rides without long lines, and get empty park shots. We left at almost 1:30 am, exhausted, but happy (we’re always happy when we get to see The Kiss Goodnight!)