Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Trip Report Tuesday: Throwback Edition // 20th Wedding Anniversary WDW Trip Day 4 | Animal Kingdom, Rainforest Cafe, Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail & Raglan Road

Hello, friends.  It's time to recap another Disney day.  I hope this post will serve as a bit of an escape for you today from all the heaviness of the times we're living in.  I invite you to grab one of your favorite snacks or sips, get comfy, relax and join me for a day at Disney . . . 

Day 4 - Monday, November 12, 2018

When you wake up to a savanna view, it's a good day!  There will be more animals out and about later. ;)

Here's a look off to the side of our room's balcony.  From there you could see a landing with rocking chairs that look out at the savanna.  The photo below also gives you a peek at what the savanna view balconies look like.  I love that each floor's balcony railing is painted in a different color which all comes together with the murals.  The Disney magic is in the details.

Time for a morning of fun at Animal Kingdom!

It was so special being there to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary during the 20th anniversary of Animal Kingdom park!  The fact that we honeymooned here during its first year made it all the more special too.

Heading into my favorite part of the park, Pandora!  First up, Na'vi River Journey.

Not many of my Na'vi snapshots turned out well since I was taking them with my phone that day, but here are a few from one of my favorite sections of the ride where you can look up and see the little creatures' shadows above. 

Pandora's beauty gets me every time!  I'll never forget the very first time I stepped foot in this land.  To quote my trip report of that first experience, "Photos will not do this stunning land justice.  I was in absolute awe of the beauty of this magnificent addition to Animal Kingdom!  After our time in Pandora I told Jason the word that came to mind to describe it is otherworldly!  The brilliant colors, the gorgeous waterfalls, the intricate details around each corner honestly made me think about how breathtakingly beautiful Heaven is sure to be, as described in the Bible with its streets of gold!  If man can create something this stunning, I can only imagine what God has prepared for those who trust in Christ!  Visiting Pandora was awe-inspiring and clearly led my impressed mind to think on the beauty I anticipate seeing in and throughout eternity!"  

Next up, Kilimanjaro Safaris!

After a few rides we popped into Creature Comforts Coffee Shop (Animal Kingdom's Starbucks) for a bite to eat.  

While I didn't pick up any cupcakes, I always enjoy spotting the sweet offerings. 

Cold complimentary water

We went with a couple little breakfast sandwiches and ice waters.

It's so tough to be a bug!

Some Tree of Life snapshots from the It's Tough to Be a Bug queue path.

I spy a dolphin!  It's always fun looking for animals carved all over the Tree of Life!

One of my absolute faves followed, Expedition Everest!

There are two things I especially love about Disney shopping, seasonal/holiday merch and the unique theming of each shop.  Let's take a peek both . . . 

Now to the two items I purchased during this shopping trip, a 20th anniversary magnet and Christmas ornament.  You may remember that both magnets and Christmas ornaments are things I enjoy collecting from each vacation we take.  These being 20th anniversary pieces made them absolutely perfect keepsakes from this celebratory 20th wedding anniversary vacation!

A couple of couple selfies :)

I adore the vibrant colors of this shop and its Christmas decor!

Time to visit Dr. Seeker, a heck of a paleontologist, and help track down "our dino".

From Dinosaur to a Dino-store, Chester & Hester's Dinosaur Treasures.  This store is meant to look like a vintage roadside attraction shop.  On this trip I took a moment to snap some pics of the decor on the walls surrounding all that cute dino merch.

This is one of my favorite Christmastime decorations in Animal Kingdom.  It's even cuter all lit up at night!

Lunch at Rainforest Cafe

Rainforest Cafe is such a nostalgic place for us.  When our girls were little we started a tradition of taking a day trip to the closest cafe, a few hours away from us.  We'd go at Christmastime and that location would have all the animal animatronics dressed up in their celebratory best, gorillas in top hats and bow ties.  Our girls loved it and we loved that! 

Another thing I'm nostalgic about regarding this Rainforest Cafe in particular is thinking back to our firstborn's first WDW trip.  We ate here and I can still remember her posing underneath this elephant's trunk as it "spits" water into the fountain.  She was so excited to be here and it is such a cute memory!

A peek at their gift shop as we waited to be seated.

You enter the restaurant beneath an aquarium archway.  Such a fun feature!

The restaurant has a rainforest atmosphere and every so often a "rainstorm" erupts complete with thunder and flashing of lights to simulate lightning.  

The animals all move and occasionally sound off as well, so you'll hear these elephants trumpeting, bird singing, and gorillas grumbling too.

We were seated beside a waterfall which made for sweet ambience as we chatted and enjoyed our lunch.

I had their Blue Mountain Chicken Sandwich.  Jason went with Pastalaya which is a dish that seems born of his dreams.  He says, "It's basically pasta jambalaya which is amazing!"  Truth be told, the quality of food isn't what attracts most people to Rainforest Cafe.  If you plan a visit, don't expect to be blown away by the dishes.  It's really a spot for atmosphere, and for us personally, nostalgia.  It is very well themed for a day at Animal Kingdom park, but if you're going somewhere strictly for the food I wouldn't necessarily recommend this spot.  However, if you're looking for a restaurant that you'll leave feeling like it was an experience (especially with kiddos) this is a good option.

After lunch we made the short drive back to our resort for some rest and relaxation, much of which was enjoyed from our balcony watching this zebra and other wildlife roaming the savanna.

Disney Springs

Refreshed, we made our way to Disney Springs for a stroll through their Christmas Tree Trail and dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Raglan Road!

If you're ever at WDW during the Christmas season I highly recommend a stroll through the Christmas Tree Trail!  It's free and so much fun to see all the whimsically decorated, terrifically themed trees!  I loved it so much during our vacation the year prior that we visited twice in one trip!  If you're interested in seeing the trees from that year too you can visit my post A Stroll Down the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail.  Now, to the trees of 2018 ...

Even the Disney Springs carousel gets in on the festivities!  Check out the pretty ponies all dolled up in bows and Santa hats for the season.

No trip to Disney Springs is complete without a bit of shopping and on this lovely afternoon we made our way into one of the best shops in the Springs, The Dress Shop on Cherry Tree Lane!  You can always find cute Disney purses and darling dresses in this section of the Marketplace Co-op.

Next up, (the then newly remodeled) World of Disney store!

This scene with Christmas goodies, lit garlands above, and the cute clock face from It's a Small World in the center of it all - makes my heart sing!

Darling projections on the floor

I have always wanted to get one of these sweet treats from The Ganachery, but have passed as it'd be a little hard to transport on a flight home.  Maybe someday I'll splurge for one simply to enjoy while on vacation.  We'll see. ;) 

It looks like a gingerbread house made of chocolate, but there's more here than meets the eye!  It comes with a hammer to be used to bust into it revealing the contents inside - more sweets!  In 2018 this was filled with peppermint bark.  I've gotta be honest though, I'd have a really hard time taking a hammer to this beauty!  

As we made our way to the restaurant I enjoyed all the fun and festive decor sprinkled throughout the Springs . . . 

Dinner at Raglan Road

I love that they decorate this bicycle seasonally.  If you're interested in seeing it decked out in summery florals you can visit the trip report of my 40th birthday dinner here and for a view of it in the fall check out my 2017 Thanksgiving Day trip report here.

Cheers to a dinner date with my love!

Complimentary bread is always a good thing.

While not a traditionally Irish dish, I love their burgers!  I unashamedly savored that while the handsome hubby across the table from me enjoyed his Raglan Road favorite, "It's Not Bleedin' Chowder".

I will say that we were a bit bummed about our table's location.  We have had fantastic spots here in the past where we could easily view and hear the entertainment (a big reason why we love this place).  We were seated before the band and Irish dancers took the stage not realizing that from there we wouldn't be able to hear the music well as we were seated behind the speakers.  We still had a great time enjoying our food and each other's company, thankful that we'd had the full experience on other occasions.  I share this to simply say that if you're reading this and have never had the pleasure of dining here before, I both highly recommend this restaurant and requesting a table near (or with a good view of) the stage.  It's worth the wait. 

We finished the evening right where our day began, on our balcony looking out at the giraffes and other wildlife.  It's such a peaceful place.  I can hardly wait to return in the fall.

Thank you so much for stopping by my corner of the web today.  It is such a heavy moment in our world right now.  I hope that your time scrolling through this post has felt like a mini virtual vacation and added a bit of refreshment to your day.  

You're invited to join me here once again this time next week!  We'll begin our day in Magic Kingdom, tour the monorail loop gingerbread displays, and have lunch at the Grand Floridian.  We'll end that day before our 20th wedding anniversary the same way we did our wedding rehearsal night, with pizza!  Hope to see you then!

In Case You Missed It

Direct Link to Previous Trip Report Tuesday Post - 

TRT // 20th Wedding Anniversary WDW Trip Day 1

TRT // 20th Wedding Anniversary WDW Trip Day 2

TRT // 20th Wedding Anniversary WDW Trip Day 3

Join me in the adventures to come!
Follow along on Bloglovin for future blog posts and on Instagram for snapshots and stories in between!


  1. I love the theming at the Animal Kingdom so much! I could take so many pictures there.

    1. I feel the same way! You have such a knack for photography. I would love to see this beautiful park through your photos! :)

  2. Animal Kingdom was the only park my husband and I didn't do when we went in 2014, so we are all so excited to see it when we go! (haha and I just ordered our shirts today for our Animal Kingdom day) I am hoping to get a reservation for Raglan Road too! I can't wait!

    1. Hooray for your upcoming AK visit and shirts already ordered for the occasion! I LOVE it! :D I'm already looking forward to returning to Raglan Road too. It's so much fun! I hope to see future trip reports on your blog sharing both your AK day and perhaps your adorable family around a Raglan Road table in the future too! :) My heart is so full for you thinking about the upcoming travel plans you have in the works too! Happy Disney trip planning!

  3. I love that chalkboard print! Cute:) Thanks for sharing the music..and even your words of encouragement! We all can use encouragement just now....blogs that are a blessing are just that to me!

    1. Thank you, Jennifer! I agree, we can all use some encouragement. I find both blogging and reading uplifting blog posts to be a blessing in that way as well. <3

  4. We buy ornaments whenever we travel too! It's such a wonderful way to look back on our travels each December.


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