Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom Review

Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom…is it worth it? What is it? Is it right for my group? In this review, I’ll attempt to answer your questions while sharing the experience Louis and I had at the event. Read on to hear my thoughts!

Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom is a ticketed event that happens on select nights at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom (duh.). It costs $129 per person ($125 per person if purchased in advance), and allows you access to the park at 7:00 PM. The special event is from 8:30-11:30 PM when the park is only open to event ticket holders. Guests will receive unlimited popcorn, ice cream and bottled drinks and be able to enjoy the attractions listed below.

  • Avatar Flight of Passage
  • Na’vi River Journey
  • Pandora Drummers — Swotu Wayä
  • Expedition Everest — Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
  • DINOSAUR
  • Rivers of Light
  • Tree of Life Awakenings
  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!
  • TriceraTop Spin
  • And more!

Louis and I purchased tickets and attended Disney After Hours at Animal Kingdom on December 12, 2018, and *spoiler alert* WE LOVED IT. It may not be appropriate for everyone’s group, but it was perfect for us and we had an incredible time. We were already in the park before the event began, so we picked up our wristbands as soon as they were available near Discovery Trading Company. Disney cast members checked for these bands throughout the night to ensure only guests that had purchased tickets were enjoying the event.

Our main goal of the evening was to ride our favorite, popular rides as many times as possible since every ride had little-to-no wait time. We knocked out It’s Tough to be a Bug! and DINOSAUR first, since we wanted to spend most of our evening in Asia and Pandora. After DINOSAUR, we stopped for our first “complimentary” snacks in Dinoland U.S.A. We were happy to find popcorn, Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bars, Mickey Ice Cream Sandwiches, Strawberry Fruit Bars and bottled drinks. We grabbed a little bit of everything and set off to find the Yeti on Expedition Everest.

We were able to hop on and off Expedition Everest TEN times breaking occasionally for more free snacks (and/or to keep from barfing) and there was NEVER a wait. On a few expeditions, we were on an almost empty train! Expedition Everest is always one of our favorite rides, but it takes on a special quality at nighttime with the uplighting on the mountain and the extra dark interior sequences. We even caught part of a Rivers of Light performance from the mountain at one point! When we finally had our fill of Everest, we headed over to Pandora — The World of Avatar.

We had been in Pandora earlier in the day when it was swarming with guests, and it was amazing to see the land almost entirely empty. The lighting is beautiful and the atmosphere of the area is much easier to appreciate when you are some of the only people present. Our first stop was the Na’vi River Journey. Throughout our trip, the wait for this ride never dropped below 60 minutes, but at Disney After Hours we were able to walk on the ride, and ride it back-to-back in our own private boat! While the Na’vi River Journey is relaxing and beautiful, I wouldn’t want to wait an hour for it, so riding it during this event was the perfect solution.

Finally, we set our sights on Avatar Flight of Passage. This ride is INCREDIBLE and unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. If you’ve ridden it, you know what I mean, and if you haven’t, you simply have to try it! Since Pandora is still a new land (and this ride is so amazing), the wait times are always astronomical and Fastpass+ reservations are hard to come by. We snagged two Fastpass+ reservations for our trip, but we knew we would want to ride it much more. Multiple banshee flights during After Hours was the perfect solution! We squeezed in FIVE flights in around an hour, and it really sealed the deal that the Disney After Hours event was worth the money to us! The cast members even let us loop right around back into the pre-show, so we didn’t have to traverse the massive queue each time. Once we had our fill of Flight of Passage, the After Hours event was almost over. We grabbed as many free bottled drinks as we could carry, sprinted back for one last Expedition Everest ride, and then the event ended! Louis obliged my desire for some empty park pictures in front of the Tree of Life, and we caught the last bus back to our resort.

As you may have gathered, we LOVED our Disney After Hours experience. I wanted to share some tips in case you are considering if it’s a good addition for your trip!

Eat dinner before the event begins. Since you only get three hours in the park without other guests, you don’t want to waste prime ride time eating (unless it’s free snacks as you run between attractions!). I’d recommend our forever favorite Flame Tree Barbecue or the new, yummy Satu’li Canteen (pictured below!).

Enjoy any attractions or shows that won’t be open during the event between 7:00 PM and Animal Kingdom closure. Everything we were looking forward to was open during After Hours, but this is something to be aware of!

Consider the heights of everyone in your group before deciding if this is a good value for you. DINOSAUR, Flight of Passage, and Expedition Everest all have height requirements between 40-44″, so if everyone in your party isn’t tall enough to ride, it may not be worth your money to attend Disney After Hours in Animal Kingdom.

Stock up on those “free” snacks! We ate and drank occasionally throughout the evening, but before leaving we grabbed as many bottled drinks as we could carry. Literally. They’re unlimited, so it’s best to get your money’s worth! We loaded up our backpack, threw them all in our mini fridge at the resort, and drank them the rest of our trip instead of buying them in the parks! At Disney, a bottled soda is $4.50 and a bottled water is $3.50, so we “saved” quite a bit by stocking up when these were unlimited.

Make sure to soak up the ambiance as you walk throughout the park. Animal Kingdom is possibly the most beautiful park at Walt Disney World and the lighting and music really make it extra magical in the evening. One of my favorite parts of the night was walking hand-in-hand with Louis through the empty walkways in each area of the park. It was beautiful!

When all was said and done, we calculated that Disney After Hours in Animal Kingdom cost us under $5 a ride. Considering the cost of a Walt Disney World trip, we figured that was a great value for our time. Granted, we are only a couple, and this event would cost much more for a family. If you’re interested in Disney After Hours, but don’t love Animal Kingdom as much as we do, you may want to consider the events at Magic Kingdom or Hollywood Studios (there isn’t one at Epcot yet!).

Have you attended a Disney After Hours event? Let me know what you thought, and which event we should try on our next trip!

Continue Reading

Strawberry Oolong Tea Slush Recipe

Summer is here! Wonderful, fun, happy, HOT summer! If you’re already feeling the heat, I have a quick and easy recipe for you to help cool off.

Joy of Tea

image source

Have you ever been to Walt Disney World? In particular, Epcot? Outside of China in the World Showcase, there is a small stand called Joy of Tea. It sells egg rolls, red bean ice cream, and tea (duh.). MOST importantly, it sells the famed Strawberry Oolong Tea Slush. Okay, famed may be an exaggeration, because I’m pretty sure Louis and I are its biggest fans, as most people reach for Mickey’s Premium Ice Cream Bar to cool off. Regardless, don’t be dismayed! It’s delicious, and we were able to replicate it at home recently. I wanted to pass along the yummy recipe to you!

All you need is Oolong Tea, Strawberries (fresh or frozen), Ice, and Sugar (to taste). First brew the oolong tea, then allow it to cool. Wash and slice your strawberries. Combine the tea, strawberries, ice, and sugar in a blender. Blend on high until the mixture is the consistency of a slush. You may need to add more ice depending on your desired consistency. Feel free to add a couple of cubes at a time until it is slushy enough for your liking. 🙂 Drink up! That’s it!

Strawberry Oolong Tea Slush

The amount of each ingredient will vary slightly based on your preference and blender, but I’ve listed a good starting point for each below. We have this Ninja Master Prep Blender, and I really like it.

We seriously love the combination of the flavor of the oolong tea mixed with the strawberries. It’s sweet and refreshing, plus it has the added boost of caffeine! It also reminds us of strolling through Epcot on our Disney trips sipping on our slushes! I know we’ll be enjoying this treat all summer, and I hope you will, too! Do you have any other easy, slush recipes I need to try?

Strawberry Oolong Tea Slush Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups brewed, cooled Oolong Tea

1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries (fresh or frozen)

1 cup ice

Sugar (to taste)

Directions

Brew and cool Oolong tea. Wash and slice strawberries. Combine all ingredients in blender. Blend until desired slush consistency is reached (adding ice cubes as needed). Enjoy!

Retro Siggy

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on these links or make a purchase using these links, I may receive a small percentage of the profit at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Hoots of a Night Al!

Continue Reading

Christmas Gifts for The Disney Fan

disney gifts

Pretty much anyone who has ever met me knows that I am a huge Disney fan. The music, the movies, the parks, the man himself…I love it all! I couldn’t resist creating a gift guide for the Disney Fan in everyone’s life, so check out what I think another Disney lover would enjoy!

Disney Tee

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 2.00.36 AM

I often refer to Disney World as my second home. Whether they’re in the parks, planning their next trip, or reminiscing about Disney memories at home, any “Disnerd” would love this cute tee.

Limited Edition Magic Band

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 1.59.05 AM

If you know someone who goes to Walt Disney World often or has an upcoming trip, it would be fun to surprise them with a limited edition Magic Band. These are used all over the resort now, and one with their favorite character would be fun to show off during a trip!

Disney Music

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 2.01.48 AM

One of my favorite parts of the Disney legacy is the music. This collection includes over 50 songs from Disneyland attractions that will keep any true Disney lover happy at home until they can make it back to Walt’s original park. I may or may not have teared up previewing some of these songs…

Fun Decal

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 2.24.46 AM

Disney lovers want to display their love wherever they can, so they would never turn down a fun decal! Whether it goes on their car or their laptop, this inexpensive gift will “stick around” and be appreciated for a long time.

Character Vans 

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 12.14.54 AM

These awesome Disney Vans came out this past year, and they have so many cool options. They’re available in multiple styles for girls, guys, AND kids, so you could knock out half of your Christmas list just by snagging a few pairs! From different prints to tons of characters, you’re sure to find a pair to suit everyone.

**Extra tip! Wrap their gift in a Disney-themed Backpack! Not only would this be great to carry around the parks or at school, there are countless options, so you’re sure to find your friend’s favorite character!

Screen Shot 2015-11-11 at 2.31.06 AM

Trust me, from a true Disney fan, I guarantee any Disney lovers in your life will be thrilled to get any of the gifts above! And if they don’t? Feel free to pass them along to me. 😉

If you need more gift ideas, check out my guides for The Fashionista, The Foodie, and The Homebody! And not to fear…I have a few more guides on the way! Happy shopping!

DottedSiggy

*This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using these links, I may receive a small percentage at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Hoots of a Night Al!

Continue Reading

Disney World 2013: Part 7

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of our Disney World recap journey…we woke up on December 9th, shocked that our week of fun had flown by so fast! We packed up, checked our luggage for our flight, and headed to grab our last Pop Waffle for the foreseeable future…IMG_1879 IMG_1878After breakfast, we decided to hit up the arcade. We had the place to ourselves, and the thing that drew us in was this incredible PacMan Air Hockey table. Louis and I try to play a game (or 4) of air hockey every time we go to the movie theater, and we couldn’t pass up this awesome version. 

Yes, Louis completely stomped me (as usual) with a score of 1310 in comparison to my 640…oh well. I’ll get him next time!

We had a few credits left on our card after PacMan Air Hockey, so we decided to shoot a couple hoops…

IMG_1881IMG_1883

Louis totally beat me again! I guess my middle school basketball glory days are far behind me.

IMG_1884

 

Our last bit of time was spent hanging out in our hotel lobby admiring the different decade mementos and people watching. We were super envious of all of the people checking in and just beginning their vacation as ours was drawing to a close…

 

IMG_1877 IMG_1874 IMG_1876

 

Before we knew it, we needed to head out front to wait for our Magic Express Bus to take us to the airport…

 

IMG_1886

 

How was it already time to leave!?!

 

 

IMG_1887

 

We got to the airport, grabbed some McDonald’s and waited around for our flight. When we finally made it back to Austin, we took the shuttle to our car. Or so we thought! We were dropped off on the WRONG side of the parking lot! It was HUGE, and we spent about 30 minutes wandering around in the middle of the night in 30 degree weather before we finally found my car! After that it was a quick drive back to San Antonio, and we returned to our cozy apartment.

Each of our trips to Disney World have been special and unique, and our 4th trip was no exception! The time we spend together at Disney is always fun, relaxing, exhausting, magical, and wonderful! I can’t wait until we get to go back again, and I’m so thankful we had this fun week to enjoy together.

siggy3

 

Catch up on the rest of our trip here!

Disney World 2013: Part 1

Disney World 2013: Part 2

Disney World 2013: Part 3

Disney World 2013: Part 4

Disney World 2013: Part 5

Disney World 2013: Part 6

Continue Reading

Disney World 2013: Part 6

headerDecember 8th started bright and early, yet again, with us raring to spend our last day at Disney! We got some nutrients (sort of?) with our daily breakfast of Pop Waffles!IMG_1798

We seriously ate this every morning of our trip…IMG_1800

We decided to not waste time traveling between parks this day and spent the entire day at Hollywood Studios.IMG_1801

It was a beautiful, sunny, HOT day!IMG_1802

We snapped some quick pictures at the entrance and headed off to begin our day!IMG_1803

First, we rode Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Rollercoaster (I think? My memories are already hazy…), before we headed to the Beauty and the Beast stage show. We wanted to see it together because Louis had never seen it before, and we were all about trying new things this trip!IMG_1805

As you can see in the picture above, Louis was enjoying a strawberry slush…That was one of THREE he drank that day! I’m telling you, he was all about different forms of strawberry slushes this trip.IMG_1807

We snagged a seat on the right side of the theater and enjoyed a quick version of one of my favorite movies! I Loved this trip because we got to see so many Beauty and the Beast attractions from the stage show to Be Our Guest to Enchanted Tales with Belle! Yay for my fave movie and princess! Belle must be very busy these days.IMG_1808

The park was pretty crazy that day, so after the show, we headed over to the Animation Academy where we learned to draw Sulley from Monsters Inc.!IMG_1809 IMG_1812

As usual, Louis’s sketch looked like it was a screenshot from the movie…IMG_1814

…and mine looked like a recognizable, though slightly deranged, version of the character.IMG_1816

After the class, we had some Fastpasses to redeem, so we headed back over to Rockin’ Rollercoaster to catch a super stretch limo to the Aerosmith concert.IMG_1818

It is seriously such a great ride.IMG_1819

We had to make sure to stop by Toy Story again, since it’s Louis’s favorite. I love how we caught Mr. Potato Head mid-wink in this picture below. He looks pretty ridic….IMG_1821

We also went to One Man’s Dream, rode a couple of different rides, and spent the day wandering around and enjoying the atmosphere of the park. Late in the evening, we saw a showing of The Little Mermaid. I love all of the stage shows at Disney!IMG_1825

We grabbed some pretzels and churros for a late night snacky dinner, and relaxed on a bench in front of the Chinese Theater. IMG_1829

Obviously, we weren’t really rushing around this day because it was SO crowded and our feet were dying after our previous park days.IMG_1836

We made sure to get a late night shot in front of one of our favorite, most under-appreciated attractions…we love the museum about Walt!
IMG_1842

And of course,our night wouldn’t be complete without another trip to Osbourne Spectacle of Dancing Lights!IMG_1843

This is seriously one of the most amazing parts of Christmas at Disney World. It’s so mesmerizing and beautiful! It’s impossible to describe and is really something that needs to be experienced firsthand.
IMG_1844 IMG_1846

We snapped an insane amount of selfies trying to get a picture of us in front of each section of the lights…IMG_1850 IMG_1852 IMG_1856 IMG_1857 IMG_1859 IMG_1860

Finally, some sweet castmembers offered to take our picture in front of the globe and “Merry Christmas” sign. We chatted with them for a bit before we decided to head back over towards Toy Story.
IMG_1872Not much later, our last night at the parks came to a close. I know I didn’t take nearly as many pictures this day (I’m sure you’re super relieved), but we were really just enjoying being together, people watching, and experiencing the park. It was hard to believe our trip was already coming to an end! Also, I want to apologize for this being, possibly, the most boring post I’ve ever written…sometimes I just don’t have any creativity flowing through my veins! Guess I should have warned you at the beginning of the post…oh well, you made it through! 😉

fresh siggy

Miss a Disney Trip Recap? Catch up here!

Disney World 2013: Part 1

Disney World 2013: Part 2

Disney World 2013: Part 3

Disney World 2013: Part 4

Disney World 2013: Part 5

Continue Reading