Drinking coffee through cough drops — not a good idea. Just saying.

Yesterday was a perfect Disney day. Truly perfect. The weather was nice, the crowds were light, and the lines were all tolerable. C & I got to Animal Kingdom by 8 and were on the Pandora ride before 9. It was my first time on the ride, the one where it feels like you’re riding a dragon, and it was truly spectacular.

The line was so short that we made it to the safari ride by 9:30 or so, which is the exactly right time to be on that ride. We saw ALL the animals, most of them active. The cheetahs were up and wandering, the warthogs were out, the giraffes were in the middle of the road waiting to be bribed away with treats. And the elephants were fighting, which was both amazing to see and a little bit scary. It only lasted a minute and then the smaller elephant turned his back on his slightly bigger brother and walked away. Big brother followed him, totally trying to make up. You could practically see him saying, “Don’t be mad, don’t be mad.”

two elephants at Disney's Animal Kingdom
I didn’t have my phone or camera with me, so I stole this photo from C. But this is just after the elephants were locking tusks.

After the safari ride, we headed to Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival, but before we ate, we went on Soaring, another of Disney’s best rides. I like the rides where you’re floating above beautiful scenery more than the roller coasters, I guess.

The Food & Wine Festival was always my favorite event at Disney. Over the years, it’s gotten bigger and bigger. The first time I went with R, we tried food from every country and left stuffed. That wouldn’t even be possible now. It would cost a fortune and there are just too many countries and types of food represented. But they’ve extended the time of the festival from a few weeks to months, from August to November, so it would be easy to go back again and again.

I probably won’t, however. This year they didn’t have a lot of gluten-free options. Some, definitely, and I could have eaten well only trying the GF options. Instead, I said the hell with it, and for the first time since 2016, consciously, knowingly ate foods with gluten. Smoked corned beef with a beer-fondue sauce; chimichurri skirt steak on corn bread; seared sea scallops with brussels sprouts and celery root puree; beef stroganoff with egg noodles; maple bourbon cheesecake; jerked chicken with roasted plantain salad; kenyan coffee barbecue beef tenderloin; and warm chocolate pudding with Irish cream liqueur custard. The corned beef, which I would never have chosen on my own, was definitely my favorite. It was delicious. (C & I were sharing plates, and the plates are tapas-style small plates — it was a lot of food, but not Roman-banquet-style quantities. :))

Was it worth it? I think so. It was fun, anyway. But I am now in the throes of an immune-system panic attack, which started much faster than I expected it to. I was coughing up a storm by 8PM, so it only took 8 hours instead of the usual 36. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t last longer or get more intense, but today is definitely feeling like the kind of day that’s going to involve binge-watching television with copious quantities of tissues nearby, instead of doing anything useful. So it goes. Yesterday was still a perfect Disney day.