Animal Kingdom and Broken Promises

by 3/13/2015 07:08:00 PM 0 comments


It's 6am on a Monday morning. You're on vacation. Why is your alarm going off? What lost soul doesn't value the sanctity of a restful slumber? Oh yea, it's your lost soul and today your going to Disney's Animal Kingdom. Your breakfast reservation at Tusker House is scheduled for 9am and early morning magic hours are in effect so why are you still in bed getting the best sleep you've had in years? GET UP! GO!


That pretty well sums up what went through my head between 06:00:00 and 06:00:07 on Meltdown Monday. While my wife saw to getting the kids roused up and out of bed, I fell in line behind so many resort zombies as we made our pilgrimage to the nearest caffeine dispensatory. Upon returning to my room I found that really no progress had been made at rousing the kids. Not for lack of trying, but these guys were beat. It was like we were raising the dead, and I forgot my Necronomicon. I sipped my coffee, the boys moaned and groaned while reanimating, my wife did what wives do when they get ready, and I just kept sipping my coffee and double checking the plans for the day. Like I hadn't already double checked them last night. And the week before.

Obligatory pre park group selfie.


Since Disney World is made up of 4 parks and a shopping center (or whatever you want to call Downtown Disney (Springs), you will need to decide ahead of time how you plan on getting to these locations. If you fly, and are staying on property, in the obvious choice is utilizing Disney's complimentary bus system. If you drive, you have an additional choice: take your own ride. When we were planning out trip I promised myself that we were going to use the bus system for everything. "I didn't just drive 19 hours to a place with free transportation to spend more time behind the wheel" I had said. Yet as I sat there sipping my coffee, watching the time tick by, getting paranoid about how long it would take to travel by bus to Animal Kingdom and potentially missing our breakfast reservation, thus throwing off the rest of my preplanned day! It was at that point I made the executive decision that we would drive our own vehicle to Animal Kingdom that morning. This would be the first of the many broken promises to myself I would make that week.

The first meltdown came quickly. By no means as dramatic as the twizzler expulsion, but when the bar is set that high so early in a trip, everything else pales in comparison. As I recall, there seemed to be a bit of a disagreement between our Tomtom and Google's own Maps app on our phone. This lead to a civil dispute between my wife and I. Our reliance on navigational aids would be responsible for more than one altercation this week. By my count, 3. If only Disney had a system in place to get you around without having to worry about directions and stuff. Oh well.

Such happy. Very smile. 
We got to Animal Kingdom relatively easily enough thanks to my wife's uncanny ability to read road signs while navigating 8 lanes of traffic. All the while I'm staring at my phone making sure our dot moves along the right path. Without my coffee. Because I left it in my room. I really was no help. Upon arrival we parked up front, surrounded by a sea of empty spaces. Come to think of it, we may have parked in "cast member" spaces. Whatever, it's Disney. We walked the quarter mile to the entrance and waited alongside other folks for the gates to open. There was a fella walking around with a clipboard and some brochures held high above his head. I assumed he was scalping tickets to the Bears/Lions game. Sadly this was for the Wild Africa Trek, which is an extra fee/reservation only attraction. No thanks. I came for the breakfast. Which is scheduled to start in just over an hour so TELL THE GUARD TO OPEN UP THE GATES.

The day is young and the chafing has yet to begin.

They did. It was anticlimactic. However once we entered I saw the blur of my 8 year old, Safari Mickey hat on his head, take off on the search for wildlife. There was plenty to see. From the critters behind the fences to the wild birds that freely roam the grounds to the colorful display of terrestrial bipeds ambling along the well maintained pathways. Before you even get through the Oasis area of Animal Kingdom you are quickly acclimated to the presence of animals at every turn. And the heat. Holy cow the heat. I'm from Arkansas so I'm used to high humidity but this was an assault on a glandular scale. If this is your first trip to the Kingdom, be prepared on this one, wear dry fit breathable clothing and cover yourself in powder. Or rather cover yourself in powder and then put on the clothing. If you don't you run the risk of generating enough friction to ignite your undershorts.

Look, ma!Critters!


Because of my insistence on taking our own vehicle to the park we arrived with plenty of time to spare before our breakfast reservation. Perhaps too much. After viewing nearly all the animal enclosures circling the Oasis (more on that later) we still had nearly 20 minutes to kill before our reservation. So there we are. milling about in front of the Tusker House dining hall. I don't want to get too deep into the decor of Animal Kingdom in this article, but when you get to the "market" area where Tusker is located, you really feel like you are in a section of Africa. Albeit a civilized section. After taking in the sights, smells and yes sounds surrounding Tusker I decided to see if we could get our table a little earlier than our reservation. I remembered that we got in early at Chef Mickey's so I figured I would give my charm another shot. We got in. Man I'm good. Now, into Tusker House for breakfast.

A photopass photographer is set up just before you enter to help ID any victims.

I'll wrap this blog post up here with my impression of Tusker House. I've got to say that, being our first "in park" dining experience, it was a lot of fun. Don't get me wrong, it was still a loud affair like Chef Mickey's, but not like Chef Mickey's. The goings on within Tusker House were a lot more fun! Also, the decor is fantastic. You really get the sense that you've stumbled into an African street market. Only indoors. Still, it never really feels like a dining establishment until you see the seating area. It was cheerful, the characters were plentiful and the food was tasty. Speaking of the food, look for me to cover the dining experience in my next post. Until then, melt on!

Mikey Whisenhunt

Pseudo-blogger, Dad, Husband, Disnerd

I'm Mike. I'm a married father of 3 boys. When not at work I spend my spare time talking my wife into Disney trips.

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