Early breakfast reservations
are not always the best idea with small children, but since we have one that rises very early, we stupidly keep making such appointments. With an 8:05 reservation for breakfast, we headed over to Animal Kingdom, which didn’t open until 9, and made our way through a quiet and empty park. We arrived in Africa and hopped in line to check in at Tusker House, a restaurant that we have never visited before – we’ve reserved it a few times, but it has always fallen through for some reason. We waited about ten minutes for them to check us in, and then we were told to wait in the back area and they’d call us when our table was ready. There were a few other parties waiting back there when we arrived, but only a few minutes later it was a complete zoo, as Tusker House was having computer issues and could not figure out how to manually assign tables. Everyone was being checked in and sent to the holding pen, but no one was being seated, despite the restaurant being mostly empty and a line of 12 servers standing there waiting to take people to their tables.
It was obvious that stress was very high with the restaurant staff, as the infants started getting noisy and restless, though this was nothing compared to the people from New Jersey! Every 5 minutes or so, they’d call two parties of 2, and the myriad large parties started grumbling. We waited about twenty minutes total, which is not bad, except that the only reason we waited at all was because no one knew how to assign tables without a computer to tell them. I felt bad for them but chuckled quite a bit at the various states of panicked paralysis.
We were seated and told not to go get food right away because the characters would be coming to visit our table shortly, and sure enough, Daisy came over before we even made it into our chairs. As you can see in the pictures, Leah was beyond excited to see Daisy, screaming and laughing, even when Daisy came in close. She also had a nice visit with Safari Mickey and with Safari Goofy, who she had been pining to see. Not pining so much as to remove the bottle from her mouth, but pining nonetheless.
So you’re sayin’ that you don’t have rhythm….
There are some African drums located just across from the entrance to Tusker House, so we let the girls burn off a few calories there while the adults complained of bloating, not for the first nor last time this trip.
This is that Disney magic they talk about
Animal Kingdom park is always about ten degrees warmer than the other theme parks, because of the humidity held in by the tropical plants. Leah was getting a bit cranky already because of the heat, so we decided to head over to see the day’s first showing (10:30) of The Festival of the Lion King, a show that we have somehow never seen before. It’s a hybrid of Broadway-style musical with Cirque du Soleil-style aerobatics, all with the production polish of Disney. It’s in a section of Animal Kingdom called Camp Minnie Mickey, which doesn’t open until 10am, so we got in a massive line of people at the entrance to Camp Minnie Mickey about ten minutes before 10.
While we were waiting, Leah got mad at her Mother because she wouldn’t jump her anymore, and started to throw a big crying fit. After about 60 seconds of this, a DVC Cast Member made her way across the crowd and came over to Leah, got down on her knees, and started talking to her. She gave Leah a Mickey Mouse button and made her promise to be good the rest of the day, and the people nearby gave her a round of applause and asked if she was available to whisper to their babies. Good stuff – thanks Leslie. A few minutes later, the rope was dropped and we made our way forward to stand in another line waiting for the doors to open.
And this is that other “magic” I keep having to describe
Since we were nearly at the front of the line when the doors opened, we got seats in the second row off the floor, with only one row in front of us that was not reserved. We also sat behind a group of young girls so that our wee ones would be able to see over them, but apparently this was not good enough for Aly, who out of nowhere started whining and complaining about our seats. In a failed attempt to employ logic with a 6yo, I pointed out that we were in the center of the second row at a show we had never seen, so if there were better seats, we didn’t know where they would be. That didn’t work at all, and Aly spent the next ten minutes complaining about everything and anything, while Leah remained in a slightly freaked out state because of the relative darkness inside the theater.
The show itself was great, and Aly was amazed by the acrobatics and the dancing, and joined in herself several times, singing at the top of her lungs. Leah was a bit spooked at times, and squeezed me tight during the darker scenes, but loved the giant elephant and giraffe, as well as the singing and dancing.
After the show, it was already close to nap time for Leah, so despite the fact that we had all the way to the back of the largest park at WDW and done one attraction, we headed for the exit, since Leah had such a bad sleep the day before. Along the way, we let the girls pick out one souvenier, which led to Aly wrestling with the Simba plush/Nala plush decision, while Leah picked out a set of 5 small princess toys. We got a great view of the anteater on the walk out, who nearly walked right up to us at the railing, perhaps answering Lele’s “Hi” calls.