Thursday, March 15, 2012

Animal! Animal!

Hey, ho!  Sicky McSickSick here!  Ugh.  I missed half a day of work yesterday and all of today (which, when you work from home, means you're either playing hooky or really effing miserable).  My throat is in slightly less pain today, but, now I can't lie down without having a coughing fit, so, yeah.  Fun!

Doesn't mean we can't continue our journey through Disney, right?

Our second full day (Tuesday, March 6th) was spent at the Animal Kingdom, quite possibly my favorite park!  If you've never been, parts of it are like a ginormous zoo, except you don't usually have to look through cages and wires (with a few exceptions, of course).  Other parts have rides, restaurants and shops like the other parks, and the whole thing is tied together by the magic of Disney.

We started at Tusker House for breakfast.  It was our first time there, and I'm already thinking for our 5 year anniversary (the next Disney trip we're planning) that we should go back.  Why?  Two big reasons.

1) It's Character dining that counts as only 1 table service meal per person (Cinderella's Royal Table was similar with the princesses, but it "costs" 2 table service meals per person).  You start by taking a picture with Donald (in his safari gear, of course) and then upon being seated, you can see Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and Goofy all making their rounds (and yes, they WILL stop at your table!).  Too fun!

2) It's a ginormous buffet.  For reals.  Bagels, fresh fruit, eggs, bacon, doughnuts, croissants, ham, quiche, and more await you, and for a 9:30 AM reservation, it really wasn't the madhouse that I had expected.  All the food is nice and fresh (warm when it should be, cold when it shouldn't) and, of course, tasty.  (Not to mention the super tasty juice they bring you!  Man, I could live off that stuff!)

Two memories were made that morning.  The first was when I may have startled our waitress.  Every cast member's name tag shows where he or she is from, and our waitress just so happened to be from Wisconsin.  I was so excited I shouted, "Sconnie!"  Thankfully, the others were there to explain that we were all from Wisconsin (at least, in part) as well, so we bonded over the sad loss of the Packers and the awesomeness of being in Florida without snow.

The second was when they brought over the picture of the 4 of us with Donald.  Now, unlike Cinderella's, the picture they take at Tusker House is NOT included with the meal.  The package (one big photo and 4 smaller ones, I think) cost about $38, and since Bestie had a cast member take the same pic with her camera, we declined.  But, before it was taken away, C noticed something interesting: "They covered my shirt!"  Indeed they had.  C was wearing a Coors shirt that day, and instead of blurring it out or (Heaven forbid) leaving it alone, they covered it with the Disney 2012 logo.

After breakfast, we went on my favorite AK ride, the Kilimanjaro Safari.  I won't bore you with tons of details, but on this ride, you get to go on a safari through the park, where you can see anything from giraffes to warthogs to hippos (yay!) hanging out in what looks like their natural habitat.  Again, sort of like the zoo, but seriously cooler.

We spent some time on the nature trails after that, checking out more animals from around the world and enjoying the beautiful day.  It wasn't too hot, but we decided we'd go on Kali River Rapids.  I freakin' love this ride, and I hadn't done it since high school, so I was all gung-ho.  The signs along the line say, "Caution: You WILL get wet.  You MAY get soaked."  Guess who got soaked...  Yep!  Hubby and I were pretty well drenched (at least from the back).  And since I refuse to go anywhere in shorts, I was wearing full length jeans, which do NOT dry out very quickly.  Or at all.  I had a serious case of wet-butt for the rest of the day.  

In an attempt to dry off (and since I'd never been on it, nor had Hubby), we headed toward Expedition Everest, the mountain ride in AK.  Bestie and her husband love this ride, so we were hoping Hubby would enjoy it, too.  Well, about 2/3 of the way through the ride or so, we came to a stop.  At first I assumed they were helping someone on or off the ride who needed assistance, but we just weren't moving.  At all.  And eventually a voice told us that the expedition was over for right now and to hang tight and wait for a cast member to arrive.  

Now, as much as I am curious about the last third of the ride, this was possibly one of the coolest things to happen.  We got to do an emergency ride evacuation at Disney!  Too cool!!  Hubby, one the other hand, was just happy the ride was over with.  It seems that no, this was not the kind of ride that his body could handle, and he was feeling pretty miserable by that time.  We did an evac through the mountain itself, and while we weren't allowed to take photos (even if some dumb girl did with her phone, ugh), it was an experience I'll never forget.  How many guests get to see the inside of a Disney ride like that?  

After grabbing Hubby some Dramamine, we parked ourselves on a bench and had some treats (mmmm... Mickey Ears).  I think that was when we decided we'd head back to the resort, change, and then hit up Downtown Disney.  By the time we were back at the resort, I asked Bestie if she'd kill me if I said a nap sounded really good.  We all agreed we could use a break, so we said goodbye and goodnight.  

Hubby and I wound up napping for a few hours before hopping on a bus to Epcot for our date night dinner at San Angel Inn, the table service restaurant in Mexico.  I'll probably end up doing some kind of review on San Angel later, so for now, I'll just say 3 things:  1) They did an amazing job making this place feel small and intimate.  2) Everything I ate was pretty freakin' awesome!  3) Beware: Tequila shots here can be expensive.  There's actually a $50+ shot you can get!  Aye yi yi...

Since we had a later reservation, we pretty much headed straight for the bus when dinner was over.  The wait for the bus was ridiculous.  Not because of the bus itself; it was there pretty promptly.  But we had to wait to load a scooter on to the bus (it was being shared by an overweight couple presumably on their honeymoon who just couldn't hoof it through the parks like the rest of us tubby folk), and then a wheelchair (which was being used by an elderly woman, so no grief there).  It actually took so long that a SECOND bus for our resort came up and parked behind it, and the whole line of guests actually cheered when the driver opened the door to let us on.  

All in all, it was another successful and magical Disney day!  Again, I encourage you to check out my Bestie's blog (The Disney Hippy) for a different perspective. :)  

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