Friday, October 24, 2014

{Disney} Animal Kingdom I

Because we had enjoyed our breakfast at Tusker House, located in Animal Kingdom, during our December 2012 trip, I naturally wanted to secure an ADR for this trip. I was booking our dining reservations late so it took a few weeks of sporadic checking and eventually an opening at 9:40 popped up for this particular day. The late time was to our advantage as it allowed us (most especially the girls) to sleep in. Our park arrival timing was perfect, somewhat due to us having our own transportation, and we checked in right on time. During our last visit, photos were taken outside the restaurant, before being seated inside, with Safari Donald. There was a PhotoPass photographer but a cast member offered to take some using my camera. (As you know, I refuse to buy PhotoPass photos.) This time, a cast member attempted to shepherd us into a photo line but when we saw that there was no character, we said no thanks. This change left a sour taste in my mouth, as did the hostess who I kind of felt was treating us like cattle.


Ah, but the theming is so good.

After we returned from this trip, I discovered that Disney had Tusker House in some sort of trial mode while we were there which resulted in the cutback of characters at this meal.  I'm going to be honest here and say that it was a disappointment. Instead of the usual four characters (Donald, Daisy, Mickey and Goofy), there were three. Goofy was MIA. What was also disappointing was how rushed the character meetings were, which was due mainly to the handlers. We know that we need to have the autograph books open to the correct page and ready to go. The girls always have their books ready to go. One handler/cast member/vacation rusher suggested that I place the books in a pile on the edge of our crowded table, which was covered with condensation from our glasses. She was super pushy, grabbing at the books. I eventually took them and told her that I would hold them and give them to the characters the second they reached the table. She wasn't going to be the one dealing with the aftermath of a kid finding water smudged autographs later on.


I'm thinking I should have switched to my wide angle lens.





The food (the most important part, right?) tasted okay. I admit that I was a bit frustrated with how long it took us to actually get our food from the buffet, which may have affected my taste buds. Tusker House has what they refer to as an "open buffet" which means that you don't have to wait in line, but instead can just walk right up and get what you want. Well, that's all fine and dandy unless there are people waiting in a line and someone cuts you. And that someone is a cape-wearing three year old with no parental supervision. I know we all parent differently but I was annoyed. My kids are seven and they tell me what they want and I put it on their plates.  They also know how to wait in line.  I've never met a teenager who says she doesn't know how to do buffets because her parents didn't let her when she was little.  I also witnessed a girl about the same age as mine, man-handle a plate and then return it to the clean plate pile with her parents standing right there watching.  They said nothing.

After our meal, Rich said that he would be fine if we never ate there again and Rich is a pretty laid back person. Much more laid back than I am.


Rich had awesomely booked FP+ for the safari to coincide with our breakfast ending. We were a few minutes early so we checked out a gift shop.



The safari was enjoyable, bouncy and full of animal sightings. The girls always seem to like it. Next was a bathroom break and then we joined the line for the Festival of the Lion King.


My poor attempt at an outfit shot.  Should have used the wide angle.

Festival of the Lion King was in the new theater and had changed a bit from the show we had seen in earlier years but it was as entertaining as before. When we left the theater, we discovered that it had poured while we were inside. Everything was wet, but quickly drying. We made our way over to It's Tough to be a Bug, which is a show we hadn't seen in the past because I didn't know if the girls would be afraid. They weren't. Anna was sitting next to me and I laughed for most of it because of how she kept jumping. Because of my awesome eyesight and lack of depth perception, the 3D thing didn't really work for me but I did think it was highly entertaining.

When we left Bug, it was moderately raining and the sky was completely cloudy. After the rain we had experienced the day before, this was not a welcome sight at all. We headed over to Flame Tree Barbecue hoping that the rain would pass. Our usual plan of attack at quick service restaurants is to decide what we all want and then leave Rich to order the food while Grammy and I find seating with the girls. I then return to help Rich carry the food back to the table. Allie had to go to the bathroom so Rich was left to juggle the food by himself. Thankfully, there is covered seating here because it freaking poured rain.


I order the same thing - the chicken - and it never fails to satisfy.

Coming up - Animal Kingdom II. Will the rain ever end? Sob


Sarah said...

I left a huge comment and it seems to have disappeared. We loved their new memory maker plan (old photo pass). One flat fee included everything! Free to download all yourself at home. We ended up with over 425 pictures from that alone. Plus the hundreds I took. Feel free to email me with questions!

Sarah said...

I have heard others say that they liked the new memory maker too, mainly b/c they don't want to bring a camera with them. B/c I like having my camera with me (can't imagine not having it with me), I don't want to pay the add'l expense. I've always ended up with more than enough pictures. I can def see the advantage for some.

TanyaMom23 said...

Sarah, We just returned on Monday from our first trip to Disney and it was amazing! First, let me say that your blog was incredibly helpful! I refereed to your Disney posts numerous times throughout our trip... your reviews are both thorough and helpful and I felt like I had an insider to help me navigate it all!

I am thinking about re-activating my blog so I can share it all... because it's a LOT. We did Tusker house at 9:20 on Friday the 17th, we did purchase the memory maker as I am not nearly as good with my fancy camera as you are... I did bring it and got some shots that were as good or better then the photo pass photographers were. The videos of all of us on Tower of Terror and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train were priceless though! Anyways, there was a family photo with no character for us as well at Tusker, but Goofy was there as well as Daisy, Donald and Mickey. We met Minnie and Mickey again later at the outpost!

I could post pages and pages, but I won't. Just wanted to say thanks again for your helpful Disney tips. I can't wait to go back, I am already planning our next trip!