Thursday, August 21, 2008

With apologies to Rudyard Kipling - '04 WDW Vacation

Chapter 5.1

Remember where we are – Animal Kingdom, just off Safari…

We walk through the Pangani Forest Exploration trail and enjoy the flora and fauna, especially the Gorillas. While in the aviary my cell phone rings.


We have a wonderful friend who is one of the vocalists in the TARZAN ROCKS show. We’ve known him since he was 18 and fresh out of the high school for the performing arts. We’ve been able to follow his career from Six Flags over Texas to cruise lines to “Starlight Express” in Vegas to Disney. It’s been tremendous to watch him become the professional performer and incredible human being that he is…

I’m a little proud of him.

He’s doing the 3 o’clock show and will be at the park early so he and I can catch up a bit before we all see him in the show. Woo-hoo! I’m so excited.

We continue our stroll and turn a corner and there stands Baloo…(you know I’m gonna run don’t you.)

Jungle Book is one of my earliest Disney memories. Baloo is just so big and BLUE and cuddly. It makes me smile just to think about him. So I make a wild gyrating motion as I sprint towards Baloo. This should communicate to Doc and Deanster to get the cameras ready so they don’t miss capturing this VERY IMPORTANT moment.

Once I hip check a couple of smaller kids just to establish my place in line, I look around to find both scooters ABANDONED in the middle of the walkway. Pal Mickey, jackets, camera bags… all hanging out with a “free to a good home” look about them, and no one related to any of the above mentioned merchandise in site.

There is no sign of our parents.

I make the clenched teeth, tight necked, frowny “do something!” face at Deanster.

She makes the “what the heck do you want me to do? Take your picture or rescue our stuff and by the way, why am I in charge of the parents?!” face right back at me.

Isn’t it amazing the non-verbal communication one can have with a sibling?

We then locate Big Cal and Mini Mo.

I go into airport ground controller mode. Through a short series of hand signals, I position Dr. D at the scooters, get Deanster to snap some shots of Big C and Mini Maureen, just in time to get her back to me and Baloo.

I notice several parents moving their children slowly away from me.

I no doubt believe they think I have Turrets syndrome.

We ride out to Rafiki’s Conservation Station and back. Time for lunch. We decided on Flame Tree BBQ and were not disappointed. Found a lovely table by a fountain where we could see the lake and the construction on the new Mt. Everest attraction.

The party barge goes by playing "Felize Navidad." Dr. D twitches a little.

"What's up?"

"That's got to be the 147th time I've heard that song today," he replies.

Oh, great...that means now it's stuck in his head. This could be a problem of Pavlovian proportion. He claims his sister played "Rock A-Hula" from Blue Hawaii so much when they were young, that if he ever hears it again, he can't be responsible for his actions.

I make a mental note to keep him away The Polynesian Resort and Mexico in Epcot.

Deanster and the parents decide to go to the Maharajah Jungle Trek.

Dr. D checks out Chester and Hester’s Dino-Rama.

I go and sit by “Petrifries...from the McDon of Time” to wait for WONDER BOY. (McDonald's sponsors that section of the park!) Those french fries smelled sooooo good.

I’m really proud that I don’t make too much of a scene when I see him. (What that means is that I don't tackle him to the ground.) We have enough time to find a shady spot to laugh and talk in. He is so happy at Disney.

Does my heart good.

After a bit, he has to run to get ready for the show. I round up the family and we find the venue. WONDER BOY has arranged for us to sit in the VIP section which is center just behind the tech booth. I sit, video taping, with a big goofy grin on my face, watching him interact with the audience, using that fabulous voice and truly loving his job.

The show is great. Amazing stunts, great rockin' band and vocals – everything I expect from a Disney produced show.

And after seeing Tarzan, well, shall we just say “hubba, hubba!”

We get to chat just a bit more with Wonder Boy after the show and make plans to meet for dinner the next night. Deanster and parents want to see “Lion King’ so they head towards Camp Minnie-Mickey.

Dr. D and I take a side trip through the Dino-Rama. He thinks it is the cleverest thing he’s ever seen! Loves the “kitschy-ness” of it. Has to show it to me.

(Side note – for a current discussion of the values of kitsch go here)

It makes him laugh out loud.

Dr. D does not often laugh out loud. He’ll smile. He might let out with a quiet “ha” but a belly laugh is usually reserved for George Carlin or something inept that a Dallas Cowboy football player is apt to do.

He poses for pictures.

He makes funny faces.

It’s official. He’s been DISNEYFIED!!!!

We make it into Lion King just as the doors are closing. Lovely show – fabulous performers – visually stunning.

As we leave Big Cal say’s “What’s next?”

I explain that Animal Kingdom closes earlier than the other parks and we’ve pretty much done what we’d come to do. He looks slightly disappointed. I think about the old theatre saying “always leave them wanting more.”

We take our time going back to the gates. Shop a little. Just enjoy being together.

As we leave some of the Fab 5 (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Pluto) are at the front in all their holiday finery. Deanster has made it a personal mission to have her photo taken with Minnie. See, when she was 6, her entire birthday party was themed around Minnie, down to Deanster’s green and white plaid overalls with the Minnie face appliquéd on the bib. Mini Maureen even drew a huge Minnie face on a piece of poster board and the girls played “pin the nose” on Minnie. (I also get a lot of my creativity from my mother!)

Deanster and Minnie are reunited.

We bid a fond farwell to Animal Kingdom.

Definitely a wonderful way to start our park experience.

Evening is spent relaxing and gearing up for tomorrow ‘cause….

…thar’s a blue northern a'comin!

Next - Chapter 6 - Winter in the World Showcase

2 comments: said...

The Fiance drags me to Disney at least once a year...and I am not gracious about it. Well, till we have dinner at Ohana. Love that place...

Mel said...

We like Kona at the Polynesian. Den loves the coffee and I love the steak. Tonga Toast for breakfast ain't bad either.