Off to Animal Kingdom today.
This is just a couple of weeks old – a nice photo opportunity right out of the gate. Or right before the gate. Around the gate.
Always a good idea to check on the last Kilimanjaro Safari departure if you’re planning to ride near the end of the day. Today, the last safari leaves right at Park close.
Up through the Oasis and on to Discovery Island.
And into Africa.
Not bad for just after 1pm. FASTPASS return times are just 40 minutes in the future.
Good news on the Kusafiri cupcake front. It seems like Disney was just kidding about removing the cupcakes from the Kusafiri (note that apparently it’s Kusafiri and not Kusafari) menu. It’s possible they switch out menus depending on availability, but I would doubt it. I’ll continue to check in on it.
Okay, we’re actually going to rewind back to August 25th for a moment. Rhonda from the easyWDW forums was nice enough to invite me out to breakfast at Tusker House. I’m just saying I’ll show up at most buffets when invited – especially character and/or princess meals. It’s terribly creepy to be a 26 year old male sitting alone at Cinderella’s Royal Table. Trust me.
Tusker House is located in Africa on the left hand side as you walk toward Kilimanjaro Safaris. It’s not a particularly obvious building. I’m hoping appearances aren’t everything because it does look a little run down…
Tusker House has always been one of my favorite buffets. The buffet area is roomier than most and the food is well above average. Note that characters only appear at breakfast, which has seatings between 8am and 10:30am. You take pictures with Donald Duck outside the restaurant and then Mickey, Goofy, and Daisy Duck visit tableside. Unlike Cinderella’s Royal Table or Akershus, the photo package isn’t included in the price of the buffet. The picture runs about $30, but they’re more than happy to take the Donald picture with your camera(s).
As you may be aware, you can book Tusker House as early as 8am, even when the theme park doesn’t open until 9am. There are a few pros and cons to an 8am breakfast. One of the major benefits is that you’ll be let into the Park before everyone else. While you can’t ride anything or collect any FASTPASSes, it’s a great opportunity to get some pictures with virtually no one else around on the way from the main entrance and up into Africa. Most people that book 8am breakfasts plan to be out of there by 8:55am to be among the first people to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris. This means you’re not “wasting” any theme park time eating breakfast like you would with a 9:30am reservation. On the downside, an 8am reservation is pretty early for a lot of people and it can also lead to a rushed breakfast if you’re trying to get seated and out of there by 9am. At $30/person, you may want to savor the experience rather than rushing. A reservation right around 10:30am is also a good idea. You’ll have 90 minutes to hit the headlining attractions and collect FASTPASSes before winding down during breakfast. They also start serving lunch items at 11:30am, which means you’ll be able to peruse the lunch buffet as well if you linger a bit.
We were a party of nine, which may have contributed to the problem, but I suppose it’s worth noting that it took them 29 minutes to seat us. In addition, they walked us back to where we would be seated before the table was actually ready, so we had to march back out to the buffet area and stand awkwardly to the side for a few minutes more while everything was prepared. I wasn’t in any hurry, but a wait like that can be agonizing if you want to get through breakfast and back to Kali River Rapids.
These are frittatas above.
Disney doesn’t mess around with Mickey Waffles.
Spiced Corned Beef Hash with Cornbread Topping and Cheese Blintzes with Cherry or Apple Topping above.
Cinnamon Rolls, Fruit Cobbler, Banana Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce.
Not pictured – Potato wedges, beef bobtie quiche, biscuits with gravy, muffins and danishes.
Standout items – Krispy Kreme doughnuts of course; the cheese blintzes are divine; ham and cheese quiche was excellent; there was a sweet potato dish that stood out; yogurt bar is fun with a lot of interesting add-ins.
This is a Mickey-led parade around the restaurant, complete with musical instruments. This is the sort of thing that terrified me as a child. Let’s just say I was not particularly outgoing. It always seems like three kids are having fun and the other 20 have the “I’m going to kill you mom” look on their faces.
Overall, it was a very pleasant breakfast. Hard to justify the $35 price tag with tax and tip, but you do get time with Safari Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Daisy and a large selection of all-you-can-stuff-in-your-belly-while-keeping-in-mind-that-we-have-Expedition-Everest-FASTPASSes-to-use breakfast items.
Okay, let’s fastforward back to September 4th.
Better walk off some of those calories ten days later. This is the walkway that connects Africa with Asia in the back of Animal Kingdom. We’re headed over to a stand called “Mr. Kamal’s” for lunch. Hope you’re still hungry. Menu and a picture of the stand are here.
These are billed as “Boneless Chicken Wings,” but they’re really Disney’s deep fried Chicken Breast Nuggets tossed in sauce from a jug. For $7.19, I couldn’t help but feel slightly ripped off. Certainly not much of a value here. They tasted fine. This the “chili garlic” variety and they did have a nice kick. I suppose it’s about what you would pay for Disney nuggets at other quick service locations. It was just a bit disappointing to get your run-of-the-mill nuggets rather than something a little more interesting. I’m not a big fan of the bagged chips that seem to be more and more prevalent either.
Great view though.
This is the Chilled Summer Roll from the Egg Roll Stand right across from Mr. Kamal’s. Full menu and pictures here: https://www.easywdw.com/menus-and-seating/safari-egg-roll-menu-asiaafrica-egg-rolls-beverages/.
This thing is only $1.99 and soooo good. The best $2 I’ve spent at Disney World in a long time. I’d much prefer four of these over those nuggets.
The only problem is that it broke pretty easily. You might need a fork. The stands have a centralized condiment cart to the right of the Egg Roll stand.
Up toward Asia. Flights of Wonder and Yak & Yeti Restaurant are to our left.
The new menu at Yak & Yeti Quality Beverages. This is a window on the right side of Yak & Yeti quick service. It’s in a terrible location because the walkway is already narrow and the line jutting out only makes it worse.
The standby wait for Kali River Rapids is probably inflated, but I didn’t have the nerve to check myself. Kali continues to have the longest waits in the Park when temperatures are high or uncomfortable. Today was more of an uncomfortable day with highs of around 87 degrees, but humidity of 75% plus. You can easily ride Kali with a short wait before 10:30am or FASTPASS it in the late morning. From June through August you may actually want to collect FASTPASSes before Kilimanjaro Safaris or Expedition Everest because they run out faster.
Not too bad at Expedition Everest considering it’s the middle of the afternoon and crowds aren’t going to get any heavier.
5 minute wait at TriceraTop Spin. This is the easiest hub and spoke attraction to ride. Dumbo is always a hassle and Aladdin’s Carpets can have decent waits as well.
Supposedly Primeval Whirl is reopening in 10 days. Over the last six months, I think I’ve seen one person working on it. The refurbishment has already been pushed back three or four times – I’m not sure where they’re at with it.
They call this the “afternoon race to DINOSAUR.” I guess today there are no participants. The standby wait is 20 minutes. All in all, that is probably accurate if you count the time it takes to wait in the first queue, make it through the preview video, and then wait in the second queue to board the time rover.
Walking back to Discovery Island.
One surefire way to know that Animal Kingdom is busy is to check the wait at It’s Tough To Be A Bug. You’re in trouble if it’s over ten minutes.
Toward the exit.
The current bus breakdown. Note the resorts that are sharing buses at the moment and the fact that there is no direct bus to Magic Kingdom. If you’re going to Magic Kingdom, you’ll have to connect at the Ticket/Transportation Center. The same is true for Hollywood Studios. There are no direct buses. However, there is a direct bus to Epcot and Hollywood Studios.
The bus stops to Epcot, Ticket/Transportation Center, and Hollywood Studios furthest away. If you’re headed to Magic Kingdom, I prefer to ride the bus from the Ticket/Transportation Center and then ride the Express Monorail to the Park. Theoretically, you could ride the Contemporary bus and walk, but Ticket/Transportation buses arrive more often and the Express Monorail is usually faster. I ride the Ticket/Transportation bus every time I visit Animal Kingdom and can’t think of a time I’ve had to wait more than ten minutes for a bus. There’s usually a bus waiting or another one arriving within five minutes.
All in all, a seemingly pleasant day, even if our “wings” were a bit of a letdown.