Food Review – Tusker House

 

Being a bit of a fan of Donald Duck this was one of the first meals I booked for our trip. I’d heard a lot of great things about it so this is definitely one of the places I was most looking forward to eating in.

Tusker House is a character buffet and you can find it in Animal Kingdom. It’s in Africa and isn’t far from the Kilimanjaro Safari. It’s actually a great location and doesn’t take too long to walk to from the entrance.

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For those of you who haven’t done a character dine before it doesn’t mean that the characters eat with you. You’re seated and all the characters will come to your table. They work on rotation so don’t worry if you see one leaving as you sit down they take regular breaks and cast members will make sure you see all of them πŸ™‚

We chose to do this for breakfast and it was the first place we ate in on our trip.

My top tip for getting Breakfast reservations is to try and get the earliest one you can. The earlier the better. If you have one you’ll be able to get into the park early, even if it’s not officially open.Β  We couldn’t get a really early one for this sadly so it was about 9:30am.

When you get into Africa look for the signs that say Tusker House Check in. The CM there will take your information and then there is a small waiting area to sit in while you wait for your server to come and get you.

There is plenty of space for wheelchairs and ample ‘parking’ for ECVs and strollers outside the restaurant if you can transfer.

 

Visually it is a beautiful space, it makes you feel like you’re outside and its very large and light and airy.

Our server was wonderful and the restaurant itself was pretty quiet.

Tusker House being in Africa does have a bit of an African inspired menu. I didn’t see a great deal of that over breakfast (although there was some kind of curry there, beef bobitie I think it was called) so if you’re worried about there not being anything you’d eat or put off by that type of food , don’t worry all the regular breakfast items you’d expect from a buffet are here.

Next trip we plan on doing lunch or dinner here so we can experience some different types of cuisine.

The signature drink here was Jungle Juice and that was lovely, like a tropical fruit juice and was in plentiful supply.Β  I could have drunk that all day.

One thing I’d heard a lot about here is the Banana Bread and that was so nice, I had seconds and thirds of that I seem to remember. All the regular other things were here biscuits, bacon, and the all important Mickey Waffles.

It is all you can eat so you’re not rushed at all and can go up to the ample buffet as many times as you like.

And now the reason we booked this in the first place! The Characters. Donald is your host for this so you meet him – in his cute safari outfit as well as Mickey,Β Daisy and Goofy.

Interactions weren’t the best ones I’ve experienced at Disney but it was awesome. I like doing stuff like this and meeting the characters in their different outfits πŸ™‚

The restaurants don’t have photopass photographers in them so you do have to take your own so there’s not as many here as I would have liked – I was too busy eating!

All in all I really enjoyed Tusker House, it was a great start to the holiday. Food and service were good as well.Β  As I said there isn’t anything too adventurous on the breakfast menu so if you have fussy ones and want to eat here I would recommend doing it for breakfast.Β  Looking at the menu for other times might be a bit of a challenge.

Price wise it’s the same as most of the character buffets in the parks it’s about $35 for an adult and $15 for a child. Plus the tip.

This is included in the dining plan and will use up 1 of your table service credits.

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Day 13 – Animal Kingdom and being Married by Rafiki

We had a pretty short day in the parks today being as we go home tomorrow night and we needed to pack 😦  So this will no doubt be quite a short blog 😦

But we headed off to Animal Kingdom and it was so busy! I think the remnants of Irma had gone and flights had started coming back in so the crowds were picking up again.

Pandora this morning was insanely busy and even getting into it was near on impossible so we gave it a miss for now and decided to do all the other stuff first.

The rest of the park was pretty quiet compared to Pandora, it did seem like a lot of people were coming in to do that and not really visiting the rest of the park.

We got a return time for Kilimanjaro Safaris which we love and went off to use our fastpass for Everest. Our favourite ride here I think πŸ™‚ Amelia always insists that she sits on her own!! I love this picture of us on Everest, she’s loving it me and Paul look as if we’re in class about to answer a question or something!!

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As it was quiet we went on this 3 times in a row! Everest is such a fun ride and you get such a great view of the park when you’re going up the mountain, especially at night. If you look the other way I’ve seen you can see Epcot I think it is but I always forget to look!

We tried to get on Kali River Rapids but it was closed still after Irma so we didn’t get to do that. There was a massive tree down in Animal Kingdom due to the hurricane. Pretty much the only significant damage I had seen through the parks so far.

The safari was great, it’s one of the best things about Animal Kingdom, I love Hippos so that’s my favourite bit and seeing the Elephants at the water hole is always fun to see πŸ™‚ We didn’t get the time sadly to do the night safari so that’s something for the next trip.

We had lunch today in the Harambe Market, we were in the parks early so it was an early lunch. Animal Kingdom doesn’t have a large amount of choice for table service places to eat and a lot of the quick service looks a bit spicy and not really something we like to eat. So we struggle here. However Harambe Market was lovely. There are a few different windows serving the different dishes and we went for the Beef and Lamb Gyro flatbreads cos the looked the most plain thing there.

It was really really nice. I’d definitely eat there again.

I love the African part of Animal Kingdom the most. There’s a lovely atmosphere here and the street entertainers are great. Particularly the dancers who always get Amelia up with them, they did some kind of song and dance for me and Paul which is a wedding celebration. I got it all on camera so it will be up in a future vlog.

The best show at Animal Kingdom is by far Festival of The Lion King so we had to make sure we saw it before we had to go home.

I love this show. It’s ‘in the round’ so you can see wherever you sit (kind of a theme with the Disney shows all the theatres are like that). It’s not the story of the film but it has a lot of the songs in it and some of the characters. Again little miss has been picked on for this each time we’ve seen it and this time she was even more happy as she was the one who was chosen to interact with Timon today. (Again all on video). It’s a great show, the tumble monkeys are the highlight of it for me πŸ™‚Β  You do not need to use one of your fastpasses for this unless you want to sit right at the front. It’s a big theatre you’ll get in πŸ™‚

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Cautious of time we decided to head to Pandora to use the return time we had for Flight of Passage, we’ve talked about this ride the whole trip so we had to do it again. We also had a look at the Banshee rookery which seems to be the ‘big’ merchandise item for Pandora. They look pretty cool and the fact they move and make noise is fab but the harness on your shoulder doesn’t really stay straight and they are really expensive for what they are. I can honestly say I didn’t see many people with them. Amelia decided against getting one in the end, she’d saved enough money to get one, and got herself a little plush one instead that she loves and was much much cheaper!

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I wasn’t overly impressed with the merchandise there if I’m honest but I’m not the biggest fan of the movies.

I did have another Night Blossom though and we got some lovely shots in Pandora with the Photopass.

I hate saying goodbye to Disney and just as I was feeling sad coming out of Animal Kingdom I spotted characters. We missed Meeko but we did meet Rafiki and this was quite possibly my most memorable character meet and one of the highlights of the whole honeymoon.

Rafiki saw our ears and insisted on making us stand in front of him while he conducted a whole wedding ceremony – I’m so upset I didn’t get this on video – it was so fun and something that we weren’t expecting. Amelia loved it being made to stand and hold some imaginary flowers.Β He was such a great character and it made us laugh!!

We had such a great day at Animal Kingdom and it was the perfect way to end the day.

Sadly now it’s packing time ready for our flight home tomorrow but we are spending as much time in Epcot as we can first and we do have a character lunch booked too πŸ™‚

Disneymoon Blog – Day 1 – Animal Kingdom, Armidillos and Oh Getting lost…

I was up at 4am this morning, unpacking and writing yesterdays blog and went off for a little adventure around the resort while everyone else was asleep being a good wife and getting drinks for when Paul and Amelia woke up.

Port Orleans is such a nice resort as I said yesterday, it has such a relaxed atmosphere and because it is a small resort it’s not crowded which is brilliant. (I’ll do a proper in full review of the resort and the room when I get home)

We had an 8:20 reservation for Tusker House this morning with EMH at Animal Kingdom from 8am. We got there just after 8am and it was packed. Labour Day weekend and obviously Pandora I think were the reasons for that. In all my visits I’ve never seen so many people running towards a park at that time of the morning. As we made our way to Tusker and passed Pandora that crowd did thin out. A Lot.

Tusker House is fab!! It’s a large restaurant so even though it seats a lot of people it doesnt feel too crowded. It’s worth remembering for those of you who aren’t staying on site that if you do have a dining reservation before the park opens that is a really good way to get in the parks. Although you won’t be able to get on anything until it does open for rides like Flight of Passage it would mean you can get in line early.

Food at Tusker is standard for a Breakfast Buffet although it does have a bit of an African twist with things like corned beef hash and curry for you to try. I have a sweet tooth and would highly recommend trying the Banana Bread pudding which was lovely. As is the specialty drink ‘Jungle Juice’ which they give you when you get to your table. I could drink that all day.Β  I don’t know what was in it but it was lovely and fruity.

We met 4 Characters, Donald obviously, Daisy, Goofy and Mickey.Β  I do love the character dining it’s a great way to meet the more popular ones without having to be in a line for ages.

Bellys full we headed off to get my DAS sorted on our Magic Bands which was as usual quick and easy from Guest Services.Β  Then off we went to visit Pandora. We had a fast pass for River Journey and it was pretty quiet which we found a little odd. Turned out none of the rides were running. We did have a little look around and Amelia was fascinated by the big plant that lights up when you touch it. I have to say from that little bit that we saw I was completely gobsmacked. It is stunning!! The theming, the ambience the whole lot of it is breathtaking.Β  I knew it was going to be incredible after seeing all the vlogs and pictures but honestly none of those do it justice at all.Β IMG_8114

With Pandora having issues we decided to head up to Kilimanjaro Safaris – I was a bit lame today with taking photos and mostly videoed instead so look out for those when we get home. We saw loads of animals on the safari including a baby elephant which was absolutely the cutest thing we saw all day.

We bumped into Tarzan on our travels which was fab as I’d not met him before πŸ™‚ I managed to embarass myself a little by tripping on my feet and very nearly grabbing his bum…

Off to Everest after that Amelia’s favourite, And a lot faster than I remember it being last time!! Then a quick visit to the river rapids which was lovely in the heat as it was incredibly muggy and hot yesterday.

Disability access for all the rides is so easy – I will go into all that a lot more when I get home – I know it’s something that is really important to know when you go somewhere like Disney.

We went back to Pandora for lunch and off to Satu’li Canteen one of the places I’d been most looking forward to eating in. Again the ambience is breathtaking in there!! Food was amazing, I recommend the beef but not with the grains which basically taste like plain brown rice, Paul went for the sweet potato hash which was lovely so that would be my choice for next time.

No pudding though cos we were full, instead we went and got a Night Blossom from Pongo Pongo. Which tastes like a twister in a glass πŸ™‚

Using my DAS we got a return time for Flight of Passage – a wait of 4 HOURS – and then went back to the hotel for a bit of time in the pool. And we managed to get back without getting lost!!

Bad news when we got back literally just as we got to the pool they closed it due to lightning so instead we went in the arcade which was so much fun.

Back to Animal Kingdom after refilling our resort mugs for the journey, it was chucking it down so it was nice walking in that everyone else was heading in the opposite direction.

Straight to River Journey as they let us keep the fast pass to use at any time as well as giving us an extra for something else too.

Just like Pandora itself River Journey is just stunning!! There is so much to look at as you go round. It really takes your breath away with the sounds smells and noises you hear as you travel slowly around. I decided not to take pictures on this on my first time round just so I could fully concentrate on what was going on and take it all in. Then off we went to Flight of Passage. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do this ride being that the restraints hold your feet forward and also come up to fasten you at your back – 2 things that for me with my condition looked like they would be a little problematic. So I ducked out 😦 Paul and Amelia went on it though and when they came off Paul explained everything to me about the ride vehicle and we decided that I would be able to go on so we decided to go back again another day, instead a lovely cast member who I’d been chatting to while I was waiting actually took us back round so we could all go on again then.

Flight of Passage there are literally no words to describe how amazing it is!! It uses similar technology to Soarin but much more state of the art. Not only do you see all the places you’re flying over on your banshee you smell them as well.Β  It’s that realistic that you almost forget that you’re on a ride and you do really feel a little worried you might fall off of things might hit you as you fly at them – I had to stop myself putting my hand up to shield myself from some of it!! Because of the incredibly realistic effects it is really really intense. I have strange fears and big waves/tidal waves and things like that do scare me there is a bit where you fly towards a huge wave and I think you fly through it as it crashed over you but I shut my eyes for that so I could be wrong!! πŸ™‚

It was dark when we got off so we were lucky enough to see Pandora at night with everything lit up. It’s beautiful!! You MUST go here at night and see how all the plants and walkways light up in the dark, if there is any place throughout Disney that showcases the talent of the imagineers this is it!! How they come up with the ideas to make these things so real I will never know!!

We did Dinosaur which is probably one of the fastest rides I’ve ever been on, I don’t remember it being that quick – maybe we’re just getting old and things seem a bit faster than they used to be – I was knackered getting off that you get thrown around that much!!

Then last fastpass of the day was Everest about half hour before park closing πŸ™‚ In the Dark with an AMAZING view of the park all lit up!! Highly recommened doing that at night πŸ™‚

Wandering out of the park we saw a little Armadillo which was highly entertaining for all the Brits around us!!

Then we left. To come back to the hotel which we found with no trouble earlier!! Took us an hour again in the dark!! Theme of this holiday is definitely getting lost in Disney!! I’m beginning to regret not getting a decent map or renting a sat nav!!

Off to Islands of Adventure today and Blue Man tonight, I wonder if we’ll get lost coming home.. stay tuned I shall update you tomorrow!!

Things to do in theme parks without being in a queue! ANIMAL KINGDOM

You should already have read my tips on Magic Kingdom and what to do while you’re waiting for ride times or if you just don’t want to queue for rides so here is part 2 ANIMAL KINGDOM and this park has LOADS to do without queuing for ages.

Of course a big part of Animal Kingdom is the animals and looking at those as you walk around is a great way to pass some time. There’s different trails in each of the ‘lands’ where you can find animals from each of those countries.

There’s also Rafikis planet watch which I’ve never seen busy but I love as there’s a petting zoo with goats πŸ™‚ Anything that includes touching and petting animals is a win with me. The Train to get there and back is pretty fun as well. Plus there’s characters there, we met Chip and Dale and Rafiki when we went and it’s super quiet.

The Tree of Life is an incredible thing to look about and spotting all the different carvings as you get close to it is fun. It looks different from every angle as well so you never get bored of looking at it πŸ™‚ It also lights up at night which is an amazing thing to see.

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All throughout the park you have the Wilderness Explorers which is based on the movie ‘UP’ and a trail through the park learning about all the difference species as you go, you’re given a guide book to fill up and get a sticker at each stop and a little prize at the end if you’ve completed it all πŸ™‚

There is entertainment literally on every corner in AK, different music from each corner of the world it represents and there’s drums and other instruments that look like part of the scenery that you can play yourself.Β  From what I’ve seen of Pandora there is a lot of that in there.

Queues for some of the shows here can be long although the theatres do seat 1000 per show so you may be lucky enough to get in without a fastpass or spending an hour queuing when the park is quieter.

Flights of Wonder is a great way to pass some time, it’s a live animal show with some of the parks native birds including macaws and hawks. In true Disney style it has music in it and is loads of fun for those of you who aren’t afraid of birds!!

DinoLand USA has loads to do for the little ones with a big dino themed adventure playground in ‘The Boneyard’ and of course the strangeness that is Chester and Hesters Dino-Rama! with a few rides and some side show games you would find at a fairground – these are an additional cost though.

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As with all the parks there’s characters all over as well and ad-hoc entertainment throughout the day.

Let me know if there’s anything you like doing in Animal Kingdom while you’re waiting for rides πŸ™‚

Free things to do at Disney – Surely that can’t be true?

We all know how expensive it is to go on a Disney holiday but did you know that there are some pretty cool things you can do at the parks that don’t cost you any extra and might give you some extra souvenirs as well.

We all know about the badges you can get if you’re celebrating literally ANYTHING!! (you can pick these up from Guest Services…) but did you know that there are in park games you can play as well that will come with collectable cards and maps among other things.

If you’re lucky enough to be a frequent visitor to Disney then you might already know about these but some of them I’ve only just found out about so chances are there will be some people who don’t know so for those of you who go a lot then maybe I’ve given you something new to try!!

I know I’ll be doing some of these when I go this year!

MAGIC KINGDOM has Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom which is an interactive scavenger hunt game you play around the park using cards to cast spells to defeat the villians around the park.

You sign up for this free at the Fire House as you come into the park and you’re given instructions, maps and some free spell cards as well as your portal key which activates the ‘portals’ around the park to help you on your mission. There are actually 70 cards to collect and each person can have 1 set per day so even if your whole family isn’t playing they can scan their tickets and get the extra cards for you.

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There are several missions to complete and once you have completed one you’ll be told how to move onto the next and if you complete all you get to defeat Hades and then you can collect an extra set of cards so make sure you do that if you do get to do them all.

It’s a different way to see the park and it will give you some free keepsakes with the cards so it’s definitely worth a go. If you meet other gamers on your way round you may be able to trade cards with them as well πŸ™‚

TOP TIP – Your portal key has a chip in which will save your progress so you don’t have to complete all the tasks in one day if you have more than one day in the park, this also allows you to get more cards to help on your mission. Each mission can take up to 30 minutes and it can take 5 hours to do all of them so it might be wise to spread them across a few days.

ANIMAL KINGDOM has Wilderness Explorers which is based on UP, this one we’ve done and it’s so much fun. We didn’t get to finish it so we’ll do the whole one this time.

It’s really good fun, you sign up at HQ near the entrance of the park – you can’t miss it – and are given a Wilderness Explorers handbook – bit like what you used to get at guides and brownies – and it shows you what badges you can get and gives you tasks to complete and questions you need to find the answers to.

You get given stickers – there are 30 to collect – and you get a special one at the end if you complete it all.

All the locations are shown on the park maps but you can spot them easily around the park by looking for these:

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I really enjoyed doing this and it’s educational for kids as well, you learn all sorts of things about the animals and nature at Animal Kingdom. I’m intrigued to see what we can learn in Pandora!

EPCOT has 2 things you can do for free!! 2!!

You have the Kidcot fun stops all around the world showcase for the younger ones in the family. You’re given a free cardboard Duffy the Bear that you can colour in a section of at each of the stops around the world showcase. The cast member in each country will tell stories of where they’re from and give Duffy a stamp from that country.

We also did this last trip and the kids really enjoyed it. It’s a good way to have a little break as well walking round Epcot can be quite exhausting all the kidcot areas are air conditioned.

The areas are again all on the maps and are really easy to find.

For older children and those you can’t get away from their phones you have Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure based on Agent P from Phineas and Ferb. It’s a similar idea to Sorcerers in that it’s a scavenger hunt but with this one you’re given a FONE (Field Operative Notification Equipment) or you can connect with your own smart phone. You get clues via text that direct you to places in the world showcase to solve clues. There are several different missions in the showcase and each one can take up to 40 minutes to complete. Like Sorcerers it’s a really good way to see the park and being that the showcase is so big it will no doubt direct you to places you may not have seen if you were walking around on your own.

Sadly Hollywood Studios doesn’t have anything like this currently but what with Disney adding new things all the time who knows what may be there when Star Wars Land opens in a few years.

I love these little extra things that add to the magic, not only do they allow you to have a new experience when you’ve been to the parks before they also give you some really cool keepsakes you can take home with you.Β  And lets face it any souvenirs that are free are a good thing!!

4 Parks in One Day – The Disney Challenge

Since this holiday was booked – and more so in the last few months – I’ve been watching loads of videos on YouTube about Disney, Universal and Orlando in general. Paul thinks it’s weird but watching other people enjoying their holiday and wandering around the places that are all so familiar to me just gets me even more excited. I know exactly how they’re feeling when they get that first glimpse of the Castle in Magic Kingdom, the amazement at the size of Spaceship Earth and the emotions when you walk into Hogsmeade and see the actual Hogwarts!! It just puts me straight back there and keeps the holiday memories alive for a little big longer until the next visit. Plus when you’re watching people who’ve visited on numerous occasions you always see something new that you may not know was there so gives you idea for future trips and an excuse to book them…. ‘but I HAVE to go again, I didn’t see that last time….’

One of the videos I watched last week was about doing 4 Disney parks in 1 day. Now, I’ve quite easily done 2 – Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios you can easily do in 1 day if you have fastpasses etc for the rides you want to do – but 4? Now that’s a challenge I want to try.

I actually didn’t know before watching that video that you can get a boat from Epcot to Hollywood Studios I just knew about the buses! So I’ve been travelling the long way for years!

Having the benefit of extra magic hours will make it a lot easier to do this I think and it’s a cool way to see things by using the monorail and the boats. Maybe stopping by Beaches and Cream between Hollywood Studios and Epcot for one of the world famous ‘Kitchen Sinks’

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Having that much sugar should clearly give us energy for walking round 2 other parks surely!! I’ve just got to convince Paul it’s a good idea πŸ™‚

I shall let you how we get on πŸ™‚