Preserving the Magic
What You Won't See
One of the phrases that became a running joke during our trip was, "That's Not Disney!" Eg. Bat Junk. I have some truly awesome photos of the giant bats, but they're somewhat pornographic. No need to put that up here. This is family programming, people.
The other was "Preserving the Magic." We first heard it on our Hotel Safari. The weather was predicted to go down to zero overnight so the keepers had to put the giraffes in the barn. That meant we wouldn't see them on the Savannah during the evening safari that we had booked for an obscene price and a unique, up-close experience.
Dani to booking agent: "Is it worth the price?"
Booking agent: "Are you ever going to Africa, Dani?"
Dani (thinking I am such a sucker): "No. Okay. Here's my Credit Card Number."
So we're on the truck and they're telling us the giraffes are not out and we're all getting frowny faces because it is cold and we've paid real money and then the guide says, "But we are going to take you into the barns to see them. This is not something Disney does. They like to preserve the magic, but in special cases like this [read: when you've paid real money] we allow it. But you can't take a camera in there."
They then unloaded us into a barn and warned us not to spook the animals and we all walked in and had seventy foot giraffes loom over us and lean down to eat out of the trays that were right in front of our faces, human eye to huge eye, with only a chain link fence between us. It was pretty awesome.
Not that you'll believe me, because we weren't allowed to take photos. Which brings me to my own brand of 'Preserving the Magic.' It is becoming more and more difficult to maintain privacy on the internet, but I do try to preserve my husband's and kids'.
Note: my daughter doesn't necessarily afford us the same courtesy. She has already posted some of our photos to Facebook, but this is different and so I won't be showing any photos of any faces but my own.
Here is the view from our balcony showing that I was not the only one to enjoy it. Hubby and son did too.
Point of Interest: You can't really see it, but below them is a fenced in area that we asked about during the safari. The guide explained that when the built the first lodge, they put all the fire exits into the savannah--where the animals are. Duh. So they had to build a 'boma' to keep the humans and animals separate. They fixed that when they built the second lodge, Kidani village.
Note: we walked over to Kidani and even though it's a bit brighter and newer, we were happy with our choice at the main lodge.
We did a lot of walking on this trip. My daughter brought a step counter and by the end, we calculated that we had walked approx 45 km on our week long vacation. We are SO HAPPY we waited until they were teenagers before taking this vacation. I saw people dragging little ones, pushing strollers.... Oh the work!
And they were fine with us taking a 'down day' to visit Downtown Disney which turned into a tour of several resort areas outside actual pay-to-get-in parks. We took a stroll around the boardwalk which I assume replicates or, um, evokes (?) Atlantic city and/or the eastern beach culture? Whatever it was, we were enthralled with the attention to detail and the way we were transported from Africa to Murtle Beach in a thirty minute shuttle bus ride. Here's my husband taking in the fake Eastern seaboard:
My daughter and I were quite taken with this area and decided it was one we would love to stay in if we came back. And I'm really glad we took a day to check out other hotels and restaurants. Our lunch at Olivia's cafe was one of our favourites and it was just a nice, relaxing day all around. Like a real vacation, despite it being our coldest day there.
Here we are deciding where to go next. My husband kept his hood up much of the day, leading the kids to refer to him as The Dementor.
We ended the day by checking out the monorail, the Polynesian, where we took this photo of pure Disney Magic, and finally snuck up to the top floor of the Grand Floridian to watch the sunset.