Eating Around The World

My Walt Disney World Dining Project

Our Safari Morning: Tusker House (Breakfast) August 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — scarlettashley1 @ 10:11 pm

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After being overly exhausted at Epcot, we all (me, my mom, and Malcolm) took a couple of days off to rest.  After Les Chefs, we seriously didn’t eat until almost 24 hours later…that’s how full we were.  We spent a day just kind of hanging out at my house and relaxing, and a day shopping at outlet malls in Orlando…but then, it was back to Disney World!

There was, of course, some planning that needed to be done first.  Just like on our Magic Kingdom morning, I knew for our Animal Kingdom day, I needed Tusker House for breakfast.  I’d heard so many good things about the character breakfast, and also about the strategy of eating there before the park opens so that you can rush to the Kilimanjaro Safari’s (since the early safari’s usually have more active animals).  However, I couldn’t get an ADR.  *sigh* Here we go again.

This time though, I couldn’t get ANY breakfast times, so I couldn’t even use the strategy we had at Magic Kingdom.  Boo.  I spent almost a week trying every single day, multiple times a day, to get a breakfast ADR.  I tried to tell myself we didn’t need to eat there…but it was no good…I NEEDED that reservation.  I tried every trick I could think of…I tried specific times, I tried entering just “breakfast,” I tried calling, I tried online…nothing.

Now, I had heard from some other people, that sometimes, if you enter a larger party size, you can get an ADR.  For example, if there are 6 of you, try putting in 8.  Apparently, the way the system works is that there are a set number of reservations for each party size, and they often run out of ADR’s for popular party sizes.  I decided I would try this.  I was hesitant, because I don’t want to take a large table away from another party, but I was skeptical about it working anyway, so I tried.  Instead of entering a party of 3, I tried 5.  The reason I did 5 was because I figured I needed to try for the next table size, and a party of 3 is always seated at a 4-top.  Still, nothing was available.

The day before we were going to AK…I decided to try one last time.  Still, nothing available, at any time, for 3 people or 5 people.  At the last minute, I tried one last crazy thing.  I decided to put in a party of 4.  I knew this was ridiculous because if they had tables for 4, they of course had tables for 3, since it’s the same table…but I knew if I didn’t try it, I would always wonder “what if.”  Okay, so you know what happened next right?  There was a table available!!  For the time I wanted even!  8:15!  Pre-rope drop!

So, while I’m really excited that I got my ADR, I can’t help but think about how ridiculous this is.  It’s seriously the same table whether we are 3 people or 4, so why couldn’t I get the reservation for 3 people?  *sigh* I guess I’ll never truly understand the intricacies of the Disney ADR system.

We decided that, even though our ADR was for 8:15, that we would show up early and try to be seated early so that we would finish breakfast closer to opening time, and get on one of the earliest safaris.  We, once again, got up at an ungodly time and made the drive down to WDW.  One thing I REALLY like about these super early ADR’s though, is being like, the 3rd car in the parking lot.  Since we always avoid the tram, because of the stroller, it’s awesome to have such a short walk!  Especially at the end of the day when you’re all exhausted and hot.

Anyway, we got into the park very easily, just like we had at Epcot the other day.  Also, just like at Epcot, there was no one really around.  One of my favorite things about Animal Kingdom is when you come over that hill, and around the corner, and suddenly, BAM, there’s the Tree of Life.  I think that view is so breathtaking, and I’ll never forget how blown away I was the first time I saw it…it was so unexpected.  Seeing it with no people there was phenomenal.  Also, it was my mom’s first ever time seeing it, so she was pretty amazed as well.  That moment made all the trouble I went through getting the ADR worth it.

So, we get over to Tusker House and check in, and immediately get in line to meet Donald.  Now, I knew this was Donald’s Safari Breakfast, but I didn’t know we were going to get a one-on-one meet with Donald and a photographer and everything (although, these photo’s aren’t included in the price like at Akershus).  Malcolm LOVES Donald, so I was really excited for this.  As usual, Malcolm was very happy to spend a few minutes playing with Donald…and despite the line, we didn’t feel at all rushed.  Donald was very sweet with Malcolm, and the photographer took pictures with our camera’s and his, he seemed to really get a lot of shots in, so that was awesome.

After that, we were taken right in to our table.  As soon as we walked in, I was, once again, blown away.  It was gorgeous!  The room where they have the buffet tables is so well themed, and it just looks fantastic!  Not to mention all the yummy looking food!  We were taken into the next room (which was also super well themed) and seated.  The hostess told us it would be a few minutes before the characters started their rounds and told us the path they would take so we could be prepared.  The waitress then came by and brought us Jungle Juice and took our drink orders.  The Jungle Juice is orange, passion fruit, and guava juice (I believe), and even though Malcolm loves his apple juice, I figured we’d try this and see how it went.  Holy crap…Malcolm LOVED the Jungle Juice!  He drank like 3 cups of it (which is a lot for him), and we even had to get one to go!  I had no idea he would like it that much, so I was really glad we tried it out.

I then headed up to the buffet for our food.  I thought it was going to be typical breakfast fare, so I was very surprised by what I found.  While there was typical breakfast stuff, there were so many other choices too!  There was coconut sweet potatoes, and citrus rice, and beef bobtie quiche…lots of interesting things!  I ended up with my plate pretty overloaded…I wanted to try everything, but also all of the standard favorites (bacon, waffles, etc) looked sooo good too.  There was also a really good selection of pastries: donuts, bagels, danish, muffins, etc., and several types of cereal.  The buffet really had a ton of options!  WAY more than Akershus had!

Everything I had I really enjoyed, with the exception of the cinnamon rolls (they were a bit dry).  Malcolm really liked the coconut sweet potatoes, scrambled eggs, and ham and cheese frittata.  I wasn’t a super big fan of the Jungle Juice, but I did order coffee, and they had REAL coffee!!  It was so good to have a real cup of coffee (something I don’t have very often since I’m pregnant and limiting caffeine), and we all know how difficult it is to find at Disney World.

While we were eating, Mickey Mouse appeared!  But, he wasn’t visiting tables yet.  He came out with several cast members, and they had lots of percussion instruments with them.  The CM’s went around to the tables and handed the instruments out to kids and encouraged them to come to the center of the room for a parade.  What followed was a very loud, but very fun parade around the dining room, led by Mickey, with lots of very VERY noisy children and instruments.  Malcolm was in heaven!  Although he was too little to join, he was quite excited about all the noise and music!  It was really fun!  I can’t wait until he’s older and can really participate in the things like that at character meals.  It’s fun just to observe those activities anyway, I can’t imagine how awesome it will be to watch my own child(ren) participating.

After that, Mickey, and the rest of the characters began circulating.  Once again, I noticed that there is not a lot of room to get around once they come out.  Our tables were very close together, but, everyone seemed pretty used to it and they were good at squeezing through tight spaces.  All of the characters here were fantastic!  Mickey, Daisy, and Goofy all came by…they were all so good with Malcolm, they tickled him and played peekaboo and made him laugh.  They each spent plenty of time with us and let us take lots of pictures, it was wonderful!

Once we had seen everyone, a picture man came by and showed us our pictures with Donald to see if we wanted to buy them.  I don’t remember the price of the pictures, but it was around 30 dollars.  There were actually lots of pictures included in the price though.  There was an 8 x 10 of all of us with Donald, two 5 x 7 of the same picture, a 5 x 7 of just Malcolm with Donald, and an 8 x 10 of the fab 5 in safari clothes in front of the Tree of Life.  We decided it was definitely worth the price, and the pictures came out cute, so we got them.

By the time we finished up breakfast it was about 9:15.  We went over to the Kilimanjaro Safari’s and there was only a 10 minute wait!  We got on quickly and had a lovely safari!  That is, until we broke down out on the Savannah.  Seriously, when you’re out there, even at 9:30 in the morning it is brutally hot.  Especially after you’ve sat there FOR AN HOUR!!  It was pretty awful.  Apparently a truck in front of us broke down and needed to be emptied and towed.

The good part of this, however, was that our driver took pity on us when we started up again, and when we got near the elephants he stopped for a long time.  There is a little 2 month old baby elephant there, and we got to see him run around and play with his mom…it was seriously like, the most adorable thing ever!  It was totally worth all the time we spent stuck with only sleeping wildebeests to look at.

All in all, a fantastic morning.  I was so pleased with our breakfast experience and the way that our whole morning went.  I think Tusker House would be a great place for groups where some people like “traditional” food and others want to try something a bit more exotic (not super exotic…but a bit).  We will definitely go back!  I’m glad that, since there aren’t many restaurant options at Animal Kingdom, this one was so good.

I want to take a moment to apologize for the spacing of my posts lately.  My due date is just a little over 3 weeks away, and I’ve been pretty busy with that, as well as all the time we’ve spent at Disney, and trying to deal with other personal stuff.  I have still been dining at WDW though, and am kind of stockpiling stories so that I can continue to post even after the baby comes and I have to take a break from the parks.  I really appreciate everyone being so patient with me and continuing to read…please continue to stick around…I’m afraid things may get spotty for a bit when the baby is born, but I’ll try to get back on track as soon as possible.

Don’t forget, follow me on twitter @scarlettashley1, friend me on Facebook under Scarlett Ashley, or email me scarlettashley1@yahoo.com.

The next post will, I’m sure, be a bit controversial…Coral Reef!!  This restaurant has one of the worst reputations in Epcot, but we tried it anyway!  I can’t wait to tell you about it!

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24 Responses to “Our Safari Morning: Tusker House (Breakfast)”

  1. kk_315 Says:

    Nice job!

    I gotta say, I am extremely jealous that you are like 37 weeks PG with your 2nd child, and you’d have to look closely to even tell that you’re expecting! And you’re down on one knee like it’s nothing! At that point in my pregnancy, the CMs would have needed a fork lift to get me up from that position. And with you eating all these fantastic places, how are you still so tiny?! Jealous, I admitted it already. 😉

    • Thank you so much! I keep forgetting though that while I can get down on the ground like that…getting up is a TOTALLY different story! And even though I’m eating all the time…I’m also logging many miles while walking around the parks, so I work it all off! But seriously, thank you…every pregnant woman wants to hear how fantastic she looks!

  2. Keith C (TheFugitiveGuy) Says:

    (Awww, I wanted to be the first to comment) 🙂 Don’t worry about the blogging speed Scarlett, as you can tell, we’re all super-eager to read your blogs whenever they come out,

    I have to say, that is the strangest thing about the ADR for 3 vs 4 vs 5! I’ve heard the trick of asking for a 6 table if you’ve got 4 people, but I had no idea that it could be so particular.

    It’s interesting to hear that Donald was in your preliminary picture. When I went last year for breakfast, we had the same picture line outside, but no characters. But inside the restaurant, we were there long enough (or the place was empty enough) that the characters looped through twice. Goofy was our favorite, he even dropped the autograph book in DD5’s breakfast plate, which she still talks about to this day.

    One thing that I think is worth mentioning: When we were there, we also had pre-opening ADRs (I love walking through a mostly empty park too!), but our meal lasted past park opening time. So what I did was left DW and DDs in the restaurant, and waited outside for the Africa rope drop to the Safari FP machines. It was a very strange thing standing in Africa behind a rope with a small group from Tusker House, looking back and seeing the horde of people following their own rope that came all the way from the entry gates. But it all worked out well, I grabbed some FPs, and then went back for more delicious food 🙂

    • I’m glad you don’t care about the blogging speed, because there is no telling how that’s going to go in the next few weeks!

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks the ADR’s for 3, 4, or 5 is weird! I didn’t know it would be so picky either…very weird.

      So, did they just take a pic of you and your family with no characters when you went? I mean, that’s cool and all, but not as cool as a character picture! I wonder if they changed it or if you guys just went on an odd day (or if we went on an odd day)?

      It was pretty busy when we were there, so we only got the characters once each…love the story about the autograph book!

      I’ve heard lots of people say they used that same FP trick! We were also there past RD time, but it was pretty close so we weren’t too worried about it. If I had had a larger group or we had more of a schedule I would have done that too…it’s a fantastic plan!

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog!

      • Keith C (TheFugitiveGuy) Says:

        Yah, when we went for breakfast, the picture was just our family standing against the outside wall of the restaurant (with masks or some other decoration behind us), near the checkin area. Maybe it was too early in the morning for Donald to be awake to join us 🙂

        It’s so memorable when the characters are in good spirits and really interact. Sometimes I must be too focused on the cycle of autograph and picture for each daughter, and so miss out on the interactions. But Goofy was just in perfect Goofy spirit that day, bumping his head on the ceiling, dropping the autograph book in her plate, then shaking so nervously he could barely sign his name. It’s that sort of stuff that really makes me love character meals!

  3. weasus Says:

    It’s hard to believe you’re so close to meeting baby Zinn! This is such a wonderful blog. You are so positive in your outlook, but still fair and honest. Even if it’s just your opinion/experience on a particular day, your insights are so helpful! I guess I won’t be able to share another eating adventure with you for a while, but I’m content with the blogs. I still hoping a Treehouse Villa night comes through for us, so we can Hoop-De-Doo in style 🙂 Luckily I’ve got the campfire meetup next week to look forward to!

    • I know! I can’t believe how quick he is going to be here!

      Thanks, I’m glad you like the blog. And you never know…we may get a chance to eat together again! Plus, I plan on doing a post about the campfire meet (because s’mores are food right?).

      We’ll do Hoop eventually…luckily, we’re here all the time, so there’s no rush 🙂

  4. Snowpup Says:

    Seriously, you have to stop breaking all the rides! Your IASW break down must have been worse than this though?

    Oh, and Jungle Juice sounds awesome… Will have to try that.

    Very good post, thank you.

    Try not to worry about the post spacing, some of the blogs I follow post a few times, then vanish for several months, then some posts, and then vanish again, and so on. I keep following them because the content is good. So, you are completely set.

    • I know! I break everything! IASW was actually probably not as bad because at least it was air conditioned, and Malcolm behaved much better being stuck on IASW (it’s kind of his favorite ride).

      Jungle Juice was yummy…but very very sweet. I prefer to drink something less sweet with my meals, but the flavor was great!

      I’m glad to know it’s okay for me to post a bit inconsistently…there’s no telling what’s going to happen in the next few weeks, but I’m hoping to at least somewhat keep up.

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog…can’t wait til you’re here!!

  5. The exact same thing happend to us. We have been trying to get a table for 3 at crystal palace and no luck. Tried a table for 4 and got the exact time we wanted. very odd.

  6. Another great one!

    I was also thinking the same thing as mentioned above – you DO NOT look 8 months pregnant! I can’t believe how little you are 🙂

    I never heard that about the different party group size issue while making ADR – I will have to keep that in mind!

  7. Rhonda_runs Says:

    Scarlett, as always I loved hearing about your dining adventure! We have eaten at Akershus Princess breakfast and the Cinderella Princess breakfast. The food at Tusker House looks MUCH better than either of those.

    I can imagine that getting stuck out on the savannah in the HEAT with a young child was not the most fun thing in the world. 🙂 I guess it was a good thing that you had your Mom to help you entertain Malcolm.

    Looking forward to reading more blog posts when you get the time.

  8. Shane Says:

    1. Making ADRs For any number other than what is correct is a very controversial topic, up there with using FPs past their date. Be careful mentioning this on Lines.
    2. Isn’t that “Jungle Juice” one of the things we tried at Taste of Africa at the juice tasting? I remember really liking it!

    • I fully support my decision to make an ADR for 4 instead of 3 since it’s the same size table and I’m not taking anything away from anyone.

      I don’t think Jungle Juice was one if the things we tried…we had guava juice, which was close (and the one that was the best of the 4).

  9. Julie (jlhay) Says:

    Great post!! I wonder why when you called about the ADR they could find the table? Are they just using the exact system we are at home? I had always assumed they had some insider way to search or something. Weird. Anyway Tusker House sounds like so much fun!

  10. Jenn Says:

    I have always wondered what TH was like…now I know! And now I want to go…NOW! *sigh* Probably not in the cards for a while but this will certainly be in my plan for next time.
    Thanks for another great entry. Don’t worry about the spacing, just knowing you intend to continue is enough to keep us all going, too!

  11. Kirsten Says:

    This was our fave character meal in June….well, okay–a tie with CP, but that’s mostly because it was DD’s 1st bday. We had a pre-park opening ADR as well. Goofy’s hat fell off at a table near us…and my boys STILL talk about that happening. If anyone goes to TH soon, check the menu outside on the check in desk (2nd one). Cheerios was misspelled, which I found very funny! I just have this vision of “perfection” at WDW, and this was very out of character!

    I agree—you look great for 8 months! 🙂

    Can’t wait to hear about your next dining adventure!

    • I’ve talked to a lot of people who said this was their favorite character meal! We took Malcolm to WDW for his first birthday too–what a magical day!

      I totally have to go look at the “Cheerios” thing now–that’s hilarious! I’m the same way about WDW perfection.

      Thanks! I sure am starting to FEEL 8 months pregnant!

  12. Sung Luna Says:

    When Japan wants to build something right, it builds it really right. Brand giants such as Toyota, Nintendo, Sony, Nikon and Yamaha may have been created by people fueled by nothing more complicated than raw fish and rice, but it’s how the fish and rice is put together that makes this a global first-date favorite.


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