Jennifer and Dave's Disney Adventure Report

Dates: 12/6 - 12/12, 2000 (7-Day Trip)


  • Jennifer Watson: 32 year old, writer and co-author of PassPorter Walt Disney World, on her umpteenth trip to Disney (from Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Dave Marx: 45 year old, writer and co-author of PassPorter Walt Disney World, on his 15th (or is it 16th?) trip to Disney (from Hackensack, NJ and Ann Arbor, MI)
Updated 11/21/03

Copyright 1999-2006
PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.

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  Friday, December 8: Animal Kingdom Day

After wrapping up Thursday's activities with a long "hang" at the Adventurer's Club, Jennifer was in no condition to toddle off to Animal Kingdom for Deb's 8:30 AM Kilimanjaro Safari Meet. So, temporarily detaching the link that keeps us joined at the hip, I rose before dawn and hopped a bus to Animal Kingdom. The gates were still closed when I arrived, and I spied (and chatted with) old PassPorter/RADP buddies Donna and Bill Edgar while we stood on line.

Some of you already know Jennifer and I are not early risers, so you might not be surprised to hear that this was my first chance to see the opening ceremony at Animal Kingdom. No "spoilers" here -- all I'll say is, get out of bed and see it (at least once), you sleepyheads! 

After that I strode purposefully through the Oasis, past the Tree of Life and through Harambe Village to the appointed meeting place just outside Kilimanjaro Safaris. The crowd milled and met, met and milled until Deb announced it was time! Well, we had more than one jeep's worth of RADPers, but not nearly enough to commandeer a second vehicle. I got split off with the smaller contingent, so I'll never know what might have been possible had we ruled the jeep. 'Twas still a worthy trip through the Preserve, though, and I caught up with Deb and Rob afterwards, wondering what I'd do between then and the Kali meet at Noon.

How about Breakfastosaurus? I had a rumbly in my tumbly, so I was most happy for the invitation to tag along. Deb also had a little something up her sleeve, because who should meet us there but fellow Disney author Rita Aero and her friend and business associate, Paige? This was the first time any of us had met Rita of Rita Aero's Walt Disney World guidebook up close and personal, and it was the start of a rip-roaring good time. We even got pictures of Rita and Paige poring over a copy of PassPorter (I wonder how that happened?)

This visit to Donald's was far better than previous Breakfastosauruses (Breakfastosauri?). The tables were placed farther apart than I recalled, noise levels were quite bearable, and the food seemed much fresher and enjoyable (make note: buffet food is always fresher when you arrive before the last seating). As always, the servers here do an especially spirited job of spreading a bit of Disney fun.

The only fly in the oatmeal was Donald himself. I never knew he was such a cad! Yeah, he's famous for being excitable, but I thought it was only his temper that was out of control. Today, however, he was quite friendly. Especially with the ladies. It didn't matter whether they were single, attached or married. Forget handshakes or chaste hugs -- he swooped in, gathered each woman in his arms, opened his bill wide and played tonsil hockey for minutes on end! It was like a scene from a cheap romance novel. I've never seen such passion before noon (or quite so many breathless ladies). I've got the pictures to prove it.... Deb, Rita, Deb's friend Donna, Paige.... I was more than a bit aghast, and asked the roue pointedly about Daisy. He just waved me off derisively. I guess Daisy was off caring for his nephews, and Donald could hardly have cared less. I suppose this is what happens when some people have a character meal named in their honor. I'm glad Mickey has more sense!

Well, once we had enough of breakfast and (ahem) other activities it was coming around time for the Kali River Rapids meet. "Rita, are you coming to Kali with us?" "No, I've never done it, and I don't want to get wet!" "What?????" After some friendly encouragement we did manage to persuade her to come along -- her professional reputation was at stake, after all. I suggested (author-to-author) that she really couldn't miss the fabulously-themed queue area, and she did seem impressed by the queue, if I say so myself.

We had a great crowd for Kali, and managed to fill several rafts. Our raft was particularly fun -- there was Rita, carefully covering herself with a yellow Mickey poncho. She even took pains to tuck the poncho carefully beneath her, so her seat wouldn't get wet. And it worked, too! Alas, I have no photos, because our brand new, fabulously expensive digital camera was safely sealed in a Zip Loc inside my water-repellent day pack in the covered gear compartment of the raft (my old Nikon F met its doom on a radical whitewater trip many years ago - I learn my lessons well).

Well, all good mornings come to an end, and after a quick stop at the shops in Safari Village (Jennifer asked me to pick up a few things) I was on the bus back to Wilderness Lodge. Next stop, the Meet the Authors Dinner at 5:15.

[Meet the Authors Dinner report coming soon!]

Jump to the next day: December 9, 2000

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