Before the wedding, I informed Husband that it’s tradition to get the bride a surprise the day of the wedding. He took me by surprise immediately, and informed me that the groom also gets a present. He’s smarter than he looks. I am terrible at keeping secrets or surprises, especially from Husband, so I “accidentally” told him his surprise a month before the wedding. He is terrible at leaving his laundry on the floor, so I also accidentally found the receipt for my surprise in his pocket.
Husband’s gift to me was taking me on the Wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Here’s Disney description of this tour:
Join the ultimate animal adventure! Journey deep into Pangani Forest on a thrilling, privately guided expedition featuring close encounters with exotic wildlife species. Get closer than you ever dreamed possible to Nile crocodiles and massive hippos. Venture on to a VIP safari across an open savanna teeming with native African creatures!
During the tour they gave us our own water canteens, name tags, and safari vests. We walked all over the “backstage” area of the Kilimanjaro Safari, and we got breaks often for water and jungle juice.
Disney only allows 12 people at a time to sign up for the tours, which makes it really personal and relaxed.
Whenever we’d get close to the animals, they would force us to harness ourselves into these long metal rods (kind of like being harnessed to a closet). We could stretch out pretty far, but just far enough to not put ourselves at risk.
At every animal stop, the guides would tell us all about the animal we were viewing. Not only would we get a nice science lesson on the species, but we would get a history lesson about the specific animal we were watching. This hippo, for example, is a male and has to live alone because he is very aggressive towards other males, and is not allowed to mate with the females right now. He also loves to eat corn on the cob.
About halfway through, they took us over some 30 ft tall rope bridges that crossed over the alligator swamp. Disney is a little ridiculous with their safety measures. We were triple protected as we walked over the bridges.
After all the walking, they put us in the back of what can only be described as pick-up truck with benches, and drove us through the Savannah. They gave us more water, some ice-cold, scented cloths to keep us cool, and binoculars. They stopped in the middle to allow us to use our binoculars and ask several question about the giraffes, wildebeests, and other wild African animals. During our stop several animals decided to stand in the middle of the road used for the Safari. It took them over half an hour to get them all off the tracks. This turned out to be great for us because several giraffes came right up to our car to get a closer look at us. I also got to take advantage of the tour guides and really pick their brains about the animals they keep at Animal Kingdom.
Disney actually works with numerous other zoos around the world who are all on a big zoo committee together. Each zoo in this group is really careful that each species live in a perfect environment with the right amount of space. To stick to these rules, they have to be VERY careful that no animals breed unless they are POSITIVE there is room for the baby. Soooo for example, if the Animal Kingdom wants two of their giraffes to have a baby they have to make sure that, if they are at giraffe capacity, another zoo has to agree to take the baby. If no zoo has room for the baby, then Disney has to make sure the giraffes do not mate.
Once the roads were clear, we drove to a little hut in the middle of the Savannah for lunch. My vegetarian meal was unbelievable! Eating in the Savannah while watching the wildebeests and the elephants was a pretty unbelievable experience too.
As we were eating, a storm started rolling in, and we had to pack up, jump in the truck, and head back. This storm turned out to be the best part of the whole tour. It made all of the animals go wild! Typically, when you go on the Kilimanjaro Safari, you will see lots of sleeping, hiding-in-the-shade, or under-the-water-animals, but this storm woke everyone up. The giraffes were racing for shelter, the cheetahs were alert at the edge of their field, and the lions were stretching and sharpening their claws.
The tour was really fun, and a week after we got back to NYC, Disney sent us a DVD with hundreds of pictures from out tour.
My surprise to Husband was SUPPOSED to be a day of swimming with manatees. Turns out, Husband was less than thrilled about taking a manatee excursion during our Disney vacation. (Who doesn’t want to swim with manatees??? What kind of person did I marry????) I decided to cancel meeting the manatees, and planned on a special NYC surprise once we returned. But, I’ve typed enough for today so that will just have to wait until tomorrow!