|Leni ready to tackle her 3rd Disney park!|
Instead, we headed over to the Kilimanjaro Safari! This was the best ride at Animal Kingdom in our opinion. We had scheduled a FastPass+ for late morning, but the standby wait was only 10 minutes, so we decided to go about 9:15 am. I HIGHLY recommend going on this ride as early (or late if that's an option) as possible. The animals are more active morning and night, so if you go right away (or get on an evening/night safari) you have the best chance of seeing some species and activity in general. Also, it gets HOT! Even at the time we went, if we had to stop in direct sunlight (which we did to let an ostrich cross the road...), things heated up quickly.
Leni was allowed on this ride. Honestly, I was surprised they allowed service dogs on this ride since I figured it could be tricky with the safari animals if they saw her or vice versa. It ended up being completely fine. They had us sit in the front of the jeep and gave me a tether to connect Leni to a hook on the floor. I'm guessing this was to ensure she couldn't jump out if she wanted to chase an animal or something. Not sure because Leni didn't think it was anything special. Initially she was trying to look around and her nose was sniffing all over, but soon she settled and just snoozed the rest of the ride.
After the safari, we needed a break from the heat, so we rushed into a Lion King show just as it was starting. The cast member at the door directed us to the disability seating so Leni had space which was fine for the first 5-10 minutes of the show...apparently Disney is a huge fan of fog/smoke machines because this show used them, too. We immediately got up and moved over to the side. I was hoping to stay because the show was looking pretty interesting, but wanted to be as far as possible from the fog/smoke. We had a cast member re-seat us in the back row which felt like a comfortable distance from the action since the fog/smoke was sucked down vents in the floor a few feet in front of the first row. This show was pretty loud and flashy, but fun! Leni didn't care at all and just lay at my feet.
Once we finished the show, it was seriously heating up. We pulled out Leni's cooling vest at this point, but it had rained during the show, so the ground was cool enough that she didn't need her boots yet (she was very happy about that =P). One of the things Disney is known for (at least in the food allergy world) is their Dole Whip. It is a pineapple ice cream/frozen yogurt that is dairy free (wheat free and soy free)! We had been hoping to find some for me to try, and we finally did! It was a nice cool treat on a hot day and fun to feel "normal" by enjoying some ice cream with my mom.
|Allergy-friendly Dole Whip!|
The other thing I should mention was how I handled Herman (my feeding tube) for this ride. Since we knew we would likely get quite wet, I didn't want to have my backpack with me on the ride. That meant that I ended up stopping my feeds and unplugging Herman. I left my bag with Leni at the crate, and just re-hooked my feeds after the ride.
So funny story: It's been almost a full year that I've had Leni and over a year and a half that I have had Herman. That means it has been 11 months since I have done anything without both Leni and Herman and over a year and a half without carrying my backpack with me. Walking to the ride (and back) after leaving Leni and Herman at the crate was such a crazy feeling of temporary freedom! Haha =P Who knows the next time I'll feel that way, so I enjoyed those 27 steps of freedom from feeding tubes and leashes. Don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for both Herman and Leni, but it still felt freeing.
After Kali River Rapids, we left AK for the Animal Kingdom Lodge where we had lunch reservations at Sanaa. This was an African/Indian inspired restaurant located right next to the savannah so we got to watch giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, and crazy birds while we ate. Super cool! We choose this restaurant because both my mom and I LOVE Indian food, but it had been YEARS since I had tried any. Trying to communicate complicated food allergies in restaurants where the staff do not speak English as their first language is often challenging and we avoid as we are never sure whether it has been handled properly (plus the whole not eating solid foods for a while didn't help either...). Since Disney is so well known for food allergies, we decided to give this a try!
|Allergy-friendly naan bread|
|Allergy-friend Indian/Moroccan food!! Lentil Dahl, Basmati Rice, and Chickpea Wat|
|The aftermath of 3 days at Disney...but it was worth it!|