Monday, November 7, 2016

(Almost) Killing a Giraffe at Animal Kingdom Lodge

It was the first time my wife and I had been to Walt Disney World together.

We were celebrating our second wedding anniversary and were lucky enough to get reservations at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge (my wife likes animals and had never seen the resort before, so I did the romantic thing and got a room at the hotel). When we'd booked the resort, we had only been able to afford a room facing a parking lot on the front of the building. But management learned it was our anniversary and, in true Disney fashion, upgraded us to a savannah view room.

It was the day of our anniversary, and we had gone back to our hotel room to prepare for our anniversary dinner: the Coral Reef at Epcot's Seas pavilion. Neither of us were huge seafood fans, but we figured it would be a romantic atmosphere for our anniversary dinner.

While my wife got dolled up for our date night, I sat on the balcony and watched the animals from our third floor room, sipping Diet Coke out of my refillable drink mug. Because her hair is so straight, my wife likes to use hair rollers rather than a curling iron. She came out onto the balcony to look at the animals with me, rollers in her hair. We began planning out our evening at Epcot, and she turned around to face me, leaning up against the balcony, her back to the savannah. We discussed what attractions we would like to get Fastpasses for that evening (this was still in the day of paper Fastpasses before Fastpass+), when all of a sudden, a hair roller fell out of her hair and onto the savannah below us.

We both froze. We looked at each other, our eyes as large as Mickey's ears in fear, mouths agape as though we were getting ready to stuff in a Toluca Turkey Leg.

I sprung out of my chair and over to the railing (a grand total of eighteen inches), and together we leaned over the balcony to find the hair curler, white plastic end caps and brown felt spindle, lying on the savannah below.

"LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!!!!" I dramatically yelled at her, terrified. When we'd checked in to DAK Lodge, we had signed an agreement saying that we agreed to help protect the wildlife of the resort, including not feeding or throwing anything onto the savannah. In my mind's eye, I pictured a giraffe, ostrich, or Ankara cattle bending over to eat this hair accessory that looked like a Swiss Cake Roll and choking to death on the hot piece of metal inside. I pictured our faces plastered all over area newspapers and national news shows, known as the Disney Giraffe Murderers. And worst of all, I pictured myself being hauled out of the hotel, our bags thrown at us from behind, and banned from ever returning to Walt Disney World.

I sprinted into the hotel room, dove across the bed, and picked up the phone. I punched the number zero, and in a moment, a sweet voice answered.

"This is the front desk!" she chirped.

"WE ARE GOING TO KILL AN ANIMAL!!!!" I wanted to scream into the phone.

However, I took a breath and cleared my throat.

"Um, I just wanted to call and let you know that my wife accidentally dropped a hair curler over the edge of the balcony into the savannah," I explained, embarrassedly. I gave the cast member our room number and apologized over the phone. She told me to stop by the desk at our convenience that evening to retrieve it and to speak with a cast member.

"Oh boy," I thought to myself, nervously.

We finished getting ready, ensuring that my wife removed her hair curlers of death from her head in the room's bathroom. We hopped on resort transportation and headed to Epcot, enjoying our anniversary dinner at the Coral Reef, riding Spaceship Earth, and wandering around World Showcase before enjoying the first part of Illuminations and the Fountain of Nations in front of Spaceship Earth.

We headed back to our resort around ten o'clock. Walking into the lobby hand-in-hand, we headed timidly over to the front desk.

"May I help you?" a young male cast member asked.

"Yeah, um, my wife dropped a hair roller over the edge of our balcony and we were told to stop by?"

"You're that guy?" the cast member laughed. He excused himself into the back room for a minute and reemerged carrying a white paper envelope with a bulge in it. I opened it to find the hair roller, slightly cracked, but in one piece and not covered in the blood, saliva, or partially digested grass dinner of a giraffe.

"Nice job," he laughed lightheartedly.

"So you heard about us?" I asked, a small smile on my face.

"Buddy, everyone knows about you two!" he laughed, excusing himself down the desk to another family.

This has become a story of legend among our family and friends, and is still being told by us, especially when we want to tease my wife. I'm sure to this day, cast members still laugh about the young couple who almost (but not really) killed an animal at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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