July 18, 2013

a room with a view

We almost went last year for our anniversary, and then changed our minds and stayed home.  But since then {and for quite a while before!} I've been dreaming of the Animal Kingdom Lodge at Disney World.  The idea was pushed around when plans for my in-law's anniversary trip were being made, but we all happily settled for something a little less when the room rate quote came in.  It was really okay... but I planned to at least make it to the lodge and wander the lobby. 

Have I mentioned, though, that Disney is full of magic? 

Just three weeks before our trip, Mickey Mouse called and upgraded our entire party to the stunning and amazing Animal Kingdom Lodge.  I danced around the living room at the news, and a joyful tear or two slid down my face.  And I probably screamed... just like I did when I was counting giraffe's from our balcony!  Two...thr--e--e..FOUR!!! FOUR!!!  FOUR!!!!  {and then I remembered that animal don't like screaming}

I cried when I first caught sight of the lodge.  Emotions just squeezed my soul and I could not keep the tears in, nor my breath easy.  And walking in? 

It was more than the beauty of what I saw... it was the rumbling roll of the music and the smoky scent in the air and the ceilings high above us covered in thatch.  It was... Africa.  It was beautiful.  And I wanted to sit in every chair, breathe in the scent at every fireplace, and let it all soak into my soul. 

Being in the real Africa taught me to make the most of, and truly savor, every moment... and so I lay down on the floor of the lobby with the little kids and made crayon rubbings of the bronze medallions in the floor, I played tic-tac-toe with Cam in the gift shop, I sat with Laura to watch giraffe and zebra, we walked the fifth floor bridge, and even made a friend. 

His name is pronounced Tu-eh-phani... which means let's be happy
He is a long way from home, a small village in Namibia, but his university urged him to take this wonderful opportunity.  He had just finished his first month with Disney, and told me everything seems so big here!  The tears threatened to choke me again, but I held them back to explain that it was the vastness of Africa that was so amazing to me...

It was not easy to leave my African Oasis... but as I did, I stopped and whispered kwaheri...


Pam said...

Love love LOVE this! Love that you got to spend a little time closer to your beloved Africa. And your beloved Disney. Our hearts are panging for a trip but it seems as though no trip of any kind will be had this summer. I'm loving living your trip through you. Thank you for taking us along. Love and hugs! : )

Southern Gal said...

It all looks so amazing, Dawn. It must be so very authentic for you to love it so. Your friend made it even more special, I'm sure. Grinning big over here. :0)

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