We call it the “zone.” We know when we’ve hit the zone when our park touring is going smoothly, everyone is happy, our timing is right on, and we have left room in our schedule for unexpected magic. We knew we had hit the “zone” on our day at Animal Kingdom, just before we headed to Festival of the Lion King (click here to read more); we could feel it, and sure enough, we continued in the “zone” throughout the rest of the day!
And, that’s when the magic struck, Disney magic of course. After meeting Flick, taking in It’s Tough to Be a Bug, we were headed to the bathroom and then lunch, at Flame Tree BBQ. But on our way to the bathroom, I noticed a Cast Member standing at the entrance to the Character Landing. I got his attention and gave him a thumbs up, as if to ask, “Is it open?” I got a thumbs up signal back, so we skipped the bathroom and headed down the path to meet Winnie the Pooh and friends. There were more guests behind us than in front of us, but we still had a chance to visit with Noah, a Cast Member working the meet and greet. After many hugs, smiles, and photos, we headed back up the path. Now, bathroom break then lunch.
When we exited the bathroom a Cast Member, Scott, got our attention and asked us if we knew about the afternoon parade. Yep, Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade. We knew about it. Then, he asked if we wanted to be in the parade. You bet! We were given directions, that he wrote on a map, to meet him at the big wooden gate to the left of the safari entrance at 3:10 pm. Got it! We’ll be there! We were soaring through the rest of the afternoon—Everest, Kali, etc.
Around 3:00, we gathered at the big wooden gate. There were others waiting, as they had been chosen to be in the parade, too. Scott appeared and gave us some directions:
- No photos or videos backstage. What happens backstage stays backstage.
- We were given a Photopass card along with a special certificate that allowed us to download photos taken of us in the parade for free. We were told the two locations along the parade route to look for our photographer and be sure to smile and wave! And, introduced to our photographer, Christina.
There was actually one family that didn’t show up, so Scott picked another family as they walked by the gate to be in the parade!
When we were taken through the door near the big gate, we were given lockers to put our bags, etc. We were given safari hats, with Mickey ears of course, and vests to wear. We were also given ear plugs. The cast members indicated that the speakers were on the float and it could get loud. The husband wore his, the boy wouldn’t, and I chose not to.
Soon we were seated on our float—the hippo. Dancers and Minnie in her truck were right behind us. There were seatbelts in the float for us to put on to make sure we stayed secure. Safety first!
Being in the parade was a magical experience! We waved, smiled, and were even recognized later that day and later that week by other guests for our participation in the parade. Scott made our day!
When Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade circled back to Africa and through the big wooden gate, we got off the float, returned our “costume,” gathered our belongings, drank the cold water that was given to us, and watched as the rest of the parade came through the gate.
We thanked everyone and said our “good-bye’s”. Then it was time to head to Dinoland as we had more to do before leaving the park.
On our bus to the Polynesian—we had an ADR at ‘Ohana’s, so we took the bus from Animal Kingdom to the Poly, people were sharing about their day and we added that we had been chosen to be in the parade. A man asked, “How do you get to be in the parade?” Good question! While we don’t have a specific answer, we can say that Disney magic happens when you least expect it and for us, it has been when we are making our own Disney magic—hitting the “zone.” If you expect Disney magic, or spend time searching for it, the magic may remain elusive or hidden.
We certainly had a magical day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! Thank you, Scott, Noah, and Christina!
The Williams’ Family has had the good fortune of experiencing even more Disney magic. Click here to read about being Family of the Day at EPCOT. Click here to read about us being in the Family Fun Day Parade at the Magic Kingdom.