Jungle Cruise Sunrise Safari Breakfast Review

Let’s get this out of the way first: Is it really worth three HUNDRED dollars a pop to have breakfast in a Jungle Cruise show scene? Nope. And all the other guests we talked to were just as sheepish as we were—every single one said they’d justified it as an early Christmas/birthday/anniversary present. But was it pretty dang cool? Yep!

From September 21–December 2, Disney is offering the chance to eat on the set of Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise ride before park opening, followed by a “private” ride. Like everyone else, my first thought was, “For $300, those Mickey waffles better be plated in GOLD!” I told Patrick about it with a smirk but was surprised when he got all excited and asked if we could go.

Me: “I said three HUNDRED dollars each, not THREE dollars each!”

Patrick: “PLEEAAAASE?! It’ll be my birthday present!”

Me: “Your birthday’s in June.”

Patrick: “It’ll be YOUR birthday present!”

Me: [crickets]

Patrick: “It’ll be our early Christmas/birthday/anniversary present…?”

Me: [Graciously acknowledging that last year I got a whole trip to Walt Disney World and Wizarding World of Harry Potter as my birthday present] “*SIGH!!!!* Ohhhh-kaaaaaaay, I guess….”

The tour starts at 6:30am in the lobby of the Grand Californian hotel. I got grumpier with each additional group that showed up to check in. $300 buys a lot of entitlement, and this “extremely limited” tour was looking more and more like a cattle call! We ended up with 26 people—not a huge group, but large enough that you had to be sure to stick close to the guide if you wanted to hear everything.

I got even grumpier when they surprised us with a Photopass photographer to document our every move. I get that they wanted to relieve us of the burden of documenting our excursion, but a little warning would have been nice for those of us who tend to shatter camera lenses sans makeup. (And we all spent just as much time straggling and snapping our own photos as we would have otherwise—I think it’s a modern instinct that can’t be overcome by any number of Photopass photographers.)

From the Grand Californian, they walked us through Downtown Disney and into Disneyland via the front gate. They told us we couldn’t take pictures til we got to the ride, except for a quick detour to snap the castle with nobody in front of it.

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They led us through half of the Indiana Jones queue, then turned left just before the Spike Room to walk through a massive set of doors directly onto the Jungle Cruise.

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This is where we were introduced to our classically Disney-campy tour guide, a game young woman sporting safari garb and a tenuous British accent. Her natural comedic talent did manage to shine through the pure corn the show writers had saddled her with, though.  As soon as she said the word, Patrick and I sprinted onto the set to try for people-free photos of the breakfast setup (apologies for the slightly blurry photos on account of, you know, sprinting!)

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As we approached the savanna, waiters handed us glasses of some exotic combo of fruit juices.

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This person who is not our guide was one of several extra escorts that morning. I thought the faux record player spinning ’20s and ’30s tunes was a great touch.
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I would estimate that we all spent about 75% of our time running around snapping pictures and only 25% eating the meal we were there for.
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As the servers took our drink orders, our guide went around helping everyone choose “jungle names” (say hello to Patrick Parrot and Scary Carrie!) and passing out cards containing sections of the standard Jungle Cruise spiel. There were blank lines on the back for us to write in our own jokes, but most of us found our senses of humor were not awake at that early hour.

 

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Hey lookit that amazing succulent!!!
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Oh yeah, also a boat went by…
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Patrick sacrificed more of his breakfast time than anybody to bring you this unnatural nature photography!

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As if hyenas weren’t scary enough in real life….
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Breakfast was interesting… I guess Disney was danged if they did and danged if they didn’t. They knew the Internet was alight with comments about $300 Mickey waffles, so they tried to give us something swanky and exotic to justify the price. But it simply could not be executed properly in a catered setting.  Most everything was doused in the same vaguely African spice blend, like a poor man’s version of a meal at Jiko. I didn’t think it was terrible, but Patrick was rather indignant when he got back to the table and discovered that was all we were getting.

Exotic-ish Pastries

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Exotic Fruit & Chia Parfait
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Exotic Tea

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Locally Sourced Duck Sausage, Exotic-spiced Pork Belly, Also Exotically Spiced Hash, and Exotic-spiced Cheesy Eggy Stuff

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Little did we know what they were actually doing on that boat all morning was locally sourcing our duck sausage!
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“Paddle faster, Darrell!”

My exotic mushrooms, also attempting to escape…

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“Let’s go find us some Mickey waffles, boys!”

 

But, of course, it wasn’t really about the food. It was about getting to explore inside the most elaborate show scene of an iconic opening-day attraction at Disneyland. And that was pretty rad. The exotically spiced cafeteria food was just a bonus!

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In case you’ve ever wondered what the backside of giraffe looks like…
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Here’s our guide hustling us off the savanna the moment the last exotic bite went down the hatch.

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“Are you gonna eat that…?”

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Out we went through the exit of Indiana Jones, past the queue and around to the exit of the Jungle Cruise.
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They split us into three groups and put us on three boats. We each took turns having our photos taken with the skipper before we departed, so that the souvenir picture would be ready when we got back.

The idea was that at certain points in the ride the skipper would cue the person holding the appropriate spiel card and s/he would read it or their own joke. So what “getting behind the wheel of your own boat to recite that famous spiel” actually means is “riding on a boat with eight other people while you take turns mumbling into a microphone.”

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One neat thing was that we paused longer at each of the show scenes, so there was a better chance of getting photos in focus. And it did feel like we had the jungle all to ourselves at that early hour.
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Looks like a nice place to have breakfast!
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Even the hippos were just waking up…
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They let us go around again, and we each got new cards to read. This time the folks on our boat were more loosened up. I think Disney should probably not make us do the cards until the second go-round, because on the first trip everyone’s still shy.

I got to pass around the microphone, which made me feel pretty dang special, and for the first time I could really get into the cornball antics. I even ad libbed my line when we reached the boat piled high with skulls (tip: screaming  “OH MY GOD, IT’S A BOAT FULL OF HUMAN SKULLS—SAVE YOURSELVES!!!” on an 8am excursion elicits only blank stares).

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At the end of the tour, we all signed the guest book and picked up our keepsakes, which were packaged in wooden crates with our photos affixed to one side.
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I hadda steal this pic of the keepsake off eBay cuz I don’t remember where we put ours. Though, judging by what these babies are selling for, I’d better figure it out quick—we could make back our investment!

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We had to wait for a guide to escort us out of the park because it was still closed. Time for a hammy photo!

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All of us dragged out feet on the way out so we could get more people-free shots of Disneyland.

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So I guess I’d say if you have the money lying around, don’t really want anything else for your Christmas/birthday/anniversary present, or are willing to gamble on recouping the cost by selling the souvenir they give you on eBay, book this tour before it’s over!

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26 Responses
  • Lori
    November 23, 2015

    Great post! How long did the breakfast last? I’m curious since when you were exiting the park was still closed…if you guys weren’t so busy snapping pics, would there have been enough time to eat anyway? I like the idea of this experience for sure, just not the price! Lol

    • Carrie
      November 23, 2015

      Let’s see… we met in the Grand Californian lobby at 6:30am and didn’t get out of the park till right before it opened at 9am. I think they tried to pace breakfast so that we could run around taking photos at the beginning, but it did feel a bit lopsided with drink after drink, then pastries, then parfait, and finally hot food for about 20 minutes and we were done.

  • ATG
    November 23, 2015

    Ours started earlier than yours! The sun was already up at your breakfast! We got to see the sun come up – it felt more special (specialer?). Plus more photo time.

    Hope Patrick enjoyed his present!

    • Carrie
      November 23, 2015

      Cool! I wonder if they were still working out the kinks with ours…

  • Eileen Johnson
    November 23, 2015

    I bet Patrick’s cruise tour spiel was entertaining.

    • Carrie
      November 24, 2015

      Always!

  • Kathi
    November 24, 2015

    Great post! I wondered what this tour really is all about since even for Disney standards the price seems pretty outrageous. But it looked very special for sure (and we had the same idea for our wedding in May in WDW – we gift each other the tours we want to take, so we get to use the AP discount and can justify the cost ;-)).

    • Carrie
      November 24, 2015

      That’s a great idea! Which tours did you do?

      • Kathi
        November 24, 2015

        We’re going to do the Wild Africa Trek and (hopefully, as they hadn’t released the dates yet) the Backstage Magic!

        • Carrie
          November 24, 2015

          I’ve heard great things about Backstage Magic, and we really enjoyed Wild Africa Trek (well, except for the backed-up toilet on the viewing platform!). Patrick says he feels like Wild Africa Trek was a much better value than our breakfast.

  • LauraE
    November 24, 2015

    Thanks.. I think the WDW Safari Trek was probably about the same cost and you got to do some pretty amazing things and had a good little Lunch. I know DL is trying to add some of that something special into their mix, at one time Fantasmic Dessert Buffet was that when you only had about 15 people on a balcony, but now it has you in with the masses. I just wish they brought back Aladdin’s oasis Dinner show. That was probably the best $35 or $50 we spent on dinner/lunch and a show (circa 1994 or 1996)

    • Carrie
      November 24, 2015

      OOh! Yes! Or made it a throwback to the old Tahitian Terrace days!

  • Kristina
    November 30, 2015

    One of my favorite blogs…how I missed reading updates from you, Lurkyloo. You two crazy kids are so much fun to read about and you are such a talented writer. I was afraid with the frequency of your entries, that you have packed up and headed up to the Haunted Mansion graveyard of blogs. Your silly antics make my day, glad to see you are still going to be around.

    • Carrie
      November 30, 2015

      Hee hee! Thank you for the encouraging words! Nesting in our new place has taken precedence for the last year or so, but I’m trying to update more frequently now. Patrick keeps encouraging me to break stories up into bite-sized posts to make writing go faster, so we’ll see if I can get the hang of that…

      • Kristina
        November 30, 2015

        Smaller might be better for consistency’s sake! You have such interesting content with a great style of writing….I don’t think you’ll have any issues garnishing a following even with small bites!

  • Erin
    December 4, 2015

    Great post! Since we are NJ folks, we typically go to WDW. When we get to DL, this would be an amazing opportunity to get more time and experiences in the DL park. Hope they offer it in 2016. Thanks for the pics! The cruise looks just like ours at WDW.

    • Carrie
      December 4, 2015

      I love that nifty interior temple show scene that yours has—wish we had room for it here!

  • Jean
    December 6, 2015

    Great post! Thanks for the very thorough recap with lots of pics! I was really curious about this breakfast, but was shocked at the price tag. I feel like $150-200 would be more appropriate for this experience. Nevertheless, thanks for investigating, and I’m glad you had a fun, special time!

    • Carrie
      December 28, 2015

      I agree with you! It was definitely more of a $150 experience.

  • Jennifer
    January 13, 2016

    Very interesting post! You answered all my questions I had about this tour and with your usual wit and fantastic photography!

    • Carrie
      January 13, 2016

      Hey. thanks! I’m glad I could help you spend/save $300! 😉

  • Jennifer
    January 13, 2016

    Ha! Thanks! Yes I’m pretty sure you saved me $300 but it does look cool! (Thanks for fixing my spelling error too! 😉 )

  • Mish
    January 16, 2017

    Hi. I was just wondering where you heard about this opportunity? Is there a forum or website ?

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