When our guide, George, told our group that he'd worked at the San Diego Zoo for 24 years before moving to Florida, Lynn whispered excitedly to me, "He'll know about bearded pigs!" Ever since we first went to the San Diego Zoo and she laid eyes on the critters that gave our band its name, whenever we've been to a zoo she's asked if they had any, and has been disappointed that the answer is always "no" and that, frequently, the person she asks hasn't even heard of them. Surely, if George had spent his career there, he'd know about those pigs.
The Sunrise Safari is available only to people staying on the concierge level at Animal Kingdom Lodge. You meet in the lounge about 7:00 and get bussed over to Animal Kingdom. The tour uses the same vehicles and same route as the regular Kilimanjaro Safari, which we'd been on several times. The differences are that the group is much smaller and you move at a very relaxed pace. The guide can take the time to talk at length about the animal husbandry methods they use at Disney, as well as the backgrounds of the various animals. At that time of day, there are a lot of animals out and about, and the driver was happy to stay put in one place for as long as it took for everyone to get their fill. Lynn and Marian each got lots of good pictures and Josie was completely enchanted. George was a superb host, full of information and fun, with the air of a man who couldn't quite believe that he was getting paid for spending a couple of hours with this wonderful group of people on this beautiful morning.
We finished up shortly after the park opened. It was going to be a warm day, and the crowds were streaming in. Our group walked to the spot where our buffet breakfast was laid out waiting for us. The food was excellent, and the whole staff came out to sing Happy Birthday to Josie. Just before we left, I came back from the restroom to see that Lynn had gone over to talk to George. I was wearing my Bearded Pigs band shirt and went over to join them. Not only did George know about bearded pigs, "I've cleaned up after them!" he laughed. Even better, one of his good friends is the woman who keeps the stud book on bearded pigs. She keeps track of every single one that's living in a zoo. We made sure to give George the address of the website. Now she can keep track of us, too.