Some of you may have read about our love for Luke Skywalker at Rafiki's Planet Watch. Luke
is was a San Clemente Goat that is was housed at Rafiki's Planet Watch. We met Luke for the first time in 2008 and fell in love. He was a funny goat and we went back to meet him again in 2011 and 2012. We didn't have time in 2010 to head his way and in retrospect, I regret that decision.
In September of 2011 when my mother and I took CMan to WDW, we went to meet Luke. We walked in the petting zoo area and I immediately asked where Luke was. The cast member I talked to told me he was retired to the barn and was not meeting with people anymore. When nobody else was around I asked if "retired to the barn" was code for dead. She said no. When the animals get too old to be around park guests, they move them to the barn and continue to care for them there. She said there were several back there with him.
Fast forward to February 2012. Jonathan and I went back to Rafiki's Planet Watch just to see if Luke might make an appearance. Again, the first thing we did was find a cast member to ask about Luke. This time we lucked out and found a cast member who truly loved Luke, Marilyn from Philadelphia, PA. She told us Luke was in Heaven. He had died last summer in 2011. She almost started crying talking about him. You could tell she really loved that goat.
She told us several funny stories about Luke over the years. Apparently Luke liked to eat anything he could get his teeth on! Her main job in the pen was to make sure guests had ALL paper items hidden in pockets, backpacks or purses. Here are a few stories she told us:
- One day Luke kept nosing at a man's back pocket under an untucked t-shirt. Eventually, Luke nosed enough to lift his shirt and grab the Animal Kingdom park map out of his back pocket! He pulled it out and RAN hoping he could eat it before Marilyn saw!
- Another time a lady had a backpack that was almost zipped all the way. She had the zippers pulled all the way to one side of the backpack but there was about an inch open toward the bottom of the zipper with a plastic bag poking out. When she knelt down to brush another goat, Luke ran up and stuck his nose in the backpack, grabbed the plastic bag, unzipped the backpack and took off with the bag of grapes. He had carried the grape bag across the pen and started eating before Marilyn could stop him. They estimated he ate about a dozen grapes that day and they had to continue to keep an eye on him to make sure he digested them properly!
- The last story was about a lady who had a purse over her shoulder. Marilyn told her to make sure it was closed all the way so the goats wouldn't take anything. I don't think the lady took her quite seriously... a few minutes later, Luke runs up, sticks his nose in her purse and grabs a tampon! He runs around the pen with a tampon hanging out of his mouth until Marilyn can get it from him!
I'm so glad I met Marilyn and she was truthful and told us these stories. It makes me miss Luke that much more. She said there are two more goats who are still young, but are starting to be mischievous like Luke! Maybe in a few years we'll find these new goats and fall in love with them like we did Luke.
Rest in Peace, my friend.