Walt Disney World & World Travels

Posts Tagged ‘Animal Kingdom Lodge

These are all of my pictures from my June agent trip.  Enjoy pictures of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Beach Club Resort,  the Disney Wonder & Castaway Cay.     Pictures

 

After waking up way too early in the morning, I threw my luggage into the truck and got on the road around 5:45am.  It was a pretty easy/relaxing drive.  OK, it was really boring after awhile.  I made great time (only stopped twice) and pulled up to Animal Kingdom Lodge around 2pm.

Check-in was quick and simple.  While I was waiting in line a manager came up and asked if I was a travel agent.  Guess I stood out being all by myself.  He led me to the concierge check in where I was treated very well.  My room was ready and off I went to find it.

I was never real excited about the savanna rooms, just thought they’d be “eh” and it would get boring after a few minutes.   All right, here it is in print (cyberspace): I was wrong.  I stood on my balcony and watched a baby giraffe run by and then get something to eat with its parents.  Looked back out and saw a zebra.  It really was amazing!  I actually hated to leave, but it was time to meet up with the group for our afternoon of training.

We met in the lobby of AKL Jambo House and boarded a private bus to take us around for the evening.  Our first stop was to check out the brand new AKL Kidani Village.  Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House & Kidani Village are Deluxe resorts and also Deluxe Villa resorts.   While there are obviously similarities between the two, there are differences as well.  Jambo House is more muted & neutral while Kidani is much more colorful & vibrant.  The whole resort seemed much brighter, less dark than Jambo House.  Some of my favorite things at Kidani: The lobby has incredible lights/art sculptures that look like torches & flames.   The 2BR villas are beautiful and “The Lion King” artwork on the shower tiles is that detail work that no one does as well as Disney!  We took a quick walk thru the new restaurant Sanaa and saw the Community Hall before going out to see the pool area.  Since we were just touring, we didn’t get to try the water slide, but I asked a few people as we went through the pool area and they all gave it 2 thumbs up.

Back on the bus and our next stop was Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.  CBR is a Moderate resort.   Rooms are a little smaller than at the Deluxe resorts, but so are the prices.  Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is the very 1st moderate resort Disney built and one of the oldest resorts.   Each area of the resort is named & themed after different islands in….you guessed it, the Caribbean.  CBR has recently gone under a major refurbishment.  There are now “Pirate” rooms that can be booked (these are a booking category) and the rest of the rooms at the resort are down in a Nemo theme.  Again, Disney with their attention to detail!  In the Pirate bathroom, there is an “engraving” of the Flying Dutchman on the shower wall.  The tables & dressers all look like wooden crates from a ship & the beds look like pirate ships!  The Nemo rooms are themed like…… Finding Nemo.  Tropical & Ocean/Beachy themes throughout the room.  There is a playground on the beach and the pool area looks like a lot of fun!  Again the tropical & pirate themes take you away and you forget that you’re in Central Florida.

Our “work” session was done.  Now it was time to get to know each other and enjoy a good dinner & Illuminations.  We boarded our bus and were taken backstage at Epcot (no pictures allowed).  We parked behind China and were led by a tour guide to Norway, thru a secret door and upstairs for a buffet dinner.  We were greeted with complimentary wine & soda and then helped ourselves to a very nice buffet.  —I have to mention here, that unlike previous reports, I don’t have a lot of detail on the meals or pictures of the food 😦   We were a group of 26, 25 women and 1 poor/lucky gentleman.  It was too hard to get pics of food when 8 women sat down at a table!–  Dinner included a very good salad, broiled fish, beef tips with gravy, sliced turkey, macaroni & cheese, pork and several other items.  Dinner was supposed to be followed by an Illuminations Dessert Party on the UK terrace, the weather had other plans.  It worked out all right.  Dessert was served after dinner.  There were wonderful little treats: mini cheesecakes, éclairs, tarts.  They were all delicious and yes, I tried them all 😉 While we had our coffee (Nescrape as MickeyNicki calls it) and dessert, we worked a little and then followed our tour guide around the World Showcase over to the UK terrace.  Shortly after we took our seats, we were handed rain ponchos and then it started raining.   Hmmmmm, would it have rained if they hadn’t passed out the ponchos?  Thankfully it didn’t rain too hard and we still enjoyed Illuminations from a wonderful viewing area.  When it was over, we followed our tour guide out the back of the United Kingdom where our bus was now waiting for us.

We arrived back at AKL Jambo House just after 9:30pm.  My roommate & I decided to try out the pool.  This is a research trip after all 😉    Pool was a very comfortable temperature and the hot tub was perfect! It was just what the Dr. ordered!  All of the tension from the long day just melted away.  We returned to the room around 11pm, packed our bags & put our cruise tags on them; then drifted off to sleep. 

Tomorrow is a big day.  We’ll start with breakfast at Cape May Café, followed by a site inspection of the Beach Club and then it’s off to the port for our cruise on the Disney Wonder.

 

This is an Agent Education Program (sort of a continuing education program) the unusual thing with this trip is that I’m not planning it.  It’s not just unusual, it’s downright weird!  No ADR’s, no deciding on which resort or when to go.  Disney made all the decisions, I just had to sign up for the program.

On Wednesday I will get up early (yuck!) and drive to Disney (YAY!)  Why drive to Orlando? Charlotte is a great place to fly through, but too expensive to fly out of most of the time.   8-8 1/2 hours later I’ll check into Animal Kingdom Lodge where we will stay for the night.  A couple of site visits/training in the afternoon,  then a Welcome dinner at Epcot followed by an Illuminations Dessert Party at the United Kingdom terrace!   — I love Illuminations and I love dessert, so I’m pretty excited about this part of the evening!  If I’m lucky, I might be able to grab a Grand Marnier Slushie before the night is over!! 

 Thursday we’ll have breakfast at Cape May Cafe and tour the Beach Club Resort before heading to the port.  The next 3 nights we’ll be on the Disney Wonder, with stops in Nassau & Castaway Cay!  I’m looking forward to trying all of the restaurants (except Palo, I have promised Jon that I’ll wait to go there with him) and of course reporting back here on the food!  I’m excited about the shows, and the pools and Castaway Cay……and everything

After we pull back in on Sunday morning, I’ll go back to Animal Kingdom Lodge and then drive home–unless I can catch up with MickeyNicki.  Then I’ll be having breakfast at Boma or trying a frozen Chai at Animal Kingdom.

That’s the plan.

“Jiko is yummy” and “Jiko is gooooood” were 2 of the comments this morning

After letting DH nap for a couple of hours, he was ready for our 9pm Advanced Dining Reservation at Jiko. We drove over to Animal Kingdom Lodge and checked in a few minutes early.   We waited over by the bar, looking at the drink menu and were a little disappointed.   They only have 3 “specialty” cocktails listed and they weren’t that special: there was an appletini, cosmo & margarita with African names.   Our table was ready so we skipped the before dinner cocktails.

We were seated across from The Cooking Place which was neat to watch. We started with an appy to share, the Taste of Africa: Trio of Dips with Assorted Breads and House-made Naan

The green one was lentils, spinach & cilantro. It was pretty good, with a clean taste. The cilantro really came through. The red one was kind of spicy, and I’m not sure what was in that one. DH liked it, I kept trying it not sure if I liked it or not.  The purpleish one was hummus with kalamata olives. This was really good and my favorite! 

Ordering our entrees was the hard part.  With all the wonderful reviews of the filet, we all wanted that  but we all wanted to try other things too. DH, DD & DS all got the Oak Fired Filet Mignon with Mac & Cheese.  DS got his with the wine sauce on the side (he says “thanks MickeyNicki” for letting him know that he could do that)

Filet with wine sauce on the side

Filet with Mac & Cheese

They all raved about this dish! DH said he could have cut it with a fork and that the wine sauce was to die for. DD wanted to lick it off the plate, lol.  DS loved it as well and inhaled the mac & cheese.  It wasn’t a cheddar, but a variety of white cheeses so I really didn’t think he would end up liking it but I was glad to be wrong.

To change things up a little, I ordered the Kenyan Coffee BBQ Braised Beef Short Rib:

Wow, this was really good! I was given a steak knife, but I’m not sure why.  I was able to pull the meat off with a fork and the rest just fell off the bone. It was a huge serving, and I’ll be having the rest of it for lunch today. 

When our meals were served we were also given a basket of breads with tandoori butter:

There were 2 types of bread in there: a cinnamon honey bread that was very good and a 2nd one that I didn’t try.  I was trying to save room for dessert. I’ll try it with my lunch today because when our server boxed up my leftovers, he asked if I would like bread with it and boxed up a fresh order of it.

Onto my favorite part of any meal; Dessert!
DH had the Pistachio Creme Brulee with chocolate layered bottom:

This was very good and very rich. Good pistachio taste and the chocolate on the bottom was yummy.

DD & I both had to have the Tanzanian Chocolate Cheesecake with chocolate ganache, amarula sauce, and lavender ice cream:

First, presentation was beautiful! 2nd, it tasted even better than it looked.  Yummy Yummy Yummy! Rich Rich Rich! The cheesecake was fantastic, the lavendar ice cream was really good. I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was good.  It tasted like a really good vanilla ice cream with lavendar.  The lavendar tastes just like it smells for lack of a better description. I don’t think I’d want a whole bowl of it, but a little bit on the side was really good.

DS ordered the servers recommendation which isn’t even on the menu. He got the Smores & More:

To make it even cooler, this is a “make your own” dessert. On the plate were graham crackers, a bowl of chocolate ganache, a bowl of fresh (real) peanut butter and of course a bowl of toasted melted marshmallows.  DS was thrilled with this dessert! I got a little bite and it was really good!

DH & I ordered a press pot of coffee to go with our desserts:

We were told that this is Jiko’s very own blend of coffee and it was delicious!

When our server brought out our check, he also brought these little biscotti out:

We were too full to eat them, but I did try one (just doing my job as a good reviewer ) These were good, a little lemony & I believe it was dried blueberries. If I wasn’t so full, these would have been great to finish the meal off with.

1 appetizer, 4 adult entrees, 2 sodas, 4 desserts & 1 press pot coffee. Total after DDE/TiW discount with tax & tip: $209.89

Well worth the money, an excellent dinner & dining experience!

AK & Boma continued

DS looks a little nervous as we get close to the front of the line (ok, I’m a little nervous myself, the backwards bit scares me) DS is my baby, and he usually wants to be with me if anything is wrong, scary, not feeling well…. does he want to ride with me? NO! Mommy is good for snuggling on “nap” rides like Space Ship Earth & Ellen’s Energy Adventure,  Daddy is for “thrill” rides.   Allright, DH & DS are in the row ahead of us, so I can’t see how he’s doing. This is a really cool ride, it starts with a nice train ride and then boom, it’s thrill the rest of the way! It stops and I get a thumbs up from DH, DS loved it!  Now he’s having fun!!

We had agreed to meet Dad & Jackie at the front of the park at 5:15pm, so we had time to go use our fast passes for Dinosaur.  Good thing we didn’t bring Dad on it, it is a lot more wild/bumpy than I remember. It would have really hurt his back. We had fun though! We decide to skip Kali River Rapids. It’s one of our favorites, but the warning “You will get wet, you may get soaked” should read “you will get wet and Chelle will get soaked”  I always end up being the one completely drenched– able to wring water out of my clothes for days drenched– on this ride.  After Splash Mountain the night before, I just didn’t want to do that again, and not before dinner at Boma.  Maybe tonight, if we come back for Extra Magic Hours.

Time to meet Dad & Jackie.  We’re supposed to meet at the front of the park, just before the turnstyles. Don’t see them…. Dad calls DH (not me?), they’re out of the park by the Christmas tree. OK, off to Animal Kingdom Lodge.  This is such a pretty hotel.  Even better, they’re having a wine & food tasting in the lobby.  Ok, I didn’t try the food ( a berry crumble sort of thing, maybe?) but the wine was very good!   A South African Riessling.  Our ADR is for 6:20 and it’s around 5:20 now. Jackie has mentioned that she’d like to see Fantasmic at the Studios, her sister had told her about it. Well, if we can get seated early, they should have time to go over there for it.  DH goes to check us in and ask if we can get in early. DS & I take Dad to see the savanah off the lobby. DH calls and says we’ll have a table in 10-15 minutes. The rest of us make our way downstairs and just as we get there, it’s time to be seated. I really wish I had skipped lunch, because I wasn’t hungry enough to do justice on all that yummy food. Dad stuck to all the “safe, normal” food, Jackie tried a few things. The rest of us found our favorites and tried a few new things as well. DS mostly enjoys the strawberries.  I have to say, those strawberries were huge and delicious!   Time for the dessert table.   So yummy! Love it all, and now I need to roll out of here after eating more than my fair share of Zebra Domes.

We stop in the gift shop on our way out, I look over and see Dad handing the kids money. Their Christmas present apparently.   DD immediately buys a “Green is the new Black” t-shirt that she’s had her eye on since before dinner. DS needs to think about what he wants.  We send Dad & Jackie off on a bus to the studios and now I can relax a little.   What do we want to do?  Extra Magic Hours or head back to Boardwalk Villas?  DD wants to go to the pool, but the main pool closes at 8pm and it’s 7:20pm.  We decide to go back to Animal Kingdom. DH has really been looking forward to riding Expedition Everest at night and DS is now very excited!

The temperature seems to have dropped a bit, and I didn’t think to bring sweatshirts for the evening. DD is wearing her cute strapless Animal Kingdom dress that she bought last summer and is cold.  She decides she wants to go back to the room.  With orders to text when she gets to the busses, to the Boardwalk Villas and again when she gets to the room, we let her go.  Time to have fun in the dark at Animal Kingdom.

Animal Kingdom looks so different in the dark, it’s still beautiful, but in a different way. It’s also very peaceful. The only thing we really want to do is Expedition Everest, so we make our way back there. Standby line is 20 minutes posted, only took about 10. Family behind us in line started playing with the bells in the queue, the girl and I decide Expedition Everest  is a Christmas ride — there’s snow, bells, the Yeti is also known as the Abominable (sp?) Snowman & he’s in Rudolph’s Christmas show, so this must be a Christmas ride!  We then decide that we should sing Jingle Bells the whole way through the ride. When we get loaded into the “train”, I’m in the back row with a single rider, DS is riding with DH and the other family is right in front of them.  Off we go “Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh” Let me just say that it gets hard to sing when you start going backwards in the dark!!!! The view is amazing at night, we could see Epcot, and the Swan & Dolphin clear as can be. Absolutely beautiful! That was fun! So much so, that we got right back in line with our singing family This time we were in the front of the train, so 3 rides- front, middle and back. You can see a lot from the front when the train comes to the “broken track”, we even joked about seeing DD walking from the Swan to the BW (she had been texting updates her whole way back) The view from the front row was great, but I liked the last row best for the ride experience. Now I’m tired, heart is pounding, but tired. Kali will have to wait till next trip. It’s time to head “home”.
It’s hard to see in the dark, but Everest is behind DS

Up next: I love DVC

AK & Boma

Wow, Wednesday all ready! It’s going so fast, but it feels as if I’ve been walking for an eternity. I’m still amazed at how much fun the party was last night  (other than the wet clothes )!

After such a late night, no one is moving fast this morning. Today is our day to see Animal Kingdom, Boma  at Animal Kingdom Lodge for dinner (zebra domes!) and if we’re up to it, EMH at AK.  Expedition Everest in the dark? Terrifiying or Awesome?   

We start the day with some bakery items brought back to the room for breakfast and a quick call with Dad to make plans. Dad & Jackie are at the Studios  getting breakfast, they’ll meet us around noon in front of Animal Kingdom. I haven’t had enough coffee yet, breakfast at the studios? I planned all of the sitdown meals to make the best use of them and have our meal together. They must be having Counter Service somewhere???  At least they’re learning how to get around, and sounds like they’re having fun!

We meet up at Animal Kingdom and head in.  Wow, it’s feeling pretty crowded. We head over to Africa to get fast passes for the Killamanjaro Safari.  This is the one thing that Dad learned about before the trip and has been really looking forward to. Oh Oh!  Standby is 60 minutes and there’s nothing on the Fast Pass board.  DH goes over to the fast pass area to ask what’s going on, and it turns out the machines broke right before they ran out of fast passes.  The Cast Members were handwriting passes for everyone that was in the line, so DH managed to get one for our party of 6, after 2pm. Way to go honey!  Oh, and since it was a handwritten pass, we were able to get fastpasses for Dinosaur.  Now everyone is still tired from last night, we’ve walked to Africa, then to Dino Land, now we’re talking about getting lunch so it won’t be too close to our 6:20 Advanced Dining Reservation at Boma.  Poor DS is starting to get a little frustrated.  We’ve been in the park for an hour and haven’t done anything. Allright, the four of us hop on Primevilwhirl  real quick.  He’s a trooper, and always tries to please everyone else before himself so he’s ok with lunch for now.  Most of us want Flame Tree BBQ, ok, everyone but DS.  So DH gives me his order and runs to Pizzafari for DS. Dad & Jackie order and take their food. I order while DD & DS find a table. I’m getting 3 Counter Service  meals, entree, drink & dessert. It’s on 2 trays and oh yeah, no lids at Animal Kingdom (to protect the Animals)! I quick call DD’s cell, but she doesn’t answer (she’s good at calling, but answering is not her strong suit) Well, here we go. Somehow I manage to carry the tray with drinks & desserts in one hand and the meals in the other through the crowds. One very kind gentleman did offer to help, but at that point I was afraid if I tried to transfer it would be a disaster. I made it to the sauces & cutlery stand and DD showed up. Good girl! We grabbed utensils and straws. Straws?  Whoa, they’ve got straws at Animal Kingdom now; they’re cardboard.  A little strange, but I liked it. With DD’s help we get the food and drinks to the table (could they have picked one any farther away?!!) I had the smoked chicken, which was very good & and juicy. Not a big fan of their beans, and the corn muffin was a little dry. DD & DH had the ribs and loved them. Of course, DH wasn’t back from pizzafari yet, so DS was hungry. His sister was nice and let him try a rib, and he liked it. I’m starting to think the kids name should be “Mikey” (anyone remember those Life Cereal ads?)  DH did make it back, enjoyed his meal and DS enjoyed his pizza.

It’s 2pm and with full tummies we decide to head over to the safari now, even though our fast passes for Dinosaur are good now.  We walk back across the park again, but Dad is really happy, he can’t wait to go on the safari. The safari was good, Dad was happy. We know it’s much better in the morning, but hey we weren’t moving in the morning.   Now Dad wants to see the gorillas, ok, cool. We haven’t gone on the Pangani Trail in years. DS is starting to look a little upset.   It’s almost 3pm and all we’ve done is Primevilwhirl, eat and ride the safari, so I can see his point.   “Dad, why don’t you & Jackie ride the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch, you’ll really like that and we’ll take DS to “do” something”  Poor kid, at 10 it’s hard to wait.  Off we go towards Expedition Everest.  Maybe if we walk slow I can see the Jingle Jungle Parade ?  Nope this kid wasn’t waiting for a parade, he wanted to ride.  Expedition Everest  here we come!

On our June trip, DH rode Expedition Everest  by himself, single rider line to “check it out”.  DS had wanted to go, until the opportunity presented itself and he suddenly he “wasn’t in the mood”.  This trip, we’re all going to ride.  The line isn’t bad, and the queue is pretty cool. DS is getting a little nervous but DH tells him it’s a lot like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but faster and smoother like Space Mountain.

Next up: EE 


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