Walt Disney World & World Travels

Posts Tagged ‘Savannah

 

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.

 

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The long ride home

We had hoped to drive straight through and just get home, but we left a lot later than we had planned, but not quite late enough to make it easy to stop.   We snacked on our food from Artists Palette as we drove, the turkey and brie  sandwich was very good.  DH enjoyed the fruit & cheese plates, they were easy to eat while driving,  filling but not too heavy. DS devoured the bagel.  When the tired grumpies set in, we stopped for the night near Savannah. — There’s a very nice Comfort Suites, that for $10 more than the other hotels at the exit had 2 queen beds and a sofa sleeper! Yay!  No fighting over who sleeps on the aero bed.  Also had a mini fridge & microwave, and hot breakfast in the morning– After breakfast we loaded back up and hit the road for the rest of the drive home. It was a quiet, rainy drive home but it was nice to see our house when we pulled in the driveway

DH started unpacking the truck immediately, and I started moving things inside. It’s pretty chilly in here. I set the thermostat down before we left, but it’s really chilly in here. why won’t the buttons on the thermostat do anything? Ok, let’s put the Saratoga water in the garage fridge, um why isn’t the light on when the door is open? Oh crud! Turns out the GFCI in the garage tripped. All of the food in the freezer was squishy and for some reason the thermostat for the main floor was on the same circuit. That’s why it was so chilly! No idea why it tripped, and it’s been fine ever since. Not the nicest “welcome home” but at least we were home and would sleep in our own beds, in our own rooms

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


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