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ShesAPirate 11-10-2011 05:30 PM

"We Have Lots of Good Wine at Home, But We Don't Have Giraffes." **COMPLETED**
Welcome, one and all, to my chock-full-of-pictures trip report! I hope you'll enjoy all the stories and pictures. It was a wonderful trip, with lots of new experiences :cool1:

For those of you who are new readers, here is a link to my pre-trip report:

Or a quick synopsis:
There's me, Gigi. I'm 38 and a certified Disney fanatic. This was my 11th trip to the World.
With me was my wonderful boyfriend DJ. He's 33 and this was his first time at WDW! He'd actually never even been to Florida before this trip (though he's been in almost every other state in the country, and had been to Disneyland when he was about 13).

We rented DVC points. Savannah view studio, 4 nights at AKV Jambo House, and 2 nights at AKV Kidani Village. We had the DDP for the first 4 nights, then the DxDDP for the last two.

So now that you're all caught up, here we go!

Twas the night before Disney, and all through my brain
Last minute events were driving me insane!

The storm (Snowtober or whatever silly name they gave it) left my apartment without power. That put a little fly in the ointment. Our plan was to do our final pre-trip running around, then go to my apartment to spend the night before heading to the airport the following morning. We wanted to spend time with my cats, since we'd be away for the week (yes, they have a pet-sitter who came here twice a day, but that's not like having their mom home!). No electricity and no heat changed all that.

We spent the daylight hours at my apartment, all blinds opened and candles lit. DJ even sat in the kitchen while I packed, with all 4 stove burners on, trying to warm up the place.

Back at DJ's apartment, we finished packing and actually got into bed by 10. Alarms were set for 4:30. Our flight was at 7:45, and we had to leave for the airport by 5:15.

Could I sleep? hahaha, no, of course not. My mind was racing -- half-excited, half worried that we'd forget something. I finally drifted off around 11:30... only to wake again at 1:30 :mad: That was my night. I'd say I got a grand total of 3 hours of sleep, waking up on and off until the alarm finally rang. DJ fared a bit better, but didn't get too much more sleep than I did.

We used ABC Airport Parking -- close to the airport with a free shuttle to the terminal, for a fraction of the cost (only $7 per day, as opposed to $18 per day at the economy lot at Newark). We couldn't find the lot at first. We got semi-lost, and I started panicking... and then we found it totally by accident. Relieved, we got on the shuttle and made it to the airport in time.

Once we were through security, we didn't really have much time. We ordered breakfast to go from someplace called Ruby's Diner. Pretty good breakfast sandwiches and potatoes. Way too big for either of us to finish, though. They were like hero rolls. If we'd known that, we'd have only ordered one sandwich. Oh well, next time we'll know better.

The flight was, by far, the smoothest one I'd ever been on. No turbulence at all. I tried to sleep, but I can almost never sleep on planes, so I played Hearts on my netbook and watched Big Bang Theory on the overhead video monitors (I love that show!). Before I knew it, we were on the ground in Orlando! :yay:

Off to Magical Express we went. This was a simple process, but we did not get an official ME bus. It was Mears. Oh well, no Disney propaganda video for us. Here we are, looking crazy and exhausted already and it was only 10:30 :rotfl:

Coming up in the next installment, check-in to AKL Villas at Jambo House, and our first day in the World :woohoo:

ShesAPirate 11-10-2011 05:31 PM

* Placeholder for links *

ShesAPirate 11-10-2011 06:17 PM

Our Mears bus arrived at AKV Jambo, and we were checked in by noon. And our room was ready!!! 5509 on the Zebra Trail. It was not too far from the lobby, and pretty much directly above The Mara. Pretty good location.

Here are some pics of the room, and our Savanna view:

Our original plan for our first day was to go to the Garden View Tea Room for lunch, then straight to MK for the last Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Well, things don't always go as planned. I was fully exhausted, and knew I needed a nap if we were going to last until midnight at the party. So we decided to grab lunch at the Mara, then relax at the resort until we were ready to head to MK. I was disappointed to have to cancel the Tea Room, but the party was more important to me, and I knew I'd be miserable if I didn't get a few winks in.

DJ got the African Stew:
He really enjoyed this. It reminded him of the 'street meat' he gets for lunch while working in Manhattan.

I got the Pepperoni Flatbread. It tasted better than it looks:

For drinks and dessert, we got a Perrier, a cappuccino soda, Zebra domes, and a cheese coffee cake:

WOW, those Zebra domes were tasty! Never had them before. And the cheese coffee cake was OUTSTANDING. So moist and still warm :cloud9:. Really really good! We couldn't finish dessert, so we brought them up to our room to have later. I was glad we brought ziplock bags -- a tip I got here on the boards. We were able to keep that coffee cake fresh until it was finished.

This meal would've been something like $28. It's the one meal I didn't note the price of (since the receipts they give you on DDP just say 0.00).

After lunch, we headed up to our room and sat on the balcony for a little while... but I was fading fast, so I soon curled up in bed for a snooze. DJ stayed on the balcony, reading something on his Kindle, until I woke up.

Up next -- Boo to You! Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! :hmghost:

Queenofallthings 11-11-2011 09:42 AM

Woo Hoo you started....I'm here but I have to go back and read now!!!

Great start...all caught up! Your room is lovely and there is nothing better than a Savannah view is there? Can't wait for more!

ShesAPirate 11-11-2011 12:32 PM

:welcome: Queen! Thanks for joining in! :thumbsup2

Anyone else who's reading, I hope you'll say hello! :goodvibes

ShesAPirate 11-11-2011 01:22 PM

Around 6pm, we left for MNSSHP :cool1:

Here we are waiting for the bus:

The bus from Jambo to MK took 16 minutes. Not bad at all!


We stopped into the Main Street Bakery so DJ could get a coffee. I got a lemonade. No pics of that ;)

My first order of business when we arrived was to get into the shops and get a Halloween pin. I'd read that they sell out quickly, and since this was the last night of the party, I didn't want to miss out.

There were people hovering everywhere, all waiting for 7pm, when the "exclusive" Halloween party merchandise would be put out. I watched a few CMs check for wristbands, and then tell people they had to leave - even those with arms full of stuff to buy.

The first items they put out were t-shirts. They didn't look all that cool to me, but people descended on them like it was Christmas Eve.

Finally, I saw the pins at a register :banana: So cute!
I only bought one. I'm not a trader, I just collect.

With that behind us, we set off down Main Street. Everything looked so pretty!

DJ's first ride at WDW was The Haunted Mansion :hmghost: I hadn't been on since before they made the changes, so it was somewhat new to me, too. So cool!

Through the course of the night, we walked on to HM, as well as Small World, Peter Pan (my favorite!), Buzz Lightyear, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Space Mountain! Well, DJ walked on... I walked through - and right out the chicken exit :rotfl:

We trick-or-treated as we walked around -- not necessarily on purpose. Just whenever we came across a treat spot, we got our bags ready. By the end of the night, we had a TON of candy. Good stuff, too - actual name-brand chocolates :cool1:

We got popcorn at some point, but that only held us for so long. I knew just where we were going to eat -- Pecos Bill's! Oh yeahhhhh, fixins! ;)

We both got the Angus cheeseburger with fries and iced tea.

DJ got strawberry yogurt as his dessert, and I got carrot cake.

Again, we saved the desserts to take back to the room (we had bags full of chocolate, after all), but the rest was soooo yummy. I love the sauteed onions and mushrooms and cheese on the fixings bar. The OOP cost for this meal would've been $30.61, but we used counter service credits.

We ate outside, as the fireworks were about to start. By the time we finished eating, we kinda raced closer to the castle to get a better view. I only took one pic, because I wanted to enjoy the fireworks.

The castle after fireworks:

Not sure where we are here, but I love this pic :lovestruc

Before we knew it, it was time for the parade. I don't usually stop to watch parades, but I'd heard this one was awesome, so we found front-row spot near the bridge to Tomorrowland.

The Headless Horseman started the parade! Somewhere I have video of his ride, but I'm not sure where it is right now. I'll add it in later. It was very cool!

(I promise, there are better pics coming. I'd only brought my dying point-and-shoot to the party -- didn't feel like lugging my big DSLR around that night.)

The parade did not disappoint at all. It was wonderful!

After more wandering around and going on Space Mountain, we were ready to head back to Jambo House.

A nice girl offered to take a pic of us on our way out, and we graciously accepted :)

The party was definitely worth the money, in my opinion. We had a great time, the park looked amazing, there were virtually no lines for anything... we loved it!

Coming up next -- we head to Animal Kingdom! Breakfast at Rainforest Cafe!

Queenofallthings 11-11-2011 03:16 PM

I know a lot of people complain on here about how far AKL is from everything, but I don't find it bad at all! I love it there so the little jaunts to the parks don't bother us at all either:thumbsup2

Looks like a fantastic time was had at MNSSHP! I love that party and agree with you, it's worth the price of the ticket! The line ups alone ... :woohoo:

cocofifi 11-11-2011 03:37 PM

Diggin' this trip report. Subscribing.

ShesAPirate 11-11-2011 04:14 PM


Originally Posted by cocofifi (Post 43216365)
Diggin' this trip report. Subscribing.

Thanks! Welcome aboard! :thumbsup2

ShesAPirate 11-11-2011 04:43 PM


This was the best 7 bucks I've ever spent:

I got mine on Amazon, but I've seen them in Target and the supermarket, too. Water bottle with built-in filter -- took away that lovely Florida tap water flavor! We used it at the water fountains in all the parks, and in the sink in our room. It was GREAT! We drink a LOT of water, and would've had to start selling our organs on the black market if we'd had to pay $2.75 for each bottle of Dasani! This worked out so fantastically -- especially when we came across those extra-cold, hidden-in-the-shade fountains. I can't say enough good things about this water bottle :thumbsup2:thumbsup2:thumbsup2

Missyrose 11-11-2011 07:29 PM

Joining in! We're in the beginning stages of planning a trip for next October where we'll rent points at AKV! Can't wait to hear what you think of the resort!

ShesAPirate 11-12-2011 05:04 PM


Originally Posted by Missyrose (Post 43218162)
Joining in! We're in the beginning stages of planning a trip for next October where we'll rent points at AKV! Can't wait to hear what you think of the resort!

Welcome! Thanks for joining. I've got nothing but good things to say about AKV. I will get more detailed in my next updates! :thumbsup2

ShesAPirate 11-15-2011 01:42 AM

Day 2 - Animal Kingdom!

Before I get into that, just wanted to share this pic of all the candy we got trick-or-treating at MNSSHP the night before:

It was quite a bit. We brought it to a party this past weekend and "accidentally" left it there :rolleyes1 (yeah, I reallllly don't need 5 pounds of candy in my apartment!).

Anyway, back to Day 2...

We woke up bright and early after finally getting a good night's sleep. DJ had purchased a pound of Kenya AA coffee at Zawadi Marketplace, but his attempt to make coffee was in vain -- since there were no coffee filters in the room OR available to purchase in the store :scared1: The coffee in the room was in pods. DJ tried to use paper towels or something, but it just didn't come out right. At least we were going out for breakfast and could (hopefully) get some good coffee. The bus from Jambo to AK took 5 minutes.

We had breakfast scheduled at Rainforest Cafe. Now, I've been to WDW lots of times, and I read just about everything I can get my hands on. I wouldn't consider myself uninformed when it comes to Disney World... but I had NO idea they even served breakfast at Rainforest Cafe. Not a clue, until about 10 days before our trip :confused3

Since I knew we were going to be at Animal Kingdom on this day, and that we'd be paying OOP for this meal no matter where we went, I booked the ADR.

It was pretty empty when we arrived. There were maybe 10 other tables seated -- but it was around 9:30, so maybe it was full of park commandos/rope droppers earlier. We were seated right away, and our server brought us a pot of coffee (woohoo!) which was pretty good -- definitely not Nescafe!

DJ ordered the Benedict Bamba, which is basically Eggs Benedict, with potatoes. He loved it. He said the eggs were perfectly cooked.
I'm not a big fan of Eggs Benedict, but I did taste it and it was pretty good.

I had the Breakfast Sliders -- bacon, egg, and American cheese on little buns, also served with potatoes.
These were tasty! The bacon was actually good, the eggs were fluffy. I eventually pushed the buns aside, only because they were very filling.

They had some other options on the menu that sounded yummy, but I think we both made the perfect choices. It was a really nice way to start our day at Animal Kingdom :goodvibes

(again, this meal was OOP, and with tax and tip came to $36.34)

With our bellies full, we headed into the park. Our first stop was It's Tough to Be a Bug, which was a walk-on. I love this attraction. DJ did, too. He sometimes gets a headache from 3D movies, but no issue here.

We walked on to the Maharajah Jungle Trek. I actually hadn't done this in probably 10 years. It's usually so damn hot in Animal Kingdom that walking more is the last thing I want to do. But it was gorgeous out on this day. Nice and breezy :thumbsup2

Here are some pics from the Jungle Trek:

These bats were just gigantic! And cute!

After the Jungle Trek, we took the train over to Rafiki's Planet Watch... where we met this little guy:

The petting zoo was less-than-thrilling when we were there. The animals were all pretty busy eating.

We headed back to the main park and DJ got a fastpass for Everest. Then we walked on to Kilimanjaro Safari.

This was one of the best rides I've ever had on KS. So any animals. The only one sleeping was a lion (though we could still see the top of his head).

Kind of off-topic, but before we left, I got my hair cut... and I really hate it. She cut my bangs way too short. I'd been just pushing it back with my sunglasses, but since I was wearing them most of the time at Disney, I decided I needed something else... and I couldn't resist these little beauties:
Me: Do I look stupid with these on?
DJ: You're in Disney, it doesn't matter :)

I got SO MANY compliments on these ears for the rest of our trip! And we didn't see a single person wearing them other than me. Lots of people with zebra striped ones, or black ones... but no one with the pink leopard spots except for me :banana:

But I digress...

DJ went on Everest and I relaxed and waited for him. It occurred to me, though, that I could try to watch him come down the main drop. I walked over just in time, and caught this shot of his descent. He's in the very last car with the turquoise shirt. I thought that was pretty amazing!

After wandering around for a while, meeting Goofy and Pluto (those pics are on our Photopass -- which I will add when I get them), we were both ready for a snack.

We found a cart in Africa and each got a Safari Amber and a hot pretzel. Delicious!

We'd done everything we wanted to do at AK by that point, so we headed back to the resort. It was a really great day!

Up Next -- we hit the pool and hot tub (and pool bar!) at Jambo House before heading to Epcot for the evening. Guess which restaurant in Epcot was by far the most disappointing of our entire trip?

bjgrazi 11-15-2011 07:58 AM

I love AKL it has been my favorite so far. I'll see in January how it measures up to VWL. Love the ears, I'm going to have to look for them.

Where did you find the brita? I've looked around here since reading your report and haven't found it. I don't drink soda or sugar drinks, so that would be great for me. I should float with all the water I drink.

Looking forward to the next installment.

ShesAPirate 11-15-2011 01:21 PM


Originally Posted by bjgrazi (Post 43247914)
I love AKL it has been my favorite so far. I'll see in January how it measures up to VWL. Love the ears, I'm going to have to look for them.

Where did you find the brita? I've looked around here since reading your report and haven't found it. I don't drink soda or sugar drinks, so that would be great for me. I should float with all the water I drink.

Looking forward to the next installment.

:welcome: and thanks for reading!

I got my Brita on Amazon, but I also saw the same one in Stop & Shop and Shop Rite, as well as Target. It paid for itself within an hour, with how much water we drink.

Here is a link:

In the brick-and-mortar stores, it was in the same aisle as the full-sized Brita pitchers. Good luck!

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