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Old 02-01-2013, 10:45 PM   #1
DLFan123
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I Love Unexpected Trips!!! AKL and Beach Club Here We Come!

Hello to everyone and welcome to my pre-trip report for the trip that almost didn't happen! We have officially decided we can do a trip to WDW in late May. We really didn't think this would happen this early in the year, and we were tentatively planning a December trip in 2013. But that just seemed so far off! I was having a really hard time thinking I had to wait that long to get back to WDW. In order to quench our thirst for WDW, we pulled out the puzzle we'd purchased as a souvenir last year during our visit. We completed the 500 piece Disney Parks puzzle in just one evening. I know...that makes us sound kind of lame.

Here it is, the puzzle that inspired the trip:

The point is, DP can never focus on things like this for more than a couple of hours, and yet she was the one pushing me to continue with the puzzle. So my little wheels started to turn...maybe she was thinking about a trip to WDW as much as I was. On top of that, it is Magical Memories week on Wheel of Fortune. Ok ok...now I know we sound really lame FOR SURE. We started watching on Monday, entering the bonus round puzzle on the wheel website daily to attempt to win the magical sweepstakes. This seemed to push DP even further into Disney's clutches. Wednesday I made my move, after a few failed attempts. After explaining how we could actually make this trip happen, I had finally convinced her!

Now for a little background information. This is me.

I'm 34 years old, and I live in Denver, but I grew up in Phoenix. I spent my summers at Disneyland and that will always be my favorite park and a source of some memories I hold most dear.

My travelling companion is my DP, also 34 and from Phoenix. This is her:

(She hates this picture, but I think it's cute, because she never wants to do corny poses in pics but for some reason must have been in a good mood this day!)
She had been to Disneyland a few times prior to our first trip together, which took place in 2010. What a fantastic trip! And since then, we've basically been Disney tripping fools. A friend at work convinced me we had to venture to WDW, so we made our first trip at her recommendation (thanks, DawnH!) in May of 2011. We stayed at the BC and loved it, the whole experience of WDW! We've been to Disneyland several times since then, and managed to make our second trip to WDW in April of 2012.

So back to our trip planning...after we had made the decision to take this trip, we spent the next 24 hours laboring over where we would stay, and last night I booked our resorts and flights! We get in very late our first night, so I was hesitant to spring for a deluxe resort for that night. Who needs deluxe with the new AOA resort, right?

(Photo taken from tripadvisor)
Absolutely adorable, and we have a one-night stay planned there the first night of our trip in a Little Mermaid Room!

The next two nights, we will be staying at AKL.


We have never stayed at this resort (nor at aoa), so we will get to experience two new resorts this trip!

Finally it will be on to our favorite, the Beach Club for the last nights of our trip! I can't even believe how lucky and blessed we are to be able to make all this happen!

In just over 3 months, we will be here:


So where will we be dining on this trip? I've already got some ADRs booked at the following restaurants:

Day 1
Sci-Fi Lunch
Sanaa Dinner

Day 2
Yak & Yeti Lunch

Day 3
No ADRs so far
Beaches and Cream Dinner (or dessert)

Day 4
No ADRs

Day 5
Coral Reef Dinner

Day 6
Tony's Town Square Dinner

Day 7
Mama Melrose Fantasmic Dinner Package

Day 8
Cape May Clambake

We want to focus on eating a little more spontaneously this trip, so I don't think I'll be making more ADRS than we have, with the exception of maybe 1 or 2 additions. There are some counter service places I can't wait to eat again and some new ones I'd like to try. This will also be easier on our budget, therefore allowing us to afford the deluxe resort stays for the most of our trip.

Coral Reef and Mama Melrose will be new table service restaurants for us, and I am super excited to try these despite some mixed reviews.

Last edited by DLFan123; 02-14-2013 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 02-02-2013, 09:14 AM   #2
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We decided to do it-CL AKL!

Well after a long night's sleep and some discussion about the pros and cons and the minimal added expense of staying on the Concierge Level at AKL, we have decided to do it! You only live once, right? My DP and I both agreed, we aren't staying at AKL to be near animal views; we would spring for a savannah view so we can enjoy the views from our own in-room balcony. The cost of that isn't much less than just going ahead and booking club level, so I just went ahead and did that! I have heard that all club level rooms offer a view of the savannah. I will confirm that before our trip.

Now for the safaris...I posted another thread asking for advice on which safaris to take, and I have been hearing from others about Wanyama Safari, Sunrise Safari, and now I have just learned about the Night Vision Safari. I think I am leaning towards the Sunrise Safari and maybe also the Night Vision Safari. The Wanyama Safari is just too costly, and I think if we are on club level, we need to plan to eat at least one "meal" from the snack offerings in he lounge just to make it cost effective. If we have prepaid for a nice night of dining at Jiko, I just know I will be full and won't have room to really enjoy the club level offerings.

We have our flights arrangements made but haven't booked our Magical Express transport from the airport yet. As we will be getting in at 10:40 pm, we won't be able to use the luggage service (fine with me).

There is another trip coming up much sooner than our luxurious CL WDW vacation! It is our Disneyland on a dime trip, less than 2 weeks away now. We booked this trip to spend it with our friends from New Hampshire, who are taking their two small kids cross country to see the Happiest Place on Earth.

We were able to use Wyndham points for our room for the 4 nights we will be there, and we were able to use our rapid rewards points for our SW flights, only having to spend $50 out of pockets since DP didn't have quite enough points. Of course we already have our annual passes...so this is basically like a free trip!

So I will be able to do more WDW planning after our imminent trip, which we are so looking forward to! What a great way to spend time with friends we hardly get to see! I'd much rather meet them at Disneyland than anywhere else!
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:46 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lsenquiz View Post
following along.
Great to have you! I'm going to go back and do a little editing and start adding some pics as I go along, so hopefully this pre-trip report isn't the most painful thing in the world to read.
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Old 02-03-2013, 10:53 AM   #5
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I've gone completely insane!

And DP came along for the ride...

Here it is, our weekend, and we sat so long looking at disboards on the laptop that our backsides are sore! We haven't done any of our necessary chores yet, like the laundry (although I did wash the cozy comforter we like to use while sitting on the couch with the laptop), the grocery shopping, or the cleaning (even though we have people coming over to watch the super bowl tonight). We have just been very very idle this weekend. We've got our whole lives to get in gear, right?

This happens just about every time we decide to go on a trip; I get totally obsessive and can't think of anything else. When it's a DW or DL trip, this means I watch every souvenir DVD we own, email all day long at work with my friend Dawn who loves Disney Parks as much as me, listen to my Disney Parks CDs while I drive around. It gets in my blood and makes me a little crazy. This morning, I awoke to the sounds of the America song from the American Adventure in Epcot. I can't get it out of my head. Then I start singing, DP starts whistling and we're in deep.

Last night, after we finished rewatching 101 Dalmations and had moved back on to the disboards, DP actually took a moment to glance up from the mesmerizing laptop to say to me, "I never knew I could love Disney this much." Ahhh...a match made in heaven.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:19 PM   #6
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CL AKL Views?

Our trip planning has hit its first snag. One reason we decided to book CL for our 2 nights at AKL was that I had read on the unofficial thread on DIS that ALL CL rooms have a savannah view. Now DP says she read on the allears site that not all CL rooms have a savannah view, but that some might even have parking lot views. Does anybody know what is actually current and correct? If we aren't going to have a savannah view, I don't want to pay the CL prices. I will just change back to a savannah view room. Please help!
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Old 02-11-2013, 07:42 PM   #7
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Joining in. Sounds like you have a great trip planned. We are doing the same split in August, so I am curious to see how you like it. We also have many of the same meals planned as you. It will be our first time at AKL and we try to go to BCV every time. The safari sounds fabulous!
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Old 02-11-2013, 08:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 333disneymom View Post
Joining in. Sounds like you have a great trip planned. We are doing the same split in August, so I am curious to see how you like it. We also have many of the same meals planned as you. It will be our first time at AKL and we try to go to BCV every time. The safari sounds fabulous!
We feel like no trip would be complete without a stay at BC! This will be our first time at AKL also. I'm just so excited! I am thinking about posting a trip report, not just a dining report, for our coming trip. We will see but if nothing else, I will post some trip updates/report in my next dining review. I love writing the dining reviews!
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Old 02-14-2013, 08:37 AM   #9
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All plans for our DW trip are currently on hold, because we have bigger fish to fry. Tomorrow we leave for DL!

I'm nervous and a little stressed because there are so many little things I wanted to get done before this trip, but haven't had the chance to do. I'm trying to calm myself down, because it's a quick trip and things will be just fine no matter what, but there is a tiny type-a person that lives inside of me and threatens to come out before vacations. I just want everything to be perfect.

I am so excited for our DL trip, though. It is going to be a pretty basic trip, but we are super excited for a few things. First, DLR finally added an early entry hour for annual passholders, which means we will have to do that of course! We will be entering DCA early on Saturday (RSR here we come!) and then DL early on Sunday. Our friends form NH won't be arriving until Sunday late afternoon. I'm so excited to see them and spend this time with them! This will be their kids' second trip to DL but probably the first the youngest will remember. It is so neat to think we will be part of those memories for him.

Anyway, I'll update with some pictures when we get back to go along with continued planning for our WDW trip in May. Until then, Happy V Day to everyone!
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:41 PM   #10
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Back from our DLR trip! Guess what that means? Time to make a new ticker! I am about to change my ticker to reflect our May trip dates/plans.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:08 AM   #11
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Adding a breakfast ADR?

Back from our wonderful short trip to DL, DP and I have been talking about the gap in our dining schedule that occurs on Day 6. We've also been talking about character meals...

We experienced our first character meal on our trip to WDW in 2011. We did it entirely unintentionally. We were at HS, and it was soooo hot. We made RD and did all the big rides, and then we were famished. Did I mention we were also soooo hot? We knew we needed to get indoors. It was about 10 am, so options were limited. I'd read about Hollywood and Vine hosting a character breakfast. I knew the buffet options were going to be fine for us, so we walked up to the podium hoping we could get in, just to get out of the heat. We had absolutely no interest in the characters in this particular buffet, but we just needed some air conditioning! Luckily, it wasn't very crowded by this time or at this particular restaurant, so they got us right in.

Now this was before we knew we were supposed to take pics of our food, so I don't have any of those to share. The food was actually very good. They had a station where you could make breakfast burritos, so DP and I were both very happy, since this is a favorite of ours. They also had some cheesy breakfast potatoes which DP and both loved! Did I mention potatoes are her favorite food group? And cheese is mine. So these potatoes were just the best.

We were a litte intimidated by the characters, and it was certainly loud in this place. The characters were Handy Manny (?) and Oso (?) and maybe somebody else. They sang and danced. It was actually very fun to watch, and the kids at this buffet were having a blast. The characters came around expecting that we wanted pics with them. The first time around, we passed on the photo ops. We were a little embarrassed, plus we had no idea who these characters were. By the second time around, we'd changed our minds. We decided to get the pics with the characters. One of the cast members was really enthusiastic and suggested we kiss Oso (?) the bear (is he a bear?). So I leaned over and got very near this big yellow bear and pretended to give a little kiss. After we looked at the picture, I was literally about to fall on the floor. DP had actually kissed this bear! If any of you knew DP, you'd know this is completely uncharacteristic for her. As I mentioned, she never does corny things in photos, and she generally wouldn't be willing to be photographed in the middle of a kiss either. So the fact that she is kissing the bear in the photo is just too much. I can't post that picture here, or that would be the end of it for me. So you'll just have to imagine this scene.

I would say our first character buffet was a success. The buffet price was reasonable and the interaction was actually fun.

That same trip, we decided to do breakfast with Minnie at Cape May on our last day. I'd say I actually enjoyed the food more at H&V, but the atmosphere was better in Cape May (better for adults anyway). It was more calm and quiet, and it wasn't as crowded in the walkways.

On our next trip, we did the Tusker House breakfast with Donald, which we enjoyed. We had done this to get in to AK before park opening, which worked out nicely except that I was so full, even the slightest ride made me feel queasy afterwards.

While we have enjoyed character meals, we decided we would skip them this trip. But then I started thinking about missing out on the experience of it, and I can't help it. I want to do a character meal! Since we have a breakfast opening, I've been talking to DP about it.

She is game for whatever. So now I'm really trying to decide-do we do a character buffet at Cape May again on Day 6, when we have an opening? It will be so convenient to sleep late and then just head downstairs, and Minnie really is one of my favorites (or as DP likes to proclaim-my absolute favorite). Or do we do CRT in the castle on Day 7? The seafood crepe is calling my name.

Truthfully I just want to dine in the castle. DP is pretty embarrassed about meeting face characters who are dressed as princesses. We made a little progress on our DL trip, meeting both Ariel and Rapunzel and getting photographed with them. We are still up in the air. The possibilities for when to do the character breakfast and what to do are endless! Well maybe not endless...but there are certainly lots of options.

Any feedback or ideas welcomed!
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