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Old 12-25-2013, 11:55 PM   #1
JenSop
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A Princess and a Croatian Walk into a Bar...at Disney. (Updated 5/8/14, Pg.6)

Hi all! It's been a LONG time since my last trip report. (Sorry, sorry, life has been crazy!) I would have started this report earlier, but I own a Christmas caroling business, and as you can probably guess, the holiday season is a BIT busy for me....


Let's start with the basic introductions and trip info first, and then go from there....


Trip dates: Nov. 22-26, 2013
Resort: Kidani Village

Starring: Jen and Milos!




About us.....

Jen:
I've been going regularly to Disney World pretty much my whole life: ever since I was a little girl, on frequent childhood trips with my grandparents. I loved those early trips SO much - they shaped not only my childhood, but the person I was to become. I'm a dreamer, an eternal optimist, and quite the do-gooder. Even when life is hard, I try to find the positive things to focus on. I have Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music, which essentially means I work lots of random jobs to piece together my crazy life. (Besides being a professional musician/singer, I'm also a Disney specialist for a travel agency.) What else have I done for work? I've been a substitute teacher, a retail worker, a voice teacher, and over the course of the last year and a half, I've done lots of work as various princesses for children's birthday parties. (Hence the "Princess" part of our title!) I kind of like being a professional princess!
As to other aspects about me... well, I can sometimes be a bit of a drama queen, but hey, I work in theatre!

Milos: (pronunciation: MEE-lawsh)
Milos is my awesome boyfriend of almost two years. He's Croatian. Not an American with Croatian roots, but actually Croatian - from the actual country. (For a quick geography primer, Croatia is directly across the water from Italy, on the Adriatic Sea - a couple countries north of Greece.) He had never been to Disney World, despite having gone to college here - not only in the USA, but in FLORIDA! (I know, I didn't understand it either! ) So this was to be his very first trip, and I wanted to make it super amazing so that he too would fall in love with Disney World! (And I was SO excited to be experiencing my favorite place in the world with the love of my life!)


I know some of you may be wondering how we even got together, and it's quite the story. But I'll try and give the abbreviated version....

In the summer of 2011, I went on a river cruise with my parents and sister on the Danube River through Germany, Austria, and Hungary. Milos was working on our ship at the reception desk. We kind of hit it off and became Facebook friends, then regular Facebook pen pals, with more and more frequent correspondence.

I knew I was going to be living in Vienna (Austria) for two months in Feb/March of 2012, and after a couple months of back and forth messaging, I invited him to visit me during that time period. So in February of 2012, this super handsome guy knocked on my apartment door in Vienna. He stayed for a week, but before he left, we already had plans for me to go down to Croatia soon after, and for him to come to the States after his next cruise season was over.... and then for me to join him in Croatia in the summer for his vacation. (I even visited him in Switzerland when his ship was docked there, before going back to the USA that April.)

That first week together in Austria was quite honestly amazing, and things just kept getting better and better. (It's turned me into a firm believer in the kind of love you read about in fairy tales, or see in movies, or hear about in songs. It really does exist, and I'm lucky enough to have found it!)

We've been going back and forth over the ocean a lot (obviously), but I actually spend quite a bit of time in Europe now and am planning to move there permanently. (Just coming home three months of each year for the holiday caroling season.) Because of his job, we've had to spend some long stretches apart, but at least once I'm permanently in Europe, I can visit him in whichever city his ship happens to be located. We've done a few 3-months-apart stretches, and neither of us wants to be doing that anymore. It sucks. Hence me moving. But also because of his job, he has four months off during the year each winter, which means that when we're together, we get LOTS of time together, which is wonderful.

I don't think either of us could ever have imagined two years ago what was going to happen to us and how much our lives would change, but I've truly never been happier in my whole life.

Milos is fully fluent in English (with only a few vocab errors here and there; which are always fantastically awesome and hilarious!), and I've started the difficult road to learning Croatian. (OMG - it's SO HARD!)

Here are some more photos of us - first a pic of us with our summer tans from back in August in Milos home town in Croatia, and then one of us a couple weeks ago in NYC... looking not so tan...






What to expect from our trip?
*Me getting to see Milos experience all kinds of Disney firsts!
(I didn't tell him about what to expect on most of the rides - I just let it all be a surprise! Mwahahahahaaaa - evil laughter! )
*Copious amounts of wonderful yummy food!
*Hitting the bars for some adult beverages!
*More adult beverages!
*Broken down busses, visits to Urgent Care, MagicBands, experiencing the infamous end-of the-hall rooms at Kidani....we've got it all!



I hope you'll come along for the ride!

Last edited by JenSop; 05-08-2014 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:40 AM   #2
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Getting started...

PART ONE: Planning and Getting Started

Now, in the grand scheme of Disney trip planning, this trip was rather last minute. I booked it in September, which in DVC timelines is super last minute. (For the "non-Dis" readers, DVC is Disney Vacation Club, which is Disney's version of a time share.) Availability for the dates we were going were sparse, and we ended up with a savannah view studio room at Kidani Village. (I was hoping for a one-bedroom, but that wait list never came through.)

I love animals. Milos loves animals. Animal Kingdom is my home resort with DVC, and even though I wanted to be in the Jambo House building, I was perfectly content with our Kidani Village stay. (Except where our room was....but we'll get more into that later....)

When doing the planning, I suggested that we drive to save money. Milos was NOT so crazy about that, which I totally understand. I'd have to do the driving duty all to myself, as Milos doesn't have an international driver's license. He might have been okay just having his Croatian license, but we didn't want to push it. (Besides, last year during the same time of year, we drove to Chicago, and the 14 hour drive back was exhausting!) Flying it would be!


Now, this might sound kind of cheesy, and I think only people in long distance relationships can really understand, but as the trip approached, I was truly excited for the fact that we'd be going to the airport together, going through security together, hanging out at the terminal together, and BEING ON THE SAME PLANE TOGETHER!

You see, usually airports are where we reunite with each other, or where we say good bye. But for the first time in our relationship, we were going to be going to the airport and getting on the same plane! I was excited!

Milos was to get to the USA two days before our Disney Trip. And look what I found - the map I made for one of my blog entries a couple months ago. Yes, I'm really the kind of person who pulled up a google map and put hearts on both of our hometowns. (Then used the graphic publicly on one of my blog entries.)

(The pointy parts at the bottom of the hearts are the locations of where we are both from.)



***

Our Magic Bands arrived about a month before the trip. This trip wasn't to be my first experience with the Magic Bands. I went to Disney in September with one of the other travel agents at my agency during the Earmarked Conference. (Disney's convention for travel agents.) So I was already a bit familiar with how they worked and what to expect.



However, since they are still relatively new, and still in the "testing phase," I wasn't able to attach my ticket to my Band ahead of time. I got Milos' ticket the traditional way - I bought it through the travel agent portal of Disney's site, and was able to easily attach it to his Magic Band. But my ticket was a discounted travel agent ticket that I had to pick up at the parks. Because of that, I wasn't able to attach the ticket to my Magic Band. So I just scheduled us for rides on FastPass+ by using his ticket, with hopes that they'd be able to give me the same times once we got my ticket.....

Now for my readers coming to this update through my blog (who might not be up to date on all things Disney), MagicBands are Disney's new "all in one" ticket experience. You wear this water-proof band around your wrist (or attach it to your belt loop, or keep it in your purse, etc.) that is your ticket, your room key, your dining plan credits, and your FastPasses all in one. They even link your Magic Express to it, so that when you arrive at Orlando International Airport, you just scan the band, and on to the bus you go! It also acts as the card for your room charging privileges (you pick the PIN for security). It's truly an all-in-one experience.

As the trip drew closer, I got more and more excited. But honestly, I was just more excited for Milos to get here - way more than my Disney excitement. We had about three months apart before his arrival on November 20th, and my patience had truly expired as the date approached....

People here on the Dis are familiar with countdown calendars, so I of course had one of my own....



(I moved the little Milos head as each day went by. I must add though, that the Milos head idea was alllllllll Milos. I was just crossing off the calendar days, but he suggested that I have his picture on the current date and then we could watch his picture get closer to the "finish line" date. (I regularly took pics of our countdown and sent them to him as we got closer to seeing each other.) So that's how our little countdown calendar evolved. He might not want to admit it publicly, but he's just as silly as me, which is one of the reasons we get along so well. )

cont.....
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Old 12-26-2013, 10:52 AM   #3
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Following along!
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:02 AM   #4
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Following along!
Glad to have you along for the ride, wiigirl!
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:15 AM   #5
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I think your maps are adorable and want wait to hear how the trip goes!
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:19 AM   #6
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I think your maps are adorable and want wait to hear how the trip goes!
Welcome aboard stasijane! And thanks on the map! I love doing silly/dorky stuff like that!
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:27 AM   #7
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Great start! Excited to read about your trip!
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Old 12-26-2013, 11:01 AM   #8
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......cont.....

Once November 20th hit, I headed out to Newark, NJ to pick Milos up. It was SUCH an amazing day! We hadn't seen each other in person since August 18th. And even though we did lots of video chatting on our smart phones, it's just not good enough when you simply want to be together.

The next day was our "running around" day as we got ready for Disney. We were doing a carry-on only trip so that we wouldn't have to pay for luggage. I had heard that it would be really warm during our trip, so I packed lots of pretty sun dresses. (Might I just add that I am NOT used to going to Florida in November - I usually go in the summer...anyway...)

We were packed! We were ready to go! We drove to Philly that Friday morning and parked the car at Smart Park. (Which is where our family always parks our cars for Philly airport.) We went through security and got to the gate, eager to be escaping the cold Pennsylvania weather.


Up next:

Jet lag!
Adventures at Kidani Village!
Crab legs!
Illuminations!
Grand Marnier slushies!

Stay tuned!
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:16 AM   #9
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Yay I loved your other trip reports! So glad to see you're back!!
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Old 12-29-2013, 11:45 AM   #10
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Yay I loved your other trip reports! So glad to see you're back!!
Thanks a bunch, ChiCat! Glad to have you along!
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Old 12-29-2013, 04:51 PM   #11
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Yeah for the room being ready.
Looked like fun times at Epcot.
Cape May is a great place to eat.
Nice pics walking out of Epcot.
Sorry you had a medical issue but it seem to have been taken care of quickly and very nice they pick you up and return you.
AK is my favorite park for photos. So many opportunities.
EE is a blast.
Love the girl in EE pic holding onto the other lapbar. LOL
MMM, Sanaa is my favorite restaurant.
Canít wait for the next update
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:03 PM   #12
JenSop
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HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!




Quote:
Originally Posted by scottny View Post
Yeah for the room being ready.
Looked like fun times at Epcot.
Cape May is a great place to eat.
Nice pics walking out of Epcot.
Sorry you had a medical issue but it seem to have been taken care of quickly and very nice they pick you up and return you.
AK is my favorite park for photos. So many opportunities.
EE is a blast.
Love the girl in EE pic holding onto the other lapbar. LOL
MMM, Sanaa is my favorite restaurant.
Canít wait for the next update
Thanks Scott! Working on it now!
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Old 01-01-2014, 07:42 PM   #13
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Day two - dinner and drinking!

DAY TWO - DINNER AND DRINKING!


Dinner that night was to be at Sanaa - my FAVORITE restaurant at Disney! And fortunately, it's right in our resort, so all we had to do after getting ready was trek down the Hallway of Infinity and go down the lobby stairs to the restaurant.

The lobby at Kidani Village was beautifully decorated, by the way....




And they even had Christmas trees along the hallway downstairs where you wait to get into Sanaa...




A quick pic of us all decked out for our dinner and night out....






I simply love this restaurant for so many reasons. Next to Le Cellier, I think this is the Disney restaurant I've eaten at the most times. The decor of the place is just beautifully whimsical and detailed. When it's light outside, you can watch the exotic animals walk past you through the wall of picture windows as you dine. The service is always impeccable. The food is delicious, expertly prepared, and a little off the beaten path.

Here are a few quick pics taken on this trip, but if you click on my TR link from 2010 (in my Signature at the bottom of each post), you can see some more pics of Sanaa.







However, this was the restaurant I was most concerned about when it came to my picky man. But I knew steak was on the menu, and when steak is on any menu, there's always something for Milos to eat.

I started with a yummy mojito...







Now, if more than one person wants to partake of the bread service appetizer, get the one with ALL the dips. When I went with my fellow travel agent back in September, that's what we did. And for just a few extra bucks, it was TOTALLY worth it.

But since this time it was just me partaking of the dips, I stuck with three. I was impressed, as Milos even tried one, but it was too spicy for him. Although he did eat the Naan bread that came with it.

Let's pause a moment and talk about the flavors at Sanaa. The restaurant features a mix of Indian and African inspired flavors, so some things are spicy hot, but a lot aren't. Most dishes have different seasonings than what we might be traditionally used to. And that's what I love about it. I will also go on record as saying I LOVE hot spicy food. I'm talking the stuff that burns your mouth when you eat it and you break out in a sweat as a result. Mmmm..... Milos doesn't like spicy food, so we had to make sure that anything he got wasn't spicy.


Bread service:





For my entree, I went with shrimp (spicy) and short ribs. Milos thought about trying something different, but went with steak. I loved my entree. He liked his okay, but was not crazy about the seasonings they put on the steak. Perhaps if we go back, he can customize that a little better. I'm just glad he was a good sport and went somewhere knowing he might not like anything, but did it anyway because it's my favorite.




Then for dessert - CHAI CREAM! Okay, so they have this dessert that's part of the dessert trio they offer. It's not listed on the menu separately, but they will give you just the chai cream if you ask for it. My fave drink at Starbucks is a chai tea latte. Well, this dessert is like a chai tea latte in mousse/pudding form. It's heaven in a spoon. When you eat it, you are soaring with the angels.


....cont....
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Old 04-30-2014, 04:42 AM   #14
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Joining in! A fun read so far
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Old 04-30-2014, 06:12 AM   #15
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Joining in! A fun read so far
Thanks a bunch! Glad to have you on board!
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