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Old 10-22-2006, 09:59 PM   #1
TiggerAllie
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Boston
Posts: 1,493

Feeding the "Beast": End-of-trip review and summary

The Disney-obsessed: Me & DP--2 30 yr old girls celebrating 10 yrs!
Ok, well, we're sort of celebrating through all of our Disney trips this year. We have 3 planned in 6 months!

The back story:
Last year, we went to WDW in October (during hurricane Wilma) and just loved all the holiday festivities, along with Food & Wine.
This year, we had planned a trip in December to see all the Christmas decor (trip #1). Then, in May, the youth baseball team we help out with qualified for the USSSA World Series at WWoS in early August (trip #2). Here's where the trouble started.... Now, because we were going to Disney for 2 weeks, it made perfect sense to buy APs. Actually, *premium* APs, so we could get into the baseball games. And, we got a great deal on the BC!

Ok... now that we have the APs (good through 7/07!), when an extra week of vacation time comes up on October *and* airfare to Orlando is only $98 per person, where do you think we decide to go? To WDW of course! Who could pass up MNSSHP and Food & Wine?

AKL here we come!

Day 1 Saturday: A very long day (part 1)

We've never stayed at AKL before. We are working our way around the World's resorts. So far, we've been to ASMu, ASSp, CSR, and BC. WL and Poly are scheduled for Dec. Usually, we rent a car. But, since this was a "last minute" trip, we were trying to do it on a smaller budget.
So, we decided to explore the World of Magical Express and the Disney busses! Part of why I thought this would work is because I read lots of good reviews about the AKL bus service. The result? You'll have to read on to find out!

Our flight left the Detroit airport at 7 AM, which meant waking up at 4:30 AM. Ouch! In preparation for our Magical Express trip (and to accommodate the new TSA regulations) we packed a carry-on bag with our clothes for that day, evening, and even the next day, along with essential toiletries. Everything else went into the checked luggage with the bright yellow Magical Express tags. The airport was blissfully empty at 6 AM. We dropped off our checked luggage and breezed through security. I highly recommend being ready to present your Ziploc bag of 3 oz bottles as you enter the security area. It saves lots of time if you don't have to bother digging it out of your bags.

The flight was full, but we got on and left on time! Amazing! In August our flight was delayed because of the lack of a flight crew. Of course, I think the worst Disney delay we had was in February, when we were surprised by a snow storm as we were driving to the airport at 5 AM. I think we were on the plane for 7 hours before we landed in Orlando. Not this time! We touched down in Orlando 10 minutes early.

Enter Magical Express... we skipped luggage claim and made our way down to the ME check-in desk. Here we got our first taste of "the Disney way". If you have ever waited in line at any of the rental car counters in Orlando, you know those lines can last over an hour, with only one or two people working at the desks. Compare that to Disney's ME, where there were at least 12 people working and we waited in line maybe 5 minutes. We checked in and went off to wait in the AKL line. After maybe another 5 minutes, they called Pop, CSR, and AKL to board the bus. There were maybe 20 people on the bus. We were on our way to Disney! Hooray!!

The bus had a cute Disney promo to watch. I had hoped it would be updated for Year of a Million Dreams (we were only Day 7 at this point of YoMD), but they were still advertising Cinderellabration. Seems like they could have updated the DVD. It's not as if they didn't know YoMD was coming....

We stopped at Pop and let off about half of the folks on the bus. We went on to CSR and dropped off a few more. Then we were on our way to AKL-- only 3 parties left on the bus! One of whom was fellow DISer Oh_the_anticipation! We arrived at AKL less that 1 hour after we deplaned. I was very impressed with ME thus far. Up until now, all my worries were for nothing.

I can never sleep well the night before a flight, because I am too nervous that we’ll oversleep (I hate getting up in the morning), we’ll have trouble with traffic, the airport will be crowded, the flight will be delayed, etc. This trip, I had the added worry of Magical Express. So far, no troubles.

Now, 6 hours after waking up, we are standing in line waiting to check in at Animal Kingdom Lodge. It’s our first stay at AKL. When we first walked into the lobby, we were blinded by the sun coming in the 4-story window at the back of the lobby that looks out over the savannah. The sun was so bright it reflected off of the dark, polished wood floor like a mirror. So, with squinty eyes from the lighting and the early morning, we had our fingers crossed that our room might be ready early so we could rest a bit.

I was very excited about staying at AKL with all the animals. I had done lots of research about all the different room areas, even memorizing the location of the “worst AKL room ever” 2345. I had requested Zebra trail, Arusha savannah. Well, the room they assigned us (4382) was neither of these. In fact, it was the exact opposite, as it was on the Kudu trail, Sunset savannah. Ok—we were tired and even though I was concerned about the room location, I didn’t want to end up not having a room available for many hours. This was my first mistake. If you aren’t happy with the room location, say something about it right away.

So, we get our keys and start the long trek down the Kudu trail all the way to the last building and go in our room. I go straight to the window to check our view. Ack! People pen! And a whole bunch of chain-link fencing. And a good chunk of the view is obscured by the staircase directly adjacent to our balcony. I do see some giraffe who walk by, and an ostrich comes up to the chain link fence and starts chewing and rattling the chain that keeps the fencing closed. The animals appear to have a path they follow as the circle into the enclosure and back out again. In fact, it seemed to be the spot the ostriches came to for a bathroom stop, as we saw more than one bird shower the ground with a splatter of poo. A small group of pigs root around looking for food. So, there are animals, but the view is quite ugly. My second mistake was not to say something about the room at this point. However, we were tired and hungry. We changed into some Florida-appropriate clothing (it was almost 90 degrees!) and headed out to Animal Kingdom.
__________________
Upcoming Trips: (DCL, etc.) 8/14 Dream DVCM & VWL, VGF, 9/14 Wonder Double-Dip & VGF, 1/15 Fantasy EC; Tentative Trips: (WDW) 2/15 ? PHM, 3/15 VGF; (DCL) 6/15 Magic Europe,
Past Trips: (WDW) 12/13 BLT MVMCP, 10/13 SSR MNSSHP F&W, 5/13 AKL, 3/13 VWL F&G, 2/13 BCV PHM, 9/12 BWV TOTTM MNNSHP F&W, 3/12 SSR F&G, 2/12 BCV PHM, 10/11 CSR MNSSHP F&W, 3/11 AKVJ F&G, 10/10 Poly F&W MNSSHP, 12/09 SSR NYE, 10/09 VWL/WL F&W MNSSHP (PreTrip Report), 3/09 SSR, 10/08 SSR MNSSHP F&W, 6/08 SSR SWW, 11/07 VWL F&W MNSSHP, 6/07 SSR SWW, 12/06 WL/Poly MVMCP, 10/06 AKL MNSSHP, 8/06 BC USSSA-WS, 10/05 CSR MNSSHP Wilma, 2/05 ASSp, 6/03 offsite, 8/02 ASMu; (DL) 8/13 DGC DDD!, 8/12 DGC DLHM, 5/05 DLH, 6/02 offsite; (DCL, etc.) 8/13 Dream 4day-3day B2B & BLT, 1/13 Fantasy WC DFTW & BWV/BLT, 8/12 Wonder AK, 5/12 Dream 3day & BLT, 1/12 Wonder MR, 8/11 Dream Double-Dip & VBR, 1/11 Magic WC & CR; (DLP) 5/08 offsite
Childhood trips: (Me) 12/95 offsite, 5/87 offsite, 4/80 DL offsite; (DP) 7/90 GF, 4/88 CR, 11/80 offsite

Last edited by TiggerAllie; 01-01-2007 at 04:19 PM.
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