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Old 02-07-2013, 02:43 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by MomToPrincePhillip View Post
Oh man I'm so looking forward to our cruise, but I'm really dreading that last day...
Like you we've booked a night at Animal Kingdom Lodge and I hope it softens the blow at bit. I'm looking forward to your next update!
We ended up feeling a little disenchanted with the experience actually. Don't let that discourage you as I'm sure we are in the minority here, but we kinda just wished we went home straight away. We felt like we had great value for money on the cruise but didn't feel as strongly about the AKL stay.

I hope your family has a blast!
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:06 PM   #107
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Boma has been my favorite Disney restaurant for a few years now. I love the darkness of the resort and booked an overnight stay there after a past cruise. It was very disappointing. Someone had an 'accident' in the hallway (looked like someone hurled) and we kept seeing it coming and going. Finally I called about it. It was eventually gone when we got up the next day. The CMs here aren't very friendly. The the staff could definitely use more training. We didn't like how spread out it was either. To go anywhere was a hike and my mother actually got lost in the maze of hallways. The resort has an awesome theme but not sure we'll stay here again.... I still Boma though!!
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Old 02-07-2013, 06:56 PM   #108
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The toiletries at AKL appear different (that's what I think I see in the mirror picture). Are they still H20?
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Old 02-07-2013, 07:01 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by PaDisneyCouple View Post
The toiletries at AKL appear different (that's what I think I see in the mirror picture). Are they still H20?
They still have H2O branding on them.
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:24 PM   #110
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This is a great trip report. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 02-10-2013, 08:05 AM   #111
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The Day After... Part 3

Ready to get in the pool we headed down the dark hallway, up the stairs, across the lobby, down the stairs, and outside to the pool. We did a lap to survey the area. It was coolish out so the hot tubs were packed, I quickly realized one thing that I was going to miss from the adult area. No offense to anyone with kids but I hate being in a hot tub with kids.

We swam for a bit and was able to find an empty hot tub, but there was a lot of leaves and debris at the bottom of it that made it feel like we were in a swamp so we got a little grossed out.

After drying off we decided to walk over to Kidani village as we had never been over there before. It was nice, kind of like a small Jambo house. We decided to try out their pool, it's a little smaller but has a much bigger slide. The slide was fun. You can get some decent speed going on it.

We wandered back to Jambo house, got ourselves cleaned up and just relaxed for a bit.

It was finally time for dinner. We have been looking forward to trying dinner at Boma for several years. We had breakfast there probably 3 or 4 years ago and thought it was tremendous. We were fully aware of how expensive it was going in. It was mercifully a pretty quiet night in Boma, I've heard that it can get a little crazy, but there was plenty of empty tables this night.

We wasted no time trying a little bit of everything. I was excited to see they had ribs and some kind of crusted beef at the carving station. The ribs were pretty tough and went uneaten. I would have thought that they would be fall of the bone tender. The beef similarly had a nice flavor on the outside but was pretty tough and chewy. I hate wasting food but neither was worth the trouble. There was a lot of great side dishes though. Our favorite thing we had the whole night was peanut rice. It reminded us a lot of a dish we get at our favorite thai restaurant back home.

The withdrawals from the ship were starting to set in as well... as we sat there eating our food just the two of us we were feeling pretty lonely. We had gotten used to eating with our table mates and our serving team who would talk to us a lot. Now it was just the two of us and a server who pretty much only came by when we weren't at the table to clear our plates and drop off new drinks.

We did several trips to the buffet but it was finally time to leave. We paid our check, close to $90 with tip for two people and no extra drinks... With the main dishes being so underwelming this felt like a huge rip off. There were plenty of good flavors but the "Big Ticket" items weren't very good. We left pretty disappointed, $90 at Jiko would have been money much better spent.

We had seen in our huge packet that they were doing some night vision goggle viewing near the pool area that night so we went to check it out. It was pretty neat but there was only 1 Ankole cattle asleep in view, and it was pretty far away. But hey you can't control animals...we had fun with the glasses anyway.

I will say that as unfriendly as most of the staff was the field guide staff scattered around the viewing areas were great and very friendly.

We grabbed my tripod and took a few more pictures of the lobby.

There was a camp fire going on just outside the lobby that Jenna kept herself entertained with while I snapped some pictures. One other thing we quickly missed about the boat bugs on the boat.
It was a crazy day so we headed back to our room.

At this point we started to notice some other short comings with our room.

The tv didn't work so well and the image quality wasn't so hot. Expensive hotels should have HD...that's just lazy. It was also one of those tv's where it takes a solid 3 seconds to change channels, anyone remember how easy it used to be to channel surf before digital cable? Also we couldn't get our shower turned on and had to get maintenance to come. It got fixed relatively quickly.

Also just a quick word on the was like a cheap motel. I was completely amazed at the poor quality of the bedding. It was completely uncomfortable.

Also I'm not really sure what the deal with their AC is but despite all my best efforts I could not get the room to stay cool. It kept switching to auto. We sweated all night, even with the ceiling fan on.

Maybe I expect too much, but other than the view it felt like we were in a Quality inn.

Next...Downtown Disney

Last edited by MrRay; 02-10-2013 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:40 AM   #112
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I couldn't agree more We had stayed at the Riverside a few years back and thats a moderate resort and we felt like everything was light years better. I really could have lived with everything but climbing into bed and the feel of those cheapo $.99 store sheets was the real kick in the pants. We just really wanted to love this resort so much
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Old 02-13-2013, 12:47 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by MrRay
By now we are drenched, and a little beat up. The ride was kind of hard in the last row. We just wanted to relax.

The Island is lovely, there isn't much there outside of maybe 8 souvenir stands, who were all pretty pushy but easy to avoid,a small open air buffet and a couple bars. They told us that the day before there was about 800 tourists on the island. The day we were there the total was about 150, most of which was in another tour that was leaving a couple hours before us. So once they had left it was only our group, 16 people. It was like having a deserted island to yourself.

We were shown where the buffet was and the bars were, all were open to us and included. The food looked...not so good... we had some chips, guacamole, and salsa and that was about it. We didn't even feel like drinking.

We walked around for a while and dipped into the ocean briefly but the weather was not totally in our favor this day. There was patches of large clouds and A LOT of wind. We got pelted with sand most of the day. We wandered around some more...

Apologies for the photo quality, I only brought my underwater point and shoot that started to crap out pretty early on in the trip.

Ultimately we ended up pulling a couple of chairs far down the beach, away from all 14 other people, and just laid there for a few hours. It was pretty wonderful.

Before our trip we had ordered something that we had first heard about on the boards... It's called a Kyss bag. We used it a few times on the cruise and left us feeling a lot more comfortable when we walked away from our stuff.

Some Local Wildlife...

Before long it was time to head back. We opted for the front row of the boat this time. It was much better than the ride out. We had a good time. We traded with a few kids who had the time of their lives back there. It's worth noting that the 4 of us who sat in the last row on the way out were all sitting in the front row on the way back.

They dropped us off at the pier and it was time to grab some real food as we were starving.

It's hard to say whether I would recommend this excursion. You definitely have to be willing to put up with a very rocky boat ride. For what it's worth the ride definitely affected us for the first hour or so we were on the island. The front row of the boat was a lot better if you're worried.

The island and surrounding water is absolutely beautiful no question about it. The food....pretty bad.
If you get a good hot day there is plenty to do in the water, bouncy things and what not.

Also it's a little weird because a lot of different people are expecting tips. It's not a quick "Tip your guide if they did a good job". The boat guys want a tip, the person in charge of the island wants a tip, the bartenders, the bathroom guy, and there was even a tip box next to the buffet.

Great idea on kyss bag, where did you get it? Awesome job!!!!!
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Old 02-13-2013, 01:10 PM   #114
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Old 02-16-2013, 06:27 PM   #115

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Excellent report and pictures, thanks so much for posting them all!!
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:02 PM   #116
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Last Day

We had a reservation for Boma for breakfast also, but after the disappointment from the night before we decided to save our money and canceled it shortly after waking up. We had a simple breakfast at Mara and relaxed next to the pool for a little bit.

Our flight wasn't until 7:55 p.m., we had a Magical Express bus time of 5:05. So after we had packed all of our things up we dropped our bags off at the airline check-in desk. I strongly recommend getting a small baggage scale, ours is digital and not much bigger than a marker. We had to do a little rearranging but were able to get both of our bags right at 49lbs. It took a lot of stress out of traveling knowing that my bag was the right weight before getting to the desk.
I also absolutely love checking your bags at the desk and not having to deal with them again until you get home, excellent service. The rest of our carry-ons we left with bell services and set out for Downtown Disney.

It was marathon day so we were expecting transportation to take a little longer than usual. All that being said it took almost an hour to get to Downtown Disney. We wandered through some shops, got some coffee, and wandered some more. The weather was nice and we tried to soak in the last of the warmth before returning home.

After a while we were still a little grumpy. So far our whole stay in WDW felt more like we were just waiting around killing time before going home and not having an experience.

I was thinking maybe we just needed some food and a beer to relax a little bit. We grabbed our Downtown Disney staple, Fish and Chips from Cooke's of Dublin.

This is where things unfortunately went off the rails.

I went up to the "Hole in the Wall Bar" to grab us a couple of beers. I attempted to pay with my Rewards Card, as I have for almost everything on this trip thus far. The Bartender looked at me exasperated and said that he would have to go inside to use a different register if I wanted to pay with that and I would have to wait until he served everyone behind me in line. I was completely shocked by this response. I had noticed that for whatever reason they have had to use a different machine at each register to charge the rewards card, I feel like it used to be just like using a credit card, it certainly was on the ship.

I hate making a stink and just pulled out a credit card to use, but I really wish I had made a bigger deal about it, or just refused the beers that he already poured and left. I've been feeling like the service in the parks has been declining in recent years and this just drove that point home.

The food was good though. We tried to make the most of it.

We spent close to another hour taking the bus back to AKL, had a quick drink at the bar and went outside to wait for the bus. Our 5:05 bus would have already been cutting it sort of close...when it finally showed up at 5:35 we were starting to freak out. At one point one of the bell services people came out and said "are you people still waiting for a bus"? Then it looked like something was finally about to get done when a bus showed up. No one apologized for being a half hour late, but it probably seemed like a bigger deal to us because we were already grumpy and now very anxious.

Pushing through the security line and trying to grab some food for dinner at the airport very quickly we sat at the gate to pound our food about 5 minutes before we were supposed to board....then the plane got delayed 3 hours. But hey that stuff happens. It was just the final nail in the coffin.

The lesson we learned for next time...just go home after the cruise.

Next-Some final thoughts.
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Old 02-17-2013, 02:56 PM   #117
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what a bummer to a great cruise.

March 2001(just us) October 2008 (as a family of 4) December 2011 Dream/WDW October 2013 Fantasy Cruise

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Old 02-18-2013, 01:57 AM   #118
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Firstly, thanks for a really interesting trip report.

Secondly, what a shame your vacation didn't end on the best note. That's the problem with experiencing something truly wonderful - everything else pales in comparison. My DH and I felt similar after coming off a Med cruise. We had a day in Venice afterwards and our surroundings suddenly felt hurried, expensive, unfriendly and unclean. As a consequence we didn't really like Venice and have no desire to go back. I have to wonder though, if we'd gone to Venice at a different time, whether we would have felt the same way. I think we were in a safe happy bubble while we were on that cruise, and I think it took us a few days to adjust to the fact that our bubble had burst.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:18 AM   #119
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Thanks for a great report! My family and I are going on our first cruise May 25 on the Fantasy so this was super helpful! Do you remember what time you were able to get off the boat in Costa Maya? Were you in around the time the itinerary stated? The reason I'm asking is because our itinerary states that we will be there from 1-4:30. We are hoping to spend time at Maya Chan beach as I have read REALLY good things about it, but it's not exactly a value if we can only be there a few hours. The owner of the beach resort emailed me that DCL usually are there by 10:30, but I don't know if that's something I should count on.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:12 AM   #120
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Originally Posted by sca346 View Post
Thanks for a great report! My family and I are going on our first cruise May 25 on the Fantasy so this was super helpful! Do you remember what time you were able to get off the boat in Costa Maya? Were you in around the time the itinerary stated? The reason I'm asking is because our itinerary states that we will be there from 1-4:30. We are hoping to spend time at Maya Chan beach as I have read REALLY good things about it, but it's not exactly a value if we can only be there a few hours. The owner of the beach resort emailed me that DCL usually are there by 10:30, but I don't know if that's something I should count on.
I think it varies. We just look at our navigator and it said our all ashore time was 12:45. I honestly can't remember when we got in but it was somewhere in that neighborhood, definitely not 10:30.
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