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Old 03-28-2013, 08:56 PM   #346
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That. Photo. Is. Awesome.
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Old 03-29-2013, 08:50 PM   #347
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Wow!! Your villa looks amazing. What a beautiful resort!

Your AK day looks like a lot of fun. Good for you for conquering Everest! That picture... OMG. Hahaha Awesome

Flame tree! Yum! Mike is sitting next to me and while I was looking at the pictures, he glanced over and was like, "Oh is that the place at Animal Kingdom?" He still remembers how delicious it was!
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Old 03-30-2013, 06:31 AM   #348
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AKL! Oh be still my beating heart! My dream resort!
Good for you, conquering Everest!! I love that ride!
Oh and FotLK! Probably my favourite show in all of Disney.
I can't believe you got to meet Dug! How cool!
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:57 PM   #349
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I'm just catching up after way too long away from the boards due to too much work and school work.... I love all your pics and info, but I am especially excited about the AKV shots! That is my home resort, but I haven't yet stayed there as a member... The pics are amazing and I can't wait to finally get there. And I loved your engagement session! You cute lovebirds!
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:24 AM   #350
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So proud of you!!!

Great job on Everest! I love the ride photo. I have a similar one of Nate from the log flume at Storyland. Too precious not to purchase!

So will you ride again? This trip, even? Or, too soon?

Some great firsts today, in addition to EE!

AKV

FoLK

Flame Tree- For me, it is not "What did you eat", but "Where did you eat?" The lovely seating area overlooking EE? Or had you had enough at that point?

Lion King is such an incredible show. Love the colors and the songs. The amazing acrobatics. Such talented performers.

I hope I get to see the show again, before our fantasty girls trip. I'm pretty sure it won't make the cut in July. We have very limited time at the World, and only a half-day at AK, so it looks like- See ya another time, Simba.

Last edited by natebenma; 04-01-2013 at 07:11 AM.
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Old 04-03-2013, 06:48 PM   #351
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Just spent the last few hours catching up on your trip report. It is really making me want to take up photography. The photos Franklin takes are amazing! Can't wait for the next installment!
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:12 PM   #352
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DisneyFanDC View Post
That. Photo. Is. Awesome.
Yes, it is. And it's only because the people on this TR are friends that I would even entertain the idea of posting the photo publicly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrincessAmongPrinces View Post
Wow!! Your villa looks amazing. What a beautiful resort!

Your AK day looks like a lot of fun. Good for you for conquering Everest! That picture... OMG. Hahaha Awesome

Flame tree! Yum! Mike is sitting next to me and while I was looking at the pictures, he glanced over and was like, "Oh is that the place at Animal Kingdom?" He still remembers how delicious it was!

See! There are things Mike liked about Disney, you just have to remind him gently.

The villa was amazing. Lots of people like to rag on AKL for being "too dark." But I thought it was lovely!


Quote:
Originally Posted by teekathepony View Post
AKL! Oh be still my beating heart! My dream resort!
Good for you, conquering Everest!! I love that ride!
Oh and FotLK! Probably my favourite show in all of Disney.
I can't believe you got to meet Dug! How cool!

You NEED to plan a trip to AKL, it was even better than advertised. I've never gone to Disney and felt like I was in a completely different place like I did at AKL. Rent points and stay in a Jambo House studio, it's a much cheaper way to stay there.

We were very excited to meet Dug and Russel, Up is clearly our favorite Disney movie.


Quote:
Originally Posted by happenin2you View Post
I'm just catching up after way too long away from the boards due to too much work and school work.... I love all your pics and info, but I am especially excited about the AKV shots! That is my home resort, but I haven't yet stayed there as a member... The pics are amazing and I can't wait to finally get there. And I loved your engagement session! You cute lovebirds!

I know the feeling of too much work. Between the NCAA tournament and the start of the baseball season, I kinda felt like I was living at the office. But I'm glad we're both back to having time for the Dis!

I can't wait for you to have your first trip "home" to AKV, it's an incredible resort. Lots to see and do. We didn't even mind the buses!


Quote:
Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
So proud of you!!!

Great job on Everest! I love the ride photo. I have a similar one of Nate from the log flume at Storyland. Too precious not to purchase!

So will you ride again? This trip, even? Or, too soon?

I rode again on the January trip! I don't think we'll get to AK during the May trip, not enough days (we've got a day over at IOA planned).


Quote:
Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
Some great firsts today, in addition to EE!

AKV

FoLK

Flame Tree- For me, it is not "What did you eat", but "Where did you eat?" The lovely seating area overlooking EE? Or had you had enough at that point?

Lots of firsts and they were all great! We actually sat on the "upper deck" of FTBBQ. Overlooking the path to the Up meet and greet. It was quieter up there, the tables overlooking the water were pretty full.


Quote:
Originally Posted by natebenma View Post
Lion King is such an incredible show. Love the colors and the songs. The amazing acrobatics. Such talented performers.

I hope I get to see the show again, before our fantasty girls trip. I'm pretty sure it won't make the cut in July. We have very limited time at the World, and only a half-day at AK, so it looks like- See ya another time, Simba.

FotLK really was as good as advertised. The colors and music were simply breathtaking. You never know about July, it could be soooooo hot that you need an air-conditioned break spot to take a break.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FeFeMJ View Post
Just spent the last few hours catching up on your trip report. It is really making me want to take up photography. The photos Franklin takes are amazing! Can't wait for the next installment!

Thanks! I wish I could take pictures that weren't fuzzy, I just don't have that talent. Luckily I have Franklin to work his magic.


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'86, '90, '94, '98, '09, '10 -- Off site, 10/2011 -- CR, 3/2012 -- Windsor Hills, 10/2012 -- BCV/AKV-Jambo, 01/2013 -- BWV, 5/2013 -- BLT, 10/2013 -- YC CL, 5/2014 -- BWV, 08/2014 -- VGF/BLT, 12/2014 -- BWV, 4/2015 -- BLT

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Old 04-08-2013, 06:11 AM   #353
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Missyrose View Post

[FONT="Georgia"][SIZE="4"][COLOR="DarkOrchid"]
You NEED to plan a trip to AKL, it was even better than advertised. I've never gone to Disney and felt like I was in a completely different place like I did at AKL. Rent points and stay in a Jambo House studio, it's a much cheaper way to stay there.
I don't want to give away too much before starting my PTR... but let's just say "Way ahead of you"
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Old 04-08-2013, 06:45 PM   #354
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Originally Posted by teekathepony View Post
I don't want to give away too much before starting my PTR... but let's just say "Way ahead of you"
YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously, even this hint of news is enough to make me start dancing for you.
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'86, '90, '94, '98, '09, '10 -- Off site, 10/2011 -- CR, 3/2012 -- Windsor Hills, 10/2012 -- BCV/AKV-Jambo, 01/2013 -- BWV, 5/2013 -- BLT, 10/2013 -- YC CL, 5/2014 -- BWV, 08/2014 -- VGF/BLT, 12/2014 -- BWV, 4/2015 -- BLT

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Old 04-15-2013, 08:25 PM   #355
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Animals, Food & Shopping, Oh My! Part 1

We last left off moving into our amazing savannah view villa at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We didn’t have much time to just hang in the villa though. We had some very big plans for the evening. We were scheduled to do the Wanyama Safari (also known as the sunset safari).

It’s a really cool experience that is open to anyone staying at AKL. The safari is limited to about 10 people and they take you out in a safari truck into all five savannahs at Jambo House and Kidani Village. One of the animal caretakers acts as the guide and he explains about each animal that lives at the lodge: how they came to be there, what their care is like, etc. And then after the safari, the group gets to enjoy a family-style dinner at Jiko.

The group gathered at Jiko before the safari for a quick snack.



Then it was time to head out to the truck, they had a Photopass photographer to take everyone’s picture before we boarded.



Christopher was our safari guide.



He was wooed by Disney to come to Animal Kingdom park about 10 years ago from the Central Park Zoo in New York City. After three years working at the park, he came to the lodge to have the opportunity to work with a larger variety of animals on a daily basis. He said the biggest difference between working in New York and working for Disney was the abundance of resources to care for the animals. There’s no scrimping on Disney’s watch! As the safari got underway, he told us there are 237 animals who live at the lodge and there are 36 species represented there.

Immediately after taking off, we were hit with how special this experience really was. When you do the safari at the park, there are all these built-in barriers (that many guests don’t even realize are there) to keep the animals a good distance from the safari trucks. On this safari, however, we were lucky enough to get up close and personal with many of the animals.







We began on the Arusha savannah, the main savannah at Jambo House. There was a pack of white-bearded wildebeests chillin’ near the lodge.





Being out in the savannah gave us some really cool views of AKL.



These are the East African Crowned Cranes.



The pink-backed pelicans like to sit atop the rocks and look like the wise old men of the savannah.



We next encountered a pack of ostriches.





The pack included Mary, an ostrich who lost an eye after contracting pink eye. Because she can’t see very well, they didn’t want her causing traffic jams for the safari vehicles at the park, so they retired her to the lodge.



Everyone was very excited about zebras coming to the park, but they’ve been at the lodge forever. The zebras were some of the first animals brought to the lodge.







They’ve created a whole ecosystem there. There are some animals that like to eat long grasses, then the zebras like to eat the shorter grass that’s left.



There aren’t enough trees to feed all the giraffes on the savannah, so the caretakers have feeding troughs built in to the trees so only the giraffes can reach them.







I was obsessed with watching the giraffes, they were just so beautiful!



Next we encountered some Ankole Cattle. Their horns are amazingly huge.





FYI, those are Impalas grazing near the lodge.
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'86, '90, '94, '98, '09, '10 -- Off site, 10/2011 -- CR, 3/2012 -- Windsor Hills, 10/2012 -- BCV/AKV-Jambo, 01/2013 -- BWV, 5/2013 -- BLT, 10/2013 -- YC CL, 5/2014 -- BWV, 08/2014 -- VGF/BLT, 12/2014 -- BWV, 4/2015 -- BLT

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Old 04-15-2013, 08:25 PM   #356
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Animals, Food & Shopping, Oh My! Part 2

To bring the different animals in for the evening for food or medication or whatever, they have conditioned the different types of animals to respond to different sounds. It was really funny when they rang the warthog dinner bell and at first you couldn’t see anything happening, but then all of these red warthogs are racing toward us really low to the ground. One of the younger girls in our group said, “They look like Pumba!”



Meet Mowgli, he is a waterbuck and the youngest animal out on the savannah at the lodge, he was just a couple of months old at this point.





The Thompson Gazelles moved just as beautifully as you would have expected. And Christopher said they were, by far, the fastest animals at the lodge.

It was fun to see the people on their balconies or viewing areas waving to us out on the savannah.







Meet Wishbone.



He’s the zebra who looks like he has a white wishbone stamped on his leg. He’s 24 years old and one of the oldest animals on the savannah.



The savannahs felt like they went on forever. Actually you can kind of see the pens they have at the back of the savannahs, they use them for, ahem, breeding.





This is Georgia, one of the original animals at the lodge.



This is Shasta, a 17-year-old antelope.



The males have ridged horns, but the ridges stop developing once they are fixed. So you can see that on the part of the horn closest to his head, there are no more ridges.

And these are Elands, they’re the largest antelopes on the savannahs.



It was very cool to see the different types of animals living together and grazing alongside each other. Nothing like a zoo, where different species are kept separately.



Here are those pens I was talking about before, it was vulture breeding season. So those animals were kept in there.



They also have barns on property to keep animals that need specific feedings or extra care.



I jokingly said these made it look a little too much like Jurassic Park.

One of the animals that lived in the barn for a prolonged period of time was Marley, a 4-year-old giraffe.



She was the biggest medical case at the lodge. They had spent a year treating her skin condition and Christopher said it actually looked much better than it did when they had started.

Jeffrey acted as the greeter, he was the last animal we saw on the safari. Bye Jeffrey!



We made it back to the lodge...



... but our adventures weren’t over yet. There was still dinner to be had! I was so excited to try Jiko, it had been at the top of my signature must-try list for years.





The really cool thing about eating at Jiko as part of the safari, we got to try almost everything on the menu! Why make choices when you don’t have to?
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:26 PM   #357
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Animals, Food & Shopping, Oh My! Part 3

They first brought out a signature cocktail called the Sunriser: Parrot Bay Rum, Banana Liqueur Blended with Orange, Pineapple and Cranberry juices.



Um, yum!

Chef John came out to introduce the bread service.



There were four dips and Pappadam, Poppy Seed Lavash and Naan to dip in them.



The olive dip (green) was so good, I could have licked the bowl. You know, if there weren’t nine other people sitting at the table.

For appetizers, we had...



Crispy beef “Bobotie” roll with cucumber raita, green mango atjar and honey-roasted groundnuts, those are on the left. On the right were the Inguday tibs in brik with mushrooms, spinach and cheese in crispy Tunisian filo with apples and curry vinaigrette.

They also brought out the African-spiced, fire-roasted chicken with four cheese flatbread with bacon, arugula, peppadews and zough.



And yes, everything was as good as it sounded. They also brought out the first glass of wine for the wine pairing (a South African Chenin Blanc).



Then came the entrees. First was the oak-grilled filet mignon in red wine sauce with ancient grain pilaf.



There was also Sikhumbuzo’s peri peri chicken with crushed potatoes, french beans, mango sambal and onion jus.



I loved these two. And I was surprised when I actually liked the chicken a bit better than the filet.

There also was maize-crusted Lake Victoria perch in a tomato-butter sauce. I’m not a fish fan, so I didn’t have any. But Franklin said the flavors on this dish were incredible.



They had also brought out an African cabernet sauvignon with the entrees. And just when you thought that you couldn’t possibly eat another bite, they brought out dessert trios for each of us.



On the left was a Vanilla rooibos-tanzarian chocolate cake and honey crunch topping (yes, it was a tea-infused dessert, I was in heaven). In the middle was a Madagascar vanilla cheesecake with strawberry-rhubarb compote and chocolate graham crust. On the right was Franklin’s favorite, the lime-scented creme brulee with key lime-mango chutney.

All of them were delicious, but after all the food that came before it, it was tough to finish dessert. They also served us a really sweet dessert wine (a chenin blanc).

As they cleared our plates, they dropped a gift in front of each one of us.



In each bag there was:

A commemorative menu

A set of recipes

A safari pin

And a vial of African spices



The dinner lasted two hours, and many of us stayed beyond that because we were having so much fun chatting and getting to know the others in the group. Originally, Franklin and I had planned to go swimming that evening. But after such a HUGE meal, neither one of us felt like putting on bathing suits. So we headed into another direction: Downtown Disney.



We stopped at Pin Traders so I could get pin lanyards for my friend Kelley and her two boys (they’re going back to Disney in December and I’m soooooo excited for them!).





Then it was on to TrenD.





Can I have a girlie room in my house in which I have a billion colorful chandeliers?

Then it was onto Team Mickey...



... where I got a USC shirt with Mickey on it!

Then we made mandatory DTD stops at World of Disney...





... and Once Upon a Toy, where we bought our nephew Tanner waaaaaaay too much stuff.



After we’d had our fill of shopping, we wandered back to the buses, stopping to notice all the Disney details along the way.





After such a busy day, I’m pretty sure we were both asleep before our heads hit the pillows. But that’s a good thing, because we have a very full day coming up. It starts with a little DHS, then maybe some MK. A good Disney mix of a day.
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'86, '90, '94, '98, '09, '10 -- Off site, 10/2011 -- CR, 3/2012 -- Windsor Hills, 10/2012 -- BCV/AKV-Jambo, 01/2013 -- BWV, 5/2013 -- BLT, 10/2013 -- YC CL, 5/2014 -- BWV, 08/2014 -- VGF/BLT, 12/2014 -- BWV, 4/2015 -- BLT

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Old 04-15-2013, 09:15 PM   #359
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That safari looks beyond incredible. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-15-2013, 10:34 PM   #360
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Wow! That safari sounds great. What a cool way to get up close with the animals at AKL.

Dinner sounds amazing! I'm not sure if I'm adventurous enough to try Jiko though. It stays on the list for when I'm feeling brave.

Gorgeous DTD photos!
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