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Old 05-26-2014, 09:11 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 95

5/18 - 5/23 Disney Trip

This is my review of our 5/18/14 – 5/23/14 Disney Trip. It was just my daughter and I and we rented points from a wonderful DVC owner and we added on the Disney Dining Plan. Because we didn’t reserve our rooms way in advance, we had to resort hop. 2 nights at Saratoga Springs, 2 nights at Boardwalk Villas, and then our last night at Animal Kingdoms Jambo House. The first 2 moves were OK, but by the time we moved to AK, I was over it. Or, it may just have been the fact that I was tired from the previous 4 days of park going. I was exhausted. We had our car so we drove to all the parks and resorts and never used Disney transportation. We saved a LOT of time that way. The parks were not that crowded, I've been when they were! Weather was good, no rain. Last part of week, it really got hot.

So, here we go with each resort’s review, along with a few dining reviews as well:

Saratoga Springs Studio 5/18 and 5/19

We stayed in a Studio in The Grandstand section. I liked that the parking for each section was close to the buildings and we always had a fairly close spot. I had requested a room close to the lobby so our room was quite a ways from the elevator and almost at the very end of the building. I should’ve requested a room closer to the elevator but it wasn’t a deal breaker. I really didn’t realize until our last day there that we could’ve easily walked to The Artist’s Palette if we had taken the stairs that were close to our room. We drove every time and parked in the 30-minute parking area. Oh well…
The room was alright. The “dressing area” with the sink was a little cramped. There really was only room for one person at a time. The shower didn’t have as much water pressure as I’d like. I had to iron a skirt one night for our dinner reservation at Narcoossee’s. I had to place the ironing board near the front door and plugged the iron into the outlet at the microwave counter area. That kept it out of the way. Oh, one thing about the little fridge in the room – the freezer section really doesn’t freeze. I had gotten some ice cream and placed it in there but it was soggy the next day.
Since I am a smoker (don’t judge, please), I was pleased to find the DSA was close to the parking lot and elevator. There may have been another one at the end of the building, closer to where our room was but this one was ok and I met some nice fellow smokers there. The only bad thing was that I got bit on the ankles by mosquitoes the first night. I was surprised that the property had not sprayed or treated the area better. I wore long pants and socks and shoes the next night but I think I still maybe 1 bite even then. One thing I noticed was that non-smokers seem to act as if they don’t even see us. They don’t look at you, don’t smile, don’t say hello, nothing. I started purposely speaking to everyone that walked by to shake them out of it. LOL
The Artist’s Palette was just OK. We ate there as soon as we checked in and settled in to our room because we were hungry. I had the Lobster Club and my daughter had the Turkey Club. Neither were spectacular to me. Resort Mug was always filled with the Gold Peak White Tea with Citrus! We both loved this stuff!
The next day we had lunch at Wolfgang’s Express in Downtown Disney and this is the best QS experience in my opinion. I had the oven-roasted salmon and it was so good that I ordered it again on another day there! The cheesecake was wonderful! The crème brulee was good but the cheesecake is better in my opinion.
Narcoossee’s was excellent! We both had the Filet and Lobster Tail, I had the almond cheesecake and daughter had the chocolate desert. We saw the MK fireworks from our table! One of my favorite dining experiences!

Would I stay at Saratoga Springs again? Yes, I would, but if I were staying longer than 2 nights I’d stay in a 1 bedroom for the extra space.

Boardwalk 1 Bedroom Villa 5/20 and 5/21

This is where I knew I wanted to stay and boy was I right! I loved this place! The room was wonderful, bright and cheery!! Nice kitchen area and living area. My daughter chose to sleep on the pull-out both nights but I slept in the bedroom. The 2 separate bath areas are great! There was good water pressure in the shower and the big Jacuzzi tub was just what we needed after walking in the parks! We had picked up some bath bombs in Downtown Disney and put those to good use!!
We were close to the very end of the building so the walk from the elevator was also quite a hike. Thank goodness for the guys that helped with luggage! Our room was overlooking what I think they called “the quiet pool”. There were stairs close by that I could take to the designated smoking area where I met a sweet lady from the UK and I always enjoyed talking with her.
We LOVED the Boardwalk Bakery!!!!! We had one our QS lunches there and thoroughly enjoyed it! Every chance I got, I used my snack credit there for a yummy pastry or the iced coffee!
We ate at Kouzzina’s one night and it was pretty good. My daughter loved the pastitsio and it was quite tasty! The addition of cinnamon worked very well in it. I had the steak, I think it may have been a strip cut. I didn’t expect the stuff on top of it, the Herb Saltsa, and glad I tasted it first. It was spicy! I was able to rake it off. The waitress asked if I wanted it re-plated but I didn’t find it necessary. We had our deserts boxed up to go – baklava and fruit, and lots of it! The fruit went well with our lunch from the Bakery the next day!
Another dinner was at Teppan Edo at Epcot and it was good too! We walked over to Epcot from the Boardwalk.
Would I stay at Boardwalk Villas again? YES! YES! And YES!!!! The only con I found was the parking lot being so far away from the actual building. There is a long walk up that incline to the lobby! They do have valet parking but I chose to save that $20.

Animal Kingdom Jambo House 1 Bedroom 5/22

Again, the parking lot makes for a miserably long walk to the lobby. Of course when you check in, you are right there but you still have to go park the car unless you pay for valet parking.
Our room was not far from the elevator, thank goodness. That was the only good thing about the room to me. As soon as we opened the door, I was disappointed. I had seen the pictures online of the room but this didn’t quite match the pictures. There was not a counter bar area or an island in the kitchen that I had seen in the pictures online, but we did have an obvious big dented in area in the black fridge. The dressing area of the bathroom had only 1 sink, not 2 like in the pictures I had seen. The tub/shower was small. We did not use the Jacuzzi because it was just too small. There was not one single full-length mirror anywhere! The lighting was so dim, even after I turned on every light in the place! The dark décor didn’t help! Sure, we had the savannah view and we saw a giraffe once and some type of antelope once but nothing spectacular. Actually, the whole resort is too dark for me!
Dinner was at Kidani’s Sanaa. We took the resort shuttle van. Our waiter would flit in and out. I was thinking of what I’d like to drink and he quickly said he’d give me time to think about it and flit away again. I ended up going to the bar and got a martini, which I paid for at the bar. The waiter flitted by again and we were going to order the Bread Service I had heard so much about. He mentioned that I could order my next drink from him and not have to go to the bar… We were trying to decide on the dips we wanted. He made suggestions and then flitted away again. The next time he flitted by, we ordered the Bread Service. Another disappointment. Bread and some dips was a wasteful use of $10 in my opinion. We ordered our meals and another martini the next time the waiter flitted by. I love lamb so I ordered the Lamb Shank. Another disappointment – it didn’t taste like lamb to me. It may as well have been a beef roast or even a turkey leg. No wait, turkey legs are more tasty than that was. The sweet potatoes that came with it had a strange texture and taste and I didn’t eat them. In fact, I didn’t eat much of that dinner at all. Daughter had the Tandoori chicken that she said was good. We had our deserts again boxed up – Tanzania Chocolate Mouse and the desert trio. While the waiter was doing that, I decided to find a smoking area and had no luck. I asked one of the valets at the front and he was kind to me, showing me a secret spot off to the right that workers use. If it hadn’t been for that I would’ve had to walk a mile to the DSA! I had left my daughter to settle up the check with a Disney gift card that had maybe $26 on it and a $20. We were to pay for the Bread Service at $10 and one martini at $7.75, right? That, and of course the tip. Anyway, the martini I paid for at the bar with tax was $8.26. Well, about the time I was finishing up my cig, my daughter came out. Somehow, the only change she brought out of there was $4. I have a suspicion that the waiter put my first martini on the tab. Plus, he had not given her a receipt! That was the ONLY time I never got a receipt at Disney either! Oh, and later I tried the deserts and didn’t like them either!
We used our last QS for lunch at The Mara on check out day. Chicken Caesar Salad and a Chicken Pita with Zebra Domes and a brownie for our deserts. It was just ok.
Would I stay at Animal Kingdom Villas again? NO!!!!!!!!!! Absolutely not!!!

So, there you have it. Your experiences may differ from mine, but for me, AK was a dud, Saratoga was good and Boardwalk was phenomenal!
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