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Old 11-13-2012, 08:54 AM   #61
disneychic2
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I'm really enjoying living vicariously through your report. And I'm another one who thinks the more pictures the better! I'm seriously thinking about seeing if there is availability for Sanaa for our AK day. You've got me intrigued.

Congrats on loosing weight! You look great in all your pics, but I know what you mean about feeling better. It's more about being healthy than a certain weight. Good for you!

Can't wait for the next installment!
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:59 AM   #62
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I'm really enjoying living vicariously through your report. And I'm another one who thinks the more pictures the better! I'm seriously thinking about seeing if there is availability for Sanaa for our AK day. You've got me intrigued.

Congrats on loosing weight! You look great in all your pics, but I know what you mean about feeling better. It's more about being healthy than a certain weight. Good for you!

Can't wait for the next installment!
I bet there's an opening! Heck, I think you can just walk up! That's the great thing, people think it's so remote that it just does not get as much traffic as some of the other TS restaurants. Granted, we went at 3pm, but I still have a hard time believing they pack-em-in because most people have to take multiple buses to get there. I totally think it's worth it and such a relaxing way to get a break from the busy parks!

I sound like I'm selling it or something. Well, I have been called a Disney-pusher before!
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:45 AM   #63
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I have a quiet morning here, and it looks like the last quiet morning for a couple weeks, so I thought I would do another update! I'm a petsitter, so with the Holiday coming, I have a LOT of work coming (which is great for money, but not time!) so my updates might become less frequent. So, you get an extra this morning.

So, we walk up to the bus stop (which had very few people ALWAYS, btw) and the DTD bus pulls up! WOOT! I had heard the worst bus issues with AKL were DTD, so I was pleased. Until we got on the bus. We sat down and a HOARD of people came towards the bus. Ok, no problem...oh, and 2 scooters. Ok, we're good still, we can just sit here while they load, at least we have a seat, right? Well, after 10 minutes of loading, we leave and I realize we have turned the wrong way...OMG, they are going to Kidani! We get up there and load even more people. I'm thinking it's a good thing I'm sitting, but I've been sitting all day on the plane, so my back it starting to hurt in these seats.

At least we're off! and driving...and driving...where are we going???? It starts to get hot and really stuffy and about when I think the air must be broke, it kicks on. 45 minutes after jumping on that bus, we arrive at DTD. Hmmmm...not the greatest first bus ride! I think he drove around a back way (it didn't look like he took a straight path to DTD) and I guess that's what took so long? I don't know. Most people would think 30 minutes isn't that long, but I really thought it felt like forever.

BUT, it melts away the moment you step off the bus, ya know?!?

Ok, so you need some back story here: Before we left, I had been talking about what purse I would bring and just packing it in my carryon. Rey told me I didn't need a purse, I would have the camera and he would carry his little backpack with my extra lens and whatever I needed. If you don't see where this is going, just give it a sec.

So, we mosey around DTD as the sun is setting and both of us Spotted the Margarita Bar at the same time, I think!


do you see where this is going yet?

We walk up and look at all our options, I order first, a Golden Margarita...

and get carded. Reach for my purse...

Ok, now seriously folks. I understand it's the law, but I have an 18 year old son, I'm no spring chicken! I explain that I didn't bring a purse and my ID is back at the resort and I laugh while I tell her I have an 18 year old...and she just looks at me.

I realize it's not gonna do me any good, so I tell Rey I'm good and I walk away to take pictures. Of course, he orders what I was going to order and just gives it to me.

Shot I took while waiting for my drink that apparently I'm not old enough to purchase on my own.


I told Rey he should have bought 2 drinks, but he said he wasn't really thirsty for that, I think he just didn't want to look bad buying 2 drinks when I had just been carded and had no proof that I'm THIRTY-NINE years old!

We headed towards Babycakes, I figured Rey could get a drink over there. I noticed that they had put up the Christmas decorations and were playing Christmas music!


We went to Babycakes and Rey went up to the smoothie bar to get a smoothie. I kept trying to take pictures, but it was starting to get dark and I was getting really frustrated. I bought a bunch of babycakes stuff, Rey got his smoothie, we sat outside and I had a little mini-meltdown. Now, I don't really count it as a melt-down, we usually have 1 of those a trip, a few tears, a disagreement with a tired child, etc. but this was more of me just being frustrated. I didn't even cry...so that doesn't count as a melt-down!

I just shared with Rey (when he asked what was wrong, I didn't look happy) that I was frustrated with the camera/lens. First off, Disney is a FABULOUS place to shoot at. So much to capture, so it's a great place...but then again, it's not. Photography isn't really about just snapping some shots. It takes time, effort, and concentration. I was struggling with trying to get all these shots but not actually EXPERIENCING my trip!

The 2nd issue is that I take photos b/c I have a horrible memory. My dad had Alzheimer's (but that's a whole other ramble, so I digress...) and I sometimes worry that I have the beginnings of it. So, I capture my memories in my photos, and when I look at them, it helps me remember. I also write in a journal when on trips! So, I was struggling with capturing the moment to remember it..OR enjoying the moment but not capturing it and possibly forgetting it! (If you followed that, you are a genius.)

So, I told Rey I was putting the camera away for the evening...well, after I got a shot of our Babycakes and smoothie so I could remember!



We enjoyed the rest of the evening at DTD, browsing the shops. I didn't buy anything that night, I realized that I like to wait until further into the trip to make choices on what to get. I was glad about this later on b/c most of my purchases were from the AKL store! I did hand the camera to a CM who complimented me on my dress. I told her that I had been wanting a shot of Rey & me with my dress, and she happily took it for us!



We decided to head back to the resort and go get a drink/relax at Victoria Falls (the cool bar at AKL). We almost took a cab back when we walked up and had just missed the AKL bus. We waited a bit, but the drive back was not nearly as long and the bus barely had anyone on it this time.

We stopped in the gift shop to get a case of water for Rey and some soda. Best 16$ case of water I ever bought! He was spending a fortune on 2.50 bottles of water, so getting the case ended up saving us, even if it was expensive. Those were 24-12oz bottles too, not even 16!

We headed back up to the room to drop off the water and grab my ID! (naturally, I didn't get carded this time)

EE was all red and lit up, I tried to get a shot of it, but dark shots like this are hard to get without a tripod (and a regular lens, not this crazy wide thing! LOL)


Let's see how good your eyes are...what ELSE do you see in the shot above with EE? Look closely and you will see something else back there! Here's a hint if you are stuck: (go look first though before reading the hint!) Ok...look to the left of EE and look for the color GREEN.



Took a couple handheld shots on the way down to the bar (not the 4am shots...those are coming up in the next update!!)





When we got down to the bar, we both ordered drinks, mine was a passionfruit margarita, I think. I wanted my yummy mango one, but they didn't have it on the menu. Rey got some sort of beer...sorry, I didn't pay attention!


We sat HERE, on the couch:


the place was pretty empty and we just talked and enjoyed each other.



After our drink, we decided to explore the resort a bit! I still could not figure out where The Mara was (CS restaurant) and had only seen the pool from afar. Apparently you have to go down to Boma, past it, and out the doors to the outside! Glad we went exploring!


We also found the flamingos, but you couldn't really see them in the dark, so I took pics of them a different day. We went into The Mara and got a sweet bedtime snack and took it to the room.



We spent the remainder of the night sitting on the balcony, enjoying our treats and went to sleep at 10:30!

LOL...and I awoke at 3:30, ready to start the day! Up next, what do I do at 3:30 am when I cannot sleep? I lay on the floor of Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby and take pictures!






Last edited by Twoboysnmygirl; 11-13-2012 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:29 PM   #64
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I bet there's an opening! Heck, I think you can just walk up! That's the great thing, people think it's so remote that it just does not get as much traffic as some of the other TS restaurants. Granted, we went at 3pm, but I still have a hard time believing they pack-em-in because most people have to take multiple buses to get there. I totally think it's worth it and such a relaxing way to get a break from the busy parks!

I sound like I'm selling it or something. Well, I have been called a Disney-pusher before!
Fairy Godmother if the Mouse Mafia is more like it...

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Old 11-13-2012, 08:12 PM   #65
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I love all of your pictures, despite no zoom lens!!! I always think that AKL looks like an awesome place to stay! I have heard of transportation woes there though! 45 minutes to DTD does seem like awhile!
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Old 11-14-2012, 05:44 AM   #66
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Fairy Godmother if the Mouse Mafia is more like it...

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I love all of your pictures, despite no zoom lens!!! I always think that AKL looks like an awesome place to stay! I have heard of transportation woes there though! 45 minutes to DTD does seem like awhile!
I had heard that DTD was the worst, but it's that way with most of the resorts, I think. It's funny, Rey & I disagree about the buses at AKL! I think they were pretty standard/normal for Disney. I've stayed at PoP and used the buses and they seemed about the same. He, on the other hand, has only driven to the parks except for a few rare occasions where he took the bus "for fun" and I think he has a warped idea of what the buses are like in general. I think he thought waiting for a bus at ALL was too long. It's all in the perspective I guess!
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:19 AM   #67
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So, those of you that know me outside of the DIS know that I'm a bit of an insomniac. I don't really think it's a medical thing, I think it's mental. I really take issue with "wasting" my life sleeping! I feel like I'm missing something! So, I normally wake up around 4am most days. This works for me, it gives me quiet time while everyone is sleeping and makes my job easier since I have to petsit early a lot of the time.

When at Disney, you can just multiply this. I can conk out really easily, but I just cannot STAY asleep for that long. So, I'm always the first up, but it's great, I can write in my journal about the previous day, have coffee, etc.

Well, I outdid myself this time! After going to bed at 10:30, I woke up at 3:30! I tried to go back to sleep, but I just couldn't! So, I got up, started the coffee maker, got dressed, and headed to the lobby! Oh the joy of not sleeping! It was so peaceful and beautiful. I had the best time soaking it up!

I started off trying to get some shots by using a table here or there and then the floor. I'm positive you can imagine me sitting indian style on the floor of the AKL lobby taking pictures! It was perfect! (except I didn't have my tripod!) When you are taking pictures when it's darker, you MUST have a tripod or stable surface. It's just a matter of lighting. The less lighting you have, the steadier the camera needs to be b/c the shutter is going to stay open longer to catch the light. You're welcome for the photography lesson this morning.

I finally asked the 1 person at the front desk if I could move a chair and use it as a tripod, I'm sure he thought I was insane when I carried that cahir to the middle of the lobby and started taking pictures!

I loved it though. Here are my favorite shots. This one is one of the hallways, right outside the elevators, that lead to the rooms.














I got some of Victoria Falls and Boma as well!







from up above on my way back to the room:





After my photo fun, I went back to the room and headed to the balcony with my coffee and a donut (4:30am). They have some lights and I could still see a little. I could also hear them testing some music/announcements at AK! It was so cool. I wrote in my journal that I could SMELL the animals. This was something I saw someone complain about on the DIS before, but I thought it was awesome! And authentic. I mean, animals smell. It was the only time I smelled them though, the rest of the times were were on the balcony I didn't. AND, I have a supernose, so I'm not sure most people would have smelled it.

At about 5:30 I decided I was getting a bit chilly, so I went inside and sat in the bathroom area and wrote in my journal for a bit. Then, when the sun was coming up I went back out and enjoyed the sunrise! It was gorgeous b/c there were clouds rolling in (yep...that's foreshadowing there folks!)





It was time for Rey to get up and we both got ready to head out to MK and Crystal Palace for breakfast!!! One of the windows/viewing areas on our way down to the lobby:



Our empty bus stop (there were a couple people behind me in this shot) on a cloudy morning.



Looks like we won't even have a full bus...or will we?
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:41 AM   #68
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The only thing that is making me less inclined to stay at AKL is the bus issue.
I've heard far too many horror stories and the few times I have been there for meals it has taken forever to get back to the parks.

Babycakes is amazing! Those cookie crunch donuts are heaven!

Ahhh your pictures are absolutely breathtaking!
I, for one, am thankful for your insomnia as it provided us with those early morning gems!
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:52 AM   #69
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The only thing that is making me less inclined to stay at AKL is the bus issue.
I've heard far too many horror stories and the few times I have been there for meals it has taken forever to get back to the parks.

Babycakes is amazing! Those cookie crunch donuts are heaven!

Ahhh your pictures are absolutely breathtaking!
I, for one, am thankful for your insomnia as it provided us with those early morning gems!
Thank you!!

BUS RAMBLE:

Well, Rey & I are still disagreeing over the bus issue! Here is the thing: The frequency of the buses to go TO A PARK was great. We never had to wait, really at all (maybe 5 minutes ONCE) for a bus when we left AKL and headed to a park. The mid-day buses FROM EPCOT back to AKL were horrible. I still think part of this is perspective, b/c our feet were sore and we were ready for a mid-day break, but both days we stood and stood waiting for a bus to take us back to the resort. There were still barely a handful of people once the bus got there, so I think mid-day they run less buses b/c they don't really want to run a bus empty and since there are less people, they space them out mid-day.

MY biggest issue was the sharing with Kidani. As you will see in my next update, we didn't have to wait long and there was maybe one or two other families with us at the bustop in the morning for MK, but the bus pulled up almost FULL of Kidani people already and we had to stand all the way to MK. I was fine with that as it was morning and we did sit at night when going back every time. But again, we had to drive to Kidani first and then Jambo. They are close to each other, but it does take time and fill the buses more to do this sharing.

BUT...I know, I'm beating this to death here, but want to make sure I'm really clarifying! When we stayed onsite with friends at Pop my first visit, I couldn't STAND the buses. I remember thinking it was insane how long we had to wait, and I think this was just b/c I had no clue how the bus system worked. My friend that I went with LOVED the buses and seemed perfectly content to stand for 10 minutes for a bus and then hopefully get to sit on the bus ride. I got spoiled (and Rey definitely did as well) the following trip driving to the parks. It's just so much FASTER, but I think this is for all resorts, not just AKL. The buses are just slow in general compared to a car.

If it's just about visiting AKL for a meal, we did that as well when we stayed at Pop and it was EASY! First off, we jumped on an AK bus at Pop at around 4:30. Well, since the park closes at 5pm, there was only 1 other family and the bus driver told us it was closing and we informed him we were going to AKL for a meal at Boma and so was the other family...so he just drove us straight there! We also planned on Wishes afterwards, so we just hopped on the bus after dinner and it was so fast and easy. So, I wouldn't worry about it if you aren't actually staying at AKL!

and, just for the record, we did not have bad enough issues with the buses that we wouldn't stay at AKL again. It was totally worth it and I will say that waiting at a covered bus stop with 2 other families is a totally different experience than waiting in a huge line of people at a bus stop. Even though sometimes we waited, it felt totally different than some of the busier resorts. I actually think that's why there's a wait...they don't want to drive half-empty buses!

I'm sure everyone has enjoyed my full opinion, in book form, on the buses!
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:05 AM   #70
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You are a fantastic photographer. You have such a great eye for shots. I especial like the one at DTD of Fulton's and the balloon with the reflections in the water. Nice!

DTD seems to be the one place where it is not quick or easy to get to. From any resort. I guess that's why we love staying at POFQ. The 20 minute boat ride is so relaxing, and we especially love it on the way back after a hectic evening of shopping and walking all over.

The shots you took of the lobby are outstanding! I do love the AKL with it's unique theming that seems over the top, and yet gives a cozy feel to the lobby.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:09 AM   #71
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You are a fantastic photographer. You have such a great eye for shots. I especial like the one at DTD of Fulton's and the balloon with the reflections in the water. Nice!

DTD seems to be the one place where it is not quick or easy to get to. From any resort. I guess that's why we love staying at POFQ. The 20 minute boat ride is so relaxing, and we especially love it on the way back after a hectic evening of shopping and walking all over.

The shots you took of the lobby are outstanding! I do love the AKL with it's unique theming that seems over the top, and yet gives a cozy feel to the lobby.
Thank you!!!

I have considered POFQ a number of times b/c of the boat! If we ever stay at a mod, I think that is what will put us over the edge. It's just I would have to get 2 rooms with the 5 of us (no WAY I could fit two teens and a preteen in a POR room!) and I always end up heading back to value when it comes to cost of getting 2 rooms. This stay at AKL was a real treat as we have never stayed at a Deluxe, but renting points was the same price as a mod for just 2 of us, so we jumped on it! I LOVE the theming of POFQ too!
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:00 AM   #72
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LOVING the AKL shots - so beautiful! Makes me wish I had a wide angle to take with my!! My 35mm 1.8 lives on my camera now for it's awesome low light, but I do with I had a larger angle sometimes (in cases like the photos you shot of the lobby). Just beautiful!
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:09 AM   #73
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LOVING the AKL shots - so beautiful! Makes me wish I had a wide angle to take with my!! My 35mm 1.8 lives on my camera now for it's awesome low light, but I do with I had a larger angle sometimes (in cases like the photos you shot of the lobby). Just beautiful!
My 35mm 1.8 was the other lens I brought and it's my favorite lens! I LOVE my 35mm and was wishing I could capture the same wide angles with it b/c it's a fantastic lens for sharpness and low light! Rey was getting annoyed b/c I kept putting it back on, but then would see something WIDE that I wanted to get and have to switch it out again with the rental! My last trip I had my 35mm on 99% of the time! I LOVE my prime!
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:55 AM   #74
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Oh..my...garsh!!! your photos are amazing (Disney should use these in their ads!!) Thank you for your insomnia and sharing these with us!
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Old 11-14-2012, 10:57 AM   #75
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Oh..my...garsh!!! your photos are amazing (Disney should use these in their ads!!) Thank you for your insomnia and sharing these with us!

Thank you!!!
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