13 glorious days at Christmas - Kidani & Jambo Club Level

Discussion in 'DVC Trip Reports' started by momof2disprincesses, Jan 4, 2013.

  1. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    Our plan for Christmas Day was to avoid the crowds! Because we were fortunate enough to be able to upgrade our AP's to PAP's, we thought "why not go to Blizzard Beach on Christmas!"

    So we slept in (so nice to have older kids and be able to do that on Christmas morning!!). Then we made pancakes and sausage for breakfast in the room. Then we opened presents.

    Since our DD20 is studying abroad in India this semester, we had been giving her lots of attention and money! So we figured Christmas was a chance to surprise DD16 a little. We had given DD20 a laptop when she graduated from high school and DD16 figured that's when she would get one too. NO! We opened all of our presents and then DD20 had it all planned out to go into our bedroom asking to borrow a pair of my socks and then said "hey there's another present in your sock drawer!" Of course, it was DD16's new laptop! She was super surprised and has used it almost non-stop since getting it. I think it was a hit! :thumbsup2

    As might be the case with many Mom's, my family says I'm hard to buy for. So this year, I asked for something very specific. Since I do about 99.9% of our Disney trip planning, I thought it would be fun if each of my family members planned 1 thing to do with just me and them at Disney, so that is what I asked for and that is what I got.

    DD20 planned a day for us to go on an airboat to see alligators.
    DH planned for he and I to ride the DTD hot air balloon.
    DD16 gave me my all-time favorite treat at Disney - the butterfinger cupcake from Starring Rolls at HS and took me out for breakfast at Denny's (call my weird, but I LOVE Denny's).

    All 3 things were so unique and it was really neat to spend time one-on-one with each of my family members at Disney! Those pictures and more details from each of those adventures will come as the trip report unfolds.

    But, I digress. Back to Blizzard Beach. We got there around noon and stayed for a few hours. It was a little chilly on Christmas Day (I think the high was in the low 70's) so it wasn't like you wanted to be in the water non-stop, but the lack of crowds was awesome!!

    [​IMG]

    The "view" from our chairs

    [​IMG]

    It actually felt "Christmas-y" with the snow theme at Blizzard Beach!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This picture was taken at the "peak" of the day (around 2pm).

    [​IMG]

    I actually left around 2pm. I was the "wimpy" one of the group and was cold. The rest of my family stayed until about 4/4:30pm. I took the bus back to Kidani and enjoyed a nice Christmas Day bubble bath in the jetted tub.

    We had fun at Blizzard Beach. Together we rode the family ride, took the ski lift up to the family ride, hung out in the wave pool and went around the park a few times in the lazy river. After I left, the girls and DH went on basically everything else!

    That night we spent inside our room at Kidani. We had brought a bunch of snacky type items for a little Christmas night buffet. I also ate my delicious butterfinger cupcake.

    I'm so sorry I don't have a picture of the cupcake. Let's just say it didn't travel well and wasn't real "pretty" by the time I ate it, but it was still very yummy! :yay:

    Up Next - LOTS of gators!
     
  2. Avatar

    Google AdSense Guest Advertisement


    to hide this advert.
  3. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2009
    Messages:
    24,302
    Joining in!

    Thanks for the pictures of Be Our Guest! The soup looked amazing and now I know what to expect wait wise when we go in a few weeks.

    We are staying at Kidani too, so your pictures made me homesick to be back there.

    Thanks for a great mix of food porn, scenery and family photos.
     
  4. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    You will have such a great time on your upcoming trip! The crowds will be significantly less for you! :thumbsup2

    I'm reading and following along with your PTR too. Can't wait to read more about your trip. ENJOY!! :goodvibes
     
  5. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    So on Wed. Dec. 26, I got to enjoy DD20's Christmas gift to me - an airboat ride to see gators!

    It was such a great day but one of the best things was that I didn't plan any of it! Now, don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE :love: being the trip planner in our family. But there was something nice about just getting in the car with her (she even drove) and going somewhere and not knowing a thing about what to expect.

    The place she chose was Camp Holly in Melbourne, FL. It was about 1 hour from Kidani and we enjoyed a nice, scenic drive and having time alone to just talk.

    The weather was looking "iffy" that day - like it could downpour any second, but we were very fortunate and didn't have any rain at all during our tour. It poured on the way back to Disney, but that was just fine with us.

    When we arrived, it was a little confusing as to what to do and how to pay, etc. The place is pretty old school. We had wanted to pay in cash, but didn't have the exact amount and they couldn't provide change, so I did pay on my credit card. That seemed odd, but it turned out fine (no weird charges or anything). They did have an alligator you could touch and take photos with but that cost extra (the photos - we did get to touch him for free).

    We had a coupon from a coupon book that we literally found on the ground in the MK parking lot a few days earlier and it saved us about $20 per person!

    The tour we chose was a 90 minute one. It was DD20 and I and one other party of four - 2 couples. Here we are on the boat getting ready to leave.

    [​IMG]

    Within minutes, we saw several of these babies! They were so cute!!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Along the journey, we also saw a lot of very interesting birds, like these

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then as we traveled further, we saw some BIG gators. One our guide estimated to be about 10 feet!

    I love how this photo turned out!

    [​IMG]

    This was Mr. Big Guy - the 10 footer. He just started moving as I took the picture, so I'm sorry it was blurry. It was cool & scary to see him. We were only a few feet away from him too. :scared1:

    [​IMG]

    A few more photos of gators

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Overall, I was very pleased with this tour and loved doing it with DD20! The tour was supposed to be 90 minutes, but it really lasted about 2 hours. Our guide was really nice and very knowledgeable about the area, the gators, the birds, even plants! He was personable and professional.

    The highlight of the trip was we were literally just feet away from about a 6 foot gator and we were all on one side of the boat getting a closer look when the gator suddenly jumped up and sort of "dove" into the water. I screamed! It was really pretty amazing!

    I should have thought ahead to bring smaller bills to tip the guide (I had only brought $20's). He did such a wonderful job on the tour that I had to give him something, so he got a little bonus and seemed very happy when I handed him a $20 tip.

    Overall, even though this place is a distance from Disney and it seemed a little "interesting" when we first arrived, I would recommend the tour for the amount of gators and action we saw.

    After our tour, DD20 and I headed back to the Disney area and stopped at Chick Fila for a sandwich and then I suggested we drive around Celebration, FL a little more. We wanted to see it in the daylight and not with the Christmas activities going on.

    We drove around for a good hour or so and I have to say I am even more in love with this town! It really is a beautiful place!! Sorry I didn't get any photos, but the houses are gorgeous and it just seems like an ideal place to live, yet you are SO close to WDW! We even saw the DVC building in Celebration. Oh how I dream of living in Celebration and working at that DVC building!

    When we got back to Kidani, DH and DD16 had just arrived too. They had spent the day at DTD and saw the movie "Wreck It Ralph" and walked around and I think they even went to Disney Quest again and had some lunch. So they had a special day together too.

    I think we hit the pool and had dinner in the room that night.

    Next up - we move over to Jambo Club Level!!!! :cool1:
     
  6. SplashMom

    SplashMom I have a whole new perspective on life!

    Joined:
    May 1, 2004
    Messages:
    858
    I'm loving your trip report!! I'd love to go at Christmas...maybe if I show my family your TR they will agree to go next year, lol. Can't wait for your next installment!:goodvibes
     
  7. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    Oh, I do hope you get to go at Christmas sometime. It is so extra magical to be there on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! Plus, I find those holidays so much LESS stressful when at Disney. :thumbsup2
     
  8. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    On Thursday, December 27 we checked out of Kidani and checked in to Jambo House Club Level!

    We loaded a lot of our stuff into our car to move ourselves, but for our big suitcases and cooler, we had bell services move for us. It was a busy day at both resorts and it took over an hour for bell services to come and pick up our stuff. So the girls decided to take a bus and head to DTD. They wanted to shop and wound up watching the movie Les Miserables, which they LOVED by the way.

    So DH and I just sat for about an hour in our villa at Kidani waiting for bell services. After they arrived, I went to the lobby and asked if we had to officially check out. We didn't, but I did ask about how to check in to the club level at Jambo. That CM said to look for any CM wearing a maroon jacket and said they usually wait outside by the lobby and they'd take us right up.

    Well, DH and I took a bus over to Jambo and looked for a CM with a maroon jacket. None to be found. So we went inside and it was BUSY inside! We both got in different lines - he got in line for the concierge and I got in the regular check in line. Apparently, DH did see a CM wearing a maroon jacket walk through the lobby, so he chased her down and sure enough, she was able to take us up to the Club Level lobby. I assume when its not as busy, this is not as frustrating and time consuming. We had envisioned being welcomed as we walked up and escorted immediately to the club level. Oh well!

    Once there, we had to wait to talk to the CM's at the Club Level desk. As I said before, it was a busy day - even in the lounge!

    We didn't mind the wait though. It was beautiful up in the lounge and we had some snacks to munch on. Once it was our turn, you go sit at the desk and they go over everything with you. Then, we were on our way to our room. We had a studio and it was right there on the 6th floor, left side when facing the savanna, last room. It was a wonderful location and very quiet! We did have a savanna view, but didn't see a lot of animals on that part of the savanna during our stay.

    Here is our room and our view!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Our savanna view

    [​IMG]

    Our balcony

    [​IMG]

    Up Next - Characters in Flight Balloon Ride (DH's Christmas Gift to me)
     
  9. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    So after we got all checked in to our room at Jambo House, DH and I decided to enjoy his Christmas present to me. We were going on the Characters in Flight balloon ride at DTD. We did this once before, many years ago. Of course, the balloon has recently been updated and I was really looking forward to doing it again. It was a beautiful, clear day to enjoy this!

    The line was pretty long and we waited about 30-45 minutes to ride, but it was well worth the wait!

    This was a wonderful gift!!

    Here are some of the photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    By the time we got off the balloon, the girls had come over to greet us (their movie was done).

    [​IMG]

    Up next - we head back to the room and lots of food pictures from the Club Level lounge!!!
     
  10. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    After our fun afternoon at DTD, we headed back to AKV and wanted to see what offerings they had in the Club Level lounge.

    We hit the room first to drop off bags and these were waiting for us!

    [​IMG]

    Up close, you can see they are chocolate flamingos! :goodvibes

    [​IMG]

    The gorgeous view of the lobby from the lounge

    [​IMG]

    Then we hit the lounge for some goodies. It was afternoon tea time.
    It did not disappoint!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    If you see the bamboo looking area behind where they put the food - these opened and the CM's could put fresh food out without having to walk in front of the food serving area. This was very clever and I wish I would have gotten a picture of one of them replenishing the food. It reminded me of the Wizard of Oz for some reason. :)

    We actually wound up taking a few of these little jars of honey (right side of photo in the box) home and I just had some yesterday on a biscuit. YUMMMM!!

    [​IMG]

    The fridge was always well stocked!

    [​IMG]

    Other beverages. I especially loved the lemonade! The little basket held ice, which was nice because I prefer water and soda with lots of ice.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the lounge was not very busy while we were there. In fact, even though it was a very busy time at WDW, we never felt that the lounge was crowded or it was hard to find a table or chairs. It was always a very relaxing place!!

    [​IMG]

    This little corner was sort of tucked away and seemed primarily for kids.

    [​IMG]

    2 more views of the lovely lobby from the lounge

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  11. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    That evening we had dinner in Orlando at Big Italy Pizza & Pasta. I had a restaurant.com gift certificate. Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures, but we really enjoyed this restaurant. The service was superb and the food was delicious and the value with the restaurant.com gift certificate was great!

    The only "problem" was it was on International Dr. and when we left (around 7pm), there was SO MUCH traffic!!

    After our yummy dinner, we wanted to head over to the Beach Club to see the Christmas decorations and get some dessert at Beaches & Cream.

    It took forever to get there because of the traffic, but we did make it. I really love the carousel they have in the lobby at Christmastime. Here are a few of those photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here's how they make it:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    It was quite chilly this night, as you can tell by NO ONE in the pool at the Beach Club!

    So we got some treats from the Beaches & Cream "to go" window and sat by the pool to eat them.

    DD20 next to an EMPTY pool!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I love how the lifeguards are dressed, as if it's frigid! Being from WI, we thought it was cool and honestly if we were staying there and had our suits, we would have gone in ... at least for a little while!

    [​IMG]

    We got 2 treats to share amongst the 4 of us
    Hot fudge sundae

    [​IMG]

    Cookie sandwich

    [​IMG]

    As we were leaving, we passed this and had to take a photo

    [​IMG]

    And this was one of the small Christmas trees in one of the smaller DVC area lobbies

    [​IMG]

    Up next - lots more food porn from the lounge and our day at Epcot!
     
  13. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    Since Friday, Dec. 21 was supposed to be the day the world ended, we decided why not spend it at Epcot, our favorite park. :rolleyes:

    But before we headed off to Epcot, we stopped for breakfast in the lounge. Here are some photos of the wonderful spread they had.

    One note: It was always pretty busy at breakfast time, so it was hard to get photos and I'm sure those who watched me taking these pictures thought I was a little "nuts" but I knew you'd all enjoy them, so I made it work!
    ;)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Up next - our day at Epcot!
     
  14. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    We hit Epcot very close to park opening and DH went and grabbed FP's for Soarin' and we went on Spaceship Earth.

    We then headed to Innoventions. We were the only ones to play the Great Piggy Bank Adventure. We enjoy this game and always name our piggies.

    [​IMG]

    We found this gorgeous spot to take a few photos with almost no one around, so here are some of my girls. I think these turned out really nice!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then we went to use our FP's for Soarin' and came across this display. How cute!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    DD20's favorite movie is UP, so she especially loved this one!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Up Next - MORE Epcot!
     
  15. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    After Soarin' we did the single rider line at Test Track. It had been "down" most of the morning and so we couldn't get FP's and we wanted to try the new ride. Even in the single rider line, we waited about 45 minutes or so! It was SO crowded.

    Personally, I wasn't a fan of the changes at Test Track. I liked it better when it was themed that you are the test dummy and going through the various tests. It is still cool and a great ride, but I liked the older version better.

    After that, we headed to the World Showcase.

    Stopped for some time in France (my favorite of the countries)

    Watched Pere Noel for awhile:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    It took some patience to get this picture. It was crowded in Epcot!

    [​IMG]

    Some yummy items from the Bakery

    [​IMG]

    Random Epcot shot

    [​IMG]

    A few photos of my lovely family in Italy!

    [​IMG]

    This one is my new screensaver on my computer :)

    [​IMG]

    Epcot Christmas tree!

    [​IMG]

    Before we left for the day, we stopped back in Innoventions to have our free Disney Visa 5 x 7 photo done. This is the shot with my camera. I think its a great family photo!!

    Minnie was very excited that I wore a shirt with her on it! She hugged me extra tight. :thumbsup2

    [​IMG]

    Next Up - back to the lounge for snack time!
     
  16. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    We left Epcot and headed back to Kidani.

    Perry was waiting for us when we got back to the room

    [​IMG]

    Here are some of the afternoon snacks that were available at the lounge when we returned

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Those homemade chips were delicious!

    [​IMG]

    Kids offerings - these were really good!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    That evening, DH and I went out to dinner at Ponderosa while our girls stayed in and watched a movie and ate leftovers from Big Italy.

    After our dinner, we picked up the girls and headed over to Kidani for the presentation about Africa that they hold nightly in the library.

    We did this once before when DH and I did an anniversary trip alone at Kidani. That time, the presentation was about that CM's home country of Zimbabwe. It was such a great presentation and we had really enjoyed it.

    Our DD20 spent a summer in Africa (Malawi) in 2009 on a mission trip and she truly has a love for Africa, so we wanted the girls to come with us and hear about another African country.

    This presentation was with a CM from South Africa. Here she is with our DD's.

    [​IMG]

    We were SOOOOO excited when we found out it was about South Africa.

    After our trip was over, we sent DD20 off on a plane to study abroad in India. Her best friend from college was leaving around the same time to study abroad in South Africa! So it was so cool to hear about the country DD's BF was going to.

    This presentation was so good! We learned so much and we were the only ones there, so we got to really talk to this CM and learned so much. If you are staying at AKV, I highly recommend attending this presentation! It is held nightly.

    We each received postcards from South Africa and we mailed them all to DD20's BF so she could get extra excited about her upcoming trip there!

    Here is one of the CM's photos from her presentation. I took it mostly to post on DD20's BF's facebook since she's scared of sharks.

    [​IMG]

    Up next - more food porn from the lounge!
     
  17. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    When we got back, they were offering desserts & drinks in the lounge.

    We aren't alcohol drinkers, but DH does like non-alcoholic beer. After asking once on the first night if they had NA beer, they would get one for DH whenever we asked. Apparently they had some somewhere and got a supply for DH during our stay. Such wonderful service!

    In fact, all of the CM's that worked in the lounge were unbelievable! Most CM's at Disney are outstanding, but these were really the cream of the crop.

    Here's some of the nighttime offerings

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  18. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    Saturday we slept in and then relaxed for awhile on the balcony. This was our view.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I just love the atmosphere at Animal Kingdom Lodge! It's so peaceful and beautiful!

    After a relaxing morning, we headed off to DTD for some movie time! DH and I saw "This is 40" and the girls saw something else (don't remember).

    We headed back to the room. We had big plans for the next day (Sunday - our final full day there), so we spent some time on Saturday helping DD20 get ready to leave for India.

    I have to give her credit - she was SO organized! She finished her fall semester at school on Fri. Dec. 14. She came home that Saturday and we left for Disney on Wed. Dec. 19. She then left for 4 months of studying abroad from Orlando. Originally when we planned this trip, we were going to stay until Jan. 1 and then drive home and be home by Jan. 2. DD was supposed to leave for India on Jan. 3 or 4th from Chicago. So we figured we'd get home, she'd have at least 1 day to reorganize and repack. Then, literally like a month before Christmas, she got word that they moved up the departure day to Dec. 31! :bitelip:

    That put us into a small panic, but we made it work. We shaved one night off our trip and made arrangements for DD to leave from Orlando instead of Chicago.

    So Saturday was our reorganization day. We did a final Target run for her last minute items and she had to print some documents that had been emailed to her while we were on our trip. So we found the business center at AKL! The CM at the front desk let us in. Since this was a "behind the scenes" area and we were left alone there, I decided to take some pictures, so here you go.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then we wandered around the lobby and store and took some more pictures before heading back to the room.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    These eggs they sell in the store are so gorgeous. Maybe someday I'll buy one!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Up next - Sunrise Safari!!
     
  19. rockinrollercoasters

    rockinrollercoasters Earning My Ears

    Joined:
    May 27, 2009
    Messages:
    19
    Your pictures are beautiful and they make me look forward to our trip in November even more! The kids were excited to see the food and chocolate milk in the club lounge. They are all about the snacks!

    You have a beautiful family! I hope your daughter has a great time in India.
     
  20. lilpooh108

    lilpooh108 DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2010
    Messages:
    4,333
    Your girls are beautiful and you look like such a happy family. Great pics of the club level offerings. Can't wait to see more.
     
  21. momof2disprincesses

    momof2disprincesses I love my INCREDIBLE family!!!

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,634
    Thanks so much for these kind words! Are you staying Club Level in November? It was really wonderful. We felt very pampered and all commented on how we'd like to do it again.

    My daughter has been in India for almost a month now and she is having amazing adventures and loving the culture and people very much!

    Thanks for following along. :goodvibes
     

Share This Page