A Daddy-Daughter Adventure TR - Sep'10@AKV - UPDATED 3/31 Post #130

Discussion in 'DVC-Mousecellaneous' started by stopher1, Dec 16, 2010.

  1. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    A long time ago, well not really that long ago in the scheme of things, but about 6 years ago… I had two sons that I treated each to their own Father/Son Adventure … to Walt Disney World. Both of them. Individually. Just my son and I. And both trips were awesome! The elder was just 8 at the time, and the younger was 5. And we had such fun together… making lots of cool memories that they both still talk about to this day. :)

    Earlier in that same year, my daughter was born. Now while we did in fact, as a family, take our daughter on a plane and head west when she was just 6 weeks old (and enjoyed both Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure on that trip), her time would just have to wait to be able to fully enjoy a special one-on-one trip with her dear old dad. Well that time arrived this year, and that’s what this little narrative is all about: My Daddy Daughter Adventure with my own little in-house princess. A tale full of Disney princesses, characters, animals and other fun stuff.

    Before I get too far into the bulk of the story though, let me give a little bit of info, especially for anyone who hasn’t read through or enjoyed any of my prior trip reports. I am a former cast member of the original magical little park that Walt Disney himself created…Disneyland… and as such, the training (read indoctrination) that I received all those years ago has stuck with me in the two decades that have passed since. I tend to take everything in with a critical eye towards the overall “show”, and tend to be a bit anal towards many of the details that I see (or don’t see) about any given thing… an attraction, a restaurant, resort or experience. I also am one to enjoy many things that aren’t necessarily the big crowd pleasers or draws. I love to stop and take in the details, and “smell the roses” if you will. Like Walt and many of his imagineers through the years, I LOVE the details and little plusses to the parks that are there for no other reason but to augment the show. So just be forewarned, you just might experience some of that in the posts ahead. I also tend to document my trips with a lot of pictures… so hopefully you won’t mind seeing a few pics here and there… and there… and there… and there… ;) I also tend to get a bit "chatty", so hopefully my droning on won't bore you too much. But hey, if you've chosen to stick to it and read this far, you might as well just go all in and come along for the ride.

    In the years that have ensued since I took my sons on their adventures (and we stayed off site in the Marriott Village at Little Lake Bryan, across the 4 from the Hotel Plaza resorts there by Downtown Disney), our family joined DVC (as you can no doubt tell by my signature), and ever since have enjoyed those resorts, in addition to the other non-DVC resorts that we enjoyed together as a family prior to becoming members. We haven't yet stayed at all of the DVC resorts, but are working on it. So far we're at 6 of the 10 existing resorts, and are looking forward to that 11th one on that tropical island out in the Pacific Ocean). We have lived in the midwest for nearly 9 years now (job transfer - but the HQ is located in Irvine, CA ... just about 15 minutes from "the mothership" in Anaheim - and lots of family & friends are still out west, so annual trips back are normal for us, often more frequently for me), and we have enjoyed many family trips to Florida ever since we first arrived. My DW and I honeymooned at WDW (Grand Floridian), and work takes me to Florida regularly. So you won't be surprised when I say I've been there a lot. In fact I have been to WDW, staying both onsite and off, 49 times now since my very first visit when I was 21 (growing up in So Cal, there was no need to go to Florida, when we had "Walt's park", just 30 minutes away!). I do take great pleasure in being able to visit WDW in a combination of family and solo trips (most typically tagged on to the end of a business trip to the area). And look forward to many more in the future too (Spring and Fall break trips are currently on our horizon for '11).

    For this adventure, we stayed at Animal Kingdom Villas-Kidani Village. I’ll talk more about that shortly.

    So, is everybody ready? Let’s get this show rolling.

    Just like the trips I took with my sons, this wasn’t a LONG trip by any means. We spent 3 nights, and part of 4 days at the World. WHAT we did really didn’t matter to me, as she was the “driver” of the adventure – except for two special things that had been pre-arranged for. Where we began each morning, and what we did was completely decided on the fly; the luck of the draw, if you will. She definitely had a couple of things in mind going in to the trip that she KNEW she wanted to do. Our trip was over Labor Day, and Star Tours was ON HER AGENDA! Especially considering it was closing at WDW for the extended redo on September 8th (the day we would be flying home). On previous trips she was not such a ST fan, but in January when we were there with my folks, she just fell head over heals in love with that attraction. Now for me, that’s pretty cool, because I was there at Disneyland back in 1987 when it first opened, and the park hosted a 60 Hour Grand Opening Party; with the nearly 5-hour line snaking throughout Tomorrowland, around the Hub, and down Main Street, U.S.A. and all. Disneyland’s Star Tours attraction closed in July and sadly I wasn’t able to get one last ride in on the original, but by golly, since we were there right before closing in Florida, I was excited to be able to enjoy it once more in the attraction's original format. Sure I can’t wait for the new version (after 23 years, it was about time for Captain Rex to move beyond taking his "first flight" dontcha know?), but I’m a pretty big nostalgic kind of guy, so part of me wishes that the original version could still be an option of the reported several that will be in place when ST2 opens next May. But if not, I got to ride it once again. But more on that later.

    Here’s my DD and I at the airport after my DW and sons dropped us off.

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    My DW’s father was diagnosed with cancer just weeks before this trip, and she was wanting to get out to CA to spend some time with him. We determined that the best plan of action was for her to fly west the day that our DD and I returned (long story, but it was the best plan), especially since my DW didn’t want to deprive DD of her long planned trip with daddy (we’d been planning it for about a year). So more about that later too, but rather than have 2 different parking fees, she drove us, then drove to the airport the day she was leaving/we were coming home, and then DD and I drove home, and I picked her up when she arrived back to Indiana. No long term parking charge at all, just about an hour and a half charge instead. We saved about $100 that way, so we were happy with it.

    Here’s my DD watching our plane as we wait to board. About this time I got my handy little text from Brian or John at Owner’s Locker… our wonderful purple boxes were waiting for us at Kidani Village. Woo hoo. Just another reminder that we’re about to go have some fun at the east coast house of the mouse. (We are a bi-coastal family… looking forward to our Christmas visit to the west coast house, where we’ll stay at the lovely Villas at the Grand Californian or VGC :) )

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    And here we are on the plane.

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    Arrival in to Orlando! Woo hoo. We landed at about 11:45am.

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    Waiting for the airport “monorail” as my kids call it, headed for the Magical Express bus

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    We always “have to” get the first car, and they always sit at the very front :)

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    The morning was a pretty light morning at MCO, at least on the arrival side waiting for DME! After the trip over from the A side terminal to the B side and the DME check-in spot, we walked up by 12:20, and were first up in the line for the bus. Even when we got on to the bus, there were only a couple of handfuls of people on it (it seats 56) so we had our pick of seats, and there wouldn’t be a lot of stopping or unload time at other resorts. The driver announced the drop-off schedule, and we were #3 of 3. Oh well, it’s always generally an enjoyable ride, but those tv monitors are getting old and worn out. I personally think Mears needs to upgrade them. The welcome video that they play is nice, but getting so hard to see on many of the screens.

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    We have arrived!! Thanks to a very short line at the airport, and not many people on the bus with only two stops ahead of ours, we arrived at AKV-KV by 1pm. That was terrific. I’ve only experienced one shorter trip from the airport, so I called it good and we were happy.

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    Boy, at this point I'm seeing that this adventure took place 3 full months ago now, and I've been to both DL and WDW since then... but waiting to do the TR is sure helping to bring it back to mind. My last couple of TR's have been started LIVE while on-site, but now I get to go back and relive it. Kinda fun! Especially looking at those mostly beautiful weather pictures ahead… it definitely beats the 7 inches or more of snow that I’m currently looking at out my window.

    So next up… the exciting fun that check-in brought… and WHERE would we go to spend the afternoon and evening? Decisions, decisions... but getting some lunch was DEFINITELY on the agenda, I will say that, pretty much top priority at that point. A hungry 6 year old can at times be a cranky 6 year old :rotfl: .
     
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  3. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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  4. ajf1007

    ajf1007 DIS Veteran

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    Can't wait to hear more! What a wonderfully special time with your kids, so nice that they each get their own trip! Memories that last a lifetime!

    Bring on the next post!
     
  5. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Glad to see you're starting a new report! Looking forward to it.
     
  6. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    Welcome! Thanks. Yeah they are pretty special memories, and it's really cool that the kids keep talking about them.

    And I'm working on it!

    Welcome! Glad you made it over. The scary thing is I'm also working on one for my bi-coastal trip a couple of weeks ago... we'll see how that goes. :confused3
     
  7. Disney Princess

    Disney Princess <font color=red>Member Since Day 1<br><font color=

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    What a precious girl you have. I am looking forward to reading more!
     
  8. afwdwfan

    afwdwfan DIS Dad #460

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    Really looking forward to that one as well. After seeing some of the pictures and video you posted on the Dads forum, I can't wait to read your trip report to go with them.
     
  9. DisneyDadC

    DisneyDadC Dis Dad Member #187 Keep calm and Dole Whip

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    Look at you hiding this over here on the DVC board.
    Hey if I fill you in with details can you write my trip report????:lmao::rotfl2:I am in and as always I am sure you won disappoint lol
     
  10. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    Not not hiding Carl! This is where I've always put my TR's. Besides, if I didn't want you to know about it, I wouldn't have posted about it in the DDC, now would I?

    Sorry bud, you'll have to use your own details to write your own report... I have 2 to write already.
     
  11. kikiq

    kikiq DIS Veteran

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    I'm in and loving it so far. And I get what you mean by looking at things through CM "glasses". My youngest DD was in the WDW CP and my oldest works PT with Disney plus my DH does Disney contract work...those are very different paradigms that they have shown me.
     
  12. dvczerfs

    dvczerfs DIS Veteran

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    :thumbsup2 im in. love reading your trip reports. always alot of pics too.:thumbsup2
     
  13. Captain_Oblivious

    Captain_Oblivious DIS Dad #257

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    Hey Stopher, I'm here. Your daughter is a cutie! And I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the pictures and hearing about AKL/Kidani.
     
  14. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    Welcome! Yeah, it is a different way to look at it. But I've always had such an affinity for it anyway. The training all those years ago certainly helped in my various professional roles though too, which my two non-Disney employers have enjoyed capitalizing on as well.


    Welcome Dave! It took me a couple of times of re-reading your statement :rotfl: I was wondering exactly what you were in love with :rotfl2: But then I got it. Definitely one time that capitalization would have helped avoid confusion! :)

    Hey Mark! Welcome. Thanks.

    And I'm still dragging my way through yours there buddy. Sorry, it's taken me much too long. But I saw that you've marked it as complete now, so I know there's a light at the end of my s - l - o - w tunnel now :thumbsup2 I'll comment one of these days again too. :) It has been a very enjoyable read though, even without shooting off my mouth. Many things have left me just rolling.
     
  15. cseca

    cseca <font color=darkorchid>My legs are wimpy but my wi

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    aaaawwww... what an awesome idea!
    Although there ain't no way I'm letting DH take DD without me to WDW/DL... :rotfl:

    I could be convinced of being left in the hotel for a week while they have their Daddy/daughter vacation tho... hehe...

    What a beautiful little girl you have. Can't wait for the next update.
     
  16. dvczerfs

    dvczerfs DIS Veteran

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    :lmao: sorry. :lmao: love them both. the report and the pics!!:thumbsup2
     
  17. Muushka

    Muushka <font color=red>I usually feel like I just stepped

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    Hi Stopher :wave: I'm here too enjoying your trip report too. It is so nice to have a person attached to a screen name! Barb
     
  18. franandaj

    franandaj I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!

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    I'm in! You always take great pictures and tell good stories!
     
  19. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    No worries Dave, it was just kind of funny.

    Yay, Barb's here! It is nice, isn't it? I had such fun with you and Mr. Muush and the others...

    Hey Alison! Nice to "see" you here too. Thanks for the compliment (but now the pressure is on.... uh oh, I have to try and make it worth your while now) ;)
     
  20. stopher1

    stopher1 <img src=http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/images

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    This stay marked my third at Animal Kingdom. The first was in October 2008 over in Jambo House, because of course Kidani didn’t open until May 2009. The second was in January of this year, in Kidani Village, when we brought my folks along, and was part 2 of a 3 resort split stay. Then we were in a lovely 2-bedroom lockoff on the 3rd floor, overlooking the Sunset Savannah, about halfway down to the pool area. It was a great stay, and is detailed in my Triple Whammy report. So enough of that here.

    We walked across through the porte cachere to the lobby, and were quickly greeted with the customary, “Welcome Home” by several CM’s and proceeded right over the front desk. Knowing of course that DVC check-in time isn’t technically until 4pm or later, I had tried to keep my DD’s spirits in check, since we just might not be able to get in to the room right away…which at this point, being 6, is exactly what she wanted to do. She was already “tired” and wanted to take a rest before going anywhere…except to find lunch. But, the odds were clearly in our favor, and our room was ready, probably just because it was the end of the summer and many schools had already started back in session (definitely true in Central Indiana) so traveling families were fewer. Did I mention that we homeschool our two youngest? Oops, a small detail left out. Not that if she were in traditional school I’d have any problem of giving her a little break being that she’s just in the first grade…but that’s another topic for a different thread, so no flames allowed here. Our eldest is now a freshman in high school, and this year we enrolled him in the local school, so the flexibility of our past will certainly take a nose dive as we have to conform to that schedule like so many other people. But we can live with that.

    When I left the desk, something was just gnawing at me. I just had the feeling that something was weird, but couldn’t figure out what it was. As soon as we got to the room… I knew exactly what it was. It was definitely the feeling of déjà vu, but not just the feeling!

    The room that we were assigned

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    was the exact studio portion of our 2 bedroom lockoff from January! This was my daughter’s grandparents’ room, and it was just pretty funny. Despite the months that had passed, I just knew that it was… and then sure enough, after a few minutes of letting her rest (she was so “tired”, remember?) I hopped on the laptop and explored the pictures from January. And sure enough – there it was. We got such a kick out of it. I always take pictures of the room number/door for the scrapbooks, etc. and there it was.

    It’s your basic studio room of course, but some folks may not have stayed in a studio at AKV, or for that matter, in a DVC studio… so I share.

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    The view seemed pretty animal-less at that time. They were there, just not in droves at that moment in time. A couple of Ankole Cattle were lying down off in the distance, between & behind some of the trees, and I couldn't zoom far enough to get them.

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    At this point it was getting close to 2:15 and the real pondering began. We reviewed the park hours and times guides for the various parks, and saw that the Main Street Electrical Parade (one of my absolute favorites) would be running down Main Street that evening, provided the pending rain didn’t call it off.

    We saw that the weather was nice still, and we wanted to swim. Our neighborhood pool closes down for the season every Labor Day… and here we were the day before Labor Day and she wouldn’t get her last swim of the season in. So that suddenly became an option.

    We saw the various shows at the different parks and she pondered what she might like to do.

    Should we hop on a bus and just eat in a park? Should we stay and swim? Hmmm…

    I am very much a “take charge” kind of guy – especially where Disney parks are concerned… and it was driving me crazy – BUT – as I had promised her, except for the 2 must-do pre-arranged things… this was all about her and she would drive. So I waited. And waited some more while she deliberated.
    Finally she decided. We would go eat. At The Mara over in Jambo House, and then come back to enjoy the pool and water play area at Kidani. I was good with that – so off we went on our excursion over to Jambo House.

    Knowing that the park buses stopping at Kidani then go over to Jambo House, we hopped on the first bus that showed up and rode over. After our meal we walked back. It's not a bad walk at all, IMO, even with a 6 year old in tow.

    When we walked in, I was happy to see one of my favorite CM's there - Rose. I've seen here numerous times on the trips that I've been there, and every single time she has been a delight. Just seeing her brought a smile to my face. :)

    Before leaving home, my DW gave me a mandate... "be sure to take pictures of our daughter! and not just scenery shots!" So alas, I don't have any pictures of inside The Mara to share... :sad2: On a typical trip, I'll come home with about 150-300 pictures per day of the trip. And on this one I tried really hard to make sure that my percentage was heavily tilted towards including my DD and not just "scenery shots" as my DW likes to call them. Ugh. They're DISNEY shots, expanding my WDW/DL library every trip, and not just "scenery", but I digress.

    We ordered and enjoyed a table off on the far side of the dining room, in view of the tv playing the Mickey Mouse cartoons. We ate, talked, laughed and just had a nice time. :) Like any other meal with my DD, she got full half way through, and declared herself done. I ate a little bit more of her food, and neither of us were inclined to partake of our dessert at that time (we were on the Quick Service Dining Plan). I filled up my refillable mug with Cherry Coke :love: (since they don't offer Cherry Coke, just regular and Diet Coke over at Kidani at both refill stations in Johari Treasures and at the Maji pool bar) and we got ready for our walk back over to Kidani. I will say that while The Mara is a nice little counter service option, it really feels to me that they designed it on the cheap. There are just so many wonderful environments through AKV... but the majority of the Mara just feels cheap and tacky to me. The area over where you order your food, and pay for your food is nicely themed, fitting in with the overall theme of the resort... but the general dining / seating area, really feels like somebody's basement, or even a high school / youth room of an old church basement that has been painted to try and feel hip, fresh and relevant...but doesn't quite hit the mark. The wallpaper is tacky, the lighting is terrible, and it just doesn't live up to the rest of the resort. Sad really, because so many other counter service locations throughout the World do hit the mark. Even without having pictures from this trip... it really isn't all that much to look at, so you really aren't missing anything.

    Off we went on our way back to Kidani. Swimming time! I love the pool, love the slide, and love the water play part. And two hot tubs is a nice treat as well. :thumbsup2

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    Samawati Springs and Uwanga Camp are great fun in my book.

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    It was, sadly, in her opinion, time to leave the pool. BUT she had said earlier that she'd like to go somewhere else yet today...and we had agreed upon a time to leave the pool... so up next, which bus would we get on?And what would we do?
     
  21. that's nice

    that's nice DIS Dad #330

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    Count me in! I hope to someday take my DD to WDW... I don't think my wife will let me go... without her too! :lmao:
     

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