A Very Mickey Christmas Trip Report: ***DAY FIVE JUST ADDED ***

Discussion in 'Gay and Lesbian at Disney' started by Viki, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. Viki

    Viki <font color="green">Mid-town Manhattan, anyone?</f

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    I am going to have photos - really, lots and lots of them. In fact my partner, Gwen, was up at 4:30 AM on Black Friday and on her way to Best Buy by 5:00 AM so that she could "steal," for only $39.00, a 1 GB memory card for her new toy - a digital camera that she bought special for this trip. So there will be photos, really, just as soon as I figure out how to wrestle them out of her camera and on to this board.

    In the meantime, here is the cast of characters:

    Viki: that's me, a 47 year old consultant who grew up in Florida, endlessly shepherding northern family and friends through the Magic Kingdom as they visited in June, July, and August, loving those 100 degree days and those 90 minute waits. The only relief in sight was the "free" (this was back in the days of E-tickets) Eastern Airlines continuous load ride. I loved that airline. For years afterwards, I flew that airline no matter what. I didn't even compare fares. If Eastern flew where I was going, I flew it there. That's product loyalty, but they had earned it, saving me from more than one summer swelter!

    Gwen: My partner of nearly years, a research scientist who came late to her Disney addiction, but with my determined enabling, she has blossomed into a proud DVC owner who even allows - sometimes even encourages- cash-based supplemental trips, when my TA and I can come up with some great group rates.

    DD (17) and DS (16): Let's sum up their relationship with disney with this story- we've raised them since birth, but when their adoptions finally came through five years later we left the courthouse promising that we'd book the first trip to disneyworld that we could find. We've been booking such trips ever since.

    Danny and John: two long time "menz" friends who we've been attempting to tempt to disney for years. John's been good to go, but Danny (the adorable snob), was more than reluctant. Finally, 15 months ago I assured him that while they were always invited to join us, I was never going to invite them (beg them) again. Of course that promise immediately elicited his conviction that he was coming with us on our next trip no matter what. Oh my, how's that for contrarian?

    We were also joined 8 nights in by my sister, BIL, and Dear Neice, all of whom still live in the Orlando area where we grew up, for a festive night at Ohana. As an aside let me add that although I'll write up dining reviews, complete with photos of course, at some point in the near future, I will also mention the quality of our meals in passing here in this thread and I'll do this because we are all total food addicts and for us good eating is good vacationing.

    NIGHT ONE: LET'S TALK WITH THE ANIMALS

    [​IMG]

    OK, this trip was always conceived as a Beach Club Villas vacation, at least from the point at which I asked Danny which he would prefer: the rock and roll experience of life perched on the edge of the BW or the more laid back Cape May experience of BCV. Being an adorable snob we all know which he chose. But here's the kicker: Gwen and I had to fly out one night earlier. Yup. We HAD to, no choice in the matter, and that's because we could not find a decent fare for a trip out on a Saturday, so if we were going to spend the money anyway, we reasoned, let's spend it on disney and not the airlines (Easter airlines went backrupt years ago, now prices matter). So, given that we have already booked a 10-night disney stay for August 2007 at AKL in celebration of our 20th anniversary, we decided to spend one night at AKL concierge just for the pure heck of it.

    Now understand, we have never resort hopped. We are much more likely to nest and root than hop and skip. But we love animals and we knew, from all of my research, that we would love concierge, so there we were, flying in for one very short, late night stay.

    Later, as it turned out, than we anticipated. Our flight landed before 7 PM, but it was well after 9 PM before we landed at AKL. We love disney transportation. We never complain about the in-house buses. We wait when waiting is called for and we like it. No driving, no parking, no worries. But this Magial Express is something else. I guess we're pampered, used to hiring a small van that takes us and only us from airport to resort and back again. I was prepared for our luggage arriving hours after touchdown; I was not prepared for us arriving at our resort hours after touchdown. But that was the case. First there were the waits for the bus to leave, and then there was Pop Century, Coronado Springs, and finally AKL.

    But that was the bottom and really not such a low one and it was all up, up, and away after that. A very nice cast member whisked us up to the 6th floor concierge lounge, even giving us a brief but informative tour of the resort on our way up. An attentive staff checked us in, offered us refreshments, and took care of several items for us at check in. After that we quickly checked out our room on the 5th floor, quite a hike away, but worth it for the stunning Savannah view. The room was nice, but we didn't dally, thinking there's got to be a meal here somewhere and headed - we thought - straight towards Mara to find out exactly, after months of wondering, what a zebra dome actually tastes like.

    Well here's where things really go UP! Bottoming out on the first floor, where I knew all the good eats, Jiko, Boma, and Mara were, I was struck giddy when turning the corner from the elevators, I realized we were standing in Boma and I could spy EMPTY tables. I jumped. I didn't even ask the kids and barely asked Gwen. I just jumped and then begged the lovely CM staffing the counter, "Is there any chance we could eat here?" She must have seen the gleam in my eyes, because she smiled brightly, pulled out a beeper, and said with such a sweet smile, "I think something can be arranged." Wow. And it was, just like that. And it was great. It was nearly 10 PM and there's no way we should have eaten spicy food at that hour, but we did. And it was great and what the heck the zebra outside our room kept me and my reflux company the rest of the evening, right up until to dawn.

    Yum, yum. After dinner we continued our tour of the beautiful pool with its aqua waters and two satellite hot tubs. The kids got right into the swing of things by hitting the arcade; we checked out the firepits, further savannahs, and good times were had by all until we collapsed into bed, exhausted from travel and a wonderful arrival.

    Let me wrap this up by saying that AKL draws you right in. I can easily imagine arriving at this resort in August and never even making it to Vicky and AL's for that anniversary dinner.

    More to come, but probably not until Wednesday!

    :sunny: :sunny: :sunny:
     
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  3. johnsonet

    johnsonet DIS Veteran

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    Welcome home!
    AKL is my absolute favorite resort. Concierge, in particular, is Heaven! So glad you had a great trip! Looking fwd. to reading more. You obviously enjoyed it since I see from your countdown that you're going back for your Anniversary. CONGRATULATIONS!!
     
  4. Valentine

    Valentine <font color=purple>BL II - Purple Team<br><font co

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    Welcome home Vicki :) Wow.. you really are making me feel back about lack of trip report now!! LOL!! Sounds like you made lemonade out of those lemons!! Glad you were able to have a good first night!! Can't wait to hear the rest .. although I do have in inside bit of info re: the evening at Rose & Crown!! Can't wait to hear it from your point of view though!! LOL!!


    Kathy
     
  5. Viki

    Viki <font color="green">Mid-town Manhattan, anyone?</f

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    Well, as you all can see, I'm in the process of adding pictures, but I can't seem to get them any smaller than the one above. I'm using photobucket and I've reduced it to 25% of its original size, but frankly, I'm not seeing the difference. Anyway, I'll keep trying!

    :sunny: :sunny: :sunny:
     
  6. Viki

    Viki <font color="green">Mid-town Manhattan, anyone?</f

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    This is the view we had when we woke up on our full first day, Saturday Dec 3rd:

    [​IMG]

    And here's another just a wee bit later in the morning:[​IMG]

    I know there's always debate on whether disney concierge is "worth" it or not, and by the usual standards of the debate we'd have to be found crazy for spending only 14 hours under it's auspices, a full eight of which we were sleeping. Still, we did have a great group rate, we did want to see what we might expect for our anniversary trip in August, the IPO staff obligingly made a surprising (to me) number of last minute changes to ADRs that I thought were set in stone for at least 90 days, and we had the following two experiences:

    Experience #1: Gwen and I are sitting in the concierge lounge while the teen kidlets are still dreaming of sugarplums dancing in their heads (and I'm sure that's exactly what they were dreaming about!),enjoying more breakfast than we usually partake of because breakfast is the only "full" meal concierge service and it's the only real concierge serving we're going to get, having missed the evening offerings the night before (as we enjoyed on the Magical Express's complimentary and lengthy tour of Pop and CSR) and being well on our way to the BCV before the gummy bears and pretzals make their noon appearance. Anyway, there we are enjoying our meal and the spectacular view of the lobby (really! beautiful) when I comment to Gwen that I looked for but did not find Kalahara red herbal tea in the selection of offerings. Friends, no sooner were those words out of mouth then a voice behind my left ear leaned over ever so gently and asked, "What didn't we have?" After lifting my jaw off my chest, I handed the inquiring CM the empty tea bag cover, which she received as if it were gold all the while assuring me that they would do their very best to have it in stock by August. Oh my, I guess I'm easy, but really, I just fell in love right then and there.

    I don't have a picture of my new lady love (sorry, Gwen!), but here's some nice pics of AKL concierge:
    [​IMG] [​IMG][​IMG]

    And here's me standing on a suspension bridge that spans the AKL lobby:[​IMG]
     
  7. Viki

    Viki <font color="green">Mid-town Manhattan, anyone?</f

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    I am still trying to shrink these photos!

    Well, you can see how long this report might get when I have to cover 10 days and I'm still messing around with the first 14 hours. Sheesh. And we haven't even gotten to what happens when I drink anything stronger than this:
    [​IMG]

    That's the red tea incident. Here's some "hot" concierge offerings:
    [​IMG]

    And here's one gorgeous family:[​IMG] if I do say do myself... and, YES, we are finally on our way out midmorning, but that brings me to

    Experience #2: On our way out, as our bellman collected our luggage to transfer it to BCV, he said, and I quote, "I know you're moving to the BVC and I know you only spent one night here, but if you all need anything for the rest of your stay, please do not hesitate to call us, because you started your trip here and we'll take care of you!"

    OK, now it's bigamy for sure. I've really got to toughen up. I had tears in my eyes!

    Next installment: BCV here we come!
    And, as you can see, the photos are shrinking. Big sigh of relief!
     
  8. disneynutt1225

    disneynutt1225 <font color=deeppink>I'm a fruit loop girl<br><fon

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    Vicki, I feel as though I was there with you! The comment about the reflux and the zebra had me :rotfl:. Sorry about the discomfort, but it was really funny. Can't wait to read more!
     
  9. Valentine

    Valentine <font color=purple>BL II - Purple Team<br><font co

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    Great update and GREAT JOB WITH THE PICS!!!! Your kids are just gorgeous!!!! WOW...What a sweet family!! Aren't the concierge CM's just the best at the AK?? They are.. in my opinion.. the best of the best on property. My 2 faves being Juanita and Don... they are like family to me.. .I haven't stayed there in a while since I usually stay DVC now.. but I always make it a point to stop there at least once during my visit to say hi!

    Looking forward to your next installment.. I know you are quite busy catching up with your life... But give me some must sees for the holiday stuff since I am now heading down the first week in January and will be there for the holiday decorations! A plus I was not considering!

    Kathy :earboy2:
     
  10. True North

    True North Mouseketeer

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    Viki! I love your report so far! I can dream of my family beeing right their beside you. I can't wait to hear about the days inside the park, and of course, when you have something to drink a bit stronger then the tea. ;)

    Looking at the posters on this thread is starting to remind me of another thread I visit often. :) Can't wait for more updates!
     
  11. icebrat001

    icebrat001 <font color=teal>Foot flusher<br><font color=orang

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    Wow great pics. Man, that makes me not want to take my first trip to WDW until I can stay there. Beautiful.

    It's so hard to give up a cruise and convince SO to go to WDW though. Hmm...
     
  12. Valentine

    Valentine <font color=purple>BL II - Purple Team<br><font co

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    :smooth: Don't I know you from somewhere??? LOL!!! :rotfl2:
     
  13. THE HAT

    THE HAT <font color=green>I admit it, I'm a gum smacker!<b

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    MORE MORE MORE!!!!! :Pinkbounc :Pinkbounc :Pinkbounc
     
  14. bubie2.5

    bubie2.5 <font color=red>Oh, so that's what a tag fairie do

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    Great trip report!!!! We want more!
     
  15. T&KHayes

    T&KHayes Mouseketeer

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    So far so good Viki! After reading just the beginning I am thoroughly jealous! :teeth: And to me that means one great trip report.

    And my my you have quite a following! These names look vaguely familiar to me....maybe it was in a dream...no wait it's all coming back to me now. I think somehow we are related? :rotfl2: I will be coming back later for more!
     
  16. joanjett1976

    joanjett1976 <font color=blue>Shane in the study with the candl

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    Well, here we all are!

    Great first report, great family pic :earsgirl:
    Such a cute family!

    More, more, more...
     
  17. Cinerama

    Cinerama Mouseketeer

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    Great report so far---and I love the pics!! I'll be looking for more--the longer and more detailed the better! Thanks!
     
  18. Viki

    Viki <font color="green">Mid-town Manhattan, anyone?</f

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    In case you were wondering, there a lot of animals at AKL! :rotfl2: No, really, there are. Recently I read a post where someone booked a Savannah room and didn't see any animals. Bummer! They (the animals) must have been visiting me, as I had full-scale, all-night chaperones, with at least one zebra, usually standing stock still, like a good horse dozing on its feet, as a constant companion. Here they are by the light of day:

    [​IMG]

    Well, finally time to say goodbye. My gosh it was so hard to extract ourselves from this resort after only 14 hours. What are we going to do in August after 10 days? You all are going to have send search parties into the jungle to find us!

    So, it's with some trepidation that we finally manage to begin the transition to our much beloved BCV, though honestly that anxiety is a mixture of multiple factors, not all of which have anything to do with AKL. In short, here are a few others:

    We've never resort hopped. Will our luggage really hop with us? (Answer: Yes, indeedy. In fact it will hop a lot faster than disney magic can make it express - oops, sensing a theme here).

    In the last few years, as we've aged and wisened (more the latter than the former of course!), we've narrowed our trips to the World down to September and January. So, all holiday-inspired propaganda aside, how crowded are the parks the first week in December? (Answer: Very!!! And don't let anyone tell you otherwise! In fact, since my return, this is beginning to become a real pet peave with me. I keep reading posts where folk are practically begging to be told the truth - yes, Virginia there are LINES for RIDES in December - while well meaning, but very confused, people keep responding, "No worries. We were there the week after Thanksgiving and walked on to everything while eating around the world with no ADRs." And I keep thinking, how is the week after Thanksgiving DECEMBER??? When did that happen? On whose calendar? I am perfectly willing to believe that after Thanksgiving people fly home. But folks, believe me, they are running a relay race with other people, passing the holidays-at-disney baton to whole other sqauds of runners who, by the beginning of the REAL Decemeber - when we arrived - are picking up speed and headed straight for the same parks and restaurants you are. That's their goal and they will not be slowed. In the real December there are 90 minute waits for Test Track. I'm sorry, that's not right. Not even my teenagers think that's right. It's a nice ride. Some might even consider it a thrill ride. But come on, be honest, it's mostly vaguely uncomfortable and not worth a ninety minute wait - EVER. OK - breathing calmly again, but don't mistake that for closure. I'm not done; this subject will resurface!).

    December is crowded. Early December is crowded. But, to be fair, on the upside, it's not going to be quite as warm as September. So, the question is, will it be cool enough to look really good? I'm not into shoes, not like some people I know (you know who you are, and yes I'm reading your posts, if not having the time to respond, back there, over the rainbow); I'm into jackets. Nice jackets. Fun jackets. Big, bold, splashy jackets, that say, "Big, Beautiful, and Bold, so Bring it!" You can't wear those in September. I can't. No one can. It's not a matter of suffering for fashion (good thing). In the Fla heat, it becomes a matter of dying for fashion (not a good thing - No, really, come on!, you know it's true, NOT a good thing, repeat after me, boys - and girls - NOT a good thing). So, I wondered, with some small degree of trepidation, after packing four gorgeous jackets, is it cold enough to wear these, not only at night, but maybe even during the day, dare I hop? Or, am I going to have to listen to Gwen repeatedly mention that there is half a closet going unworn? (Sheepish Answer: It's not cold enough. Not during the day. Not during the night. Almost not ever. Though, finally, I did squeeze in a genuine wearable moment on the very last night as we watched Wishes from the observation deck of California Grill. Nice moment. I looked good. But that's it. Sigh.)

    And then there is the final trepidation. The real trepidation. The giant trepidation against which all of the others are mere projections, and that is the pressing question: Can SCROOGE be redeemed - one more time? A Classic Christmas Carol in black and white, a Star Trek flavored Christmas Carol with that French captain, a Bill Murray Scrooged as full blown and over the top as only Bill can manage. All good. All the same theme. Can someone that grouchy, that mean-spirited, that crummugety, towards all things good, be redeemed from the sure and certain fate towards which he is headed? The question presses because although I love him as surely as Tiny Tim somehow managed to spy the loveable in dear old Scrooge, my dear life long friend Danny, by refusing for decades to succomb to the blessings of the Land of the Sacred Mouse (and my continual begging, ah, invitations), was surely forging the same weighty chains that Marley bore from this world to the next. Just as we're transitioning from AKL to BCV, Danny and his partner John, are journeying toward this one last chance to see the light (Danny swore this would be his one and only trip for an entire lifetime) and I'm holding my breathe to see whether or not they get the faith.

    Let me give you a hint. This is my boy. The BEFORE picture:



    [​IMG]

    Note: no hat, no pins, no joy.

    And here's the AFTER picture:

    [​IMG]

    Enough said.
     
  19. Saxton

    Saxton DIS Veteran

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    Hey, haven't I met some of you before? Viki - I'm loving the trip report, the family picture is great! I can't believe you converted him ... well, actually I can believe it because who could not love WDW? So when are you planning your next trip with the guys? By the way, remember that we all behaved ourselves at the Rose and Crown!
     
  20. Valentine

    Valentine <font color=purple>BL II - Purple Team<br><font co

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    Another great installment Vik!!!! Getting me all excited now as I sit here all bundled up in FREEZING NY... Just a few more days and off to see the Mouse!! YAY!! Keep em coming!!! MOre Pics.. I want to see the one of you looking Stunning at the CA Grill!! :)

    kathy
     
  21. fizz13

    fizz13 <font color=33cc99>Dreams about being stuck on Spa

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    Well those pics say it all really, he has been officially pixiedusted!

    Claire xx
     

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