I Love Unexpected Trips!!! AKL and Beach Club Here We Come!

Discussion in 'Pre-Trip Reports and Plans' started by DLFan123, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    Hello to everyone and welcome to my pre-trip report for the trip that almost didn't happen! We have officially decided we can do a trip to WDW in late May. We really didn't think this would happen this early in the year, and we were tentatively planning a December trip in 2013. But that just seemed so far off! I was having a really hard time thinking I had to wait that long to get back to WDW. In order to quench our thirst for WDW, we pulled out the puzzle we'd purchased as a souvenir last year during our visit. We completed the 500 piece Disney Parks puzzle in just one evening. I know...that makes us sound kind of lame.

    Here it is, the puzzle that inspired the trip:
    [​IMG]
    The point is, DP can never focus on things like this for more than a couple of hours, and yet she was the one pushing me to continue with the puzzle. So my little wheels started to turn...maybe she was thinking about a trip to WDW as much as I was. On top of that, it is Magical Memories week on Wheel of Fortune. Ok ok...now I know we sound really lame FOR SURE. We started watching on Monday, entering the bonus round puzzle on the wheel website daily to attempt to win the magical sweepstakes. This seemed to push DP even further into Disney's clutches. Wednesday I made my move, after a few failed attempts. After explaining how we could actually make this trip happen, I had finally convinced her!

    Now for a little background information. This is me.
    [​IMG]
    I'm 34 years old, and I live in Denver, but I grew up in Phoenix. I spent my summers at Disneyland and that will always be my favorite park and a source of some memories I hold most dear.

    My travelling companion is my DP, also 34 and from Phoenix. This is her:
    [​IMG]
    (She hates this picture, but I think it's cute, because she never wants to do corny poses in pics but for some reason must have been in a good mood this day!)
    She had been to Disneyland a few times prior to our first trip together, which took place in 2010. What a fantastic trip! And since then, we've basically been Disney tripping fools. A friend at work convinced me we had to venture to WDW, so we made our first trip at her recommendation (thanks, DawnH!) in May of 2011. We stayed at the BC and loved it, the whole experience of WDW! We've been to Disneyland several times since then, and managed to make our second trip to WDW in April of 2012.

    So back to our trip planning...after we had made the decision to take this trip, we spent the next 24 hours laboring over where we would stay, and last night I booked our resorts and flights! We get in very late our first night, so I was hesitant to spring for a deluxe resort for that night. Who needs deluxe with the new AOA resort, right?
    [​IMG]
    (Photo taken from tripadvisor)
    Absolutely adorable, and we have a one-night stay planned there the first night of our trip in a Little Mermaid Room!

    The next two nights, we will be staying at AKL.
    [​IMG]

    We have never stayed at this resort (nor at aoa), so we will get to experience two new resorts this trip!

    Finally it will be on to our favorite, the Beach Club for the last nights of our trip! I can't even believe how lucky and blessed we are to be able to make all this happen!

    In just over 3 months, we will be here:
    [​IMG]

    So where will we be dining on this trip? I've already got some ADRs booked at the following restaurants:

    Day 1
    Sci-Fi Lunch
    Sanaa Dinner

    Day 2
    Yak & Yeti Lunch

    Day 3
    No ADRs so far
    Beaches and Cream Dinner (or dessert:blush:)

    Day 4
    No ADRs

    Day 5
    Coral Reef Dinner

    Day 6
    Tony's Town Square Dinner

    Day 7
    Mama Melrose Fantasmic Dinner Package

    Day 8
    Cape May Clambake

    We want to focus on eating a little more spontaneously this trip, so I don't think I'll be making more ADRS than we have, with the exception of maybe 1 or 2 additions. There are some counter service places I can't wait to eat again and some new ones I'd like to try. This will also be easier on our budget, therefore allowing us to afford the deluxe resort stays for the most of our trip.

    Coral Reef and Mama Melrose will be new table service restaurants for us, and I am super excited to try these despite some mixed reviews.
     
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  3. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    Well after a long night's sleep and some discussion about the pros and cons and the minimal added expense of staying on the Concierge Level at AKL, we have decided to do it! :cool1: You only live once, right? My DP and I both agreed, we aren't staying at AKL to be near animal views; we would spring for a savannah view so we can enjoy the views from our own in-room balcony. The cost of that isn't much less than just going ahead and booking club level, so I just went ahead and did that! I have heard that all club level rooms offer a view of the savannah. I will confirm that before our trip. :thumbsup2

    Now for the safaris...I posted another thread asking for advice on which safaris to take, and I have been hearing from others about Wanyama Safari, Sunrise Safari, and now I have just learned about the Night Vision Safari. I think I am leaning towards the Sunrise Safari and maybe also the Night Vision Safari. The Wanyama Safari is just too costly, and I think if we are on club level, we need to plan to eat at least one "meal" from the snack offerings in he lounge just to make it cost effective. If we have prepaid for a nice night of dining at Jiko, I just know I will be full and won't have room to really enjoy the club level offerings.

    We have our flights arrangements made but haven't booked our Magical Express transport from the airport yet. As we will be getting in at 10:40 pm, we won't be able to use the luggage service (fine with me).

    There is another trip coming up much sooner than our luxurious CL WDW vacation! :hourglass It is our Disneyland on a dime trip, less than 2 weeks away now. We booked this trip to spend it with our friends from New Hampshire, who are taking their two small kids cross country to see the Happiest Place on Earth.pixiedust:

    We were able to use Wyndham points for our room for the 4 nights we will be there, and we were able to use our rapid rewards points for our SW flights, only having to spend $50 out of pockets since DP didn't have quite enough points. Of course we already have our annual passes...so this is basically like a free trip!

    So I will be able to do more WDW planning after our imminent trip, which we are so looking forward to! What a great way to spend time with friends we hardly get to see! I'd much rather meet them at Disneyland than anywhere else! princess:
     
  4. lsenquiz

    lsenquiz DIS Veteran

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    following along.
     
  5. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    Great to have you! I'm going to go back and do a little editing and start adding some pics as I go along, so hopefully this pre-trip report isn't the most painful thing in the world to read. :lmao:
     
  6. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    And DP came along for the ride...

    Here it is, our weekend, and we sat so long looking at disboards on the laptop that our backsides are sore! We haven't done any of our necessary chores yet, like the laundry (although I did wash the cozy comforter we like to use while sitting on the couch with the laptop:rotfl2:), the grocery shopping, or the cleaning (even though we have people coming over to watch the super bowl tonight). We have just been very very idle this weekend. ::yes:: We've got our whole lives to get in gear, right?

    This happens just about every time we decide to go on a trip; I get totally obsessive and can't think of anything else. When it's a DW or DL trip, this means I watch every souvenir DVD we own, email all day long at work with my friend Dawn who loves Disney Parks as much as me, listen to my Disney Parks CDs while I drive around. It gets in my blood and makes me a little crazy. This morning, I awoke to the sounds of the America song from the American Adventure in Epcot. I can't get it out of my head. Then I start singing, DP starts whistling and we're in deep.

    Last night, after we finished rewatching 101 Dalmations and had moved back on to the disboards, DP actually took a moment to glance up from the mesmerizing laptop to say to me, "I never knew I could love Disney this much." :hug: Ahhh...a match made in heaven.
     
  7. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    Our trip planning has hit its first snag. One reason we decided to book CL for our 2 nights at AKL was that I had read on the unofficial thread on DIS that ALL CL rooms have a savannah view. Now DP says she read on the allears site that not all CL rooms have a savannah view, but that some might even have parking lot views. Does anybody know what is actually current and correct? If we aren't going to have a savannah view, I don't want to pay the CL prices. I will just change back to a savannah view room. Please help!:worried:
     
  8. happybelle

    happybelle DIS Veteran

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    I can't answer your question, but I will be reading.
     
  9. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    I received an email welcome from the concierge at AKL, so I replied to it and asked them my question about the savannah view. Without answering to tell me if ALL CL rooms have a savannah view, they did confirm that we will have one for our stay. So I still don't know the actual answer, but knowing we have a savannah view waiting is fine with me! :thumbsup2
     
  10. happybelle

    happybelle DIS Veteran

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    Great news for the Savannah View.
     
  11. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    Well I haven't even stayed CL yet, and already I'm hooked. Today while I was at work, I received a phone call from someone at AKL in itinerary planning who called to follow up since I'd noted I was interested in booking one of the safaris on the welcome form they'd emailed me yesterday. The man who called was very nice and wanted to make sure my every need was met! What? I am used to calling the 1-800 number and having to wait and wait...then when my call is finally answered, it is always evident the person I'm talking to is not in Orlando, not even in Florida actually, and really has no idea how to answer my questions. I guess this extra level of service is part of what you are paying for. I was so pleased I rushed home to see if we can afford to upgrade to club level for our nights at the Beach Club. Um...not so much. But it was nice to dream a little. :cloud9:
     
  12. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    I almost forgot! I ended up booking the Sunrise Safari! Both DP and I are so excited to have this unique chance to experience KS in AK a new way! :woohoo:
     
  13. wiigirl

    wiigirl DIS Veteran

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    In for this! :)
     
  14. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    Welcome happybelle! It's great to have you! :yay:
     
  15. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    It's nice to have you reading along!
     
  16. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    Haven't had much of a chance to update you on our trip planning this week, but we did make some changes to our ADRS last night.

    First, we booked a dinner reservation for Kona for our first full day at the MK. Originally, I was concerned we'd be so hot we'd just end up back at the hotel in the evening, but now I'm thinking that if we take the monorail for a nice leisurely dinner at the Poly, we might feel less hot and more like watching the Main Street Electrical Parade this evening. So Kona is booked! This was one of our favorite meals last trip, so I can't wait to go again!

    This is the meal DP had at Kona last time:
    [​IMG]
    The tuna oscar with fried green tomatoes. They have changed their menu since she devoured this meal, so she will have to make a new selection. Thankfully they still have ahi on their menu, it is just prepared differently. I'm sure she'll order it, since ahi is one of her favs. Can't wait to get a pic of that!

    Now back to the PTR, we also flip-flopped our Fantasmic dining from a Friday night to a Thursday night, because I don't even want to brave HS twice on Star Wars Weekend. When the crowds are high in this park, it's just too much!

    We are thinking of giving Tokyo Dining a try for lunch one day. Would love to hear some feedback on that! I've read a few dining reviews on here, and some of the recent ones are really good. If you have personal experience with Tokyo Dining, please chime in!

    Next up, I will post our revised ADR list! After some more :surfweb:...hey it's Friday. Can't wait for the weekend! :banana: More time for the disboards!
     
  17. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    Hi...I'm following along! Your trip sounds so exciting so far - and as much as I love the long term planning, the shorter more spontaneous trips are so great because they are so close!!

    I was listening to the DIS podcast the other day and they mentioned that even if you don't stay on the 6th(?) floor, which is CL, you will get a room with a view - it just may be on a different floor and your KTTWC will be coded for the lounge.

    Can't wait to hear more about your trip. We considered AKL this trip, but opted for a BC/Poly split - BC is our favorite as well (details of that line of thinking are in my PTR in my sig line). We are going to do the WAT though.
     
  18. momto3gr8boys

    momto3gr8boys DIS Veteran

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    I forgot to say in my last post that I love that puzzle...and I'm just like you are - I get so into the planning...all I listen to when I run are Disney songs and the podcasts play continuously in the car :lmao: DW thinks I'm nuts, but she humors me :)

    I haven't done Tokyo dining, but did do Teppan Edo last trip and it was excellent, so I would venture to guess they would both be good.
     
  19. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    Glad to have you here! I had heard something like that about the CL at AKL. I actually think there are few rooms that are actually on the floor with the lounge, and that most of the time you have to take the elevator. That is fine with me. DP and I both tend to be fairly adventurous. :lmao:

    We have decided that the puzzles are the best souvenirs. They are so cheap to buy, and then they provide hours of entertainment. We have an awesome Disneyland puzzle that has to be the most challenging jigsaw puzzle I've ever done in my life. (And I've done a lot because I went through a "phase" in high school. :rotfl:) I will have to see if I have a pic of our completed DL puzzle and will post it here.

    One of the things I am excited to try about Tokyo Dining is the tempura. I love light fluffy batter on my fried foods! We thought about Teppan Edo, but I don't like the idea of sitting with strangers, and also wasn't sure about aggravating the other guests with our special requests, since we wouldn't want any of the meat cooked with our items. Tokyo Dining just seems like the better Japan option for us for now.
     
  20. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    :love:

    It has been a couple of days since I have updated you on our trip planning, but that is just because DP and I have been so busy discussing things, making minor adjustments, and also trying to get ready for our Disneyland trip, which according to our ticker is just 5 days away! :yay:

    Travelling is our favorite hobby, yet it never gets easier. In fact, as we get older, it seems to get harder. We just don't gear up for it as easily as we used to, and there are lots of obligations at home with work, our house and our very high maintenance dogs. Going on trips means squeezing all those obligations into fewer days. We have a lovely friend who stays at our house to watch our dogs when we go out of town, and we are so lucky to have her! :dance3: Our dogs are so much work, and they simply would not tolerate boarding. They hardly tolerate being home with her instead of us. Anyway, since she will be staying here, we have to do something we both dread before we leave...:scared1: We have to CLEAN! So this weekend we have been engaged in "the big clean" as I like to call it. This is when we clean the entire house more thoroughly than we almost ever do otherwise. The good news is we travel often enough that little quick cleans in between keeps our home in pretty good shape. :lmao:

    So this is what we have been up to...cleaning and talking about Disney trips.

    Just yesterday, DP and I were realizing just how excited we are to actually stay at AKL and also to stay on the CL. We also talked about how much we dread having to check into a resort for just one night. It feels so involved. I know with them transferring your luggage, it really isn't THAT involved, but still...we are the types of travellers who like to settle in. We like to unpack (actually I like to unpack, I really think DP couldn't care less about this), relax and feel like we are on vacation rather than feeling like we still aren't at our destination. Our last trip was a split stay. We did 3 nights at POR and then 7 nights at BC. We really weren't sure about doing a split stay. I feared it wouldn't feel like our vacation actually started until we arrived at BC. I was right, but at least the whole process of transferring was simpler than I had expected. Also, we loved experiencing POR but would probably never dedicate an entire trip to that resort, so the split stay mostly worked for us. So here we are about to do it again, but I was thinking...split-split stay? :confused: I was not so sure...and neither was DP! :banana: We discussed it and both agreed we'd rather just stay all 3 nights at AKL. True, it is a lot to pay when we won't even be arriving at the resort until almost midnight, but I think it will be worth it. We will have one more morning there to see the animals on the savannah (hopefully!), one more morning to enjoy the Nescafe in the lounge :rolleyes:, one more morning to sample the club level offerings and just take it all in. So since I am on call for work all weekend and have to be available to take calls from other staff, DP just graciously agreed to make the call to WDW reservations and guess what?! We booked the third night! :woohoo:

    We are admittedly a little bummed we won't get to check out the new AOA resort, but we just aren't adventurous enough to stay in 3 different resorts on the same vacation. Maybe next time...
     
  21. DLFan123

    DLFan123 living the dream-literally!

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    Hey I have a question-do you listen to the podcasts on the radio? I mean how do you get them in the car? What is a podcast? I don't know any of these things!
     

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