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"Witty Western-Fantasy Trip Report Title"... January 5th-12th With Pictures

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Trip Reports' started by MrRay, Jan 15, 2013.

  1. PizzieDuster

    PizzieDuster DIS Veteran

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    MrRay,

    I'm just wondering about the meet up with the Dream. It was at Castaway Cay but they didn't stop? Where they just sailing by? Just curious...and I don't want your report to end. :flower3:
     
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  3. MrRay

    MrRay Mouseketeer

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    They swung by castaway cay near the end of our day there and then started to sail away and then started to sail away. After getting a little ways out they pretty much hit the breaks and just sat there. I think they were going to castaway the next day and were probably just killing time overnight.
     
  4. MrRay

    MrRay Mouseketeer

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    I woke up early as we were pulling into Port Canaveral. The bright orange lights pouring into our room and all the activity outside was a sad reminder of where we were. And as much as I enjoyed having it off the whole week I could not keep myself from turning my phone on to check all of my messages. It was just sitting on the bed stand taunting me with all the stuff I was ignoring.

    Once the sun came up we made a trip up to the Cove Cafe to redeem my last free coffee and take a quick walk around. They were already hard at work doing maintenance around the pools.

    We returned to our room to pack our last few things before heading to our 8 a.m. breakfast. On our last trip out to the balcony we saw the busses lined up to take everyone away.
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    Also they were FINALLY taking some of the Christmas decorations away. January 12th by this point.

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    We gathered our things and headed to breakfast, which was in Royal Court.

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    We had a lovely last breakfast with our table mates. With the help of working phones we were all Facebook friends by the end. We ended up having a very nice leisurely breakfast amidst all the chaos of everyone leaving the ship. Then reality started to sink in as we looked at our watches. We were supposed to be off the ship by 9 to be at the last bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge at 9:15.

    We snagged one group picture with our servers and headed off.

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    It was sad to be leaving the ship but we were excited to have our 1 night stay at the AKL to look forward to.

    [​IMG]

    Next...Animal Kingdom Lodge
     
  5. MrRay

    MrRay Mouseketeer

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    We were a little intimidated when we saw the customs area. We had foolishly not left ourselves too much time to get to our bus and the line seemed pretty long. In reality it moved pretty fast though.

    One through we headed out to the buses and hopped on at 9:10...5 minutes before it was supposed to leave....

    ............

    ...Then we sat there for an hour.


    I don't think it ended up leaving until after 10 sometime. But that's fine we were tired and tried to make the best of sitting around.

    Eventually we were on our way.

    Sad last look of the ship.
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    A little over an hour later pulling onto Disney property. After stops at a few other resorts we finally pulled up to the Animal Kingdom Lodge.

    I just want to take a second to say that we are both big fans of the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We have visited it a few times over previous trips to WDW, but never stayed there. We have eaten Boma breakfast once and dinner at Jiko twice. We have always wanted to stay here but it’s just so expensive we couldn’t see staying a whole trip. So being in Florida already it seemed like the perfect time to do a one nighter… So again we were BIG fans coming in.

    Check-In was extensive. I swear they give you more paperwork and pamphlets to look at there then they did on the cruise. We had booked a Savannah view room, which was ready, and started on our way.

    The room seemed alright. The whole hotel is very dark and that carries over into the room. DCL is bright everywhere so it's even more shocking to then stay in such a dark place.


    [​IMG]


    The view was nice. When we first got there not too many animals were around but they kept moving throughout the day so we eventually saw plenty of zebras and giraffes.

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    We were starving by this point so we set out to go to "Mara" to get some lunch. We had gotten very spoiled on the cruise of having everything very close by, you can probably get to anywhere on the ship in 5 minutes if needed. By contrast everything in WDW feels like its miles away. To get to Mara we had to walk down a long hallway, walk up a flight of stairs, across the lobby, down another flight of stairs, and a short walk outside. It's a little clunky, especially if you just want to run out for a cup of coffee.

    For the price the food is pretty good there. We like trying more exotic foods, we had African Stew and a Chicken Pita. Both were good.

    Refueled we thought we'd go in the pool for a bit...back in the building, up the stairs, across the lobby, down the stairs, and down the long hallway...in the dark. Also serving as a reminder that we were no longer on the ship was the fact that for the most part none of the staff said hi to us as we walked past...Everything seemed just less friendly.

    We took a couple pitstops at some viewing areas along the way...

    [​IMG]

    Eventually we grabbed our stuff from the room and headed back to the pool.

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    Next...More AKL
     
  6. MomToPrincePhillip

    MomToPrincePhillip Mouseketeer

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    Oh man I'm so looking forward to our cruise, but I'm really dreading that last day...
    Like you we've booked a night at Animal Kingdom Lodge and I hope it softens the blow at bit. I'm looking forward to your next update!
     
  7. MrRay

    MrRay Mouseketeer

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    We ended up feeling a little disenchanted with the experience actually. Don't let that discourage you as I'm sure we are in the minority here, but we kinda just wished we went home straight away. We felt like we had great value for money on the cruise but didn't feel as strongly about the AKL stay.

    I hope your family has a blast!
     
  8. DLBDS

    DLBDS Loves that Sweetened Condensed Milk

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    Boma has been my favorite Disney restaurant for a few years now. I love the darkness of the resort and booked an overnight stay there after a past cruise. It was very disappointing. Someone had an 'accident' in the hallway (looked like someone hurled) and we kept seeing it coming and going. Finally I called about it. It was eventually gone when we got up the next day. The CMs here aren't very friendly. The the staff could definitely use more training. We didn't like how spread out it was either. To go anywhere was a hike and my mother actually got lost in the maze of hallways. The resort has an awesome theme but not sure we'll stay here again.... I still :love: Boma though!!
     
  9. PaDisneyCouple

    PaDisneyCouple DIS Veteran

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    The toiletries at AKL appear different (that's what I think I see in the mirror picture). Are they still H20?
     
  10. MrRay

    MrRay Mouseketeer

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    They still have H2O branding on them.
     
  11. Moose Mom

    Moose Mom Earning My Ears

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    This is a great trip report. Thanks for sharing!
     
  12. MrRay

    MrRay Mouseketeer

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    Ready to get in the pool we headed down the dark hallway, up the stairs, across the lobby, down the stairs, and outside to the pool. We did a lap to survey the area. It was coolish out so the hot tubs were packed, I quickly realized one thing that I was going to miss from the ship...an adult area. No offense to anyone with kids but I hate being in a hot tub with kids.

    We swam for a bit and was able to find an empty hot tub, but there was a lot of leaves and debris at the bottom of it that made it feel like we were in a swamp so we got a little grossed out.

    After drying off we decided to walk over to Kidani village as we had never been over there before. It was nice, kind of like a small Jambo house. We decided to try out their pool, it's a little smaller but has a much bigger slide. The slide was fun. You can get some decent speed going on it.

    We wandered back to Jambo house, got ourselves cleaned up and just relaxed for a bit.

    It was finally time for dinner. We have been looking forward to trying dinner at Boma for several years. We had breakfast there probably 3 or 4 years ago and thought it was tremendous. We were fully aware of how expensive it was going in. It was mercifully a pretty quiet night in Boma, I've heard that it can get a little crazy, but there was plenty of empty tables this night.

    We wasted no time trying a little bit of everything. I was excited to see they had ribs and some kind of crusted beef at the carving station. The ribs were pretty tough and went uneaten. I would have thought that they would be fall of the bone tender. The beef similarly had a nice flavor on the outside but was pretty tough and chewy. I hate wasting food but neither was worth the trouble. There was a lot of great side dishes though. Our favorite thing we had the whole night was peanut rice. It reminded us a lot of a dish we get at our favorite thai restaurant back home.

    The withdrawals from the ship were starting to set in as well... as we sat there eating our food just the two of us we were feeling pretty lonely. We had gotten used to eating with our table mates and our serving team who would talk to us a lot. Now it was just the two of us and a server who pretty much only came by when we weren't at the table to clear our plates and drop off new drinks.

    We did several trips to the buffet but it was finally time to leave. We paid our check, close to $90 with tip for two people and no extra drinks... With the main dishes being so underwelming this felt like a huge rip off. There were plenty of good flavors but the "Big Ticket" items weren't very good. We left pretty disappointed, $90 at Jiko would have been money much better spent.


    We had seen in our huge packet that they were doing some night vision goggle viewing near the pool area that night so we went to check it out. It was pretty neat but there was only 1 Ankole cattle asleep in view, and it was pretty far away. But hey you can't control animals...we had fun with the glasses anyway.

    [​IMG]

    I will say that as unfriendly as most of the staff was the field guide staff scattered around the viewing areas were great and very friendly.

    We grabbed my tripod and took a few more pictures of the lobby.

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    There was a camp fire going on just outside the lobby that Jenna kept herself entertained with while I snapped some pictures. One other thing we quickly missed about the boat though....no bugs on the boat.
    It was a crazy day so we headed back to our room.

    [​IMG]


    At this point we started to notice some other short comings with our room.

    The tv didn't work so well and the image quality wasn't so hot. Expensive hotels should have HD...that's just lazy. It was also one of those tv's where it takes a solid 3 seconds to change channels, anyone remember how easy it used to be to channel surf before digital cable? Also we couldn't get our shower turned on and had to get maintenance to come. It got fixed relatively quickly.

    Also just a quick word on the bed...it was like a cheap motel. I was completely amazed at the poor quality of the bedding. It was completely uncomfortable.

    [​IMG]

    Also I'm not really sure what the deal with their AC is but despite all my best efforts I could not get the room to stay cool. It kept switching to auto. We sweated all night, even with the ceiling fan on.

    Maybe I expect too much, but other than the view it felt like we were in a Quality inn.

    Next...Downtown Disney
     
  13. pixiedust1125

    pixiedust1125 Mouseketeer

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    I couldn't agree more :sad1: We had stayed at the Riverside a few years back and thats a moderate resort and we felt like everything was light years better. I really could have lived with everything but climbing into bed and the feel of those cheapo $.99 store sheets was the real kick in the pants. We just really wanted to love this resort so much
     
  14. ariel fans

    ariel fans Mouseketeer

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    Great idea on kyss bag, where did you get it? Awesome job!!!!!
     
  15. MrRay

    MrRay Mouseketeer

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  16. SeaSpray

    SeaSpray Disney World fan since 1976

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    Excellent report and pictures, thanks so much for posting them all!! :thumbsup2
     
  17. MrRay

    MrRay Mouseketeer

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    We had a reservation for Boma for breakfast also, but after the disappointment from the night before we decided to save our money and canceled it shortly after waking up. We had a simple breakfast at Mara and relaxed next to the pool for a little bit.

    [​IMG]


    Our flight wasn't until 7:55 p.m., we had a Magical Express bus time of 5:05. So after we had packed all of our things up we dropped our bags off at the airline check-in desk. I strongly recommend getting a small baggage scale, ours is digital and not much bigger than a marker. We had to do a little rearranging but were able to get both of our bags right at 49lbs. It took a lot of stress out of traveling knowing that my bag was the right weight before getting to the desk.
    I also absolutely love checking your bags at the desk and not having to deal with them again until you get home, excellent service. The rest of our carry-ons we left with bell services and set out for Downtown Disney.

    It was marathon day so we were expecting transportation to take a little longer than usual. All that being said it took almost an hour to get to Downtown Disney. We wandered through some shops, got some coffee, and wandered some more. The weather was nice and we tried to soak in the last of the warmth before returning home.

    After a while we were still a little grumpy. So far our whole stay in WDW felt more like we were just waiting around killing time before going home and not having an experience.

    I was thinking maybe we just needed some food and a beer to relax a little bit. We grabbed our Downtown Disney staple, Fish and Chips from Cooke's of Dublin.

    This is where things unfortunately went off the rails.

    I went up to the "Hole in the Wall Bar" to grab us a couple of beers. I attempted to pay with my Rewards Card, as I have for almost everything on this trip thus far. The Bartender looked at me exasperated and said that he would have to go inside to use a different register if I wanted to pay with that and I would have to wait until he served everyone behind me in line. I was completely shocked by this response. I had noticed that for whatever reason they have had to use a different machine at each register to charge the rewards card, I feel like it used to be just like using a credit card, it certainly was on the ship.

    I hate making a stink and just pulled out a credit card to use, but I really wish I had made a bigger deal about it, or just refused the beers that he already poured and left. I've been feeling like the service in the parks has been declining in recent years and this just drove that point home.

    [​IMG]

    The food was good though. We tried to make the most of it.
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    [​IMG]

    We spent close to another hour taking the bus back to AKL, had a quick drink at the bar and went outside to wait for the bus. Our 5:05 bus would have already been cutting it sort of close...when it finally showed up at 5:35 we were starting to freak out. At one point one of the bell services people came out and said "are you people still waiting for a bus"? Then it looked like something was finally about to get done when a bus showed up. No one apologized for being a half hour late, but it probably seemed like a bigger deal to us because we were already grumpy and now very anxious.

    Pushing through the security line and trying to grab some food for dinner at the airport very quickly we sat at the gate to pound our food about 5 minutes before we were supposed to board....then the plane got delayed 3 hours. But hey that stuff happens. It was just the final nail in the coffin.



    The lesson we learned for next time...just go home after the cruise.

    Next-Some final thoughts.
     
  18. bitlerzx4

    bitlerzx4 DIS Veteran

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    what a bummer to a great cruise.
     
  19. WanderlustNZ

    WanderlustNZ DIS Veteran

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    Firstly, thanks for a really interesting trip report.

    Secondly, what a shame your vacation didn't end on the best note. That's the problem with experiencing something truly wonderful - everything else pales in comparison. My DH and I felt similar after coming off a Med cruise. We had a day in Venice afterwards and our surroundings suddenly felt hurried, expensive, unfriendly and unclean. As a consequence we didn't really like Venice and have no desire to go back. I have to wonder though, if we'd gone to Venice at a different time, whether we would have felt the same way. I think we were in a safe happy bubble while we were on that cruise, and I think it took us a few days to adjust to the fact that our bubble had burst.
     
  20. sca346

    sca346 Earning My Ears

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    Thanks for a great report! My family and I are going on our first cruise May 25 on the Fantasy so this was super helpful! Do you remember what time you were able to get off the boat in Costa Maya? Were you in around the time the itinerary stated? The reason I'm asking is because our itinerary states that we will be there from 1-4:30. We are hoping to spend time at Maya Chan beach as I have read REALLY good things about it, but it's not exactly a value if we can only be there a few hours. The owner of the beach resort emailed me that DCL usually are there by 10:30, but I don't know if that's something I should count on.
     
  21. MrRay

    MrRay Mouseketeer

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    I think it varies. We just look at our navigator and it said our all ashore time was 12:45. I honestly can't remember when we got in but it was somewhere in that neighborhood, definitely not 10:30.
     

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