5/14/05 – Day 5: Fond Farewell


May 11, 2003
The alarm went off at 5:15 AM but I didn’t even hear it until 5:20 AM. But I still got down to Boma in time for my 7:30 AM reservation which they couldn’t find in the system. But they were able to get me a table. I was in a section with a bunch of adults in suits. I guess they were going to a convention or meeting or something.

Amin, my waiter, brought me some mango juice and a big pot of coffee. The man knows me! I went to the buffet and got some incredibly awful scrambled eggs. They were cold and runny. But then I had some wonderful and unusual French Toast and some great waffles. But I especially liked the spicy potatoes. I think I had two or three helpings of those.

On one of my many trips to the buffet, there was a kid ahead of me who coughed all over the plates. And I don’t mean a little clearing of the throat type of cough. A big honking, hacking, bronchitis type of cough. And his face was right at plate level. It just made my stomach turn. I just stared at his parents who didn’t acknowledge the incident or say anything to him. I went to another plate station to get my plate.

Because I don’t eat meat, the buffets are probably a waste for me. But I really wanted to experience all three restaurants at AKL. There is little in life that I can guarantee, but I can guarantee that I will come back to Jiko and Boma again!

After breakfast, I stopped at the Concierge Lounge to see if they could print out my boarding pass. “Why, of course.” I had to help the CM a little bit but the NWA site is not the most user friendly.

Back in my room I called for a valet, and George came very promptly. He also brought my goodbye gift (water). He asked if I was on my way to the 14 day cruise because he’d had so many guests checking out to go on the cruise. “Oh, the repo cruise. I wish!” He didn’t know what the repo cruise was so I explained it to him. He asked me if I was a WDW employee because I knew so much.

George waited for me while I found my rental car. I guess the car had finally given up playing hide and seek because I was able to find it quickly. George loaded my suitcase in the trunk and told me how to get to the airport. So I ended up leaving AKL at 8:30 AM for an 11:19 AM flight.

The Hertz Neverlost couldn’t find AKL, but it sure could find its way back to Hertz. And this time I4 was just dreadful. And every time I got in the left lane, I would get tailgated. Now I understand why no one likes I4.

When I got to Hertz, I gave the lady checking me in my AKL water. She was very taken aback. I guess no one ever gives them presents. I was actually hoping she was so thrown by my present that she wouldn’t see the door dings and how dirty the car was.

The shuttle bus was waiting for me and there was Captain Jack again. I’m really getting to know this guy and happily gave him a tip for helping me with my luggage.

There was an extremely long and confusing line at the NWA E-ticket check-in. The Asian gentleman ahead of me had the hardest time with the kiosk which is all in English. The NW employee got a little surly with him. No surprise there. He finally got done and then I quickly got done. I still think it’s so weird to have to check in the luggage but then have to take it to the TSA station. I had to explain it to a couple standing in the middle of all the chaos looking extremely lost. Gosh knows the NWA employees weren’t going to help them.

There was a fantastic upbeat TSA employee directing traffic at the Security gates. I told him I appreciated his attitude. He seemed pleased that someone noticed. Those TSA people have a tough job. Everyone seems so cranky going through security.

Some people in front of me had to leave their WDW balloon at the TSA x-ray machine. I wished I had a straw with me. I could have deflated the balloon and let them take it with them. But I really don’t like those balloons we sell at WDW. We make lots better Disney designs than the ones they sell at the parks. Despite all this I got to the gate at 10:00 AM for the 11:19AM flight. So I had lots of time to think about my trip.

The main thing I came away with is a very deep appreciation for the people who work with the animals at AK and AKL. They profoundly love their work. I’ve always had conflicting emotions regarding animals in captivity but those at WDW are extremely well cared for and, dare I say it, are loved. Oh, except the ostriches! They’re just well cared for.

I also thought a long time about WDW hotels. I liked the AKL much more than I had expected to. So far I’ve stayed at AKL, GF, Poly, Swan, BCV, Hilton at DTD, Best Western at DTD and the Hotel Royal Plaza. And I am unable to say which one is my all time favorite. They all have their good points and bad points. And what I consider good and bad would be different than what other people would think. I am really looking forward to my December WLV trip but I doubt that I will be able to pick a favorite hotel then either.

The last thing I thought about was whether it was worth the tremendous expense to stay on concierge level. I now know that I would never stay on concierge level at any of the other WDW hotels because I don’t use the services enough to justify it. And I prefer the WDW restaurants to the “free” lounge food. I averaged only about $13.50 a day for food on this trip, but that was much more a function of my being sick and the food that came with the Safaris than it was the food in the concierge lounge. (Oh, and I lost 2.5 pounds on this trip. Yeah!) But I honestly believe that the special AKL “concierge only” safaris alone made the trip worth it. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience and worth every penny!


DIS Veteran
Apr 30, 2005
I envy you being able to take a Disney solo trip! Just being able to do whatever you want to at Disney must be wonderful. With two young kids I can only dream!! Maybe one day. I am glad you managed to have a good time even though you were sick.


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