Club Level annnnnd No Kids; An August 2018 10th Anniversary Trip Report-Completed 12/28

tbholc81

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 27, 2016
Welcome to my second trip report!

Check out my PreTrip Report Here

I hope you enjoy following along an reading about our trip this past August. We booked this trip as a bounce back offer last January when my Wife Deb ran the Disney Marathon. The good news was that the offers at the time made it really possible for us to stay CLUB LEVEL! When Deb was looking for offers we could either go for 4 nights at the Grand Floridian with a standard room, or Club Level at Wilderness Lodge for a little less. So WL Club Level won out! It was absolutely worth every penny to stay Club Level, I don't know if we can go back now!

Trip Details;

- Saturday, August 11- Thursday, August 16
- Saturday Savanna View at Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Sunday through Thursday Wilderness Lodge, Club Level
- Disney After Hours
- Keys to the Kingdom
- Dining; California Grill Sunday Brunch, Sanaa, San Angel, Yak and Yeti
- Lots of fun!

Who's going?

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Us two fine looking people:

Tim
I'm a Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Favorite Character- Goofy
Favorite Park- EPCOT
Favorite Ride- BTMRR

Deb
She's a Chemist and part time TA
Favorite Character- WALL-E
Favorite Park- EPCOT
Favorite Ride- The Haunted Mansion


Why?

It' our 10th Anniversary this October! I work in public school so we couldn't go during our actual anniversary, so late August it was! We debated several trips to celebrate this including Iceland and Ireland, but we have annual passes this year and the bounce back offer was too good to turn down, so back to Disney World we went. The twist for us this time was that these rascals would stay home with Grandma.

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I will say it was super different without bringing the kids, but we were able to do a lot of experiences that we never could with them, and have a really relaxed vacation. Although we did miss them and talked about all the things we did they would have loved. They have been a few times, and we have another trip planned for them in April.

Originally we planned on just Sunday through Thursday, but as we got closer to August more things popped up we wanted to do Saturday night and Sunday morning. First we decided that we wanted to try the brunch at California Grill so we added the extra night at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Then Deb decided that we should try Sanaa while we were there so we added that on Saturday night (mostly for the bread service), then finally they announced the MK After Hours dates, and we HAD to go to that. It was our arrival day, but oh well, we'd make it work. One final thing that Deb wanted to do was the Keys to the Kingdom Tour, which we never could with the kids, so we booked that as well. It was a pretty packed trip for 5 days. Let's see how close to our touring plan we came. Read Along to see what we loved and how it all worked out!

Table of Contents:
Chapter One: Arrival Day, Sanaa and After Hours
Pt.1, Pt.2, Pt.3, Pt.4, Pt.5, Pt.6, Pt.7
Chapter Two: Brunch at the Top, Club Level Begins!
Pt.1, Pt.2, Pt.3, Pt.4, Pt.5
Chapter Three: The Run, a New Experience, and the Concierge
Comes Through!
Pt.1, Pt.2, Pt.3, Pt.4
Chapter Four: Underground and Rethinking Slinky Dog
Pt.1, Pt.2, Pt.3, Pt.4, Pt.5
Chapter Five: How to Split Your Day Three Ways
Pt.1, Pt.2, Pt.3, Pt.4
Chapter Six: Squeezing the Last Drop out of CL
Pt.1, Pt.2
 
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2xcited2sleep

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 5, 2008
Sounds like you had a great trip and packed in a ton of fun! That's exactly my worry about Club Level -- if I ever do it, I know I'll never want to go back. Very curious to hear about the after hours event, Keys to the Kingdom, brunch at California Grill and Sanaa.
 

tbholc81

Mouseketeer
Joined
Oct 27, 2016
Sounds like you had a great trip and packed in a ton of fun! That's exactly my worry about Club Level -- if I ever do it, I know I'll never want to go back. Very curious to hear about the after hours event, Keys to the Kingdom, brunch at California Grill and Sanaa.
Thanks for following! I have a ton of pictures from all the events to post so hopefully you can get some good ideas and info from them. Feel free to ask any questions about them.
 
  • tbholc81

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2016
    Chapter One: Arrival Day and After Hours

    Our day starts early! Our Delta flight is scheduled to to leave Burlington VT at 6:01am, so we are up around 3:45am and out of the house at 4:15. This will be a long, long day. We have tickets for DAH tonight which is scheduled from 10pm-1am and we are anticipating we'll be up till around 2am. Either way is a short drive to the airport and we are there in plenty of time. It's a clearish morning up here, but it looks on the weather app like their are thunderstorms around southern New England. Our first flight is to Atlanta with a short layover, then we head to MCO.

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    We take off at 6:20am and fly out over Syracuse, NY. My guess is to avoid the weather.


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    We land in Atlanta at 8:30am which gives us about an hour to get over to our next flight. We land in terminal A (I think) and we have to go to D. If you haven't been to the Delta terminal in Atlanta, IT'S HUGE! So we decide to grab a shuttle to D before looking for something to eat. This wasn't our best decision, the first terminal we landed out was renovated and had a ton of options. When we got to D it was older with way less. Oh well, we find our gate and get some coffee and a muffin.

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    Super exciting picture I know! We board at about 9:25 and take off on time. weather is nice in Atlanta but it seems like we go out and around thunderstorms in Florida. Despite the shorter flight, this plane is waaaay bigger.

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    We land around noon which is on time. From there is the typical path to Magical Express! We didn't check luggage this time (another huge advantage to no kids), but I did pack my little guy's Lightning McQueen suitcase. Deb kept making fun of me, so I took a picture of her dragging it through the airport.

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    The handle is a little short (it's made for a toddler) so rolling it behind is a big pain. Now we anticipated that flying in on a Saturday morning during a busier season would mean some pretty long lines at DME. But not so much....

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    All we had to do was wait for a bus to show up for us, which it does shortly after we get in line. We head over to Animal Kingdom Lodge and it's pouring! No worries it's brief but we are ready to go, and tired!

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    Up next Arrival at AKL and some animals!

     

    tbholc81

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2016
    The drive to AKL isn't too long, an it clears up. We get our picture of the sign (not great though).

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    Then we pull into AKL!

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    We are in a Savanna View room, which we have always wanted to do. Our kids are little so we never want to stay all the way out here with them and drag the stroller on and off the bus etc.... We check in with no problem and we are in Room 2361, which is a corner room and is pretty big. The real upside was the corner balcony. Our plan for the rest of the day is to relax for a couple hours, have a early reservation at Sanaa, then head to MK for the night. We aren't going to watch Happily Ever After tonight, instead we are got Fast Passes for 3 rides.

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    No animals are too close right now and we are starving. So decide to go grab something from the quick service restaurant by the pool. It's a super long walk. We'll spend sometime with the animals in the next post.

    I can only post 10 pictures at a time, which isn't helpful so that's why the posts are short.
     

    mrsswat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 25, 2004
    What great plans for an anniversary trip! picture of your wife with the McQueen suitcase is pretty funny!
     

    tbholc81

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2016
    After our long walk we don't want to get anything to huge with our dinner reservation only a couple hours away. So we decide on the falafel platter and I get a beer.

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    This was perfect for us to split, it had falafel, hummus, pita, a cucumber salad, and some quinoa (I think). So we eat this up and enjoy the animals! We have a ton of pictures I picked out some of the best for here.

    These first few were from the front of our balcony, lots of giraffes. Some zebras were off to the right, and I can't remember what the ones were with the horns.


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    They hung a basket off the left side of our balcony for the giraffes so they kept coming and going from that tree.

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    We hang out for the afternoon, shower try to nap knowing it's going to be a late night. Before we know it though it's time to get going. We prepare for the night and head off to dinner at 4:30pm. Got a few shots on the way.

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    Sanaa is over in Kidani Village, so it's a little bit of a walk. No big deal, we are just preparing for the marathon later.

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    Up next our dinner!
     
  • disneyAndi14

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 1, 2014
    Joining in, we arrived the same day and also did DAH! We were in the same 3am wake-up group as well. It was a long day!
     

    sjs314

    "Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, and
    Joined
    Feb 11, 2010
    Can not wait to read more as you are staying at 2 of our favorite resorts.
     

    SweetSerenity

    Thank you evenin' star!
    Joined
    May 8, 2009
    Hi! I'm joining in! I can't wait to read about your trip! Happy belated-but-really-early anniversary!
     
  • 2xcited2sleep

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 5, 2008
    Yikes! That is a marathon day to go from 4am to 2am! You guys are troopers. I'm sure the instant energy boost you get from being at Disney helped! Animal Kingdom Lodge is so beautiful. Great that you were able to do a savannah view - looks like you had quite a bit of animal activity. I really think I could do a whole stay there and be happy never going to the parks. The Lightning McQueen suitcase is adorable. :laughing:
     

    ariane37

    Dis veteran
    Joined
    Sep 25, 2012
    I have to go back and read but I'm joining! We do kid-free trips a couple times a year and just did our first non-kid CL trip (which was a surprise to us lol) so I'm anxious to read more :goodvibes
     

    tbholc81

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2016
    Joining in, we arrived the same day and also did DAH! We were in the same 3am wake-up group as well. It was a long day!
    Yea it definitely was! I'm interested to see if you had the same thoughts about DAH that we did.

    Can not wait to read more as you are staying at 2 of our favorite resorts.
    It was our first time at both. We've wanted to stay at Wilderness Lodge for a while, glad it worked out for this trip.

    Hi! I'm joining in! I can't wait to read about your trip! Happy belated-but-really-early anniversary!
    Thanks!

    Yikes! That is a marathon day to go from 4am to 2am! You guys are troopers. I'm sure the instant energy boost you get from being at Disney helped! Animal Kingdom Lodge is so beautiful. Great that you were able to do a savannah view - looks like you had quite a bit of animal activity. I really think I could do a whole stay there and be happy never going to the parks. The Lightning McQueen suitcase is adorable. :laughing:
    Yes the animals were pretty active. At first there weren't any really near us so we were a little disappointed, but after we got our lunch they wandered over towards us more. Deb was sending our friends videos of me dragging the suitcase through the airport, so I guess this would be my payback.

    Love your TR. Looking forward to more.
    Thanks!

    I have to go back and read but I'm joining! We do kid-free trips a couple times a year and just did our first non-kid CL trip (which was a surprise to us lol) so I'm anxious to read more :goodvibes
    Thanks, hopefully going to have another post tonight!
     

    tbholc81

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2016
    Thanks everybody for reading or following along!

    Next up is our dinner at Sanaa! Deb has been looking forward to this for a long time. She really loves Naan and always loves trying other new foods. After the walk from Jambo House we get there right as the restaurant is starting to seat people. The area around the outside is pretty nice with enough seating for people.

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    We are sat relatively quickly and we ask for a table next to the windows. The tell us "No Problem!" So, for about 30 seconds we were really excited to see all the animals while we were eating. Well, we were next to a window, but there wasn't a view.....

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    We could kinda see some animals, but all that stuff was in the way. Oh well, not a big deal to us. We started with some drinks; I just got a beer and Deb got Malawi Mango Margarita.


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    Both were thoroughly enjoyed. Taking our time we ordered the bread service next. It lived up to the hype for us, one of the best things we ate all week!

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    The way it works is there were four different kinds of Naan Traditional, Garlic-Ginger, Spiced Naan, Onion Kucha, and we ordered all nine dipping sauces which ranged from spicy (but not super spicey for us) to refreshing. you can get just three, but we wanted them all. I really liked Red Pepper Hummus and the Chile Sambal. Deb liked just about all of them. Next came the hard part which was ordering the entree. I didn't want to be boring and just get steak (I usually do) but I didn't know what half the stuff on menu was. With some help from the waiter I got one of the journeys and Deb got another.

    I ordered the Braised Beef, and the Aloo Masala. This was amazing, the beef was melt in your mouth tender and the potato dish was the perfect accompaniment.

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    and Deb ordered the Spicy Durban Shrimp and the Cilantro-Coconut Vegetables. The shrimp is perfectly done but Deb really loved the vegetables.

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    So we finish all that up, because despite me trying to save room for the free food later, I couldn't stop eating. We are done at 6:20 and on a bus by 6:35 for MK. It's about ten of 7 when we get there, and we check in which takes less than 5 minutes. Time for some pictures and ready to get the evening started!

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    Next up, our evening starts! how many rides will we get on?
     
    Last edited:

    SweetSerenity

    Thank you evenin' star!
    Joined
    May 8, 2009
    We are trying Sanaa for the first time in November. Your review sounds great! My husband loves Naan.
     

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