Happily Ever After Begins Here -- An Oct. 2012 TR Updated! 11/17!

Missyrose

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
You are so nice to share these fantastic photos. I plan to show them to my friends this weekend. They are going with us in November for their first ever trip to Disney. It is going to be so much fun to share the magic with another family. I am so excited about it!
I'm glad we could help you get excited about your trip! We're taking friends in May, it should be LOTS of fun.

Stunning fireworks photos! We have never watched the fireworks from the Poly beach, but it has always been on my radar as something to try. Looking forward to Franklin's video!

I am the same way about the GF. It's a GORGEOUS resort, but I've never really felt like if I was going to stay at a deluxe that I would stay there. But it is one we enjoy visiting just to enjoy the atmosphere, especially when it is decorated for Christmas!
Poly beach is a great place to watch the fireworks from. My favorite "outside of the park" view remains the Contemporary. I just prefer the castle to be bigger, though the fireworks are off-center from that view.

I have also never felt a pull to stay there, same reason. It is certainly beautiful though!
Fireworks from the Poly beach have been on my to do list for a while now. I keep saying that but never get around to it. :confused3 Maybe next time!
Phenomenal fireworks pictures, as always. I sometimes like seeing them from further away, it's less overwhelming and you can take it all in a little easier.
Your meal (especially dessert!) looks yummy!
It seems GF and CR can be two of the more polarizing resorts among Disney fans. I'm not a fan of of the whole Victorian vibe at GF when it comes to where I want to stay. But the dining is to die for and the lobby is stunning. On the other hand, I love the modern decor (that many people hate) at CR. And I love how many different places you can see Cinderella's Castle from the tower. Now THAT'S Disney enough for me! :thumbsup2

 

natebenma

Beach Club Dee
Joined
Jul 19, 2008

Oh! I also took video at the same time, with our smaller camera. I'll edit it and post it up soon.
OK, I am very hesistant to post one of my point & shoot photos on your report, but when I saw your picture of the finale and you made the comment about about videotaping it too, I just couldn't resist.

The only time I have watched the MK fireworks was Nightastic from the Poly Beach. I was solo because my guys went back to the resort after our dinner at Ohana.

I took this picture of the ending.

And some idiot got into the way while videotaping the showand ruined my shot .





Oh. Wait. That's my hand. :rolleyes1

.
 

Missyrose

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 18, 2009
OK, I am very hesistant to post one of my point & shoot photos on your report, but when I saw your picture of the finale and you made the comment about about videotaping it too, I just couldn't resist.

The only time I have watched the MK fireworks was Nightastic from the Poly Beach. I was solo because my guys went back to the resort after our dinner at Ohana.

I took this picture of the ending.

And some idiot got into the way while videotaping the showand ruined my shot .





Oh. Wait. That's my hand. :rolleyes1

.
Hahahaha. :rotfl2: :rotfl::lmao: I hope you took that person to task for ruining your shot. :lmao::rotfl2::rotfl: No Dole Whip for you after those fireworks!

I'll have to make sure to take a picture of Franklin's photo/video setup for fireworks because it's pretty cool. He has this think that screws onto the top of his big camera and the point and shoot sits on it to take the video. He's got lots of tricks up his sleeve!
 
  • Missyrose

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2009
    We last left off with the perfect monorail resort evening: shopping at Grand Floridian, Hallowishes from the Poly beach and dinner at ‘Ohana. We were up bright and early the next morning because we had places to be. Namely, Animal Kingdom Lodge, it was time for us to check in. We piled all our bags into a cab and took off for our new resort.



    We’d visited AKL once before and were blown away. We couldn’t wait to explore every nook and crany.





    I went and checked in while Franklin happily snapped away.







    It was too early in the day for our room to be ready, so we stashed our stuff with bell services. We took the shortcut through the shop...





    … to the bus stop. Where were we headed?



    Animal Kingdom!

    We had one thing on our minds, Expedition Everest.



    You see, over the past handful of trips I’d made serious thrill-ride progress. I’d conquered my fear of Space Mountain and Rock-N-Roller Coaster. And I had set my sights on Everest on this trip. But here’s the thing, Franklin had sworn up and down that there were no big drops. I was ready to take on the mountain until I walked up and saw the first car drop out of the side.



    Um, hold on. I thought he said there were NO big drops and that drop looks pretty ginormous to me. So I stood there and stomped my feet like a 6-year-old refusing to budge. Franklin spent the next 20 minutes trying to explain that it wasn’t a big drop, it was more like a big, downward curve. I must have had a moment of weakness because the next thing I knew, we were heading for the queue.









    I’d never been through this queue and was really impressed with all the details. Well at least I would have been if I wasn’t so terrified. Soon, much too soon actually, we were at the load area. Who’s ready for their first Everest ride?



    Um, yeah, not me. But off we went anyway.
     

    Missyrose

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2009


    Oh no! What happened to the track?



    I guess this is the closest we’ll get to a functioning Yeti these days.



    How did it go? Well you tell me after looking at this hideous ride photo.



    Yep, I conquered Everest and lived to tell the tale! Since Everest had been Franklin’s choice attraction, I got to pick where we’d go next and it was somewhere very exciting. Festival of the Lion King!

    So we left Asia and headed toward Africa, and we ran into an old friend along the way... DeVine!



    We’d never seen FotLK before and with rumors swirling that the show might be shut down temporarily because of Avatarland construction, I made this a must-do on this trip. And I’m so glad we did, it was even better than advertised!

















    The colors, the music, the dancing and the acrobatics were all breathtaking. I’m so glad I finally saw the show and I’m even more glad Disney found a way to keep the show open during construction so we can go see it again!

    We were hungry, so we wandered up toward the front of the park. But before lunch, we stopped and got some Photopass photos taken.





    Back to our regularly scheduled food porn. We tried a new restaurant, well new to us anyway. Flame Tree Barbecue. And the dopes we are, we totally forgot until hours afterward FTB takes our Tables in Wonderland card. Discount fail. But the food was so good we didn’t really care.

    Franklin had the pulled pork sandwich...



    … and I had the ribs...



    … and we shared a batch of onion rings.



    Everything was finger-licking good. Easily one of the best CS meals we’ve had at Disney. As we finished up lunch, we noticed there was practically no line at the meet and greet across the way. We had to join because it was the characters from our favorite movie, Up.



    Paws up everyone!



    Squirrel.



    After having so much fun with Russell and Dug, it was time for us to depart. It was time to move into our new room.

    For those of you who know the layout of AKL well, our villa was in the second-to-last “bead,” which meant a fairly long walk, but really good animal watching in return.

    Our villa was gorgeous and immaculate.









    And how was the savannah view? Oh, you know, just your average giraffe hangout.


     

    PrincessAmongPrinces

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 24, 2011
    Wow!! Your villa looks amazing. What a beautiful resort!

    Your AK day looks like a lot of fun. Good for you for conquering Everest! That picture... OMG. Hahaha :) Awesome

    Flame tree! Yum! Mike is sitting next to me and while I was looking at the pictures, he glanced over and was like, "Oh is that the place at Animal Kingdom?" He still remembers how delicious it was!
     
  • teekathepony

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 2, 2009
    AKL! Oh be still my beating heart! My dream resort!
    Good for you, conquering Everest!! I love that ride!
    Oh and FotLK! Probably my favourite show in all of Disney.
    I can't believe you got to meet Dug! How cool!
     

    happenin2you

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 14, 2009
    I'm just catching up after way too long away from the boards due to too much work and school work.... I love all your pics and info, but I am especially excited about the AKV shots! That is my home resort, but I haven't yet stayed there as a member... The pics are amazing and I can't wait to finally get there. And I loved your engagement session! You cute lovebirds!
     

    natebenma

    Beach Club Dee
    Joined
    Jul 19, 2008
    So proud of you!!!

    Great job on Everest! I love the ride photo. I have a similar one of Nate from the log flume at Storyland. Too precious not to purchase!

    So will you ride again? This trip, even? Or, too soon?

    Some great firsts today, in addition to EE!

    AKV

    FoLK

    Flame Tree- For me, it is not "What did you eat", but "Where did you eat?" The lovely seating area overlooking EE? Or had you had enough at that point?

    Lion King is such an incredible show. Love the colors and the songs. The amazing acrobatics. Such talented performers.

    I hope I get to see the show again, before our fantasty girls trip. I'm pretty sure it won't make the cut in July. We have very limited time at the World, and only a half-day at AK, so it looks like- See ya another time, Simba. :(
     

    FeFeMJ

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 25, 2009
    Just spent the last few hours catching up on your trip report. It is really making me want to take up photography. The photos Franklin takes are amazing! Can't wait for the next installment!
     
  • Missyrose

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2009
    That. Photo. Is. Awesome.
    Yes, it is. And it's only because the people on this TR are friends that I would even entertain the idea of posting the photo publicly. :lmao:

    Wow!! Your villa looks amazing. What a beautiful resort!

    Your AK day looks like a lot of fun. Good for you for conquering Everest! That picture... OMG. Hahaha :) Awesome

    Flame tree! Yum! Mike is sitting next to me and while I was looking at the pictures, he glanced over and was like, "Oh is that the place at Animal Kingdom?" He still remembers how delicious it was!

    See! There are things Mike liked about Disney, you just have to remind him gently. ;)

    The villa was amazing. Lots of people like to rag on AKL for being "too dark." But I thought it was lovely!


    AKL! Oh be still my beating heart! My dream resort!
    Good for you, conquering Everest!! I love that ride!
    Oh and FotLK! Probably my favourite show in all of Disney.
    I can't believe you got to meet Dug! How cool!

    You NEED to plan a trip to AKL, it was even better than advertised. I've never gone to Disney and felt like I was in a completely different place like I did at AKL. Rent points and stay in a Jambo House studio, it's a much cheaper way to stay there. :thumbsup2

    We were very excited to meet Dug and Russel, Up is clearly our favorite Disney movie.


    I'm just catching up after way too long away from the boards due to too much work and school work.... I love all your pics and info, but I am especially excited about the AKV shots! That is my home resort, but I haven't yet stayed there as a member... The pics are amazing and I can't wait to finally get there. And I loved your engagement session! You cute lovebirds!

    I know the feeling of too much work. Between the NCAA tournament and the start of the baseball season, I kinda felt like I was living at the office. :scared1: But I'm glad we're both back to having time for the Dis!

    I can't wait for you to have your first trip "home" to AKV, it's an incredible resort. Lots to see and do. We didn't even mind the buses!


    So proud of you!!!

    Great job on Everest! I love the ride photo. I have a similar one of Nate from the log flume at Storyland. Too precious not to purchase!

    So will you ride again? This trip, even? Or, too soon?

    I rode again on the January trip! I don't think we'll get to AK during the May trip, not enough days (we've got a day over at IOA planned).


    Some great firsts today, in addition to EE!

    AKV

    FoLK

    Flame Tree- For me, it is not "What did you eat", but "Where did you eat?" The lovely seating area overlooking EE? Or had you had enough at that point?

    Lots of firsts and they were all great! We actually sat on the "upper deck" of FTBBQ. Overlooking the path to the Up meet and greet. It was quieter up there, the tables overlooking the water were pretty full.


    Lion King is such an incredible show. Love the colors and the songs. The amazing acrobatics. Such talented performers.

    I hope I get to see the show again, before our fantasty girls trip. I'm pretty sure it won't make the cut in July. We have very limited time at the World, and only a half-day at AK, so it looks like- See ya another time, Simba. :(

    FotLK really was as good as advertised. The colors and music were simply breathtaking. You never know about July, it could be soooooo hot that you need an air-conditioned break spot to take a break.


    Just spent the last few hours catching up on your trip report. It is really making me want to take up photography. The photos Franklin takes are amazing! Can't wait for the next installment!

    Thanks! I wish I could take pictures that weren't fuzzy, I just don't have that talent. Luckily I have Franklin to work his magic. :yay:


     

    teekathepony

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 2, 2009


    You NEED to plan a trip to AKL, it was even better than advertised. I've never gone to Disney and felt like I was in a completely different place like I did at AKL. Rent points and stay in a Jambo House studio, it's a much cheaper way to stay there. :thumbsup2


    I don't want to give away too much before starting my PTR... but let's just say "Way ahead of you" :thumbsup2 ;)
     

    Missyrose

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2009
    We last left off moving into our amazing savannah view villa at Animal Kingdom Lodge. We didn’t have much time to just hang in the villa though. We had some very big plans for the evening. We were scheduled to do the Wanyama Safari (also known as the sunset safari).

    It’s a really cool experience that is open to anyone staying at AKL. The safari is limited to about 10 people and they take you out in a safari truck into all five savannahs at Jambo House and Kidani Village. One of the animal caretakers acts as the guide and he explains about each animal that lives at the lodge: how they came to be there, what their care is like, etc. And then after the safari, the group gets to enjoy a family-style dinner at Jiko.

    The group gathered at Jiko before the safari for a quick snack.



    Then it was time to head out to the truck, they had a Photopass photographer to take everyone’s picture before we boarded.



    Christopher was our safari guide.



    He was wooed by Disney to come to Animal Kingdom park about 10 years ago from the Central Park Zoo in New York City. After three years working at the park, he came to the lodge to have the opportunity to work with a larger variety of animals on a daily basis. He said the biggest difference between working in New York and working for Disney was the abundance of resources to care for the animals. There’s no scrimping on Disney’s watch! As the safari got underway, he told us there are 237 animals who live at the lodge and there are 36 species represented there.

    Immediately after taking off, we were hit with how special this experience really was. When you do the safari at the park, there are all these built-in barriers (that many guests don’t even realize are there) to keep the animals a good distance from the safari trucks. On this safari, however, we were lucky enough to get up close and personal with many of the animals.







    We began on the Arusha savannah, the main savannah at Jambo House. There was a pack of white-bearded wildebeests chillin’ near the lodge.





    Being out in the savannah gave us some really cool views of AKL.



    These are the East African Crowned Cranes.



    The pink-backed pelicans like to sit atop the rocks and look like the wise old men of the savannah.



    We next encountered a pack of ostriches.





    The pack included Mary, an ostrich who lost an eye after contracting pink eye. Because she can’t see very well, they didn’t want her causing traffic jams for the safari vehicles at the park, so they retired her to the lodge.



    Everyone was very excited about zebras coming to the park, but they’ve been at the lodge forever. The zebras were some of the first animals brought to the lodge.







    They’ve created a whole ecosystem there. There are some animals that like to eat long grasses, then the zebras like to eat the shorter grass that’s left.



    There aren’t enough trees to feed all the giraffes on the savannah, so the caretakers have feeding troughs built in to the trees so only the giraffes can reach them.







    I was obsessed with watching the giraffes, they were just so beautiful!



    Next we encountered some Ankole Cattle. Their horns are amazingly huge.





    FYI, those are Impalas grazing near the lodge.
     

    Missyrose

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2009
    To bring the different animals in for the evening for food or medication or whatever, they have conditioned the different types of animals to respond to different sounds. It was really funny when they rang the warthog dinner bell and at first you couldn’t see anything happening, but then all of these red warthogs are racing toward us really low to the ground. One of the younger girls in our group said, “They look like Pumba!”



    Meet Mowgli, he is a waterbuck and the youngest animal out on the savannah at the lodge, he was just a couple of months old at this point.





    The Thompson Gazelles moved just as beautifully as you would have expected. And Christopher said they were, by far, the fastest animals at the lodge.

    It was fun to see the people on their balconies or viewing areas waving to us out on the savannah.







    Meet Wishbone.



    He’s the zebra who looks like he has a white wishbone stamped on his leg. He’s 24 years old and one of the oldest animals on the savannah.



    The savannahs felt like they went on forever. Actually you can kind of see the pens they have at the back of the savannahs, they use them for, ahem, breeding.





    This is Georgia, one of the original animals at the lodge.



    This is Shasta, a 17-year-old antelope.



    The males have ridged horns, but the ridges stop developing once they are fixed. So you can see that on the part of the horn closest to his head, there are no more ridges.

    And these are Elands, they’re the largest antelopes on the savannahs.



    It was very cool to see the different types of animals living together and grazing alongside each other. Nothing like a zoo, where different species are kept separately.



    Here are those pens I was talking about before, it was vulture breeding season. So those animals were kept in there.



    They also have barns on property to keep animals that need specific feedings or extra care.



    I jokingly said these made it look a little too much like Jurassic Park.

    One of the animals that lived in the barn for a prolonged period of time was Marley, a 4-year-old giraffe.



    She was the biggest medical case at the lodge. They had spent a year treating her skin condition and Christopher said it actually looked much better than it did when they had started.

    Jeffrey acted as the greeter, he was the last animal we saw on the safari. Bye Jeffrey!



    We made it back to the lodge...



    ... but our adventures weren’t over yet. There was still dinner to be had! I was so excited to try Jiko, it had been at the top of my signature must-try list for years.





    The really cool thing about eating at Jiko as part of the safari, we got to try almost everything on the menu! Why make choices when you don’t have to?
     

    Missyrose

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2009
    They first brought out a signature cocktail called the Sunriser: Parrot Bay Rum, Banana Liqueur Blended with Orange, Pineapple and Cranberry juices.



    Um, yum!

    Chef John came out to introduce the bread service.



    There were four dips and Pappadam, Poppy Seed Lavash and Naan to dip in them.



    The olive dip (green) was so good, I could have licked the bowl. You know, if there weren’t nine other people sitting at the table.

    For appetizers, we had...



    Crispy beef “Bobotie” roll with cucumber raita, green mango atjar and honey-roasted groundnuts, those are on the left. On the right were the Inguday tibs in brik with mushrooms, spinach and cheese in crispy Tunisian filo with apples and curry vinaigrette.

    They also brought out the African-spiced, fire-roasted chicken with four cheese flatbread with bacon, arugula, peppadews and zough.



    And yes, everything was as good as it sounded. They also brought out the first glass of wine for the wine pairing (a South African Chenin Blanc).



    Then came the entrees. First was the oak-grilled filet mignon in red wine sauce with ancient grain pilaf.



    There was also Sikhumbuzo’s peri peri chicken with crushed potatoes, french beans, mango sambal and onion jus.



    I loved these two. And I was surprised when I actually liked the chicken a bit better than the filet.

    There also was maize-crusted Lake Victoria perch in a tomato-butter sauce. I’m not a fish fan, so I didn’t have any. But Franklin said the flavors on this dish were incredible.



    They had also brought out an African cabernet sauvignon with the entrees. And just when you thought that you couldn’t possibly eat another bite, they brought out dessert trios for each of us.



    On the left was a Vanilla rooibos-tanzarian chocolate cake and honey crunch topping (yes, it was a tea-infused dessert, I was in heaven). In the middle was a Madagascar vanilla cheesecake with strawberry-rhubarb compote and chocolate graham crust. On the right was Franklin’s favorite, the lime-scented creme brulee with key lime-mango chutney.

    All of them were delicious, but after all the food that came before it, it was tough to finish dessert. They also served us a really sweet dessert wine (a chenin blanc).

    As they cleared our plates, they dropped a gift in front of each one of us.



    In each bag there was:

    A commemorative menu

    A set of recipes

    A safari pin

    And a vial of African spices



    The dinner lasted two hours, and many of us stayed beyond that because we were having so much fun chatting and getting to know the others in the group. Originally, Franklin and I had planned to go swimming that evening. But after such a HUGE meal, neither one of us felt like putting on bathing suits. So we headed into another direction: Downtown Disney.



    We stopped at Pin Traders so I could get pin lanyards for my friend Kelley and her two boys (they’re going back to Disney in December and I’m soooooo excited for them!).





    Then it was on to TrenD.





    Can I have a girlie room in my house in which I have a billion colorful chandeliers?

    Then it was onto Team Mickey...



    ... where I got a USC shirt with Mickey on it!

    Then we made mandatory DTD stops at World of Disney...





    ... and Once Upon a Toy, where we bought our nephew Tanner waaaaaaay too much stuff.



    After we’d had our fill of shopping, we wandered back to the buses, stopping to notice all the Disney details along the way.





    After such a busy day, I’m pretty sure we were both asleep before our heads hit the pillows. But that’s a good thing, because we have a very full day coming up. It starts with a little DHS, then maybe some MK. A good Disney mix of a day.
     

    jecskc

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 22, 2010
    I have always wanted to do that safari. It looked amazing and so did dinner !! We will have to check into doing that next time we stay at AKL.
     

    shan23877

    I make lists about my lists
    Joined
    Jul 9, 2011
    Wow! That safari sounds great. What a cool way to get up close with the animals at AKL.

    Dinner sounds amazing! I'm not sure if I'm adventurous enough to try Jiko though. It stays on the list for when I'm feeling brave. :lmao:

    Gorgeous DTD photos!
     



    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Get Daily Email Updates


    Top