Just Back from OKW...


Just happy to be here...
Aug 17, 1999
Hi, everyone!

I always SO enjoy hearing from the Board members when they get back from a DVC resort - so I thought I'd add my own "mini-trip" report.

First of all - the last week of April TOTALLY floored me!! I thought for SURE we would have a tough time with crowds - but I was SO wrong!!

We arrived around 12:30 on Sunday, the 22nd - to find our room already ready. We were pretty hungry - so we went ahead and ate at Olivia's first (gotta have that chicken & potatoes!!). By the time we got to the room - there were no housekeeping people in sight, anywhere! So I think that the room had probably been ready for quite sometime, if even slept in at all Saturday night! I mentioned to the CM at check-in how pleasantly surprised I was to get my room early, and she said that they had had a lot of people check out that morning and the day before. As we drove through the resort, there were literally entire parking lots with NO cars in them, at all. We unpacked the car, I took a walk, we went and caught a movie, then went to Goodings for groceries and called it a night.

Monday, I got up and took another walk. When I got back, I convinced DH to get up and walk over to the tennis court on Turtle Pond Rd. When we got there, though, the court was in use. It turned out great, though, as we decided to catch the bus and head on over to the HH and try to get a court there. There was no one on those courts, we had a little more shade, and got to play with Jimmy Buffet music in the background. It just doesn't get much better than that...

We took the bus back and hit the jacuzzi/pool. After a while, we got dressed and headed over to MGM for a Fantasmic dinner package at the Brown Derby. ***Point of Reference*** I took a chance based on the experiences of others on these boards and tried to call Guest Services at OKW one day late last week and make these PS's. But the CM told me in no uncertain terms that the "others I knew of who had been able to do this ahead of arrival at the resort "should not have been able to," and that I would have to wait until check-in." Our dinner was great, and, though they "officially" recommend you arrive at Oscar's at 8:00, I (again) remembered other's advice to get there early. We walked up around 7:35, and headed on up to the show area. By 8:00, the whole place was nearly filled! The show was great - I "do" recommend it!

On Tuesday, I made PS's for breakfast at Boma - just to ensure we'd be able to get into the resort to look around. Let me tell you!!!! This breakfast buffet is to DIE FOR!! It was great!! AND!!! As we were leaving the restaurant - we walked by (get this!!) SIDNEY POITIER!! (sp?) He was there by himself, and looked a little uncomfortable. We hung around the check-in area (the CM's were SO excited!), and waited for him to leave. In few moments, he walked out. I decided not to go for a picture or an autograph - figured the guy deserved his privacy. There were few people even noticing him - I figured he probably appreciated that... We walked around the lodge, after that. It is very nice - but, even with the animals and everything - I'll stick with my DVC!!

We headed back to the resort, rented a canopy boat and putted over to Port Orleans and back. It was a nice time - we had not rented one before. Once we got back, we got ready to head over to MK for E-Ride night. This is when the REAL run begins!!

We made our way up Main Street, and noticed a filming crew set up in one of the grassy areas just before you turn to go to TomorrowLand. I noticed some hairspray sitting on a stool in front of the camera, so we "knew" there must be someone of "some" importance due there soon. We didn't think much of it, and headed down the path towards the old swan boats and "stopped to smell the roses." Well, am I glad we DID!! As we made our way back up to the main sidewalk, who do we see but MICHAEL EISNER heading toward us with his entourage!! Let me back up and tell you a short, cute story first, though. As we walked up the sidewalk, I saw a small child trying to open one of the gates into one of the flower gardens. A very young CM quickly distracted him with stickers, instead of scolding him for entering the garden. I thought this was very mature on her part, whether intentional or not. Just as she was doing this good deed - the MAN walks by. Well, my DH and I are just standing there in awe, and ran up to the CM to share our excitement. I said, "Do you know what you just did?!?" "You just did a good deed in front of the CEO, himself!" She said, "Who?" "Who is HE?!?" She had no idea who he was, and asked us several times to point out "which one he was..." It was just too cool...

Anyway - I decided I had to get a picture, or two, so I headed up to the filming area. As it turns out -- I "sware" I didn't do this intentionally!! -- I was standing right behind him as he did his interview. So... if you saw Michael Eisner on CNN Tuesday evening, around 5:45, or so, I was the person directly behind him in the black long-sleeved shirt. We called some friends of ours, and they said I was pretty out-of-focus, but they could still see me! And - if by chance ANY of you out there may have taped that interview (it was concerning the earnings they had released about an hour before the interview) - PLEASE let me send you a tape to get a copy!! :)

Anyway... as nice as E-Night "is," it couldn't much top that excitement but, still, a good time was had by all. (no lines.) I was later told that the entire Board of Directors were on property for the grand opening of AKL - which explains the presence of both of our celebrities..

Wednesday, we met a friend of mine who is in the Disney Horticulture Dept over at the Poly. We didn't have long to talk, but he "did" mention how hard it has been with our drought conditions down here. Because Disney is SO in the public eye - they have to be VERY careful to comply with all our watering restrictions. He said that they may have to let the turf go, soon - so, unfortunately, you may begin to see a lot of brown grass. He also mentioned that the Poly was only at a 50% occupancy level while we were there, and they expect it to be worse over the summer. He has been with Disney since 1987, and he fears for his job later this summer.

We headed over to the Animal Kingdom and stayed there until they closed - no lines for anything!

We (gasp!) left property Wednesday evening, and headed over to Belz to do some shopping. Of course, where do we go? but the Disney discount stores. There were some good buys on golf shirts for my husband - and I got a nice, navy-blue, "Polo-style" (a red Mickey where the red horse would be) jacket, marked down from $68 to $17.99. Then, we headed over to the new Bass Outdoor World, and I was a good DW and sat and watched the fish while DH wandered around that immense store!!

Thursday morning, we headed over to EPCOT for the Hidden Treasures Tour. I highly recommend this tour any time, but ESPECIALLY during the Flower and Garden Festival - as World Showcase is SO beautiful then! We spent the rest of our day there (our favorite park), then headed back to the room for the night - to try to consume the remainder of our groceries!! :)

Friday morning, we stipped the bed, threw the towels in the tub, loaded the diswasher, and bagged up all the trash, then left the room around 10:30. We ate at Olivia's one more time (gotta have that chicken again!), then headed back to EPCOT to catch a few more sets of the British Invasion (LOVE those guys!!). We stuck around long enough to see Davy Jones - he put on a great show, is quite the performer.

Well - that's it. I was REALLY surprised at the crowds. The resort appeared to fill up a little as the week went on, but there were still never more than two families at the pool any time we walked by (we were in building 55 - a special request I have NEVER had granted before - it was a REAL treat!!!). Everything in the room was fine, and the exterior looked good, too. The refurbishig was going on around bldg's 42 or 43, as I can recall. We had plenty of "Welcome Home's." But we "did" have the guard at the gate check for our name on a list when we first arrived on Sunday, after we told him we were there to check in. That was the first time we had ever had that happen. We were also issued the 3-hour pass at the Poly when we drove over on Wednesday, even though the parking lot was less than half-full. I think it was a carry-over from the previous week - which was probably pretty busy!!

Feel free to ask any questions. Living so close, we always head over for just 1-3 nights at a time, so being there for FIVE nights was a real treat, and made for a GREAT vacation...

Counting the days to the next trip....
- Beth
Thanks for posting your mini-report!! I enjoyed it. We will be leaving for OKW next Sunday. Can't wait!!
Thanks for the great report and glad to hear you had a good trip. You mention it later in your post but for others who don't know, Sidney Poitier is on the Disney Board. That's very cool you saw both him and Eisner.
Thanks for posting your "mini" report! I am envious that you can just drive over for shorter trips! I would definitely get more use from my DVC if I were that close.

Hi Beth,

What is Boma? I am looking for something "different" to do when we go in July to celebrate my DD's b-day. It sounds like it is located at the AKL . She absolutley loves animals. Could you give me more details so I can call and make PS arrangement?

What exactly is the Hidden Treasures Tour and how much is it? DH and I will be at WDW 5/18 to 5/22 to see the Flower and Garden Festival and may be interested in taking the tour. BTW your trip report was great!
if you saw Michael Eisner on CNN Tuesday evening, around 5:45, or so, I was the person directly behind him in the black long-sleeved shirt.

Can't say that I taped it, but I did see you :D

Sidney Poitier is on the Disney Board

Hmmm...imagine someone like him taking the time to post here on the board. :jester:

I see you said you took the bus at one point. How did you find the buses? Are they using the bus on demand thing? Is it working?
Hi, all - thanks for the replies!!


Boma is one of the new AKL's 3 restaurants. They have a counter restaurant out by the pool (didn't check it out), "Boma" which is their "less formal" restaurant (kinda like Whispering Canyon vs Artist's Point), and "Jiko," their "more formal" restuarant.

Boma (for whatever reason) is only opened for breakfast and lunch. It is a buffet, and it is AWESOME!! For breakfast, they had a pastry station, fruit station, eggs, a "made to order" omelette station, REALLY good coffee (according to my DH), and carving station with pork and beef, oatmeal pancakes that were to DIE FOR, and other stuff I can't remember. :) The food was great, and so were the CM's! I believe it was either $14.95 or $15.95 for breakfast. Since AKL is a "restricted-entry" resort, I made these reservations reluctantly - but now I know we're going back!!


Hidden Treasures is one of Disney's "Behind the Scenes" tours. It is a tour of World Showcase (we started in Cananda), taking you through each country and discussing the architectural highlights, etc. We went backstage in a couple of countries (ever wanted to know what the Rocky Mountains in Canada look like from the backside? :)). The tour started at 9:00 am - so we had WS to ourselves for the first two hours. As often as we go - we still learned quite a bit and, as I said before - it was EXTRA nice having the flowers all around at the same time! I "think" it was around $50/person.

dmadman43 - funny how every thing comes back to these boards for some of us, huh? I didn't even think of that until you pointed it out! kinda funny....


Actually - our long trip from Turtle Pond Rd to the Hospitality House was the ONLY time we stepped foot on the bus, but I "did" ask the driver how the new program was working, and he sorta "smirked." He said that they are probably going to find that a "combination" of the two programs -- on-demand AND scheduled -- will work best. I "did" overhear some of the people on our tour mention that, when they left AKL to leave and come over to EPCOT for the tour - they couldn't get an EPCOT bus. So they went up to the "CM with the clipboard," and mentioned their problem. She quickly grabbed one of the waiting buses and told them she was changing his route, and to "take these people to EPCOT." They were very impressed. Our tour guide mentioned that they started this program at the AKL - because of its location on property. We'll see how it goes...
Hi Beth,

Thanks for the reply. What is a "restricted entry" resort? If I make PS for the breakfast at Boma will we be able to walk around the resort after? My DH thinks this will be a great way to celebrate my DD's b-day since we have been to just about all the other character and not character meals!!

thanks for the report :) -Cris
Beth, thanks for sharing your trip with us. I enjoyed reading your report.

Dmadman, Sidney Portier is on the Disney Company Board of Directors.
What is a "restricted entry" resort? If I make PS for the breakfast at Boma will we be able to walk around the resort after?

"Restricted Entry" means that Disney wants to discourage people from just "browsing" around this particular resort without another reason to be there. They are limiting entry to guests of the resort and those who have PS at a resort restaurant. As long as you meet one of those requirements, the resort is available to those wanting a closer look. Reportedly, they are taking a credit card number for PS and making a $10 charge for those who don't show at the restaurant.

Enjoy the resort!:cool:
Good to hear your report. We are really looking forward to our stay the first week of June. We aren't looking forward to the crowds but hopefully they won't be so bad.

That some folks who come back are horrified at the crowds and now you talk about how "empty" it is, and that people fear for their jobs?

When we were there in January, DS and I thought it was pretty empty, but the folks behind us in the BWV check-in line thought the crowds were just awful. All a point of view (or point of week) I guess.
Dmadman, Sidney Portier is on the Disney Company Board of Directors.

Judith....er...um....I realize that. My comment was intended to be tounge-in-cheek :rolleyes:

(Which Beth, apparantly, understood ;) )
Thanks, Doc. That's something I forgot to add...

When I called to make my PS for Boma, I was fully prepared to give my credit card number, after what I had heard on the Board, but shey never asked for it.

I, unfortunately, had to call back week before we left and change the day of the reservation. THAT time, the CM asked for my number. Of course, I questioned her as to why I hadn't had to give it the first time, and she said, "Well, you <i>should</i> have - apparently the CM overlooked it."

I used MS to make my PS, by the way.
Thanks for the info. on "restricted entry" at AKL . I plan on calling to make PS arrangements for the breakfast buffet. I don't mind leaving a credit card as we always make our PS reservations!!
Originally posted by dmadman43

Can't say that I taped it, but I did see you :D

Hmmm...imagine someone like him taking the time to post here on the board. :jester:

I think that they meant that he is on the Board of Directors not this message board......;)
Hmmm..apparently Beth is the only one that understood my apparent lame attempt at humor :D Oh, well...

okay, that's it...No more attempts at tounge-in-cheek humor for me. :bounce: :cool: :bounce::


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