"This is a special place"-Feb 2019 WDW & Cruise-Updated 2/14-Garden Grill breakfast and Manatees

Lesley Wake

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 16, 2017
"This is a special place" - Feb 2019, Mother/Daughter WDW and Disney Cruise!

So, is the 1-year anniversary of a trip a good time to start a Trip Report? Oops! (Sorry – had a couple trips and trip reports also to get out, but I figure this should get posted sooner rather than later! I'll also try to zoom through this TR, not take forever like my typical reports...)



I’m Lesley, 30ish, Engineer, living in Los Angeles. A Disney lover since a child, going to Disneyland fairly often growing up, but nearing the end of my 4th year as a Disneyland AP, since I’m only about 1 hr away (and sometimes work only 5 minutes away). Finally made my first trip to WDW in September 2017, followed by 6 trips within the next 2.5 years. And in the middle of those trips, I also got to visit Disneyland Paris in June 2018, and Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo in Oct/Nov 2019! Yes, I am an addict! I have one more trip coming up at the end of February 2020, then I will be taking a bit of a WDW break, probably until Fall 2021. (Of course not a full Disney break, as I will keep my DL AP and also have another Disney Cruise in May 2020.)

Phew… Also, a list of my past (and current) trip reports:

"We've gone too far already"-A sister trip with surprise guest Irma!-September 2017
Hippos and Tigers and Flowers, Oh My-A Solo March 2018 TR
"Don't Anger the Dolls"-A France and Disneyland Paris TR - June 2018
And now for a change of plans - Solo December 2018 TR
"Enjoy these moments, they are precious"-Lesley's Epic May 2019 TR!
A HalloXmas Trip to Asia - Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo! - Still working on this one!


Coming along on this trip is my mom! Officially this is her second trip, as she and my dad visited Orlando for a conference in the 1980s, making a stop at Epcot for a partial day. Oh, and I wasn’t taken on this trip, as I was left at home! I have been shaming them for this, but they don’t seem to realize the injustice!


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Anyways, they weren’t the biggest fans of Epcot, which meant they never really encouraged us to visit WDW. They do both still like Disney, but in moderation, so are good with a trip to Disneyland every year or so. Mom’s favorite rides are in Fantasyland, especially Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland.


Trip History:

This trip came together over a longer period of time. I had never really been interested in cruising, but reading TR’s on here (particularly from my eventual friends Su-Lynn (@chunkymonkey ) and Rachelle (@RachelleBeaney )) made me much more interested in trying it out. I knew they were pricy so on opening day for 2019 cruises I booked the cheapest one I could find – a 4-night on the Disney Wonder out of Port Canaveral. I did vaguely bring it up to my family but then sort of put it on the back-burner.




Eventually I did go ahead and finalize the dates to visit Disneyworld pre- and post-cruise, with 4-nights before the cruise (at Beach Club Villas by renting DVC points), and 2-nights after the cruise (at Polynesian Villas, again by renting DVC points). Later when booking airfare it made more sense to add on a day at the front, so I initially booked a night at All Star Sports.




Throughout the planning process I did throw it out to my Mom, she was welcome to come along, though I didn’t think that would actually happen! Finally she did end up deciding – yes, why not! So, I made some changes to various dining plans, bought my mom’s ticket, as well as I had my lovely TA (@ArielSRL ) change us to Port Orleans Riverside – I didn’t really want my mom’s first stop at WDW to be at a Value resort (I know some people like them, I just prefer moderate/deluxe for the calmness and better rooms)! After AP rates came out, I did some more thinking and ended up switching up to Animal Kingdom Lodge for a night. I love that resort (it’s why I bought DVC there) and thought my mom would too (spoiler alert-she did)!



So, the basic plans were:

Day 0 - Feb 5 – travel
Day 1 – Feb 6 – Animal Kingdom
Day 2 – Feb 7 – Epcot
Day 3 – Feb 8 – Animal Kingdom
Day 4 – Feb 9 – Epcot
Day 5-9 – Feb 10-14 – Cruise
Day 9 – Feb 14 – Disney Springs/NASA?/Polynesian…
Day 10 – Feb 15 – Magic Kingdom
Day 11 – Feb 16 – Magic Kingdom and travel home

Yes, you will note there is no stop at Hollywood Studios. I just knew looking at it all, my mom would prefer spending more time at either of the other parks than going to DHS, and we weren’t getting her a Park Hopper. So, it made sense, and was definitely the right decision!


Coming up - My mom's first impression of Disney!​
 

suse66

Mickey Bars should be a daily food group!
Joined
Sep 3, 2008
Throughout the planning process I did throw it out to my Mom, she was welcome to come along, though I didn’t think that would actually happen! Finally she did end up deciding – yes, why not! So, I made some changes to various dining plans, bought my mom’s ticket, as well as I had my lovely TA (@ArielSRL ) change us to Port Orleans Riverside – I didn’t really want my mom’s first stop at WDW to be at a Value resort (I know some people like them, I just prefer moderate/deluxe for the calmness and better rooms)! After AP rates came out, I did some more thinking and ended up switching up to Animal Kingdom Lodge for a night. I love that resort (it’s why I bought DVC there) and thought my mom would too (spoiler alert-she did)!
Joining in! How lovely that your mom decided to join you on this trip. I adore AKL as well and hope that your mom loved it too. Your trip plans look fabulous!
 
  • missjackiemcg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2013
    Oh, boy! I'm so excited to read about your trip with your Mom :) Some of my favorite Disney memories have been made on our mother-daughter trips! And we're going again in April, so this TR has come at just the right time :)
     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Yay! I'm first?!? Glad to have influenced you to go on a Disney cruise! They are so addictive, right?
    Yeah, first! Though you got a head start since I tagged you!
    Joining in! How lovely that your mom decided to join you on this trip. I adore AKL as well and hope that your mom loved it too. Your trip plans look fabulous!
    Thanks!
    Yay joining in and can't wait to hear about the mother/daughter trip!!
    It turned out great!
    Oh, boy! I'm so excited to read about your trip with your Mom :) Some of my favorite Disney memories have been made on our mother-daughter trips! And we're going again in April, so this TR has come at just the right time :)
    Yay! Is the whole family going in April?
    Following!
    Welcome!
     
  • Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Day 0 – Travel day

    (If I don’t visit a park on the first day I tend to call it Day 0, rather than Day 1!)

    Unfortunately the weekend leading up to the trip were a bit stressful, trying to negotiate a sudden dental issue, and possibly visiting Disneyland Monday morning for the possible Rams Superbowl Victory Parade. However, the Rams didn’t win, so the actual day before was easy enough!



    Our travel day was early. I had originally booked a mid-morning flight, but it got changed to a 7am departure! It was either that, or arrive around midnight, so we stuck with the early time. Which meant we had to leave the house around 4am. Oof. I think I only got a couple hours of sleep beforehand (mom tends to stay up late so she probably got like 1 hr). At least at that early hour, our drive to the airport was uneventful, with my sister’s boyfriend driving us (everyone else had work in the morning so it would have been a miserable day for them).



    And for the first time in a while, I had to go thru regular security, ugh! I have pre-check, but my mom doesn’t and since I booked our flights separately (mine was already finalized before my mom signed up for the trip), I couldn’t umbrella her over. Oh well, at least the TSA agent still treated me like Pre-check (didn’t need to take out liquids or off shoes). Though it’s always weird for me flying with someone else, as 95% of the flights I’ve taken in the past decade+ have been solo!



    Because I upgraded us to main cabin select, we were boarding group 5. Of course, people are idiots and crowd around the boarding area, even when they are group 7, 8, 9, etc. And it makes it a pain to get through! I wish people would just wait further away until they are called!



    Boarded and no issues. Mom and I had a mini row to ourselves. Basically unlimited legroom. Only negatives are that the seats themselves are a bit narrower because of the table in the armrest. And you can’t watch TV until after takeoff (emergency exit row). I tried on my phone, but it wasn’t connecting properly.



    Anyways, in the air, I ended up watching Bad Times at the El Royale (interesting; not what I thought it’d be), and then Pick of the Litter, which was very cute!

    But we were finally in Orlando! Yippee! Over to DME. First time I arrived in daytime, so I was curious if there would be long lines, but luckily nope.



    We did have some issues with Magicbands, as the ones we had weren’t scanning properly (I tried to get a video of Mom’s first MB scan). Luckily I had the DME paper in my backpack too, so we were able to board!



    Wait – I thought we weren’t leaving on a cruise until Sunday!



     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    When we got on, they announced the bus would be making 4 stops: AoA, Pop, CSR, and finally AKL. I groaned, but then mom looked excited to see other places too! So I just laughed.



    But it worked out well in the end, because first we came up to AoA, which isn’t very impressive from the parking lot entrance (just a lot of square buildings).

    Then pulled around to Pop, which is a bit better but not by much. We passed by the Skyliner stuff so I pointed that out to mom.



    Then we pulled into Colorado Springs. That one is better than the values, but the entrance is right by the new tower, so it basically looked like a construction site. And the tower itself just looked like an average hotel tower. Mom was not impressed. (I do have to say I was wrong, as the inside of the tower was very nice and I wouldn’t be opposed to staying there)

    Then we left and headed to AKL. As we pulled through the gate we were surrounded by trees and lushness. Then pulled up to the building and my mom audibly gasped at how gorgeous it is! She loved the thatched roof and just how awesome of a first impression it is!

    Got off the bus and was greeted by one of the CMs in full African dress, which was another special moment!

    And into the lobby, which she also loved immediately! Yup, I made the right choice about switching us there! It was funny – mom assumed the rest of the trip it was the most expensive place we stayed at. When I told her it was often the cheapest deluxe she was totally surprised.

    Anyways, we hadn’t received the room ready text/email yet, so I had to go to front desk (mom also had to set up her pin number). I actually may not have even used online check-in… can’t remember. But we got everything taken care of and they gave us our room number, 2nd floor, zebra trail (I had requested 2nd or 3rd floor, partial savanna view via my awesome TA, Renee). As we started to walk down the hall, I recognized the side of the building our room was going to be on, and realized we had been upgraded to a full savanna view!




    Got into the room and I only ended up with 1 room photo.



    But took a lot from the balcony! It was awesome just opening the door and seeing the animals right there! We ended up spending a lot of time out there!



    Also, super cute bunnies showed up and were playing around!



    Our Animal Spotting Guide



    This little guy was walking underneath all the guest rooms and making a loud squack that sounded like an alarm! It was confusing until I realized where the sound was coming from!

     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    Mom did go back into the room to rest a bit, but told me to wake her if the giraffes came right to the balcony! Well…



    This one guy was pretty curious and we knew he was looking right at us! It was pretty cool!



    Eventually it was time for dinner. I was actually pretty hungry considering all I had was a meh pastry in the airport and a meh packaged salad on the plane! As we left the room, the luggage delivery guy had arrived with our bags, which was a nice coincidence! (FYI, this meant it was about a 3hr15min wait from flight landing until bag arrival at room.)

    We didn’t have far to go for dinner, but did end up taking the shuttle rather than walking. It was time for Sanaa. I have never attempted this in the past because I’m not a huge Indian fan, but I do like Naan and mom likes Indian, so I thought I’d give it a chance.



    There was a crowd of people downstairs, so while we waited for a table, we walked out to the overlook. It had just gotten dark and we couldn’t see many animals at all. The keepers did look like they were setting out food though – probably for the starlight safari, and we eventually saw a zebra munching on it.


     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    It wasn’t a long wait and we were seated with a very sweet server (of course my notes say she was sweet, but this was literally a year ago, so I can't remember why she was sweet! :P )



    To drink, mom got the African Starr Mojito. I considered one of the fancy drinks (i.e. Kande Coconut Cooler), but decided to just get a coke. Mom liked her drink.



    Then of course we had to get the bread service. But instead of the Onion Kulcha, we got 2 of the traditional naan, because I love Naan!



    We both really liked this. Of the dips, I think I really only liked the Mango Chutney but my mom also liked the Cucumber Raita. I wish they still had the option to get a couple pieces of bread and only 3 dips like I heard about in the past, because it would be a waste for me to get the whole thing if I was by myself. (I think you may be able to get Naan by itself, so maybe I’ll check that out when I’m staying at Kidani Village in February)

    For entrees, mom and I both got the Potijie Inspired. We both got the Butter Chicken from the Journey. I got the Chickpea Wat and she got Cilantro coconut vegetables? I actually really liked my butter chicken and rice. I only took a couple bites of the chickpea because I was sooo stuffed from bread!



    I considered getting dessert because they had some special Valentine’s specials, but wisely decided against it!

    In the end it was very delicious! I don't know how many return trips I'll do though, as there are so many other places I just love at WDW!

    We checked out the lobby – saw exhibit on recycled objects and spoke with CM. We considered buying my sister, Lauren, one of the bread service dishes but it was expensive!



    Afterwards we headed back over to Jambo House. When going to Jambo from Kidani, you can really get on all the busses except for the Springs bus. The buses were actually pretty crowded, as it was a Moonlight Magic evening at Magic Kingdom (we were invited by my friend Zach, but knew we’d be too exhausted to participate), so there was a delay, but we waited as we were both stuffed and tired!

    We entered Jambo House thru the gift shop and my peer pressure worked, with mom buying a glittery elephant shirt to wear the next day at AK. She had wavered between that one and some of the other animals, but eventually stuck with her instinct (and it’s one of her favorite shirts to wear normally so it was a good purchase).



    On our way back to our room (it was easiest to walk to the end of the lobby and take the stairs down a level like if you were going to the overlook, then walk along the hallway) we stopped to look at the exhibit at the end, which was a headpiece! I always just assumed it was a float or art piece



    I also noticed the ostrich egg lights!



    We sort-of unpacked/rearranged things. We were only there for 1-night, so mainly that involved pulled out things we would need that night and packing up everything else. I tried to pack strategically, but didn’t do the best job!

    I think we went out on the balcony a bit (it was a lovely warm night), and could see some animals, but I didn’t bother with photos, knowing they wouldn’t turn out. At first I was annoyed at all the screaming and shouting coming from the overlook, thinking it was raucus teenagers. Then I realized it was the African music piped out there! Oops!

    Anyways, to bed and sleep we did!

    Honestly, it was a pretty perfect arrival evening. We had a great room, great food, great overall atmosphere. The trip was off to the right foot!

    Coming up - A late start at Animal Kingdom!
     
  • suse66

    Mickey Bars should be a daily food group!
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2008
    Boarded and no issues. Mom and I had a mini row to ourselves. Basically unlimited legroom. Only negatives are that the seats themselves are a bit narrower because of the table in the armrest. And you can’t watch TV until after takeoff (emergency exit row). I tried on my phone, but it wasn’t connecting properly.
    Love the extra leg room...that makes for a much more comfortable flight! You look so much like your mom!
    We did have some issues with Magicbands, as the ones we had weren’t scanning properly (I tried to get a video of Mom’s first MB scan). Luckily I had the DME paper in my backpack too, so we were able to board!
    Glad you got that sorted. Yay for no crowds at DME!
     

    suse66

    Mickey Bars should be a daily food group!
    Joined
    Sep 3, 2008
    Weirdly your other posts popped up after I replied..... now adding in my new response.

    Then we left and headed to AKL. As we pulled through the gate we were surrounded by trees and lushness. Then pulled up to the building and my mom audibly gasped at how gorgeous it is! She loved the thatched roof and just how awesome of a first impression it is!
    It really is spectacular!
    This one guy was pretty curious and we knew he was looking right at us! It was pretty cool!
    Nothing like savannah view!
    There was a crowd of people downstairs, so while we waited for a table, we walked out to the overlook. It had just gotten dark and we couldn’t see many animals at all. The keepers did look like they were setting out food though – probably for the starlight safari, and we eventually saw a zebra munching on it.
    I would love to do that starlight safari sometime.
    In the end it was very delicious! I don't know how many return trips I'll do though, as there are so many other places I just love at WDW!
    I'm glad you enjoyed it, it's one of my favourites.
    I also noticed the ostrich egg lights!
    Love those!
    Honestly, it was a pretty perfect arrival evening. We had a great room, great food, great overall atmosphere. The trip was off to the right foot!
    I would say it was practically perfect in every way!
     

    buzzrelly

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2005
    Hi, Lesley!

    Can't wait to hear how you liked your cruise, although you have another booked so I'm pretty sure you liked it! :-)
     

    missangelalexis

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 27, 2012
    What a great view from your balcony- so cool seeing the giraffes!

    Sounds like a nice dinner and a good arrival day spent at the resort!!
     

    missjackiemcg

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 2, 2013
    Holy Legroom on your flight, Batman!!! That's pretty nice despite the annoyingness of a narrow seat and not being able to start your in flight entertainment right away.

    I love how your Mom gasped and was so impressed with your hotel choice :) Good work!

    We've never eaten at Sanaa either. I LOVE bread, so I'm sure the bread service would be an easy go-to for me, but not sure I'd love anything else on the menu.

    Yay! Is the whole family going in April?
    Nope. Just me, my Mom and my aunt. We're doing the Backstage Magic 7 hour tour one day of the trip. I am SUPER excited to finally do that one! We tried to book it a few years ago, but it wasn't offered during our dates. Then, I booked it for me last May, but cancelled in favor of joining the VIP tour (good decision, I'd say!!)
     

    Lesley Wake

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 16, 2017
    I would love to do that starlight safari sometime.
    Yeah, me too! That one and the morning AKL one and the sunset Kilimanjaro Safari one. Basically, anything involving animals!
    I would say it was practically perfect in every way!
    Haha, yup! I should have used that as my TR title!
    Hi, Lesley!

    Can't wait to hear how you liked your cruise, although you have another booked so I'm pretty sure you liked it! :-)
    Haha, yeah - my signature gives a pretty big spoiler about that one!
    What a great view from your balcony- so cool seeing the giraffes!

    Sounds like a nice dinner and a good arrival day spent at the resort!!
    It was probably my favorite view ever at WDW! I knew mom would be too tired to do anything more energetic than hanging at the resort!
    Holy Legroom on your flight, Batman!!! That's pretty nice despite the annoyingness of a narrow seat and not being able to start your in flight entertainment right away.
    Yeah, very true!
    We've never eaten at Sanaa either. I LOVE bread, so I'm sure the bread service would be an easy go-to for me, but not sure I'd love anything else on the menu.
    Hmm, yeah I know what you mean! There was a place near my apartment in Maryland which had the best Naan - super fresh from a clay oven. I would sometimes just go there and order bread!
    Nope. Just me, my Mom and my aunt. We're doing the Backstage Magic 7 hour tour one day of the trip. I am SUPER excited to finally do that one! We tried to book it a few years ago, but it wasn't offered during our dates. Then, I booked it for me last May, but cancelled in favor of joining the VIP tour (good decision, I'd say!!)
    That will be a nice girls trip. And yeah, I would have done VIP Tour over the backstage magic any day!
     

    lvcourtneyy

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 24, 2012
    Joining in!

    What an amazing view from your room and a perfect relaxing day after your early start!
     

    KathyM2

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 16, 2011
    I'm again late to the party here, but enjoying reading about AKL. How cool it must be to have giraffes right outside. The food looked great too!!
     

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