Disney Trip Planning: 180 Days Out (Well, more like 177)

Howdy friends and neighbours!  It’s been a long time – I keep meaning to come back and get into the blog habit again, but things keep getting in the way. 😛 So here I go to try again!

That's the spirit, Ralph!

That’s the spirit, Ralph!

I figure maybe I can make weekly updates on my planning for my family’s upcoming Disney World trip.  This is our first trip as a full family since 2011; my daughter was just about to turn 5, and now she’s 9. (If you’ve followed at home long enough you know that my daughter and I took a trip together in 2013, which was awesome! but now it’s time for my son and husband to get to come too ^_^)

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Trip Report 2013: Day 3, Part 5: And Now a Resort Break

If I haven’t mentioned it before (I have, but oh well), staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge has been a dream of mine.  It’s the Deluxe resort I most want to stay at.  (It still is, despite having stayed for a night!)  So if nothing else, even if I don’t get to go back, I can scratch one off my Bucket List! 😀

Getting to Animal Kingdom Lodge was a tiny bit tricky, but I figured it out. It was a lot easier, it turns out, than getting to the Magic Kingdom *from* AKL – but I’ll get to that later… 😛  Anyway, I have some advice for anyone who stays at Kidani Village for the first time: Don’t park in the first part of the garage.  Keep driving until you see the entrance to the resort.  That’s all. (I think everyone who isn’t me could probably figure this out.)

An incredibly awful picture of the main entrance to Kidani Village, taken the next morning.

An incredibly awful picture of the main entrance to Kidani Village, taken the next morning as we were leaving.

The fact that they had covered garage parking enticed me, so once we got there I parked at the far end of the garage, in the Zazu section.  We left our bags and things in the car so that we wouldn’t have to lug everything in at once to check in, and so I thought once we had our room I’d come back and get the bags we’d need overnight. Right? Sounds good huh?

It turns out that it was like a five-minute walk from where we parked to the lobby.  Not joking. I don’t know why I didn’t keep driving, but I was just in a hurry to get parked and check in! Lack of judgment on my part. 🙂  It was just walk and walk and walk, door after door of rooms of the resort but no idea how much farther it was to the lobby!  Door after door after door and at this point we suddenly needed the bathroom again.  So once we got to the lobby, before we could check in we had to duck into the (single room) bathroom first.  And there was a line. 🙂

Check-in itself went quite well.  D sat and watched a couple of cartoons and I tried to look around the lobby a little, but the check-in was so quick that I didn’t really have a chance!  They had a sitting area for kids with the afore-mentioned cartoons, and then just behind that an outdoor porch area with rocking chairs where you could go watch the animals.  I was immediately a little chagrined by the fact that I would obviously not be taking full advantage of what was clearly a BEAUTIFUL resort. 😦  Animal Kingdom Lodge needs at least an afternoon of exploration!  I’m not saying I regret staying there, not in the least, but I regret not having more time to take it in!  I hope it’s not my only visit there.

So we got our room number and it was even farther from the car. Ahem.  We were up, I want to say, on the 9th floor (I’m not looking at my room info right now) and since we had checked in we took a little bit of time to look out onto the animals.  We could see some zebras and just barely, a baby giraffe that wasn’t officially “out” yet for the public.  Then we found our room and I had D get settled in, before I went back to the car for our things so that she could get her swimsuit on and we could go to the pool.

As for the room, we were in a Deluxe Studio, which came with a heck of a large bathroom, a queen-sized bed, a pull-out sofa bed, a kitchenette, and the other standard amenities.  The Studio rooms have a balcony, but ours didn’t overlook the Savannah – rather it was looking out on the parking lot front of the resort.  The pics I took were limited because of my low battery, and don’t do the room justice at all, so I recommend you visit the AllEars.net gallery (or your favourite picture collection for WDW) to see some other pics.  Meanwhile here are mine!

Here's all my stuff on the bed! Because that's worth seeing.

Here’s all my stuff on the bed! Because that’s worth seeing.  Note the Mickey towel art!! 😀

The kitchenette!  I actually did like two dishes!! :D

The kitchenette! I actually did like two dishes!! 😀

This is the pull-out couch, pre-pull-out.

This is the pull-out couch, pre-pull-out.

I discovered three great things: 1) the balcony was AWESOME.  I’m sure seeing the animals would’ve been even better but I LOVED just having one! It was waaaay too hot to sit out there at that time, though, so I just stepped out and back in. Sigh.

Here is the view from our balcony, though this is actually the next morning.

Here is the view from our balcony, though this is actually the next morning.

2) we were very, VERY close to the Samawati Springs pool – across from it, in fact.  And 3) we were really close to an elevator that went all the way down into the garage.  So when I took that elevator back down to the lobby floor, I took note of which one it was (I want to say it was Rafiki) and – ten minutes later – was able to park RIGHT by it and get back up to our room almost instantly.

The unfortunate part was that it was already after 3:30, closing in on 4pm.  I had scheduled our afternoon break to be from 2:45-4:30 and then to return to Epcot at 4:45, but obviously that wouldn’t happen.  Fear not for I am not Rigid Planning Momma, but Flexible Momma!  It just meant we’d have to be careful not to miss our Test Track FastPass which was 5-6pm.

The Kidani Samawati Springs pool was awesome. It was large and the play area was even better than the one at Fort Wilderness. Here are a few pictures I didn’t take:

From www.aklresort.com, used without permission.

From http://www.aklresort.com, used without permission.

From www.mouseplanet.com, used without permission.

From http://www.mouseplanet.com, used without permission.

From www.ownerslocker.com, used without permission.

From http://www.ownerslocker.com, used without permission.

D completely avoided the water slide this time, but she did love the actual pool itself and preferred being in there over being in the play area. I’m not sure why because I would have given my arm to get to run around that spot! 😀

We played for about 45 or so minutes, and I felt bad cutting D off after that, but we needed to get back to the park.  She was disappointed but agreeable, and we got back by 5:15 or so and made our Test Track FPs. Our other two FPs were for Soarin’ between 6-7pm, and for the Maelstrom between 7-8pm.  I had scheduled it to try to get around the other half of the WS by 8:30 and to leave before Illuminations, because D is not a Night Owl by any stretch of the imagination and because I hate trying to navigate thru crowds.

But how did that plan pan out?  Stay tuned to see…