Who: Sue (51), DVC member
SB (52), Sexy Boyfriend
Dates: February 10 15, 2010
Travel Method: Personal car
Resort: Disneys Kidani Village Resort
Experience: Very experienced (1st stay at this resort)
This trip will be SBs last until after baseball season, and itll be the first time weve stayed at Kidani Village (the relatively new dvc section of the old Animal Kingdom Lodge complex). Hes never even stayed at Jambo House (the original Animal Kingdom Lodge), although hes been to Victoria Falls Lounge when we met the Cubbons there for a drink. I hope he enjoys Kidani Village and appreciates having the animals right outside our studio! Where else can you share a resort with giraffe, zebra and assorted other 4-legged guests?
We bought the Tables in Wonderland card last month and itll come in handy with several table service meals booked this trip. We have lunches at Sci Fi (his pick), Sanaa and Rose & Crown. Sanaa might be weird to him, but the restaurant is so pretty I figured its worth a first visit at least (even if its the last). I ate there on an earlier trip and honestly theres not much on the menu I eat but it IS pretty there. Sunday is Valentines Day so I booked dinner at Jiko since were staying next door and thats one of the nicer restaurants. Again, Ive been there once and SB has never been so its like new to us. If we get a chance Ill drag him over for the Boma/Jiko tour earlier in the trip.
One thing Ive been wanting to do for a while is see Cirque du Soleils La Nouba again. Ive seen it 2-3 times but its been several years. SB has never seen any Cirque show in person. Last week I finally decided it made no sense to NOT do something I want to do so I called and booked tickets at the passholder 35% off rate. Theyre category 2 seats and near the back row so well see if its true that there are no bad seats in the theater!
Our friend Stefanee has the day off Thursday so shell be meeting us at the resort to visit that afternoon. She should enjoy seeing the resort & the animals. Maybe shell want to do the culinary tour, too. The weather looks rather cold not swimming pool weather at all. There are supposed to be showers 2 days. I dont really mind the cool weather that much, but dont want rain. Well most likely head out to a park each morning, spend some time at the resort in the afternoon and then play it by ear in the evening (except for La Nouba and Jiko nights). Well probably skip Magic Kingdom this time since its so far away & we spent a lot of time there while staying at Bay Lake Tower last month. SB needs another chance to try to beat me at Toy Story Midway Mania for the first time <g> but otherwise well probably spend most of our time at Epcot and Animal Kingdom.
My friend Mary called the day before the trip, and it looks like our best chance to see her will be Thursday which is the day we had an 11:10 lunch at the Studios. Fortunately I was able to change the reservations online, flipping our Sci Fi and Sanaa reservations. This works out better since Stefanee will be coming to the resort the day of Sanaa if she wants to join us for lunch she can. I was somewhat surprised to find Sci Fi available just a couple days in advance, but I figured it didnt hurt to try! Sanaa was no surprise resort restaurants arent in high demand for lunch.
The plans so far are:
Wednesday 2/10: Work Gainesville, drive to WDW, Animal Kingdom
Thursday 2/11: Epcot, Sanaa, Stefanee
Friday 2/12: Studios, Sci Fi, La Nouba
Saturday 2/13: Epcot, Rose & Crown
Sunday 2/14: Animal Kingdom, Jiko dinner
Monday 2/15: Drive to Ft Myers
DAY 1 Wednesday 2/10/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
SB (52), Sexy Boyfriend
Plan: Work Gainesville, drive to WDW, Animal Kingdom
Actual: I left work just after 11, picked up SB at Homewood Suites and we were on the road to WDW by 11:30. We arrived at Kidani Village around 1:15 and had no wait to check in. Id done the online check in (I will never understand why anyone would not do this) and as expected our studio was ready. You see, with online check in one of the questions is what time will we arrive so its a no-brainer that with online check in your room will be ready when you get there!
Our studio is located way way way way WAY down the hallway on the opposite side of where Jambo House is. Bummer, since we have a dinner booked at Jiko. But, I figured go with the flow who cares where the room is really. Our first challenge came when trying to park we were totally lost trying to get to the parking area, not realizing the only entrance was way over towards the Jambo House side. Once we finally found the entrance to the parking (after ending up at Jambo House & then circling another parking lot with only one entrance/exit) we kept driving and driving. At one point it brought us back outside for a bit, until we had to re-enter. Parking at this end is a major pain!!! Finally we were in our parking area (Pumba) and chose a spot near the elevator. Were on the 2nd floor (lobby level) and still had a bit of a walk once we got off the elevator. I was carrying our 4 jackets along with some other stuff and the jackets kept slipping. I ended up losing 1 and later another, and then a 3rd as I entered the studio. What a mess, lol! Luckily SB was able to grab each one after I dropped it, lol.
The studio is beautiful your typical Jambo House or Kidani Studio. One weird thing theres a small closet plus that big wardrobe thing, which seemed odd. The furnishings seemed the same as whats at Jambo House. The kitchenette area seemed further away, so the room must be deeper but the extra length is in wasted hallway space so that doesnt matter. The bathroom is nice & long, and theres a separate room for just the toilet. The walls are bare in there I would have expected some piece of wall dcor somewhere!
We went out on the balcony to see what was happening out there. A few zebra were laying on the ground, and I noticed we had no balcony furniture at all! I went inside and called to report that while we were out later someone delivered the furniture. How could that go missing?? I unpacked a little bit while we discussed what to do next. Neither of us felt any pressure to rush to a park, and both of us wanted to see General Hospital at 3 (hes gotten more addicted than me, lol). So, we decided to go have a drink and find me something to eat.
We decided on Jambo House (Mara and Victoria Falls Lounge) but as we were walking the endless Kidani hallway I remembered Sanaa has a bar! Sanaa is the full service restaurant here at Kidani Village, and its where we have lunch booked tomorrow. So, we decided to head there instead of walking 3 miles to Jambo House each way.
Finally we reached the lobby SB needing another shave by now and me with several more gray hairs. Along the way I found a crumpled up $20 bill in the hallway, with nobody around who might have dropped it. I figured that would just cover a beer and glass of wine at WDW, lol! Just off the lobby we went into the community room and I showed SB my name on the founding member tapestry he thought that was cool. He really likes this resort this one even beats Beach Club Villas for him, but we have to have the BCV location for certain trips!
We went downstairs to Sanaa and took 2 seats at the bar. Nobody else was in there until shortly before we left when another couple arrived to sit at the bar. Down here they serve appetizers from Sanaa and the bread service, but none of that appealed to us. The bartender checked & got permission to serve us the angus burger, which was nice. We were discussing how we wanted it since I like medium rare and he likes medium well so we ordered it as medium. I had a German Riesling and SB had a couple $5.25 bud lights (I can hear Steve Russo groaning).
When the burger came out it was on 2 plates and each half had been cooked separately mine medium rare, his medium well! That was so nice of the bartender to have them do that! The burger was excellent, and it was on some thin bread rather than a roll. SB finished my half even though it was medium rare. The strange thing it didnt come with fries or anything. Oh well, it was all excellent and after the Tables in Wonderland discount and tip it was $31.47. I asked the bartender about 2 champagne glasses for the room and he got 2 from the chiller for us also very nice! SB bought a bottle this morning, so now we have something other than coffee mugs to drink it from!
After lunch I sent him to check out the mens room and he said it was very nice. We went outside to the viewing area for a bit and then after filing our travel plans with the center for missing persons (just in case) we began the long walk back to our studio. Our balcony furniture had arrived and was in place! I finished unpacking and then worked on the report while we watched General Hospital.
Afterwards I was ready to get out of the studio but he was more interested in not moving at all. So, I left him in the studio and drove over to Premium Outlets. It was so easy to get there from here straight shot out to I-4 and then 2 exits away I was there. It was so much easier than driving through Disney property & Downtown Disney!
Since I was solo I took some time to browse in a few shops and then ended up at Character Premiere. They had silk scarves with hearts and hidden mickeys on them so I picked one up for a co-worker in Gainesville who frequently wears a scarf. I figure might as well Disneyfy her <g>. I also bought a polo shirt for SB, the throw with the castle lights image and another of the other throws. The 2nd throw was selling for $50 in the parks but was here for only $10 so I figured what the hell. I might have bought one in November, and if so this one can be a gift for someone at work.
I also stopped at Rocky Mountain Chocolates and bought SB a candy apple and for me a couple pretzel rods dipped in stuff. It was another easy drive back to Kidani Village and this time I parked at the very end of the garage close to the stairs. The stairway is just around the corner from our studio so this is very convenient.
SB liked what Id bought and asked where I wanted to have dinner. I really wasnt thinking about dinner since Id had part of half a burger and I had chocolate pretzel rods in the bag, lol but evidently he was hungry. We decided on Wolfgang Pucks Caf at the West Side. We drove over there and found a decent parking spot. It was pretty chilly, especially when we got out after dinner when it was dark! SB said the forecast for tomorrow morning is in the 30s maybe thats just the feels like temp, though.
We were seated right away and had a really good waiter. We started with a Riesling for me and a non-alcoholic Perfect Punch for him. For appetizers we shared the beef satay and he also got the calamari. Both were excellent, and this was the first time hed ever had satay anything. The calamari is a huge portion, which I guess for $12.95 it should be.
For dinner I just had the side field greens salad and he ordered the half chicken (which used to be a whole chicken). My salad was fine, but his chicken looked small to us. We commented on it to the waiter, who checked with the chef and assured us theyre all proportioned out by weight. Id been thinking it was chicken with bones, but it turned out to be boneless. It was not a half chicken as that would be 1 breast, 1 wing, 1 leg and 1 thigh. But, it was a decent portion and the taste was excellent. The manager stopped by to discuss it as well and we assured him we were fine, but he insisted on giving us 20% off. I told him that was ok we had 20% off with Tables in Wonderland, so he ended up taking off the calamari. He said he wanted us to not have any ill will, so that was a very nice gesture on his part. We would have been back regardless!
We were too full for dessert but did order a piece of their outstanding carrot cake to go and then settled the check. It was $57 after the free calamari and 20% discount and $69 after we added a tip. We walked quickly to the car since it was so cold, and drove back to Kidani Village. Once there we were in for the night. I finished up the report and then joined him under the covers in time for American Idol.
Today was a very nice day I enjoy coming here without necessarily dealing with the parks. We relaxed, hung out, had a couple nice meals and just enjoyed the resort & being here together. Tomorrow well do park stuff, but today was fun for me without the parks!
DAY 2 Thursday 2/11/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
SB (52), Sexy Boyfriend
Plan: Epcot, Sanaa, Stefanee
Actual: I slept really well on the comfortable bed with the crappy cheap sheets. If only Disney would upgrade (we bought 1500 thread count for Gainesville) I might spend the whole trip in bed! The sun hadnt risen yet but the savannah was light enough to see any animals that might come through. I took my shower and SB was awake when I finished. A group of ankole cattle were on the ground outside, and soon 3 zebra were munching their way through the area. SB would lay in bed and watch the animals, loving it!
I had a text message from Mary updating me on her schedule. The weather is altering her whereabouts on a special job shes doing these days. It looks like well be able to catch her this morning before we have to return here to meet Stefany. We made the quick trip down the flight of stairs to find a pick up truck and trailer parked behind our car! Fortunately the driver was inside the truck so he moved out of the way. We drove over to Beach Club Villas and walked to Epcot from there.
Along the back path a woman was smoking a cigarette (not on her patio but clearly this is also a no-smoking area) and we were both astonished how badly it stunk up the entire area even though it wasnt humid. There simply is nothing more disgusting than cigarette smoke. We got to the International Gateway about 5 minutes before 8:45 so we sat on a bench until they started letting people in (at 8:45). Mary called with her latest schedule update while we were sitting there. For Gwens benefit todays clothing was jeans, long sleeve shirt, warm jacket & knit gloves for SB. I had knit pants, elbow length shirt, sweatshirt, light jacket & knit gloves. We were both comfortable.
By the time we entered the park and walked over to the fountain the opening show had just ended. The crowds werent as big as they were on previous trips, and of course almost everyone headed to Soarin. I grabbed us a couple of fastpasses while SB went to Seasons to get us breakfast and we met as he finished at the cash register.
He had the adult breakfast platter and it actually looked decent for the most part good portions this time. My croissant cranberry pudding was a very large portion, and of course excellent. We enjoyed the food and then walked right onto our own private boat for Living with the Land. The pair of boats ahead of ours and behind ours were also empty. I always enjoy this attraction its nice & peaceful.
Afterwards we had about 10 minutes to wait for our fastpass time but the standby queue had a 5-minute time posted. So, we went standby and encountered nobody ahead of us until we were in the final line for the boarding area. They were loading when we arrived and we ended up in the front row next to the center section! It was great, and afterwards we found the standby wait up to 15 minutes so we gave our fastpasses to a couple who had just arrived.
Once we were outside I could see the park was a lot busier but we took a chance and walked over to Spaceship Earth. The wait was very short there, and soon we were seated inside. As we got to the top just before seeing the earth in the sky the ride stopped and remained stopped for a while. Cast members carrying flashlights were walking the track and paid a lot of attention to something a few cars ahead of me. Perhaps someone tried to exit their car or something dropped on the ground/track to set off a safety concern. Eventually we started moving again, and since Id gotten word from Mary that she was now at LeCellier we headed over there.
Along World Showcase there were several radio tents set up as part of some volunteering celebration. When wed come through at 9 some of the radio people were already there. Now there were more people, plus several wearing special lanyards milling around. There was a rope up at the top of the walkway to LeCellier and some landscapers were working down below so I called Mary. Her handler answered her phone and brought Mary out, so SB & I climbed over the rope to walk down the hill away from other guests. She is Mary Matchmaker this week this character is a Disney expert who helps match guests with their perfect Disney vacation. Hmm, sounds like a job I could do <g>. Nah, I dont have the patience for dealing with everyone!
Marys costume consists of a blue princess-type gown with cards representing each resort on it. She had a BIG tiara over some big hair, and since it was cold a big warm cape. It was a cool costume she looked great! I wont be asking to borrow it for formal night on the cruises, though <g>. We took a couple photos with her, then she had to get back inside before her interview started so we headed out of the park & drove back to Kidani Village. Below is a photo I lifted from her facebook doesnt she look great? I do think itd be too much for my next cruise but maybe just the tiara <g>.
That truck was still in the garage evidently they were washing the parking garage floor. Only at Disney, lol! We went up to the room briefly and then made the LONG (seemingly never ending) walk to the lobby to wait for Stefany. We looked at the animals for a little while and then sat in a couple of chairs in the lobby, facing the front door. When it got to be our lunch time we stood outside looking for her and then decided to go downstairs and check in for lunch.
At Sanaa I told them we had a reservation for 3 but were missing the 3rd person. The hostess asked whats her name? and when I said Stefany I learned she was waiting for us at the bar, lol! Turns out shed parked in the garage and took the elevator up, and never saw us. We were taken to a table by the window and we had a very attentive server who did a great job.
As always when were together there are a lot of stories from SBs playing days including many about his teammates. Stefany knew all their dirt in those days, lol! I had a glass of the Riesling again, SB had a Sam Adams and Stefany had some mango smoothy that she liked. I wasnt that hungry so I stuck with the tomato soup with paneer cheese. The soup was good, but the cheese was nothing special. There were chunks of it in the soup I thought they were croutons at first but they were blocks of bland cheese. SB had another angus burger and loved it again. Stefany settled on the tandoori shrimp and enjoyed that as well. With the Tables in Wonderland discount and tip it was $55.90. We didnt have as many animals nearby the entire time as I would have liked, but it was still very nice there.
After lunch I took Stefany into the restroom, and she had never seen one so pretty either. We said goodbye to her around 1:30 and headed back to the studio to figure out the rest of the day. Between the cooler weather and General Hospital coming on at 3 we were sort of torn between going out or staying in. Eventually SB fell asleep so I updated the report and waited for GH to begin.
Ive been keeping track of our Tables in Wonderland savings since I bought the card January 15th and we are now up to $75.49. The card cost $75 so we have broken even and have until February 28, 2011 before it expires. It turned out to be a smart move after all!
We were pretty much lazy all afternoon, enjoying watching the giraffes walk past our balcony fairly regularly. At one point a bunch of ankole cattle and 4 giraffe were together at a cluster of trees, all eating. We dont have an animal spotting guide in the studio so we arent sure what a couple of the other animals are. Maybe well see one on the safari when we go to the park later in the trip.
Around 5 we headed out, unsure of where wed end up. We talked about Olivias Caf at Old Key West, but while en route changed our minds and went to Downtown Disney. I was not hungry but SB was, so we considered a Wetzels Dog but then looked at the menu at Bongos (good possibility) and then House of Blues (also looked good). In the end we decided to save House of Blues for tomorrow night after La Nouba and then walked back to Pleasure Island to eat at Paradiso 37.
This was our first time in here and we really liked the atmosphere. Its casual yet nice, comfortable but with very attentive service. The server explained quite a bit about the menu, then left us to make our decisions. For drinks I had a Riesling and SB got lemonade. They did have some interesting specialty cocktails but I stuck with my usual this time.
For our meal I ordered the appetizer corn dog nuggets sounds like a strange choice for an adult but I did not want a big meal and these ended up being even better than I expected. There were several of the ($7.50) and the batter was much better than what Ive had at Disney counter service places. I didnt use the honey mustard dipping sauce, but SB did on the ones he ate. He had the Colombian style whole crispy hen since hed been salivating since reading of a spice crusted Cornish hen on the dinner menu at Sanaa. This was a good choice for him, and he loved it! The hen had a citrus marmalade and came with a grilled corn cake and roasted vegetables. He loved everything on his plate. We skipped dessert, but they did have a few interesting choices not seen elsewhere. Maybe next time!
They dont take Tables in Wonderland here, but they did give us a dvc discount that looked to be 15%. They also added 18% gratuity, so I was glad I looked at the check before adding another 20% on there. The check after discount and tip was $40.08. After dinner we did a short survey about our meal and then got in the car and drove over to Beach Club Villas.
The security cast member was a strange one no welcome home, no can I help you?, no polite what are you doing here?. He just stared and then gestured with a hand to get moving. SB said his face was all cut up, too he was like the living dead or something!
We parked and walked into Epcot for a walk around World Showcase. The temp was in the upper 40s but for some reason it didnt feel cold to me. We stopped in Canada and waited for the next showing of O Canada. We love the scenery in that movie! From there we kept walking but soon found we could not get to Mexico unless we walked down to Innoventions and across to the other side down there. We started to, and saw a concert happening on the stage behind the fountain. It looked like the Jonas Brothers, but I could have been wrong. People were watching and listening from the path along the rose garden, so they had to be someone. The concert was part of a private party that had the area from the fountain all the way down to the lake.
We eventually decided to turn back, so we went back to Canada and walked over to France. To my utter surprise there was hardly any line at the bakery! We breezed through there and got a raisin swirl for him and a pithivier for me. After that we left the park and drove back to Kidani Village.
When I went out on our balcony it felt freezing out there yet at Epcot I was comfortable. Go figure. We settled in for the evening, as we were both tired for some reason. I made him some hot chocolate to go with his raisin swirl and I had some cappuccino and ate half of the pithivier. After finishing the report I put the computer down and joined him under the covers. Lights should be out by or shortly after 10!
Today was another relaxing day, with a couple great meals. Tomorrow its 100% chance of rain, but only from 6am until 9pm <g>. I figure well spend most of the day at the resort, but we will be out in the rain for the morning headed to Hollywood Studios to see if he stands any chance at all of beating me at Toy Story Midway Mania <g>!
DAY 3 Friday 2/12/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
SB (52), Sexy Boyfriend
Plan: Studios, Sci Fi, La Nouba
Actual: I mostly slept well last night. I say mostly because SB is snoring here not like a freight train, but enough that I can hear it and not get to sleep. Finally at 3:30 I got up to use the bathroom and then shortly after that he asked why I was tossing & turning so much. He had no idea he was snoring! He said hed stay awake so I could sleep, and I figured no way would he be able to stay awake. Well, at 6:30 I woke up to the alarm and the first thing I heard was SB asking if Id gotten some sleep. He really did stay awake!! I have a pair of earplugs in the bag so Ill try them tonight so hopefully we can both sleep. Thank goodness he doesnt snore at home!
I took my shower and came out to find hed opened the drapes to see any animals passing by (just a couple zebra so far). It was not raining so I checked the weather online and it was looking better than before now 85 or 90% rain instead of 100% <g>. The worst looks to be mid afternoon, and well be inside then. I made some cappuccino and a piece of toast, then caught up with emails while lounging around the room.
We left the room shortly after 8 to arrive at the bus stop before 8:30. For Gwens benefit today SB wore a sweatshirt jacket and was a little chilly. I wore jeans, shirt, different sweatshirt and the light jacket. It definitely felt colder today, but it was just because rain was coming so it was damp & raw. We got to the bus stop by 8:15 and the bus arrived just after we did. We were the first guest and we picked up 2 more families at Jambo House. One had a pair of young sons one very well behaved and the other in a very bad mood. We had tears when his family didnt sit they way HE wanted them to (so of course they moved that would not have happened in my family, lol). He scowled the entire bus ride, even when occupied looking at photos or a game on a phone.
At Hollywood Studios we had no wait to get through security and were behind 2 guys at a turnstile. We were at the turnstile at 8:30 and they let us through at 8:45. We were then held near Sunset Boulevard until 9, when we were walked over to Toy Story Midway Mania. I went without SB and got our fastpasses I was the 2nd person to use the machine and our fastpasses were for 9:40. For a change the person in front of me was only getting 2 rather than enough for an entire busload!
I waited for SB to catch up and we did the standby line. It was posted as 5 minutes but it really took about 20 minutes to get onto the ride vehicle. He was really hoping to beat me and at one point hed actually pulled ahead by 2000 points but on the final round I pulled ahead to win 121k to 113k <g>. I had to lift his chin off his lap he was sitting there stunned, saying I must have cheated somehow!
We got outside at 9:41 but decided to do the Great Movie Ride next before it got busy. We had no wait here, and they only ended up filling about half of the front car. I wish theyd do the western scene, but it seems theyve retired that one. We had a decent driver, but a not-so-great gangster both young women.
Afterwards it still hadnt started raining but it felt closer. We went back to Toy Story, which now had a 50-minute standby wait posted. With the fastpasses we were on the ride in about 10 minutes. This time I started out beating him, then he passed me, but at the end I won by 40-50,000 points, lol! Hell have to try harder in October <g>.
When we got outside it was starting to rain slightly so we ducked into the Walt Disney (One Mans Dream) exhibit. SB had never been in there, and although he didnt really look at many of the exhibits he did enjoy the movie. By the time we got out of there it was time to go check in at Sci Fi for lunch.
Today Id used my brain and not only brought 2 umbrellas for us to use, I also brought an empty plastic Publix bags to put them in after theyd get wet. Usually Id be stuck with a we umbrella, but this time it wont be an issue! We checked in at Sci Fi and were seated shortly after that. We were seated in the last row of a 3-row car.
I had the pinot grigio and SB had pink lemonade. We know to order safe foods here, so we started with an order of onion rings (just ok) and then I had the BLT soup (very good) and he had the angus burger (very good & very big) with fries. Everything was good, and we didnt bother with dessert. After Tables in Wonderland discount & tip the check was $39.39.
Back outside it was raining lightly. We made a detour to the Villains store for some sweets caramel nut apple for him, smore for me and a cookie to share, then headed out of the park. The bus was waiting for us and we were the only passengers. After a completely stupid stop at Blizzard Beach (it was possibly 50 degrees outside and raining) where NOBODY was at the bus stops and only 3 cars were the parking lot, we returned to Kidani Village. I put away the sweets, then we ran off property to take care of an errand before returning for good. Once we got back to the studio it started pouring and the rest of the afternoon it alternated between light and heavy rain.
A little after 4 we got ready and headed out for the drive to Downtown Disney. We parked by Cirque du Soleil and went to the box office to pick up our tickets for La Nouba. Despite being told on the phone to be there at 5pm, this person told us the doors open at 5:30. It was now about 4:45 or so. We went over to House of Blues for a drink but there wasnt a single empty stool at the bar. We left there and found the bar inside Bongos. It was also busy, but we found a couple empty stools at the end. Here the barstools are bongo drums and unfortunately theyre glued to the floor. So, a short person like me wasnt really comfortable.
I had their pinot grigio, which was my least favorite wine this trip. SB had a couple 7 & 7s and then he also ordered the black bean soup and the fried cod fritters. I wont touch either of those!! While we were there my phone rang & it was my friend Maria Pepe from NJ she was here now too! We talked for a bit & made plans to meet for drinks tomorrow afternoon cant wait to see her! I told SB & gave him the option of skipping the meet but well see how it goes tomorrow. Hopefully hell put in an appearance so he can meet Maria.
At 5:30 we went back to Cirque du Soleil where we spent an outrageous sum for a pinot grigio, a margarita and a hot dog. This place is worse than the movie theaters! We found our seats and waited for the show chatting a bit with 2 women seated behind us. We were in section 205, row KK which is the 2nd row from the top. They were great seats, as most seats here are.
SB had never seen a Cirque show before and had never wanted to when Id asked in earlier years. Well, he LOVED it said it was the best show hed ever seen, lol! Duh I could have told him that, but instead I just bought the tickets without asking him if he wanted to attend. The new juggler theyve added is awesome and after seeing so many its hard for me to be impressed by a juggler! His favorite was the 4 young girls with the diablos. The bare-chested man with swinging on the long scarves didnt do anything for me that act is one of my favorites. It has NOTHING to do with the bare chested guy in great shape, though. I just like scarves yeah, right.
The 90-minute show was over in no time at all, and we joined the crowd heading out. We wandered around the West Side for a bit to let the parking lot crowds thin out and then went back to the car and drove back to Kidani Village. We were in shortly after 8:15pm, settled in for the night.
Today was another really nice day. The weather really cooperated this morning I never expected it to be mostly rain free. Lunch at Sci-Fi was good and La Nouba was outstanding definitely a highlight of this trip! Tomorrow we head to Epcot and the Rose & Crown, then Im looking forward to seeing Maria & her co-worker later!
DAY 4 Saturday 2/13/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
SB (52), Sexy Boyfriend
Plan: Epcot, Rose & Crown
Actual: Last night we tried to stay up for the Olympics opening ceremony hed heard someone he knows would be carrying the flag for Canada. It wasnt him, but we later found out hed (Justin Morneau one of SBs former players) had carried the torch. We turned off the tv after Canada entered the stadium.
I put in 1 ear plug and clutched the other in my hand all night he didnt snore, lol! Maybe I need to hold an ear plug as insurance or something. We were up at 6:30 when my cell phone alarm when off. I like having some time to relax in the morning so I dont wait until the last possible minute to get up. Evidently with the wind chill here some temps feel below freezing, although here at WDW its probably upper 30s (feels like). Itll be a chilly day, but the rain is gone.
We were out the door shortly after 8 and drove over to Beach Club Villas. This morning SB wanted breakfast at a real restaurant so we walked over to Captains Grill at the Yacht Club. Despite there being several empty tables we were given a beeper and told 5-10 minutes. That didnt sit too well with SB after seeing all the empty tables so he suggested we just eat at Seasons. That was fine with me cranberry croissant bread pudding, yummm! We walked over to International Gateway to enter the park.
At the turnstiles we chose the one with the short line rather than standing at the end of one of the long lines. The party ahead of us had a woman who was holding the passes for everyone in the party. When the turnstiles opened she used her pass to enter and then STOOD THERE on the other side feeding a pass through for each person then waiting for them to enter. This was a party of all adults and teenagers, none of whom appeared to have any mental disability so we did not understand why this control freak was not allowing others to handle their passes (which were also room keys). Very bizarre!
We got to the fountain just before the opening show started, and soon we were on our way to Soarin. The crowds were much bigger today, and I realized this weekend starts Presidents Day week (which can be a nightmare). I was near the front of the pack so I was first at the last fastpass machine. Our fastpasses were good at 9:42 and 9:45, so that gives you an idea how fast they were going! I met SB at the entrance to Soarin and we entered the standby queue but ended up bailing out when we saw how far back it stopped. In no time though it was extended outside the queue entrance! It wasnt likely hed want to ride it twice today, so it made sense to wait & use the fastpass.
We went over to Seasons and repeated the adult breakfast platter for him and cranberry croissant pudding for me. I was surprised by the number of people also eating breakfast this early and the crowds never stopped arriving into the pavilion. At 9:45 we entered the fastpass queue and were exiting the attraction 15 minutes later. We got the 2nd row, but that was ok.
Today was the coldest-feeling day, and the first day we really felt chilly. We killed some time in Mouse Gear, where SB bought me the Mickey tea kettle (for boiling water for cappuccino) and some other kitchen stuff for Gainesville for Valentines Day. We had it shipped back to the resort since well be here all day tomorrow. It should be there after 1pm.
We went back outside and caught the very end of the Jammitors show, then got in the single rider line at Test Track. This line was backed way up, and it took a while to get through it. We ended up in different cars, which didnt matter to us (if it did were smart enough to not do single rider). It was REALLY cold out there on the high speed loop! By the time we got off the ride it was 11am so we headed to World Showcase starting in Mexico.
SB got a frozen margarita at the stand in Mexico their 1st of the day. Weve already agreed after Sunday were getting seriously back on track watching calories, so anything goes until then! In Italy I got a glass of prosecco. In France he bought me Guerlains Insolence shower gel, then we sat in the movie waiting area since it was somewhat warm. Just before noon we walked over to the United Kingdom and checked in at Rose & Crown.
We went into the Rose & Crown Pub for warmth and when the crowd cleared ordered a double Seven & Seven for him and a Riesling for me. With Tables in Wonderland discount & tip it was $18.58 wow. Captain Woody wasnt kidding! Our beeper went off just as we settled the check, and we were seated outside (as requested). They had the ceiling heaters running and the plastic walls down so it wasnt too cold out there. The sun finally broke through, so it looked like a beautiful day.
Our server came right over and took our order bowl of potato & leek soup for SB and we both got the corned beef sandwich. The soup came out almost immediately and was very good. It couldnt have been more than 2-3 minutes when both sandwiches arrived. We were laughing that in 5 minutes theyd be clearing the sandwiches to bring dessert, lol! It was unbelievably fast. The sandwiches were excellent and came with homemade kettle chips. We brought half of my sandwich and most of the chips back for tonight. After TiW discount and tip lunch was $31.13. Nothing on the dessert menu appealed to us, so we headed out of the park.
We got the car from the mostly empty BCV parking lot and drove back to Kidani Village, where SB napped and I watched giraffe & zebra stroll by. Maria is staying at Bonnet Creek and they have the same crappy transportation as the Downtown Disney hotels. To get to Animal Kingdom the bus goes to the Ticket & Transportation Center first, which makes no sense. Theyre in opposite ends of the property!! Had I known that I would have driven over to pick her up!
At 4:30 I called to check on our trash & towel service since it hadnt been done yet. I like that we dont have daily housekeeping but when we are due something it better happen (since the towels are on the floor now). The woman on the phone explained they do trash & towel last since there were a lot of checkouts today, which makes sense. Just dont forget us <g>.
A guy came up just before 5 and then had to leave to go get towels. In the meantime Maria had called to say they were on their way from Animal Kingdom so I left SB in the room (he chose to not join us, in favor of the Olympics) and began the walk to the lobby. The housekeeping guy brought our towels, but only 3 of them. Thats weird, as studios get 4 sets. I didnt see it until later that night, and wasnt going to call to make a big deal about it.
I met Maria & her co-worker friend Madelyn at the bus stop and brought them inside. They loved the resort the animals, the dcor, just about everything. Several animals were out, which they really enjoyed. I showed them the Sanaa restrooms and we went into the bar also very nice. Since I had a bottle of asti spumonte & 3 champagne glasses in the studio we decided to drink that by the fireplace in the library (room with the tapestries but no books).
We walked to the studio, seeing more animals along the way. We brought the glasses and bottle of asti back and found someone sitting on our seat but they got up and left when we came in (totally coincidental but true). Theres a curved high-back sofa that seats 3 comfortable and faces the fireplace, so that was our spot. The only negative was a loud (obnoxious) bongo drum lesson was taking place behind us we were very glad when that ended. In fact, the whole lobby area was noisy & busy not at all what Id prefer. Its a small space and so pretty why cant it be relaxing??? They have Wii games set up, which seems really ridiculous. Then there are banging drums just off the lobby. It just seemed too noisy/busy and such a contrast to the peaceful animals outside.
We poured the asti and enjoyed chatting on the couch or standing looking at the animals. At one point we were laughing and a cast member came over to very politely ask us to shut up. Evidently, our laughter was distracting the children (2 kids) from their activity. We were not overly loud, so this was very odd. I looked, and there were 2 cast members with the 2 kids doing some activity in the area where the bongo drums had thankfully been put away.
We continued visiting in a whisper so as not to disturb the children (gag me) and then the children began dancing with the cast members and carrying on (disturbing us) but I kept my mouth shut. Why werent these activities held in Community Hall?? We were not in an area that looked like kiddie land, and frankly the kids activities should have been held somewhere more appropriate. Ill try to remember this for the satisfaction survey it wasnt worth complaining about to a manager at that time.
Sometime after 7 I called SB to see if he needed to eat. He suggested dinner at Sanaa, but theres nothing on the dinner menu for me. Its a pain being a picky eater. Maria, Madelyn & I walked back to the studio, where SB joined us for the ride back to their hotel in Bonnet Creek. The car was parked right downstairs from our room. Maria was happy to finally meet SB, and he liked her too. We dropped them off in Bonnet Creek Im so glad she was here this trip and called me yesterday!
From there we decided Downtown Disney would be a zoo since traffic was so bad tonight so we ended up purposely going to the McDonalds near the All Stars. Its certainly a pretty McDonalds but I was mistakenly thinking they had something in addition to the ordinary menu. Oh well, live & learn. SB was happy I wont bore you with our dining selections and there are no photos of the food. We took it back to Kidani Village and settled in for the night.
Today was really cold this morning until the sun broke through the clouds. I saw many guests in winter coats, lots of hats, some ear muffs, etc. Tomorrow will be another cold morning but should get up to around 56 for a high during the afternoon. I guess it beats sweating to death like we did in October!
Tomorrow is our last full day. We plan to visit Animal Kingdom in the morning and have dinner booked at Jiko.
DAY 5 Sunday 2/14/10
Who: Sue (51), DVC member
SB (52), Sexy Boyfriend
Plan: Animal Kingdom, Jiko dinner
Actual: HAPPY VALENTINES DAY! We were both up at 6:30 this morning (with a couple zebra munching outside our room), despite being up until after 11 watching the Olympics last night. Why do people watch the luge in person? They stand in the freezing snow and every couple minutes a blur whizzes past them they really see nothing, lol!
We exchanged our Valentines Day cards he really impressed me with his! We both chose cards with music. I showered & made some cappuccino while we hung out online, then it was his turn. We were out the door around 8:30 to catch the bus to Animal Kingdom. This morning it was 35 degrees, with a high of 59 expected. Normal would be 74.
We were out the door shortly after 8 to make the long walk to the bus stop. The Animal Kingdom bus was just pulling away but the driver stopped to let us on. At Jambo House there was a big crowd waiting to board, and not nearly enough seats for them all. A few people with little kids pulled the kids onto a lap to make room for someone to sit down.
This one family with a completely clueless dad boarded. He was unsuccessfully trying to close the big stroller, but couldnt because of all the crap they had stored in the bottom of the stroller. The stroller was too wide (from every angle) to get down the aisle, so he simply stopped before the 1st rows of forward-facing seats. We were in one of those. The guys mother or mother-in-law kept trying to keep the wheels of the stroller from hitting me or the lady across the aisle from me, while dad was oblivious. More people came and the driver played the announcement telling people to move all the way back, but bozo stood there clueless as a dozen or more people were backed up unable to board. Finally SB and some of the other guys started saying pick it up and carry it it still took awhile before he interrupted his coma to begin lifting this big stroller. Up until then he just kept trying to shove it down the aisle but the seats are bolted onto the bus and will not move out of his way, lol! It was amazing, but finally he picked the damn stroller up and moved to the back of the bus so the people behind him could board. Once he was gone people were talking about him politely but not exactly in a flattering way <g>.
We got to Animal Kingdom at 8:30 and since the park doesnt open until 9 we went first to Rainforest Caf. We were seated immediately, and quite a few people had the same idea. The breakfast here is really good, and we didnt want a restaurant lunch since we are having dinner at Jiko tonight. SB ordered orange juice and the omelet, made with sausage, cheddar & green peppers. The omelet is huge and comes with potatoes, 4 thick pieces of toast and you get any 3 ingredients included in the omelet. Extra ingredients are an additional $.50 each. I had the French toast again called Tonga Toast but not at all like what Disney calls Tonga Toast. It was all very good well be back! We got 10% off for being Safari Club members, so breakfast was $24 or so after that discount but before tip.
By now it was 9:15 so we entered the park through the Rainforest gift shop (no wait). The park was very crowded this will be a busy weekend and week ahead! We made our way back to Harambe and got fastpasses for the safari return time 10:05. It was now 9:20 and the standby line was completely filled in so we did the Pangani Forest Trail. Some of the animals were not out due to the cold weather, but we enjoyed watching the meercats. The gorillas came out just as we arrived so we got to see several of them really close up. They were very active seeking out the treats that had been placed by the keepers. I took a bunch of pictures and we hung out in the gorilla area until it was time to leave for the 10am Festival of the Lion King show.
We arrived during the final stage of seating, so it was barely a 5-minute wait for the show to start. The theater did fill up I havent seen it full in ages! As always it was an excellent show. Afterwards we walked back to Harambe where now the safari standby line was extended back towards Tusker House! We used our fastpasses and had a short wait near the end where they merge us with the standby people.
Our vehicle had to stop for a while and we were right near some elephants so I got to take some photos of them. That was lucky! We saw the cheetah up walking around, but no sign of the male lion (the female was sleeping on the ground). Overall it was a good safari but we didnt see as many animals as usual (perhaps due to the cold). Afterwards we decided to leave the park it was just too crowded.
We had our longest wait for a bus, after seeing multiple buses for many other stops. Finally ours arrived and we went back to the resort to get the car and then drove to Downtown Disney. As expected, parking was a nightmare and so were the crowds. We were headed to Goofys Candy Co and the closest parking space was directly behind the Comedy Warehouse. When we returned, there were no spaces left in that area, either. The crowds were equally scary it was a busy day here!
We went to Goofys and bought a couple cookies and another smore, then decided to pay at the register with no line rather than join the line of 10-12 people at the other register. I swear, many people do not pay attention to anything around them! We browsed through the Gourmet Pantry (or whatever its called now) and SB checked out Earl of Sandwich thinking hed like one of those holiday sandwiches. But, the line was huge and I broke the news that the holiday sandwich was only there for the holidays. He decided to skip Earls. We would have picked up a chocolate sample at Ghiradelli but the line to get into the store was so long it wasnt worth it.
We walked back to the car and gave our space to a car stalking us <g> then drove back to Kidani Village. We finished the leftover corned beef sandwich and chips. I heated it in the microwave than crisped it up by resting it on top of the toaster for a couple cycles. I hung out online while he watched the Olympics. We both watched the occasional group of giraffe or zebra wandering past the balcony.
I packed up most of our stuff and spent some time on the balcony when animals would be close by. They dont stay in one place for too long, but thats good because that way every room gets to have them nearby at some point. I also downloaded the photos thus far and uploaded them to SnapFish so I could begin captioning them. There is lots of food porn and lots of animal photos not a whole lot else! Around 3 or so I got some ice from the ice machine and poured a glass of pinot grigio it had turned into a beautiful day and it was nice sipping a glass of cold wine while watching the animals.
At one point a couple of monster children checked in next door. Actually, I assume theyre not bad kids necessarily, but they were unsupervised on the balcony making stupid noises at the animals. I do find that offensive & think parents should pay attention to what their little darlings are doing. A safari truck came by, and those guests werent acting like morons. This would be part of the sunset savannah, which runs $160/person for Jambo House concierge guests and $210/person for others (if space is available). This includes dinner at Jiko, but even still its pretty pricy!
We left shortly after 5 for the long walk to the lobby. We went to the bus stop and waited for the next bus to any of the parks, as theyd all stop at Jambo House next. Our wait was brief, and soon we were at Jambo House. We checked in approximately half-hour before our reservation and sat in the bar for a couple minutes before someone came to get us.
At first we were seated in the wine room, which would be ideal for a fairly large private party. The only other table occupied seated around 8 or so, and they had a couple of loud kids and equally loud adults talking to the kids in a babytalk tone of voice. So, I asked politely if they could please move us to the main dining room and they did so without any hesitation. Sorry, but if Im dropping $$$ for a meal I dont expect to sit in the side room, dont expect to be an afterthought to a private party and certainly dont need kid voices piercing the atmosphere.
We were given a table by the window and it was perfect! I loved this location. Our waiter introduced himself and was very attentive and knowledgeable. SB stuck with soda and I had a wine recommended by the server after I explained what I liked. I was not familiar with any of the wines on the wine list since they were all from South Africa and thats not common in the places we eat at in Ft Myers & Gainesville <g>.
We started with a complimentary curry cauliflower soup SB ate both as I didnt care for it (no surprise there). We shared the bbq chicken flatbread, which was excellent. For entrees he had the short ribs and I ordered the filet mignon with macaroni & cheese. Ive wanted to try this for years, but never did because I couldnt see ordering it when I was solo. At $41 its definitely overpriced the whole restaurant is overpriced in my opinion but I didnt mind trying it for the hell of it.
Both entrees were excellent. Were they worth the price? Not really for us SB said he would have been just as happy with a slab of ribs from Famous Daves <g> (at less than half the price). For dessert I ordered the chocolate trio thing small flourless chocolate cake, chocolate mousse and caramel ice cream. At $8 it was very good not big but rich. With the Tables in Wonderland discount and auto tip the check was $124.55. Again, it really wasnt worth that to us other than Im glad we tried it. I seriously doubt well be back as a couple. I might do appetizer/wine/dessert when staying at Jambo House solo.
We went back to the bus stop and 2 Downtown Disney buses were there. We got on the first one and got off at Kidani Village. We stopped in the gift shop to pick up our merchandise from yesterday in Epcot and then went back to the studio to watch Amazing Race and the Olympics. Theres a baseball guy (the dad in the father/daughter team) & SB remembers playing against him he thinks the guy was with the Padres at the time, but isnt sure.
The photos from this trip are at SnapFish at
Overall this was a wonderful trip very relaxing. Even the cold weather didnt diminish our enjoyment, as cold is still better than sweating to death in humidity! We had many great meals, got to spend time with friends, and Kidani Village is a beautiful resort. Nothing beats having the animals right outside your room where else can you get that??? My days of value resorts are something Ill never be repeating!!
My next trip will be just after SB leaves for baseball season in early April. I booked 2 nights next door in a value (smaller size) studio at Jambo House for 2 nights before I leave on a cruise out of Tampa. Itll be the first of (hopefully) several solo trips, and since SB is a bit Disneyed-out Ill look forward to him having an 8-month break while I enjoy myself solo!
Until next time thanks for reading.