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Thread: Sue Rayford, Kidani Village, May 27-31, 2021

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    Sue Rayford, Kidani Village, May 27-31, 2021


    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    Holli (50s), friend
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson
    Dates: May 27 31, 2021
    Resort: Disneys Kidani Village Resort
    Experience: Very Experienced 31st stay at AKV (most were Jambo House though)

    This was booked as another Jambo House concierge trip, which as we all know is not happening since the damn resort isnt even open yet (never mind club level offerings). When it became apparent there was no chance of it happening, I looked at the options and talked with the others to come up with plan B. I didnt want to use a bunch more points, though. Previously I was in a club level room with a few imaginary names (so they could join me in the lounge). Holli had a regular studio for the first 3 nights and Chriss family had one for the last 3 nights. I think it added up to 185 or 186 points.

    In looking at the options, a 2-bedroom villa at Kidani for 4 nights was 186 points. It had the plus of a 3rd full bathroom, so while Holli would have to sleep in the living room, shed have her own bathroom. Also May is hot, and parking under the building was a plus. Im not a big fan of the Kidani pool, but I guess I can make do. I guess I have the option of walking over to Jambo House for a nicer pool (with fewer people). Thankfully the pool opens at 9am now rather than the 11am nonsense our last stay here. The parks are unpleasantly hot, and I would rather skip them entirely, but I let Chris & Amanda include me in their reservations. Initially I thought that whether I go or not can be left until the last minute but 5 days before the trip I canceled myself out of each one. Once the extended forecast came out and I saw its going to be 95 degrees (plus any humidity) the whole trip, I knew there was no way in hell Id be going into the parks this trip! Holli doesnt have a park pass, so shell be enjoying the resort.

    Last month while staying at Saratoga Springs I was pleasantly surprised by our lunch at Planet Hollywood and also really enjoyed my solo lunch at the Boathouse. I booked a Boathouse lunch reservation for Holli & myself for Friday, figuring we could enjoy the pool and then clean up & head to lunch and maybe get a reasonable virtual queue at Gideons. On arrival day (Thursday) we plan to head to the bar at Planet Hollywood for a glass of wine and the chicken crunch appetizer for a light lunch. This will give us another chance at Gideons virtual queue. I dont want to sit around idly, but if we can time it with one of the meals that will be great! Well also need to get moved in whenever the villa is ready, and make a trip to Publix to buy what we didnt bring with us.

    Another day Holli & I may get food to go from Sanaa, or eat there, or eat in the lounge. On a previous trip she loved the culinary tour at Jambo House where we sampled different breads/spreads at Jiko so I know the bread service at Sanaa is right up her alley! I think theres only one spread Id eat maybe 2 <g> so its not something Id ever get on my own. The kids menu is more appealing to me, but if we do to go Ill be able to order from that menu. Well undoubtedly do some version of the faux concierge lounge, but it wont be the full-blown thing every night, since were more likely to be eating at or from other places most days. Saturday well do the full faux concierge lounge since all of us will be there. Well add some African sharks to the offerings crescent dough wrapped around a cocktail sausage and cooked in a mold that makes it look like a shark has swallowed the sausage. Ari & I did a trial run at his house Tuesday night and they were a hit I think Ari ate 4 of the 12 himself, along with the rest of his dinner. I also brought some pre-sliced cheese. A year or 2 ago I cut the slices into strips and spelled Aris name on a plate he remembers that and will undoubtedly expect or ask for it again. Cheese that spells your name must be especially tasty, lol!

    I have a dental appointment in SW Florida the morning of my arrival, which means Im spending the night before with Chris family (actually 2 nights before the trip since Wednesday {today} I had the garage door company coming to fix my garage door opener the opener arm disconnected from the door a couple weeks ago. After my appointment Ill head to Disney, where Ill meet Holli. Shes leaving work early enough to arrive somewhere around noon. Itll be just the 2 of us the first night. Hopefully we can manage to get Gideons taken care of, and well also swing by Publix after getting settled in the villa so well have the stuff needed for the rest of the trip. Well facetime our cruise buddy Fran Thursday afternoon/evening. Friday Amanda has to work all day, so itll be evening before they arrive and another relaxing resort day for Holli & me. Saturday through Monday the Hollands have park reservations, and an early dinner at Coral Reef on Sunday. Monday we all head home and have to be out of the villa by 11.

    Except for Ari, were all fully vaccinated and it will be great to not have to wear a mask outside. Wearing them walking down the air conditioned hallway in the resort isnt a big deal, and neither is wearing them on a bus. Although there will be unvaccinated people walking around without masks, the transmission rate outside is so low its not really a concern especially for anyone whos vaccinated. There will likely be some vaccinated people still wearing masks not feeling comfortable just yet, and thats ok. I wont be one of them, lol!

    The plans so far are:
    Thursday 5/27: Drive to WDW, Disney Springs, Faux Concierge Lounge
    Friday 5/28: Pool, Boathouse lunch
    Saturday 5/29: Pool, Faux Concierge Lounge
    Sunday 5/30: Pool, Sanaa?
    Monday 5/31: Drive to Gainesville

    DAY 1 Thursday 5/27/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    Holli (50s), friend

    Plan: Drive to WDW, Disney Springs, Faux Concierge Lounge

    Actual: My dental appointment was 8:30 this morning (first appointment of the day), and I was out of there and on the road to Disney by 9. Last weekend Id told Holli to park in the Orange garage, and whichever of us got there first would text the other to say what level we parked on. It makes it easier to start from the same area if she plans to follow me to Kidani Village. She texted me first, but she was at the resort and couldnt find an orange garage <g>. I told her Disney Springs, and she headed over there.

    I pulled into the Orange garage by noon and parked on level 3, row 12. I had put some stuff in my car vs a hot trunk for the 3-hour drive, so I moved it back to the trunk and then noticed Holli pulling into the spot next to mine. What are the odds in such a big place wed park right next to each other?? It worked out great. We walked to the Disney Springs entry and neither of us set off the metal detector. The temperature checks are gone, thank goodness.

    We decided to check Gideons to see if the virtual queue was opened before we did anything else. There was a pretty long line (almost to the corner) of people in the virtual queue who had been called. We went up to the other side and joined the queue, being told it was an 80-minute wait at this point. That was perfect for what we had planned!

    We walked over to Planet Hollywood and took a high-top table in the bar area. We each had a glass of wine and we shared the chicken crunch. Holli liked them the sweetness from the cereal and the spice of the mustard are good together. As we were finishing our wine I got the text it was our turn at Gideons (it had been almost an hour). Holli suggested I go join the queue while she settled the check, so I headed out.

    To my surprise the virtual queue line was much shorter than before maybe half the block. It moved quickly, and soon I was the first person in line. Holli had overshot Gideons and had to backtrack to find it, lol. The cast member at Gideons had me sit on the wall up by the door, and when Holli showed up we went inside. She showed restraint and only got 1 cookie the toffee pistachio chocolate chip. As soon as she got outside she tried it, and was impressed.

    I bought 4 cookies toffee pistachio chocolate chip and triple chocolate for me, peanut butter for Amanda and cookies & cream for Chris. We still hadnt gotten the room ready text and it was after 2pm at this point so we decided to head to the resort to drop off one of the cars & then get Publix out of the way.

    Not knowing where our room would be, I figured Id just stop wherever there were 2 spots next to or near each other. That was tough, as the resort is sold out and evidently everyone drove here! We ended up way down the end, between Timon & Pumbaa! We moved the cooler from her car to mine, and went to Publix in her car.

    We picked up the few things we needed and then headed back to the resort still no text. We went up to the lobby to see what was going on, as now it was 3pm. When I did online check in I gave noon for my arrival time. The cast member was very nice, and said it looked like they were in there cleaning the room now. Hmm, I think Ive heard that one before, but whatever Ill hope for the best. I was able to confirm my requests were met, and learned were by the Zazu elevator (the first one way at the end by Jambo House, which is actually good for us), on the 3rd floor and Sunset Savannah. So, my requests were met! I asked about the pool, thinking it opened at 9am and was told both pools (Kidani & Jambo) are open 10am-11pm. That stinks why would you wait until 10am on a hot holiday weekend to open the damn pool???????????????

    Since the room wasnt ready, we decided to head over to Jambo House and check things out for ourselves. A bus was at the bus stop so we rode over. There were a couple people in the lobby, but its pretty quiet. Its so much prettier than Kidani, too. We went down to the pool and sure enough the posted opening time is 10. However, at Jambo House there are lots of chairs outside the gate so we can come here earlier but just cant get into the pool area until 10. The towels are outside the gate, so that works. At Kidani youd be out of luck, as everything is within the gated area.

    While there we checked out the animal viewing areas and saw a few zebra, couple giraffe and some antelope. Before long we decided to head back to Kidani, still hoping to get that room ready text. We walked to Kidani, mostly inside the garage area. We moved our cars down to the Zazu end and then brought some of our stuff up to the 3rd floor. There are a couple benches near the elevator, and we could see the animals on the savannah. Holli went back down and got the rest of our stuff (2-3 more trips, lol) so we looked like a couple homeless people in the hallway.

    Eventually it was 4pm and there was one housekeeping cart left in the hallway. I walked a ways in either direction to confirm there werent more still working, so it was a safe assumption that was our room. When it got to be a little after 4 I picked up the house phone and called to find out whats going on. They said a manager would check and call me.

    In about 5-10 minutes we saw a manager come off the elevator and he want into the room being worked on. Eventually he came back out and asked if we were us, lol he apologized, and said the room was ready except for finishing the floor but we could move into the studio portion right now if we wanted. I went with him, since my magic band wont work until the room is officially ready, and he opened both doors (this is a 2-br lockoff). The housekeeper was just leaving. The manager said today lots of people didnt leave by 11am, and in fact 1 party didnt leave until 5 minutes to 4! I told him those people need to be charged for another night or fined in some way thats not acceptable.

    We got our stuff moved in, and quickly put away everything that belongs in the kitchen. I quickly unpacked most of my stuff in the bedroom, but can finish later. It was more important to get the report caught up so I didnt have to deal with it later. I finished up around 5:30 and turned on wifi on my ipad to discover an update that needed to run. It was a long one, so it delayed our facetime with Fran.

    Instead, we started the software update and prepared the faux concierge lounge food several crackers, 4 different bellavitano cheeses, honey goat cheese, garlic herb cheese spread, salami and grapes. We also opened a Trader Joes buffalo chicken dip and had a bowl of pita chips to go along with that. Finally, we poured a chilled sauvignon blanc and had everything set up on the coffee table in the living room.

    Everything was great, and we enjoyed the food & wine while the software update ran. Being on the 3rd floor, we have a great view of the savannah from the couch, and wed occasionally get up to go see the various animals. Our villa is in a great location looking around the entire area, the spot directly in front of our balcony is where the animals tend to gather! We had white bearded wildebeest, addax, ankole cattle, eland, cranes, and later some zebra and giraffe.

    We facetimed with Fran around 6, and enjoyed catching up with her from her rental in NJ. She unfortunately messed up her knees in a fitness class and has surgery scheduled in June & July. Were looking forward to our December cruise, when she should be fully recovered and hopefully walking miles around the promenade deck each day.

    Eventually Holli & I moved to the balcony, which was really nice except for some exceedingly LOUD guests nearby. Thank goodness they went inside after a while, and then it was perfect out there. We had lots of animals, comfortable weather, and although we could see many others out on their balconies it was a nice quiet group of people. We ended up sitting out there chatting until nearly 11pm!

    We finished cleaning up the kitchen (each time Id come inside for anything I put some of it away) and then Holli set up the sleep sofa and I went to the master bedroom to finish up the report. I took a piece of the triple chocolate cookie with me wow, was it delicious!

    Today was a great start to the trip, ignoring the delay in getting the room. Thankfully it all worked out and no harm was done. Our timing with the Gideons virtual queue and the light lunch at Planet Hollywood was excellent! The villa is in a great location couldnt be better, considering we plan to use the pool at Jambo House vs Kidani. We were more than pleased with all the animals visible right off our balcony this is what savannah view is all about!

    Tomorrow were heading over to Jambo House for a morning at their pool, followed by lunch at Boathouse and later seeing Chris/Amanda/Ari when they arrive to join us at the resort.

    DAY 2 Friday 5/28/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    Holli (50s), friend
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Pool, Boathouse lunch

    Actual: I slept well last night, despite getting to bed so late (just before midnight). I got up at 5, made my cappuccino in the hot pot Id brought from home (plugged in on the master bathroom sink) then took it back to bed to catch the morning news while doing online stuff.
    Around 7 I cracked open the bedroom door and saw Holli had already put the sleep sofa back together she was in her bathroom showering/dressing.

    We met out in the living room and made breakfast egg, bacon slice & piece of toast for me. She had coffee, an English muffin and some of her Gideons cookie. After cleaning up the breakfast stuff I changed into a swimsuit & coverup. Holli forgot to bring a swimsuit but she plans to enjoy the pool area in regular summer clothes. Out on the savannah the utility cart went around and cleaned up the various feeding areas, and later the truck went around placing food for each type of animal in the appropriate areas.

    Today the a/c guy is coming to my home to service the air conditioning system and keep it running until we move back down there in approximately 7-8 years. I expect to replace the system then, but dont want to replace it while the place is empty. Thankfully, Chriss dad (my ex-husband) is fabulous. He goes over and checks the place every week, checks the incoming mail for anything important, and will be there to meet the a/c guy. I couldnt do this remote home ownership without that kind of support!

    We hung out in the living room until around 9am, then walked over to Jambo House. Its a pretty easy walk from this end of the resort! We headed out to the pool area and a couple had set themselves up in the exact spot I would have chosen, lol. If Id been solo, I would have taken a chair on the end and been fine, but I figured Holli would want some shade so we walked a little further and found chairs that had both sun & shade.

    My sunny chair soon became shady as the sun rose up and was blocked by trees. I kept moving my chair, but finally gave up and moved to another group of chairs that were in the sun. It was very warm out there! I was glad they opened the pool area early, at 9:45. We went inside and once again I chose sun and Holli chose a shady area. It felt more comfortable in here, plus I had the shower to cool off under every 20 minutes or so!

    A number of people came to the pool, but it never got crowded. This is a huge plus to having the resort not open. Usually the pool is very busy and it can be hard to find great chairs unless youre there right at opening. We stayed there until 11:20 or so, then packed up for the walk back to the resort. When we came outside the shuttle van was sitting there, so we got onboard and the driver took us right over to Kidani. We were dropped off by the lobby, so our walk was probably just as long as if wed have walked to our room from Jambo House, but this walk was in air conditioning.

    The animals were mostly all hiding elsewhere, other than a few addax that passed through. We know theyll be back later, though. I went in and took my shower & got dressed, then updated the report real quick. Our Boathouse reservation is 1:30, but theres no harm in getting there early. We left the room just after 12:30 and drove to Disney Springs.

    We parked in the Orange garage again, which is so easy with the technology they have to let you know where the empty spots are. There were a lot more people arriving today, but it kept moving so it wasnt bad. Once through security we walked over to the Boathouse and checked in a bit early for our lunch. They seated us right away, and we both really liked the boat they have in the middle of the room with rounded booth seating in the back. When the family eating there left we got up and took a picture.

    For lunch we both got a glass of wine and the filet mignon sliders. The sliders were very good the French fries are just ok. Neither of us finished the fries. We were too full for dessert, and stopped to shop in the store on our way out. Holli bought a couple things for her son & his fianc, who are taking care of her dog while shes away.

    When we came out an amphibicar was launching, so we watched that, then we checked out the inside of Jock Lindsays Hangar Bar its pretty cool inside, but most of the seating is outside right now. We wandered around and looked at a few other places, including popping into Everglazed Donuts. Theyve got to be kidding me - $4.50 for a simple glazed donut??? The fancy ones are $5.50 each as bad as Gideons prices but I doubt they taste as good.

    We were at the far end of the Orange garage at this point, so we took the elevator up, got the car and headed back to the resort. The ankole cattle are out on the savannah, but theyre the only ones and theyre staying in the shade! We spent time relaxing in the living room, and then just after 5 went out and sat on the balcony for a couple hours watching the animals. Once again we had a lot of them! Besides the zebra, addax, giraffe, eland and cranes, we also had a group of white bearded wildebeest and a couple squirrels <g>. While out there we googled each animal and learned more about them.

    Just before 7 we came in and cut up some of the cheese. The Hollands are stuck in traffic on I-4 and will probably detour to Disney Springs for some quick service for dinner somewhere. I decided to wrap up the report so I didnt have to bother after the others arrived.

    Today was a terrific day loved the time at Jambo House pool, lunch at Boathouse was great, and I enjoyed the relaxing afternoon/evening with all of the animals. This really is a great spot!

    Tomorrow itll be another pool morning, and then Holli & I will find a light lunch somewhere and then well all be together for the faux concierge lounge. I think the Hollands have Magic Kingdom reservations tomorrow, so well see how that goes (in terms of crowds over there).

    DAY 3 Saturday 5/29/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    Holli (50s), friend
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson
    Plan: Pool, Faux Concierge Lounge

    Actual: The Hollands arrived with Ari coming through the door (they got the room number from the app). For whatever reason, Chris magic band wouldnt work on the studio door but worked on the 1br side. No big deal, since they connect. Today was Aris last day of preschool before graduation his glass graduates tomorrow, but theyre missing it since Disney is a higher priority. He got a mylar balloon and gift bag from school today.

    Chris & Amanda found their Gideons cookies on their dresser, and brought them out to the living/dining room. Amanda ate part of her peanut butter cookie, loving it. Chris ate his entire cookies & cream cookie and said it was amazing. We hung out until about 10 then turned in for the night. Ari had gone to bed a little earlier and fell asleep right away.

    I watched a little tv before turning out the lights. I ended up sleeping later than normal, and didnt get up until almost 6. I made my cappuccino and by the time I finished I could hear Ari out in the living room. I opened my door and saw Ari leaning against the chair, chattering at Holli who hed woken up. His parents were up shortly and got ready to head to Magic Kingdom before it opened.

    I made my breakfast and ate out in the dining room egg, bacon & toast. Holli & I walked over to Jambo House a little after 8:30 or 8:45, and today nobody else was out there. We took a couple chairs in my preferred spot, but after about 15 minutes she got up and moved over to a shady area. Once again the pool opened by 9:45 and we went inside to claim our same spots from yesterday.

    Although it was more humid it actually felt better than yesterday because there was a nice breeze. Around 11:30 we headed back to the resort, and the others were on the bus headed back as well. I threw a load of laundry in, then Holli & I each headed to our bathrooms to shower. When I opened the door the Hollands were back, and Ari was eating Chef Boy R Dee for lunch. He was still hungry, so Chris cooked him an egg as well.

    After getting dressed & moving the laundry to the drier, Holli & I headed out for lunch. We took the bus to Animal Kingdom, and went to Rainforest Caf. Our plan was to sit at the bar, but all the seats were taken many by young children. Sorry, but I wish kids were not allowed to sit at the bar. We waited, and eventually a couple decided not to stay and gave us their seats (wed been stalking 2 women on the other side of the bar who were settling their check).

    Our bartender remembered us from last time in November! She even remembered what she recommended back then, and when we complimented her on her memory she quietly said she remembers the nice people <g>. We each got a glass of wine and shared the chicken strips, with the coconut curry sauce. As usual, it was excellent. It was a nice relaxing break,

    After settling the check we walked back to the bus stops and boarded our waiting bus. Kidani Village is the first stop, so we were back in no time. When we got up to the villa the others were still napping in their bedroom. I no time at all the door opened and Ari joined us in the living room. Chris came out shortly after. Ari had some fruit snacks Id brought (Spiderman), and then ate salami wrapped around little smoked sausages. The animals were mostly hiding out during the hot part of the afternoon, other than one of the addax.

    We talked about the Labor Day weekend trip. Once again, I have a club level studio booked, coming in Wednesday night. Chris family has a studio for the weekend, and Holli had been planning to go to Philadelphia with her brother. Now we realize Club Level is not likely to be happening, and with 2 studios we dont have a gathering place to hang out. Holli also isnt going to Philadelphia after all. We agreed wed all like to stay in a villa, so I booked the only thing available Saratoga Springs standard view. Ill call at some point and request Paddock section, which I love. Holli will have to sleep in the living room and share my bathroom, but shes ok with that. She & I will arrive Thursday and the Hollands will come up Friday.

    The Hollands will do the parks. I might go in for Food & Wine with them one evening, but otherwise it will be a pool/resort trip. Well create our own concierge lounge once again.

    Chris & Amanda took Ari to the Kidani pool around 3:30, and I finished up working on the reservations. A group of giraffe came around, and Holli went out to the balcony to watch them. By 4 Id finished with the reservations so I walked over to the pool so Ari could show me what hes learning at his swimming lessons.

    He was doing pretty good putting his face in the water, learning to float on his back, etc. I was wearing clothes and sneakers, so I stood by the edge and took some pictures before heading back to the villa. Once there I called member services (30-minute wait) to request the Paddock section for our Saratoga trip.

    The Hollands got back before 5, and I was still on hold with DVC. I got to work making sharks (crescent roll dough with a lil smokie sausage made in a sheet of molds to look like a shark is eating the sausage). Ari was playing something on his ipad so he didnt help like he did at his house earlier in the trip.

    Finally the dvc person was on the phone and I added my request for Paddock in September hopefully theyll be able to honor it. Holli started cutting up cheeses, and I laid out crackers. We used the bamboo cheese board Chris got me for Mothers Day. It worked out perfectly, with a slate center where we put all the cheeses (around 6 or so different varieties), crackers around the edges and the two spreadable cheeses (garlic herb and honey goat) in the small ramekins.

    With 5 of us, we sat at the dining room table. Besides the cheeses we had salami, pepperoni, hummus, pita chips, naan bread, sharks, grapes and chocolate covered almonds. It was a nice time, and once everyone had their fill of eating we cleaned up and moved out to the balcony.

    Oddly, we had no animals tonight. Both of the previous nights we were overrun with animals out here, so it was really strange and disappointing. There was a nice breeze and the weather was perfect. I showed Ari how running his hand along the railing created music, so he enjoyed doing that for a while. The adults enjoyed our adult beverages and Ari enjoyed ice cubes in the shape of stars and ice cream cones (Id brought the molds & theyll take them home).

    When it was bath time he used my tub, and loved the jets! Amanda added his bath stuff and there were lots of bubbles. Amanda asked if she could use the tub also, so when Ari was done she took a bath. At 8 Ari went inside to brush his teeth and go to bed. Holli & I were still hoping for an animal to appear, but we were losing hope. Just then, a few eland appeared. We saw a few giraffe following a golf cart or truck, but it didnt come over to our area. At this point I doubt well see anything tonight, and itll be dark soon. Hopefully tomorrow well have more animals.

    Today was a delightful day loved the pool time at Jambo House, and really enjoyed our little lunch at Rainforest Caf. That server is terrific (Lori) if you get her, youll have a great experience. Our faux concierge lounge was excellent, although definitely more work than the real one <g>. Spending time on the balcony was also really nice the weather couldnt have been any better. As I type this, at 8:17 we suddenly have an influx of animals several addax, some elands, some giraffe guess theyre just running late today <g>.

    Tomorrow the Hollands are headed to Epcot for a couple hours, then back for nap time and then back to Epcot for their Coral Reef dinner. Holli & I will repeat the Jambo House pool and rather than going out for a light lunch well so our main meal mid-afternoon and get food from Sanaa to eat in the villa.

    DAY 4 Sunday 5/30/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    Holli (50s), friend
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Pool, Sanaa?

    Actual: After posting the report last night Chris & Amanda joined us on the balcony. The 2 zebra came by to do some eating, and we had several addax. It was getting dark quickly, so it was getting harder to see them. Chris & Amanda decided to go out for a drink, so they left around 9 or 9:30. By 10 I was in my bedroom and Holli had set up her sleep sofa in the living room.

    I slept well, and got up at 5 to make my cappuccino. Around 7 I could hear the coffee maker running (its right outside my door) so I came out and joined Holli in the living room. We made our breakfasts and watched the occasional animals pass by. At first there were only addax, but then when the truck of food made its rounds around 8 we had more activity.

    The Hollands were up by 8 and Ari sat on the balcony talking to the animals. The ostrich was out again but never gets close. A couple giraffe came up once the truck arrived and started eating from their boxes. Chris cooked breakfast for them, and they ate at the dining room table. Aris looking forward to taking his bath in my tub again tonight. I think Amanda is too, lol!

    Holli & I headed to the pool at Jambo House around 8:45. Once again we set ourselves up on chaise lounges outside the fenced area. Today it was completely overcast for the first hour, so while I didnt get any sun then I also didnt sweat. It was comfortable. They opened the pool just before 10 (little later than the past 2 days), and we moved inside.

    The sun started peeking through, and it got pretty warm in those moments. I did some reading, did some word puzzles, and then around 11:20 I moved over to the shade where Holli was sitting and cooled down for a bit. It had been a nice morning at the pool, and it was less busy than the previous days. At no time was it ever crowded, unlike the Kidani pool!

    We walked back to Kidani, and I took my shower & got dressed. Wed decided to go ride the Skyliner, so we headed out to the bus stop and boarded the waiting Hollywood Studios bus. Id heard they were now loading multiple parties together, but while we were out it was so uncrowded we always had our own gondola. Thats my preference, because who wants to keep their mask on for the ride?

    We had a nice ride over to Caribbean Beach, where we transferred to the Epcot line. Although it was warm outside, it was nice and cool in the gondola. Once we got off at Epcot we took a walk around Crescent Lake that got a bit toasty! We took a brief detour in the Screen Door at Boardwalk for some air conditioning. There were people enjoying eating outside at Big River Grill, but otherwise it was pretty quiet along the boardwalk. Boardwalk Inn is still closed at this point. Its a shame to see Ample Hills Creamery replaced with an ice cream shop charging Disney prices for Edys ice cream you can buy in any grocery store.

    We walked back to the Skyliner and reversed our route to Caribbean Beach, transfer to Hollywood Studios. At the studios we went to our bus stop, which is the closest one. Almost immediately a bus came in saying Animal Kingdom Lodge, but it drove right past the stop and went around the bend to drop people off. Whats up with that?? Our wait ended up not being too long though (maybe 5 minutes), and I think it may have been that same bus that did a u-turn to come back in & get us. It was time for a driver change, so once that was taken care of we were on our way back to Kidani.

    We were both getting hungry so we decided to eat some cheese & crackers now, and save Sanaa for later. Holli had mentioned 90 Day Fiance, which is a show I watch (trash tv) and when I turned on the tv to see what was on they were replaying some of the recent episodes. We left it on, so she could familiarize herself with the key players prior to the new episode at 8pm.

    The Hollands had come home for a short nap while we were gone, so I pulled their door closed to keep it quiet over there. They got up around 3:30 and left for their 4pm dinner at Coral Reef. Holli & I continued watching 90 Day Fiance and spent some time on the balconies when the animals came through. At one point we had 5 zebra, along with the other species.

    Somewhere after 5 we used the app to mobile order the bread service, kids butter chicken meal and a dessert. We walked over and went to the viewing area outside Sanaa. The cast member working out there was very friendly and we talked to her for quite a while, learning more about a couple of the specific animals weve been seeing. She didnt know why we had none on the savannah last evening, but it sounded like they hadnt gone in that morning so got called in for the checking over later in the day (it takes about 2 hours).

    Eventually we used to app to tell it were here & to start preparing our food, but the app gave an error message to go see a cast member. We went inside and a cast member used their computer to get our order started. He said it would be about 15 minutes. We went back outside and watched the animals some more, and then when we felt a couple drops of rain went back inside. We discovered they have a gopher tortoise living outside the windows, and checked him out.

    The wait for the food was much longer than 15 minutes probably close to twice that. Lots of people were waiting to be seated, and some were waiting for mobile orders. By the time we got the notification the food was ready it was a hot mess down there. We were glad to take the bag of food and get out of there.

    We walked back to the villa and set the food out on the coffee table. Wed gotten basmati rice for both sides with the kids meal so I put one portion of rice on each plate and then put half of the butter chicken on each one. It was a small portion of butter chicken, but plenty for a child and it would be fine for me too. We also had the bread service, and enjoyed that but couldnt come anywhere close to finishing it. The leftovers went in the fridge, and will either go home with Holli or get eaten by the others.

    The Hollands got back from Epcot around 7:45. Ari was hungry again so they heated up some Chef Boy R Dee for him. When it was bath time he used my big bathtub again, which hed been looking forward to. They had the tub full of bubbles and Ari was having a great time.

    The rest of the evening were just relaxing, watching trashy tv and checking out animals. For the first time this trip the 2 ostrich came just off our balcony previously they hung out close to Jambo House. We also had lots of other animals coming over just before dark.

    Today was another great day Ill really miss being here with everyone! Holli said today that we should be able to start each day by the pool, and I agreed. I guess thats what retirement is, lol.

    Tomorrow we all head home, but the Hollands have park reservations at Hollywood Studios first. I still need to pack up my stuff, and plan to be on the road in the morning.

    DAY 5 Monday 5/31/21
    Who: Sue (62), DVC Member
    Holli (50s), friend
    Chris (34), son
    Amanda (32), daughter-in-law
    Ari (4), grandson

    Plan: Drive to Gainesville

    Actual: Last night we shared the dessert from Sanaa with Chris Amanda had cupcakes shed bought at Sprinkles the night they arrived. The dessert was good (some chocolate thing) and having a third of it gave a taste without it being filling.

    The zebra and ostrich were laying on the ground, and 2 of the zebra were laying on their side. They looked like they were dead but evidently thats just how they lay. We could see their white bellies. I went back inside and Chris stayed out there he came in to say one of them had farted twice, lol!

    Chris & Amanda headed to bed just before 10 and Holli & I did the same just after 10. I can wait to pack up in the morning, since its a holiday and I dont have to rush to get to work. I got up a little after 5 and had my cappuccino. I could hear Holli up before 7 so I packed up a few things and carried them down to the car. I had my egg/bacon/toast for breakfast and by then Ari & his parents were awake.

    They had their breakfast and finished packing up. We all just hung out until the last person was ready, then we left together. Downstairs in the garage we went our separate ways Holli & I each had our own car, and the Hollands were going to the Studios.

    This was a really great trip, in many ways. Although the delay getting the room was a pain, the location ended up being really great so I guess Id say it was worth the wait. Having the covered parking made all the difference, as our stuff wasnt baking in hot cars! We had lots of animals except for that one early evening. None of us had ever seen the zebra laying on their sides like that too funny! I also enjoyed not bothering with the parks Im just not interested in the crowds/lines and sweating in the heat. I do hope they bring fastpass back by fall.

    The meals Holli & I had were all great definitely worth repeating, although well look to mix it up a bit. The Gideons cookies were delicious, and we were so lucky to hit the virtual queue just right. Our faux concierge lounge was also nice, and it wasnt as much work since we didnt do the full blown thing every day! Sanaas bread service was good, but too much for 2 people. Holli took the leftovers home with her. Its not something Id ever order, but there are 2-3 sauces that I do like. Ari was fun to have around everything is an adventure to enjoy with him, including bath time, lol!

    My next trip is coming up quickly, and was another impulse decision when I saw availability for a Tower studio at Riviera. I do love that resort, and itll be perfect for a relaxing resort trip (no parks). Ill get in June 17th for 4 nights. After that its nothing until the week leading up to Labor Day weekend in September.

    The photos are on Snapfish (mostly the animals) at

    Sue (Holland) Rayford

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  3. #2
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Drexel Hill, PA

    Great report as usual. Not sure why I didnt see it before. Ari is getting so big. I would love to have a tub like that. Your pics as so good. I love that you take the time out of your vacation to share your trips with us

  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Gulf Coast of Florida

    I find it interesting that someone who has invested so much in WDW still has the same struggles as someone like us who only go once or twice a year. The fact that you were delayed in getting in your room just like us around the same time we were is troubling.
    That was the first time in 20 years we didn't get in early.
    I know you were given a different reason than we were but I believe it is the same root cause. Disney overpaying their executives and underpaying their frontline staff. I know they like to exploit foreign labor but why not just pay people a livable wage with decent benefits?
    Wall Street won't like it but Costco proves it can be done. Screw Wall Street.



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