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Thread: Sue Rayford, May 25-30 2022, AKV Jambo House Club Level

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    Sue Rayford, May 25-30 2022, AKV Jambo House Club Level


    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Holli (57), friend
    Chris (35), my son
    Amanda (33), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (5), my grandson
    Dates: May 25 30, 2022
    Resort: Disneys Jambo House Resort
    Experience: Very Experienced 32nd stay at AKV

    At long last, Im back to a club level stay at Jambo House!!! I actually had it booked for last January but before they announced the re-opening, I was sure they still wouldnt be operating the lounge and canceled in favor of booking Hilton Head. As it turned out my assumption was wrong, but I have no regrets Hilton Head in a grand villa with 2 friends was so great! Fortunately, I was able to stalk the dvc site and get this stay. As usual, I booked 4 nights club level but then will move to a value studio the final night (half the points). Ill still have access to the lounge that night, so its worth it to me. The final morning Ill be heading home, so I dont need the lounge at all.

    Unfortunately, demand seems to be exceeding supply still, especially for studios, so when it got to the 7-month window I was not able to book Chris family at Jambo House Fri/Sat/Sun nights. The best I could do was Kidani Village next door, which isnt the end of the world. For Holli, she wanted to come for a couple nights but the weekend nights were the problem. I was able to book her for Thurs/Fri night at Jambo House, and list her in my room spelling her name differently so she can use the lounge.

    Chris family will be going to the parks. My park pass still includes weekends (until early October), but its not likely Ill be going into the parks with them other than possibly Sunday morning (my moving day). I did Flower & Garden in March, so I dont have to do it again this trip. Hopefully Ill see them in the lounge.

    Checking the menu at Mara I was pleased to see 2 new breakfast items Id love to try. Since the concierge lounge is basically continental crap and the only hot stuff is oatmeal or stuff like oatmeal, I may not bother to bring my usual eggs and slices of bacon or at least not one for every day. The appealing menu items are a bacon & gruyere quiche (served w/grapes) and a French toast bread pudding w/vanilla sauce.

    Holli really liked the culinary tours pre-covid and if theyre being offered now I know shed like to do them. Ive also heard the lounge gets busy, so Ill be paying attention to that since I arrive solo for the first night. Thatll determine whether I suggest she do any culinary tours solo or I join her. Honestly, she gets a lot more out of them than I do, so I have no problem missing them in favor of securing us a table if necessary.

    Last trip I was disappointed that Gideons didnt have the virtual queue open, and with the forecasted weather I couldnt risk standing in the standby queue. I really would like to try the May cookie (chocolate peanut butter), so Im going to attempt it again. Although Ill arrive a bit later, Im hoping that since its Wednesday it will be easier (last trip was last Friday). Of course, had I got in the queue last time it would have meant cookies for me and Holli. Now this trip assuming I join the queue itll be cookies for me, Holli, Chris & Amanda doubling the cost <g>.

    The plans so far are:
    Wednesday 5/25: Drive to AKV, Gideons, Concierge Lounge
    Thursday 5/26: Pool, Concierge Lounge
    Friday 5/27: Pool, Concierge Lounge
    Saturday 5/28: Pool, Concierge Lounge
    Sunday 5/29: Animal Kingdom or Pool, Concierge Lounge
    Monday 5/30: Drive to Gainesville

    DAY 1 Wednesday 5/25/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Holli (57), friend

    Plan: Drive to AKV, Gideons, Concierge Lounge

    Actual: Instead of leaving work at noon as planned, I was able to leave by 11:30. To do accomplish this I went in at 6:30am, lol but it was worth it to get certain things done before leaving. For the first time in a long time I wasnt slowed by construction, traffic or accidents! I was on Disney property by 1:30 and at 1:31 got the your room is ready notification. Of course that would happen since Im not headed to the room <g>.

    I drove straight to Disney Springs and parked in the Orange Garage. I walked quickly over to Gideons and was thrilled to see the line was less than half of what I saw last Friday! I joined the queue and the wait couldnt have been more than 10 minutes. I bought cookies for everyone, and a bag of their bites (quarter of a cookie, dipped in chocolate) to bring home. Well, bring most of them home I wouldnt be surprised if a couple disappeared here in the next 5 days.

    With that done I went back to the garage, got my car and drove to Jambo House. The parking lot was surprisingly busy and I took a spot in the shade pretty far down the row. The shade was on purpose the extra walking is a fair tradeoff. They no longer meet you at the entrance, so I went inside and asked bell services if they needed to activate the elevator to the lounge since I havent used it to enter my room yet. He wasnt sure but walked over with me to find out. I tapped my band and the 6th floor button lit up, so its no longer necessary to get help with the elevator on arrival day!

    In the lounge they used to have two desks manned by concierge staff but one has been removed. I went straight to my room the one on the corner right at the lounge. Ive had this room on most of my visits, and its so convenient! The only thing I dont like is the connecting door is at the other end of the sofa, so right in the sleeping portion of the room. Hopefully my neighbors will be quiet. It took no time at all to unpack and then I went back out to the lounge to look around.

    They no longer do tea time, instead making the afternoon stuff cover a longer period and using more pre-packaged snacks along with a more limited variety of baked goods. They also had fresh fruit. I stopped by the concierge desk to get key cards for the other people listed in my room, so theyll be able to access the elevator and staircase gate to get up here. The cast member asked if Id gotten my welcome gift and when I said nothing was in the room the other cast member brought it over. Its a white chocolate candy bar with edible images of a rhinocerous, giraffe and zebra. Its almost too pretty to eat and not being a fan of white chocolate its unlikely Ill be the one eating it.

    I took a few photos to post on facebook then took the laptop out to the lounge. I sat in the side alcove at a table for 2 the lounge was actually pretty busy. I had a slice of cantaloupe and some grapes while I updated the report and got online. Cast members pass by to enter the food service area, but so far nobody has asked if I need anything. Frankly I would have expected them to offer wine or something or ask if they can clear my plate.

    Finally around 3:30 I made eye contact with one of the many cast members and asked if they still offer sparkling wine. She said of course we do, would you like some? very nicely. I said yes and went up to get a strawberry to add. There seem to be quite a few more cast working servicing the lounge (not the desk portion), and there are no familiar faces thus far. They keep very busy, and seem to work well together. At 4pm on the dot they were pulling the afternoon food back in, then started setting up the non-food items in preparation for 5pm. One of them came around with a battery operated candle for each table (ambiance, lol).

    Just before 4:30 I brought the laptop (and work phone) back to the room. The lounge was still fairly busy so I grabbed my kindle and table and sat at a 2-top table in the lounge itself (not the alcove). Since Im solo tonight I dont want to tie up a table that 4 people could use. One of the ostrich was still hanging around, along with a group of the big eland. I miss the spotting guide to properly identify them, but we all know a spotting guide is a major source of covid spread <g>. That and throw pillows I had one at Boardwalk but none here, so I guess theyre safe in Orange county but not Osceola county.

    By 5 all the 5-7 offerings were set up, and it was basically the same as before covid. In terms of white wines they used to have chardonnay and chenin blanc. Now they have both of those plus sauvignon blanc and a sweet wine and something else I dont remember. I got a small glass of the sauvignon blanc (Indaba) and took it to my table. Since I knew Id be here most of the 2 hours I didnt rush to get food.

    The lounge was busy but I dont recall ever seeing all of the tables occupied. Instead of having the chef cooking hot stuff now they have the hot stuff already cooked and one of the concierge staff members portions it out. Tonight was the lamb stew over white rice and pork thing that looks like a rib. This is different from what someone on MouseOwners posted as the nightly lineup, so I guess they change at whim. I got the pork and it was very good Ive had it before and didnt pay attention to the name thinking it was on the earlier report Id printed out (it wasnt).

    I spent a good deal of time talking with my friend Michael about something that happened at work today, so it was a while before I got up for anything else. When I did, I got a piece of drunken goat cheese, some Toma cheese, a piece of bresola meat, a breadstick, flatbread and piece of pita. The bresola was actually very good, and paired well with the cheeses and pita. Later I got another piece of bresola and more toma. The sauvignon blanc was very good too I poured small glasses since I like it to be cold.

    Around 6:45 I returned to the studio to update the report quickly, then took the camera and headed down to check out the animal viewing areas. From my room my only company was the ostrich. I am loving being here after so much time away!

    At the savannah by the pool I saw zebra, giraffe and some cattle. Some were pretty close, and all were doing their usual stuff (eating). From there I went out to Arusha Rock and found more of the same. There were some guests doing the campfire Im not sure but I think they may charge now for the marshmallows, chocolate and graham cracker. I was too full to inquire. Quite a few people were out, all acting appropriately. The sun hadnt set but it had cooled down to where it was very comfortable. Again, it reminded me how thrilled I am to be here its such a treat, and Im fortunate to be here. I hope I have many more trips concierge is getting really hard to get!

    One disappointment the pool opens at 10am. What the hell???? By 10 am its borderline uncomfortable, so why does it open so late? Ill be sure to include this on my guest satisfaction survey, and I WILL be going down earlier even though it means Ill be on a chaise lounge outside of the pool area.

    After viewing the animals I went up to the studio only 1 person was in the lounge. On my way out earlier the person at the desk reminded me desserts were 8-10. I dont need a reminder, although the 5-7 stuff has greater interest to me. The hour between 7 & 8 is a time to check out the animals when its not broiling hot out there, but we always make it back for dessert.

    As reported on Mouse Owners it seems theres no more nightly turn down service. Its not the end of the world, but I miss the little chocolate square. These cutbacks have nothing to do with covid and everything to do with Disney charging the same (or more) but providing less. Since the chocolate was the only thing I really miss, its not a deal breaker especially with all this Gideons stuff I havent touched yet!

    Just after 8 I wandered out to the lounge all 10 steps away <g>. I didnt touch the passion fruit tart, took a bite of the plant based carrot cake and it went in the trash, but liked the Kenyan coffee tart and the vanilla cake cones. They had small chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies, so I ate one of the oatmeal raisin Disney does these so well.

    I took the desserts back to the room and was in for the night. So far my room is quiet sure hope it stays that way. I got into bed and finished updating the report. Today was a really nice day everything went perfectly, from no traffic, the room being ready early, short line at Gideons and there was no doubt that actually being here would be absolutely wonderful. Ive missed club level and am so thankful to have it for this trip and again next September. Its getting harder and harder to get, so I cant be assured of getting it in the future even though I own points here. I will keep trying, but will most likely stay elsewhere if I cant get club level.

    Tomorrow will be the first of several much-needed lazy days. I do have some work I can do at some point but I dont know if that will be tomorrow. I left a printout behind, which Holli will bring to me. I plan to enjoy the morning near the pool outside the gate before 10 and then inside after 10. It will be so hot I doubt Ill last beyond the morning. Holli should arrive mid-afternoon, so Ill have company for the lounge. It looks like theyre not doing the culinary tours yet, as there was no mention of them on the activities list posted outside. I also havent heard the drums down in the lobby, which is something Holli mentioned remembering and looking forward to. I guess the Disney world is not back to normal yet.

    DAY 2 Thursday 5/26/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Holli (57), friend

    Plan: Pool, Concierge Lounge

    Actual: I slept really well last night no noise from the room next door at all! I heard something out in the hall at some point, but hopefully it wont be a regular thing since it was around 2am. I got up at 5 and made my cappuccino to take back to bed. The drapes are open so Ill be able to see when the sun comes up.

    Today I decided to eat one of the 2 eggs I brought from home and supplement it with whatever I find in the lounge. Before that however, I did some work Id brought with me to get that out of the way. A little after 7:30 I got up and dressed then went out to check the lounge offerings.

    Breakfast runs from 7 10:30 and for the first time ever I saw them using the hot station as well as the regular area. They had the usual oatmeal, fresh fruit, pastries, bagels, cereals and todays hot stuff included turkey boboti (eggs, turkey & other stuff like a quiche), BACON and also the French toast bread pudding w/madagascar vanilla bean sauce!!

    The bacon looked great Ive never seen that here before! A fellow guest asked if Id tried the bread pudding and I told her no, but I would be <g>. She said it was to die for. While out there one of the cast members came over saying welcome back its so good to see you again, so theres at least one of the old crew still here! I took a slice of cantaloupe and slice of honeydew along with a nice piece of bacon and went back to my studio to cook my egg in the microwave. The bacon here is so much better than the crap I brought, lol.

    After eating that I returned to the lounge for a bowl of the bread pudding. It was very good, but it had the golden raisins in it Ive never heard of French toast with raisins. While I didnt necessarily dislike that, I would have preferred they were left out. I still ate it and enjoyed it, and if it makes an appearance again Ill no doubt eat some. I dont see myself buying a full portion at Mara though.

    SB called so I talked with him for a bit, then did a little more online stuff before changing into a swimsuit and coverup. At 8am its already 75 degrees so it will be uncomfortably warm very early probably before the pool even opens. This 10am stuff is not right.

    Around 8:30 I went down to the pool, settling onto a chaise lounge outside the locked gate. It was overcast much of the time, which kept is fairly comfortable better than I expected. I did some reading, and noticed the cast members opening the gate about 10 minutes early so after a family entered I got up and moved inside as well. I had the perfect spot for me right as you enter, on the end, front row with a view of the pool. Up until 10:30 the clouds kept it pretty nice, but then they burned away and it got pretty hot. I made use of the nearby shower to cool off.

    Around 11:45 I got up and left the pool area, making a loop around the area. The flamingos are still here I thought Id heard them earlier so I was checking to see if that noise was them. A couple of the white antelope animals were out grazing on the savannah. I headed back inside and was in my studio right about noon. The afternoon offerings (11:30 4:00) looked the same as yesterday. Theres no real food, but rather chips, trail mix, pastries, chocolate chip cookies & fruit. I guess the closest thing to food would be the prepackaged uncrustables. Im not hungry, so its no big deal later I may get some fruit.

    Entering the studio I could see they still do full daily housekeeping in club level I wasnt sure if that was happening. Id sort of made my bed, but now it looked as perfect as the day I arrived. I broke off a small piece of the Gideons cookie and ate that while updating the report, then took my shower.

    After getting dressed & presentable I went down to the merchandise shop to see what the scavenger hunt was about. I was handed a card that talked about the opening days of MK basically youd name the attraction each clue was describing. I was expecting an activity not this, so that was a bit disappointing.

    I took the laptop out to the lounge, got a glass of water and tried a package of the trail mix. This was surprisingly good! I dont eat all the items in there so I just ate the parts I like. They package it up in clear plastic bags and have them in a bowl. Holli texted about 2:20 saying shed just pulled in, so I put the laptop away and waited for her to get into the building. She hadnt done online check in so she went to the desk and found her room was ready.

    Once she dropped off her stuff she texted and I met her at the bottom of the staircase up to the lounge. We sat up there and she was giddy with excitement to see things looking so normal. She got some red wine and I had a glass of the sparkling wine. She also enjoyed some of the snacks, but we were more excited for the 5pm offerings since we learned it would include tomato soup and BUTTER CHICKEN!! Yum both of those are wonderful.

    Everything was set up by 5 and we enjoyed a lovely evening in the lounge. We both agreed this had to be the best spread ever it was all fabulous! We enjoyed the soup and eventually 2 portions of the butter chicken. Both special cheeses were outstanding, so we ate quite a bit of that with pita or crunchy stuff. Holli had a bunch of different hummus varieties, and some stuff I wont touch. We both had a little watermelon (so ripe delicious) and a bit of cucumber with the dressing. It was fabulous!! What we used to do as the faux concierge lounge does not compare, and its a hell of a lot more work than sitting here being served!

    We learned they do Durbin chicken here in the lounge night and it would be on the menu tomorrow night. I LOVE Durbin chicken, so were both looking forward to that! When it used to be on the Food & Wine menu Id buy it so often theyd sometimes give it to me for free (oh, you again).

    At 7 we headed out to see the animals, since this is the perfect time. The sun is low, its cooler, but its still light out and the animals are active. We saw pretty much all of them during the hour we spent on the various viewing areas. This resort is so special!

    By 8 we were back in the lounge for dessert. Tonight they had the vanilla cake cones and vanilla cake cones we both stuck with vanilla and loved them. They had the plant based carrot cake, the Kenyan coffee tart, and Im not sure what else. The Kenyan coffee tart was my favorite last night and Holli declared it the winner tonight. They really are delicious!

    She tried most of the different liqueurs grand marnier, amarula & Frangelico. I got some kahlua but without milk I used half & half not a good move. I drank a few sips and left the rest. The people next to us with kids asked for milk and got a couple cartons thats what I should have done if I was serious about drinking the kahlua (but I wasnt). The kids next to us had Mickey ice cream bars evidently those are available here too. Perhaps Ari will want one.

    We ate our coffee tart and cake cones and then went our separate ways. Holli is so thrilled to be here and keeps thanking me. Shes especially happy to see people interacting like normal, without masks. A small number of people wear them, and thats fine, but for the rest of us its nice to be free from all of that. I gave her her Gideons cookie and told her where Id be near the pool tomorrow morning. She went to her room to put on a swimsuit and go to the pool/hot tubs for a while. I returned to my studio to finish up the report and turn in for the evening.

    Today was such a nice day it was great! I love being here, and am so thankful Im able to be here. Sharing it with friends & family is the icing on the cake. Thank goodness Disney hasnt screwed this up (yet)!

    Tomorrow will be another relaxing day morning pool time, then enjoying the resort and relaxing in the lounge. I'm hoping Amanda can get off work early, but have no control over that so whatever happens, happens. Theyll either be here for dessert or dinner & dessert.

    DAY 3 Friday 5/27/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Holli (57), friend
    Chris (35), my son
    Amanda (33), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (5), my grandson

    Plan: Pool, Concierge Lounge

    Actual: It was another great night for sleeping no noise at all. The studio is very comfortable and I like having the bed by the balcony. I was up by 5 again but today I went out and did about 30 minutes of walking the hallways. After that I returned to the studio, made my cappuccino and took it back to bed while I did online stuff.

    Shortly after 7 I went out to the lounge to check the breakfast offerings. Today instead of turkey bobotie they had vegetable bobotie. They had the bacon again, and instead of bread pudding had sausage gravy & biscuits. They also had the multi-grain croissants rather than plain ones. I got some fruit & a multi-grain croissant (love those) & brought it back to the room. I also got some biscuit & gravy and a piece of bacon the bacon was great but the biscuit & gravy was just ok (didnt bother finishing that). It wasnt the healthiest of breakfast heavy on the carbs.

    Around 8:15 I got up & finished getting ready for the pool. Before I went down I grabbed a bagel and some cream cheese to store in the studio in case I wanted to do half a bagel for lunch at some point. I was down outside the pool by 8:30 and took my usual chaise lounge. The sky was clear and sunny this morning, so it got warm more quickly than yesterday.

    Once again they opened the pool area about 10 minutes earlier so I moved in there to the same chaise lounge as yesterday. Eventually Holli wandered down. We did some reading, she spent time in the pool, I cooled off frequently under the shower, and around 11:30 I went upstairs to shower and get dressed.

    Chris had texted saying they werent able to cancel their park reservations for today, and asked if the concierge might be able to help. I went on the app and after fumbling around for a while was able to cancel them. Amanda should get an email notifying her of the cancelation. I also noticed theyd switched their Sunday reservations from Animal Kingdom to Hollywood Studios. Sunday was the one morning I was willing to join them in the park, but I have no interest in the Studios. I canceled my AK reservation and will enjoy the pool while theyre sweating through the park.

    Housekeeping had done my full cleaning already, which is nice I like when its early, while Im out of the room. I took my shower and got dressed, then updated the report. I wasnt hungry for part of the bagel, so didnt bother with that I did take a bite of the Gideons cookie before getting into the shower.

    After getting dressed I puttered around a bit, then went out to the lounge. Holli was already out there enjoying a glass of wine. I ordered a sparkling wine and cut a strawberry to drop into the glass. Earlier they were talking about rain but I wasnt seeing any sign of it. I checked the forecast and its not likely well see any rain at all today.

    When we finished our wine we went outside to do the scavenger hunt. Basically we had to find the 8 signs hidden around the property. As expected, we found 7 easily but had to make a second loop to find the elusive 8th sign. Theres no prize or award for completing it, and honestly I could have answered them all just from the clue (description of the attraction) but it was something to do. A few giraffe, including a youngster had come over to the viewing area by the pool. The flamingos were chattering amongst themselves in their area. Holli pointed out the feathers floating in the water theyre either molting or having some level of aggression out there.

    Chris texted to say they were on the road, with an ETA of 5:15! Thats great news, as we can spend the evening together. Theyll come straight here and be here for the Durbin chicken! I need to remember to tell them about the Mickey ice cream bars during dessert, too.

    We went up to the lounge and Holli got a drink that has sangria and jungle juice. Its supposed to be 2 distinct levels but it was kind of blurred together. I got another sparkling wine with a strawberry. I brought my laptop out to the lounge to update the report, trying to not fall behind. I guess I could just make stuff up and write the report before I get here, but I wouldnt feel right about that <g>.

    After updating the report I returned the laptop to my studio and got the tablet instead. Holli downloaded the mahjong game I had onto her tablet and we each played that for a while. We took a break from it around 4:30 and I put the tablets in my studio to save space on the table.

    At 5 the food was set up the special hot foods were durbin chicken over sweet corn pudding (delicious) and African seafood stew with coconut rice. The cheeses were back to the drunken goat and Toma, with the meat being salami. They also have smoked blue cheese every day, and a few other things (honeycomb, etc) but I dont bother with any of that. On the cold side the special items were watermelon tomato feta salad and ham & cheese pinwheels.

    The watermelon salad was excellent - so ripe & sweet and the feta contrasted nicely with that. The durbin chicken was also excellent - I had one with the sweet corn pudding and later another one with the rice instead. Both were great but everyone agreed the sweet corn pudding was really terrific (and different).

    Chris family are staying at Kidani Village because the Saturday night wasnt available anywhere at Jambo House at 7 months. I called DVC one day and sat on hold forever before speaking with an agent to request they be in a room at the Jambo House end of the hall. They get there and find theyre in the very last section of the resort at the opposite end as far as you can possibly be from Jambo House.

    They headed out walking and it was 11 minutes to get to the lobby, and then 7 more minutes to get to Jambo House. I had a key for Chris so he called me when he was in the lobby and I dropped it over the railing. Unfortunately, these key cards dont have much weight to them and it blew back onto the 4th floor rather than falling to the floor in the lobby!

    I went to the elevators and of course this is the time it takes forever to arrive. Once it did I went to the 4th floor but couldnt find the card. Chris had gone up the stairs to get it and was already up on the 6th floor where the lounge is. He saw me looking, and called out to me so I went back to the elevators and went up to the lounge.

    Ari was happy to see me and I was glad to see him again. We enjoyed the food and company for the rest of the 5-7 period. It was pretty busy up there the whole time. For whatever reason the regular concierge cast were mostly absent, and several cast in a different costume were working along with a couple of supervisor/manager type people helping out. They did a good job, but it was odd that clearly something hadnt gone according to plan/schedule.

    At 7 we decided to check out the animals so we started with the viewing area by the pool. A few giraffe were wandering and we saw pretty much everything but the ostrich out there. We moved over to the flamingos and it looked like one bigger one was mounting a slightly smaller one. It seemed consensual for a while, then the smaller one moved away. Some of the others were bickering among themselves theyre certainly a noisy bunch!

    From there we went out to Arusha Rock and saw some more animals, but all of a sudden 2 came running from across the savannah and then most of the others got up and followed them out of the area. We went back inside and sat by the fire in the lobby, and Ari received a bag of marshmallows. They sell them as part of smores kits but since there had been lightning earlier they didnt light the campfire so they were giving away the bags of marshmallows in the lobby.

    Just before 8 we went back up to the lounge for dessert. Dessert doesnt vary much, which is fine. Ari loved the cake pops we all did. The Kenyan coffee tarts were a hit, although Chris liked the passion fruit tart better. I never noticed before they have a freezer here now, and inside are Mickey ice cream sandwiches and Mickey ice cream bars! I got an ice cream bar for Ari and he loved it. Its much better eating one here in the lounge vs having it melt all over the place in the parks! I had a couple bites and really liked it too, but Id never eat a whole one.

    Holli headed down to her studio and shortly after that I retreated to mine. I gave Chris & Amanda their Gideons cookies, which theyll probably take home since they have access to all the lounge treats. Theyre headed to Magic Kingdom in the morning so theyll be here for breakfast at 7. Holli is flying up to Virginia tomorrow, so shell stash her stuff in my studio once she checks out.

    Today was a delightful relaxing day I just love being here! Tomorrow should be more of the same, which is exactly how I like it. Plus, Ill get to enjoy the evening in the lounge with Chris, Amanda & Ari.

    DAY 4 Saturday 5/28/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Chris (35), my son
    Amanda (33), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (5), my grandson

    Plan: Pool, Concierge Lounge

    Actual: I slept well again, getting up at 5 to make my cappuccino. Today I didnt bother walking. Amanda texted around 10 minutes before 7 to say they were walking over, so I went out to wait for them in the lounge. Today the special hot item was warm pecan sticky buns! They were delicious, but very sweet.

    Once the others had arrived and gotten their plates of food I microwaved my last egg and added some of Disneys bacon. It was very good! I then had a sticky bun. Holli arrived and joined us, and Chris family left around 7:45 for Magic Kingdom. Holli & I sat around a little bit longer, then left for our studios about 8.

    I got ready for the pool and was down there by 8:30. Today it was very overcast and there wasnt much sun at all. I went to the usual spot and then when they opened the pool area about 5-10 minutes before 10 I took my usual chaise lounge in there. Holli came down and sat under the umbrella at a nearby table. She was dressed for her flight, so no point sweating in the sun. The sun was so brief soon I noticed dark clouds across the pool and a quick check of the weather had rain coming our way.

    It sprinkled lightly once or twice, but never did actually come down like what Id call rain. The other side of the resort had blue sky, so the cloudy weather was just skirting the resort. Since I wasnt getting any sun anyway I moved over to join Holli at the table and then around 11:30 went up to the studio. Today housekeeping hadnt come yet, so between that and knowing Holli was coming back at noon to retrieve her suitcase & purse from my room I decided to hold off on my shower.

    I updated the report, then went out onto the balcony. I had both ostrich, a couple addax, the water buck and eland all roam through. What you never seem to see in this section of the savannah are giraffe and zebra. Holli stopped by to pick up her suitcase just after 12 and headed to the airport. Shes flying up to Virginia today.

    I noticed housekeeping had already come the towels were replaced, but they didnt make the bed look perfect today. I took a quick shower and decided to walk over to Kidani Village to see the animals there. Its a short walk, unless youre staying at the end where Chris & Amanda are <g>. Over there I spotted the usual animals off in the distance, but did get to see several of the African Crowned Cranes. Im not a bird person, but these are very pretty. I love the yellow hair that stands up on top of their head.

    I walked back to Jambo House and went up to the lounge, bringing the laptop with me for now. I spent a lovely afternoon in the lounge, using my laptop for a while then substituting the tablet. With my room right on the corner I can easily swap stuff out. I enjoyed some sparkling wine with a big fat ripe strawberry I cut in half. I was hungry earlier so I toasted half the bagel Id saved yesterday, and used some of the sour cream Id stored in the fridge. It was perfect just enough but not too much.

    Other guests came and went most nice and quiet but there was one family who let their kids run shrieking through the lounge. That was very annoying! Then around 3:45 (afternoon snacks end at 4pm) a big party with 2 adults and bunch of kids all speaking a foreign language took the table next to me. They were noisy! I stayed put, figuring when the food would disappear so would they <g>. They seemed to have 2 concierge rooms on the 4th floor with all those kids theyd need 2 rooms.

    At 4pm the food disappeared, and right on cue people started leaving. The noisy bunch stuck around to scream, clap and otherwise be annoying for a bit longer. One of the girls was climbing on the railing overlooking the lobby. They left at 4:04 (yay). I put the laptop back in the room and switched over to my tablet while I waited for 5pm and for the others to arrive.

    Chris & family had gone back to Magic Kingdom for some dole whip variation and arrived at Jambo House around 5:15. Id secured us a table but didnt eat until they arrived. Tonight the special items were sambal chicken corn chowder and an eggplant Egyptian chickpea falafel thing. The crachers/crunchies and cheese were excellent tonight was Toma and Seehive Beehive. I imagine tomorrow itll be Toma and Drunken Goat again. They had proscuito to start, and later salami. The lounge was very busy and stuff was disappearing fast. Having people show up & ask for a to go container didnt help.

    Ari ate several cups of the chowder, and we ate quite a bit of the cheeses. Chris liked the falafel, but he was the only one. They dont have Tusker beer right now, saying they cant get it so Chris enjoyed the Blue Moon.

    At the Magic Kingdom this morning they found early entry was only Tomorrowland and the circus area. Then, Buzz Lightyear, Astro Orbiter and People Mover were all down. Chris said it was a waste of time to do early entry. They did do Barnstormer, Grand Prix Raceway & Teacups. They also did Big Thunder with a 30-minute wait because supposedly trains are broken and they cant get the parts they need. So, they only ran 1 side. Amanda & Ari did Splash Mountain, and they all walked onto Pirates. I think they saw the noon parade too.

    We left the lounge a little before 7 and walked over to Kidani Village. Amanda had never seen the tapestries, so I showed her where my name was located. We watched the animals at the viewing area it was much more active now vs earlier. Theyd bought me a bottle of wine on vacation in Helen, GA last week, so Chris got that from their room and gave it to me.

    Around 7:45 we walked back to Jambo and went to the lounge for desserts. Tonight besides the cake cones and cookies they had a delicious orange sesame cake, a chocolate mousse tart and chocolate almond cake. Ari got the Mickey ice cream sandwich and gobbled up every last bite. I left them in the lounge and went to my studio to settle in for night.

    Today wasnt exactly a good pool weather day but it was still a great day both at the pool and the rest of the day. Its wonderful being here, but in a way Im glad theres only 1 more day since Ive been eating way more than normal and can feel myself expanding! Tomorrow Ill meet the others for their breakfast in the lounge, then finish packing up. Ill probably leave my stuff with bell services and head to the pool whether that means swimsuit in the sweaty sun or sitting in the shade remains to be seen. I hope my new room is ready fairly early in the afternoon, but theres no guarantee. Tomorrow night will be our last lounge evening so sad.

    DAY 5 Sunday 5/29/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Chris (35), my son
    Amanda (33), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (5), my grandson

    Plan: Animal Kingdom or Pool, Concierge Lounge

    Actual: I slept well again last night and got up just before 5. After enjoying my cappuccino I did some online stuff until it was light outside. I made a trip to the car just to make sure all was ok (no flat tires, etc) and on my way back a car pulled out of a very close parking spot so I turned around and moved my car to that spot. Tomorrow when I head out I wont have to walk most of the way down the row. The parking lot was shockingly full everyone must be driving! Disneys making a fortune on the ridiculous and offensive self-parking fees (for non DVC guests).

    I went back inside and had a text from Chris that they were on their way over. The lounge was quite busy with people waiting for 7am for the food to begin, so I went out and grabbed the last 4-top table. There were 2-tops that could be pulled together, and I dont think we ever had every table occupied while we were there but it was close.

    Ari had a couple bowls of cereal and a little chocolate chip muffin. He tried the French toast bread pudding and liked the first bite, but then didnt like it after that. Im glad they had it here since I wanted to try it but I would have been disappointed if Id ordered an entre of it downstairs at Mara! Tomorrow Ill get the other item Im interested in the bacon & gruyere cheese quiche.

    I had some bacon and a few bites of the bread pudding and took a bagel back to the studio to toast & eat before going down to the pool. Chris & Amanda had their bagels and other stuff, then headed out by 7:30. Theyre going to the Studios today and Ari hopes to get on Rise of the Resistance. Early entry starts at 8, so maybe theyll make it.

    At 7:30 I got a notification that my room isnt ready yet, lol! With a fully sold out resort, thats not a surprise. Housekeeping hasnt even started working yet. I spent a little more time online, then a little after 8 changed into a swimsuit & coverup and packed up the remaining stuff. I stopped by the concierge desk to officially check out of club level and see if they could make a notification that Im really here waiting for my next room. I dropped my suitcase and bag of cold stuff off with bell services and went down to the pool to my usual spots.

    There were no clouds this morning so it was hotter than any previous day. I was hitting the shower by 9am! Once again the pool area opened 10 minutes early they let you in but ask you not to go into the pool until its announced to be open. I stayed there until about 11 and had had enough sweating for one day.

    I sat at a shady table outside the pool area while finishing the book I was reading, then went into the pool restrooms to take my shower. They have the shampoo, conditioner & body wash mounted on the wall but no other amenities. Id brought what I thought Id need in a ziplock bag, so it wasnt too bad. They have the worlds smallest hairdryer mounted next to one of the sinks so after getting dried off and dressed I went to the sinks to dry my hair.

    Chris texted to say they were headed back from the Studios and were coming to the lounge, so I picked up my stuff from bell services and went up to the lounge. Today they had bags of goldfish in addition to the bags of trail mix.

    The Hollands arrived so I put my laptop away to sit with them. They had some snacks, but Ari wasnt thrilled with the uncrustable. Frankly he was being a pain, and not eating or doing what his parents told him to do, so I left his parents to deal with it and went to the table in the side alley to set the computer back up. I imagine hell be fine later.

    I did a couple training classes for work, figuring might as well get them out of the way. My feet were getting cold and I was thinking I might change into my sneakers and socks but then realized I didnt remember putting the sneakers in the suitcase! I laid it down and opened it up sure enough, no sneakers. Someone had already been put in my room (hmm why is their room ready and Im still waiting for mine since 6 hours ago??). The cast member at the desk called housekeeping but they didnt have anyone there to answer the phone at this time.

    They explained to me the housekeepers turn in any found items at the end of their shift, so I went online to report my lost item and well see if theres a match later. If not, hopefully theyll eventually match it up and mail me my sneakers. What a stupid move on my part!

    The lounge got busy around 1:30, but it was quiet over in my alcove. I ordered a glass of sparkling wine with a strawberry, and switched from work to general online stuff. At 2pm I was still waiting for my room. When I did online check in I checked the box to prioritize the room being ready over any requests. I figure for 1 night it doesnt matter where Im located, so why cant I be put in one of the studios ready earlier since Ive been homeless here since 8am? Yes, check in time is 4pm but nobodys stupid enough to believe that rooms arent coming available long before that like my old room with the family of 4 who keeps going in and out of there <g>.

    2:30 brought more of the same waiting for my room. At 3 I went up to the concierge desk and asked if someone could please check on my room. In the computer it showed they were still working on it which is totally unacceptable since the previous occupants had to have left by 11 and they knew I was already here! The cast member called them but told me they were at 100% occupancy (yes, I know) and there was nothing to switch me to. So in other words screw you. I was not happy and will let Disney know Im not happy, but I wont take it out on the cast members here. Theyre doing what they can. I thanked them for trying and went back to my table in the alcove to sulk. This really sucks!

    By 3:15 I really needed a restroom visit, but wasnt comfortable leaving all my stuff unattended here and didnt feel like packing it all up to drag into the restroom. Disney is really pissing me off. You would think club level guests would get some priority. Youd thinkg guests who were already here would get some priority. Its so aggravating.

    At 3:18 I got the room ready notification and packed up my stuff to go down and check it out. Im close to the lobby, overlooking the pool. Its a great location but I would have preferred having a room earlier. I decided to run up to the lounge to get SB a couple chocolate chip cookies and at the gate my magic band wouldnt work. Thats happened before, so I went to the elevators and it didnt work there either. I actually got up to the 6th floor but the doors would not open because I was not authorized.

    I went down to the lobby and sought the help of bell services to get up there but they sent me to the front desk. A nice cast member took my band and supposedly fixed the problem. I went to the elevators didnt work. I went back to the desk, to a different cast member and explained the problem. She eventually gave me a key card. I went back to the elevators key card didnt work, magic band didnt work. I went back to the front desk for the 3rd time, fuming. I went to the same cast member as the 2nd time and she went out back. She returned saying shed misunderstood and thought I wouldnt get into my room. She handed me the card back and said it should work. Back to the elevators, I was shocked when the key card worked.

    I got a couple cookies for SB then went down the stairs. I checked the gate with the card and it seemed to work. I put the cookies in the room then went back up to the lounge. I imagine when Chris family arrives theyll have trouble with their access too but well see.

    Turns out Chris had no trouble getting up to the lounge go figure. They were here when I came up. I talked to the lady who was in my old room and she double checked but said there were no sneakers there. Later one of the cast members (who had called housekeeping) told me the lost and found items wouldnt be known until between 5 & 6.

    At 5 the food was out and tonight was a repeat of the buttered chicken and tomato soup w/paneer cheese. Thats the overall best one in my opinion hands down! We all ate Ari ate a lot of white rice which he likes. Thats so bland! I had 2 portions of the buttered chicken and a tomato soup, plus a few pieces of cheese with crispy things. Amanda had the same, plus hummus. Im not sure what Chris ate but it was similar. We were full by 6pm, which is unusual for us. I guess we ate like pigs rather than pacing ourselves.

    We went downstairs and outside, sitting in the rocking chairs by the firepit for a while, then checking out the animals. When we went out by the pool we noticed everyone was drying off and leaving evidently the lightning was within range. The wind had picked up but we didnt see any rain. In fact, the sun never stopped shining.

    We decided to go back up to the lounge at 7. Chris suggested Victoria Falls bar, but why pay ridiculous prices when we had the lounge! As I passed the desk the cast member told me my sneakers were found and I could get them at the front desk! I went down there and picked them up, then dropped them off in my room and brought my laptop up to the lounge to update the report.

    Ari was watching something on Amandas phone (with ear buds), so he was occupied. Once I updated the report I decided to return the laptop to the room and picked up the glass of wine Id poured for later.

    We had about 30 minutes before the desserts came out so we enjoyed the time talking. Ari was a hoot, seriously talking to me about alligators and how dangerous they are, lol! They may have seen some last week when they were in Georgia zip lining, tubing and hiking.

    At 8 the desserts were out vanilla cake cones, lemon cake cones, plant based crummy carrot cake and Kenyan coffee tart plus oatmeal raisin & chocolate chip cookies, fruit and more peanut butter & jelly. How is PB&J dessert?? Amanda really enjoyed the lemon cake cone, saying it was like a lemon custard in a waffle cone. She also had some of the other desserts. Ari chose a Mickey bar and thats what I did too didnt need the other stuff. Those Mickey bars are delicious! I didnt expect to finish it but it was so good I ate every bite despite feeling stuffed! Chris got one as well, and later got one of the strawberry bars that as a kid he & my grandmother always used to get in the parks. Such warm memories from a frozen strawberry bar <g>.

    We called it a night early, and after saying our goodbyes I returned to my studio on the 5th floor. They headed back to Kidani Village. Next trip well all be here, so itll be more convenient. I was going to sit out on the balcony, but 90 Day Fiance was already on and thats my trash tv addiction. The pool remained closed for quite a while despite no rain, but eventually opened around 8:30.

    Theres no point in really unpacking for this one night, so Im sort of living out of the suitcase. It would be nice to stay longer, as I like this room but Id miss the access to the concierge lounge so its time to go home.

    Today had some frustrations the long wait for the room was ridiculous given the circumstances, and then the fiasco trying to regain access to the concierge lounge was needless. Showering in the restrooms was not fun. Other than all those things it was a great day overall it was way more positive than it was negative. I enjoyed getting to spend time with Chris, Amanda & Ari, and absolutely love the resort and especially club level. The cast members are so great up here they really take good care of their guests. Im thankful my sneakers were turned in and I was able to get them before leaving!

    Tomorrow the Hollands are headed to Animal Kingdom which has early entry at 7am. Theyll do some stuff there before heading home. Ill have a more leisurely morning enjoying my cappuccino and then after Mara opens I plan to finally try the bacon gruyere quiche. After that Ill be heading back to Gainesville to unfortunately re-enter the real world.

    DAY 6 Monday 5/30/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member

    Plan: Drive to Gainesville

    Actual: Last night my trash tv show ended at 10 but the pool was open until 11 and I could hear the people out there. Thats the drawback to a room overlooking the pool. I ended up sitting out on the balcony for a bit, vs laying in bed listening to people in the pool. Why do they have to shout so late at night??

    Also in my old room on the 6th floor I believe nobody was staying there until my last night. All trip Id seen maintenance coming and going at various times but it wasnt until Saturday afternoon that I saw people moving in. Sure enough, Sunday morning as I was packing up I could hear them talking (not loudly just normal conversation level but the soundproofing sucks). I was glad when I got to the new room to find its a dedicated studio no connecting door! As a result, it was silent, which is just the way it should be.

    I slept well and got up at 5 for my cappuccino. I knew Mara opened at 7 so a little after 6:30 I tried to make my mobile order. All that kept coming up was a snack menu (cold stuff), along with bottles of wine, lol! Turns out hot breakfast doesnt start until 7:30, which seems strange to me. Makes it hard for resort guests to get breakfast before going to a park for early entry! My first option for breakfast was 7:40-8:10 so I ordered the bacon & gruyere quiche, then changed the window to 7:30-8:00.

    Today was the naming ceremony for HALs new ship Rotterdam, so I watched some of the live coverage from Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Brand ambassador Seth Wayne was live on Facebook walking around the ship following Princess Margrits naming ceremony.

    Around 7:20 I went downstairs and walked around the outside area. I took one more look at the viewing area and found a zebra and a few other animals nearby. I wandered back to Mara and sat inside until 7:30. At that point I could say Im here prepare my food and a couple minutes later I had the notification to pick it up.

    Id ordered the food to go and took it to a table right outside. The quiche was pretty big and could easily be shared. It was very good Ill definitely get this again! I could only eat half of it and didnt think it would be worth keeping to reheat later, so I had to throw it away.

    I went up to the room, got my stuff and headed out to the car. By leaving early I beat any holiday weekend traffic and was home in just under 2 hours.

    Some photos (mostly animals) are on Snapfish at

    This was a really nice trip Im so happy to see the concierge lounge is operating normally, like before the pandemic! Masks are optional (as they should be at this point), so those who want them can use them but the rest of us arent required to. Id say around half the cast members wore them, but very few guests did. The food offerings repeated more frequently than before, but they were so good that wasnt a bad thing! Having bacon and another hot item at breakfast was I nice improvement. Also, having 4 white wines vs 2 was an improvement.

    The resort, as always, is lovely. The animals are a big plus and its always fun to watch the giraffe and zebra and other critters. The pool is great but it really should open by 9 this time of year. They do stay open until 11, which is good for the people who are still awake around that time <g>.

    Gideons was so easy this time! Unfortunately with the concierge lounge it was hard to eat much of it. The bites all came home some to the freezer, one to SB, some in my office. I really could have done without them!

    It was great seeing Chris, Amanda & Ari, and even though I didnt go into the parks we got to spend time together. Speaking of not going into the parks I loved that! Im so over the parks at this point. However, had we been staying at Boardwalk or Beach Club I would have wandered around World Showcase in Epcot during the evenings.

    Disney did a great job finding and returning my sneakers to me! They didnt do a great job of getting me into a room that would be ready earlier in the day whats the point of giving me that option if theyre going to ignore it?

    My next trip will be a 4-night resort trip (solo) at Bay Lake Tower. Im looking forward to seeing the Electrical Water Pageant again and since my last night is July 3rd I can watch the Magic Kingdom holiday fireworks from the resort. After that its back to Jambo House club level again for the long Labor Day weekend.

    Sue (Holland) Rayford

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  3. #2

    Started reading your trip report and had to reply. We have owned at AKV since 2010, and have only stayed Club Level twice. It is very hard to get. Luckily, we are staying in a 1bdrm Club level this coming September thanks to banked points from the shut down.

    Also, the bread pudding is one of my favorites. If you get it from the Mara, you can ask for the caramel praline sauce from Boma. I like that sauce better than the vanilla sauce.

    Great start to the report.

  4. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Drexel Hill, PA

    It was so nice to see a new report from you. I got to stay an animal kingdom lodge for one night last year and loved it. I have never had the chance to stay at club level. I think its cool that you go just for a resort stay. That would be so relaxing

  5. #4

    This was the first report I "read" as a "Book on tape" by copying and pasting the text into a narrator! So fun! (except for the creepy fake voice). Saved my eyes.
    Once again we overlapped - I arrived 5/29, lol. I swear, we're on the same schedule.



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