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Thread: Sue Rayford, Aug 31 - Sep 5, 2022 - AKV Club Level & DVC Moonlight Magic

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    Sue Rayford, Aug 31 - Sep 5, 2022 - AKV Club Level & DVC Moonlight Magic


    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Holli (58), friend
    Chris (35), my son
    Amanda (33), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (6), my grandson
    Dates: August 31 September 5, 2022
    Resort: Disneys Jambo House Resort
    Experience: Very Experienced 33rd stay at AKV

    This trip is somewhat a repeat of late May a chance to enjoy the concierge lounge at Jambo House and enjoy each others company. Initially I was booked to arrive Wednesday, Holli was coming in for 2 nights Thursday and Chris family would come in for 3 nights Friday same as in late May. However, DVC announced Moonlight Magic would be held this year and one of the nights is Wednesday night, in Animal Kingdom. Thats perfect for a stay here, so I looked for a room for Holli but could only get Kidani Village. Its not the end of the world she can walk over for the lounge, then the next day shell be homeless for a while (like I typically am at the end of the trip. The big concern was not knowing whether or not I would be able to book it when it opens up but fortunately it all worked fine & Im confirmed!

    For those who dont know, Moonlight Magic is an event that takes place in a park after the park has closed to guests. Its exclusive to eligible DVC members and is no charge to the member. Included is access to the park, 3 snack vouchers, a popcorn bucket, game tickets, character meet & greets, and whatever other entertainment. Not every attraction will be open but since its free thats not a problem. Holli doesnt have an AP so this is an opportunity for her to get into the park for free, hopefully ride Flight of Passage, and enjoy whatever else. For me, the dates of Moonlight Magic have never aligned with my trips, so Im looking forward to seeing how it is. Ordinarily Id be reluctant to give up the concierge lounge, but I think we can do both some concierge lounge for wine & food then head to Animal Kingdom. Well miss dessert, but perhaps thats a good thing <g>. The park closes at 7 and the event is scheduled for 8-11 but members can enter the park at 6 without needing a park pass. Its a shame its on a Wednesday night as I would have liked to include Chris family too. I did invite SB (he could have gone home w/Holli Saturday morning) but he decided to skip it.

    Demand is still ridiculous for studios at 7 months and once again I had trouble booking Chris family. Eventually I was able to get enough things booked and then waited on the phone to talk with DVC member services to get things realigned. Initially I had Chris family in a standard (pool) view, moving to a value studio on the final night. I was booked club level for the first 4 nights then moved to standard view on the final night. I was able to get DVC to give my standard view to them and add it to their existing reservation and change their value night to me as a separate reservation. So, once again Ill be homeless but this time theyll be staying in the same resort, and I can use their room to shower (after the pool if thats what I do) and store my stuff until my new room is ready.

    Chris family will be going to the parks each day, but Ill get to see them in the morning, afternoon and evening. In late May they still werent doing any of the culinary tours and they didnt have the drums beating in the lobby. It will be nice to see those return, but I dont know if well see them this trip. I did book a park reservation for Sunday at Epcot. Thats my moving/homeless day so I may head there with Chris family (instead of the pool) and check out Food & Wine Festival as early as possible.

    Last trip I was excited for a couple of new breakfast items at Mara and was able to try the French toast bread pudding in the lounge. The other item was the bacon gruyere quiche, which I got from Mara my last morning. That was excellent, and Ill do that again. If someone is willing to share it with me, I may order it more than once I hated throwing away half of it. The bread pudding, I liked but didnt love I wouldnt buy it as an entre.

    In terms of Gideons, if the August cookie is spectacular, Ill probably head there on arrival day or if Holli wants to go there, Ill go too. In July theyd brought back the banana bread chocolate chip cookie for an extended stay, whatever that means. Ive never tried it and would like to just dont know if the extended stay includes this trip. If the September cookie is spectacular, Ill stop there Monday before going home but will bring an umbrella for shade this time! With not doing the parks, I can arrive at 9 and sit on the wall reading until Gideons opens just before 10.

    About a month before the trip a problem developed. At work Im the director of my division but also the interim director of the clinical services division. One of the key vacancies in that division is the Executive Nursing Director. We were able to find one, and she starts new employee training 8/26. Initially I was told shed be released on 9/1! Not being there (as her immediate supervisor) would be very poor on my part, but with concierge level and Moonlight Magic I honestly didnt care <g>. Thankfully her training was later determined to last through 9/2, so I was in the clear!

    The plans so far are:
    Wednesday 8/31: Drive to AKV, Gideons, Concierge Lounge, Moonlight Magic
    Thursday 9/01: Pool, Concierge Lounge
    Friday 9/02: Pool, Concierge Lounge
    Saturday 9/03: Pool, Concierge Lounge
    Sunday 9/04: Epcot/Food & Wine Festival or Pool, Concierge Lounge
    Monday 9/05: Gideons, Drive to Gainesville

    DAY 1 Wednesday 8/31/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Holli (58), friend

    Plan: Drive to AKV, Gideons, Concierge Lounge, Moonlight Magic

    Actual: Holli & I worked until noon, then got in our cars and hit the road. The August cookie is Key Lime Chocolate Chip, which didnt really appeal to me but Im hoping for the banana bread chocolate chip cookie. Not that I need a cookie given the concierge lounge is available to me! The morning at work (for me at least) was a nightmare just lots of crap and little piddly things needing attention constantly.

    At noon my friend Michael took me home and while I was chatting with him Holli called. Id wondered why I hadnt seen her arrive at her house down the street. When she got in her car there was a noise from something dragging underneath. She consulted our fellow division director over the maintenance area and he said it was some plastic thing that could either be cut off or tacked up but the car will be fine to drive after that. Holli took the car to the local automotive shop owned by family of one of our staff and had it tacked (and didnt charge her).

    I headed out by 12:15 and she was on the road about 20-30 miles behind me. As soon as I got to the turnpike I had the your room is ready text. It figures Im not going straight to the room, so its ready early. I drove to Disney Springs and parked in the Orange Garage then walked over to Gideons. Thankfully the line was very short! I asked the cast member if the wait was about 15 minutes and she agreed. I called Holli to have her just go straight to her resort (Kidani Village tonight) and took her order for a cookie.

    The line moved quickly and I was inside Gideons within 5 minutes. Theres a short queue inside, but I bought our cookies (banana bread chocolate chip for me, triple chocolate for Holli). From there I got the car and drove to Jambo House, parked and walked up to the lobby. As usual my magic bands didnt work in the elevator (magic band or key card is required to get to the 6th floor where the lounge and my room is) so I went back down to the front desk. I think the problem is the magic band wont recognize Im here until Ive tapped it at my door, and I cant get to my door without needing to tap it in the elevator!

    The cast member came out from around the desk and took me upstairs after fixing my bands (this time it worked). I stopped at the concierge desk and received my welcome gift (white chocolate bar with edible pictures of animals) and got a key card for Holli. I no sooner unpacked my suitcase when Holli texted to say she was headed over. Shed already checked in and gotten her room which conveniently is at the Jambo House end of the building.

    She walked over and I met her in the lobby to give her the Holly key card. She grabbed some snacks and I brought the computer out to our table in the lounge so I could catch up on work and the report. We kicked the trip off with glasses of wine (red for her, sauvignon blanc for me). When I went up to get ice I noticed the sugar for coffee & tea is now shaped like Mickey! They have both white and brown.

    We enjoyed our time in the lounge, and the very nice cast member wed gotten the glass of wine from came by with both bottles and poured us a refill. How nice of him to do that without asking. I later found out the Mickey sugar cubes have been here since 3 years ago. I guess I never noticed since I dont drink coffee or tea. Holli had a hard time believing I would have missed them though. What can I say? Sugar isnt high on my list unless its inside a cookie or brownie <g>. I finished up the work stuff and brought the laptop back to the studio just before 5. Once again I have the first room on the corner, which is the most convenient. The downside is the connecting door to the 1-bedroom next door is right by my sofa, which sucks. Last trip they had the room shut down for maintenance until my last night so it was very quiet most of the trip. Today we saw a couple with an infant pass by and watched them until they passed the room next to me dodged that bullet, lol!

    We enjoyed the lounge, although I ate lightly since we had food vouchers wed be given at the Moonlight Magic event. When I booked it I made the reservation for 4 people thinking SB might come and if he didnt then Id have 2 to offer to some other dvc couple that wasnt able to get in. A member of the MouseOwners board contacted me so the extra spots will go to Lucy & her husband.

    Unfortunately Lucy is working remotely while staying at Saratoga Springs and a meeting she couldnt reschedule was running longer than expected. We still needed to allow for travel time, as the entire party had to be present upon entry. Holli & I chilled out a bit longer in the lounge, waiting for word from Lucy that the meeting/call had finally ended.

    We headed over to Animal Kingdom (via bus) once Lucy & her husband were on their way. We arrived first but had a brief wait on a bench before Lucy texted that they were here. We met and chatted briefly, then easily headed into the park. Once inside we went our separate ways. On the way in they gave each of us 3 snack vouchers (1 could be used for a popcorn bucket and popcorn) and 2 game vouchers. There was a list of venues where we could redeem the vouchers but only for snack items (not a meal). In addition, Mickey ice cream bars and frozen strawberry bars were free at several locations.

    Holli & I decided to head into Pandora and that was a good call. As we got in there I saw Navi boat ride was only a 10-minute standby wait so we joined the queue and were on the boat within 5 minutes. Its a pretty ride but theres really nothing to make it worth a wait and usually the wait time is ridiculous!

    Next we went to Flight of Passage and I was saying if the wait was 30 minutes that would be a really good number. Well, the posted wait was 20 minutes! Ive never seen that before, lol! We joined the queue and didnt slow down until the final room. Our wait might have been 20 minutes but it was probably less.

    We were directed to the top level, and the view is a little different up that high compared to the lower levels. I was on the last bike and commented that they werent spraying water at us this time but Holli said she got sprayed so maybe the bike on the end just gets to skip that! Ive always found it more annoying than enjoyable. We enjoyed our flight, then headed back outside.

    Not all the attractions are open during the event, which I noticed may actually be called Membership Magic according to all the signs around. Open attractions were Navi, Flight of Passage, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, Triceratops Spin and Tough to be a Bug. We stopped at Pizzafari and I got a popcorn bucket with no wait at all. From there we headed to Asia but stopped to watch the projections on the Tree of Life. As we were walking into Asia we passed the Mickey & Minnie character greet building, which was crowded with guests in the queue. We didnt see any other character greetings but we werent looking for them or interested in them. Likewise, we didnt see any of the dance parties, because once again we were no interested.

    In Asia we were heading to Expedition Everest, and along the way it started to sprinkle very slightly. We got in the queue without noticing the standby time. While in line they started announcing there were storms in the area and the attraction may shut down at any time with little notice. We had no idea if we were close to boarding or not, but hung in there and within a few minutes saw the loading area.

    We were seated in the back half of the train and had a great ride Im so shocked I actually like this attraction. It was pretty cool riding it in the dark too, although quite a bit (too much) of the inside is totally dark. Shouldnt we be seeing something? After our expedition we continued into Dinoland and as expected there were huge lines for the games. Neither of us had any interest in that!

    We went to Dinosaur, which had a 25-minute wait posted but it was probably 10-15 at most. In the preshow area we positioned ourselves to exit quickly and they had a queue snaking back and forth in the area between the 2 sides of the loading area. Ive never seen that before! It was a fun ride very jerky, but we knew to expect that.

    This was our last attraction, so we decided to check some of the snack places. Most had lines that were longer than we were willing to wait. Plus, neither of us was hungry. Holli used her popcorn bucket voucher and while there we each used another voucher for a bottle of water. We ended up at Satuli Canteen in Pandora, where we each got the chocolate cake really a small dome of chocolate mouse with some banana bits on top. That used our last snack voucher and we each got a box to carry it back to the resort. We sat at a table to transfer the cake to the box, and left our unused game vouchers on the table in case anyone wanted to take them.

    From there we headed to the exit, leaving the park just after 10pm. The weather had held off and other than a brief sprinkle we were rain free! We did all we wanted to do, had very short waits, and enjoyed the event. Id gladly do this again if I ever get the opportunity.

    At the bus stop we had 2 parties with scooters waiting, so once the bus came it took a while for the driver to load both of them. Then their party boarded and spread out to almost fill the front half of the bus. The rest of us headed to the back of the bus for seats. At Kidani Holli got off to go to her room and when the driver headed back to unload one of the scooters I got up and left the bus to walk back to Jambo House. At that point I was tired of waiting for the bus, waiting to board the bus, waiting for the bus to leave for the next stop, etc. Its a long enough walk I probably didnt save any time, but at least I was walking instead of sitting idle.

    As I passed through the lounge everything was closed but they do leave sodas in the cooler and the freezer was full of Mickey bars, ice cream sandwiches and frozen strawberry bars! Thats a nice touch. I wasnt about to eat a giant ice cream bar this late at night, so I didnt take anything. I brought the laptop into bed and finished up the report, and I hope to be asleep by midnight!

    Today was a wonderful day once I left work! Its so great being here, and Im thankful I got to do the Membership Magic event. Everything just went really well. Tomorrow the relaxing starts lounging by the pool then lounging in the lounge.

    DAY 2 Thursday 9/01/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Holli (58), friend

    Plan: Pool, Concierge Lounge

    Actual: Last night Im sure I was asleep by midnight, although I dont think I ever hit a really deep sleep. I could hear vacuuming around 1:45, which I assume was out in the lounge. I didnt get up until almost 6, which is late for me but its fine since Im not rushing off to a park. After making my cappuccino I brought it back to bed to enjoy while doing online stuff. I was able to check certain hotel information from the tv, so now I know what time Mara and the gift shop open. This year Ill remember to buy my Disney calendar (saw them last night on the way to the bus)!

    Sometime after 7 I wandered out to the lounge to check the offerings. Quite a few people were already out there eating breakfast. I couple of the cast members recognized me from prior trips and came over to welcome me back & chat for a bit. Last night one of the evening cast members did the same stopped by our table to say it was nice to see us both again. One of them, Elaine, has been here a long time and she told me she was retiring in October to relax and travel. Shell be missed!

    The hot breakfast today was the French toast bread pudding w/sauce and biscuits & gravy. They also had turkey boboti (like quiche) and some fat sausage links, along with the usual every day stuff (bagels, hard boiled eggs, oatmeal, fruit, cereal, pastries). Went down to Mara and picked up some packets of butter and grape jelly, then returned upstairs. On my way to the room I got one of the sausages to go with my English muffin (from home) for breakfast.

    The sausage was pretty good, and having the toaster in the room is handy for the English muffin. After eating I did some more online stuff until it was time to head down to the pool around 9. The pool still doesnt open until 10, which is ridiculous! However, I relax on a chaise lounge outside the pool until I can move inside the fenced area at 10. At Kidani Id be out of luck, because I dont think there are any chaise lounges set up outside the fence so I definitely dont want to be staying there!

    Last night I snacked on some of the cookie from Gideons and its delicious! Im so glad its limited stay was still happening on my arrival! The September cookie is less appealing to me peanut butter laced with ground espresso then coated with Reeses pieces and chopped up peanut butter cups. The ground espresso part is what makes me hesitate not sure how that would taste, and risking $6 for a cookie I might not like is a bit much.

    As soon as I got outside to my chaise lounge I realized it was uncomfortably hot worse than last May by a long shot! The air was stifling and not moving at all. They opened the pool area about 10 minutes early so I moved in there and began frequent trips to the cool shower. Holli arrived around 10 and noticed the hot weather too. She spent most of the time reading in the pool.

    Between trips to the shower my morning was spent mostly on my work phone dealing with time sheet approvals and order approvals and other minor issues. Due to the holiday theres an early payroll cutoff today and between covering 2 jobs and having vacant subordinate supervisor positions there was more activity to handle than usual. Thats another reason to not bother with the parks although the main one is still the heat/humidity.

    By 11:15 Id moved to the shady table, and just extended my legs into the sun. It was too hot to have my whole body out there. In fact, I was reading my kindle and got a message that it was in too high of a temperature (sun was hitting it) and I needed to put it in a cooler spot to not risk damage!

    When Holli had come down she said the chocolate cake from last night was really good. Id forgotten all about it. I lasted until almost noon in the shade, then texted Holli to let her know I was going upstairs to shower and dress. Passing through the lounge another friendly cast member welcomed me back and although I didnt recognize her she was talking like wed seen each other before. It might have been shes just friendly like to all her guests. She told me if theres anything I want to please let them know.

    I took my shower and got dressed, then tried a couple bites of the cake (its still just chocolate mousse to me not cake) and Holli was right its delicious! A group of the beige antelope were lounging around, along with a stork of some kind. It was just after 1 at this point so I decided to visit the gift shop and buy the calendar.

    The 2023 calendar is back to having actual photos from the parks, which is what I like. My dvc membership got me 20% off, although my annual pass would have done the same. Back upstairs in the lounge I stopped to chat with Jack, who was working the desk. He brought me up to speed on some of the cast members who retired during covid and were no longer working here. He said they get a lot of the same guests over and over, which is no surprise to me. Im one of them and hope to keep it that way!

    I dropped off the calendar, grabbed the laptop & phones and went out to sit in the lounge. Immediately Elaine was at my side asking if she could bring me a drink or anything. The sauvignon blanc yesterday was a different brand than last time, so today I decided to go back to the Indaba chenin blanc. I also mentioned the ice needed replenishing. When she brought the wine to my table she also had the ice and asked if she could put some in a cup for me how nice. I put a few stalks of celery, some ranch dressing and a few grapes on a plate, and nibbled on that for a very light lunch. This time of day theres not any real food up here its all snacks (chips, trail mix, pastries, muffins, cookies, uncrustables, hummus and olives.

    Holli arrived and used my room to get changed since her room still wasnt ready. When she came out she got a glass of the chenin blanc and some of the snacks. She likes more of that stuff than I do, so she had more to pick from. She told me she had a family from hell right next to her at the pool crying baby, whiny loud toddler and a mom asking the clearly overheated and overstressed little ones to behave. Thankfully they didnt stay long.

    We enjoyed the lounge, and it got fairly busy at one point. The couple with the little infant was back, reminding me of Aris first Disney trip at 6 weeks of age also here in the concierge lounge. I talked to the mom and found out the little guy was 5 months old! Ari would have been quite a bit smaller than him.

    The cast member from last night kept our wine glasses filled, but approached me with sauvignon blanc so I had to tell him I'd switched to chenin blanc. This is great service, although I really didnt want a second glass <g>. He came again to pour Holli more and she slowed him down. I was waiting on a timesheet correction but decided to just check it later. I put the laptop in the studio, grabbed my sunglasses and camera and headed down with Holli to the animal viewing areas. It was due to be raining later, so this was our window of opportunity. Plus, she was STILL waiting for the damn room ready text from Disney despite checking in before 10am (it was now after 3:30).

    We went out to see the animals but it was a bust they were all very far away. The pool was closed, even though thunderstorms werent expected for another 2 hours. Coming back in we stopped at the front desk and Hollis room was ready. We got her stuff and moved it downstairs to the 5th floor, right over the lobby (very convenient). She has a nice view of the closed pool. I went back to my studio and waited for a staff to redo his timesheet so I could re-approve it. Finally that was done.

    I talked to my friend Michael at work for a while, catching up on each others day. Once we finished up it was almost 5 so I went out to the concierge lounge and grabbed a 2-person table for us tonight. Holli showed up around 5:15, having spent time on her balcony in the oven heat, lol.

    Tonight the special dishes were tomato soup w/paneer cheese and buttered chicken. The tomato soup was really spicy, but good. The buttered chicken was outstanding! We both love this, and I hope they have it again when Amanda is here since its one of her favorites. Besides that they had variations on the usual stuff, with prosciutto rather than the meat they had last night (Bresaola??), some different cheeses, and cut-up watermelon.

    We enjoyed plenty to eat & drink. One example of the excellent service here I went up to get wine and the chenin blanc was empty. I pointed that out to a cast member. She not only got a new bottle, she poured me a glass so when I went up to get some she handed me the new glass very nice!

    There was one couple who were truly odd. Both were masked (the only people), but we dont know if theyre immunocompromised or what, so thats not an issue. She was wearing gloves. Over a year ago the CDC recommended NOT wearing gloves because not only do they not do any good, they can do harm. They spent an inordinate amount of time getting 1 plate of food and staying away from everyone. Finally they went down the stairs and took that 1 little plate back to their room. It was just very odd.

    The other negative thing was a couple of ignorant clueless disrespectful parents in the lobby with a boatload of kids including one little one (stroller age) who would shriek an ear piercing noise repeatedly as he & his siblings ran around the lobby. The siblings were climbing all over the furniture this is why we cant have nice things. People are jerks. The shrieking was so bad a number of times both Holli & I jumped and ran over to the railing to see who the offending jerk was, wishing we could give them the evil eye or something. Holli is a very nice person but even she said she wanted to yell down to them to shut the F*** up! It was ridiculous. I dont know why they were there for so long, as it was hours past rooms being ready, and if they were waiting for dinner it shouldnt have been an hour or more!

    At 7 we left the lounge, walked through the lobby without approaching the obnoxious family who looked like they were getting ready to change a dirty diaper on a lobby sofa (totally without any class whatsoever) and went out to view the animals. It was sprinkling very lightly, but once again the threat of storms didnt materialize.

    At Arusha Rock we had some giraffe and zebra to watch, which was fun. We eventually moved to the area by the pool and found giraffe off in the distance, a zebra nearby, and a group of addax. A cast member came by and we chatted with him about the giraffe. We headed back in a little after 7:30 and Holli said she was going to put on her swimsuit and go to the pool. I went to my studio and worked on the report.

    A little after 8 I went out to the lounge for dessert. They had the vanilla cones, chocolate mousse tarts, berry tarts, carrot cake, oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and peanut butter & jelly sandwich triangles. I took a cone, oatmeal raisin cookie, chocolate mousse tart and berry tart all were very good! The lounge was quite busy, with most tables full. I was glad to have my room right here on the corner couldnt be more convenient!

    I enjoyed the desserts and then finished up the report for the day. Today was a delightful day, other than the weather being so incredibly hot/humid! I enjoyed relaxing by the pool but would have like to be sweating less. The lounge was wonderful and having company there makes it extra nice. Tomorrow should be a repeat of today, hopefully with less work interruptions and Id like to see better weather but thats not likely to happen this time of year. Tomorrow night Chris, Amanda & Ari arrive, so itll be nice to have their company as well!

    DAY 3 Friday 9/02/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Holli (58), friend
    Chris (35), my son
    Amanda (33), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (6), my grandson

    Plan: Pool, Concierge Lounge

    Actual: I slept much better last night, turning in by 10 and not getting up until after 5. I didnt hear any noise during the night. Once again I made my cappuccino and brought it back to bed, did a little work, then around 7:30 went out to the lounge to see what the offerings were.

    Today they had the French toast bread pudding again 2 days in a row? They had biscuits and sausage gravy today. What I thought was that yesterday was actually the oatmeal with a bowl of bagels in the next spot. They had the small multi-grain croissants so I got one of those and a slice of honeydew and went back to the studio.

    Once again its a very hot day (feels like 87 just after 8:30am, basically no wind/breeze). I changed into a swimsuit/coverup, had an English muffin, filled up my insulated bottle with ice water and headed down to the pool area. Once again I settled on a chaise lounge outside the fenced pool area and like yesterday it was very hot! By 9:30 I had joined others who had moved into the shade to wait for the pool to open.

    Holli came down around 9:45 and I told her usually they open a little early yesterday it was 10 minutes early. They did the same today, so we went in and got 2 chaises next to one of the tables with an umbrella. We started out on the chairs, with me going back and forth to the shower. She didnt last long before she was in the pool, reading her book along the edge. Eventually the shower wasnt enough and I got in the pool too for a while.

    My final stay on my chaise lounge didnt last very long by 11:30 I was in a shady chair at the table. I cooled off there and did some more reading until just after noon, then let Holli know I was heading upstairs. I tried using the app to see what the soup of the day is at Mara but all they had listed is the butternut squash which was there yesterday. I went inside to check it out and theres nothing to indicate they do a rotating soup of the day any more. They dont even have the menu up on the boards guess they want people to use their phones. I headed out its disappointing they dont have more variety, mainly rotating their excellent soups each day.

    As I passed through the lounge I checked the freezer and all that was left were 2 strawberry bars! I put my stuff in my studio then went back out to find a cast member. I asked if I could get a Mickey Bar since the freezer was out of them, and the answer was of course. She got the keys and went down the hall to bring a box back. While waiting, one of the other cast members (the one who poured my chenin blanc last night) saw me and asked if Id like a glass of chenin blanc. I told her I was waiting for a Mickey Bar and didnt think that would pair very well so no thank you! Once I had my Mickey bar I ate it in the room that made sense since when it started breaking up a bit I ate over the sink and didnt make any mess. It was delicious! I cant imagine eating one in the parks when its hot like this though.

    After lunch I took my shower and got dressed. The beige antelope are back, mostly lounging around near some of their food. Before long they left and a couple ankole cattle took over their food area and a giraffe stood behind them munching on high leaves. I watched them for a few minutes then grabbed the laptop and went out to the lounge.

    At one point I thought a glass of prosecco sounded nice so I ordered one. The cast member came back with a big wine glass full of it not what I wanted at all, lol! She said the champagne glasses are small so she used this glass. I didnt want to hurt her feelings but I was glad she was going off duty soon so she wouldnt see it go to waste <g>. I drank a little, but most of it ended up in the trash.

    Holli showed up somewhere after 3:30, having spent most of the afternoon in her room ready (after a Mickey bar). The lounge was actually pretty busy busier than the previous 2 days. We pulled the next table over to make a table big enough for the 5 of us.

    Tonight the hot foods were the seafood stew w/coconut rice and the Durban chicken over sweet corn pudding. Holli loved the seafood stew (I dont eat that) and we both really liked the chicken. The sweet corn pudding was like polenta a perfect sweet pairing to the spicy Durban chicken.

    Id been keeping up with Chris & Amanda on their trip up and as usual they ran into traffic delays. It ended up being less bad than expected ideal arrival would have been 6 but a situation indicated they might barely make it by 7, however they were here around 6:35. Their room was about as far away as you can get (of course) and they went there first only to find none of their magic bands worked. Thankfully Chris got the phone thing to work on the 3rd try.

    They texted on their way to the lounge and Holli met them at the back gate to let them up. I had their key on the table. As always Ari was excited to see Grandma Sue and I was thrilled to be with him. There was about 15 minutes before the food ended so they quickly got plates of food. Id gotten Chris a couple beers, Amanda her Sprite, Ari a milk and a plate of salami (Ari) before they arrived.

    They enjoyed everything and we had a nice time. Back home I ran across a box of packaged Pokemon cookies, and knowing Ari loved Pokemon I bought them and brought them with me. He needed to go to the bathroom and my studio is closer than the restroom so I took him there and showed him the box of cookies he was excited! We brought the box out to the lounge and gave it to Amanda to take to their room.

    We stayed in the lounge until the desserts came out, which was about 15 minutes before the 8pm scheduled time. I took Ari up and he got 3 cake cones and 2 chocolate chip cookies. He ate it all, too. I got a cake cone and a Kenyan coffee tart (really chocolate). Amanda loved the cake cones also, saying she could eat the whole tray, lol. Holli got a couple desserts and also tried 3 of the 4 liquors. She liked 2 of them.

    Since the desserts were out early we were finished up by 8:15 or so and headed back to our rooms. Holli is planning to leave early tomorrow to avoid any traffic caused by the Florida football game (shes a season ticket holder and will be attending the game). Chris, Amanda & Ari are headed to the Magic Kingdom and Ill do my morning at the pool.

    Today was another delightful day, even better than the day before thanks to significantly less work interference. The rest of the weekend should be pretty much work free. Its unbelievably hot, which is really unpleasant, but its just as hot & disgusting at home too. Its such a pleasure being here and being so pampered in the concierge lounge!

    DAY 4 Saturday 9/03/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Chris (35), my son
    Amanda (33), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (6), my grandson

    Plan: Pool, Concierge Lounge

    Actual: Once again I slept very well, waking up right around 5 but not getting up for another 45 minutes (must have dozed back off). I enjoyed my cappuccino in bed until Amanda texted around 6:40 that she & Ari were in the lounge waiting for breakfast. I went out and joined them and we played some games and made a puzzle on the table while waiting for breakfast to start at 7. Holli and Chris both were there by 7 or shortly after.

    Today they had bacon (nice thick, crispy bacon) for the first time this trip and they also had the gruyere cheese quiche (but without crust)! Both were excellent. They had the French toast bread pudding again, so Chris got a bowl of that. Ari had a couple boiled eggs, bacon, 2 bowls of cereal, and part of a muffin wow!

    By 7:30 Holli headed out to return to Gainesville. The first home football game is tonight and she wanted to beat any incoming traffic. Chriss family might head towards the coast this afternoon hoping to see the rocket launch. I was not interested in joining them for that theyre saying on tv to expect really heavy traffic (especially after the launch, IF it launches) and at 6:30 a.m. people were already arriving. The launch window opens sometime after 2pm but it doesnt mean the launch would happen at that time.

    The Hollands headed to the bus stops around 7:45, going to Magic Kingdom for the morning. The park opens at 9 so resort guests get in at 8:30. Ill catch up with them later at some point. Around 9 I headed down to a chaise lounge outside the pool area.

    Today it was very cloudy, which normally would disappoint me but it was so much more comfortable without the sun so I didnt mind! When they opened the pool area I followed the mob into that area, taking a chaise lounge in a different area because my usual location filled up immediately.

    The pool opened for swimming at 10 and it shut down at 10:13 for unscheduled cleaning. Everyone had to get out and stay out for 15-20 minutes, no doubt thanks to some guest who didnt follow the rules in terms of young children and/or bathroom behavior. I enjoyed my chaise lounge and did some reading. There was a little breeze and with all the clouds it was fairly comfortable. When the clouds started breaking up after 11 it got warmer, but it was 11:30 before I needed to cool off under the shower for the first time.

    Chris, Amanda & Ari had done a bunch of attractions at Magic Kingdom, but said it was very sunny and HOT with no breeze at all over there. It was so bad they went to the Tiki Birds for the a/c. Knowing there wasnt real food in the lounge this time of day they stopped at Caseys and shared a corn dog or corn dog nuggets before heading back to the resort.

    I went up for my shower around 12:30 and they arrived just as Id finished getting dressed so I met them out in the lounge for a bit. Ari seemed tired probably the sun! After they had a snack they went down to their room where Amanda was hoping Ari would fall asleep to a movie so she could take a nap. Well meet back up before 5. I decided to cancel my Epcot park reservation for tomorrow its just too hot to be enjoyable, and thankfully Ill get to spend time with them here in the lounge.

    I brought my laptop out to the lounge to update the report and do some online stuff. Yesterday they were out of the Indaba chenin blanc and were serving one from Fairview. It was good but I like Indaba better. Today I saw Rane rolling a cart full of wine into the kitchen room and noticed orange bottle tops (Indaba chenin blanc). When she stopped by later she confirmed they had it again so I asked for a glass.

    While waiting for that another cast member cleared some tables and he stopped at my table to ask whats wrong with this picture? He was referring to the lack of a glass of wine but just then Rane placed it on the table, lol. He asked where the others were and I had to admit the young people needed to rest/nap. They had bags of gourmet jelly beans out again so I got one for Holli. Shed gotten one yesterday but then spilled most of them onto the floor & by then there were none left. They look like Jelly Belly brand to me.

    A little before 5 the Hollands woke up and headed for the lounge. They got there before the 5pm food started, and tonight wasnt as busy in the lounge as last night was. The hot food wasnt terribly exciting to me falafel with avocado something sauce (I dont eat this) and chicken corn chowder. Chris ate some of the falafel and we all at the chowder me a single portion but Chris & Ari multiple portions. Ari got a new Jack Skellington character (his favorite) at Magic Kingdom this morning, so Jack joined as well but didnt eat much.

    Theyd talked about eating then going to Animal Kingdom for an hour before coming back for dessert, but the weather messed up that plan. We ended up staying through 8pm when desserts came out. Tonight besides the vanilla cones they had the delicious orange cake, a zebra chocolate mouse tart and a dark chocolate cake w/raspberry. Ari ate a bunch of the cones and took 3 or 4 cookies they took a couple of them back to their room. I got some oatmeal raisin cookies to put in a Ziploc bag to bring home to SB, but also ate some cones, an orange cake, a chocolate thing and a couple cookies (oink oink). Chris had his desserts then got a Mickey bar. Everything was great, but we were getting tired and were out of there before 8:30.

    I returned to my studio to pack up a little and finish up todays report. Today was a delightful day I absolutely love being here! Tomorrow the Hollands head to Epcot and might go to Disney Springs. Ill join them for breakfast then head to the pool and meet up with them later. Sadly its our last full day here.

    DAY 5 Sunday 9/04/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
    Chris (35), my son
    Amanda (33), my daughter-in-law
    Ari (6), my grandson

    Plan: Epcot or Pool, Concierge Lounge

    Actual: I slept well again still no noise from the connecting door to the 1-bedroom villa. Thank goodness my neighbors were not noisy since the door is right next to the sofa. I didnt get up until after 5:30, then made my cappuccino and took it back to bed. Chris texted shortly before 7 to say they were in the lounge so I went out and joined them.

    Both Chris & Amanda were waiting for the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy and at 7am Chris got boarding group 2 and Amanda got an error message that something went wrong. She says thats what she gets every time the information technology leaves a lot to be desired! They ate their breakfast and headed out around 7:20 catch a bus to Epcot. Their boarding group time for Guardians is 8:45, so they plan to do Test Track first. They also will likely go to a car show Chris is familiar with (bunch of people he knows there), hit the other Gideons location (no crazy wait) and stop at Disney Springs for a few stores before coming back.

    I got a bagel and a sausage and toasted the bagel in my studio, then chilled out a bit until it was time to pack up and leave the room. Ive got one of Aris old magic bands to get me into their room, which is where Ill store my stuff and shower after the pool. Id grabbed some pool towels yesterday so Ill use them after my shower so theyre not impacted with the towels in their room.

    After stashing my stuff in their room I went down to a chaise lounge outside the pool area. Today it was very hot again not a cloud in the sky and only the slightest possible breeze. I lasted around 15 minutes before moving into the shade. Once again the pool opened early, but not our gate. Guests were pouring in from a couple other locations but nobody had unlocked ours. Finally a woman next to me called to a guest to please open the door for us and he did.

    I settled on one of my usual chaise lounges and did some reading, making frequent trips to the shower. Eventually that wasnt enough and I went into the pool for a while to cool down more completely. By 11 Id had enough sweating and moved outside the pool to a shady spot and read there comfortably until almost noon.

    I went upstairs to Chris & Amandas to take my shower and used the deadbolt and latch in case housekeeping came by. Then I got distracted by the group of 3 giraffe off their balcony and was out there for a bit. When I came back inside Chris was texting me asking where I was. I told him, and he said unlock the door. They were in the hallway and couldnt get in, lol! The phone app said the door was locked from the inside, which was accurate.

    Theyd come back from Epcot and changed quickly to head to their car show. Once they were gone I took my shower and got dressed. By the time I finished drying my hair and packing everything back up I heard my phone make noise my new room is ready! As promised, its very close to the lobby just 2 doors away from the gated stairs to the lounge.

    I moved my stuff to the new room and then took a bag of stuff I wont need down to the car before swinging back out to the pool to return the towels Id used after my shower. Back inside I returned to my room to grab the laptop and tablet, then headed for the lounge. The cast member this morning assured me my magic band would work for both through today, so of course when I tapped it the red light came on. I tried the elevator, and also got the red light (no admittance).

    Down to the front desk I went, and explained the situation to the cast member. She gave me a key card that would get me into the lounge. That worked, and as I settled in the lounge I started wondering if Id remembered to take my damp swimsuit from their sink. Whenever I return my laptop Ill make a detour to their room (at nearly the very end of the resort) to check.

    I updated the report, watched for the ice bucket to get filled, and ordered a glass of chenin blanc. It was not cold yet, so thank goodness for the ice! I realize ice melts and eventually the wine tastes a bit like water, but oh well. For me the coldness is more important. Another cast member stopped by to talk with me theyre so nice here and really take good care of their guests.

    Around 2:45 I decided to bring the laptop back to my room and make the trek to Chris & Amandas room to see if I left the swimsuit there. If nothing else, Im getting my steps in today! My swimsuit was not in their room, so I left Aris magic band and decided to get the keys and see if it was in the car. On my way to the parking lot I ran into Chris, Amanda & Ari. Theyd stopped by the car show then went to the other Gideons location (much smaller than the one at Disney Springs).

    In the trunk I found my swimsuit in the bag of stuff Id brought down, so I pulled it out to lay in the trunk to dry. Amanda was going to take Ari to Mara for some real food so Id see them a bit later in the lounge. I realized earlier when checking my spreadsheet that during my next club level stay in late May that will bring me to 999 nights in a dvc resort using my point since becoming a member!

    I went up to the lounge and settled at our table. I had my tablet and played games until the others arrived a while after 4. They had chicken strips and French fries from Mara, which Ari and Amanda shared. Tonight they had the tomato soup w/paneer cheese and the buttered chicken. They also had a gouda cheese we hadnt seen before and it was very good!

    Around 6 wed had enough to eat and decided to walk around to the animal viewing area out back. There were tons of animals out there, and they were all active. It was a great time to be out! Afterwards we sat in the rocking chairs around the fire pit for a while, then went back inside. Amanda, Ari & I stopped by my room so I could get the laptop and download my photos. From the balcony I had a couple zebra, couple giraffe, couple ostrich, and I dont remember what else it was awesome! One of the zebra waded through a pond, which wed never seen before.

    We went up to the lounge and got a table. Ari got a strawberry bar but didnt like it so he gave it to Chris. He got a Mickey ice cream sandwich instead, which he gobbled up. I sent some photos to facebook and updated the report then returned the laptop to the room. Ari was watching a movie or show in the small kids area so we moved back there with him. The booth seat was so comfortable!

    At 8 the desserts came out vanilla cones, lemon cones, berry tart, Kenyan coffee tart, chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies. The others ate and around 8:15 I said goodnight and got a plate to take down to my studio. Once there I realized I wanted ice water so I grabbed my metal bottle and went back up. The others had already left for their room. I got some water and ice, then returned to my room.

    Tonight is 90 Day Fiance, which is complete and utter trash but I watch it. Its like a train wreck! However, it was nice relaxing in the studio for one last night here. Today was another great day even with the weather Ive loved this trip! Tomorrow I may get the bacon & gruyere quiche from Mara before heading home. Chris brought me a banana bread chocolate chip cookie from Gideons so I really dont need to head over to Disney Springs in the morning. The others are headed to Hollywood Studios for the morning, then are headed home. Ill see them again in early November.

    DAY 6 Monday 9/05/22
    Who: Sue (63), DVC Member

    Plan: Gideons, Drive to Gainesville

    Actual: The new room was perfect nice and quiet, and I slept very well. I was awake around 5 but didnt get up until closer to 5:30. I made my last cappuccino of the trip and took it back to bed. Since Chris brought me a cookie from Gideons yesterday Ill hit the road to go home earlier rather than going over to Disney Springs and waiting for stuff to open.

    Around 7 I got up to shower & dress. Before doing so I submitted my mobile order for Mara for the 7:45-8:15 time slot. I was ready a bit early so I moved the time up to 7:35. At 7:38 the app still wasnt giving me the option of telling them to prepare my food. If I remember correctly, last trip I discovered that although Mara opens early (7?) the hot food starts later (8?), which is a pain. Oops that changed at 7:40 so I told the app I was there and headed downstairs.

    The quiche was ready when I got to the elevator! I picked it up without any wait inside Mara and didnt have to stand in line to pay since Id used the app. I took it back up to the studio to enjoy, since its so humid outside (and eating inside Mara has little to offer. The quiche was delicious! I could only eat half, but this time I decided I had nothing to lose by taking the rest home. If it doesnt reheat well I can toss it at home.

    I finished gathering up my stuff and was out the door shortly after 8 and home at 10. Its just as hot & awful here, and it lacks the nice big pool and the concierge lounge ☹ I was thinking while driving and I may shift these trips to early September and mid-January instead of early September and late May. That will save a few points but more importantly both of my trips wont be in this hot humid weather! Well see if Im successful in transitioning to that schedule in 2024.

    This has been a really wonderful trip, even with the extreme hot weather. I absolutely love club level here, although its very difficult to get. Ill keep trying each time, hoping for the best. Holli loves it too, and appreciates all the nice touches, so shes a great travel companion for these trips. I always enjoy spending time with Chris, Amanda & Ari, and Im glad they enjoy this too. Aris grown up coming to the lounge, starting when he was 6 weeks old (his first Disney trip).

    My next trip will be with SB starting October 24th. Unfortunately, that trip became a cluster-**** when I didnt have enough points at 11 months and had to settle for Old Key West since wed be traveling with another couple in a 2-bedroom villa. Now theyve backed out so were going to a resort I dont want to be at, using a boatload of points for 2 people to be sharing a 2-bedroom villa. Sigh. Dont get me wrong Old Key West is lovely, but not for Food & Wine (or really any trip where the parks are priority its too inconvenient with all those bus stops).

    Thanks for reading along!

    Sue (Holland) Rayford

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  3. #2
    Registered User
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    Aug 2014
    Gulf Coast of Florida

    Thank you Sue for carrying the trip report banner for all of us. So grateful you continue to do this.

  4. #3
    MousePlanet Columnist
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Quote Originally Posted by wdwchuck View Post
    Thank you Sue for carrying the trip report banner for all of us. So grateful you continue to do this.
    Thanks Chuck!
    Sue (Holland) Rayford



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