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Trip Report And We’re Back! – A March Trip Report

WishIWasAtWDW

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#1
Well, I’m back! I’ve been pretty MIA from the boards for the last few months. It has been a crazy busy Fall and Winter and it’s about time that things slowed down. We sold our townhouse in September and moved in with my parents for 4 months while we waited for our new home to be built. All that plus the regular busyness of the holiday season meant little time to go online.

My last trip to WDW was in November of 2012 so I was itching to go back. My next trip wasn’t scheduled until October 2014 and that was just too long for me to wait. So, I emailed my friend Maggie who went with me in 2010 and asked if she would want to go again. She was in and suggested we stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Sounds good to me! :D

The Details:

Who: Me (Ashley) and my best friend from college (Maggie)


I'm the short one. :D

When: March 5-9, 2014

Where: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

Wednesday March 5th – Disney World and Warm Weather Here We Come!

Today was a very early morning for both of us. At my old house, I used to live 8 minutes away from the airport. The new house is 35 minutes from the airport, which isn’t bad for most people, but when you used to be 8, it now seems a lot farther. I didn’t think about the new drive to the airport when I booked my flight for 6:45am.

So I woke up super early and made it to the airport about an hour before my departure time. I barely slept at all the night before so I was extremely tired. I think I woke up every hour or so worried that I had overslept. I got about 3 hours of sleep in total. But I was on my way to WDW so who’s complaining!

The flight was uneventful and we landed on time. Maggie’s flight didn’t land for another hour so I had some time to kill. At first, I thought I was going to kill time by browsing the shops but then I figured I would just head down to the DME area and wait there. An hour wasn’t too bad. I made it all the way down to the DME area and decided I should check on Maggie’s flight to see if it was on time. And what do you know…her flight was delayed…45 minutes.

So I went back up to the shops, looked around and grabbed some breakfast from McDonald’s. Then it was back down to the DME counter to wait for Maggie. Her flight landed at the newly scheduled, delayed time and we were finally ready to board the bus. I had been at the airport for 2 hours so I couldn’t wait to get this vacation started!

We made our way to the DME counter to check in with our fancy, new MagicBands! :D This was the first time I got to use the bands so I was super excited!




Animal Kingdom Lodge here we come!






Obligatory Instagram shot

The Animal Kingdom Lodge was one of only two deluxe resorts I had never stayed at before so I was really excited to stay at this resort! First we had to stop at Pop Century and then Art of Animation before we arrived at our destination.


We’re finally here!

I had done online check in so it was a pretty smooth process once we arrived. I was very pleased that our room was ready. That was the only request I made when doing online check in. We already had booked an Arusha view room so as long as it was ready when we arrived, I was fine with the luck of the draw. Knock on wood, I have always been pleased with our room placements without having any special requests.

We were in room 3415 located along Zebra Trail and on the same floor as the lobby. I was already pleased with the location of our room and I hadn’t even seen it yet.










Feels like a Disney vacation when I see one of these


View from our room



 

WishIWasAtWDW

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#2
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I reminded Maggie of the drill with me taking a ton of pictures of the room. She did a great job staying out of the shot. Hahaha













I really liked the look of the room but it was pretty dark in there. There was also a certain smell to the room that I could only describe as “authentic.” Hahaha I am not sure how else to describe it. Has anyone else stayed at AKL and know what I am talking about?! :confused: It wasn’t necessarily a bad smell but it was... interesting. We got used to it pretty quickly after being in the room but every time we came back to the room from the parks, it hit ya.

While we were checking out our room, bell services dropped off my checked bag. It is always such a relief when your checked bags show up. :D Maggie was a little worried because hers wasn’t there yet but I had to remind her that I landed about two hours before she did so there was still plenty of time for her bag to arrive before she should be worried. We took a few more minutes to check out the room and the view.


I spy a giraffe’s butt Hahaha I'm a child





It was a little after 12:30 now and we were starving so it was time to stop hanging out in the room and make our way to Epcot!


Needed a shot of the awesome MagicBand opening our door. So cool.



The AKL lobby is pretty cool. Pretty, pretty, cool.







I love these floor mats with the resort names on them. I have a thing with ordinary objects in WDW like carpets and…



Trash Cans! If you have read my past trip reports, you know that I began a photo series on WDW trash cans back in early 2012. It’s strange, I know, but when you go to WDW so much, you tend to run out of things to take pictures of that are new and inventive. So I decided to take pictures of trash cans. :D I also started a new photo series this trip so get excited.
 

WishIWasAtWDW

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#3


We were anxious to get to a park and luckily we didn’t have to wait long for a bus. Before we knew it, we had arrived.




You can never have too many Spaceship Earth pictures

We were having lunch in France today so we made the long journey from Future World to France. It was a gorgeous day and we were really enjoying the sunshine.





I had never eaten at Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie so I was excited to try it. We were both really hungry at this point since it was a little after one but we had dinner reservations at 5:15 so we knew we couldn’t eat too much or we wouldn’t be hungry for dinner. Such a dilemma. :D I decided to go with the Croissant Jambon Fromage, aka ham and cheese on a croissant. I can never pass up a croissant! And Maggie went with the Jambon Beurre, aka ham and cheese on a baguette.





We both LOVED our choices and I don’t think it was just the hunger talking. They were really delicious. While we were eating, we started chatting with some ladies next to us who are Annual Passholders. They were admiring our MagicBands and were bummed that they couldn’t get them yet. (Of course, now they should have already received theirs.) They were very nice ladies and its always fun to chat with fellow Disney people.

After lunch, we decided to continue our journey around World Showcase to check out the topiaries. Today was the first day of the Flower and Garden Festival. Now that I wasn’t super hungry, I managed to take some pictures along the way. Just a few…






















Time to get myself in at least one picture

 

WishIWasAtWDW

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#4






We completed our tour around World Showcase and decided it was about time to go on an attraction. We made our way back to Future World to see what attraction we would ride first. We stopped along the bridge to take some pictures when I saw this big guy…


I didn’t realize this water had such large creatures in it! That’s a big turtle.

We decided to ride Test Track first since both of us hadn’t been on it since it was redone. We walked through Mater’s Parts, Plants and Playin’ Garden on our way there.







I was really excited to see the new Test Track. I missed the re-opening by a week in 2012 so I was anxious to see it in person. I loved the old version so I was hoping I would like the redo.




Yay! New trash can design!

We decided to do the single rider line since the standby wait was too long. Since we chose the single rider line, we ended up bypassing the design your car part of the attraction. Bad decision. We felt that the ride was really lacking and we had a feeling it was because we didn’t do the design the car part. The whole thing felt really disjointed. I was pretty bummed. Maggie was really sad about the redesign because she loved the old crash test dummies in the queue right before you entered the preshow. She wanted to recreate this shot from our 2010 trip. :D



So we were slightly disappointed with Test Track but that’s okay. It wouldn’t keep us from riding again. Next up was the Festival Center to see what was going on.





We did a quick tour of the center and picked up some passports so we could get stamps at the different food kiosks and exhibits. I knew before our trip that Vern Yip from HGTV was going to be there this weekend so I was so excited to meet him. We picked up some of his headshots and kept it moving.

We continued our tour of topiaries.




We didn’t have crash dummies, but we did have topiaries! :D

We made our way to the front of the park because we were getting close to the time we needed to leave for our dinner reservations at Kona Café. I had never eaten there for dinner so it was another first this trip that I was really looking forward to.






We did good and finally got a picture with both of us in it!

Since we were so close to SSE and still had some time to kill, we decided to go for a spin. I was a good friend and let Maggie pick all of our choices for the descent. Of course she picked all of the healthy and fitness options. Boo! Hahaha


The cameras can’t seem to figure out dark hair





It was a little before four so we decided to head out of the park and make our way to the Polynesian.

Up next: Dinner at Kona Café (there may be a Lapu Lapu involved) and a magical night at the Magic Kingdom
 

ArtieJim

Well-Known Member
#9
Trash Cans! If you have read my past trip reports, you know that I began a photo series on WDW trash cans back in early 2012. It’s strange, I know, but when you go to WDW so much, you tend to run out of things to take pictures of that are new and inventive. So I decided to take pictures of trash cans. :D I also started a new photo series this trip so get excited.
I'm the same way when it comes to trash cans. Can't get enough of 'em down in WDW.
 

ShookieJones

Never let your fear decide your fate.
Premium Member
#11
I obviously love WDW and all it's sights and sounds, etc. etc....but I must be hungry because I've been trying to read through this TR and all I keep doing is going back and scrolling over to these two pics:

Wow...growl...growl.....I promise I'll come back and follow along as soon as I get some food in my gut.
 

WishIWasAtWDW

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#16
Loving it so far! Your pictures of Morocco are breath-taking!!
Thanks! Morocco is one of those pavilions that I never used to pay much attention to but it is really beautiful. Such amazing details. You can't help but take a bunch of pictures.

Love the report! Great!!
Thanks @FlaggNL

I’m loving all your flower and garden festival pictures.

I was able to go for the festival twice before, but that was years ago. Can’t wait to hear more about the festival this year and your trip :)
Thank you! I really love the F&GF. Not as much as the Food and Wine Festival, but it is still pretty cool. Lots more of the festival and my trip coming up! :D

We stayed at AKL back in 2004 and I know the "authentic" aroma you mentioned! I attributed it to the spices and smells from the restaurants.
I knew people who stayed there would know what I was talking about! The only way I could describe it was "authentic" :p It never crossed my mind that it might be because of the restaurants. Interesting.

I'm the same way when it comes to trash cans. Can't get enough of 'em down in WDW.
Aren't they awesome? I think I'm going to put together a scrapbook of just trash can pictures once I get them all. Hahaha

Thanks @joshsprincess921

I obviously love WDW and all it's sights and sounds, etc. etc....but I must be hungry because I've been trying to read through this TR and all I keep doing is going back and scrolling over to these two pics:

Wow...growl...growl.....I promise I'll come back and follow along as soon as I get some food in my gut.
Hahaha They were really good sandwiches so I don't blame you.

Thanks @Zipitidoda

Loving the poses. Looks like you are off to a fun start!
Thank you. We had a great time!

Great report so far! Thanks for all those AKL room photos. We will be staying there for DVC for the first time in the Fall and this was a great preview. Thanks!
You are very welcome! :D We really enjoyed the AKL. I hope you all enjoy it in the Fall!

Awesome so far, looking forward to more!
Thanks! I'm working on more now.
 

PartOfYourWorld

Well-Known Member
#17
Yay! Another Ashley trip report!!!! :) Glad you got a chance to go down to the World! And love your F&G pictures! Can't wait to catch it next month!!!! :D

I really hope you loved Kona for dinner! Can't wait to read about it!!!! And congrats on the move!!! Hope you are enjoying your new house!!!!
 

WishIWasAtWDW

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#18
Yay! Another Ashley trip report!!!! :) Glad you got a chance to go down to the World! And love your F&G pictures! Can't wait to catch it next month!!!! :D

I really hope you loved Kona for dinner! Can't wait to read about it!!!! And congrats on the move!!! Hope you are enjoying your new house!!!!
Thanks Jess! I was so happy to be back at WDW. I felt like so much had been added since my last trip. More of New Fantasyland opened up, construction walls came down, the Tangled restrooms, Test Track, MagicBands...it was crazy all the new stuff I had to check out! And the Flower and Garden Festival was awesome. There are so many great photo spots. You are going to love it!

Posting the next part of my report now with my feelings about Kona Cafe. :D Thank! We are loving our new house! It has been a lot of work to get everything unpacked and organized. Still have lots to do but we are making great progress.
 

WishIWasAtWDW

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#19
We made our way to the monorail. It always feels like a Disney vacation when I have ridden the monorail! :D



We got off at the Transportation and Ticket Center and took the walkway to the Polynesian.


Ooooh! TTC trash cans.





We arrived at the Polynesian earlier than expected so we decided to walk around the resort. We had 45 minutes until our reservation so we had lots of time to kill. There was a ton of construction going on so we went to check it out. I peeked through some holes in the construction tarps to check on the progress.




Poly trash cans are some of the prettiest




I spy some progress being made!

We finished up our tour of the pool and construction and made our way inside to browse some more.





We still had about 15 minutes before our reservation time but we decided to go ahead and check in. The restaurant wasn’t open yet so it was a great opportunity to take some pictures of an empty restaurant.













Within minutes our buzzer was going off and we were seated. We had already looked over the menu before we were seated so we knew what we wanted for dinner. We both ordered the Pan-Asian Noodles with Chicken and I also ordered a Lapu Lapu. :D


This bread and butter is AMAZING.

My Lapu Lapu arrived very quickly and I had just enough time to take some pictures before our food arrived.


GLORIOUS
 

WishIWasAtWDW

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#20




The Lapu Lapu was GOOD. It was also really strong. I liked the pan-Asian noodles but I didn’t love them. Maggie loved it though, so there you go. I wish I had ordered some of the appetizers because they sounded really good. Next time I suppose. We were finished with our meal and had only been at the restaurant for 45 minutes. Dang. That was a quick dinner. I still had some Lapu Lapu left though so we stayed until I was done. I paid $13.50 for the thing; I was going to finish it. We also finished the bread and butter. :D



I would definitely go back to Kona Café for dinner but I probably wouldn’t order the noodles again. I would get the Lapu Lapu again though. :D

We made a quick stop before heading to the Magic Kingdom and my new photo series began…



Restroom signs! Only Disney can make something as trivial as restroom signs something worth looking at.

Before we left the Polynesian, Maggie spotted one more photo op. See, I also started a series of photos where I pop out from behind stuff. As I’m writing this trip report, I suddenly realize I have a lot of photo series going right now. Hahaha



Now that we were done with all of our photos, it was time for the Magic Kingdom. The monorail was down for maintenance so we took the ferry.









We made our way straight back to New Fantasyland. I can’t get enough of this new area. First attraction of the night was the Journey of the Little Mermaid.







I love that attraction. So cute. Afterwards, we decided to check out the rest of the area and take some pictures.


Maggie admiring the artwork



We saw Triton and couldn’t help but make the same poise.



I was about to take a picture of Maggie doing the pose when a very nice cast member came over to take our picture.



We chatted a bit with the cast member about where we were from. I love these little interactions with cast members. Adds a little extra magic to the trip.

Tonight was the first time we were using Fastpass+. I was really excited to try out this new system. Our first Fastpass+ was for Peter Pan’s Flight.



I really liked the new system and thought it was really easy. With technology, it’s always great when it works, right? :D
 
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