My Animal Kingdom Lodge Grand Villa Vacation!! With a side trip to see Harry!

Yep! A grand villa at Animal Kingdom Lodge. :sohappy: No words can describe the awesomeness. Any other resort, no matter how deluxe, is going to be a letdown from here on out. In fact, my house was a bit of a disappointment when I got back. :lol:

Who: Us, the DVC members who were kind enough to use our points to take family. :D That's me Tammy- travel agent extraordinaire:lol:, dear hubby - air force officer extraordinaire who was wise enough to buy DVC two years ago, ds15 - our high school student/the quarterback who missed a football game for this trip and whose coach wasn't very happy with me :lookaroun and dd12 - who turned 13 today.:)

My in-laws whom you may recognize from my Mediterranean cruise report from May.

My brother in law and his family.

Here we are!


When: October 3-10. On my niece’s fall break. My kids flat out skipped school. :D

What: This was supposed to be a relaxing, enjoy our resort kind of trip. I think we succeeded. We took a lot of breaks. We also took advantage of our full kitchen. The in-laws loaded us up on groceries. We ate breakfast in the room every morning and came back for another meal most days. We were trying to cut down on the quantity of food we ate.

Disclaimers: First, I took a bazillion pictures and am working my way through them, but life gets in the way. This report may take a while, but I've got the first couple of days done. Second, I am not good at food pictures. I forget to take them and someone's usually eating before I get a chance.:lol: You'll have to go elsewhere for those. Third, I may offend some with my rather conservative opinions on Disney appropriate behavior. You may think me a prude and I don't mean to offend, lets just agree to disagree.:)


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Sunday – October 3rd

Departure day! Woo hoo!! We had to leave early and we were up late the night before for Homecoming for ds. The alarm came early but we were excited.

We left Colorado Springs and had an unbearably long layover in Chicago. It just seems like such a waste of time when you’re trying to get there!! My bil and sil tormented me with texts from DHS. They went to the Auburn game (War Eagle! You’ll see a theme with their clothes this week) on Saturday and then drove to Gainesville and spent the night. They were there early and I was jealous!!

I was especially jealous that someone was going to see the villa before me. Is that silly?:lookaroun

When we landed at MCO I had a text from SIL from the villa saying she may never leave. She sent other texts that said things like:
And, “It’s incredible!!”:lol:

We landed at 4:45. We got in the AKL check in line at DME.





My silly hubby:


When we finally were sent to a bus, we encountered a rather snippy Mears employee. Not a great way to start, but ah well. We were on our way!



Let me interrupt this trip report to say, the weather was amazing. Not too hot, not chilly. Just perfect.


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Our bus stopped at Caribbean Beach first and then Pop Century.

I started to wonder – why doesn’t Disney stop at the deluxe resort first? Not because we paid more, and I understand Disney doesn’t want to give that impression, but from a marketing standpoint. No one staying at AKL was thinking, “Man I wish I’d stayed at Pop" when we stopped there first. However, if the people staying at Pop had seen the magnificence of AKL first, it seems like they might decide it's worth it for their next trip!


Here’s some quick shots of the lobby:




Everyone was at DHS for Fantasmic so we had the villa to ourselves when we got there. I was afraid they’d walk in, or we’d run out of time to go to Shades of Green, so I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off taking pictures! :lol: I was going so fast I didn’t even turn on all the lights!

So let me say that even though our room looks rather dark, the pictures are a bit deceiving. Yes, the décor is a bit darker than other resorts, I never felt like we didn’t have enough light. My pictures suffered though.

I could not get over the size of this villa. It’s the size of 6 standard rooms. 6!!!! :sohappy: Here’s the basic layout for you. We took the master bed and bath. My bil and fam took the room on the end with the large bathroom. My in laws took the next room with the bath across the hall. My kids slept on the fold out couch and chair in the living room. They used the fourth bath next to the laundry room. Yes you heard me right, the FOURTH bathroom. :eek:


Here are the front doors:



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Are you ready to see inside?:)




Here’s the pool table. Yes, you read that right too, the pool table:


Living Room:



Dining room and kitchen:





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Awesome tiles in the kitchen:



One of the best things about this villa was the balconies. There were 3 HUGE balconies with beautiful thatched roofs. We could easily all ten fit on one. We made it our goal to sit out there as much as possible and enjoy. And enjoy them we did! There will be lots of pictures of them to come but here’s a preview.






Here’s the master bedroom:



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Here’s my bathroom. It was bigger than some full size hotel rooms.


Here’s the TV in the bathroom:


Here are the beautiful tiles behind the tub:


One of the other bedrooms:


I also loved our location. We were at the end of Zebra trail. We didn’t see many animals that first night and I was a little worried, but no worries. They showed up in droves during the days. Here’s our room circled in red:


More pictures of the villa to come throughout the trip report.:)


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Oooohhhh......I'm so all over your TR, Tammy! Can't wait to see more....

I was noticing the weather that week. I have Lake Buena Vista as one of my cities that automatically pops up on the weather. So if our weather is nice I will flip thru to see what it's like at Disney. The temps looked just right!


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After oohing and ahhing for a little while, we went down to Mara for a quick dinner. I had the African Stew in a bread bowl and it was quite yummy.

Next we sent the kids back to the room and we were off to Shades of Green to get our tickets. I do love Shades. We’ve had some great trips there.



Our luggage was there when we got back, but no family yet. We unpacked and relaxed. I was sitting in a chair in the living room when I saw the Magic Kingdom fireworks through the trees off the balcony. It was such a great surprise.

Finally the fam arrived, and we hugged and screamed at our excitement! The kids all went for a quick swim while we caught up.

We finally got in bed around 11:00. Animal Kingdom tomorrow!


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Original Poster
Oooohhhh......I'm so all over your TR, Tammy! Can't wait to see more....

I was noticing the weather that week. I have Lake Buena Vista as one of my cities that automatically pops up on the weather. So if our weather is nice I will flip thru to see what it's like at Disney. The temps looked just right!

Hi sweetpee! The weather was perfect! That's funny that you watch the temps!:lol:


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Monday – October 4th

Extra Magic Hours at Animal Kingdom today, so man we got up early. The time change was not our friend in the mornings.:(

It was empty that morning though:


We went right to Everest. I am good for exactly one ride on Everest a day. After that, no. :D Well we Fastpassed and rode, because it was a walk on. Somehow we ended up being split on to three different trains. When dh asked to move to our train, the cm handed him a wad of Fastpasses. We ended up with 15 I think?


The kids took full advantage and rode Everest exactly 7 times that day.:lol:




My FIL loved it. He was chuckling. That is the perfect word. Chuckling. And he chuckled for about 10 minutes after we got off.:)


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Next was the Safari.


It was a great one.


Here’s bil and sil:





The male lion was up and wandering. Unfortunately I was on the wrong side of the truck! I cloned out some heads and here he is:




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We walked down the trail next.


We stopped to see Flik. I don’t know if you can see Dd’s shirt but look close. It’s the most awesome tie dye shirt ever. I ordered it from Etsy :



After that the kids rode Everest and then we watched Nemo. This show is a sleep chamber for my husband. It was his second time to see it, and the second time he slept through it. :lol: The dude who voiced Crush had an amazing voice! He could sing!

Next we Fastpassed Dinosaur and the kids rode Primeval Whirl. I waited and waited to take a picture of them going by. I was wondering what took so long when they walked by me! Apparently there are two sides to this ride!
Who knew?:eek:

The girls rode the Dino/Dumbo ride.




We decided not to go back for lunch since it was a short day, and we ate at Flame Tree. It was yummy of course! While we finished lunch, the kids took another ride on Everest.


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We all met back up for Festival of the Lion King next.


We don’t take the time for this show every time we’re there because we’ve seen it so much. I have to give it credit though, it blows me away when I
see it. I am always surprised at how good it is.

After that, some in the group went back to the resort, and others went to Bug’s Life.

Then the girls went to ride Kali and we walked down the trail.


The cats were on the move!


The bats were not shy and I’m not sure I could post most of my pictures without little blue boxes covering some of their body parts.:eek::lol:


Here’s the girls:




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Finally it was back to Everest for the last few rides.

Here they are going up and waiving at me:


Close up:


Coming down:


Here’s Dd close up and waiving at me:



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I was fascinated to see that they really do walk down the tiny trails they’ve made.


The boys played pool:



Here’s the Wanyama safari:


This giraffe loved the truck:


I had some awesome coupons for House of Blues tonight so we went there for dinner. Everything was yummy and the server was great.

We closed out the night with a little shopping. Big day tomorrow, we ventured into unknown territory!! I'll try to get it up soon!

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