Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Guest Trip Review - day 2

Please welcome back Alyssa for more stories from her most recent trip!!

Day 2:
Our second day was dedicated to exploring Disney's Resorts. We started the day early and headed for Disney's Boardwalk.  Since we were not driving around, we took the bus to Hollywood Studios and then took a boat to the Boardwalk.  It takes a little longer but, why not?  The boardwalk is a beautiful place.  We met the sellers of the Disney Vacation Club and got to tour some model rooms of the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Aulani resort.  These rooms are awesome and the Disney Vacation Club sounds like a good idea.  It is a 45-year membership designed for three generations of use.  

While we were at the Saratoga Springs DVC resort checking out the model rooms, we had lunch at the Artist's Pallete. This was a service restaurant and it was excellent!  My husband had the Lobster Panini (he had ordered the buffalo chicken but Disney knew he would love the lobster) with chips, a cupcake, and a drink ($15-$16 out of pocket) and I had the classic Italian Hoagie (not the best) with chips, a chocolate croissant (the best thing ever!), and drink($10-$11 out of pocket).

Using the dining plan for us broke down our days to $40 per day, so eatting in a big resort like this it is a steal! Especially since we got a refillable mug for free fountain drinks at the resorts (they say it’s for your resort only but…).   We took our mugs with us when we looked at other resorts so we could refill and kept many of the canned or bottled beverages from using the DDP in our resort mini fridge.  After that great lunch, we made our way back to the Boardwalk to get our free fast passes.  Because we listened to the DVC spiel, they give you free fast passes to any ride you want!  

After the Boardwalk, we headed to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and visited the Kidani Village.  There we met Lebo, a native of Botswana.  Disney's Animal Kingdom lodge has a one-year "internship" where they hire cast members to be cultural advisers from Africa and work at the Animal Kingdom Lodge and Park.  The lodge itself has 75 cast members that are from Africa in this program.  The Animal Kingdom Lodge has the second largest inventory of African Artifacts in the US.  Over 800 artifacts have been donated from the various countries in Africa, even some from the royal family.  

My son, Nathan, got to see and touch these artifacts and learn some of the words from Africa like Sanaa (like the restaurant at Kidani Village), which means Artwork.  Having the cultural advisers there gave a better perspective on their lives and the many languages spoken in Africa.  

At the Jambo House of the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we received a bead for the string of memories after we played The Music of Africa.  Then we had a story telling that told us the story of Jabulani and the Lion - a fable with the moral of don't trust everyone you meet.  Then, he told us the story of his life and how he came here.  Before Disney, his life was tracking Lions for the conservation preserves.  I love to hunt, but that is a completely different level!  Tracking the biggest predator in your country without modern equipment and relying on experience and instincts had my full attention. 

After listening to his stories, we toasted marshmallows and continued our tour of Disney Resorts by heading to the Polynesian Resort.  Getting from the Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Magic Kingdom took a long time by bus and even after that ride, we took a short boat ride to the Polynesian Resort.  We had dinner reservations at O'hana and spent our time before our ADR by watching Lilo and Stitch on the beach, and then enjoying the Electrical Water Pageant.

My husband, Nick and I paid out of pocket to enjoy a Lapu Lapu - a hollowed out Pineapple filled with Bacardi 151.  I had two sips and gave the rest to him.  It was insanely strong and at least 16 ounces!  Dinner at O'Hana is served family-style - all you can eat.  We enjoyed:
  • Salad with a Honey Lemon dressing (ok) 
  • Hawaiian/Asian style wings 
  • Pot-stickers mixed vegetables 
  • Low mein noodles (good)
  • All meats were brought out on huge skewers
    • Grilled chicken w/Peanut Sauce
    • Grilled Pork Chops w/ sweet and sour sauce
    • Steak - served medium rare
  • Pineapple/Coconut Bread Pudding
It was really good, and during dinner they have all the kids meet in the center of the room to put on a dance show! 

After that we sluggishly made our way back to the hotel and promptly passed out!

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