Out Of Our Element. RocklandRVerís Impromptu Winter Break-Update 3/15 Day 3
About This Page: This is a discussion on Out Of Our Element. RocklandRVerís Impromptu Winter Break-Update 3/15 Day 3 within the Sharing the Adventure: Disney World Trip Reports, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; The RVers:
Myself: Age 49
DW: Age 47 on 2/11
DS: Age 15
This trip report will tell you ...
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Out Of Our Element. RocklandRVerís Impromptu Winter Break-Update 3/15 Day 3
Myself: Age 49
DW: Age 47 on 2/11
DS: Age 15
This trip report will tell you about our sixth trip to see the Mouse. Our last visit was in April 2005. Since we are in the midst of building a house, we had put off any planning for a vacation to WDW thinking we would be too busy either with the project or moving to have the time or money in the budget.
Some delays in the house project left us with a small amount of two necessary parts of any Disney trip: time and money. School was out for Winter recess for Presidentís Week giving the time and it looked like the new house was in a temporary holding pattern, so we would be delayed in making that larger house payment for a little while giving us a wee bit of money. So in early January we set out to make a plan. Short notice for someone like me who can plan something endlessly.
Our plan was to stay at our favorite Disney resort: Fort Wilderness. Unfortunately on such short notice I found it was full all week! Now what? We now wanted a vacation but had no place to go. We began altering our plans. Since Disney was out of reach, how about going on down to Key West and hang out on the beach. We called and made some hotel reservations, but still felt we were missing out on something we all loved: Disney. I called WDW reservations daily. Finally I was able to find availability after Presidentís Day. Hey now weíre looking good. Still no full week available, but we had a plan taking shape that would at least get us our Disney fix.
As time went on and it became more apparent that FtW was not going to be available that weekend due to the Presidents Day weekend and Daytona 500. Since we did not like the idea of staying in another campground off property, we had to face a limited camping week split between a Key West hotel and FtW for a couple of days on the way back up north.
One afternoon I made my usual call to WDW reservations in hopes of getting lucky and finidng a cancellation at FtW. No such luck!. The CM asked if she could check another resort for me. Probably others had said the same thing, but this day it sunk in. I hung up from the call thinking: ďHey why not? We are spending almost as much in Key West at a beachside hotel per night than a Deluxe Disney resort. Maybe it makes sense?Ē
My next call was to my DW. We mulled it over and agreed that it would have to be a compromise between staying at a Deluxe resort and going to the parks. We agreed that finding a resort that was fun in itself would be the perfect balance. She cast her vote for AKL. Later that night, we discussed it with DS who also chose AKL. So it was unanimous! YAHOO! I made the call and was amazed to find availability from Sunday 2/19 Ė Monday 2/20. Tuesday we would transfer over to FtW for the balance of our stay.
The other compromise was it meant that one of our usual traveling party could not go. Our dog, Shamrock, would have to go to the kennel for the week. This would be our first vacation since getting our RV four years ago and he would be missed.
Coming Up: "Day One: Arrival at AKL and Will Valet Parking Be Able To Handle The RV?"
Re: Out Of Our Element. RocklandRVerís Impromptu Winter Break 2/19-2/23
We went to the Hoop de Doo Revue during our recent February trip and I thought about the Rockland RVers as we rode the bus around Ft. Wilderness. You guys always have such a great time, it makes me want to buy an RV and camp at Ft. Wilderness, too. Looking forward to your report!
Out Of Our Element. RocklandRVerís Impromptu Winter Break 2/19-2/23
Day One: Arrival at AKL and Will Valet Parking Be Able To Handle The RV?
We left home (NY) at about 6:00 am on Saturday, February 18th. It was COLD! There was still several inches of snow on the ground from the nearly 2 feet that was dumped on us during the blizzard that had hit us the weekend before.
I had looked online for the weather forecast along our route and found, to my amazement that snow was called for in Virginia that afternoon. I didnít pass this along to DW who might panic at the thought of traveling in such inclement weather. Instead I told her that it was sunny and in the 80s in Orlando.
As we passed Baltimore and DC it was overcast, but no precipitation. Somewhere south of Springfield, VA we got a few snowflakes mixed with rain on our windshield. Our outside thermometer was showing the temperature hovering around 38 degrees and nothing was sticking to the road, but it certainly slowed traffic down quite a bit. The closer we got to Richmond, the heavier the snow. The temperature was falling. At one point the thermometer was flashing a warning ďICEĒ. Snow was sticking to the roadsides and the tops of cars around us. Oh wow! Would we have to pull off and stop? The radio weather kept forecasting snow showers in the area all afternoon but no accumulations.
We took the I-295 bypass around Richmond and as we neared the NC border, the weather warmed and the sun peaked through a bit. It was still chilly. We drove on through NC, SC and stopped overnight near Savannah, GA in a truckstop. Nothing fancy about the accommodations but when we are tired and pull the shades on the RV surrounded by other RVers and truckers parked nearby, nothing interferes with our sleep. It got colder during the night which made me click on the furnace. The warmth and hum of the fan lulled be back to sleep in no time.
At about 5:00 am my internal clock prompted me to wake up. Since we were parked near McDís, DS and DW trekked over for breakfast while I turned the interior of the RV from bedroom back to traveling mode and warmed up the engine.
We got on the road again and had just a short 4-5 hours to go. In no time we were in Jacksonville and traffic moved along well. Apparently the citizens were sleeping in this Sunday morning. On down I-95 around St Augustine traffic was slowly building. Most of the cars had NASCAR memorabilia adorning them. We knew we were about to get close to a parking lot the nearer we got to Daytona. Luckily we got onto I-4 without incident. However those coming from Orlando the other direction had bumper to bumper traffic for several miles. We had made the right call by getting here early!!
As we neared Orlando and the familiar landmarks on I-4, we noticed the temperature gauge was registering into the 70s. AHHHH! Not much sun but the warmth sure felt nice. I took the first exit into Downtown Disney and drove around by Old Key West and Port Orleans resorts on to Fort Wilderness. Once there we stopped for a few moments in the overflow lot just to stretch and change into cooler shorts and shirts. We also didnít need to lug everything we packed in our suitcases into AKL so we took a few moments to weed out clothes that would stay in the RV for the FtW phase of the vacation later. We said goodbye to FtW for now.
It was just about 11:00 am when we got to AKL. I was sure our room wouldnít be ready so I dropped off DW and DS to check in and drove the RV off to the parking lot to sit and wait for their call to be picked up. We would officially check in with our bags later. In a few minutes my cell phone rang and it was DW telling me our room was READY! WOW! Room 4507 on the Zebra Trail with a Savannah View.
Let me stop here for a second and advise anyone who is not familiar with faxing special room requests to do so. IT WORKS!!! Follow the instructions of Deb Willisí All Ears Net for details. When I made the reservations I asked for a Savannah View with either Queen Bed with Bunk Beds or King Bed with day bed. On Wednesday (4 days before we left) I faxed special requests for room location. I asked for a room on Zebra Trail near the elevators down to Mara and the Pool. No demands were made just a very nicely worded request. We got exactly what we asked for and it was ready well ahead of the usual 3:00 pm check in time. DW was amazed at how easy the check in process was too. Others were in line barking orders at the CM about the type of room etc. We, on the other hand were in and out in minutes.
OK so back to our story. I drive our RV to the valet parking area and we look for a bellhop to unload our bags and a few goodies for the fridge. The CM looked at our vanity plates and guessed our last name. We laughed and joked about how astute he was and he wondered if he could park an RV in the valet lot. He decided he would refer to it as a van and gave me my receipt and drove off. Our bellman took us up the elevator off the lobby to the 4th floor. As we walked on I got a good look at the vast lobby below. Magnificent. We walked and walked and walked. This place is HUGE! Finally we got to 4507. Sure enough it was a few short steps to the elevator down to pool. Once inside we found the Queen and bunk beds. Then out to our balcony. AHHHH now this truly beautiful. We immediately see a couple zebra and some wildebeast. Our bellman is asking us where the bags should go and we are so entranced he just puts them where he thinks they should go. I chase him down to thank him and give him a tip. It was warm and overcast as we sat there watching the Savannah as the animals grazed. Eventually the Giraffes came as did some of the exotic birds. This was a good choice over going down to Key West.
As we relaxed, that tired feeling began to invade my brain. DW and DS had napped off and on the entire 18 hours. My head had now stopped spinning from being in driving mode and I could now let my eyes get sleepy.
Since it was very overcast and not terribly warm, the pool was not on our radar screen that afternoon. DW and DS took a walk down to Mara and got a couple of wraps for lunch while I spent a pleasant time watching the Savannah and the animals coming and going. I even called the animal phone and listened to the head of the animal program give tips on viewing and other useful information.
After enjoying a lite lunch on our balcony, DS and I wanted to watch the Daytona 500. DW wanted to explore and headed back down to check out the pool and hot tub. She eventually ended up back in the lobby checking out the Zawadi Martketplace gift shop. I nodded off a few times during the race. Not that it was boring but just that I was tired from the drive.
Our original plan was to head down to Boma for dinner, but DS always loves the luxury of room service. After reviewing the menu it was unanimous. Apparently lots of folks had the same idea. The CM told me it would be about a 45 minute wait due to their being so busy. We were in no hurry.
Both DW and DS ordered the Afri-Crusted and Wood-Roasted Prime Rib with Au Jus and Horseradish cream, red skinned potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. I ordered the Taste of Boma which consisted of Rotisserie Chicken, Catch of the Day which this day was Salmon, a portion of Afri-crusted Prime Rib served with Pap Polenta, Roasted Vegetables, and soup of the day which was a Sausage Lentil. I opted to substitute for the Chicken Pepperpot soup which DW and DS decided to have also. For desert we ordered a Zebra Dome. I asked the CM if it was one of the small ones from Boma. He said he thought it was 5 small ones.
Dinner arrived in under 45 minutes and was set up for us at our in room table by our CM who was from Long Island. The food was nice and hot which is always a concern about room service meals. The Chicken Pepperpot soup was a fairly large portion and nicely spiced. DW felt it was too much and a bit too spicy for her taste so she set about half hers aside. DS and I split it since we loved it. The prime rib was perfectly medium rare and the red potatoes were also sprinkled with spices. My Taste of Boma was a large portion. The chicken was a leg and thigh. The prime rib was probably 6 ounces as was the crusted salmon. The pap polenta itself was bland, but the stewed tomatoes on top gave it a nice flavor. We stuffed ourselves with the great meal and returned to the balcony to see what had changed on the now darkened Savannah. We decided to set aside our desert which was a large zebra dome about the size of baseball cut in half in the center of a desert plate with some mango sauce on one side. We ended up splitting it about half an hour later. This is one of those great rich deserts from Boma that is just enough to give a sweet ending to a nice meal.
Nighttime on the Savannah is so realistic. It is just as one would imagine it would be on the plains of AfricaÖsomething out of the old safari movies we have seen. There is special lighting that gives a moonlight effect. Although it is hard to see the animals unless they come close to a clearing near your balcony, the sounds of the birds, locusts, crickets blend to make it seem like the wild.
The other thing we noticed is the oohs and ahhs of our fellow guests who were on their balconies taking in the atmosphere. Little kids yelling ďlook mommy a GiraffeĒ or ďhey Dad thereís a ZebraĒ could be heard amid the background animal noise.
I was tired and the meal made me feel even more sleepy. I went inside and laid down cruising the Disney channels until I found the weather channel. The forecast was for a cloudy foggy start but eventually mid 80s and sunny in the afternoon. Sure beats the 30 degrees back home in NY!
DS wanted to sleep late since it was going to be cloudy and again wanted room service. I objected at first since these meals were getting expensive, but eventually gave in. We filled out our breakfast order and hung it on the door.
To our amazement once we closed the balcony door and drew the drapes, all the noise and light from outside was shut out. Nice! After lights out we drifted off to sleep in no time.
NEXT UP: Day Two: Setting Up Our Surveillance Camera, Shopping in Downtown Disney & What A Great Pool!