Oh the Places We Go, The People We See Updated 05/19/13
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After getting a quick breath of Florida air we headed back in to get in line for Magical Express. I was shocked to find no one in the Animal Kingdom Lodge line. The bad thing was that meant they probably had just sent a bus there since all the other lines seemed pretty full.
We got in line around 10 AM.
And we waited and waited and waited. We watched them call every other resort but ours. Some got called a couple of times. After a bit another couple joined us in line, than a 3rd a bit later. I figured that had to be good. Hopefully we would soon be called with more people in our line.
Finally we got on a bus. I think we waited at least 20 – 30 minutes before we were called. I kept watching the clock tick away our precious time and so did Claire.
Of course we had 3 other resorts on the bus with us and we were the last stop, but at least we were on our way.
Our driver was Rockland Steel.
Rock Steel to all his friends. Ok, I made that part up, but that’s all I kept thinking …his name is Rock Steel, what a strange name. And then being married to a man who can turn anything innocent into something dirty, my mind wandered a bit and I kept laughing to myself. Skip would definitely think this would be the perfect porn star name.
Claire and I were the first on the bus, so we got the very front seat. I really like that seat. You sure can see a lot and take some pictures a little better along the way.
Rockland told us it was brand new bus and the drivers all had bets on who would be the first to dent it. I swear he said it was $500,000.00, but that seems like an awfully high price for a bus, but what do I know. He also said the Magical Express got a whole new fleet of buses, so maybe that was the cost for all of them. One thing the new buses now have ….seatbelts. I guess enough people complained about the buses not having them, so they added them to the new ones.
Soon the movie started up. Rockland asked if it was playing and we said yes. He said all morning it had just run the audio, but the video hadn’t worked. So we were lucky and it did for us. Claire was entranced in it.
This was a nice sight to see.
And these guys are so cute.
I probably have taken this picture almost every trip I have been on to the World.
Soon we made our first stop, CBR. I took a couple quick pictures, but they are not very good.
And then to one of my favorite resorts.
On our way once again.
But this time only to the other side of the lake.
Now I have to tell you, there was a family in the rows behind us with a couple of kids. After listening to them I realized that the kids had no idea where they were or where they were going. You could hear them say I think it’s Disney, then the other one would doubt it and say no, it’s just another hotel, and then one would say I think it’s a hotel at Disney, and the other would say there weren’t hotels there, only castles. It was so cute. The Mom told me after a bit that they had no idea and just told them they were going on a plane ride. It was so cute to watch them. At Art of Animation they told them they were getting off and that this WAS Disney. They were so excited. That had to be the best kept secret ever.
I have to admit, I was pretty darn excited to see AoA too. In just over a week we would be staying here ourselves, and my Dis friend Carey was there right at that moment.
I would say the majority of the bus got off here. Now we were down to just a few people and once again on our way.
Now one thing I forgot to mention. I had not told Claire where we were staying our first night. I am terrible at keeping surprises, plus I wanted her to be in on the planning, so a complete surprise trip was out of the question. Also the whole family knew and she was in on the very first planning meeting with family, so she knew about the trip before my sister even did. So my one try at a “surprise” was to not tell her our first night’s stay. Well that didn’t go real well because I told my Mom one day and Claire was standing right there. Luckily she wasn’t paying much attention, but I was pretty sure she had a good idea. She asked for months, trying to trip me up, but I held on. But I knew she heard me say Animal Kingdom. She still wasn’t sure and even the name didn’t mean a lot to her without a book with pictures. Once we got off the plane and headed to the bathroom I did tell her then and she was excited. But I could tell she still wasn’t “sure” where this exactly was or what it meant.
The one thing she did know was that it was the last stop and it was taking forever to get there.
Finally we were en route to our destination.
And here we are!!!! It was now around 11:30.
We got off the bus and waited for our carry on.
And then we made our way to the lobby.
We were both wide eyed and excited. Neither of us have ever been here at all, not even for dinner or to tour, so it was so exciting to see a new resort for the first time.
We went inside and got in the online check in line, which consisted of just us.
And checked in.
Our guy was nice, but very slow. He left for a few minutes and came back with a package.
Good thing he was on the ball because I wasn’t. I had forgotten about getting this box. Earlier in the week, one of the gals from our cruise group had to cancel suddenly. She said she was sorry and if anyone wanted their Fish Extender gift from her, she would gladly send it. I told her if she wanted to, she could send them all to me at AKL and I would be happy to pass them out for her. I knew she had worked hard on her gifts and I would hate to see them go to waste. The package was waiting for us.
We grabbed that and our packet and were told the room would be ready by 3. They would text me when it was ready. Now I know how many people have been told this only to never get a text, so I knew I would have to check back later. Let’s just throw this out now. I stayed in 3 Disney resorts and all said they would text …I did not receive ONE single text from any of them.
Claire received a princess crown too since I listed we were celebrating her birthday. I have never seen this before, and she seemed a bit unsure about it. LOL
I was disappointed that our room wasn’t ready. I was hoping to have a nap before the party this evening, but we still had time.
So with this box (which was not huge, but awkward to carry), and a carry on, plus we each had a back pack on and Claire had another bag she was carrying, we just kind of set out to rearrange our bags and then send some off to luggage services for a while.
We decided to find a bench outside to do our business.
Passing the pool made Claire very excited and she couldn’t wait to get in it.
We found a secluded area and opened up the bags and got what we needed for the day packed into one bag and put the rest in the others and headed back to luggage services. I must say in the short time I was carrying that box, I was becoming annoyed with it. It was just hard to carry with all our other stuff, so I was glad to be rid of it for a while.
As we walked back inside I took a couple of quick shots.
And on to the elevator to go up to the lobby again.
I think I heard a choir of angels sing when I dropped off our bags. I felt a little less like a pack mule now.
So I am now not so weighted down and feel so much better. Well sort of. Remember that muffin I had a butt crack thirty this morning? Well it’s long gone now. And the few snacks we had on the plane are not doing it for either of us either.
Claire thought she could suffer and swim for a bit first, but I told her no, eating was first on the list.
Of course as we walked away from Bell services I had to take a few pictures first.
In case you do not know where Mara is …the fast food place in AKL, it’s down stairs from the lobby and outside past the pool.
We have arrived.
My biggest complaint about deluxes at Disney …the food courts pretty much suck. They have such a small selection. And it seems most carry the same few items.
Claire and I decided to share a flatbread pizza. I knew it would be big enough for the 2 of us. Claire also LOVES pineapple, so we picked up a container of that for her.
And now was the time to make that decision. What decision is that you ask? Well should I try the Zebra Domes. I have heard off and on for years just how fabulous they are. Then others will chime in and say they are just awful. It seems you love them or hate them. I had asked for descriptions, and people gave me some, but I never quite understood what they were. My fear was that they would taste like coffee, which I hate, or coconut, which I hate. LOL Well we took the plunge and decided to give them a try.
We paid for our food and were handed a buzzer for the pizza. Another note, it was really weird how you ordered here. They had someone standing there with a pad of paper, printed with the selections and they checked off what you wanted from the grill area. I guess they then took it back there then to be filled.
We sat and started on the pineapple and waited for the pizza.
And we opened up the zebra domes and gave them a try. Verdict is that we like them. I think they are good, but not fabulous. Claire really enjoyed them though. My description of them is that they are like a chocolaty shell with chocolate mousse type stuff inside. Our outside shell was kind of melty though and we got a little messy eating them. I also would not be able to eat many in a row. One or 2 was fine, but more than that might be a bit too much. We did finish off the box, but I think Claire ate more than I did.
Soon our pizza was ready and we dove into that too.
Now I complained about the selection, but the taste was still very good. I just wouldn’t want to eat this every day as it would become tiresome and boring.
While we ate we called Skip and checked in with him. We told him we were having lunch and he seemed disgusted because the last time he had talked to us we were eating at the Cheesecake Factory. He made some kind of sarcastic comment about that. Well I informed him that we pretty much hadn’t had anything to eat in between time, so we were now hungry. Claire talked to him a bit and we hung up.
We headed out after that and our mission was now swimming. Well not mine, but Claire was all for it. I even walked around a bit looking at things, but with all the griping next to me it was just not meant to be and we headed to the bathroom to change.
These bathrooms near the pool are VERY nice. They had showers in the back and were very clean. We chose the handicapped shower stall as it had a stool to place our bag on and got Claire changed.
And out we went, passing the VERY tiny kiddie pool.