A is for Animal Kingdom Lodge.
It was a pretty crappy year for us, 2009. We decided we needed a little magic in our lives and it had been way too long, three years, since we'd visited Disney, so we determined to get there, one way or another. A week-long trip was out of the question, we just didn't have the money, but after growing up in Pennsylvania, we felt that we were now, in North Carolina, close enough to make a weekend visit to Walt Disney World. Heck, it was only 9 hours away. That's cake for us, we drive all over at the drop of a hat. So, we gathered what money we had and booked two nights at All Star Movies, planning to spend one day in the Magic Kingdom. We were very cost-conscious. This was the year that Disney gave a free day of park admission on your birthday, and we had enough points on our Disney Visa to buy a second pass, so all we needed was our two nights lodging and one park ticket. Very frugal, we thought. Then we got an offer in the mail for discounts on rooms at Disney resorts. The discounts grew as the resort "level" increased. It was something along the lines of 10% off Values, 25% off Moderates and 40% off Deluxe resorts. Frugality flew out the window. When would we have the chance to stay in a Deluxe resort? We who could only afford a two day visit in the first place! We crunched the numbers and convinced each other that we were silly to not take advantage of such a great deal! We are very good at convincing each other to do things we both want to do. So, after the requisite hemming and hawing, Lisa, best wife in the world (and the recipient of the Birthday Free Ticket, by the way), called the Disney reservations line and asked about changing one night of our stay to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. She mentioned the discount notice we'd received in the mail and was told it had expired. Sadness. But Lisa says, it doesn't say here it is expired yet. The reservation lady asked what the discount was, punched a few keys, and told us that no problem, they would honor a 40% discount for one night at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Hooray! We booked the cheapest room they had, which still at 40% off stands as the most expensive hotel room we have ever paid for, and commenced patting ourselves on the back.
After a fun, and at least to us relatively short, drive down to central Florida, we rolled into the Animal Kingdom Lodge feeling like quite the high rollers. Disney's deluxe resorts are really very cool, very immersive and very, well, deluxe. We had seen the lobby on our last trip when we ate at Boma (which starts with a "B", hmmmm.....) so while we were of course impressed, we weren't surprised. We checked in and got assigned a room as far from the lobby as it was possible to go. We were in the wing to the left as you face the front of the resort, all the way at the end, on the third floor. No problem, we said, we did ask for the cheapest room and we don't mind a walk, and after all, we are only staying one night. From the map, I saw that our room looked out at some open area rather than a parking lot, and beyond that, the new Animal Kingdom Vacation Club Villas. It sure would have been cool to have a "savannah view" room, but with all the animal viewing locations throughout the resort, we didn't think we'd be missing too much. And those rooms were WAY beyond our means.
|Gnus and something else :-)|
|Ostrich toes on the sidewalk|
|The critter buffet|
|The giraffes hoping for a meal|