it’s time! i’m ready to start releasing and sharing photos from our trip to disney world last week. i can’t wait for y’all to see the things we saw, and i hope you enjoy and get to live a little vicariously through my photos. i know i always do that when i look at all of my blogging friends’ pics when they are traveling. i just love sharing and learning about tips and places that i eventually add to my bucket list after reading what others say….
my first post in my disney world vacation series is all about our accommodations – our home away from home. so, here’s my little plug for walt disney world in florida and the animal kingdom lodge!
ok. first things first. i have to say that i am overwhelmed and still giving thanks throughout every day for this incredible trip. i am completely aware of the amazing opportunity i have had to make a dream come true. i do not take my passion for and ability to travel for granted. ok. enough of that… picture time!
we left on sunday and hopped a flight down to orlando. the amazing thing was that when we checked our bags in, we weren’t going to see them until they appeared in our room. whaaaat?! after leaving a cold, rainy, dreary charlotte, and enjoying a silly and snuggly flight, we landed in sunny, warm orlando and hopped a shuttle train to our ride to the resort. i snapped some palm tree photos along the way because we were so very excited to see them. palm trees = warm weather. yay!
we passed baggage claim by (felt great) and found our way to the disney magical express bus line. there, we waited a total of maybe 10 minutes, scanned our magic band bracelets, and boarded the bus to be dropped off at our hotel – the animal kingdom lodge.
the magic band bracelets are something new that resorts offer. they are used for everything – they are your room key, your fast pass (= skipping lines at rides), meal tickets, and other purchases. let me just say this, i almost never touched my wallet or my money or a key. it was amazing. that little magic things holds all information about our reservations, dining, and vacation package. crazy stuff. and very convenient. i highly recommend them.
we chose the animal kingdom lodge resort because of its african theme. if you know anything about disney resorts, you know that they all have some sort of theme, from animation to key west to wilderness to contemporary to island, and so on. the african themed resort with animals wandering about the savannah outside the lodge sounded just perfect to us. and let me tell you, it did not disappoint!
we got off the bus and were greeted by people telling us “welcome home” (which they also did every time we came back in the front doors during our visit). walking into the big lodge, we both just started giggling. it was beautiful, big, overwhelmingly breathtaking. a major wow factor – which i completely expected from a disney place. it was wooden, tribal, and oh so african. at the back of the gigantic lodge space was a huge window overlooking the savannah – where african animals roamed freely. there were also sofas, tables, chairs, fireplaces. everything cozy and natural. african drums were beating, music was playing, people were milling about. it was phenomenal. an indescribable first impression.
i had already done online check-in, so all we needed to do was pick up our paperwork and find our what room we had. we had chosen a pool view, just to ensure that we didn’t look at a parking lot, since we couldn’t really afford a savannah view (the most expensive rooms). still, i didn’t really care. i was excited about our pool view. as the lady showed us a map and explained where our room was, i was a little confused. then she asked me, “what room did you reserve?” and i replied that it was a pool view. and she said, “well, it looks like you’ve been upgraded to a savannah view.” gaaaahhhh! for free! amazing!
we were all but skipping down the hall to our room (we were also on the main floor, just off the main lodge amazingness) to see what it looked like. when we opened the door, our mouths fell to the floor and we spent the next few hours just soaking up this amazing luck and gift we had been given. animals roamed outside our balcony. we had palm trees all around us. and i think our room was in the perfect spot. the following photos are all taken either in the room or on our balcony. gaaaahh!
after coming back down to earth following the excitement of our room, the rest of our first night at disney world was filled with yummy african food and ambiance, a walk under the florida moon, and a quick trip to downtown disney for some fun nightlife experiences. it was time to get moving!
to be so busy during the days at all the parks, i think we actually soaked up the atmosphere at our hotel as much as possible. usually i feel stressed out about only sleeping there, but we made time in the evenings to do things at the hotel, so it all turned out to be really well-balanced.
throughout the week we enjoyed the balcony, watched animals, and relaxed in our room. we explored the whole resort. we ate dinner at one of the african restaurants, enjoying spicy, african cuisine and sangria. we hung out at one of the lounges/bars one evening. and we even ordered room service on our last morning before heading to the airport to return to north carolina.
we were extremely pleased with everything at the animal kingdom lodge. every. single. thing. it was truly an incredible experience! everyone was friendly and ready to help us with any questions, making sure that everything flowed for us. nothing was a hassle, but instead anything that involved a process was handled and taken care of already – like magic. on the day of check out, we had a knock on the door, and when i opened, a nice african lady handed me a letter which said what time our bus wold pick us up to take us to the airport. our bags would already be on the way and we would get them in charlotte. and it was like that all week long. helpful, friendly, inspiring people. great accommodations. and some majorly good karma which got us a free upgraded room. fun, new, exciting. oh yeah, i’d totally go there again.