Aug 31, 2022, 11:28:00 PMAug 31
DAY 1 – Wednesday 8/31/22
Who: Sue (63), DVC Member
Holli (58), friend
Plan: Drive to AKV, Gideon’s, Concierge Lounge, Moonlight Magic
Actual: Holli & I worked until noon, then got in our cars and hit the road. The August cookie is Key Lime Chocolate Chip, which didn’t really appeal to me but I’m hoping for the banana bread chocolate chip cookie. Not that I need a cookie given the concierge lounge is available to me! The morning at work (for me at least) was a nightmare – just lots of crap and little piddly things needing attention constantly.
At noon my friend Michael took me home and while I was chatting with him Holli called. I’d wondered why I hadn’t seen her arrive at her house down the street. When she got in her car there was a noise from something dragging underneath. She consulted our fellow division director over the maintenance area and he said it was some plastic thing that could either be cut off or tacked up but the car will be fine to drive after that. Holli took the car to the local automotive shop owned by family of one of our staff and had it tacked (and didn’t charge her).
I headed out by 12:15 and she was on the road about 20-30 miles behind me. As soon as I got to the turnpike I had the “your room is ready” text. It figures – I’m not going straight to the room, so it’s ready early. I drove to Disney Springs and parked in the Orange Garage then walked over to Gideon’s. Thankfully the line was very short! I asked the cast member if the wait was about 15 minutes and she agreed. I called Holli to have her just go straight to her resort (Kidani Village tonight) and took her order for a cookie.
The line moved quickly and I was inside Gideon’s within 5 minutes. There’s a short queue inside, but I bought our cookies (banana bread chocolate chip for me, triple chocolate for Holli). From there I got the car and drove to Jambo House, parked and walked up to the lobby. As usual my magic bands didn’t work in the elevator (magic band or key card is required to get to the 6th floor where the lounge and my room is) so I went back down to the front desk. I think the problem is the magic band won’t recognize I’m here until I’ve tapped it at my door, and I can’t get to my door without needing to tap it in the elevator!
The cast member came out from around the desk and took me upstairs after fixing my bands (this time it worked). I stopped at the concierge desk and received my welcome gift (white chocolate bar with edible pictures of animals) and got a key card for Holli. I no sooner unpacked my suitcase when Holli texted to say she was headed over. She’d already checked in and gotten her room – which conveniently is at the Jambo House end of the building.
She walked over and I met her in the lobby to give her the Holly key card. She grabbed some snacks and I brought the computer out to our table in the lounge so I could catch up on work and the report. We kicked the trip off with glasses of wine (red for her, sauvignon blanc for me). When I went up to get ice I noticed the sugar for coffee & tea is now shaped like Mickey! They have both white and brown.
We enjoyed our time in the lounge, and the very nice cast member we’d gotten the glass of wine from came by with both bottles and poured us a refill. How nice of him to do that without asking. I later found out the Mickey sugar cubes have been here since 3 years ago. I guess I never noticed since I don’t drink coffee or tea. Holli had a hard time believing I would have missed them though. What can I say? Sugar isn’t high on my list unless it’s inside a cookie or brownie <g>. I finished up the work stuff and brought the laptop back to the studio just before 5. Once again I have the first room on the corner, which is the most convenient. The downside is the connecting door to the 1-bedroom next door is right by my sofa, which sucks. Last trip they had the room shut down for maintenance until my last night so it was very quiet most of the trip. Today we saw a couple with an infant pass by and watched them until they passed the room next to me – dodged that bullet, lol!
We enjoyed the lounge, although I ate lightly since we had food vouchers we’d be given at the Moonlight Magic event. When I booked it I made the reservation for 4 people thinking SB might come and if he didn’t then I’d have 2 to offer to some other dvc couple that wasn’t able to get in. A member of the MouseOwners board contacted me so the extra spots will go to Lucy & her husband.
Unfortunately Lucy is working remotely while staying at Saratoga Springs and a meeting she couldn’t reschedule was running longer than expected. We still needed to allow for travel time, as the entire party had to be present upon entry. Holli & I chilled out a bit longer in the lounge, waiting for word from Lucy that the meeting/call had finally ended.
We headed over to Animal Kingdom (via bus) once Lucy & her husband were on their way. We arrived first but had a brief wait on a bench before Lucy texted that they were here. We met and chatted briefly, then easily headed into the park. Once inside we went our separate ways. On the way in they gave each of us 3 snack vouchers (1 could be used for a popcorn bucket and popcorn) and 2 game vouchers. There was a list of venues where we could redeem the vouchers but only for snack items (not a meal). In addition, Mickey ice cream bars and frozen strawberry bars were free at several locations.
Holli & I decided to head into Pandora and that was a good call. As we got in there I saw Na’vi boat ride was only a 10-minute standby wait so we joined the queue and were on the boat within 5 minutes. It’s a pretty ride but there’s really nothing to make it worth a wait – and usually the wait time is ridiculous!
Next we went to Flight of Passage and I was saying if the wait was 30 minutes that would be a really good number. Well, the posted wait was 20 minutes! I’ve never seen that before, lol! We joined the queue and didn’t slow down until the final room. Our wait might have been 20 minutes but it was probably less.
We were directed to the top level, and the view is a little different up that high compared to the lower levels. I was on the last bike and commented that they weren’t spraying water at us this time but Holli said she got sprayed – so maybe the bike on the end just gets to skip that! I’ve always found it more annoying than enjoyable. We enjoyed our flight, then headed back outside.
Not all the attractions are open during the event, which I noticed may actually be called Membership Magic according to all the signs around. Open attractions were Na’vi, Flight of Passage, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, Triceratops Spin and Tough to be a Bug. We stopped at Pizzafari and I got a popcorn bucket with no wait at all. From there we headed to Asia but stopped to watch the projections on the Tree of Life. As we were walking into Asia we passed the Mickey & Minnie character greet building, which was crowded with guests in the queue. We didn’t see any other character greetings but we weren’t looking for them or interested in them. Likewise, we didn’t see any of the dance parties, because once again we were no interested.
In Asia we were heading to Expedition Everest, and along the way it started to sprinkle very slightly. We got in the queue without noticing the standby time. While in line they started announcing there were storms in the area and the attraction may shut down at any time with little notice. We had no idea if we were close to boarding or not, but hung in there and within a few minutes saw the loading area.
We were seated in the back half of the train and had a great ride – I’m so shocked I actually like this attraction. It was pretty cool riding it in the dark too, although quite a bit (too much) of the inside is totally dark. Shouldn’t we be seeing something? After our expedition we continued into Dinoland and as expected there were huge lines for the games. Neither of us had any interest in that!
We went to Dinosaur, which had a 25-minute wait posted but it was probably 10-15 at most. In the preshow area we positioned ourselves to exit quickly and they had a queue snaking back and forth in the area between the 2 sides of the loading area. I’ve never seen that before! It was a fun ride – very jerky, but we knew to expect that.
This was our last attraction, so we decided to check some of the snack places. Most had lines that were longer than we were willing to wait. Plus, neither of us was hungry. Holli used her popcorn bucket voucher and while there we each used another voucher for a bottle of water. We ended up at Satuli Canteen in Pandora, where we each got the chocolate cake – really a small dome of chocolate mouse with some banana bits on top. That used our last snack voucher and we each got a box to carry it back to the resort. We sat at a table to transfer the “cake” to the box, and left our unused game vouchers on the table in case anyone wanted to take them.
From there we headed to the exit, leaving the park just after 10pm. The weather had held off and other than a brief sprinkle we were rain free! We did all we wanted to do, had very short waits, and enjoyed the event. I’d gladly do this again if I ever get the opportunity.
At the bus stop we had 2 parties with scooters waiting, so once the bus came it took a while for the driver to load both of them. Then their party boarded and spread out to almost fill the front half of the bus. The rest of us headed to the back of the bus for seats. At Kidani Holli got off to go to her room and when the driver headed back to unload one of the scooters I got up and left the bus to walk back to Jambo House. At that point I was tired of waiting for the bus, waiting to board the bus, waiting for the bus to leave for the next stop, etc. It’s a long enough walk I probably didn’t save any time, but at least I was walking instead of sitting idle.
As I passed through the lounge everything was closed but they do leave sodas in the cooler and the freezer was full of Mickey bars, ice cream sandwiches and frozen strawberry bars! That’s a nice touch. I wasn’t about to eat a giant ice cream bar this late at night, so I didn’t take anything. I brought the laptop into bed and finished up the report, and I hope to be asleep by midnight!
Today was a wonderful day once I left work! It’s so great being here, and I’m thankful I got to do the Membership Magic event. Everything just went really well. Tomorrow the relaxing starts – lounging by the pool then lounging in the lounge.