Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Disney World

My next few posts on our trip to Disney World will be all about the positive. And then I'll let you in on the negatives!

A few years ago Ray and I were lucky enough to be able to buy into the Disney Vacation Club, it all works on a point system and we bought enough points to have a seven day vacation in Disney World staying in a two-bedroom villa at some of their resorts. Disney has since 'played around' with the point system so that has changed a little now, but that's one of the negatives that I'll go into at another time.

For now, I'll concentrate only on the good!
And it was a good trip and we were all Blessed to have been able to do this together.
Ray and I 'banked' some of our points from last year and we 'borrowed' some points from next year and pooled all of them together with this year's vacation points so that we could do a three-bedroom villa this year as we had lots of people making this trip with us (Ray, myself, four of our kids, two grandkids, our daughter-in-law, her mother, a friend of the family and her son).

Some of us traveled together on the first morning Delta Airline flight down to Orlando from New York. My oldest son was traveling with the friend and her son and they flew on Jet Blue. (Delta is another negative, but I'll go into that at another time, suffice it to say we will be traveling Jet Blue from now on).

I'm just going to talk about the trip down and the hotel today or this post will be going on forever.

Here we are waiting to board the plane (Mia is occupying herself with her ducks of course!):

All ready for take-off:

Then as we taxi away from the gate something goes BUMP-BUMP-BUMP underneath us. That doesn't sound very good to me! It didn't sound very good to the pilot either, he announces that we are going back to the gate so maintenance can check out that noise. After awhile we are told to disembark and go to another gate (no, that's not the negative about Delta. Kudos to the pilot!).

Waiting to re-board:

Maybe we'll have better luck with this plane:

Yea! All went well this time and we got to Orlando about an hour and a half later than we were supposed to be here, but we're here and everyone is happy and excited!
We then board the Magical Express Bus which takes us to our destination ~ the happiest place in the world! And here's one little boy ready to burst with happy anticipation!

We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge which actually now has two resorts. In previous years we stayed at their Jamba House as we had bought into the Vacation Club before our 'home' resort Kidani had even been built. Some construction was still going on but we were able to stay at Kidani this time.
A wall of lanterns flanked either side of the entrance to the hotel:
(Jayden said he was 'rock resting' here, I guess that's supposed to be akin to 'rock climing'?!)

The lobby is really beautiful:
(This ceiling is amazing!)
The Kidani lobby is much smaller than the one at Jamba House but it's still awesome.
While Ray was taking care of everything at the check-in desk I did some exploring around the lobby and nearby lounge areas.
There are many places to sit with lots of comfortable chairs and sofas:

There are massive windows with beautiful views:

Great outdoor balconies with these wonderful rockers and fantastic views of the savanna!

There was a nice little shop in the lobby where we were able to buy some staples for our stay, in addition to souvenirs and clothing, they sold groceries too:

And there is even entertainment for the little ones:

(Here's Justin and Jayden enjoying a show while waiting for check-in to be completed)

I loved the adobe-like walls, and the African decor and all the artwork on display around the hotel:

The lighting, the rugs, the furnishings, the colors, everything had that African flair. I particularly liked this wood carved column in this archway, it reminded me of a Native American totem pole:

And I loved how little niches were carved out to hold many of the African art pieces:

And here's a piece of art I spotted one day as I walked off the elevator that I actually decided to take home with me!

Okay, we're all checked in and we head up to our room.
'Love the door to the room! Now let's see what's behind it...

...a room with a view!

And what a view we had!

This giraffe got tired of bending down to eat so he just collapsed his legs and took a rest while eating!

The room was gigantic and really beautiful, it was more like renting a house for the week, with two floors, three bedrooms, and two sofa beds (lots of room for sleeping which we needed with lots of people!).

That's Melissa on the couch with her son Justin, Brian in the background with Mia, Ray's walking into the bedroom, and Ellie is sitting in the foreground. The staircase to the upper floor is behind that divide by Ray & Brian.

This is looking up at the loft area. I thought we might be too crowded all staying together, I really thought we'd be on top of each other, but it was big enough and everything worked out very nicely.

There was plenty of room!

Behind the couch was a nice sized dining area and the kitchen also had a counter with stools on the dining side. We were on the Disney Dining Plan so we had lunch and dinner at the parks, but we all had breakfast in the room before heading out in the mornings.

I really liked how the rooms were decorated, they really pay attention to detail!

There was a nice outdoor playground:

And a beautiful pool area...

...with a water playground too:
(The weather was actually quite cold, but it did get warm enough on a few afternoons to enjoy the pool.)

Accommodations get high marks!!
This vacation club has been worth it, there is no way we could ever afford to stay in these accommodations if we hadn't joined the vacation club. We used to stay at the cabins in the campground when we vacationed at Disney World, but even that was getting to be too expensive for us.
This is one of the best investments we've ever made. It really gives us a vacation once a year that we otherwise could not afford to do, plus we get the added bonus of taking others along with us!

If Blogger cooperates I'll post some pictures later in the week of the fun we had at all the parks.



    Oh my my - wonderful pictures of a great time with you and yours!! I REALLY really applaud and admire all you do as "UMMA"!!! :-) These memories you and Ray are creating for your grandchildren will be with them lovingly, forever. :-) My heart is warm with good feelings and love - "thank you Eileen".....

    Love Gail

  2. Good morning, Eileen! What a wonderful vacation you had with all of your family! That is the best...having everyone all together, that is a grandma's dream come true! So nice that you could use the point system in such a way as to arrange for a HUGE 3 bedroom villa! Sure looks like Jayden and Mia had a good time...kids don't notice cold weather when they see a swimming pool!

    Your photos are great, too! I couldn't help but admire your ability to post that many pictures, and still get your text lined up...blogger never lets me do that! Every picture was great and you captured the beautiful detail, so I felt as though I was there. This was truly a memory maker! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story...except for those negatives...there's always one, isn't there! I'm happy that you're focusing on the positive for now, and sharing your family with all of us...they are beautiful!

    God bless you, Eileen!

  3. Eileen, I missed you but I am so happy you had such a wonderful time with almost your entire family.....loved the accomodations and your photo's are great, looking forward to seeing more. The kids are so cute Eileen, they would almost make the vacation itself...Hugs to both of them, have a great day....:-) Hugs

  4. Jayden as African Artwork - BEST PICTURE EVER!

  5. Oh my gosh...when did you vacation there? We just got back on Friday! Your room view is AMAZING! I'm a huge animal fan and so many people told me to stay at Animal Kingdom just so I could watch the animals. We ended up staying at the Wilderness Lodge (loved) but am sad that I didn't see all the animals you did...and we even went on a little vehicle ride thru the animals at Animal Kingdom. The vacay club sounds so nice...especially since you can take your family!

  6. Welcome home Eileen! I missed you and was so excited when I recieved your post card. I really thought you'd be too busy. What a beautiful place to stay. A fantasy land for sure!
    I hope that you were able to have some relaxation for yourself as well. Although I know that sometimes vacations are more exhauseting than they are relaxing! Just hope you had some fun.
    I loved all of your photos but especially the one with Jayden and mia in thier suits. They just looked so sweet. Looks like they had a lot of fun. I am anxious to hear more!
    Love Di

  7. Hi, Eileen... I'm so glad you had a great vacation in Florida! That is one snazzy resort where you stayed, and I bet it was neat seeing giraffes right outside! How cool!

    That picture of Jayden in the niche as a statue had me rolling on the floor. LOL! You are too funny, girl.

    Sending lots of love your way. Can't wait to see the other pics...


    Sheila :-)

  8. That is the way to vacation Eileen! Beautiful lodge with great rooms, I bet the kids really appreciated the animals just outside their windows. Jayden's pose is so funny Eileen, he's a character and Mia is a sweetheart! I'm sure you had way too much fun while at Disney World. Glad you're home! Thanks for the post card!
    Luv and Smiles,

  9. What a wonderful plan and family vacation! That is a dream of mine to get all my children and grandchildren together for a family vacation. I hope we can do it real soon. I have wanted to go to NC and rent a beach house for a week! Just relax and play on the beach and stuff. I loved the pictures too! I am so happy for you! We all need that kind of family vacation to just regroup and remind each other how important family is! Loved your post!

  10. Just amazing. I had no idea such accommodations even existed! How wonderful for EVERYbody.

  11. I enjoyed every word of the post...vacationed right along with you..(next time, I'll stow away in your bags...wanna be there!)...and I loved the photos...the accomodations....the view (the animals!!) everything seems so wonderful...
    I look forward to more... (sorry about the bump bump..and the plane change. I wouldn't have liked that..)

  12. This is wonderful!!!! What fun!!! I love your Halloween theme too. Cathy

  13. Thanks, everyone, for visiting!
    We did have a good time but I am having so much trouble getting back into the swing of things at home!

    I can't believe that we were there at the same time as a few bloggers! It really is a small world!

    It's hard to get back into blogging too! I like visiting and commenting, but I feel too lazy to post!

    I'll see you all on your blogs!
    Love to you all!, Eileen

  14. I read this the other night. Love all the pictures and details of your trip. What wonderful memories that will last forever, especially for Mia and Jayden....who, like I have said before, look just like their Umma!

  15. Good morning Eileen, All I can say is wow! It looks like you had a fabulous vacation. What a wonderful time you must have had with your family all there. I love that hotel! It's beautiful and looks like so much fun for everyone.
    Love to you Eileen