Note: this is a trip report form the past that i wrote in oct 2001 so some things might seem dated:
Just a little bit of history on this trip which many of you already know. This trip was planned for over 2 years even though we last went on an extended trip to WDW June 2000 for 9 days. Then came the last minute December 2000 meet which we made and spent about 36 hours in WDW that weekend with everyone and plenty of pixie dust delivered from Tinkerbelle by Mickey Mouse himself :-) So this trip was planned before we ever went last June because it was for a special occasion-our 15th anniversary. It was originally planned to be an 8 day/7nighter at the GF Concierge in the Honeymoon Octagonal Turret Room 4421 in the main building on the 4th floor since we had stayed there in Feb 1990 and which I wrote about in the trip report section. I had booked that way back but when the press releases first came out about the new AKL with photos we just had to switch to there. So all was set with airfare, which I kept getting for less and we were all set until September 11, 2001. Then the world changed that morning and everyone's lives were turned upside down. Our trip was in limbo as was so many others' trips and it looked like we would not make it. I had to compromise and schmooze my greatest schmooze to Susan and she agreed to go BUT only if we drove and that was still a maybe. But in the final moments Sarah's tears and my rants and raves won out and we were ready just 1 or 2 days before we had to leave. I also had to agree that if I forced Susan to go on this trip then I could never ask to go to WDW again which I did. You might think that I just said that to her to make her go and then I would still ask to go in the future but I gave my word and meant it. This trip was too important to cancel for her enjoyment and if it meant giving up WDW then so be it. Of course even Susan figured that I wouldn't keep my word and that is why I gave it so easily but I did mean it and still do but as you will read we might go again just the same ;-). As usual all was well planned many many months in advance with many special surprises for Susan and Sarah too. I just needed to make some last minute additions like booking a hotel for the ride down overnight and the ride home since I did not want to drive the 17 hours straight. So here begins the saga of the almost didn't make it trip.
Howie - 49 year old maniac as you are all well aware
Susan - 46 year old ever so much more emerging from the closet disneyworld lover
Sarah - 9 year old newly published disneyworld author (p. 83 of birnbaums for kids) and daddas little girl
AKL Concierge Room 5305
Day 1-Friday Sept 28, 2001 3:45 AM-
The sky was dark and this was the perfect time to head out on the road. I wanted to get an early start and do around 12 hours the first day. This would take us to around Disneys Hilton Head Resort and it just so happens that I had booked a 1 bedroom suite there for the night with a DC code discount for $97 just that week and it couldn't be cancelled except for 5 days out and that meant I had to make it. So my white 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd with its Mickey American Flag antenna ball topper proudly in place and loaded to the hilt set out southbound to I95. What a pleasure to have absolutely no traffic on the Belt Parkway or anywhere else for a few hours and with Susan and Sarah sleeping soundly in the car setting my cruise control to warp drive making it to the end of New Jersey within 2 hours and then crossing into Delaware via the Delaware Memorial Bridge which accepts my EZ-Pass. It was still dark and I felt a bit tired but I knew once the sun came up and it was daytime I would forget about having no sleep, which by the way Sarah stayed up all night in excite mode, and I would be refreshed.
Each state farther south had an increased speed limit which was wonderful. From 55mph to 60 to 65 and finally in the Carolinas to 70, I kept pressing that little button on the CC to accelerate. We had to stop for gas and such about 3 times but we still averaged around 66 mph all the way down to HH. Susan had packed a cooler and that took care of her and Sarah. I didn't eat a thing, just had water all the way down because I wanted to be empty for our first night dinner. So we pulled into Disney's Hilton Head around 4 PM and marvelled at the similarity to WDW in the design and amenities. Sarah was thrilled that she had her own room with a TV right in front of her and left it on all night while she slept. We ate at a nice little Italian place just across the little bridge onto Disney's resort called Little Venice and even were told that we qualified for the early bird at 20% off the bill. I fell asleep around 8:30 that night and didn't care what time I awoke on Saturday since WDW was only around 5 or so hours away.
Day 2-Saturday-Sept 29-
We did get up early and left the resort around 7 AM and headed back towards I95 and then south towards Savannah, Ga. All was going well until we crossed into Florida when it began to pour rain so hard it was difficult to see. But that hardly slowed me down and we traversed Daytona and then onto I4 towards the magic. Finally around 12:30 or 1 we pulled up to the AKL and were THERE!!!! There is nothing like flying but this trip was a breeze and wouldn't mind doing it again IF it was the only way to get there lol. We pulled up to the valets and by this time they knew from the security gate that we were concierge guests and we were handled very nicely. All was unpacked and put on the carts and I told the valet that I would valet for the whole stay. I did know that it is now $6 per night but I really didn't care since I know how to work the system and I also felt guilty that I gave so many people tips on how to valet at the resorts and leave the car all day to enjoy the parks. So off we were taken straight to the concierge on the 6th floor bypassing the main front desk. I was hoping to get room 6207 up there but they convinced me that the view wasn't the best and had 5301 ready. But that wasn't a bunk and a queen, just 2 queens so I had them switch us to 5305 which was a queen and a bunk which Sarah preferred ;-). So after an African Smoothie or 2 which is a concoction of various juices from the concierge we headed down the elevator to the 5th floor and across the suspension bridge to our room. The lobby is totally beautiful and while crossing the bridge looking out the rear window is amazing, looking on to Arusha Rock and the savanna. The room was great with a fantastic view of the savanna and there were already animals all over it. We unpacked and just gazed out from the balcony and I could see that Susan was already being won over and thinking of another trip ;-). Next we headed up to the concierge and had some snacks and then headed over to the MK. I didn't even bother to take the car, we just took the bus and relaxed. We had a 5:50 PM PS at LTT and since the park was pretty empty for a Saturday we were able to do a bunch of attractions before dinner. Now Sarah has learned to be a little schmoozer on her own and approached the podium and told them about it being our anniversary. So at the end of dinner, we were presented a cupcake with a candle to blow out and a signed certificate by all the LTT characters acknowledging our anniversary. After dinner we took the bus back to the AKL and headed up to the concierge lounge to check it out some more and then off to bed at the same time that a bunch of cattle were settling in for the night right below our balcony. Tomorrow was supposed to be our first day in WDW if we had flown so my plans were ready to go in the early afternoon.
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OUR LAST AND FINAL TRIP EVER TO WDW- NOT!!! - Pt 1
Posted 27 March 2005 - 09:12 AM
I love the first day of the trip when you arrive. You can't beat that feeling of knowing you're back at WDW again. Thanks for posting!
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