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Old 05-25-2018, 02:12 PM   #1
Popcorn Buckets
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Default May Kidani Vs Jambo

Hi everyone! Recently back from our 7 night stay (2 nights Jambo & 5 Kidani) and wanted to report back with my thoughts & reflections! This was a trip with myself, my husband, my 4 year old son, and 2 year old daughter. It was our first trip as DVC members, although we’ve been to disney both at value and deluxe resorts previously. Our last trip to Disney was in May 2017.

The Resorts
-Jambo. A++! I paid for a standard studio room, but it was a GREAT view regardless (5255). I loved the 5th floor bridge over the lobby. It was fun to walk on it from our room to the elevator. We ate dinner from Mara atleast once a day (even on the nights we stayed at Kidani) and it was delicious. My favorite was the butternut squash soup, and their sides (collard greens and mashed potatoes). The room was very clean. It wasn’t ready until after 5pm, but they knew we were arriving late. We only stayed here for one full day, so we didn’t get to experience it much.
- Kidani. Also A++! The shuttle between the two resorts was fast. The laundry facility was empty and the dryer worked really well. The community hall was a hit with my kids. I liked how it seemed like there was always something going on. We could just hop into cookie decorating, drum circles, african trivia, and marshmallow roasting as we saw it happening. We liked the tv set playing Disney cartoons in the lobby. We were able to have our kids sit in front of the TV while we walked to the gift shop to fill up on our coffee. Our room faced the parking lot and pool and I was very happy with it. I didn’t get the room that I requested via fax, but it was obvious they tried since the room I received was adjacent to my request! Room was ready at noon. The length of the Kidani hallways are intimidating..I would not have been able to handle a longer walk from our room to the lobby, since my 2 year old required me to carry her. There is a side entrance to the pool so those staying on the North end can take a short cut to the pool by taking the elevator down to the parking garage. The pool was GREAT. My 4 year old loved the big slide, and the baby slide was great for my 2 year old. Kids did not like the splash pad. They like splash pads where water comes up from the ground, but at this one there was just too much water spraying from all directions. The quick serve breakfast at Sanaa was exceptional. I normally don’t like sausage, but I even liked their sausage.

Transportation as expected, no issues. Just my observation and not a complaint, there were a lot more people in scooters and wheelchairs staying at Jambo and Kidani loading onto busses than I saw in my past three stays at All Star Sports combined, which caused slight delays with the busses because of loading times and inability to fit everyone onto a bus. It wasn’t as zippy as what I’m used to. The longest bus ride was to Blizzard Beach due to the transfer at Animal Kingdom. It took about an hour from the moment we left the room to arriving at Blizzard Beach.

Who wins? If it were just Me or me and the husband, it would have been Jambo, but with my kids in tow it’s.. KIDANI! I also like the room layout at Kidani studio best. I liked how the bus stopped at Kidani first before Jambo. With that being said though, I’m still interested in trying out a new resort at our stay next year, since I want to experience all of the resorts.

The Good

- loved the weather and I loved the rain! It messed up our planning for the first two days, but I quickly discovered that if I just ignored the weather forecast and the crowd calendars, the better. Blizzard Beach was nearly empty since weather was only in the high 70’s. We were the only people in the lazy river. One day we were at Animal Kingdom (Monday, I think?) and touring plans later said it was a crowd of only 2/10. When it stopped raining, the parks were PACKED (compared to our trip last May) so it was a little bizarre how things seemed to swing from one way to the other. At rope drop Magic Kingdom, we were all the way back by Crystal Palace behind a crowd of people and even Jungle Cruise had a wait time of 45 minutes at rope drop. People were shoulder to shoulder in all of Magic Kingdom and Epcot. My husband and I joked about how the lands boat ride in Epcot was over 50 minutes long. NO ONE should wait 50 minutes to go on that ride. Anyway, I’m still chalking it up as GOOD because the crowds had zero effect on us getting all of the fast passes we wanted.

-This is the first year I used the disney App and we were able to change our plans spur of the moment so easily. We got all of the fastpasses we wanted, and mobile ordering was great. I read many posts online of people concerned that the days of no-planning are over.. But that wasn’t true in our case! We decided spur of the moment on everything we did since we were basing our trip around our kids energy/moods.

-I loved all of the food on our trip. The chesire cat tail, everything at sunshine seasons, crystal palace, the mara ofcourse. I really liked Crystal Palace and would go there again, but as far as character dining goes, Garden Grill is still my fav (I didn’t get to go this year). We went to Sci-Fi diner which is our one “regular” spot where I always have to eat. It was great, as always. I think the low lighting and movie clips help chill out my kids a little.

-Ya’ll would not believe this.. I told my husband prior to the trip that we wouldn’t buy a popcorn bucket this year since we’re on a budget and we already have the dining plan we paid for. Well, my husband was buying a poncho because I lost his (oops) and a cast member who followed us to the podium GAVE us a free popcorn bucket. How did they know? It was completely unexpected and magical.

The Bad
-our plane was delayed, but we landed right before 10pm which meant that Disney still took my checked luggage. I asked Bell Services, if they could hold our incoming checked luggage until morning. (I’m sure you see where this is going..) They said absolutely. The luggage person called at 1am and said “I see here you don’t want your luggage yet” I said “uh.. Right.” he said “Are you SURE we can’t drop it off?” I said no. They said “But it will only take a minute”. I said No and then I was awake at 1am for nothing.

-I’m wording this carefully because Disney is so wonderful and we’re grateful for being able to experience this trip, but...traveling with my 2 & 4 year old was different than I had prepared for based on my previous experiences traveling with the kids. I’m going to be truthful.. I wish I had pushed the trip off a few months. The level of stress and exhaustion was so intense, it was a cloud hanging over ALL of us for almost the entire trip. It wasn’t until day #5 that the kids acclimated to the change out of their routine and they mellowed out. It could not have been worse timing for teething. My 2 year old’s top molars grew in during our trip (i checked them before and after our trip). She couldn’t sleep because she had so much saliva and coughing related to that. (I didn’t sleep either) Then my kids would flip flop and the 2 year old would be a delight just as my 4 year old would start whining and misbehaving. The first few days, it felt like there was not one moment where the both of them were both simultaneously in an OK mood. It would have been ok, but I was exhausted and lacked sleep myself and just had trouble operating like a normal person. Anyway, we dealt with it the best that we could and in the big picture, we’ve dealt with worse. I only wanted to share this because sometimes people only paint a picture of rainbows and butterflies on their vacations with preschoolers and there’s a part of me that feels like a failure... so maybe this will help someone else whose been in my position. True to a disney addict.. Even after a trip that seesawed closer to misery than pleasure, I’m already planning when we can go back and give it another whirl.

Things that made me say Hmm..
-At Kidani, there’s a DVC sales podium in the lobby and the lobby is small so it’s very obvious. They’re just doing their job, but they approached me two times during my 5 day stay. It was unfortunate that I couldn’t enjoy the lobby without feeling like they were always watching (I was already extremely strung out due to what I wrote in the paragraph above, so I was really sensitive about this)

-The pool bars at AKL have pre-packaged food like chips and salads that people can buy with cash or snack credits. You should know that they do expect a tip for these items (that’s the impression that they gave to us) and will ask you to fill out a tip receipt if you use any snack credits. Just something for you to be aware of if you’re on a budget. For the rest of the week, I bought the snacks at the store and brought them with us to the pool just to avoid paying a $4 tip anytime we wanted to buy some chips or whatever.

-I was disappointed that they didn’t have a new reusable drink mug design! I was hoping for something different than last year to add to my collection I was also disappointed that they discontinued vinylmations! We’re totally lost now on what to buy for our annual trip souvenier!

-Rain = no photopass photographers. Even when it was just sprinkling, they were nowhere to be found. This was another “duh that makes sense” moment for me, and it’s good for me to know in the future when thinking about whether or not to buy the photo thing since we normally don’t have the benefit of an annual pass.


If anyone has any questions on AKL or the dining plan, ask away!
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Old 05-25-2018, 02:22 PM   #2
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Awwww, thanks for posting such a thoughtful review. I could feel the emotional flipflop between the two children and the ironic exchange with bell services over that 1am phone call. How crazy. I completely empathized with the feeling of being watched. Ugh, not helpful.

So what is a popcorn bucket?
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Old 05-25-2018, 02:39 PM   #3
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Sounds like you still managed to enjoy even though it wasn’t all rainbows. Thanks for keeping it real.
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Old 05-25-2018, 05:45 PM   #4
FessParker1
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Originally Posted by bwvBound View Post
Awwww, thanks for posting such a thoughtful review. I could feel the emotional flipflop between the two children and the ironic exchange with bell services over that 1am phone call. How crazy. I completely empathized with the feeling of being watched. Ugh, not helpful.

So what is a popcorn bucket?
Popcorn bucket is $10 filled, refills are I think $1.50 you can get it filled at all the parks
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Old 05-25-2018, 06:57 PM   #5
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Thanks for taking the time on your summary. Glad overall it was an enjoyable trip and you're looking forward to your return.
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Old 05-25-2018, 07:24 PM   #6
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This was a great trip report! Our son and DIL are planning a trip in 2019. Their girls will be 2 & 4 also. I think they are going to experience the same things you did. They have banked points that will need to be used, so I get it. Plus, they bought into DVC last year and are anxious to book their first trip. I get that also. We suggested Vero or HHI as the girls are so young, but they have their heart set on WDW. I will have them read your TR .

I was also glad to hear your thoughts on Crystal Palace. We said never again, but, after getting locked out of BOG and CRT, we thought we would give it another shot. We will be traveling with 7 year old, so maybe we will see CP through a new lens.

Thanks for taking the time to report out .
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Old 05-25-2018, 07:27 PM   #7
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Thanks for the TR. we are at Kidsni now. Enjoying the pool and animal watching , but have had very little time for other resort activities and hope too.
Thanks for the info on activities. Good for you for making the best of it . It is VERY trying to do Disney with little ones, especially in the heat and crowds and little no sleep! Glad you did have lots of good times in there. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 05-26-2018, 12:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FessParker1 View Post
Popcorn bucket is $10 filled, refills are I think $1.50 you can get it filled at all the parks
Oh, interesting ... I had no idea! So sorta like the refillable mugs ... but for popcorn inside the parks?? Cool.
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Old 05-28-2018, 09:01 AM   #9
Popcorn Buckets
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Disney54us View Post
Sounds like you still managed to enjoy even though it wasn’t all rainbows. Thanks for keeping it real.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian5581 View Post
Thanks for taking the time on your summary. Glad overall it was an enjoyable trip and you're looking forward to your return.
You're welcome! I'm glad I wrote it up soon after the trip because now, after looking back on photos, it all seems so great and wonderful and it's funny how quickly I forget how exhausted and miserable I was

Quote:
Originally Posted by babysimba View Post
This was a great trip report! Our son and DIL are planning a trip in 2019. Their girls will be 2 & 4 also. I think they are going to experience the same things you did. They have banked points that will need to be used, so I get it. Plus, they bought into DVC last year and are anxious to book their first trip. I get that also. We suggested Vero or HHI as the girls are so young, but they have their heart set on WDW. I will have them read your TR .
Yes! Two year olds don't mesh very well with theme parks!! They just want to run around and explore and touch things and stand in the middle of sidewalks. Even the (very few) play areas at Disney were difficult for us. The castmember at Animal Kingdom told my 2 year old not to run in the dinoland playground. At Magic Kingdom, while my 4 year old was on one of the rides, I held my daughter's hand while she would walk on the sidewalk curbs that are about a foot high (walking around on it like a balance beam), a castmember told me to stop that as well. The park was too crowded for her to walk on the sidewalk so there was literally no where for her to go at that point where she could stand or walk unless we remained on the designated play areas for our entire visit. We spent about 3 hours tops at the parks each day and that included time for us to eat. After that, we had to go back to the resort (which is why I was glad we stayed at an awesome resort). That's why I never took my first born to Disney until he was 3.5 years old.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bwvBound View Post
Oh, interesting ... I had no idea! So sorta like the refillable mugs ... but for popcorn inside the parks?? Cool.
It's nice because the buckets have a lid so I can clip it to my bag or stroller and open it as needed . I may bring it back with me for my next trip and even if I have to pay regular price for a refill, it's a lot more portable than carrying around a bowl.

Last year there were a lot of places that had flavored popcorn, but this year I didn't see any flavored popcorn anywhere. A lot of the popcorn stands remained closed even though the parks were packed, so I had to run around the park looking for open stands. And this was comparing May '17 to May '18 so I don't know why it seemed so different this year.
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