The plan for our April, 2010 trip was hatched shortly after we returned from our trip in 2008. This time, however, the nerds would have an entourage. Although the plans weren’t formalized until February, 2010, it was decided that this would be a family trip. In attendance, besides CP and me, were my grandparents, aunt, and youngest cousin, T. The trip was planned to coincide with T’s cheerleading world championship, which was held the last week in April at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.
Since returning from our 2008 trip I had become something of a WDW trip planning savant. I had spent countless hours (days, weeks, months?) reading guide books, websites, and message boards, making spreadsheets and creating custom touring plans, and I wasn’t shy in sharing my opinions. Several marathon planning phone calls with my grandparents ensued, and I lobbied them into staying at a different DVC than they at first might have chosen. Since five of the six on our trip were women, a 2-bedroom, 3-bathroom (hallelujah!) villa at the Animal Kingdom Lodge would provide the most space for the fewest number of DVC points. They were convinced, if a bit dubious. Would it be a good decision?
We arrived late on a Saturday night to our home for the week at Kidani Village. I was immediately impressed with both how beautiful and how peaceful Kidani was at night. Our villa had a romantic view of…the bus stop…but that said, we also had a sweeping balcony with beautiful sunset views each night. The villa had a full kitchen, full living room (where we would be sleeping on the pull-out sofa for a week; beggars can’t be choosers, and the lodging was free! Plus we had a bathroom to ourselves, so all was not lost.), a master bedroom with the biggest bathroom I’ve ever seen, and a second bedroom with two queen-sized beds. The arrangements worked our perfectly for our group: my grandparents had the master bedroom, my aunt and cousin (the world’s longest and latest sleeper) had the second bedroom, and CP and I had the living room, which meant we could rise early and get to the parks without disturbing anyone else.
This was particularly advantageous because we quickly discovered that the rest of our group had what I would call “Disney fatigue.” Now, my grandparents have owned DVC since the very first year of its existence; thus, when they visit WDW, they are content to stay out of the parks almost completely. Usually they stay at Saratoga Springs, because my grandfather enjoys the walk to Downtown Disney and the opportunity that provides to drink decaf mochas at the Ghirardelli store at least once a day. My aunt and cousin, because of T’s many years cheerleading competitions (in addition to many years of attending Disney family reunions, which I couldn’t attend while I was in college), weren’t particularly keen on long days in the park, either. So that left CP and me to our own devices much of the time.
Oh, did we take advantage. Unlike our trip in August, 2008, the weather during this April trip was by and large fantastic. Sunny most every day (save a wicked thunderstorm which trapped us in the Magic Kingdom until 2:30a.m.) with pleasant breezes and lower humidity, we were able to see more, do more, and feel more refreshed. Visiting in April also allowed us to visit the Flower and Garden festival at EPCOT, and experience we loved so much that it led us to plan a trip for the same time period this year. We did things we weren’t able to in 2008 – finally got on Toy Story Mania and Expedition Everest, for one thing – and I got to enjoy some time in the parks with my family, something I hadn’t done since I was a teenager.
There were a few bumps in the road – CP and I both came down with some sort of respiratory illness, which wasn’t helped by our busy days or the incredibly high pollen counts. As in 2008, neither CP nor I were particularly fond of relying upon the bus system – we spent more time waiting for buses than I would have liked. We had some failed meals in the villa, and also realized that perhaps none of us were particularly keen on spending our vacation days cooking. There were a few frayed nerves, but nothing that couldn’t be explained by six family members coexisting in a fairly contained space for a week. These things, however, were minor, and we all had a great time. Granted, the other members of my family had a great time playing cards and drinking wine in the villa (while we had a great time drinking Grand Marnier frozen slushes while watching Illuminations), but to each his own.
Things CP and I learned on this trip? We absolutely adore the fast food Moroccan restaurant in EPCOT. Evening hours in the Animal Kingdom are magical (I’m sad to learn this has since been discontinued). CP swoons nearly every time she hears the music playing at the Studios. Renting a car is, for us, the only way to go. Daily doses of Claritin are mandatory while in Florida. Using crowd calendars and touring plans is inspired; even my dubious Disney-fatigued family members were converts by the end of the trip. Finally, and most poignantly, CP and I both realized that just the act of being on Disney property is perhaps the best antidote to the stresses of daily life. As fun as our 2008 trip was, it was on this trip that our dirty Disney secret truly began. Like crack fiends to the pipe, we were hooked.
Up next: 25 days and counting!