April 2001 Trip Report

April 2001 Trip Report: Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge and "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire--Play It!"

Dates: April 16-23, 2001


  • Jennifer Watson: 32, Disney veteran and co-author of PassPorter Walt Disney World, on her umpteenth trip to Disney (from Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Dave Marx, 46, Disney veteran and co-author of PassPorter (from Ann Arbor, MI)

Transportation: Southwest Airlines (from Detroit Metro Airport) and Tiffany Town Car

Resort: Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort

Parks: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Magic Kingdom, Pleasure Island

Restaurants/Eateries: Jiko, Boma, more to come later

Other: This is a research trip to check out the new resort and new attraction. Most of our time will be spent researching in great detail and thus will go outside the realm of the typical vacationer experience. Thus, this resort may not make for scintillating reading, but it should be full of great observations, facts, and information.

Updated 04/22/01

Copyright 1999-2001
PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
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  Day Six: April 21, 2001

Where is the time going? Friday Dave went for an afternoon jaunt to Epcot with Bruce ("Zazu") and Marta Metcalf for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival (which runs now through the start of June 2001). In brief, the festival was bigger and better than ever -- more flowers, more scents, and more exhibits. Among the eye-catching highlights for our group were the bonsai trees in Japan and the orchids in Mexico. As always, the rose gardens over in Future World West were at their bloomin' best. There is also a temporary sculpture garden a few steps from the rose garden, with works on loan from at least a half-dozen museums. Even the kids will have a ball! They'll flip for the temporary playground near Germany. There's an amazing jungle gym made of ropes suspended inside a tubular steel framework -- consider it a three-dimensional spider web. The garden also has a butterfly tent, ant farms, bee hives (behind glass, of course), and interactive question-and-answer displays designed to raise kids' environmental awareness.

We're also having a bit of a problem. It's really, really hard to leave Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. It seems nearly every time we try to head to a park or even our favorite hangout, the Adventurers Club, we end up either staying at the Lodge or hurrying back from wherever we are. The Lodge is most certainly a vacation destination in its own right, and we pity those who have length-of-stay passes -- when will they ever want to use them?

On Saturday afternoon we hustled back to the Lodge from a morning visit to Magic Kingdom. We wanted to ride the Keel Boats and see Timekeeper once more -- those attractions are closing today, perhaps just temporarily, but nobody knows for sure. We also wanted to see how construction was progressing over at Magic Carpets of Alladin. Based on what we can see over the construction fence, that new Dumbo-like ride in Adventureland will be opening very soon. We then had lunch at the Polynesian Resort's Kona Cafe (one of our favorite lunch spots) with our friend, The Goddess of Disney Transportation.

After that we all piled into her car and headed back to the Lodge in order to attend a 3:30 pm Lodge Tour (free) highlighting the African artworks that can be found throughout the lobby and the rest of the resort. The tour is conducted by several of the Lodge's International cast members, and if you enjoy art, architecture or are fascinated by you'll find this tour to be quite enjoyable.

Dinner was at Boma (our third time). We're really quite happy with the offerings at Boma, and we think you'll enjoy them, too! After dinner we sat in the rocking chairs around the firepit on Arusha Rock and strolled around the Lodge. Then it was off to bed for another big day tomorrow.

Next Report: Day Seven

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