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 04/23/01

Copyright 1999-2001
PassPorter Travel Press, an imprint of MediaMarx, Inc.
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  Day Seven: April 22, 2001

Today was our move to Concierge. (Oooh Ahhh.) About two weeks before our trip we'd found a very good Annual Passholder discount on a concierge room for today and snatched it up. So at 9:30 am this morning, Jennifer went down to the Front Desk to transfer while Dave stayed in the room waiting for bell services to arrive. At the Front Desk, Jennifer was told to wait for someone to escort her up to the sixth floor Concierge Desk (you need the proper key card to get to the sixth floor). Up on the sixth floor check-in went very smoothly -- the cast members were even friendlier and more accommodating than those we'd encountered during the week (and that's saying something!). Unfortunately our room was not ready yet, but we were given a card with a number on to call back later.

After checking in, we enjoyed breakfast at Boma -- a real winner! We'd booked Sunday morning at Boma to see if they offered anything special for "Sunday brunch" -- they didn't, but their food is so delicious and diverse that it didn't matter.

With our bellies full, Dave headed to Disney's Animal Kingdom for timings and a walk-through while Jennifer went to Downtown Disney for timings and a bit of shopping. At Downtown Disney, Jennifer learned that only five shops in the Marketplace are now accepting the Disney Club 10% discount: World of Disney, Team Mickey, Disney at Home, Pooh Corner, and Disney's Day of Christmas. Bummer.

After our excursions, we met back in the Kilimanjaro Club (concierge lounge) on the sixth floor for some afternoon snacks. A quick check revealed that our room still wasn't ready. In fact, it wasn't until 3:30 that we got into our room -- a fifth floor deluxe with a king bed (great view!). But we enjoyed cookies and juice in the lounge while waiting. Later we would learn that the Walt Disney Co. board members were staying in the Lodge and occupying 60 rooms -- that explains why housekeeping was a bit slower to ready our room.

We took a short nap then met Deb and Linda for a quick tour of concierge and dinner at Jiko. On the way to dinner, we spotted Roy Disney walking behind us. Deb got up the courage to ask for a photo with him, which she got -- look for it on her Web site in the next week or so!

Our third dinner at Jiko was every bit as enjoyable as our first and second dinners -- dining there is quite a culinary experience. And guess who we dined with??? Michael Eisner, Roy Disney, Paul Pressler... even Sidney Portier. Well, ok, they weren't exactly sitting at our table, but really just a few feet away. We were fortunate enough to be sitting right next to the "private party" of 70 -- the Walt Disney Co. board members. We had a great time observing these luminaries during our three-hour dinner.

Tomorrow is check-out day, so its off to bed! See you tomorrow!

Next Report: Day Eight

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