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Friday, February 26, 2016

Kidani Village Disney Vacation Club Review by Mrs. Lo

We LOVED the Disney Vacation Club’s Kidani Village Resort at Animal Kingdom! Our mid winter break included a 5 day stay at Kidani Village and 5 days at DVC’s Vero Beach resort, it was the perfect blend of Disney FUN and lying on the beach doing nothing.

We are Disney Vacation Club members; our home resorts are the Grand Floridian (Orlando) and Aulani (Hawaii).  This means we stay for free at any Disney Vacation Club resort for 50 years.  We have stayed at many DVC resorts, including Animal Kingdom Lodge, this was our first time at Kidani Village.  Kidani is located next to Jambo House, the big, beautiful towering structure known as Animal Kingdom Lodge.

There is a shuttle going back and forth between Jambo House and the Village about every 10 minutes, or you could walk it’s about 10 minutes. We like one bedroom DVC villas because they are so spacious.  One bedroom villas have a full kitchen, 2 bathrooms and easily sleeps 4 people.  Like the Grand Floridian villas, Kidani has its own lobby (styled after Jambo house); concierge; grocery and souveneir store, and Animal viewing area.

In the morning, you can bring your refillable mug down to the grocery store and get free coffee, tea or fountain drinks.  You can also purchase bagels, muffins or breakfast sandwiches.  That’s only in the morning, after that, you have to go up to Jambo house for refills and quick service meals.  There is a fabulous (but expensive) restaurant at Kidani Village, called Sanaa, it is mostly Indian cuisine, with some African dishes.
We like to stop at a major grocery store like Publix on the way in from the airport and stock up on groceries.  As DVC members, you can go online and order groceries which will then be stocked when you arrive in your room.  However, selection is limited and you will pay Disney prices for your groceries.  We always eat breakfast in our DVC villa and often I make sandwiches or salads for lunch.  One of the reasons we bought into the DVC was so that we could have more space and I could have a kitchen and laundry machines.  Kitchns are fully stocked with plates and cooking items.  Kidani also has a cute little member lounge in addition to the lobby.

I loved waking up early and coming down to the Animal viewing area to have my coffee.  The animals roam free around the property and there are scientists there to take care of them and answer your questions.  There is also a campfire in the viewing area at night.
There are two Savannahs where the animals roam:  Sunset and Pembe.  Sunset is bordered by Jambo House but the Pembe Savannah is just at Kidani Village.  I believe all one bedrooms and up have a Savannah view.

The pools at Kidani are especially beautiful.  However, the best pools in the DVC system are far and away at Aulani in Hawaii.  The next best would be Beach Club Villas.  At the Kidani resort, you can see Anikole Cattle, Giraffes,
Zebra, Wildebeest, Ostriches, and the African Crane, and sometimes the Okape.   There are both day tours and night tours for guests, you go in the back of a jeep with caretakers.  During the night tour, you wear night goggles.
While at Kidani, we were easily able to visit all 4 parks, plus Disney Springs.  We have annual passes.  As DVC members, we are offered hefty discounts on annual passes, to the point where an annual pass, good for all
365 days of the year, to Disney World costs less than the retail price of one full day in the Disney parks.  We went to Animal Kingdom by Disney bus our first day.  The second day we took a bus to the Magic Kingdom, then a monorail to Epcot.  We drove to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) in our rental car.  And we also ended up driving to Hollywood Studios, just to change it up a bit.

The food at Sanaa was delicious but our absolute favorite in the Animal Kindgdom resorts area remains Boma.  The most delicious African inspired cuising you could ask for, and it is all served in unlimited buffet style.  Boma is located at Jambo House.
All in all, I give Kidani Village 4.5 stars.  The only reason I can’t give it 5 stars is because I have to reserve that for the Grand Floridian and Aulani.
Next week, my review of the DVC in Vero Beach.
We stayed for free as DVC members but the front desk advised that Studio Villas rent for about $700 per night and one bedrooms for about $900 per night that time of the year.
I should add there is also a gym (which my son used and said was “OK”), tennis courts, basketball, an arcade, and lots of fun activities for the kids scheduled throughout the day and night.  By far the best part was sitting there and watching the animals roam.
Have a great day, everyone and, as always remember to Count Your Blessings!  <3 Mrs. Lo

Friday, February 5, 2016

Mrs. Lo's Musings on Motherhood

My husband recently made a mini-grocery run for me, knowing I would be coming back late from Salsa class with our older son.  “Look,” he said beaming, “I got you cold cuts for the week!”  It was such a sweet gesture and he was so proud I didn’t have the heart to tell my loving husband that one pound of turkey would be gone in less than 24 hours.  But he’s right, there was a time when a pound of turkey and a package of cheese would get us through the week.  When our kids were infants.

Feeding active children is similar to being the chief engine operator on a locomotive train.  Not that I have ever been in a locomotive train but in all the movies, there is some guy shoveling coal into an engine pit on a regular basis.  That is how I imagine my job as a mother, at least as it pertains to food.  
It all starts the night before.  I make the lunches for the kids, with Christian needing 4 sandwiches -- two with cold cuts, and two PB and J’s.  Michael prefers wraps (bye pound of turkey!).  I then shove any dinner leftovers into the cleanest tupperware I can find so Anthony and I can split lunch the next day (yes, we are frugal and proud of it!).  Then I defrost something I can throw into the crockpot or the deep covered baker the next day.  My life is a constant shape shifting of defrosting and cooking.  One misstep and we are all coming come to frozen beef cubes instead of a pot of beef stew.  
It seems like just yesterday I was mashing up bananas for my babies and MARVELING that they could eat half a banana.  Or paying the extra dollar for “Yo-Baby” organic yogurt (totally not worth it by the way).  My theory was, the kids will eat whatever we eat, so I would mash fruit and vegetables, then fish and chicken with my little hand blender, and feed it to them.  No baby food.  I was just so proud of myself.  This system worked great.  Until it didn’t.
Michael, my youngest, was 5 months old when I mashed up some tilipia and gave it to him for dinner.  He took a spoonful and smiled at me.  Then he turned pink.  Then red splotches broke out all over.  Then he simply blew up to twice his size and with his little overblown rolls of fat looked like a baby Michelin man.  Thank God we are 5 minutes from a major hospital.  We blew into St. Luke’s on Dubois Street and didn’t even have to stop at admissions.  The nurse took one look at us and said “JUST GO!”  The wonderful doctors and nurses got the epi in him and with some benadryl and a promise to never feed him whitefish without medical clearance, we were back home in a few hours.  Anthony and I were stressed out of our minds, but not Baby Michael.  He didn’t even cry.  He just laughed and cooed even when he was getting stuck with needles.  Such a happy baby.  He still is a happy go lucky kid.
And, hard to believe, my happy baby will be turning 12 on Wednesday.  All parents say the same thing, but really, where does the time go?  It just went.  And I will continue to defrost and shovel -- I mean feed -- my kids for as long as they’re under my roof.  And even then I think I’ll find a way to mail them dinner.  Because -- if you haven’t figure out my theory on life yet -- Food is Love.  Have a great day everyone and as always Remember to Count Your Blessings! <3 Mrs. Lo    
(photo from Kennebunkport Maine 2008, Boys ages 4 and 8)