Sanaa; A Savannah Dining Experience

The Sanaa Restaurant located in the Kidani Village of the Disney Animal Kingdom Villas, is definitely a welcomed change of pace from your Disney adventures. Sanaa serves both lunch and dinner and is a pleasure that is missed by many but was enjoyed by my family at our last visit to Walt Disney World.

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Having planned our reservation to Sanaa on a day we were exploring the Animal Kingdom, we caught a bus to the Kidani Village from the Animal Kingdom Villas bus stop. The Kidani Village lobby is beautiful with a glass back wall, giving you a full view of the Savannah. The restaurant is found down the staircase in back of the lobby, and once there you feel as though you have arrived at an African Game Reserve: gazing upon giraffes, zebras, ostrich, kudu, and gazelles. After checking in for your reservation, walk out onto the deck. This view should never be passed up. It’s amazing to see the animals so close. You and your will family quickly get immersed in the wonder and magic of Disney and forget for a moment that you are still in Walt Disney World!

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I always encourage guests to talk to the Cast Members they meet, as you will hear fascinating stories of far away places and cultures. We met a special Cast Member, Bulelani, from South Africa, and he shared with us the many facts and stories about giraffes. We hung on his every word and really enjoyed talking to him! Did you know that giraffes in their native habitat sleep only 30 minutes a day? They take very short naps because of the constant danger of predators. We saw a giraffe lying down, and he told us you would never see that in the wild. So fascinating! Bulelani continued to entertain us by talking about his home, and we were amazed that there are 11 official languages in South Africa.

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Our adventure continued as our name was called and another wonderful Cast Member sat us at our table. Amee was from Botswana, and she told us that is was very hot in Botswana but that Florida was way too humid for her – she could hardly breathe!

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The menu at Sanaa is a fusion of African and Indian – the best of both worlds! They did include a Bison Burger on the menu in case your tastes were more traditional. The entrees were delicious, but the desserts could not be beat in display or taste! I had the Tanzanian Chocolate Mouse (my mouth waters just thinking about it today!). Everything on my plate was made of chocolate – including the butterfly and the writing on the plate! At this point, I became a little selfish, and would not share with anyone, no matter how much the begged; it was way too good!

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After the enjoying your meal, don’t let the adventure stop – be sure to explore the Resort! One place to stop is The Library. As you enter the lobby from the stairway, walk down the hall on your left… you will find a sign for the Library. We actually thought we were going to a Library (we are readers). However, we found a beautiful sitting room with an outdoor porch where you can sit in rocking chairs and enjoy the Savannah View.

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With the beauty of this Resort and the tremendous views, you can understand how easy it would be to get lost in the moment and feel as if you had been transported to the exotic continent of Africa! It was a perfect ending to our visit to the Kidani Village. Don’t you think it is time for you to enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

sylvia@travelwiththemagic.com

Disney World Resorts for a Family of 5

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Do you have a family of 5? If so, then this article is for you. Traveling with a party of more than 4 does require a bit of extra planning when visiting Disney World. Thankfully, you do have options and there are options for every budget too. I hope this list is helpful in helping you choose the Disney Resort that is right for your family. (This list does NOT include the properties that are Deluxe Villas or Disney Vacation Club properties such as Saratoga Springs, the Boardwalk Villas, Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort and others).

First up are the Deluxe properties. Nearly all of the Deluxe properties have the ability to sleep 5 to a room. From the Grand Floridian to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, there are deluxe properties in a variety of different themes and pricing. The properties are: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club Resort, BoardWalk Inn, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Wilderness Lodge and the Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.. Most of the Deluxe properties have rooms with a day bed or a suite configuration to sleep a family of 5. (Wilderness Lodge and Animal Kingdom Lodge have some rooms with bunk beds too). The Deluxe properties are located in close proximity to parks. The BoardWalk area resorts are within walking distance to Epcot or Hollywood Studios. The monorail resorts are located a hop, skip and a jump away from the Magic Kingdom! These resorts offer more recreation options such as boat rentals, a gym, a pool waterslide and more. They also have multiple restaurants (table service and quick service) on property (with the exception of the BoardWalk Inn which has the entire BoardWalk area at its feet). These resorts are generally more expensive properties. But oftentimes if there is a room rate discount available, these resorts can provide a wonderful option for larger families.

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Day bed in room at Yacht Club Resort

Next are the Moderate Resorts. This list includes Port Orleans – Riverside and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness. Port Orleans – Riverside has rooms with a small murphy bed to accommodate a party of 5. The Cabins can sleep 6 with a double bed and bunk beds in the bedroom and a Murphy bed in the living area. Both of these resorts offer some great features not found in the value resorts. Port Orleans has bus transportation to all parks and boat transportation to Downtown Disney. You can share amenities at its sister resort – Port Orleans French Quarter, giving you access to 2 pools, 1 table service restaurant and 2 food courts! Fort Wilderness is almost an experience of its own. There is boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom and bus transportation to all other parks. There are 2 restaurants, 2 dinner shows and snack bars available. Fort Wilderness is also home to horseback riding, bike rentals and more. AND it is the only pet friendly resort on property.

Murphy bed in Alligator Bayou room at Port Orleans Riverside

Cabins at Fort Wilderness

The last resorts with rooms for families of up to 6 people are the Value Resorts – the family suites at All-Star Music and Art of Animation. The family suites at All-Star Music have a bedroom, 2 bathrooms, a mini-kitchenette and a sleeper sofa and sleeper chair. The family suites at Art of Animation are set up slightly differently with a bedroom, 2 bathrooms, a mini-kitchenette and a sleeper sofa and a table that turns into a bed (Murphy bed style). Both of these resorts provide bus transportation to all parks. Also, no table service restaurant is available on property. But they both have great quick service food courts. The suites at All-Star Music are located in the first two buildings on either side of the guitar shaped pool, giving you quick access to the main building and the bus stops. There are two pools – the main guitar shaped family pool and the piano shaped quiet pool as well as a kiddie pool near the guitar pool. There is also a playground available. The suites at Art of Animation are themed – Cars, Finding Nemo or Lion King. The Finding Nemo wing has the main attraction pool but there is also a pool in the Cars wing, the Little Mermaid wing and a play area in the Lion King wing. There is also a splash area near the Finding Nemo pool.

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Cars themed Murphy bed

So just because you have a larger family doesn’t mean that staying on property at Disney World is impossible! I’d love to help you and your family find the best resort for you. Please email me at Amy@TravelwiththeMagic.com or you can find me on Facebook. You can also call me at 1-800-670-4312, ext 129. I can’t wait to plan your family’s MAGICAL vacation!

Boma: Dining with Food Allergies, Intolerances, or Sensitivities

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I will admit that I am not a huge fan of buffet style dining. However, I AM a HUGE fan of Boma, which IS a buffet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. One of the reasons I do not particularly enjoy dining at buffet style restaurants is because I have many food sensitivities and intolerances. Eating out can be difficult when you have such limitations so ordering from a menu is usually more appealing as it usually allows you customize what you get. So, the while the prospect of dining at Boma was a little uncertain for me, I was willing and excited to give it a try because of all of the rave reviews I have received from others who have tried (and loved) Boma.

Boma Buffet Stations

Since we made Advanced Dining Reservations, which I HIGHLY recommend, our server was already aware of my dining limitations when we arrived. Once we were seated, greeted, and had our drinks, James (a Boma chef) came to our table and talked to me about my dietary needs. He then walked me and my husband through the whole delicious spread and described each dish and pointed out the best options for me and the dishes that were completely safe for me to eat. I never felt rushed or like I was a burden at all. In fact, I felt quite special to have a chef give me my own tour of the menu! I was able to ask questions of James as well as the other cooks in the open style kitchen.

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Not only did our server continue to check on us throughout our meal but James also checked on us multiple times. This was a long meal since there was SO much great food to try and I wanted to try everything I could!

One of my favorite stations was the soups. I LOVE soup! Luckily the one I wanted to try the most was also the best option for me and it did not disappoint. I still think of that soup sometimes! The family that was seated next to us lives in the area and said they come to Boma often for family dinners since everyone can find unique foods they enjoy. They were raving about the mushroom soup but found out it was only served on Mondays and we were there on a Friday. They talked to their server and a little while later a chef brought them each a bowl of fresh mushroom soup. They were so happy you would have thought they got it for free!

Boma is known for their fabulous dessert spread and so I was disappointed to find out most of the desserts would not be OK for me and my dietary restrictions. But, by the end of the meal I was so full that I really was OK with not having dessert. Just as my husband sat down with his plate of desserts James arrived at our table with a beautiful dish of fresh fruit sorbet prepared just for me. I was amazed since I hadn’t ordered or asked for this. But it was totally safe for me to eat and the BEST sorbet I have ever had.

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Boma is located in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jambo House- just downstairs from the main lobby. Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of my favorite spots in all of Walt Disney World. After supper, be sure to hit the gift shop which is a unique store with some one of a kind finds.

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Boma has variety (including child friendly food), uniqueness, and friendly chefs. The atmosphere is energetic; especially when the African Drummers come around and the kids join in. I would recommend Boma to anyone –even those with allergies or sensitivities. I can’t wait to try the brunch buffet and I will definitely be more apt to try other Buffet style dining experiences at Walt Disney World.

If you have special dietary or other needs, talk to your travel agent so they can help you make the most of your vacation! I would love to help you plan your next Disney trip. Contact me at Aleshia@travelwiththemagic.com or 1-800-670-4312 ext 139.

See ya Real Soon,

Aleshia

Magical Memories made at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge


When my family stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, we fell in love.  This resort was unlike any we have ever stayed at before.  My son was amazed that he could eat breakfast on his own private balcony and watch the giraffes grazing below.  From our room we were able to watch zebras, giraffes, ankole cattle, greater kudus, impalas, roan antelopes, African pelicans, and so much more.

During our stay, we chose to take advantage of the concierge services.  The cast members took care of all of our needs.  We really enjoyed having a gold room key that granted us access to the concierge level..  Throughout the day, there was a wide variety of snacks and delicious foods available.  A cast member also stays stationed on this level and is readily available to assist with any additional dining reservations, tours, or services that you may need handled.  One of the cast members went out of their way to make sure that my son had a private supply of Sprite Zero available at all times.  This was an added touch that really made him feel special since he has Type 1 Diabetes.  They would even give us extra bottles to keep in our room.

The Animal Kingdom Lodge offers extensive amenities and dining experiences including 3 wonderful restaurants – Boma, Sanaa, and Jiko, as well as 2 lounges and a quick services dining area.  There are also 2 fitness center, 1 includes its own spa. And for more recreation, Animal Kingdom Lodge offers jogging trails, a playground, 2 arcade centers, bike rentals, nightly movies on the beach, children’s activity center, a zero-entry pool, and a 2nd game room with pool tables, ping-pong tables, and arts & crafts.

We absolutely loved the Animal Kingdom Lodge when we stayed there.  Once we stepped onto the property, we felt removed from our everyday life.  This deluxe resort offers rooms, suites and villas.  There truly is something here for everyone.

For more information on this and any other resort at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or the Disney Cruise, please contact me at Robyn@travelwiththemagic.com or call me at 1-800-670-4312 ext 125.  All of my services are completely free.  I would absolutely love to help you plan your next magical vacation!

Making a Memory

 If you have been to Disney, I am sure that you have seen these everywhere. And if you haven’t been, then I am sure that you are familiar with these – pressed penny machines. These are such an easy and fun source of entertainment for all children.  Since there are hundreds throughout the parks, resorts, and Downtown Disney, they are easy to find. Each machine offers 3 or 4 adorable images of the Disney characters, rides, resorts and more. Every machine is different, do you won’t find the same image twice. Now there are some machines that do quarters also but they cost a bit more so we do a very few of those.

The whole process is super easy – all it takes is 2 quarters and 1 very shiny penny.  Just place the coins into the coin slot and press the slot in.  Some machines are mechanical and do the work for you.  Other machines have these giant cranks that kids love to turn.  It a win, win all around.

Now I am sure that you are asking what to do with these wonderful treasures that your kids are collecting. Disney offers these great little books to store all of the pennies in.  There are even slots for the pressed quarters but we typically put our pennies in those slots.

We have been going to Disney for many years now.  With every trip it has become a family tradition to fill a pressed penny book.  We always load up on plenty of quarters and shiny pennies before we leave.  The coins are kept in a Ziploc bag in our backpack for easy access.  My son and husband run around all of the parks collecting as many as they can, filling the book with their new found treasures.  This is a memory that I will always hold on to as the books fill the drawers in my house.

For more tips and ideas of making magical memories at the parks or on the cruise, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Robyn@travelwiththemagic.com or 1-800-670-4312 Ext 125

Robyn Adams