We arrived to MHT about 75 minutes prior to takeoff; our airport is pretty tiny and getting through TSA usually happens before you can blink, except in the very early morning hours when the airport is just opening. We had an on-time departure but had been warned on check-in that "everything between here and there is weather advised." We had been watching the weather closely due to the storm Hermine impacting the east coast, but with a non-stop flight we had little concern that we would get to the MCO provided an aircraft could get to us. As it turned out our flight was in fact on-time and although we had a bit of turbulence it was not the worst flight I've ever had.
We touched down at 5:40 pm under cloudy skies.
We opted to collect our own suitcase (yes, just the one - traveling without kids is sooooooooo easy!!) rather than use the luggage service because it was later in the day. The luggage came off the conveyor in short order and we headed to DME. To our pleasure, the bus was nearly full when we arrived, and we left just a few minutes after we boarded. I was concerned that we might hit rush hour traffic, but there wasn't any. We dropped off at AoA at 6:50pm and arrived at Pop just a few short minutes later.
While in flight we had received our "room ready" text, having been given room 8103. As this was an anniversary trip with no kids, our one and only request for a room was a king bed. I stressed this in the fax and said that it didn't matter where we were in the resort if if meant we could have a king bed. While en route I cross checked this room number with the touringplans room finder and was disappointed to see the room had double beds: Pop Century Room 8103 Oh well - we realized that booking value meant we might not get a king bed and we decided to make the best of it. We exited the bus and made the loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong walk to 8103, which is about as far from Classic Hall as you can get, and were pleasantly surprised to see we did in fact have a king bed. @len may want to update the room description to reflect this.
Though the value rooms are indeed quite small as compared to deluxe rooms, having a king versus two double beds made the room feel much more spacious. The room was clean, smelled fresh, and was stocked with plenty of towels. The single armoire had just 3 drawers which was fine for the two of us, but larger families would struggle with storage space for sure. The minifridge was cold. No coffee maker here, but there was both a hair dryer as well as an iron and ironing board.
We dropped off our stuff and took a moment to call Disney Dining. Before leaving the ground at MHT we had read on chat that the ovens at Sanaa were broken so no bread service! WHAT?! Our reservation was made entirely with bread service in mind, so it was important to us to know whether this was the case before heading over; we would go to Disney Springs as an alternative. We were quite happy to learn that the ovens were fully functional and we headed over to AKL, using Disney Transportation to do so.
A bus arrived moments after we made the loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong trek back to Classic Hall, and the ride to AKL was quite brief.
We got off at Jambo as we were early for our reservation and we wanted to visit our Home. Stepping into the lobby of AKL just never gets old and one can feel the stress melt away upon entry. We did some shopping at the Zawadi Marketplace and then headed down to the lounge at Jiko to have a pre-dinner drink. We sat at the bar for close to 10 minutes with nobody approaching to offer us service; quite a disappoinment. We decided to head up to the Victoria Falls lounge instead where we were greeted warmly and our order taken immediately. Not sure what happened at Jiko. We enjoyed a flight of red African wines. All were quite good, but my favorite was the Kanonkop Kadette:
Soon it was time to head to Kidani for our reservation. The walk over was quite nice - the air was comfortable and it was quiet along the way. We were greeted by name at Sanaa (how do they do that?!) and led to our table promptly. Our server came right away to take our drink order; I had a glass of Spice Route Chakalaka, a Syrah from Swartland, South Africa which was very yummy! DH had a sprite
We decided that we would enjoy the full bread service - all 5 breads and all 9 accompaniments - and dessert for our dinner. This turned out to be a perfect decision and we left comfortably full; entrees would have resulted in being overly full.
Our favorite accompaniments were the red pepper hummus, tomato-date jam, tamarind chutney (which I dream about and have tried unsuccessfully to find close to home), and coriander chutney.
For dessert, I had the Afrika Povu, which according to the WDW menu page is "Tanzanian Chocolate Mousse, Madagascar Vanilla Rum Caramel, Kenyan Coffee, and Kalahari Desert Salt":
and DH had Ceylon-spiced Cheesecake (which is basically a cinnamon flavor):
Both were sooo delicious!!
Comfortably full and so happy to be in the bubble alone together, we headed back to Pop and made the looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong trek back to our room (are you picking up what I'm putting down here???) where we settled in for a good night's sleep before our first day of touring!