Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them- 10/4-10/10 Family Trip Report

While planning for Disney, I absolutely loved reading trip reports to help plan but also to enjoy the magic! Especially in planning for a Covid-era trip, it was so helpful to read the reports out there. I posted our pre-trip report which actually varied from what we actually did…who knew Disney with a 3 year old meant changing up plans :joy:

Logistics: DH, DS3, and myself. We stayed at AKL Kidani Village in a Savanna view studio. We went to Epcot, MK twice, and AK. We also had a resort day. This was DS first trip and it was pushed back from an April trip (when he would’ve been 2 years old, so yay for having to buy park tix for him :roll_eyes:). Growing up I went to WDW frequently, DH has only been a couple of times. Our most recent trip was in 2013. We rented points through DVC rental store, they were mostly great with the pandemic stuff and crediting us. We ended up booking a confirmed reservation, it was just less of a hassle for us rather than matching with a member.

We drove down from Virginia, originally we were to fly, but still not comfortable with all of the unknowns. Google maps said it would be around 11 hour total. I have come to the conclusion that everything we do is just plain slow. We left our house at 4:45pm (planned on 3) and didn’t leave our area until 5:50 as we got dinner here rather than on the road. We drove half way and stopped over night at a Marriott in SC. I was super worried about this for cleanliness, but it was great and we will always do this going forward, assuming we drive. The next morning we let DS wake us up, grabbed Starbucks and got on the road. We only ran into traffic at one point in FL and it slowed us down by an hour. We finally got to AKL Kidani Village right at 4pm.

We did not use bell services and our room was really close to the elevator so DH brought everything up. He and DS enjoyed animal watching on the balcony while I clorox wiped every single surface. The room was actually really clean before I cleaned it. I am definitely a germ-a-phobe and have a crazy eye for detail and didn’t see anything blatantly gross or nasty. Even wiping weird locations (I have a 3 year old, he touches everything) the wipe came back clean! We had brought our own blanket to use, but upon inspecting the bed, it seemed Disney was washing/replacing all linens and not just sheets, so we felt safe using their linens. I don’t know if this is covid-specific or has always been done. We also brought our own pillows because breathing into a common pillow is not something I’m here for :nauseated_face: but all of their pillows were double-cased.

DS3 had a little blow-up toddler mattress that worked perfectly. We thought of requesting bed rails and having him sleep on the pull-out, but this worked out better for him overall.

This post is getting really long, I’m a bit of an over-describer. I’ll try to leave take-aways at the end of each post to help anyone else looking to plan. Next post will be on our Disney Springs experience! I’ll try to post later today during naptime.

Some notes on our travel days:

  • Breaking the drive up was really nice and we actually enjoyed the excitement of driving down. Social distancing made travel more difficult, but that was really only noticeable on the drive home. I’m glad we ate dinner in our area as many of the states we drove through were not stringent on face coverings or distancing. We took DS little potty in the car and didn’t even have to get out if only he had to go. DH and tried to stick with places that felt “safer.”
  • For renting DVC, we would definitely do this again, but probably only for last minute trips unless we did the point protection plan; we’ve been covid-burned in the longterm planning department. For this trip, we booked about 2 weeks out. You really don’t need more for that especially since we didn’t do many TS meals, but more on that later.
  • Throughout the week we kept rediscovering how amazing it was to have a kitchenette with a little kid. We brought our own Keurig and some snack groceries and this little space was the perfect size and made it so easy to wash DS cups/water bottles/etc. I will never not book a studio or even 1-bedroom again, it truly made our stay feel more like home.

You must be new here, lol. We want MORE details!


We loved having the kitchenette for our trip in August! We had to fly (live in Washington state so no way I was driving!) so ordered groceries from Amazon Fresh. With littles I would think it would be even better to have that little kitchenette.

Was your studio on the main savanna? I had some disappointment that we were on the Pembe Savanna. Still an amazing view and lots of animals, but no giraffes, zebras, or other larger animals. We did, however, get the Okapi which became our mascot for the trip and we ended up coming home with a stuffed one. :grin:


We did face the Sunset Savanna, but we were in the far bend of the resort, so didn’t always get the zebras (or giraffes) as close as we would have liked. Occasionally, the giraffes would come right outside our room to get some leaves placed, but primarily we had wildebeest, ankole cattle, and some other gazelle-style animal right outside. DS3 loved it and pretty much lived on the balcony.

The okapi are so cool! DH and DS kept calling them “deer-bra” because of the stripes :face_with_hand_over_mouth: very technical here.


Okay so DH needed the laptop for a work training yesterday, so I’m posting later than I would like. On to Disney Springs!

We haven’t been to “Disney Springs” as the last time we were at WDW it was still Downtown Disney. We were shocked at how HUGE it has grown! The driving-in and parking situation was rather interesting, but we ended up with a great spot in one of the parking garages and headed up for temperature screening. It was pretty crowded, but we were so excited to finally be at Disney that we weren’t terribly bothered. From what I can remember, face coverings were pretty good (better than one of our days at MK for sure, but there was definitely non-compliance- to put a number to it, I’d say 85% were on proper).

We did not have a plan as to where to eat, which has been our downfall on many occasions, so we just kind of wandered. We considered Blaze (easy, quick, and DS likes it at home), but the line was absolutely ridiculous and the outdoor eating area was a free-for-all and tables were not physically distanced. We saw D-Luxe Burger and had heard good things about it, so we queued up and realized it was Mobile Order. We also discovered that my ancient iPhone 6plus cannot handle Mobile Order. Thankfully DH phone (which is also an iPhone 6) was able to access mobile order. I’ll post my thoughts on MDE app and mobile order at the end of the post.

The patio area at D-Luxe Burger was great and not at all crowded, we ate out over the water, but do wish there had been more lighting. DH especially disliked how he could hardly see his food. DH ordered the El Diablo burger and I ordered Barbeque burger. DS had chicken nuggets, which were pretty tasty! Our burgers were excellent, but the french fries were downright awful. I love french fries, all types (soggy, too crispy, whatever- love them all!) but these were inedible, hard and chewy. For our original trip we had wanted to order some of their alcoholic milkshakes, but we just weren’t up for it with all the Mobile Order fussiness and the treks to the bathroom.

After dinner we opted out of exploring Disney Springs, purely based on the crowd level, and headed back to Kidani. We had a later start planned for the morning as we were going to Epcot. We weren’t decided on breakfast, but knew we wanted to check out Sanaa before leaving to look elsewhere. I’ll try again for a naptime update. I haven’t uploaded any pictures from our trip yet, but will try to get them up this weekend. Thanks for following along!

Some notes:

  • Disney Springs is difficult to navigate and we ended up walking in a giant circle. Phones were incredibly slow, cell service and on the WiFi and the maps on the digital boards switched to advertisements really fast so you couldn’t really read them. We didn’t even make it out of Town Center and the Landing area. It was crowded, so crowded that there was a lot we didn’t feel like bothering with. Could’ve been tired from the drive or maybe because we knew it meant navigating and waiting with DS3, but I made the decision that I didn’t want to go back, far too much of a hassle.
  • Mobile Order is fantastic in theory, but can be a very frustrating experience for guests with older phones or anyone who isn’t tech savvy or doesn’t like to use technology for everything. We saw more than a few parties of older guests asking if that was the only way to order. I understand the premise of less face-to-face exposure, but it really is quite over-the-top in some situations. Also, I felt really bad for some of the people who clearly had no experience with Mobile Order or the Disney app and were forced to figure it out on the fly or leave without food in some cases. Had it not been for DH I would’ve been forced to explain my phone situation to every CM at the entrance and then go in to order (if I were allowed, some CM were incredibly strict and we saw people turned away). We also noticed inconsistencies (at Disney?! shocking!) where some guests automatically were let in to order with a CM. In fact, in most cases this is what we did because we paid with our MagicBands. Just not a good set up. If they foresee this being something that sticks around they should invest in at least a few kiosks (like Panera) to allow guests to order if there are technology or user issues.
  • As an aside, DH and I are very tech savvy. I’m a millennial (ugh hate using that term, but I feel it adequately explains the ease with which I use technology) and DH is a tech guru, so any difficulties we attributed to Disney and not user error.
  • From what we experienced, there were no restrooms available except the “centrally located” public restrooms. I don’t know if this is the norm or a Covid casualty, but it was pretty annoying with a little kid. It made it very difficult to wash hands before dinner and if you have to get up during your meal (hello? anyone with children) you have to make a bit of a hike and back to the restaurant. Also, they were very strict at D-Luxe about where you could enter/exit so we could not get back on to the patio easily (despite no one else being out there). Just another inconsistency we experienced based on which CM you encountered.
  • We took our stroller to Disney Springs and so glad we did! We almost did not as we didn’t understand just how sprawling the area is and thought it would be of similar size to our outdoor shopping areas.

Are restaurant restrooms not open?

I haven’t noticed any restaurant bathrooms being closed… But I haven’t been in every single restaurant at Disney Springs either.