Resorts

Daisy’s Best Week Ever April 13, 2017: Wilderness Lodge Resort Update

by on April 13, 2017

Hello, friends! It’s that time of week again when we share our best week ever! However, this week is going to be a little different. My family has opted for Silver passes this year, meaning our passes were blocked out this past weekend. Since Disney parks were out of the question, I set out to tour Disney’s Wilderness Lodge instead. The lodge looks amazing walking up to it early in the morning.

The front porte cochère is so grand! Right away I was a little surprised there wasn’t more activity despite the early hour. I’m used to seeing all sorts of folks buzzing around at a Disney property. Poking around the resort later it looks like half the rooms are under renovation, which explains why things were quiet. While that does mean there’s some construction noise, I think it’s worth staying here for the slim crowds.

But wait, there’s more! Come with me for a tour of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe, and a sneak peek at the Easter Eggs on display at Disney’s Grand Floridian.

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TPTV: Concierge (Club) Level at Walt Disney World + Video

by on April 4, 2017

Good morning!

Have you ever wondered about Concierge (Club) Level at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels?

I know I have, which is why I decided to cover it in this week’s TouringPlansTV episode.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, March 30, 2017: Eggs and Tea

by on March 30, 2017

Towards the end of the week, one of my neighbors stopped by and asked how Spring Break was going. I looked at her and said “Going? I think you mean GONE!” This year is flying by, and it seems that every item on my to-do list that disappears is replaced by one or more overnight. Of course it doesn’t help the feeling of time flying by that Orange County schools schedule their Spring Break for several weeks before Easter. But having Spring Break for this week meant family coming into town, and that meant we got to do a few things that were out of the norm…

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TouringplansTV: Outdoor Recreation at Walt Disney World + Video

by on March 7, 2017

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

This TouringPlansTV episode gives you all the Outdoor Recreation options you’d ever want at Walt Disney World.

Check it out here!

Have ideas for future videos? Let me know in the comments!

SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love Universal’s SAPPHIRE FALLS RESORT

by on March 4, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We LOVE Universal’s Sapphire Falls Resort! Currently, the Universal Orlando Resort has five on-site hotels, with a sixth (Aventura) opening next summer. Universal separates its hotels into three categories: Prime Value (Cabana Bay Beach Resort), Preferred (Royal Pacific Resort), and Premier (Hard Rock and Portofino Bay.) Sapphire Falls falls under the Preferred category.

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Sapphire Falls is located directly next to Royal Pacific, and the two hotels actually connect in their convention space area. As part of the Loews brand, Sapphire Falls has the type of service you receive at a higher end hotel, and stays at Sapphire count towards the Loews YouFirst Loyalty Program. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite parts of Sapphire Falls, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – The Lobby

The lobby at Sapphire Falls is the most guest friendly of any Universal hotel. Similar to the lobbies at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and the newly renovated Polynesian Village Resort, guests walk into a wide open lobby with a huge window on the opposite end overlooking the property. One of the most oft-talked about features of the lobby is the striking “beach ball” chandelier. Pictures do not do this chandelier justice and, when lit up at night, the fixture looks absolutely fantastic.

There is plenty of unique seating in the lobby, including one area with a huge TV. There are outlets all over the place to plug in  your electronic devices, including a large wooden table which has enough space for at least ten people to work from their laptops. If you need to spend time in a hotel lobby, this is the exact type of one you want to be in.

Sapphire Falls lobby. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Lobby chandelier. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Lobby. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Outlets.

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Big Changes for Disney’s Coronado Springs and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resorts

by on February 16, 2017

There are some thrilling new changes that are on the horizons for two of Walt Disney World’s moderate category resorts.

The first is an expansion of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, which will be getting a new 15-story tower adding 500 rooms to the resort. The tower, which will overlook Lago Dorado, the resort’s lake, will include suites and concierge level services. Oh and there will be unique rooftop dining added to this new tower with a great view of some of the theme park’s fireworks spectaculars. Of course, Coronado Springs’ current rooms will be getting a refurbishment. Oh and the landscape of the resort will gain floating gardens and an island oasis that will connect the resorts through a series of bridges.

Here is a look at what to expect with the new work at Disney’s Coronado Springs.

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Plus My Vacation – Larger Room Options at Walt Disney World

by on February 8, 2017

Larger Rooms at Walt Disney World

We’re starting a series on ways you can “plus” your vacation at Walt Disney World. If you’re not familiar with the term, “plussing” is Disney-talk for taking something great and wowing the guest by making it even greater. Our first article talks about options for larger hotel rooms.

Walt Disney once said that Florida had something special …the blessing of size. It is called Walt Disney World, after all. But with all that space and elbow room at Walt Disney World, wouldn’t you want the same for your accommodations? Today we’re talking about where to find larger rooms at Walt Disney World. Fortunately, several Walt Disney World resorts offer options for large families or anyone looking for some extra space during their stay. I’m comparing the pros and cons of the Fort Wilderness Cabins, the Art of Animation and All-Star Music Family Suites, and 1-Bedroom DVC Villas in pursuit of the best option for your family when looking to plus your stay!

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Disneyland Hotel in Paris – Thoughts

by on February 1, 2017

 

Disneyland Hotel Disneyland Paris

Disneyland Hotel Lobby

A Grand Lobby at Disneyland Hotel

I had the good fortunate to visit Disneyland Paris in January 2016 and to stay at the Disneyland Hotel. In two other blog posts (Part 1 and Part 2), I share photos from that experience. Other bloggers on the site have examined Disneyland Paris’s theme parks in the past, so I am focusing on my hotel stay.

Having low standards and being cheap, I’ve rolled the dice with Hotwire for cheap hotel rooms on US 192 near Walt Disney World and even napped overnight on a pool lounge chair at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort to avoid paying for a hotel room after arriving on a late flight. I don’t need much in the way of lodging, but when heading to a foreign land I classed things up by spending 5 nights with my family at the Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Paris.

Money

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Disney Romance at Old Key West

by on January 18, 2017

With Valentine’s Day a month out, we’re looking at some places at Walt Disney World that offer the chance for couples to get away from the usual park experience and enjoy some romance – Disney style. Disney’s Old Key West Resort is a surprisingly great resort pick if you are looking for some Disney romance with your significant other. At least it was a surprise to my husband and me when we made a recent adults-only getaway and stayed there for the first time.

As Disney Vacation Club members, we often plan our trips months in advance, but this trip was planned within a much shorter time frame. Old Key West is one of the DVC resorts that is more likely to have availability when planning just a couple months out.We were thrilled to find a room there for our dates. While we were excited for our first stay at this resort, what we didn’t expect was how much a part Old Key West would play in the overall romantic mood of the trip.

© Sarah Graffam

Covered walkway leading to the riverfront

So here’s a rundown of reasons why you should consider Old Key West Resort when planning your next couples trip to Disney World.

Disney Romance Factor 1: Setting

Old Key West’s layout is very spread out, with a central Hospitality House and two- to three-story buildings in pastel colors throughout several “neighborhoods.” This layout, especially for the buildings that are a bit tucked away, is extremely conducive to the feeling of privacy that enhances romance. The abundant foliage, palm trees, water features, and golf course fairways create an atmosphere of relaxation and seclusion away from the busy parks.

The slow pace extends to the Hospitality House where you can wander with your sweetie under a wide covered walkway that opens onto the riverfront and dock area. Upon arrival at the resort, take a stroll together through the walkway out to the river. This transition creates a similar reveal, and a feeling of “you are here,” as when walking under the railroad station into Magic Kingdom’s Town Square—but without the crowds. This first impression of the resort was one of the earliest indications that our time at Old Key West would be even more relaxing and romantic than we expected.

© Sarah Graffam

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SATURDAY SIX: The Best Resort Specific Merchandise at Walt Disney World

by on January 7, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at The Best Resort Specific Merchandise at WDW! Longtime readers of this fine blog series will remember that we have looked at the Best Souvenirs at Disney, the Best at Universal, and even the Best Pieces of Disney Merchandise That Don’t Exist. Heck, we even risk our lives and sanity each and every month to deliver you the fabled Disney Outlet Store Photo Report. So it is safe to say, we like merch. Now, one of our favorite types of theme park resort merchandise is the stuff you can get at the onsite hotels. When looking at them back at home, they instantly remind us of the great times we had on vacation and the places we have stayed at. Disney has always been the industry leader at incredible resort specific merchandise, but several years ago the company switched to a more homogeneous look for much of its hotel merchandise. With a very similar style of logo for various resorts all on the same type of items (t-shirts, coffee cups, keychains, etc), it was like Disney was running a Zazzle account writ large. Thankfully, more original merchandise has started to make its way back to the resorts, along with some old favorites. Today we’re going to look at our favorite resort specific merchandise, starting with…

# 6 – Camper Keychain at Fort Wilderness

Believe it or not, Disney’s Fort Wilderness campgound has one of the highest amounts of great resort specific merchandise on property. From great looking pins and shirts to amazing prints, Fort Wilderness offers an array of unique items that most other WDW hotels can’t compete with. There’s even a Fort Wilderness air freshener! Our absolute favorite piece of merch is the Camper Keychain ($9.99). Not only is this an incredibly creative keychain compared to what you’ll find at other resorts, the headlight of the camper is a working flashlight! Talk about the Disney Difference, and be prepared to talk about your Disney vacation when your friends and family back home see your cute keychain.

Fort Wilderness Camper Keychain.

The camper’s headlight is an actual working flashlight!

Plastic Mason Jar Travel Mug.

Fort Wilderness Air Freshener with “Wild Woods Scent.” To be fair, while we say it is unique that Fort Wilderness has its own air freshener, we will stipulate to the fact that no one would want an All Star Music air freshener anyway. We do wonder what the scent of “Pop Century” would be though….

The SATURDAY SIX mobile sits outside Coronado Springs with the inside smelling like Fort Wilderness.

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