Resorts

25 Days of Christmas – Day Fifteen: Dark & Tropical Stormy at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

by on December 15, 2015

We’re back with everyone’s favorite theme park advent calendar: a daily countdown of our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld building anticipation to the Big Day. 

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY FIFTEEN: Dark & Tropical Stormy at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

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Dark & Tropical Stormy at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. (photo by Brandon Glover)

We last visited Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at the beginning of our countdown with the Polynesian Pearl and today we return with a look at another Must Get drink, the Dark & Tropical Stormy. Unlike many of our other favorites, the Dark & Tropical Stormy isn’t served in a fancy souvenir mug, but it still has style! We’ve all seen umbrellas in drinks, but the Grog Grotto has the Dark & Tropical Stormy umbrella appear in your drink as if it is holding on for dear life! A absolutely wonderful touch makes this drink stand out in a menu filled with stand out drinks. The taste? Think of a rum based Moscow Mule.

Ingredients: Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, fresh Lime Juice, Ginger Beer, and Falernum.

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Dark and Tropical Stormy. (photo by Megan Stump)

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A look into the future: Walt Disney World 2025 – part 2

by on December 13, 2015

A lot can change in 10 years. In part one of our peer into the future of the Walt Disney World resort, we looked at changes in the theme parks and ticketing (hint: ticket prices will rise). In part two, we look at the resort hotels, Disney Springs, and Disney transportation, which has a more exciting future than you might imagine. We know that the Disney company is planning to develop more land on property, due to this report on a request to increase the amount of land it will restore on its preserve to offset wetlands development. Ultimately, any additions will be focused on accommodating ever-increasing crowds and growing revenue.

Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols

Expect more well-themed value and moderate resorts in the image of Art of Animation. (Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols)

New resort hotels: Rising attendance and demand will continue to drive the development of new resort hotels in Disney’s never-ending quest to keep as many travelers in the Disney bubble as possible. Recently, high-end additions such as the Polynesian bungalows have stirred talk that Disney is catering to the “1 percent,” and neglecting middle-class travelers. To counter that notion, future development will include well-themed value or moderate resorts along the lines of Disney’s Art of Animation. The new resorts will offer more variety in room sizes, responding to a demand for larger family suites. As more “Star Wars” sequels are released, a Star Wars-themed resort will  capitalize on the success of Star Wars Land and become an attraction that draws visitors beyond the parks. The success of Pandora-The World of Avatar expands attendance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, creating demand for additional rooms near that park. Perhaps an Asian theme would complement the African-themed Animal Kingdom Lodge, though likely without the live animals of that resort. Alternately, if next year’s animated feature “Zootopia” is a big hit, Disney may opt for a more cartoony version of an animal-themed resort.

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SATURDAY SIX: The Six Best Souvenir Cups at Walt Disney World

by on December 5, 2015

This week’s  SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Best Souvenir Cups at Walt Disney World. Regular readers of the SATURDAY SIX already know we consider souvenir cups one of the best souvenirs at Walt Disney World. They are relatively inexpensive, and something practical that you can use back at home (which serves double duty as it mentally can bring you back to The World). In the last several years Disney has made some exceptional souvenir cups, and today we are going to look at the best of the best. So sit back, grab a a straw, and prepare yourself as we start off with…

# 6 – WDW Resort Refillable Mug

One thing that has driven us absolutely crazy over the past few years is Disney going to a standard cup for all of it’s onsite resorts. Gone are the days of cups unique to each hotel and instead we’ve received a rarely-changed design that is ubiquitous across property. Compare this to Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort,which just opened last year and already has had four different designs for its refillable mugs including  TWO Christmas-themed designs.

Recently Disney introduced a new refillable cup for its onsite hotels, and while we still wish each resort had its own, this is a humongous step in the right direction.

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Walt Disney World refillable mugs.

What makes this cup so great is all the little details throughout. First it has Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto driving through a stylized version of the iconic Walt Disney World sign. Who doesn’t get a smile on their face when driving past this sign? The cup even has Donald taking a picture of it with his phone, something all of us have done as well. The road ahead of Mickey and the gang features Disney’s Value Resorts including Art of Animation, Pop Century, and the All-Stars.

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Value resorts.

This section of the cup features a look at a purple Disney road sign (featuring shout outs to Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, and Old Key West) as well as representations of Disney’s monorail resorts (The Contemporary, Polynesian Village, and Grand Floridian).

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Deluxe resorts.

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 4: Blood Orange Side Car at Swizzle Lounge

by on December 4, 2015

We’re back with everyone’s favorite theme park advent calendar: a daily countdown of our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld building anticipation to the Big Day. 

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY FOUR: Blood Orange Side Car at Swizzle Lounge (Cabana Bay Beach Resort)

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Blood Orange Side Car at Swizzle Lounge. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort – the new gold standard in theme park value hotels – will start your vacation off on the right foot as one of its best bars is located in the lobby. We know what you are thinking, lobby bars are usually the absolute worst, but Swizzle Lounge is a cocktail bar that feels like it came right off the set of Mad Men. A throwback to the ’50s and ’60s, Swizzle Lounge offers a wide selection of cocktails, wines, draft beers, and local craft beers. There’s a lot of fantastic choices on their menu, including the Swizzle Rum Punch, Pimm’s Cup, and Cucumber Gimlet, but our best bet is the Blood Orange Side Car.

Having a nice, smooth bourbon flavor with a hint of sour and orange, a Blood Orange Side Car is going to take you back to a simpler time.

Ingredients: Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Solerno, Sour, and Blood Orange Puree.

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Blood Orange Side Car. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Grand Floridian Gingerbread House and More 2015 Holiday Fun

by on December 3, 2015

Walt Disney World‘s theme parks are world famous for their holiday decorations, but their hotels aren’t far behind when it comes to decking the halls, and the flagship Grand Floridian resort is certainly no exception. The 17th annual erection of the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House is always a sure sign that Christmas is on it’s way, and 2015’s confectionary cottage looks as delicious as ever.

 

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Wicker reindeer and green garlands greet guests arriving at the Grand Floridian. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Let’s begin with a look around the Grand Floridian lobby, which once again sports one of the most magnificent indoor Christmas trees you’ll find on Disney property.

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 3: Godiva Chocolate Martini at Mizner’s Lounge

by on December 3, 2015

We’re back with everyone’s favorite theme park advent calendar: a daily countdown of our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld building anticipation to the Big Day. 

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWO: Godiva Chocolate Martini at Mizner’s Lounge (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort)

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Mizner’s Godiva Chocolate Martini. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Located on the second floor of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Mizner’s Lounge has an intimate setting, indoor seating and a full bar menu. Because Mizner’s is located in the Main Building of the Grand Flo, it is nearby to the live jazz band that plays during the day and we have a hard time finding something more relaxing then sipping on a Godiva Chocolate Martini while listening to that wonderful music (the band even plays Christmas songs during the holiday season). As a bonus, Mizner’s offers mixed nuts to its bar patrons, and as one of the few “free” things you can get at WDW, be sure to take advantage.

Ingredients: Stoli Vanil Vodka, Godiva Chocolate Liqueur, White Crème de Cacao, and Frangelico

There are many fantastic Cast Members at Walt Disney World and we’d like to send a big thank you for years of great service to Tammy, a longtime bartender at Mizner’s.

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Ingredients of Mizner’s Chocolate Martini. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 1: Polynesian Pearl at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto

by on December 1, 2015

We’re back with everyone’s favorite theme park advent calendar: a daily countdown of our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld building anticipation to the Big Day. 

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where the drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY ONE: Polynesian Pearl at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)

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Polynesian Pearl at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Known for its trademark tiki mugs, one of the most popular drinks at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto is the Polynesian Pearl. Ingredients: RumChata Cream Liqueur, Grand Marnier, and Cinnamon with Tropical Juices.  

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Trivia Tuesday: Disney’s BoardWalk Resort + Video

by on December 1, 2015

BoardWalk_LOGOWhat do I love more than the parks at Walt Disney World?

Disney’s BoardWalk Resort.

Click below to find out why!

Have any future video suggestions? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Youtube for more information on your Disney travel needs!

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Taking Your Parents to Walt Disney World: Choosing a Resort

by on November 20, 2015

Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols

Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols

This is Part 2 of a series about taking parents to Walt Disney World. You can read Part 1 here.

Thanks to the folks at the WDW Today podcast, I was able to put together a timeline of things that my parents and I will have to do to prepare for our Walt Disney World trip. I put it together in August and sent it to my father…and then completely forgot about it.

Suddenly a couple of weeks ago, I realized that some of those things on the timeline were quickly approaching. I called up my dad and we discussed a few things concerning our lodging. With his input, I know that we made some good choices.

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Extend the Magic: Using Photo Books to Tell Your Story

by on November 6, 2015

extend the magic

Photo books are a great way to extend the magic of your trip!

I’m sure you’ve all been there – your Disney vacation is over and the dreaded Disney blues set in and all you want to do is extend the magic from your trip. The end of a Disney trip can be depressing, but I’ve developed methods for extending the magic past the vacation so I can bask in the Disney happiness just a little bit longer. One of my main methods of doing this is through the creation of photo books.

Now I know what you might be thinking, “Photo books? Anyone can create photos books to document a vacation! What makes your method so special?” Well I’m glad you asked. I approach photo book creation for Disney trips from a unique angle. Rather than just documenting step-by-step the different events that take place on a trip, I attempt to find a new and different storytelling theme for every photo book I create. My desire is that the photo books not only transport us back to the wonderful memories from the trip, but also make us laugh at the way I chose to tell the story. Essentially, I’ve embraced the idea of being goofy. Let me break down my process step by step.

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