Resorts

Disney World Winter Vacation: Planning for Pool Time?

by on December 26, 2014

Kidani Pool. Photo: Disney

Water play areas like this one at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village, make for wet fun even when adults don’t want to swim. Photo Copyright: Disney

The other day, I was walking through the grounds of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and heard a family of three planning their afternoon. It went a little like this:

Mom: “And so we’re going back to the room…”

Child (Age 3 or 4): “I want to go swimming.”

Mom: “And we’ll take a little break and then we’ll eat something…”

Child: “I want to go swimming.”

Dad: “Then we’ll go to the park and see the Christmas parade!”

Child: “I want to go swimming.”

If you spend enough time at Disney resorts, you’ll notice this is a pretty common theme of conversation. Parents are there for the action of the theme parks, kids are swooning for the pools — whether it’s a relatively boring quiet pool or a grand themed feature pool. Adults really underestimate how much the average child longs to be immersed in chlorinated water… or the temperatures at which they’re willing to do it. For some people, the cut-off temperature is 90 degrees; others might be a little more forgiving and go with 70. Every now and then I see someone in a pool when it’s 50 degrees and I have to go have a hot chocolate on their behalf. But I’ve found that there practically has to be snow on the ground for a kid to think it’s too cold to swim.

Should you plan for pool time on your Disney World winter vacation? Your kids probably think so! 

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 24: Lapu Lapu at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

by on December 24, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

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

DAY TWENTY FOUR: Lapu Lapu at the Tambu Lounge (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)

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Lapu Lapu at the Tambu Lounge.

 

We are in the middle of huge changes going on at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The Pineapple Lanai quick service station opened earlier this year, offering guests an easy way to grab a Dole Whip outside of the Magic Kingdom. The recently renovated lobby area opened, the DVC bungalows on the Poly beach should open in the spring, and 2015 will also bring the long awaited Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. While all this change is exciting, two things at this Deluxe resort are staying exactly the same: ‘Ohana and the Tambu Lounge. Located on the second floor of the Grand Ceremonial House, the Tambu Lounge is effectively the waiting area for ‘Ohana, but guests can go any time and order off the menu. Here is where you can find the iconic Lapu Lapu. Served out of an hollowed out pineapple, this legendary drink is a combination of Myers’ Original dark rum and tropical fruit juices while topped with Bacardi 151 rum.

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My Disney World Christmas Vacation Traditions

by on December 17, 2014

The most magical place on earth gets a little more magical around this time of year when the parks and resorts deck the halls with holiday finery and give Disney fans a reason to take one more Walt Disney World vacation! My family and I love to take a trip to Disney World around the holidays, and we have created a few festive traditions over the years. Check out a few of my Disney World Vacation Christmas Traditions.

Downtown Disney's Days of Christmas Store

Downtown Disney’s Days of Christmas Store

Buying a New Ornament

It just wouldn’t be right to leave Disney World around Christmastime without a new ornament to add to our tree. My favorite place to shop for ornaments is the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe at the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. I love how it feels like we’re walking through an old, colonial home. For a wider variety of Christmas décor, we like to drop by Disney’s Days of Christmas Store at Downtown Disney, where it really does feel like Christmas all year round.

Holidays Around the World

Epcot’s World Showcase is one of my favorite corners of Disney World, and I especially enjoy Holidays Around the World this time of year, where performances educate guests about the different holiday traditions of their respective countries. It’s a lot of fun to hear and see how other countries celebrate the holidays. Our favorites would be Father Christmas at the United Kingdom and the Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers at the American Adventure. The special holiday treats and the chance to do a little Christmas shopping is pretty great too. After all, there’s no chance that what you’re buying as a gift is something someone already has when you shop at the stores in the Norway or China or Morocco pavilions.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: December 11, 2014

by on December 11, 2014

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting the Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and even checking into a Little Mermaid room. Then we’re stopping by Downtown Disney, Disney’s Hollywood StudiosDisney’s Fort Wilderness Campground, and finishing off at the Magic Kingdom. There is oh so much fun this week – so let’s get going! :)

The decorations at Art of Animation might surprise you! I know I wasn’t expecting a white Christmas tree with every color of the rainbow wrapped around it! But the design couldn’t be more fitting for this bright and happy hotel. Want to see more decorations and a Little Mermaid room? Be sure to click to read more below.

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Review of a Disney’s Beach Club One Bedroom DVC Villa

by on December 4, 2014

While Disney World offers a vast variety of different resorts to choose from for guests staying on property, the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Villas offer even more options and experiences, particularly when it comes to room sizes! During my last few trips to Disney World, I had the opportunity to enjoy stays at several different DVC Villas; but today, I’m zeroing in on Disney’s Beach Club Villas in this review of a Disney’s Beach Club One Bedroom DVC Villa. 

Disney's Beach Club Resort

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

First of all, the Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s own timeshare program where members purchase and use points for their vacation experiences. It can be difficult to understand, but Disney Vacation Club (DVC) 101: What is DVC? can help fill in the gaps. If you are not a Disney Vacation Club Member, the good news is that you can still stay at a DVC Resort! You can do so by booking through Disney, just as you would any other resort; however, other guests like to rent points or even buy points from other members, but you definitely want to make sure that the seller is legitimate and reliable.

Earlier this year, my family and I booked a stay at one bedroom DVC Villa at Disney’s Beach Club. This resort is very popular and has one of the best locations at Disney World in that it’s next door to its sister resort, the Yacht Club, as well as the Swan and Dolphin Resort. Across the water, there is the Boardwalk Inn Resort and the Boardwalk itself with it’s dining, shopping, and live entertainment to take advantage of. But wait! It’s get even better! The Beach Club is also a short walk from Epcot, and a somewhat longer walk, or boat ride, to Hollywood Studios. In fact, during my stay, I could see the fireworks from Epcot’s Illuminations from the Beach Club grounds.

The Beach Club features a light and airy, beach theme with a vintage flair. Pastels and little seaside details can be found all throughout the resort, from the carpets to the light fixtures; but one of the things the Beach Club is most known for is it’s pool, Stormalong Bay. Many say it is the best pool on Disney World property and I would agree!

The smallest villa offered at the Beach Club Villas is a Deluxe Villa, which sleeps up to four adults. It’s similar to a standard resort room, just with more amenities. The next size villa is a one bedroom, which is what I’m focusing on today. This villa can also sleep up to four adults, but it offers more space than a Deluxe Villa. Finally, the largest villa offered at the Beach Club is a two bedroom villa, which can sleep up to eight adults.

My family and I had stayed at the Beach Club before, but never in a villa so we were excited to enjoy a whole new experience at this gorgeous resort.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: December 4, 2014

by on December 4, 2014

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re popping into the Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney for quick updates, exploring the Christmas decorations at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort and Disney’s Beach Club Resort, then wrapping up with some holidays around the world at Epcot. Sounds like fun, right? Well then let’s get started! :)

About five years ago I decided to have Thanksgiving lunch in the Magic Kingdom. After spending almost an hour fighting to park and catch the monorail over, I vowed never to visit on the holiday again. Well, with the park open until 1am that night I broke down and decided to give it a try this weekend. I was pleasantly surprised, it was crowded but not too bad. We were able to hop on a couple rides with FastPass+ and noticed the Totally Tomorrowland Christmas show was already playing during regular park hours! This show is always offered during the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but it was nice to see it without paying for the additional ticket. It’s a cute show that I recommend! Want to see what else is new this week? Be sure to click below the photo to read more.

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Review of a Saratoga Springs Two Bedroom DVC Villa

by on November 26, 2014

While Disney World offers a vast variety of different resorts to choose from for guests staying on property, the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Villas offer even more options and experiences, particularly when it comes to room sizes! During my last few trips to Disney World, I had the opportunity to enjoy stays at several different DVC Villas; but today, I’m zeroing in on Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa in this review of a Saratoga Springs Two Bedroom DVC Villa.

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Saratoga Springs Congress Park

First of all, the Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s own timeshare program where members purchase and use points for their vacation experiences. It can be difficult to understand, but Disney Vacation Club (DVC) 101: What is DVC? can help fill in the gaps. If you are not a Disney Vacation Club Member, the good news is that you can still stay at a DVC Resort! You can do so by booking through Disney, just as you would any other resort; however, other guests like to rent points or even buy points from other members, but you definitely want to make sure that the seller is legitimate and reliable.

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Menu Monday: How to Order the Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert

by on November 24, 2014

Looking for a way to make a special meal at a Disney World restaurant even more magical? How about something to commemorate a birthday, anniversary, proposal, or milestone? If so, this Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert may be just what you’re looking for! What is it? It’s a perfectly royal way to satisfy your sweet tooth and to celebrate a special occasion at Disney World. It consists of a chocolate shell shaped as Cinderella’s famous glass footwear, along with a few other sweet compliments and a personalized message tailored to your celebration. Find out how to order the Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert for your next special event at Disney World.

Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert

Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert

Location

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Details at the Four Seasons Orlando

by on November 20, 2014

When I first visited the Four Seasons Orlando back in August, the first thing I noticed was how grand it was to drive back into the property (past the mansions under construction for Golden Oak). But when I walked into the lobby, the hotel struck me with an interesting blend of grandiose and intimate at the same time.

Unlike, say, a Disney Value Resort that will practically smack you upside the head with theming, there wasn’t a lot at the resort that screamed “Look at me!!” But after wandering around the beautifully tiled floors on the way to breakfast, I knew I wanted to spend some more time just looking around. When I slowed down to really take a good look, all sorts of details appeared. Here’s a few of my favorites.

Chandelier

The simply stunning fireworks chandelier is the first thing you will see as you enter the Four Seasons Orlando. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

The simply stunning fireworks chandelier is the first thing you will see as you enter the Four Seasons Orlando. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

 

The very first thing that caught my eye the minute that I walked in to the lobby was the amazing chandelier. This beautiful work of art was designed in the Czech Republic by Jozef Baca and Veronika Kopecna and can best be described as a chandelier that captures the magnificence of a fireworks grand finale exploding in the night sky. It is made of more than 30,000 crystal pieces illuminated by 250 sleeves of LED lights. It really puts the grand in grand entry.

 

 

 

 

 

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#Everywhere – A Review of the Anaheim Camelot Inn & Suites

by on November 18, 2014

Exterior (6)On my recent trip to Disneyland we stayed at the Anaheim Camelot Inn & Suites, which is outside the resort area, but by only a little bit. We chose this particular hotel because we were told it was clean and that it was definitely close to the parks. We found both of those things to be true and were, for the most part, impressed with the property. Of course, there is a little more to it than that, which is good because this would be a very short post otherwise.

The Price

For many travelers, the cost of the hotel is the largest single expense. The Camelot cost us an average of $150.93 per night, which meant our 6 night stay cost $905.58 (including tax). Here is how that number compares to some of the Disney hotels in both California and Florida for the same dates (Prices found on MouseSavers.com):

  • Camelot Inn – $151 per night
  • Disneyland Hotel – $455 per night
  • Paradise Pier Hotel (Disneyland) – $342 per night
  • Grand Californian Hotel (Disneyland) – $526 per night
  • All-Star Sports (Walt Disney World Value Resort) – $124 per night
  • Caribbean Beach (Walt Disney World Moderate Resort) – $217 per night
  • Beach Club (Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort) – $494 per night

Now all of those are the full price rate, most of which can be discounted with various promotions, but it is still illuminating. The cost for the Camelot was less than half the price of the closest Disneyland on-property hotel (Paradise Pier) and right in between the cost for a Walt Disney World Value and Moderate.

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