Resorts

The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Have Been Renamed

by on October 27, 2016

Disney's Wilderness Lodge

©Disney

With all the changes occurring at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge have officially been renamed. The Villas are now called Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. This was done to more accurately reflect that infamous railroad theming that Guests can experience when visiting. (Like the Carolwood Pacific Room, where you can see two railroad cars that once ran around Walt Disney’s backyard.)

Establishing the Boulder Ridge Villas name is part of a project to expand the Disney Vacation Club presence at the resort, with the upcoming Copper Creek Villas and Cabins expected to open in 2017.

Stay tuned for more info about the changes occurring at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge!

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TouringPlansTV: Part 2 – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge + Video

by on October 25, 2016

Boma Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Boma Restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge

Ready for Part 2 of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge?

Me too!

In this video, I’ll be discussing the pools, restaurants and amenities.

Enjoy!

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TouringPlansTV: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort – Part One + Video

by on October 19, 2016

Animal Kingdom Lodge LobbyToday’s episode of TouringPlansTV features Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort! This is located in the Animal Kingdom park area of Walt Disney World.

In Part One, I’ll be discussing the resort’s theme, rooms, room views and transportation.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Family Friendly Desserts at Walt Disney World Your Kids Won’t Forget!

by on October 15, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Family Friendly Desserts at Walt Disney World Your Kids Won’t Forget! Recent SATURDAY SIX articles have had us looking at some of the great drinks you can get at the WDW hotel lounges (such as the Northwest Exposure at Wilderness Lodge’s Territory Lounge or the Abita Flight at Port Orleans Riverside’s River Roost Lounge) along with some unique burger offerings on property including ESPN Club’s Old World Bavarian Burger or The Mad King at Splitsville. Today we are going to go straight to the end of the menu and look at some of the most unique, outrageous, and – at times – next level bonkers desserts on Disney property. So sit back, loosen up that belt on your pants, and let’s begin our list with…

# 6 – “DESSERT”ED ISLAND (Todd English’s bluezoo)

One of the most underrated dining experiences in all of “The World” is at Todd English’s bluezoo in the Dolphin at Walt Disney World. bluezoo is known for its world class bar that has one amazing cocktail after another (we recommend to start with the Burnt Orange or the Swedish Fish) but the restaurant’s dinner menu may be the true “best kept secret” at Disney. The Crispy Asian Pork Ribs appetizer is  somehow better than the mouth-watering ribs at Morimoto Asia. On the way to the dining room, guests will also pass by a unique circular rotisserie that makes the fish being grilled on it seem to dance on the coals. On the menu, this is presented as “this evening’s dancing fish.” So with a sense of style, originality, and wit you don’t often see in restaurants, it is no surprise that bluezoo also features a Must Try dessert.

The “Dessert”ed Island follows the grand tradition of Disney as it actually is based on story. This story features “a chocolate boat filled with vanilla ice cream sailing the Jell-O seas to explore chocolate island.” If more stories were like that I bet Millenials would read more. All of the chocolate pieces, including the ship and sails, along with the palm tree, are actually made in-house at the Swan and Dolphin. Just a spectacularly fun way to end a meal. ($9.00)

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“Dessert” ed Island. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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One of the “dancing” fish.

# 5 – Everything Pop Sundae (Disney’s Pop Century)

No one believes this when I tell them, but the Everything Pop food court at Disney’s Pop Century is hands-down the “restaurant” at Walt Disney World I visit the most. Why? Because it’s the one place at WDW where you can get a Sloppy Joe. We all have that favorite Disney food or snack. Some guests love their Mickey Waffles, some prefer the cheddar cheese soup at Le Cellier, and others keep coming back for the bread pudding at ‘Ohana, but for me it’s the Sloppy Joe at Everything Pop.

Many SATURDAY SIX readers know of the Everything Pop food court because of the infamous Pop-Tart Sandwich. An inaugural theme park Turkey of the Year nominee, the Pop-Tart sandwich uses Pop-Tarts as the “bread” for a sandwich that has egg in the form of a hockey puck along with cheese and bacon melded together in a twisted form straight out of John Carpenter’s The Thing. But believe it or not, the sandwich is not the only item at the Everything Pop food court which uses Pop-Tarts. The Everything Pop Sundae features six flavors of ice cream, brownies, bananas, M&Ms, gummy worms, marshmallows, rainbow jimmies, chocolate fudge, caramel sauce, whipped cream, Maraschino cherries and Pop-Tarts sticking out of the top like monoliths. You may ask yourself “why, gummy worms?” That’s a very good question. ($10.99)

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Everything Pop Sundae. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Everything Pop Sundae. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Everything Pop Sundae. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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TouringPlansTV: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort Part 2 + Video

by on October 11, 2016

Photo - TouringPlans.comWelcome back to TouringPlansTV!

Today is Part 2 of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. I’ll be discussing Dining, Transportation and Amenities.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We LOVE Disney’s BoardWalk Resort

by on October 8, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We LOVE Disney’s BoardWalk Resort. While we have done articles on several of our favorite Walt Disney World resorts, including Animal Kingdom Lodge, Art of Animation, and Coronado Springs, it was the BoardWalk Inn & Villas which was the hardest to cut down to just our six favorite things. The overall depth of theming and amount of details throughout the resort is second to none. 

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Disney’s BoardWalk.

The BoardWalk was the second of Disney Vacation Club properties to be built (following Old Key West) and its “story” revolves around  the great East Coast boardwalk areas of the 1920s and 30s. In the early part of the 20th century, places like Coney Island in New York and Atlantic City in New Jersey were the Walt Disney World of their day. Attractions, restaurants, hotels… they were the place to be. Disney Imagineers and architect Robert A.M. Stern pulled from this incredible era of history of America to create Disney’s BoardWalk and left tons of wonderful details for guests to appreciate. The details are just one of the many reasons we think this resort is the bee’s knees, so let’s begin counting down our top six reasons starting with…

# 6 – The Lobby

There are some lobbies at Walt Disney World which will have you picking your jaw off the floor (most notably the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Wilderness Lodge) but what the BoardWalk lacks in expansiveness it makes up for in fantastic show elements, such as the gorgeous Hippocampus Electrolier hanging above. A hippocampus is a creature from Greek mythology that is part horse, part fish, while electrolier is a name for a ceiling fixture holding electric lamps (a name which never took hold and is just referred to as a chandelier today.) Weighing in at 3,000 pounds and intricately detailed, this may very well be the most impressive chandelier on Disney property, and imagine what that is saying.

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The BoardWalk’s stunning hippocampus electrolier. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Hanging above the check-in desks are three paintings of Disney castles. There is one each for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris. The reason for this is that in the 1920s/30s, cameras were nowhere near as ubiquitous as they are today. Much of what people saw, even in advertisements, were paintings. These castle paintings, and the gold carousel rounding boards that frame them, help make the BoardWalk’s registration area one of the best at WDW.

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A majestic painting of the castle at Disneyland Paris. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Walking through the BoardWalk’s lobby you will be drawn to the glass display cases featuring a miniature carousel and a reproduction of the Flip Flap Railway roller coaster. The closer you get to the carousel the bigger your eyes open as you take in the details. This is a to-scale model created by Marcus Charles Illions (the developer of the “Coney Island Style” of carousel wood carving) and bought by Disney from Illions’ granddaughter. Imagineers restored the carousel to its original grandeur, and even added a little Disney magic.

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BoardWalk lobby’s miniature carousel.

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Hurricane Matthew: Fort Wilderness Voluntary Evacuation — Disney World Not Accepting Reservations This Week

by on October 5, 2016

The wonderfully helpful Annette Johnson from Mouse Trip Travel sent us this information:

Guest staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness were contacted by Fort Wilderness staff yesterday and were strongly encouraged to voluntarily evacuate to an available room at one of the Disney World moderate hotels or a family suite at Disney’s Art of Animation resort. They were told that, depending on what Hurricane Matthew does, Disney may have to house the passengers from two of the Disney Cruise ships so they could voluntarily move now when they were guaranteed a room or wait until mandatory evacuations where there may or may not be rooms available and they could end up on a cot in one of the Disney ballrooms.

Fort Wilderness cast members were going from site to site talking to the guests there. If the guests were not available, a letter on Fort Wilderness stationery was left that reads:

October 4, 2016

Dear Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground Guest,

WE stopped by your campsite, and we’re sorry that we missed you. As you may be aware, we continue to closely monitor the progress of Hurricane Matthew.

Due to the potential inclement weather beginning Thursday evening, we ask that all Campsite Guests contact the Reception Outpost. We would like to re-confirm your plans for the next two evenings and assist you with arranging alternate accommodations.

For your continued comfort, we strongly recommend that you contact us at your earliest convenience by visiting us in person at the Reception Outpost, dialing 17 from the nearest comfort station house phone, or dialing 407-824-2727 from an outside line.

We look forward to assisting you.

Sincerely,

John Stafford
General Manager
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground

Guests scheduled to check into Fort Wilderness in the next couple of days are being told that they are monitoring the situation are advised to call today. Disney is required to evacuate Fort Wilderness when winds reach 30 mph. Since it looks like winds will probably exceed that, they will most likely be contacting incoming Fort Wilderness guests by phone to make alternate arrangements ahead of their arrival. Disney booking engines are not allowing guests to book any new reservation for the next few days and guest services confirmed that they are not allowing any new bookings into that period to keep rooms available for current guests that must be moved to new accommodations and for the possibility that they may need to house some Disney Cruise Line Guests.

Should that need to ask guests to remain at their resort, Guest Services said they will be offering activities like character meet-and-greets at the resorts to help pass the time.

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TouringPlansTV: Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort + Video

by on October 4, 2016

Photo - T.J. Van Fechtmann

Wilderness Lodge Resort

This week’s episode of TouringPlansTV is all about Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. This is located in the Magic Kingdom area of Walt Disney World.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We LOVE Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

by on September 24, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We LOVE Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. With 26 on-site resorts at Walt Disney World, there is a wide variety of choices for families coming down. We’ve covered many here on the SATURDAY SIX including Value Resorts (Art of Animation and Pop Century), Moderates (Port Orleans French Quarter and Caribbean Beach), and Deluxe (Contemporary and Animal Kingdom Lodge). We also can’t forget the Disney Vacation Club resorts such as Old Key West. Today we are going to take a look at one of WDW’s most underrated resorts, Disney’s Coronado Springs.

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Disney’s Coronado Springs, a member of the Moderate Resorts.

There are several reasons Coronado Springs doesn’t get the love and attention the other Disney resorts do. The biggest factor is that caters heavily towards the business convention crowd as opposed to primarily vacationing families. Ironically, this feature actually provides some of the biggest benefits for families, but we’ll get to that later. Because Coronado Springs is relatively off the beaten path at WDW (it sits close to Blizzard Beach, Winter Summerland mini-golf, but little else,) it’s not a place you generally run into while enjoying something else at The World. We’re here to let you know that you should go out of your way to check out Coronado Springs, and we have our six best reasons at the ready. So sit back, remember to practice your piñata swings, and let’s begin our list with…

# 6 – The Dig Site: Home of The Lost City of Cibola

For many families, including ours, a resort’s pool area plays a major factor when it comes to deciding where to stay. When thinking of Disney’s best pools, places like Yacht & Beach Club’s Stormalong Bay and Caribbean Beach’s Fuentes del Morro pool come immediately to mind. The Dig Site at Coronado Springs is right up there with the best pool areas on property as it is jam packed with great things to do for every family member, big or small.

The headliner is The Lost City of Cibola pool. With a jaw dropping 50 foot tall pyramid and 123 foot long Jaguar waterslide, this is a main pool that has both the “wow factor” and is incredibly fun. Surrounding the main pool is the largest hot tub at WDW, an incredible children’s play area themed to Mayan ruins, the awesome Siestas pool bar, and the best themed volleyball court we’ve ever seen. Siestas has a To-Go food window that is actually open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while the actual bar features several signature cocktails including the Coronado Crush. This is the absolute perfect pool area for those who want to take a midday break away from the parks, or just spend an “off day” totally on-site at the resort. As a bonus, because the resort is often filled with conventioneers and couples without kids, those with children have much less congestion while enjoying the amenities.

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The Dig Site.

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The Lost City of Cibola pool. The Jaguar Slide is on the right, while the elaborate children’s play area is on the left.

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Now that’s a pool!

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The #story of the waterslide is that it features a “spitting Jaguar spirit animal.”

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Five things you might not know about Animal Kingdom Lodge

by on September 19, 2016

If you’ve never walked through Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, either as a guest or just a visitor, you’re missing some of the Imagineers’ best work on Walt Disney World property.

Yes, the location is a bit further off the beaten path than other Deluxe Resorts, but that could be considered intentional. It’s set apart because it’s unlike any other resort on property, both aesthetically and culturally.  When you enter the Animal Kingdom Lodge, you entering a place where the Disney characters have been pushed to the background and the African continent is front and center.

So in that spirit, here are five things you might not know about the Animal Kingdom Lodge that help make it well worth a stay or visit.

Authentic African art

The Animal Kingdom Lodge is home to the largest collection of African art outside of the African continent. Many of the most impressive pieces, like the 16-foot-tall Igbo Ijele mask, are in the lobby. You can find even more pieces of art just walking the corridors of the resort. Between Jambo House and Kidani Village, more than 800 artifacts are on display, making the entire resort a museum of sorts. Take the time to browse the displays, many of which have descriptions and countries of origins listed.

Igbo Ijele mask in the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby, featuring chandeliers designed to look like Maasai shields.

Igbo Ijele mask in the lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge lobby, featuring chandeliers designed to look like Maasai shields.

An African garment adorns a corner in one of the hallways of African Kingdom Lodge.

An African garment adorns a corner in one of the hallways of African Kingdom Lodge.

It’s not just the sights of all the artwork. The sounds of the African background music played throughout the resort transports visitors as well. After returning from a stay at the Lodge, you might just find yourself scouring the Internet for the music you heard. Here’s a listing compiled by the AKL Resort site with links to purchase many of the songs on the resort background loop.

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