Resorts

SATURDAY SIX: Six Ways To Get Your Disney Fix Outside of the Theme Parks

by on January 10, 2015

This week’s  SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Ways To Get Your Disney Fix Outside of the Theme Parks. No one loves the Disney theme parks more than us, but sometimes you just can’t get to them no matter how much you want to be there. So today we are going to look at various ways you can get a taste of WDW, without paying the $90-$95 ticket cost to enter the turnstiles. Be forewarned, the more you quench your Disney thirst, the more you are going to want to book your next trip into the parks.

We are going to start off taking the 30,000 foot view (© Jim Hill) and look at things that anyone can enjoy anywhere in the world, while eventually making our way down to things available closer to the actual theme parks in Florida. With that out of the way, let’s being our countdown, starting with…

# 6 – Disney Related Books

DisneyBooks_Grassey

Selection of theme park books. (photo by Tim Grassey)

If you haven’t started already, now is the time to build your Disney library. Reading about Walt Disney World (as well as Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line) is a great way to stay connected with the theme parks, no matter where you are. Anyone reading the SATURDAY SIX should be well versed on travel planning books, such as the Unofficial Guide to WDW 2015, but that theme park bible is just the tip of the iceberg. There are books on finding Hidden Mickeys, books on Disney Imagineers, and books on Disney attractions. I personally love the Imagineering Field Guides (such as the ones for Animal Kingdom and Epcot) because of their small size, allowing me to take them with me on the go without a hassle.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Here are the Polynesian DVC room layouts

by on January 8, 2015

The images below fell off the back of a truck. Here’s a set of studio rooms showing their layouts; the extended room shows an ADA-accessible balcony:

Disney Polynesian Resort DVC Studio layout

Here’s the 2-bedroom bungalow layout. Estimates are that these will rent for a bit less than the King Kamehameha Suite – maybe around $2,500 – $3,000 per night – when they’re available.

Disney Polynesian Bungalow Layout

Three grand is a lot of money for one night in a hotel room. I’m not sure I’d sell my first-born for that. I probably wouldn’t even consider a long-term lease.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disney World AP Discounts Released for Travel through mid-June

by on January 8, 2015

t_logo_fbDisney has released Annual Passholder discounts most nights through mid-June at Walt Disney World resorts:

There are two discounted percentages. The higher discount is for travel dates April 6 to June 15, 2015.

  • All-Star Sports and Music, Pop Century: 15-25%
  • Art of Animation suites: 15-20%
  • Coronado Springs, Caribbean Beach, Port Orleans Riverside: 20-30%
  • Deluxe resorts and villas: 30-37%

Exclusions: All-Star Movies, Port Orleans French Quarter, Fort Wilderness campsites, Grand Floridian Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian villas, all 3-bedroom villas.

Thanks to Tammy Whiting of www.StorybookDestinations.com for the information.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

An Evening out with Yehaa Bob at Disney World’s Riverside Resort

by on January 4, 2015

Copyright - Bob Jackson

Copyright –  Yehaa Bob Jackson

Have you ever had interaction with one of the blue nametag elite at one of the Disney parks? Do you know that the blue nametag has special meaning? Those who wear it have received the highest honor of being bestowed with the Legacy Award, which is the highest honor cast members, crew members, and Imagineers can achieve at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Recipients are nominated and selected by their leaders and peers for consistently inspiring others, going out of their way to create happiness for guests and other team members, and finding new ways to deliver Disney magic.

One of the recipients of the Legacy Award in 2013 was the lively entertainer Yehaa Bob Jackson, who has been with the company for more than 17 years. To be honest, Bob was not even on my Disney radar until rather recently, but has quickly risen to one of my favorite reasons to love Disney. His shows are family friendly, loud, and just a righteous good time.

Flashback: Three years ago during our first stay at Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. One evening, on our way back to our room we walked by the bar area and witnessed a raucous crowd who we assumed were just loud inebriated guests.

Fast Forward: One year later a fellow Disney friend was excitedly telling me about an upcoming show he was going to Ohio featuring Yehaa Bob. I concealed my ignorance and rejoiced for him. But immediately took to the internet to see who this Disney personality was. What I found were scenes of our “inebriated guests” from the year before. Only, they weren’t inebriated. And some of them were kids! I knew I had to see him in person.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

1989: A Disney World Album

by on January 2, 2015

Did you know that Disney World has a hit album of its own? The year 1989 was a big year for Disney World as guests enjoyed a number of new attractions, restaurants, and even new parks! In fact, a number of new sights and experiences that made their first appearance in 1989 are just as popular today as they were then. So let’s take a look at 1989: A Disney World Album to see what hits debuted at Disney World twenty-five years ago.

Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon

This Disney World water park opened on June 1, 1989 and has charmed guests for years with its scattered, windblown theme. The story behind the park is that a typhoon swept through and turned a tropical paradise upside down as evidenced by the leaning buildings, shipwrecks, and other odds and ends strewn about in a rather amusing fashion. The icon of the park is a shrimp boat, the “Miss Tilly,” which the storm left perched atop Mount Mayday. The centerpiece of the park, and probably its biggest claim to fame, is the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool. It is one of the largest wave pools in the world releasing 6 foot waves every 90 seconds! In my opinion, this pool is worth a visit to Typhoon Lagoon alone. Believe me, once you’ve spent some time here, you will be ruined on any other wave pool anywhere else for life. Although, there is more to be enjoyed at Typhoon Lagoon, such as the thrilling Humunga Cowabunga slides, the relaxing Castaway Creek, the Crush n’ Gusher water coasters, and so much more. Typhoon Lagoon also is famous for Shark Reef, where guests have the opportunity to snorkel around a shipwreck with bonnethead and leopard sharks, stingrays, and schools of fish. What makes this experience even better? Your snorkeling equipment is free with the price of admission! While some guests prefer the incredible wintry theme and thrills of Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon’s laid back, tropical atmosphere and incredible surf pool makes it my favorite of Disney’s water parks.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Review: Animal Kingdom Lodge DVC Deluxe Studio Villa at Kidani Village

by on December 31, 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 Animal Kingdom Lodge in this review of an Animal Kingdom Lodge DVC Deluxe Studio Villa at Kidani Village.

Kidani Village Lobby

Kidani Village Lobby

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 from a 3rd party or directly from other members. If you chose the latter, we recommend that you go through a reputable third party or from a member you know personally (as opposed to a random person on the internet).

My family and I had never stayed at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge before. We had dropped by the resort in years past for a dinner at Boma and to do some exploring, but that was the extent of our experience. However, for many years, we had been hearing from others that Animal Kingdom Lodge was one of the best resorts at Disney World and a big favorite; and so when we got the opportunity to stay a week in a DVC Deluxe Studio Villa at the resort’s Kidani Village, we couldn’t turn down the chance to check it out for ourselves.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

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! 

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

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)

lapulapu_tp

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

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.

1

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print