These days the typical character meal runs about $30 per adult. Thatâ€™s a hefty price tag considering most of the food is marginal at best. What youâ€™re really paying for is the convenience of the characters coming to you without waiting in a long line. So what if I told you Chip and Dale do this every night free of charge?
Nestled back in the Fort Wilderness Campground, the Chip â€™n Daleâ€™s Campfire Sing-A-Long takes place every night. The fun gets started when the Chuck Wagon opens up serving all kinds of treats. (Check out the complete menu.) The timing of this event will vary by season. During the colder winter months the Sing-A-Long will get started at 7:00 pm, with the Chuck Wagon opening up roughly at 6:00 pm. In the summer everything happens an hour later, which gives it a little more time to cool off.
On this week’s episode of Ask Jim Hill, Len and Jim answer a viewer question about the future of Disney’s standalone resorts like Aulani and Hilton Head. Are they successful? Are there any plans for expansion?
Planning a Walt Disney World vacation can be intimidating.Â Thankfully, in this day and age, there are numerous resources to aid in the process (you’ve made the first right decision by visitingÂ Touring Plans, after all) – but long before decisions are made regarding what attractions Billy wants to ride, or what characters Emily wants to meet, mom and dad (or grandma and grandpa) have to have that serious discussion regarding the dreaded B word: theÂ BUDGET.
Of course, there are lots of variables that come into play when planning a Walt Disney World vacation, but in general, families should consider a few of the W’s when initiating the planning process:
Walt Disney World is ever changing, and from time to time things need to updating. That is well evidenced by some upcoming work that is in store for one of the first resorts on property, Disney’s Polynesian.
A renovation project is currently taking place at the hotel, and the construction may impact some of the views from some of the buildings. Longhouses that are affected include Buildings 5 (Hawaii), 9 (Tokelau), 10 (Tahiti), and 11 (Rapa Nui). There may some noise that will bleed through, most likely during daytime hours.
In addition, beginning some time next month, it appears that a portion of the east parking lot, near Building 11 (Rapa Nui) will close temporarily.
A few amenities will also be impacted, as access to the beach area on the eastern side of the resort will be unavailable to guests. This will include the Sunset Point area. The remainder of the resort will remain available for guests to enjoy.
Of course, rumors are floating around that this very well could be the start of Disney Vacation Club at the Polynesian; however, that has certainly not been confirmed by Disney.
The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at the Universal Orlando Resort has announced the addition of new themed Kids Suites based around the popular Despicable Me franchise. These new floor plans feature two adjoined rooms similar in style to the family suites coming to Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort opening next year. In the new suites, one room is for children, with bedding inspired by the notable missile beds from the films; the other room is a more standard room for the adults.
Our Kids Suites let mom and dad have a little privacy, and the kids have some fun! With a standard king bedroom for the adults plus a separate room for the kids, there’s plenty of space for the whole family at 650 – 675 square feet. The two separate rooms are connected via a door that can be open or closed, and feature a single entrance to the adult room. In other words, the children’s room opens only into the adult’s room, and not into the hallway. The kids rooms are decorated in fun themes and include two twin beds or bunk bed, a small table and chair set, separate closet, and a television.
I’m happy to announce our newly revamped YouTube channel! On it you will find Disney Dining Reviews, Hotel Room Tours, Attraction Ride Throughs, and other fun and informative videos. Our YouTube channel allows us to bring you even more high quality content. We will be updating the channel with new videos multiple times a week from Walt Disney World and Disneyland, so be sure to subscribe on YouTubeÂ so you don’t miss anything!
We’ve given you the basics about Disney resort pools in general and the specifics about the pools at the value and moderate level hotels. The series concludes with an in-depth look at the pools at the Walt Disney World deluxe and villa resorts: Animal Kingdom Lodge and Villas, Boardwalk Inn and Villas, Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower Villas, Grand Floridian, Old Key West, Polynesian, Saratoga Springs and Tree House Villas, Wilderness Lodge and Villas, and the Yacht & Beach Club and Beach Club Villas.
How many pools are there? There are two large pools at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, the Uzima pool at the main Jambo House, and the Samwati Spring pool in the Kidani Village villas area. There is no “quiet pool” area at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.
What is the pool themeing? The African wilderness.
What’s the kiddie pool situation? There are traditional kiddie pools in both the Jambo and Kidani pool areas. Additionally, Kidani has a large interactive water play area intended for children under 48″ tall.
Are there water slides? Yes, both pool areas have water slides. At Kidani, there is a small slide, appropriate for preschoolers, as well as a larger slide for older children. At Jambo, there is one large water slide.
Is there a nearby playground? Yes. There are playgrounds near both the Jambo and Kidani pool areas.
What’s the nearest food option? The Maji bar next to the Kidani pool offers drinks and very limited number of cold sandwich options. The Uzima Springs bar next to the Jambo pool offers drinks and a small selection of packaged snacks. The Mara quick service restaurant, with complete food offerings, is steps away from the Jambo pool.
Are there showers at the pool? Yes, there are restrooms with lockers and shower adjacent to both the Jambo and Kidani pool areas.
Are there hot tubs? Yes, there are hot tubs at both the Jambo and Kidani pool areas.
Are there towels available at the pool? Yes, towels are available at both pools.
How deep is the pool? The Jambo pool is four feet, ten inches at its deepest point. The Kidani pool is four feet, eleven inches at its deepest point.
Are there zero entry pools available? Yes. The main pools at both Jambo and Kidani have zero entry access.
Are poolside cabanas available? No.
Are there poolside activities? Yes. There are activities at both the Jambo and Kidani pools. Schedules may vary seasonally, but recently there were planned events from 1:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. every afternoon, plus a movie under the stars in the evening. Events may include: Bingo, Wild Trivia, Frisbee Toss, Giant Jenga, Chalk Art, Musical Rings, and others. Weather permitting, there is a free campfire with s’mores.
Anything else? The two sections of the Animal Kingdom Lodge are a substantial walking distance apart. Guests with preschool and elementary age children may prefer the pools at Kidani Village due to the appealing children’s water play area. Different evening movies are shown at the Jambo and Kidani areas. Feel free to view whichever film is more appealing to your family. The schedules for both will be available at the front desk.
A few weeks ago, I posted an article aimed at those of you travelers looking to plan your first ever Disney World trip. I covered three very important topicsâ€¦ requirements, when and how long, and tickets. In this second part I am going to go over transportation, accommodations, and the ever important itinerary.
I am pretty sure that almost anyone that looks at a list of possible accommodations in the Orlando area will be totally overwhelmed. There are so many options! Off property, on property, vacation homes, motels, hotels, value resorts, and even cabins! In order to make the big decision of where you are going to rest your head, you want to look at your options in categories and then break it down from there.
First off, if you have no interest in renting a car, either because you are petrified of driving around an unknown area, or because you do not need to go off of Disney property for anything, you probably should look at accommodations available to you right on Disney property. Disney hotels also work well for families looking to camp. When you are looking at on property versus off property, the major differences lie in what discounts and special perks you get from staying right with Disney. Disney offers guests staying right on property benefits like free parking at the Disney theme parks, shuttle service to and from the parks, a “magical” bus shuttle to and from Orlando International Airport, room charging privileges, package pick-up at resorts, and the ability to add-on one of the controversial Disney Dining Plans.
How many pools are there? There are seven real pools. The main feature pool, Fuentes del Morro, is located in Old Port Royale Centertown. There are also six smaller quiet pools, one each in the Martinique, Barbados, Aruba, Jamaica, Trinidad South, and Trinidad North guest room areas.
What is the pool themeing? The feature pool has an old fashioned pirate theme, with faux pirate outpost ruins.
What’s the kiddie pool situation? There is an aquatic play area, reserved for children under 48″ tall, adjacent to the main feature pool. The water around the play area is shallow and appropriate for the smallest children. There is also a small traditional kiddie pool.
Are there water slides? Yes, there are twin mini-slides in the aquatic play area. There are two medium-sized slides in the feature pool, appropriate for older children.
Is there a nearby playground? The aquatic play area functions much like a playground, with interactive elements. Traditional playgrounds are located in the Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad South village areas.
What’s the nearest food option? The Banana Cabana bar is located directly adjacent to the main feature pool. The Market Street food court and Shutters full-service restaurant are located in nearby Centertown. Other than vending machines, there are no food options near the quiet pools.
Are there showers at the pool? Yes, there is a locker room with showers located next to the main feature pool.
Are there hot tubs? Yes. There is a small hot tub located next to the main feature pool.
Are there towels available at the pool? Yes, there are towels available at the main feature pool. Towels are typically not available at the quiet pools.
How deep is the pool? The main feature pool is four feet, ten inches at its deepest point. The quiet pools average four feet, six inches at their deepest point.
Are there zero entry pools? Yes, the main feature pool has a zero entry access point. The children’s aquatic play area is also zero entry. The quiet pools are standard entry.
Are poolside cabanas available? No.
Are there poolside activities? Yes. All activities take place at the feature pool area. Schedules may vary seasonally, but recently there were planned events from 1:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. every afternoon, plus a movie under the stars in the evening. Events may include: Dance Parties, “What’s in Your Beach Bag,” “Mickey Who?,” Notable Quotes, and others. Weather permitting, there is a free campfire with s’mores.
Anything else? There are laundry facilities near the pool in each village area. There are often hair wrap artists located at the Dig Site pool mid-day. While there are plentiful beaches here, there is no swimming allowed in the lake.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of Disney pools in general, let’s get into the specific pool situation at each resort. First up are the Disney value level resorts: All-Star Movies, All-Star Music, All-Star Sports, Art of Animation, and Pop Century. Here’s the scoop on the pools at these hotels.
What is the pool themeing? The main Fantasia pool features elements from the film “Fantasia,” notably a Sorcerer Mickey statue which shoots streams of water into the center of the pool. The smaller Mighty Ducks pool features hockey themeing such as larger than life sticks and a faux goal net.
What’s the kiddie pool situation? There is one shallow kiddie pool with an adjacent water spray feature. This is located to the immediate right of the Fantasia pool, as you face the main Cinema Hall building.
Are there water slides? No.
Is there a nearby playground? There is a playground, located a bit away from the pool, near the Toy Story section of the resort.
What’s the nearest food option? The Silver Screen Spirits bar is next to the Fantasia pool. For a full menu, go inside Cinema Hall to the World Premier Food Court. There are no food options near the Mighty Ducks pool.
Are there showers at pool? Yes. There are locker rooms with showers next to both pools.
Are there hot tubs? No.
Are there towels available at the pool? No. You are welcome to use the towels from your room while you’re at the pool.
How deep is the pool? Both pools are five feet at their deepest point.
Is there are zero entry pools? No.
Are poolside cabanas available? No.
Are there poolside activities? Yes. All activities take place at the Fantasia pool area. There is one poolside ping-pong table. Schedules may vary seasonally, but recently there were planned events from 1:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. every afternoon, plus a movie under the stars in the evening. Events may include: Mickey Bean Bag toss, Twister, Musical Dots, Dance Party, Bingo, Treasure Hunt, and others.
Anything else? Laundry facilities are available next to both pools.