Resorts

Resort Hopping: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

by on October 18, 2013

Recently we were lucky enough to spend a night at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort! There is a lot to love about this property, and I’m excited to tell you about our experience. This beautiful property just marked 25 years since opening, and she has aged beautifully! For starters, below is the property map that guests receive at check-in.

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort Map

Now, I had to request an extra map to share with you guys because mine had tons of writing on it to get me to the room. If I had to describe the resort in one word, it would be: massive. While I know lots of the resorts inside and out, this isn’t one I frequent, and I can see where it would be very confusing for some. Also, due to the large size there is an internal bus system to get you around the resort. That doesn’t sound like a negative until you can’t walk to breakfast or the pool. However, that is the only negative I found, and it is a minor one considering all the beauty that comes with this resort!

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Sneak Peek: Picture The View From Every All-Star Movies Room

by on October 15, 2013

Earlier this month we launched Hotel Room Views, a new part of TouringPlans.com that shows the view you’ll see at every hotel room in Walt Disney World (more than 30,000 photos). We’re rolling out a few hotels each week, and we’ve got All-Star Sports, Polynesian, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, and Wilderness Lodge available now.

Today we’re adding photos from each of All-Star Movies‘ 1,920 rooms.

The first page shows you a map of the entire resort. On the left side is a set of filter options you can use to find exactly the room you want:

A map of Disney's All-Star Movies Resort

All-Star Movies Resort Map

  • Room Type Includes Disney’s description of the view, and the bed type in the room (if we know it). All-Star Movies has Standard and Preferred views, most with double beds.
  • Walking Distance to Lobby Useful for cutting down on walking time
  • Walking Distance to Transportation Allows you to find rooms near bus stops, monorails and boats
  • Floors If you prefer ground or upper-floor rooms, you can specify that here
  • Sound Level Helps find the quiet rooms at the resort
  • Accessibility Identifies ADA-accessible rooms by feature, including roll-in showers and more
  • Our Picks Shows only the rooms which the Unofficial Guide has determined to be the best at the resort.
  • Prices You can also filter by price by entering the date you’re checking in.

Choose any of these options and click “Show Matching Rooms.” The map will highlight in red all of the buildings which have rooms matching your options.

Click on one of the highlighted buildings and you’ll see a map of all of the rooms in that building. Rooms which match your filter options will be highlighted in red:

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Your Hotel Room Views at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

by on October 12, 2013

WL-ResortView

Wilderness Lodge Resort Vew

Last week we launched Hotel Room Views, showing you the view you get from every Walt Disney World hotel room. We started with pictures from every room at All-Star Sports and followed that up with Disney’s Polynesian Resort and Saratoga Springs. We’re ending the week by rolling out Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Cue up Aaron Copeland’s Rodeo as background music, and let’s get going!

The first page shows you a map of the entire Wilderness Lodge grounds. On the left side is a set of filter options you can use to find exactly the room you want:

  • Room Type Includes Disney’s description of the view, and the bed type in the room (if we know it). For the Wilderness Lodge, we were able to get information on which rooms contain 2 queen beds, and which contain 1 queen and 2 bunk beds.
  • Walking Distance to Lobby Useful for cutting down on walking time.
  • Walking Distance to Transportation The Wilderness Lodge’s bus stop is pretty far out, so use this option to find rooms closest to the buses.
  • Floors If you prefer ground or upper-floor rooms, you can specify that here
  • Sound Level Helps find the quiet rooms at the resort
  • Accessibility Identifies ADA-accessible rooms by feature, including roll-in showers and more
  • Our Picks Shows only the rooms which the Unofficial Guide has determined to be the best at the resort.
  • Prices You can also filter by price by entering the date you’re checking in.

Set any of these options and click “Show Matching Rooms.” The map will highlight in red if there’s a room that matches your options.

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Hotel Room Views at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

by on October 8, 2013

Last week we launched our Hotel Room View project with a look at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort. Today we’re launching Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

You can see pictures of the room views at Disney’s Polynesian Resort here:

http://touringplans.com/hotel_maps/disneys-polynesian-resort

Just like last week, you’re able to search by room view (Garden, Lagoon, Magic Kingdom), beds (e.g., 1 king or 2 queens), and ADA accessibility, plus walking distance to the lobby and transportation, and more. You can also do side-by-side comparisons of two rooms when you mark them as “favorites.”

The Poly is a gorgeous resort, no doubt. Still, some room views are better than others. For example, rack rate starts at $422 for a Garden View room with 2 queen beds. If you leave it up to Disney, you could get room 1418 at Tuvalu, with a nice view of … a wall. And trees:

Tuvalu-1418

Or you could request 2922 at Tokelau, same price:

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Walt Disney World Resort Monorail Hours Limited Starting October 6

by on October 6, 2013

As a result of construction at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail will be operating on a limited schedule beginning October 6, 2013. On that day and for what is projected to be two weeks after, the resort monorail will stop running at 11 a.m. daily and will remain down until 6 p.m. each day. Guests will be re-routed to resort buses and boats in order to get to Magic Kingdom, the Transportation and Ticket Center, and the other monorail resorts.

For those of you traveling on these alternate methods of transportation, be sure to remember that Disney bus and boat rules require that you fold and store strollers, walkers, and other rolling devices.

The Express Monorail will continue to run normally between the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) and Magic Kingdom during this period.

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Sneak Peek: The View at Every Disney World Hotel Room

by on October 3, 2013

Resort View – Main Page

One of the first decisions you’ll have when booking a Disney World hotel room is which view to select. If you’re staying at the Yacht Club, for example, do any Garden View rooms have a view of the Stormalong Bay lazy river? If you’re on the monorail loop, does a Magic Kingdom View really improve your chances of seeing the Wishes fireworks? Is Savannah View at the Animal Kingdom Lodge worth the money?

To help you decide, we’ve spent the past year taking pictures of what you’ll see from the window of every Disney World hotel room – more than 30,000 individual photos. Today we’re giving you a preview of the first resort: Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort.

The first page shows you a map of the entire resort. On the left side is a set of filter options you can use to find exactly the room you want:

  • Room Type Includes Disney’s description of the view, and the bed type in the room (if we know it). All-Star Sports has Standard and Preferred views, most with double beds. Moderates will show queen beds, and so on.
  • Walking Distance to Lobby Useful for cutting down on walking time
  • Walking Distance to Transportation Allows you to find rooms near bus stops, monorails and boats
  • Floors If you prefer ground or upper-floor rooms, you can specify that here
  • Sound Level Helps find the quiet rooms at the resort
  • Accessibility Identifies ADA-accessible rooms by feature, including roll-in showers and more
  • Our Picks Shows only the rooms which the Unofficial Guide has determined to be the best at the resort.
  • Prices You can also filter by price by entering the date you’re checking in.

Set any of these options and click “Show Matching Rooms.” The map will highlight in red all of the buildings which have rooms matching your options.

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MyMagic+ and MagicBand Roll-Out Dates for Walt Disney World Resorts

by on September 30, 2013

Beginning today MyMagic+ is officially rolling out in waves across Walt Disney World Resorts. All guests checking in to resorts on or after the dates listed below will receive MagicBands and have access to the FastPass+ system. Every Monday for the next 4 weeks new resorts will be added. Then when Grand Floridian Villas open on October 23, 2013, all resorts will be fully online with the program. The program will still be considered “testing” for now; think of it as a sort of “soft opening.” The official start date for MyMagic+ is December 1, 2013.

For arrivals on or after:

September 30, 2013: Bay Lake Tower, Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village, Port Orleans French Quarter, Grand Floridian, and All-Star Movies.

October 7, 2013: All-Star Sports, BoardWalk Inn, BoardWalk Villas, and Caribbean Beach Resort.

October 14, 2013: All-Star Music, Coronado Springs, Old Key West, Wilderness Lodge, and Villas at Wilderness Lodge.

October 21, 2013: Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and Saratoga Springs.

October 23, 2013: Grand Floridian Villas.

Note: Resorts not on the above schedule are already live.

For more information on MyMagic+. Erin Foster has posts with initial observations and her personal experiences. Brian McNichols also wrote about his experience.

 

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Changes Are Coming To Walt Disney World Feature Pools

by on September 26, 2013

©Disney

©Disney

According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, quite a few changes will be taking place at Walt Disney World’s most popular pools.

The first of the major changes is that lifeguards will now be on site all day. Previously, lifeguards were only around for part of the day, with the rest of the day being swim-at-your-own-risk. (Signs were up indicating this.)

The other very large change is that guests will no longer be allowed to swim after posted pool hours. To enforce this, the installation of fences and gates is planned at resorts that don’t currently have them. Feature pools will now open at either 7 a.m. or 9 a.m. (depending on the season) and will close at 11 p.m. nightly.

As of now, the smaller, quiet pools will remain accessible at all hours, with no lifeguards in place.

All pools will be changed over by November 2013.

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Where To Run At Walt Disney World

by on September 24, 2013

Many guests visit Walt Disney World for runDisney ’racecations’ throughout the year, whether it’s for the Walt Disney World Marathon, Princess Half Marathon, Expedition Everest Challenge, Tower of Terror 10-Miler, or Wine and Dine Half Marathon, but sometimes schedules don’t match up or you have other vacation priorities and the need arises to run while on your regularly scheduled vacation. Aside from logging treadmill miles, what’s a runner on vacation to do?

At the Jingle Jungle 5K, 2012.

At the Jingle Jungle 5K, 2012.

Fortunately, there are a plethora of options – especially if you are staying on property at the Walt Disney World Resort. While your run might not include the requisite character greeting opportunities of a race, it will surely provide a magical start to your morning and planned activities.

Each of the following recommendations include approximate mileage and terrain considerations and can supplemented with additional loops or out-and-backs on sidewalks and walkways within the confines of the resort area. Maps may be requested upon arrival at resort front desks – the following images below have been complied from a variety of sources.

Please exercise caution when utilizing shared spaces with maintenance vehicles and be courteous to fellow pedestrians. As in any other physical activity, please consult your physician before beginning a fitness routine.

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Exclusive Perks At Disney Hotels

by on September 23, 2013

When planning a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, choosing to stay on-property opens the door to a certain amount of built in perks, namely:

  • Disney’s Magical Express - a complimentary shuttle for resort guests between Orlando International Airport and the WDW Resort.
  • Extra Magic Hours - extended hours either before or after (or both, depending on the season) regular operating hours avaialble just for resort guests.
  • Free transportation - buses, monorails and watercraft are all at guests’ disposal, and/or parking fees are waived at theme park autoplazas with valid resort identification.
  • Resort Hotel Delivery - all merchandise can be arranged to be delivered directly to WDW Resort hotels, with no additional charge.

While these perks are reason enough for many guests to book their vacation package, believe it or not, there are some additional – as well as some ‘little known’ – bonuses at some of the resorts that are worth considering. The following is a list of some fun perks that might come in handy when planning your next trip – by no means is it comprehensive, however, so please share any other fun tips you’ve found!

Resort(s): Disney’s Art of Animation, Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans (Riverside) Resorts

  • Step Into The Story With Immersive Theming

All WDW Resort Hotels tell a story, but these special rooms go beyond the theming of the grounds and hallways, and immerse your family into an adventure from the minute you wake up! Art of Animation has family suites themed around Finding Nemo, Cars and The Lion King, as well as standard rooms with The Little Mermaid decor. At Caribbean Beach, you can be a real buccaneer in a pirate-themed room, or choose the fairytale experience with Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans Riverside.

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