This is Part 2 of a photo-centric post related to a stay at Disneyland Hotel in Disneyland Paris in late January 2016. This post focuses on my hotel room. See Part 1 for photos of the hotel and its breakfast buffet.
To set the stage appropriately, note that I stayed in the cheapest class of hotel room (Chambre classique) during the cheapest season (Basse saison) at Disneyland Hotel. I checked in very early (around 9:30 AM) on Wednesday, January 27, 2016, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that Room 1420 was ready for my family.
My Floor 4 (fifth floor in US nomenclature) was above the second floor bridge that connects the registration building (where my room was) to the central building of the hotel (where the restaurants, stores, etc. are). Although Room 1420 by no means had a premium view, I could glimpse into Disneyland Park and saw Tower of Terror looming in the distance. It also was a great location in that it was the closest room on my floor to the elevator, minimizing travel time during my stay.
At the end of January 2016, I had the good fortune to travel to Europe and spend five nights at the Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Paris. This “5-star” hotel is located at the entrance to Disneyland Park, and its marvelous location commands a price premium, making a stay here a very special treat for my family. We have covered the attractions of Disneyland Paris in the past, but here I share photographs of parts of a unique Disney resort hotel.
I am presenting photos in two blog posts: Part 1 (this post) has photos from public areas of the hotel. Part 2 will focus on my hotel room–look for that tomorrow.
A view of Disneyland Park’s entrance is the same as a view of Disneyland Hotel, much of which is literally built on top of the ticket vending windows for the park.
An official Disney photo (the copyright is Disney’s) of what it is supposed to look like approaching Disneyland Park and Disneyland Hotel.
The construction-obscured view I captured of the exterior of Disneyland Park and Disneyland Hotel.
Welcome back to the long overdue return of our Universal Orlando photo updates. Since so much has happened at the resort since our last update, this week’s update will primarily focus on the upcoming 2016 Sapphire Falls Resort, Skull Island Reign of Kong, and re-opening of The Incredible Hulk roller coaster. We’ll also take a quick look at 2017’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park, as well as the Tonight Show and Fast & Furious attractions. Let’s get going!
Vertical construction has really taken off at the Volcano Bay site, now that we’re just one year away from the new theme park’s opening date.
If you’ve ever spent any time strolling along Disney’s BoardWalk or Crescent Lake area, you’ve probably seen my next dining location along the way. Located on the Atlantic Dance Hall end of the BoardWalk, just adjacent to the resort’s merchandise locations, Big River Grille & Brewing Works offers standard family restaurant fare (think: burgers, steaks, salads) with a view of Crescent Lake and the surrounding resorts. I dropped in recently for a quick lunch and then returned a few days later for dinner to see if this restaurant was worth adding to my regular Disney dining rotation.
Big River Grille’s Hickory Bacon Burger
Both of my visits to Big River Grille were on a whim – I didn’t make a reservation prior to arriving, either on OpenTable or the My Disney Experience app, but it didn’t matter. I was quick to be seated inside both times (choosing the comfort of air conditioning inside over the humidity on the outdoor patio), and my first impression of the restaurant was definitely that of substance over style – inside here, there’s very little theming or space, with tables pretty close together and almost no decoration. If the weather allows, I’d certainly request outdoor seating – far less cramped, less noisy at peak dining times, and with a really fantastic view for lake- and people-watching. Servers were all very prompt in greeting me and offering a few recommendations from the extensive beer and bar menu – one of their biggest draws for diners – and their food menu. It’s also worth noting here that Big River Grille itself is a chain restaurant popular outside of Walt Disney World, which servers said helps to draw in repeat visitors due to familiarity.
Eleven months ago (according to schedule), I was up bright and early and on the Disney Vacation Club website to secure a reservation for our family’s April vacation at our home resort, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. We love the serenity and atmosphere there as it gives us a beautiful setting to wind down before, between, or after touring the parks. And then it happened—DVC expansion! Like many other guests, a flood of questions entered my mind. Will this affect my stay, how noisy will it be, how close will it be, will I still enjoy one of my favorite resorts?
Scrims behind the main pool at Wilderness Lodge
Fast forward to our stay. The Wilderness Lodge lobby remains as beautiful as ever, and instantly I was “home.” No signs of construction there.
Wilderness Lodge lobby
As we made the walk from the lobby to the villas building, we were feeling very apprehensive. In fact, based on multiple reports that the construction had turned the entire back side of the villas facing the lake into a construction zone, we had put in a request for a villa on the front side of the building. But when we got Disney’s text with our room number, it was for a room directly facing the construction. Turns out, though, Disney had our backs. As we approached the villas, there it was—scaffolding covering the entrance and extending to the front side of the building!
1994 was also a time where there was not one but TWO successful professional wrestling companies in America. One was WWE (who is still thriving today) and the other was World Championship Wrestling (WCW). In a controversial move at the time, WCW started taping blocks of wrestling shows at Disney-MGM Studios. Because the park was still trying to be a working production facility for movies and TV, an action-adventure television show featuring Hulk Hogan was also filmed on location. That show: Thunder in Paradise.
How to describe Thunder in Paradise? Take Baywatch, strip away all the nuanced storylines and good actors, throw in a high tech speedboat in the vein of Knight Rider/Air Wolf and you pretty much have it. However, Thunder in Paradise does have one thing going for it that will appeal to readers of this fine article series: it shot almost all of its scenes at The World. Who among us doesn’t fondly remember Full House going to WDW? More recently Modern Family shot an entire episode at Disneyland, and it was great! It is awesome seeing the theme parks we know and love in a whole new context. So today we are going to look at some of our favorite WDW locations used in Thunder in Paradise. So sit back, tie that do-rag tight brother, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…
# 6 – DISNEY’S GRAND FLORIDIAN RESORT
The pilot of Thunder in Paradise actually used the Loews Don CeSar Hotel in St. Pete, Florida as the base camp for Hulk Hogan and crew, but when the show was picked up for a series the following twenty episodes used Disney’s Grand Florida Resort. Fans of the Grand Flo are going to LOVE Thunder in Paradise as at least 25% of the entire series takes place inside or on the grounds of the resort. It’s incredible! You’ll see the lobby, the hallways, the rooms, and the Hulkster even has a dinner in Victoria & Alberts! A lot of scenes are filmed directly in front of the Grand Floridian, with the Scuttlebutt Bar N’ Grill being a major location for the show. The Scuttlebutt is where the Grand Flo’s Beaches pool bar now sits.
Hulk Hogan and WWE Hall of Famer Sting square off in front of the Grand Floridian.
A group of muscleheads (including Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart and Brutus “the Barber” Beefcake” playing tug of war in front of the Grand Flo. Should surprise no one who has read the Death of WCW book that the only person on the other side of this rope was Hulk Hogan.
The Grand Flo lobby. We’re this close to Mizners!
Hulk Hogan sitting at Victoria & Alberts. As he always said, say your prayers, eat your vitamins, and get up at 6AM 180+10 days out for your ADRs. Brother.