Resorts

Pineapple Lanai Opens at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

by on August 29, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Do you miss getting Dole Whips at Disney’s Polynesian? Well I bring good news, as the sweet/tart pineapple treat is now back! Guests looking to purchase a Dole Whip must now head to the all new Pineapple Lanai kiosk window, which can be found near the pool area, taking up part of the space occupied by the former Wyland Gallery. This new addition is all part of the current renovation project taking place at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

The Pineapple Lanai menu features only Dole Whips:

  • Dole Whip Soft Serve: vanilla or pineapple – $3.99
  • Dole Whip Soft Serve Swirl: pineapple swirled with vanilla – $3.99
  • Pineapple Float: vanilla or pineapple soft serve in pineapple juice – $4.99

Guests can also choose to purchase these items in fun tiki-themed souvenir containers. The two Soft Serve options can be served in a Tiki Bowl for $8.79. The Pineapple Float can be served in a Tiki Sipper, which can be purchased for $9.99.

One other change: the Lanai is not a self-serve location, so for those of you who liked to see how high you could fill a cup with the treat over at Captain Cook’s, I’m sorry to say that option has gone the way of the dodo.

Who else is excited that Dole Whips are back at The Poly?

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IllumiNations Cruise: A View Worth Every Penny

by on August 26, 2014

Epcot lights up the sky.  Photo by Disney

Epcot lights up the sky. Photo by Disney

If you are one of the unfortunate ones to never have experienced IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth before, you have really been missing out. IllumiNations is the story of our Earth’s history, its present, and the hope for its future, showcasing people, flora, and fauna. This fireworks, laser, and video show will be the culmination of your extraordinary day at Epcot. After visiting Future World and then stuffing yourself with wonderful delectables throughout the many countries around World Showcase, find a seat or standing area around the Lagoon and be prepared to experience pyrotechnic greatness.

The only downside to IllumiNations is that I sometimes find it a waste of good Disney time to be camping out around the World Showcase hours before the nightly showing to get a prime viewing location. If this has ever crossed your mind or if you are just looking for that over the top experience, perhaps to celebrate a wedding, birthday, or anniversary, then you should try an IllumiNations Cruise.

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After the Touring Plan

by on August 19, 2014

2015UGAs many TouringPlans.com subscribers do, we buy the most recent Unofficial Guide, download the Lines app, read the blog posts, plan our days in Walt Disney World, and have our trip in order well before we depart our homes. This advanced planning helps us make the most out of our vacations in the Happiest Place on Earth.

However, there are times on our trip where our advanced planning works too well. For example: you have decided to spend the morning in Magic Kingdom park, utilizing the morning Extra Magic Hours that are in place. When you show up, you are some of the first people at the tunnel, and you go on to conquer your entire morning Touring Plan…in two hours.

I’m being a bit unrealistic in my example, but there can be points in your trip where things work out so well that you are blessed with that glorious object we Disney fans all crave: extra time. 

So what is there to do if this happens? Plenty, my friend. Plenty.

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Review of Loews Loves Pets at Universal Orlando Resort

by on August 15, 2014

Loews loves pets goody bag

The goods. Photo – Laurel Stewart

Fact: I travel. A lot.

Fact: I like my pets more than I like most people.

Fact: Until my pets get opposable thumbs and learn to Face Time me while I travel, I will miss them terribly when I’m on the road.

With this mind, I decided on my last trip to Orlando that it was time to bring the dog along. Lucky for me, Loews Hotels, the company that runs the four onsite resorts at Universal, is pet friendly – a program called Loews Loves Pets. And, as this trip was especially to visit Universal and Diagon Alley, it seemed a natural fit to take advantage of this policy.

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Hitting the Trail: Taking on the Disney World Walking Paths

by on August 13, 2014

I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone want to take a walking path when it seems like all you do at Walt Disney World is walk? Well, just hear me out, I do have a few good reasons! You see, walking paths allow you two big luxuries that are hard to come by at Disney World: no lines or crowds and the ability to make your own time.

Hollywood Studios Walking Path

Hollywood Studios Walking Path to the BoardWalk

Nobody likes fighting the long lines for buses, boats, and monorails, especially at closing time. It’s not unusual to have to wait for several of your own resort buses to fill up before you can board yourself following Magic Kingdom’s Wishes, which is hard to bear when your feet hurt and the kids are crying, right? Although, there can be lines or standing room only on buses, boats, and Monorail during the day too. However, the walking paths are never crowded, offering you and yours a reprieve from the shuffling lines and seas of strollers. Also, many are in open, beautiful settings that are well-lit, paved, and serve as great decompression zones from all the hustle and bustle.

But the lack of chaos isn’t the only reason to take on a walking path. Guests who have visited Disney World before know that getting from one place to another can be time consuming! Disney even recommends those with dining reservations to allow at least an hour for transportation time. Why? Well, for example, if you were to have a reservation at one of Epcot’s World Showcase restaurants, a lot of time can be wasted in waiting for transportation, actual travel time, going through security and the turnstiles, and then actually walking across the park to your restaurant. Whew! That can really take awhile and there are a lot of variables to contend with! That’s why, when I can, I prefer to take a walking path so that I can make my own time without checking my watch in nervous frustration for the umpteenth time at a resort bus stop.

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Disneyland Hotel: The Happiest Hotel on Earth Tour

by on August 7, 2014

Disney World resort tours are common at Disney Deluxe Resorts, highlighting their immersive themes and design elements. Some feature unique collections of artwork, some thoughtful tributes to architectural movements in history. But none of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels offer such a Disney-specific historical experience as The Happiest Hotel on Earth Tour at the Disneyland Hotel.

A tiny selection from the massive case of tags, trinkets, and photos in the Convention Center at Disneyland Hotel.

A tiny selection from the massive case of tags, trinkets, and photos in the Convention Center at Disneyland Hotel.

The Disneyland Hotel, after all, has one simple theme: Disneyland Nostalgia. The Walt Disney Company turned three 1970s-era glass towers into a one-of-a-kind collection space for Disneyland concept art and vintage Disney photos, plus displays filled with maps, tickets, and trinkets. And just like at the theme parks, every design element, from the wallpaper inside to the trees outside, has been specially created to heighten the theme and create total immersion.

The Happiest Hotel on Earth Tour helps guests see the stories being told by the towers and the central pool area. Within and without the Adventure, Fantasy, and Frontier towers, Disney fans will find tributes to three of the four opening-day lands from Disneyland. And out on the pool deck, you’ll find the fourth — Tomorrowland.

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Disney’s Beach Club Resort: Club Level Review

by on August 6, 2014

Staying on Club Level at at Walt Disney World resort is a fun splurge. After doing some rearranging of vacations, my husband, daughter, and I found it approaching July 4th weekend and no hotel room for July 4th and 5th. With the help of our travel agent, we decided to splurge for Club Level at the Beach Club. We had previously stayed at Club Level at Animal Kingdom Lodge, and wanted to compare a stay at Beach Club, with access to the Stone Harbor Club lounge. Here’s what we found.

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Park Vue Inn: One of Disneyland’s Best

by on August 1, 2014

I should start by saying I didn’t set out to write a love letter to the Park Vue Inn. I didn’t expect to even like the place that much. I mean, it’s an exterior corridor motel. What could be so special about that? Well, it ends up that a lot is special! Before we jump into things, I want to make sure everyone knows that I paid for my stay, and the hotel staff didn’t know that I’d be blogging about my stay. Sometimes I read reviews from other bloggers and wonder what things would really be like if they didn’t get treated like royalty. Rest assured, I was totally under the radar on my trip!

Location

CaptureYou’d be hard pressed to find a hotel with a shorter walk to Disneyland. Stepping outside the lobby of the Park Vue Inn you can see the pedestrian entrance to Disneyland just across the road. The photo to the left I took while standing under the Disneyland sign, waiting to cross the street. Of course, your room location could make your walk a bit longer than we experienced. (We were in room 123 if you’d like to request it.) But even at the back of the hotel you’d be closer than at some of the Disney owned properties. One thing to note is that we didn’t see an elevator, so you’ll be lugging your bags up the stairs if you’re on the second floor. Of course, we didn’t take our bags to our room at all. We arrived early in the morning and left our bags with the desk while we visited the parks. When we picked up our keys later in the day, they informed us that our bags were already in the room. It was a nice touch and a service I haven’t received at “nicer” hotels in the area.

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Update on Disney’s Polynesian Resort Pool Refurbishment

by on July 31, 2014

Disney's Polynesian Resort Pool

©Disney

For those of you who are unaware and will be staying at Disney’s Polynesian Resort over the next few months, the Nanea Volcano Pool and Slide are now closed for an extremely lengthy refurbishment. As I previously mentioned, Disney is offering guests staying the resort access to Blizzard Beach Water Park, while work is being done on the pool area.

When the announcement was first made, guests would only be given a one day pass to Blizzard Beach; however, it now appears that has been amended. Now Polynesian guests can choose to visit the water park on any day and will receive complimentary admission throughout their entire stays.  In addition, guests will receive a complimentary beach towel, and if a Polynesian guests have purchased resort Rapid Fill refillable mugs, those mugs will have access to the beverage stations at the water park. (So make sure you bring your refillable mugs with you!)

Bus transportation will be provided to guests directly between Blizzard Beach and the Polynesian, and when guests arrive at the front gate of the water park, Polynesian guests must check-in using their MagicBands or RFID room keys.

When Blizzard Beach closes for its refurbishment in the winter (which right now is slated for January 4 through March 14, 2015), guests will instead have access to Typhoon Lagoon. Keep in mind that Polynesian guests will not have access to any other resort pool during this refurbishment work.

During the Volcano Pool refurb, work will be done to create a new aquatic playground with slides for children, a new hot tub, and a larger deck with more seating for guests. The pool is expected to reopen sometime in early 2015.

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Walk Disney: A Review of the Boardwalk Ballyhoo Guided Tour

by on July 28, 2014

t_logo_fbThe Walk Disney series will provide a description and review of activities that can be done while walking the grounds at Walt Disney World resorts.

Do you know why the ESPN Club on Disney’s BoardWalk is shaped like an octagon? Do you know where the hidden Tinkerbell is near the elevators of Disney’s BoardWalk Villas? By taking the free BoardWalk Ballyhoo Guided Tour, you will learn these and many more interesting details about Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas resort area.

Before describing the experience that my wife and I had on the tour, here are the tour basics:

What does the tour entail? The tour covers many of the design choices that the Imagineers made when constructing Disney’s BoardWalk Resort area. The walking, informational tour begins at the Bellevue Lounge, continues through the main floor of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, and eventually ends up on the boardwalk outside of the Boardwalk Bakery.

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