Posts Tagged ‘Grand Floridian’

Disney World’s Electrical Water Pageant: The Original Light Show

by on July 6, 2014

When Disney Imagineer Bob Jani looked out over Seven Seas Lagoon at night he saw a black gulf, void of interest. It was late 1971 and Magic Kingdom, Polynesian Resort, and Contemporary Resort opened soon. The lifeless lagoon, formed from draining the swamp that dominated the land Magic Kingdom occupies, would presently be filled by ferries and water attractions, including a water ski show. But something was missing. His mind turned to his hometown of Los Angeles, where any body of water reflected myriad lights every night. Somewhere this need to fill the dark with twinkling lights sparked the idea of the Electrical Water Pageant: a train of barges sporting colorful animated lights.

The final float in the aquatic scene.

The final float in the aquatic scene.

A brochure given to guests in the Summer of 1972 entices the guest to “watch porpoises leap . . . seals play . . . even a sea monster breathe fire!” Guests were directed to see the Pageant nightly 9:00 PM through 10:00 PM along Bay Lake and the Seven Seas Lagoon, advice that is still good today. The whimsical attraction’s appeal eventually inspired the Main Street Electrical Parade even copping the song “Baroque Hoedown” as its theme.

Today the Pageant is one thousand feet long and features 25-foot tall screens on fourteen barges. The show is split into two parts: an aquatic theme featuring King Triton and various sea creatures followed by a patriotic salute. Total time, nose to tail, is about ten minutes.

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2014 Grand Floridian Easter Eggs

by on April 18, 2014

One of the things I love most about writing for Touring Plans is that it encourages me to go out and see things I would have skipped in the past. If you can believe it this is the third annual Easter Egg display at the Grand Floridian, but the first year I’ve stopped by for a visit. I have each and every one of you to thank, because the display is incredible! I couldn’t think of a better way to wish everyone a happy Easter and to share some photos! First the lovely Briar Rose:

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And on the reverse side of the princess is her Prince Phillip. Can you believe each of these eggs is between 16 – 20 inches tall and weighs over 9 pounds even though they are hollow? Also, in frame you can see a non-Disney themed egg. There are eighteen eggs on display this year so I couldn’t feature all of them. Though I focused on the Disney eggs there are others that are more traditional or themed after famous works of art. They are all exquisite!

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Top 10 Splurge Items at Disney World

by on December 9, 2013

Here at Touring Plans, we’re all about finding ways to save money during Disney vacations. But we also know that once in a while it’s time to throw caution to the wind and splurge on something spectacular enough to turn the vacation into a celebration. Here are ten of our favorite ways to indulge at Walt Disney World. Bucket list anyone?

While you're indulging at V&A's, why not splurge a little more with the caviar add-on?

While you’re indulging at V&A’s, why not splurge a little more with the caviar add-on?

1. Victoria & Albert’s. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, a meal at V&A’s is simply one of the best dining experiences you’ll have any time, any where. And if the best meal in town isn’t enough for you, then you can bump it up a notch by trying the even more indulgent Chef’s Table or Queen Victoria room. Price: At least $150 per person, more if you’re including cocktails or wine, and more if you’re in one of the specialty rooms.

2. Backstage Magic Tour. This 7-hour tour takes you to backstage areas at all four WDW theme parks plus some centralized behind-the-scenes areas, and you’ll get a stick-to-your-ribs lunch at the Whispering Canyon Cafe to keep you fuelled up during your big adventure. For the Disney geek, this is the ultimate in education. Price: About $250 per person. Discounts may be available for DVC owners, annual pass holders or other special categories of guests. Be sure to ask.

3. VIP Tour Guide. Guests who want their hand held during every step of their Disney experience can hire a VIP tour guide to escort them through the parks. They’ll pick you up at your resort and take you exactly where you want to go at Walt Disney World. They’ll get you special viewing areas at parades and some shows, and they’ll use their detailed park knowledge to speed you through touring. Price: Prices vary, starting at $315 per hour for a group of up to 10 people. Six hour minimum.

All the Disney Dooney's are luxury items, but the large weekender is the top of the line.

All the Disney Dooney’s are luxury items, but the large weekender is the top of the line.

4. Grand Suite at the Grand Floridian. Concierge service in the poshest room at the poshest resort. Need I say more? Price: Prices start at about $2,400 per night in the off season, up to about $3,300 per night during the Christmas holiday season. You could pretend to rationalize this by thinking about this on a cost-per-person basis, but in my fantasy world, I’m staying there all by myself.

5. Disney themed Dooney & Bourke Weekender bag. Disney print Dooney & Bourke bags have been all the rage for several years now. I’ve outed several closet Disney geeks in my hometown when I spied them carrying the common Disney Dooney wristlet or crossbody bags. But the holy grail of this genre is the giant weekender tote, which is big enough to double as luggage. Price: $360.

6. Fireworks cruise on the Grand I. The Grand I is a 52-foot yacht which sails the waters of Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon. The epitome of style is to book the Grand to view the Wishes fireworks presentation at the Magic Kingdom. The show’s audio is piped to speakers on the boat. Price: $450 per hour, plus more for food and beverage.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! November 2013 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on November 29, 2013

MMM positiveToday is not just any day. Today is Black Friday. The official beginning to the Christmas shopping season. A day of bargains, lines, and absolute terror excitement. There couldn’t be a better day to lather ourselves up in pixie dust, strap on our Jessie cowgirl hat, and put on our Mickey Mouse “Hang Loose” shirt as we head out for our monthly photo report of the Disney Outlet Store.

You may remember last month that the outlet stores started selling 2013 merchandise at a deep discount, and this month a whole bunch of 2013 branded items joined the clearance rack including pins, graduation hats, basketballs, and laptop covers.

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Get to Know the Disney World Pools, Part Four: The Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resort Pools

by on May 22, 2013

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.

So strap on your swim fins; we’re going in …

ANIMAL KINGDOM LODGE AND KIDANI VILLAGE

  • 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.

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The Seven Seas Lagoon Monorail Crawl

by on March 9, 2010

AJ Wolfe from the Disney Food Blog returns with information about a Disney attraction not advertised in the brochures!

Drinks Available at Ohana and Tambu Lounge

Drinks Available at Ohana and Tambu Lounge

While we all enjoy hitting the theme parks for some great attractions during our Disney World days, there’s still fun to be had once the parks close! I’d like to introduce you to a tidy little excursion called the Monorail Crawl.

When people think about “alcohol + Disney World,” they usually have visions of drinking around the World in Epcot, fond memories of Pleasure Island, or thoughts of indulging in one of the delectable new menu offerings at the Mexico Pavilion’s La Cava del Tequila.

But the original way to have a grand evening of imbibing in Disney World was to visit one of Disney’s resort hotels around Seven Seas Lagoon. And if you’re going to visit one…why not visit them all? Thus, the birth of the Monorail Crawl — it’s a great way to resort hop, but still feel like you have…you know…a purpose!

Here’s How It’s Done
When taking part in the Monorail Crawl, participants can begin at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, or Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Have a drink at your starting point, then load up on the monorail and head to the next resort hotel. Pretty simple, eh?

Jazz Band Outside Mizner's Lounge

Jazz Band Outside Mizner's Lounge

You can even think up themes or games for each hotel, e.g. have a Hawaiian-themed drink at the Polynesian, a classic liqueur at the Grand Floridian, then a good old draft beer at the Contemporary (just be sure to do them in the right order!); or have three members of your party each bring a recipe for a new drink to sample — try one of the new recipes at each new resort!

However you plan to spice up your Monorail Crawl, be sure to designate a driver or two.

Some Favorite Watering Holes to Consider
Mizner’s Lounge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort: This snazzy spot is the perfect place to begin your crawl. Relax in the lounge with a classic cocktail while you listen to some live jazz.

Outer Rim Lounge at Disney’s Contemporary Resort: This will take you from the Victorian decadence of the Grand Floridian into the George Jetson age! The Outer Rim Lounge offers deep, cushy chairs and an incredible, floor to ceiling view of Bay Lake and the Contemporary pool. If you hit it at the right time, you can even see the Contemporary’s movie on the beach from the Lounge! Click through images of the full menu here.

Outer Rim Lounge Bar

Outer Rim Lounge Bar

Tambu Lounge at Disney’s Polynesian Resort: A Hawaiian-themed paradise of a lounge, this one features live music from the islands as well as a big-screen TV (which could matter if it happens to be game day!). Schedule your crawl so that you can hit the Poly in time to watch some of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks from the Lounge’s huge picture windows, or get your drinks to go and watch the Electric Water Pageant from the beach.

Remember, this activity can cost as little or as much as you’d like; you don’t need any theme park tickets, and you don’t even have to pay for parking!

Last Minute Suggestions
Here are a couple of suggestions that might make the Crawl even better:

  • Schedule this excursion when you’re staying at a monorail resort. As fun as it is when staying elsewhere, it’s even better when you can just monorail it back to your resort and head to bed at the end of the evening.
  • If you’re staying at another property, take a Disney bus or a shuttle to the starting point. You’ll be glad to not have to drive at the end.
  • Bring friends! While a small party is fun, sharing the Crawl with a crowd can make it even more of a memory.
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