Posts Tagged ‘hotels’

Tuesday Video: Deluxe Resort Hotels

by on May 3, 2016

yacht clubWelcome back to Trivia Tuesday!

Today, I’m bringing you on a tour of the Walt Disney World Deluxe Resort Hotels.

Put on your walking shoes and let’s go!

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The Basics: Selecting the right Walt Disney World Moderate hotel

by on April 4, 2016

This is a continuation of our Back to Basics Series. Scroll to the bottom to see our other Basics posts.

 

As we continue our Back to Basics series, it’s time to take a look at one of the most beloved Walt Disney World hotel categories: the Moderates. In previous Basics posts we first discussed how to select the right Walt Disney World category, and later dug into how to select the right Walt Disney World Value hotel. The Moderate category hotels are a great blend of quality theming, beautiful atmosphere, a strong selection of amenities and features, all without the higher price tag found at the Deluxe resorts. They are some elements at the Moderate resorts that are also found at the Value resorts, but you can definitely see these are a step up from the Value category.

Caribbean Beach grounds

Caribbean Beach grounds – photo by Brian McNichols

It’s important to remember there really is no right or wrong choice, but rather a matter of deciding what hotel fits your specific needs the best. There are four hotels in the Moderate level.  For each hotel we’ll discuss as many features and elements as possible. I’ve included information for each of the hotels with the following categories:

  • Room features
  • Resort layout
  • Food and beverage
  • Transportation
  • Pool
  • Recreation / Activities
  • Additional information

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

First came the Deluxe resorts. Then in the 90’s, the Disney Decade, the first Moderate resort came unto the scene: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, which was a prototype of sorts. Disney had never built a resort that was scaled back in order to provide a more affordable price tag, yet it couldn’t just be a hotel, it needed to be a resort. Caribbean Beach ushered in a new resort experience for Walt Disney World, and while it does have its flaws, there is lots of beautiful scenery and enjoyable amenities.

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The Basics: Selecting the Right Walt Disney World Value hotel

by on March 11, 2016

This is a continuation of our Back to Basics Series. Scroll to the bottom to see our other Basics posts.

In a previous Back to Basics post we discussed how to select the right Walt Disney World hotel category. Now it’s time to dig in and select the right hotel in each category. We’ll start off with the Value resorts. It’s important to remember there really is no right or wrong choice, but rather a matter of deciding what hotel fits your specific needs the best.

For each hotel we’ll discuss as many features and elements as possible. I’ve included information for each of the hotels with the following categories:

  • Room features
  • Resort layout
  • Food and beverage
  • Transportation
  • Pool
  • Recreation / Activities
  • Additional information

Essentially the Value resorts exist as two campuses: Disney’s All Star Resort and Disney’s Pop Century / Art of Animation. At Disney’s All Star Resort there are three individual hotels: Sports, Movies, and Music. At Disney’s Pop Century and Art of Animation each are two individual hotels but are situated across from each other.  The set-up and features of these two campus are very similar. I’ll break down each individual hotel’s features and include any information that pertains to the campus as a whole.

Movies3

Photo by Brian McNichols

Disney’s All Star Resorts: Movies, Music, and Sports.

  • Room features

The room features for all three of the All Star resorts are essentially the same. However, at Music there are also about 190 family suites available. I’ll get into the features of that room type momentarily. Guest rooms at the All Stars are small at 260 square feet. Almost all rooms sleep four, plus one child in a crib. Themed touches of musicians and music styles at Music, athletes and sports equipment at Sports, and a selection of Disney films at Movies, adorn themed linens, wall décor, and fixtures. Light-finish wood furniture and dark, patterned carpet provide an upscale touch, however, you’ll most likely find that these rooms don’t beckon you to linger. My personal recommendation is if you are traveling with small children then the rooms will be just fine. However, if you have pre-teens, teenagers, or other adults then you’ll most likely find the standard rooms at any Value resort to be a tad uncomfortable.

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The Basics: Selecting the Right Walt Disney World Hotel Category

by on February 24, 2016

This is a continuation of our Back to Basics Series. Scroll to the bottom to find links to our other Basics posts.

 

One of the most exciting and often nerve wracking parts of planning a vacation is selecting a hotel. Some people view a hotel as simply the place where you sleep and shower, and nothing more. Others, like me, see the hotel as home base and a destination unto itself. I’ve even planned entire vacations around the hotel more so than the local area and attractions (but then again I work in the hotel industry and am a self-proclaimed hotel nerd).

If the weather is bad or if somebody gets sick, this is where you’ll spend much of your vacation time. At the end of a full day touring the parks this is where you can rest, or depending on which location you choose, you can come back in the middle of the day to relax. The amount of options in all of Central Florida can be astounding, after all there are over 400 hotels in the Orlando / Orange County area.

Old Key West Resort room

Old Key West Resort room

Let’s assume for the purposes of this post that you’ve decided you really want to stay on Walt Disney World property. You still have to sort through over 20 hotels in order to select your hotel. The main focus of this guide is to help you decide between Walt Disney World resort hotel categories. I will include some of the pros and cons of each category, as well as a general overview of the features of each category. This includes location, transportation, food and beverage, and amenities. In follow up posts, we will dig into the specifics of these features for each resort in particular.

Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels, Swan and Dolphin, and Bonnet Creek

If you’re looking for close proximity at lower cost, then the hotels near Disney Springs on Hotel Plaza Boulevard, as well as the hotels of Bonnet Creek, offer easy transportation. If you want the extra perks such as Disney transportation and Extra Magic Hours, however, you’ll need either a Disney-owned hotel or the Starwood Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, which offer these benefits with slightly lower room rates. The MagicBand (as a room key and ticket) and Disney’s Magical Express are exclusive features for Disney owned and operated. For some folks this is a major plus, while for others it is not worth the extra money that a Disney owned property can cost.

Walt Disney World Swan

The Walt Disney World Swan: Very close to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but technically a Starwood hotel.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever August 27, 2015: Sunday Stroll at Port Orleans

by on August 27, 2015

Best Week Ever Port Orleans

Join the Best Week Ever parade and stroll through WDW’s Port Orleans resort (photos by Seth Kubersky).

Hold on to your beads, Best Week Ever readers, because we’re heading to the Big Easy! Long before the Art of Animation resort brought California Adventure’s Cars Land to Orlando in motel form, Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans hotels have stood as the East Coast analogue to Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, minus the animatronic pirates and ghosts.

 

It had been so long since I’d stayed at Port Orleans, that the last time I visited the section now known as Riverside was still named Dixie Landings. The resort has had quite a colorful history, including being partially shuttered for a time during the post-9/11 recession; check out this page at PortOrleans.org for a bit of background.

 

Since Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside are our top picks among moderate resorts at Walt Disney World, I figured I was way past due for a return visit to WDW’s NOLA. And what better time to let the good times roll than bright and early on a Sunday morning?

 

Ok, 9 a.m. isn’t exactly “bright and early” for many people, but as a congenital night owl it’s the best I could do.

 

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever July 16, 2015: Epcot Resort Hotels

by on July 16, 2015

Best week ever Epcot resort hotels

Explore the Boardwalk Inn and beyond in this Best Week Ever walk around the Epcot resort hotels (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Since so many of you enjoyed last week’s tour of the Magic Kingdom monorail hotels, for this edition of Best Week Ever we’re strapping on the sandals for a walk around the other Epcot lagoon. I’ll try to keep the commentary to a minimum this time and just let the pictures do the talking, as we take a tour of the Epcot resort hotels.

My morning started at the Boardwalk Inn, which (unlike some of the monorail resorts) is receptive to allowing off-site guests to park in their lot. A quick walk across the bridge and I’m back in the Atlantic City of the early 20th century!

Boardwalk Inn

 

 

 

The Boardwalk Inn’s public areas are full of lovely thematic details.

 

 

 

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Universal’s Volcano Bay Could Change Tourism In Orlando

by on May 29, 2015

The Orlando theme park world has erupted with excitement! Universal Orlando announced yesterday that a water park unlike any other is rising from the ground. Volcano Bay will boom onto the scene in 2017, and Universal claims that this will not just be a water park, but is their “third theme park.” From the looks of it, and from the messaging Universal Orlando is putting out there, it appears that a lot of innovation will flow throughout Volcano Bay. Sure the concept art is pretty dazzling, but can another water park in Orlando really be a game changer? As they say, the best way to predict the future is by looking at the past. So let’s take a look at Orlando’s bustling tourism industry to get an idea of how we can expect Volcano Bay to shake up tourism in Orlando.

Secondary-533

Volcano Bay concept art (source: Universal Orlando)

 

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Extra Hotel Fees and Costs You Need to Budget For

by on April 29, 2015

Going on vacation is such a treat. It’s a fantastic privilege that can pay off in so many ways. But if you don’t factor in all the extra costs and budget appropriately your vacation can go from being refreshing and rejuvenating to frustrating and stressful. I’m a hotelier at heart and I am continually surprised, and saddened, whenever I come across guests who did not anticipate different hotel fees and other extra costs that can pop up when staying at a hotel. So to help you plan and budget, let’s talk about the most common costs.

grand-floridian-resort-and-spa-00-full

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – it may not have a lot of hotel fees, but it carries some of the highest room rates in Orlando. Photo source: Disneyworld.com

 

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Kilimanjaro Club – an incomparable experience

by on March 8, 2015

No other Walt Disney World resorts offers the level of cultural immersion and exotic experiences that can be discovered at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is my favorite Walt Disney World Resort; my heart practically sings the minute I set foot in the awe-inspiring lobby. As a Disney Vacation Club Member, Animal Kingdom Lodge is one of my two home resorts. One of my favorite ways to use our membership is to indulge in the Kilimanjaro Club level. Whether you are a DVC Member or not, from the level of service, the multiple food & beverage offerings, and the overall luxury, the Kilimanjaro Club Level is an unforgettable experience.

So what makes the Kilimanjaro Club so exceptional? And what special value does it represent for DVC Members? Let’s embark on a safari of sorts as we explore all that makes this one of the most incredible experiences offered at Walt Disney World.

DSC00664

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Photo Gallery: Cabana Bay Garden Bridge Construction Update

by on October 29, 2014

Cabana Bay garden bridge construction

The Cabana Bay garden bridge and walking path is nearing completion at Universal Orland (photos by Seth Kubersky).

It’s been several months since we last stopped by our new favorite retro-modern hotel, Universal Orlando‘s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, so the other afternoon I took a stroll around property for a Cabana Bay Garden Bridge construction photo update.

 

Ever since the moderately priced property opened this past summer, Cabana Bay guests’ transportation options have consisted of buses to the parking hub, or a 10 minute walk along the unglamorous north side of Hollywood Way.

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