Grand Bend, Ontario N0M 1T0
ELS and Company Inc. 519-670-0902
We have stayed in most of the Resorts on Disney World property. They are all great but each is different than the other. We hope that these descriptions help you pick your next adventure. We can book your next holiday with no charge to you. Give us a call at 519-670-0902.
The Resorts at Disney World are divided into categories depending upon their price. They offer something for everyone and their price range. The categories are Value, Value Plus, Moderate, Deluxe, Disney Vacation Club Villas and Fort Wilderness Cabins and Campgrounds. The difference that I have found is the more expensive the Resort the more Disney Themeing. There are no big slides at Value resorts but large slides at all of the Deluxe resorts. The pools are larger but more square at Value resorts than the free form pools found at DVC Villa and Deluxe resorts. The restaurants found in the resorts are better in Deluxe resorts. Disney provides great food options in every resort regardless of their category.
The following privileges apply when staying at any of the Disney resorts (Value, Moderate, Deluxe, Disney Vacation Club and Fort Wilderness cabins & campsites):
•Access to Extra Magic Hours
•Ability to use Disney’s Magical Express (free transportation and luggage transfers to and from the airport)
•Ability to make up to ten days of Advance Dining Reservations starting 180 days prior to check-in.
•Ability to make FastPass+ selections for your entire trip starting 60 days prior to check-in (versus 30 days prior for guests staying elsewhere).
•Unlimited free use of the excellent Disney transportation system (buses, boats and Monorails) which connects all of the Disney resorts to the theme parks and Disney Springs, and connects the Disney resorts to each other.
•FREE parking at all of the Disney theme parks (you’ll be given a parking permit at check-in).
•Charging privileges – you can charge most purchases in the Disney resorts and theme parks to your room key.
•Package delivery – have theme park purchases delivered to your Disney resort.
The regular Value resorts are All-Star Movies, All-Star Music, All-Star Sports and Pop Century. (Art of Animation, a “Value Plus” resort, is described below.) All of the Value resorts feature huge themed icons, such as the 35-foot-tall Buzz Lightyear at All Star Movies. Pop Century has 2880 rooms and the three All-Star resorts each have 1920 rooms.
The Value resort buildings are big, brightly-painted concrete rectangles with some whimsical theming overlays. All four resorts have motel-style exterior corridors, meaning the door and window of your room face outward onto an open walkway. These resorts frequently host large youth groups. Some rooms face into courtyards that contain pools. Due to these factors, noise can be a significant issue at the Value resorts.
The Value resorts have basic amenities such as a food court, pool bar, video game room and gift shop. They do not offer table-service dining, an indoor bar/lounge, room service (except pizza delivery), on-site recreation such as boating, kids’ clubs/babysitting, health club or valet parking.
The pools are somewhat themed but do not have water slides. The All-Star resorts have two pools each. Pop Century has three pools. However, the guest-to-pool ratio is similar at all of the resorts because there are more and/or larger pools at the larger resorts.
“Value Plus” Resort
Art of Animation, offers 1120 family suites and 864 standard rooms. Art of Animation is considered a “Value Plus” resort because it is primarily composed of family suites, offers interior corridors and has a bigger, better food court. Standard rooms at Art of Animation are about $5-$10/night more than the rooms at the other Value resorts. Family suites at Art of Animation are about $50/night more than the similar (but not identical) suites at All-Star Music Resort.
Like the regular Value resorts, the Art of Animation buildings are big, brightly-painted concrete rectangles with some whimsical theming overlays and enormous icons. Unlike the other Value resorts, Art of Animation has carpeted interior corridors, which should help to reduce noise from the exterior. One side effect of the architecture, however, is that you can’t really park right by your room. If you have much luggage, we recommend using Bell Services to take it all to your room — it’s worth it for the price of a tip.
Art of Animation offers the most elaborate and unusual of all Disney’s resort food courts, called Landscape of Flavors. The food court includes a tandoor oven producing items like naan, tandoori chicken and shrimp; a Mongolian grill; gelato; coffee/espresso drinks; and a variety of “better for you” foods such as multigrain rice, buckwheat pasta and waffles, egg white frittatas, make-your-own yogurt parfaits and low-fat smoothies. The usual burgers, fries and Mickey waffles are also available. If you want even more options, you can walk over to Pop Century and visit the food court there.
The three pools at Art of Animation are themed but do not have water slides. The largest pool, The Big Blue Pool in the Finding Nemo courtyard, is over 12,000 square feet with zero entry (you can walk in gradually) and an underwater sound system, and has a pool bar, The Drop Off, nearby. There is a water play area, a playground, a video game room and gift shop.
There are two smaller pools, located in the Cars and The Little Mermaid courtyards. The Lion King wing has an additional play area.
The resort does not offer table-service dining, an indoor bar/lounge, room service (except pizza delivery), on-site recreation such as boating, kids’ clubs/babysitting, health club or valet parking.
The Moderate resorts are Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, Port Orleans – French Quarter and Port Orleans – Riverside. All four resorts feature feature extensive, tasteful theming. Caribbean Beach has 2112 rooms, Port Orleans – Riverside has 2048 rooms, Coronado Springs has 1921 rooms and Port Orleans – French Quarter has 1008 rooms.
The Moderate resort buildings have exterior corridors, meaning the door and window of your room face outward onto an open walkway, but unlike the Value resorts, the buildings don’t scream “motel.” The theming of the Moderate hotel buildings is exceptionally detailed and integrates the exterior corridors with the overall architecture very effectively.
Moderate rooms have pleasant decoration that is in keeping with the theme of each resort, but the accommodations are still small and pretty basic; for instance, there is no closet, only an open area with a clothes rod and shelf in the bathroom. In fact, there is a significant disparity in the quality of the Moderate guest rooms vs. the public areas. The rooms are just so-so; we would compare them with a themed Holiday Inn or Best Western room. However, the public areas are really outstanding and unlike anything you’d ever see outside of Disney at this price point.
The Moderate resorts have far more amenities than the Value resorts. They each offer a food court, a moderately-priced table-service restaurant (except for Port Orleans – French Quarter, which only has a food court), a lounge bar and a pool bar (except Caribbean Beach, which only has a pool bar), video game room, gift shop and on-site recreation such as boating.
The main “feature” pools are elaborately themed and include water slides and hot tubs/spas; additionally, all of the Moderate resorts (except Port Orleans – French Quarter) have unthemed “quiet pools” scattered around the property.
The Deluxe resorts are Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge and Yacht Club. All eight resorts feature unique, elaborate and even breathtaking theming. Animal Kingdom Lodge has 1293 rooms, Contemporary has 1008 rooms, Grand Floridian has 867 rooms, Polynesian has 847 rooms, Wilderness Lodge has 727 rooms, Yacht Club has 621 rooms, Beach Club has 576 rooms and BoardWalk Inn has 372 rooms.
Without exception, the Deluxe resorts are architecturally interesting, with amazing theming. Some are quite stunning and innovative, in fact. Deluxe resorts all have interior corridors. Deluxe rooms are attractively decorated in keeping with the resort’s theme and feature (at minimum) the amenities you would expect from an upmarket chain such as Sheraton or Hilton. The public areas of the Deluxe resorts inspire words like “spectacular” — they are almost unequaled anywhere else.
The main “feature” pools are outstanding. They are dramatically themed and all include water slides and hot tubs/spas. All of the Deluxe resorts offer on-site recreation such as boating, except for Animal Kingdom Lodge, which offers educational programs and live animal exhibits instead.
All of the Deluxe resorts offer a full slate of hotel services. Dining and beverage options will include at least one moderately-priced table-service restaurant, an upscale fine dining restaurant, a counter-service food option, room service, a lounge bar and a pool bar.
All of the Deluxe resorts have very nice high-end gift shops, kids’ clubs/babysitting, a video game room, health club and valet parking. Beach Club, Contemporary, Grand Floridian and Yacht Club have salons.
Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts (aka Disney Vacation Club Resorts)
The Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts (also called the Disney Vacation Club Resorts) are Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Beach Club Villas, BoardWalk Villas, Villas at Grand Floridian, Old Key West, Polynesian Villas & Bungalows, Saratoga Springs and Villas at Wilderness Lodge. All nine resorts are sold as timeshares through Disney Vacation Club (DVC), but you can also rent the units directly through Disney’s reservation system, just like you would a hotel room.
These resorts feature feature beautiful theming and a variety of “homelike” accommodations. In order of size, Saratoga Springs has 1,320 units, Old Key West has 761 units, Animal Kingdom Villas has 708 units, BoardWalk Villas has 532 units, Bay Lake Tower has 428 units, Polynesian Villas & Bungalows has 380 units, Beach Club Villas has 282 units, Villas at Wilderness Lodge has 181 units and Villas at Grand Floridian has 147 units.
The theming of the Disney Vacation Club resorts is nearly on a par with the Deluxe resorts. The studio units are attractively decorated in keeping with the resort’s theme and feature (at minimum) the amenities you would expect from an upmarket chain such as Sheraton or Hilton. The 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom villas are at least equivalent to vacation condos offered by the Hilton Vacation Club or a similar outfit.
The resort buildings at Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Beach Club Villas, BoardWalk Villas, Studio rooms at the Polynesian Villas, Villas at Grand Floridian and Villas at Wilderness Lodge all have interior corridors. Old Key West and Saratoga Springs, and the Bungalows at the Polynesian have exterior corridors.
At Animal Kingdom Villas (Jambo House), Bay Lake Tower, Beach Club Villas, BoardWalk Villas, Villas at Grand Floridian and Villas at Wilderness Lodge, guests share the facilities in the adjoining Deluxe hotels, such as the “feature” pools. (They also have unthemed “quiet pools” closer to the villas, except at Jambo House.) Guests have access to on-site recreation (such as boating), kids’ clubs/babysitting, valet parking and similar services that are offered by the neighboring Deluxe resort. These Disney Vacation Club resorts do not offer any additional dining options, gift shops, bars, etc., because it’s easy to use the services located in the hotel next door.
Saratoga Springs, Old Key West and Animal Kingdom Villas (Kidani Village) are self-contained resorts with many amenities. They are similar to the Deluxe resorts, but have more limited dining options due to their distance from other resorts and the theme parks:
•Old Key West has a full-service restaurant (Olivia’s) and two takeout food locations. All of these serve ordinary American-style food. Old Key West also has a walking path and boat service to Disney Springs, where there are many restaurants.
•Saratoga Springs has a table service restaurant (Turf Club) and a counter-service restaurant/market. Both serve standard American fare. Saratoga Springs also has a walking path and boat service to Disney Springs, where there are many restaurants.
•Kidani Village has one exotic full-service restaurant, Sanaa, serving lunch and dinner. The only other dining options at Kidani Village are some cold sandwiches by the pool, or room service offering the same highly-spiced foods served in the restaurant. If you want non-room-service breakfast or something less spicy/exotic, you will have to walk, bus or drive over to the main Animal Kingdom Lodge, about 1/2 mile away, where there are three restaurants, including a quick-service location.
Saratoga Springs, Old Key West and Animal Kingdom Villas (Kidani Village) have beautifully themed “feature” pools with elaborate pool slides. Kidani Village also offers a kids’ water play area. There are additional unthemed “quiet pools” at Saratoga Springs and Old Key West. These three resorts offer recreational activities, video game rooms and fitness centers, plus the full-service Spa at Saratoga Springs. Because these three resorts are more isolated than the other Disney Vacation Club resorts, we highly recommend renting a car when you stay here, and we think a car is practically mandatory if staying at Kidani Village. Old Key West and Saratoga Springs don’t offer valet parking, salons or kids’ clubs. Kidani Village does have valet parking.
The Grand Floridian - Ultimate Luxury at Disney World
I wouldn't think that anyone at Disney would be surprised when I say that the majority of people who stay here make or have a lot of money and are willing to spend it to enjoy the ultra themeing, superior service and rich feel of the resort. This resort is simply beautiful and hosts the finest restaurant in Florida - Victoria and Albert's.
Disney Cruise - Disney Fantasy Day Visit
“Orient Beach is a relaxing visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 19 November 2014
We were looking for a beach experience in St Maarten and we were on the Disney Fantasy and we booked this excursion through Disney. For $65.00 you get picked up in a nice coach with a tour guide at the entrance to the dock area. You ride for a half hour or so to the other side of the island with the tour guide giving you details of what you are seeing. It is a nice ride. You arrive right at the entrance to the beach. A gentleman hands you a rum punch cocktail as you make your way to the beach chairs. A little weird but nice. We had the purple beach chairs that were all lined up and ready for use. For a couple of dollars you could keep the umbrella that was there or he would take it away. Keep the umbrella, it gets hot. The beach chairs are really close together. The water was beautiful, protected by two islands just off shore. Not rough at all. There were activities to do like parasailing and jet ski rentals. There is a beach bar right there for refreshments. Lovely people come around wanting to smother you in aloe and sell you some light beach cover ups and braid your hair. No need to be rude with these folks, they are quite pleasant if you say no thank you. This is a clothing optional beach but mostly on the beach to the left. Folks do walk by for exercise in various stages of undress. We saw one young lady frolicking in the surf but mostly it was seniors walking by in their nothingness. Lunch was included with your package and there is an open air restaurant just to the right of the purple beach chairs. I'm not kidding, it was really good. I had ribs and fries. Servers are quite pleasant and they pump out a lot of meals in the afternoon. I live in a beach community and I must say that I really enjoyed the experience. The sand was lovely to walk on and the water did not drop off quickly. Nothing too exciting just a nice change from the tiny pools on the ships. Would I come back here again - You bet! We are booking it for February. On the way back the bus will drop you off where they picked you up or at the entrance to the main shopping area in town. After shopping you can take the water taxi back to the entrance of the pier from downtown. You will enjoy this day in the sun.
“Animal Kingdom Lodge is the best on Disney Property”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 October 2014
Walk into the Lobby for the first time and film your parties faces, it is BEAUTIFUL. Their jaws will drop as their eyes raise up to the ceiling. They will spend a couple of minutes just taking in the gorgeous themeing and wont be able to say anything but WOW! This is my favourite Disney Resort. You must get a Savannah view in order to get the full effect. Wake up one morning, throw back the curtains and look out and see giraffes feeding at the trees in front of you. You may see five of them all at the same time. So many different animals, the kids will go wild. Sit out there in the evening and watch the animals moving around. Little hens running around in a pack, striped zebras and all sorts of others. The rooms are themed really nicely as if you were in Africa. The bunks beds are a great idea for little ones but not such a great idea for older teens as we found out. The rooms are fun and comfy. The hallways are great, very well themed for the African experience. The Cast Members are really helpful at promoting the experience. Go outside for the night vision experience and then sit around the camp fire and listen to African stories from their homelands. Boma is a great all you can eat buffet restaurant. The food breakfast and dinner is exceptional. The pool is really great. There is one area where you can stretch out your legs and just relax. It has an easy entry ramp at one end of the pool and a nice slide at the other. We ate at Jiko last time. First time many years ago they sneered at my son because he wanted ketchup for his fries. This time was a totally different experience, much more down to earth and yet still fine dining. The food was really good. The fast service restaurant serves good food and they serve fantastic carrot ginger soup sometimes and squash soup other times that makes it worth coming back for. For DVC members the one bedrooms are just two regular rooms converted into a 1 bedroom. Over at Kidani the 1 bedrooms have the big bathroom with the whirlpool tub. But to me the whole Jambo House experience makes it my choice.
2014-01-06- Our latest visit to Animal Kingdom Lodge was not as perfect as usual.
We visited Animal Kingdom Lodge this New Years Eve. It was ok. Not great. There were parts that were exceptional and I will focus on that. Happy Limo was hired to take us from the airport to the hotel. We flew in Spirit Air out of Detroit, no deal on flights, but we did get big front seats for just $35.00 more each seat. The Suburban Limo that we used when the kids were smaller was replaced with a small Lincoln stretch limo for another 35.00. When the limo pulled in we had a big surprise, it was a stretch Hummer. The other cars were busy. What a treat. People wondered who we were. Too much fun. We got to the hotel and were wisked upstairs to the Club level for check in. We had a snack and a drink while we were checked in. We were selected to participate in the new wrist band program. The band opens the door to your room and allows you entry into the parks and replaces money. All charges go directly to your room charges. In order to make sure that we did not run out of credit I asked that they charge my credit card on a daily basis. They failed to do this. Be careful that if you are using your bands to make purchases that you call the front desk and ask them to process your charges onto your card or it may be refused in the parks when you are out for dinner.
Our room was lovely in a great location. However we were paying for Club level and were put onto 4th floor room 4411. It was a view of the Arusha Savanah and the viewing area with the night vision glasses. The giraffes came to our area all day long for food. The problem is that my children are adult sized now and we were put into a bunk bed room. We have a Purple Locker that is stored down there for us which we have an air bed in. DS slept in that bed in the hall way by the door. He was quite comfortable but I wake up at 5 and had to wait until 9 or 10 when he would wake up. It was not satisfactory. We arranged for new rooms. We got two rooms after we threatened to move to Beach Club Resort. The problem was that they were much further down the hall and much further away from the Concierge Club services room on the fifth floor. Most of their concierge rooms are not near the area where they have the food or drinks for free. It would have been so much nicer if we could have been on the same floor.
Lets discuss the Club room for snacks and deserts. Coffee starts at 6:30 am. They have an inferior cappuccino machine in comparison with Beach Club Resort. It only serves coffee and decaf. The frothy milk is added but did not work on the coffee machine. There is a little very effective frothy milk machine sitting beside the coffee machine. It worked fine for the first half of our trip, not at all after. They also have regular coffee pots and decaf coffee. The have a full tea service and flavourings for the coffee. Fail!! The breakfast was lumpy oatmeal one day and starchy thick the other day. They offered Quinoa as their only protein offering. It was boiled beyond recognition. There was no salt available to give it any flavour. There was no cheese or any other protein offerings. So diabetics had nothing available for breakfast. Lots of candied rolls, white breads, white bagels etc to feed on but nothing that I could eat. Starches like Oatmeal break down eventually and affect our blood sugars. The juices were great especially the Jungle Juice. I took that every morning and cut it 90% with cold water that was available. So we ended up going down to Boma and Mara for a beautiful breakfast and I guess that is the aim. Snacks during the day were yogurt covered pretzels, stale goldfish, good cookies, fresh fruit etc. Not great not bad. The late afternoon apps were ok but just not stuff my family wanted to eat. At night the desserts changed but were just ok. Bite sized brownies and banana bread, cookies etc. Just ok. There were 4 liquors available but we are not drinkers. They had wine available just like milk, pop and water. I had one drink a night at most. So was it worth the extra $180.00 per night? not in our opinion. It was nice though to have a quiet room to go and have a quiet drink and just sit in peace. If we had been on the same floor maybe.
The single rooms that we ended up changing to were great. We had the most wonderful cleaning staff in all three rooms. I tip the housecleaning staff 10.00 per room per night cause i know how hard they work. It is just a token of appreciation. Both of our cleaning staff thanked us for thinking of them while we were on our holiday. Apparently not many of their customers do tip because she was so thrilled with us that she blessed us and kissed us good bye. Certainly I always say that the staff is the reason that we return year after year. Her smiles were one of the highlights of the trip.
Animal Kingdom Lodge - I mentioned our trouble getting into our room on our last trip and this time we were in our room 15 minutes after we arrived. Thank you. The service is great. The hotel has the most wow factor themeing on the Disney property. The pool is really nice. There is an area for dads where it is actually 4'11" deep. So all but your head is covered and your legs are straight. If you have been to Disney you know what I mean. The fifth floor has been converted to villas. The one bedroom villa only has one bathroom in it due to space constraints. It is big and works out fine. The only problem is that the shower is also the jet tub. There is a wide lip that you have to lift your leg over to get into the tub. Little ones might have trouble with that and fall. Mothers will worry about their kids in the shower no matter how old the kids are - but nobody fell or had trouble. This resort has it all. The view from your room if you are able to secure a savanah room is unmatched. When we opened up our drapes the first time there were three giraffes and 6 zebra outside. They move around from feeding place to feeding place but most times they are visible. They can be within 30 feet of you. I absolutely love this resort.
2010-09-14 - Animal Kingdom Lodge vs Kidani Village - The one bedroom at Kidani has it all over Jambo house. The extra bathroom with shower is great. The size of the other bathroom off the king bed room is huge. Glass shower allows for couples enjoyment while a large separate jacuzzi tub is a body relief after a day at the park. Lots of room. More room in Kidani than in Jambo. The rooms are about 100 sq feet bigger but it seems much more. The Kidani rooms are clean and fresh and the pool has fewer people in it. There is about 50 feet of the pool that is about 4'11" where in the Kidani pool it is only about 15' that is deep enough for an adult to stand up straight. BUT - our decision is that we can do without the extras in the bathroom and the extra 100 feet to get the spacious lobby with a much bigger store. Being closer to the cafeteria and restaurants is a huge plus. The ambiance at Jambo house cannot be beat. The view is so improved with Kidani being the background to the savanah. We choose to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge above all the Disney Resorts, Jambo House. We would like to stay at Beach Club for the pool though.
“Beach Club Resort Rocks~Concierge is icing on the cake.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed 5 October 2014
Spoiler Alert - At the gate of the Beach Club Resort the guard asks your name and he calls to the Bell Desk and when you get to the entrance of the hotel they greet you by name. It is a nice treat. Take a moment when you enter the hotel and breathe in deeply just inside the lobby. It is the most glorious smell, piped into the lobby, that you will remember forever. The elevators are band operated to get to the fifth club level floor. A level of security that is appreciated. The Cast Member takes you right up to the Club Level desk where you are seated at a large comfy desk and your family is taken into the club lounge where they are given drinks and a snack. At the desk all of the details are worked out, paying, schedules, reservations, bands etc. They you are lead to your room. The rooms are all very nice. There are a couple presidential style rooms but mostly they are two bed rooms with either a view of the pool, lake or the roof or garden. The details in the rooms are really nicely themed. A fridge is in the dresser. Most of the balconies are only decorative but some rooms you can sit out and enjoy the hot weather and the view. Advertising is deceptive, you can request a king size bed but I understand that there are only 5 in the hotel so you are never going to get it. We were once told that we had a king size bed and it was barely a queen. So don't stress over thinking that you got burned if you requested a king. The cast members are so nice and accommodating. Starting with the club level reception - they are just so nice. Last trip I was given two bedazzled badges, one for my birthday and one for our anniversary. Such a treat. There is a phone number and an email address that you can use to get them to plan reservations at the restaurants or get you tickets to shows and events way before you get to the resort. Use them in advance unless you enjoy booking your own stuff like I do. They will do anything to make your stay magical. The serving staff in the club lounge are so happy to help you out. It gets busy in there for breakfast and some of the guests have a very high opinion of their importance but nothing seems to phase these Cast Members. I have always been greeted with a smile and an offer of assistance. They make the experience so nice. The food is generous and quite good. Breakfast has cold boiled eggs peeled on little individual dishes for your protein unlike the concierge at Animal Kingdom that offers Quinoa as a protein. yuck. You can save 100.00 a day just having a cold breakfast in the lounge. Juices, toaster, bagels, cream cheese, porridge, hot drinks etc. The snacks are good during the day, yogurt pretzels, gummy worms, drinks. The apps before dinner are a waste to us as they are so good but we are going for special dinners. The liquors after dinner for free are not wasted on me. Desserts are lovely, but small tasters. The resort has a great ambience. East coast USA beaches. The themeing is really good. The pool is the best anywhere. Sandy bottom pool spreads out over a large area. From really loud with a volley ball net, whirlpool with strong currents, to the very quiet secluded areas it is all really nice. Note that there is a small lazy river that is 8-9 feet deep so dads can stretch their legs out completely. There is also a huge sandy wet area for little ones. Pick this resort for it proximity to the Epcot International entrance. It is a five minute saunter away or a ferry boat ride away. You enter Epcot between England and France. There is also ferry service to Disney Studios and Boardwalk Resort. This is by far my wife's favourite resort and we are staying there next August 2015. Hint: Ask for the Deluxe Rooms, Club level - these are rooms that are way bigger, are on a corner with two sides of windows, can sleep six with an air mattress with no problem. Usually have a view of a quiet pool and the lake and Boardwalk resort over the lake. They are not on the club 5th floor and are a bit of a walk away but for extra size well worth it.
Room Tip: It is worth the little extra to get a view of the pool or the lake. It is just so pleasant to see the water
Beach Club Resort Club Floor - When you arrive at Beach Club the front guard at the gate asks your name and when you arrive at the front entrance under the canopy a bell man helps you out of the car and another doorman will great you with "Welcome Home Elliott Family". A little bit of Disney Magic explained - should I have said Spoiler Alert? Even knowing that it still sends chills up my spine - they go to a lot of trouble to make you feel special at Disney. And when you enter the beautiful lobby you are greeted by the wafting smell of Cape Cod sage - each time my bride stops, takes in the smell and smiles as wide as I have ever seen. She just loves it. So when I got home I bought her one of those machines for our house and she still loves it each day!! You are directed up to the Concierge Desk on the fifth floor after being shown how to work the elevator key lock. Only people staying on the fifth floor can get up to the fifth floor. You are greeted by the hosts at the desks right by the elevators. They sit you down, direct your family into the Harbour Club for refreshments. They will bring you a drink as well as your register. I really like this!! The staff at the club room work like little bees refilling everything for your refreshment. They never bring out a tray with 100 things on it, no they bring out a tray with twenty things because the product will stay fresher and the look of it will be more pleasing. When I asked for an entire bottle of Perrier for my room they were more than happy to oblige. Anything you want for your room it will be provided. We had great food in there. We didn't use it all the time but who really needs all of that food. First thing in the morning DD and I would go for breakfast. Hot oatmeal just cooked right, yummy. Boiled eggs each in its own dish. Fresh fruit and a coffee machine that would brew you anything that you wanted immediately. It was really cool. I found the hot chocolate was great. In the afternoon the hot snacks were from the great restaurants downstairs and boy were they good and varied over the week. Desserts at night were good, but they seemed to be the same each night. We really don't know cause we only visited the desserts twice. But free liquors or beer all evening. So nice if you wanted it. The rooms were nice. I didn't like the mattress and if they tell you in the advertising that you might get a king size bed - consider this false advertising. There are only 7 king beds on the whole floor and you ain't getting one. We asked for one 6 months in advance and we weren't even considered. The water view was great, right out onto the pool and the lake. It was really nice.
The pool at Beach Club is really fantastic. One of the problems at Disney is there are very few places in the pools for an adult to stand up straight. There is usually one spot over a drain that might get to 5 feet but most times is is 1 meter to 1.5 meters. But in the Beach Club they have a smallish lazy river and it is about 8 feet deep. Adults can stand upright and be over your head. It feels good after a week of bent legs. There is sand at the bottom of the main pool. There are little waterfalls that you can stand under and the water massages your shoulders. They are not usually being used so it is a real treat in that quiet part of the pool over by the windows to the Yachtsman Steakhouse. They have a great slide but it is a real climb to get to the top of it. There is a wonderful and fun whirlpool. You stand in this circular part of the pool and the water pushes you around it. It is neat. There is a whole giant part that is just for little kids. There are sand areas for kids to play and the water is really shallow perfect for kids.
Disneyland Paris - Disney Magic - 2014-08-30
We visited Europe this summer and enjoyed a visit to Disneyland Paris. If you visit there are a number of hotels on the property that are very convenient to the parks. The Disneyland Paris Hotel is the preferred location as part of it forms a part of the entrance to the Magic Kingdom Park. It is a little pricey so we stayed at the New York Hotel as the cost is slightly less. It is a nice hotel but nothing special. Their food service is done at 10:00 pm in the only bar in the hotel. There is a handy bar in each room for drinks etc. but if you order hot food after 10:00 pm they cannot provide that to you except by room service. Breakfasts are plentiful in fairly smaller rooms. Nice selection of hot and cold offerings. The breads and buns and cheeses are great. Seemed that everyone was on a package of some sort that gave them a free breakfast. The New York Hotel backs into the Disney Village (shopping area) so it is very handy to get to the village for food or shopping. One strange thing is that we were stuck way out at the end of the furthest wing of the hotel and wanted to go out the back door and go to the Village just a hop skip and a jump away but we could not. All of the doors warn that if you go out of them the alarm will sound. You had to walk all the way out to the lobby to go out the back door and retrace the route to the Village. Not a big deal just annoying. I lost my new expensive camera in the hotel bar one night and to my surprise it was at the front desk in the lost and found in the morning. I found my waiter and thanked him with an appropriate amount of Euro's! Beds were solid. We took the Chunnel train from London to Paris. It arrives at the entrance to Euro Disney. There is a bus transportation system that you take your bags onto at the front door of the train station and the bus takes you right to the entrance of your hotel. Seemed weird at the time but it works really well. Taxi's are almost non existent at the hotels. We tried to jam too much into one night at the parks and paid double the entrance to go to both parks, Disney Studios and Magic Kingdom. Pick one per day and do your thing. The kids thought that the rides were a little more exciting as they were upgraded versions of what we had in Orlando. In Space Mountain you start off by going up the outside of the ride then into the turns in the dark. They said that there we upside down sections. Same in Thunder Mountain, a little more exciting. I noticed that people are not as happy in Euro Disney. Not as much happiness - kids yes, but not adults. Seemed to be a general lack of courtesy or respect for other people. Not the staff per se but certainly the guests. Not generally as nice to each other, with noticeable exceptions. The washrooms generally were not as clean as in Orlando and they stank. We went for one special dinner in the park. We were drawn to Walts by the menu and the pictures of the room and generally the good feeling that I was getting from the reviews. Give it a pass. The food is not good. I asked for a gin martini and was served a glass of Martini and Rossi Dubonnet. We left most of our dinners on our plates and the cost was very high. We used our hotel as a base to get to Paris on both days that were open. We knew that we would have nice rooms and food we thought. Some restaurants on the property were closed. Our time in Paris was great. We used the Paris Essentials bus tour on the hop on hop off bus system. It was August and it was just too busy. Would not do that again unless we could be sure to get a seat on the top of the bus so that we could see and hear. They use this ear phone system that is crackly and not good reception so you cannot hear 50% of the items they are talking about. We did arrange for a car to pick us up one day and take us into Paris and had a guide arranged through Paris Muse to take us through the Louvre. Was a wonderful visit, you go in a side door to avoid the crowds. Do your research and be specific about what your priorities are to see. The Louvre is so huge that you will spend the entire day in there and not see it all. If you want to see the first statute ever found then you will head into the antiquities wing. If you want to see the Mona Lisa and Venus De Milo then you will head into different wings. Tell your guide at the beginning so that you are not disappointed
Disney Magic is quite a bit smaller than the Dream or the Fantasy. This was our 9th cruise with Disney. We wondered how we would like the smaller ship. Our first cruise was on the Disney Wonder which is the same size of the Magic but we could not really remember it. There are about 2400 people on the Magic and about 4400 on the Dream. In Barcelona the embarkation room that the crowds wait to be loaded into the ship is awful. All the people get in there and like a cattle call they start calling numbers and groups of people head to the entrance in the fence and start queing to get into the ship. Nasty business particularly when the lady in the first room signed us in and did not give us an embarkation number. Hordes of people all standing and waiting to get into the ship. It is all held up by Disney taking family pictures up the way. We were impressed once on the ship, the Lobby entrance is smaller, the walk to the back restaurants on the ship was shorter, the crush of people was less, everything was just a little smaller. When they refurbished the Magic they gutted the ship, new beds, new furniture, new wall coverings. Everything was replaced including most of the lighting. Animators Palate was redone and brought up to the new standards in electronics. The restaurants were less big, less full, still a little crowded. Fewer people in the adult pool, bigger pool, 5 foot deep all over. Well, how did I like it? It was just great. Fewer places to shop, fewer people in the shows. I recommend the Bingo on every ship. It is just so much fun and they get to know your name. FUN. It was all much more compact and just a little nicer. We would never hesitate to sail on the Magic or the Wonder. It is a nice treat to get a little more personalized service. We did not use the Adventures by Disney for the day time excursions due to the cost. For four of us it would have been 9 thousand dollars. We did not use the regular excursions offered by Disney because of the huge walking distances from the sites and with my health issues it would have been too far. We did select romeinlimo.com tour company to use as our tour service. This was a five out of five star decision. It works out to be less or slightly more for a group of four to use them. The service is way beyond our expectations. Here is my trip report on TripAdvisor:
Originally I booked Disney Adventures to supplement our Disney Magic 7 day cruise of Italy from Barcelona. The cost was too much to bear so I booked Disney day excursions to Florence, Rome and Pompeii. When reading a trip report on Disney Cruise lines I heard about Rome in Limo Tours. It was so glowing that I cancelled my Disney excursions and booked with Romeinlimo. This was by far the best part of our trip. We were just four but all adult sized so I requested a Van for our tours. Jany in the office quickly answered all emailed questions right away and made us feel comfortable that we had done the right thing. On the first day we met Angelo in a newer van that was spotless and he took us to Pisa and Florence. He is a wonderful man, willing to give you as much detail of his beloved Tuscany region as he can. We enjoyed his company very much. He got us so close to the Leaning Tower of Pisa that it was hardly a walk at all. The tour busses were parked over half an hour away. In Florence he was able to get us right into the old city, point out a fantastic restaurant and show us where to go to sight see. He took us for a gelato that was so far superior to any that we had ever had, his favourite spot. We were back to the ship in plenty of time. In Rome we used the services of Franco as a driver. He kept our heads turning with his knowledge of every part of the old city. He took us right inside the Coloseum to make sure that we got our preordered tickets before leaving us. He picked us up right at the curb outside the exit. The entire day was like that. The restaurant he took us to was a local favourite and the food was exceptional. My favourite memory was the Key Hole, something that we would never have known, ever. He dropped the family off at the Sistine Chapel at the curb and the guide from RIL took the family through the Vatican with an abundance of knowledge. I was too hot and tired to revisit the Vatican so Franco toured me around, bought me a Gelato and let me wait in air conditioning for the family. He checked on me and brought me fresh squeezed orange juice. He was spectacular as a resource for our visit. In Pompeii we had Giovanni as a driver. He was a real treat. He took us right to the entrance of Pompeii and introduced us to Paula our guide. After explaining that the heat was wearing us down and the tour seemed daunting she led us up the easier entrance to the site. She was so pleasant, happy, knowledgeable and just such a positive person that we all thought of her as a friend. With her understanding and commentary we loved our tour of Pompeii. We traveled on to Sorrento and had lunch and shopped. Giovanni understood how tired we were at the end of the day that we asked to be dropped off a little early at the Disney Magic and he fully understood. We would like to thank Rome In Limo tours and their workers for making our trip to Italy fun and exciting and worry free. Do what they say and purchase all of your entrance tickets early or you may not get to experience your attraction especially in August when crowds are above normal.
Wilderness Lodge Villas - 2012-08-19 - Walt Disney World Resort - Wow what a spot. First of all we were a little hesitant because the surroundings were going to be just like our woods at home. When you look out the windows of your room you are surrounded by views of the pine forest. Too much like home I thought. We were lucky enough to get into the fifth floor in the DVC villas. We had this cute little balcony with a roof that did not leave you exposed to the rest of the people. Our ceiling on the fifth floor was vaulted. That gave us the feeling of so much extra room. With the one bedroom you get a full working kitchen. We faxed ahead and it was stocked with breakfast and snack items. We had breakfast in the room each morning and that saved 75-100.00 a day. The rooms were gorgeous and clean and very earthy colours, very relaxing. The villas are in a separate building that is half way to the buses so it is very convenient. There is a quiet pool behind the building. You can find a back entrance to the pool beside the gym downstairs. The quiet pool beside the Villas is wonderful with jets in the floor of the pool. At night it is absolutely beautiful to swim in. It is also a short cut to the beach and the marina and the feature pool. We walked all the way around the first time - not necessary. My overall first impression of the resort was wow and it kept getting better during our 3 nights there. The building is beautiful and gives you the wow factor that Disney is so good at. The resort looks so nice as you arrive, the lobby is much like Animal Kingdom Lodge but not so colourful. The view from the pool just takes your breath away each time you look up toward the building. The restaurants are great. The quick serve restaurant does a really good job.
Disney Dream Cruise - Try the 5 day cruise if you are going soon as they are going to disappear in 2013 I believe. This is the only cruise that stops at Castaway Cay twice. The Bahamas cruise is great. Four or five nights in the seas hidden behind the Bahamas Islands so the water is quite still. The ship actually stopped in the water for a day and a half just floating in the sun while we had fun. The ship is beautiful, clean and amazing. The cabins were just up by the forward elevators with Deluxe Balcony rooms. Cabins 6042 and 6044 are perfect. You can ask the steward to have the divider on the balcony folded back and you can move from side to side on your extended balcony. The rooms were joined and mom felt much better being able to move from room to room to keep a handle on everything. One bed folds out of the ceiling and is great for anyone that wants a bunk bed. The couch folds out to another bed as well. The mattress on the queen bed is fantastic and comfortable. The bed is on a raised platform and your bags can be slid underneath so that they are out of the way.
Ok, here is my pet peeve about cruising. These folks that work on the cruise sacrifice their lives at home to work at sea to be able to travel for some, save for their future and for others, to send money home. Disney has ensured that everyone pays a fair gratuity to their people by just adding the gratuity to your room charge which is settled by your room bill. Ok, that is great but that only gets rid of the problem that some people try to stiff the staff. Many of these people have wives and children that they are responsible for at home and they send their money home. One lady I met had a 9 year old at home and she had been working on the ships for 8 years on 8 month contracts. That is dedication to her son. So tip them generously. At the end of the cruise they will give you an envelope for any additional tips that you want to give to the room steward, the head server, the server, the assistant server. I always put extra money in there.
But I have a personal habit that I have tried in many service situations that has worked for me, I also tip at the beginning of the trip. I was in the restaurant business for many years and I know that you want to set yourself apart from all the rest of their customers. You establish your relationship with your people, the room steward, the server (our friend Bruno) and the assistant server (lovely Zsofia). These are the people that you are depending on to make your trip special. These are the people who really work hard for you. They are the life of your trip. When they know that you truly value the work that they are about to do for you they will make sure that your trip is as good as they have the ability to make it. Once that you establish that you appreciate them, they will go the extra mile for you. It is not a big thing, it is a matter of courtesy and respect. We are now facebook friends with our server because he is so great. We are also friends with his assistant server because she made such a great impression on our family.
Lets speak a little bit about the Cast Members on the Disney Dream. When the staff step out from the inner workings of the Ship they are stepping out into the Show or the Stage. They are the backbone of the Disney Experience on the ship. The Ship itself is just metal, wood and cloth. The Cast Members give it the heart and soul of the experience. Lets start with our Steward. Our cabin was spotless the entire trip. I bought a wack of beer over the internet before leaving Grand Bend to have cold in our room. When we got there it was waiting all stocked with ice and water and freezing cold. It was a beautiful site. Only thing is I don't really drink any more. The beer sat there the entire trip. Here is the Disney experience - the steward repacked the four tubs of beer every day and night with fresh ice. Can you believe it. I was flabergasted at the level of service. We got to the ship after 3 days at Wilderness so I sent my dirty clothes out to be cleaned as soon as we got on board. I asked and paid for a three hour turn around. Our Steward forgot to bring up my laundry and I had to wear a not so clean shirt to dinner. When we got back to our cabin he was waiting at my room to accept responsibility and apologize to me. Not necessary I said, I appreciated him speaking to me about it. He did the very best origami towels ever.
Our servers Bruno and Zsofia were an absolute delight. Bruno had never had a family request him by name before. He had served us on our last cruise and we so enjoyed his service and personality. It was such a treat to be fetted like a king. He made each member of our party feel that they were the entire focus of his attention. He offered suggestions from the heart for us to try, not just the suggestions from the kitchen - on what they wanted to serve the most of. He was not completely perfect (close though - professionally speaking), he is a bit of a scamp which added to our enjoyment. He rushed so fast that we thought that the chefs were waiting just for our order.
So this time we asked for him again. We saw him peering out from behind a post to see who it was that asked for him by name and when DW spotted him and pointed at him he bounded out with a big smile from behind his hiding spot. He recognized us and knew that he was going to enjoy serving us again this cruise. We try to make his experience with us a pleasant as we possibly can. He introduced us to his assistant Zsofia who quickly joined in the fun. We learned about his love for his dad, we learned about Portugal, we learned about how the ship works, we learned about his aims, goals and desires. He shared himself with us and we did the same with him. Zsofia told us about herself and we quickly became friends. Yes, they had to serve us, but they did not have to befriend us. We really like these two. Bruno offered sage words of wisdom to DS about making sure that he choose the right path each time temptation is offered to him. He told DS that making the wrong decision can lead into a terrible life of problems. How true. The service was impecable and I know because I served for years from behind the bar and as restaurant manager. Bruno is a professional server having worked in Fine Dining restaurants in Portugal and on other cruise lines. His favourite cruise line is Disney where the servers are treated so well. Disney has standards that they must uphold or not work there. Their hiring practices weed out personalities that will not mesh with the "Disney Experience" and that makes your disney holiday as good as it is. When up in the Fine Dining Restaurant Palo I mentioned to the manager that we were receiving the very best service possible from our server. I said that he had mentioned that the manager had been a server like him and was very good at her job. I told her that Brunos goal was to be a server in Palo and that I highly recommended him. I told her that we had requested Bruno due to the quality of his service, his energy and his personality. She said that she would keep it in mind as she also thought highly of Bruno.
On the last night at dinner I handed the menu back to Bruno and said bring me what you think that I would like. I had the best meal ever, tenderloin with Bernaise and lamb sirloin with mint sauce. One tip about the regular restaurants - you rotate between the three big restaurants each night and the servers rotate with you - figure out when you get to the table what you would like to have to drink with your meal. The servers will remember what you drink and have it ready for you when you sit down - large Tanqueray Martini on the rocks with three olives. Also, if you like a little wine with dinner but not the whole thing - order your wine and they will put it aside for your next meal. You can have another glass or finish it at the next meal, it is really great for people like me who like some wine but would not finish a bottle in a meal. We have already requested Bruno and hopefully Zsofia for our next cruise, no promises Disney says but they will try. I know that Bruno is home for Christmas to see his family and friends but he may be back by March.
Here is a little known secret for you - if you take a pillow case or two down to the Guest Services Desk at the beginning of the trip with permanent Sharpies the staff will get all the characters to sign the pillow case. It was so cool. They arrived back in our room on the last day. The child we did it for really loved it. If you are looking to buy jewels on this trip, go to the orientation on the first day of the cruise. Get to know the guy doing the presentation. It is safe to go to the jewellry stores in Nassau because they are only one road up from the ship docks. You can get really good deals and if you bring the presentation guy into the deal he can save you hundreds more. The 3D movies on board were a real treat. Even the 11:00 pm showing was full. Grab a snack anywhere on ship and take it to the movie with you. You are not limited to just popcorn.
The food in Palo was wonderful. For a 20.00 per person up charge we had brunch one day in Palo. We found out that Remy does the same thing the day we are at sea but it is 75.00 and you get five courses with champagne between courses. But the food in Palo was wonderful and felt like little samples of the very best available. The view was off the back of the ship and was very nice. Disney Dream had to return to the docks to drop off a sick passenger so we got a very special view during our brunch. Suffice it to say that there was plenty to do on the Dream to entertain everyone. Would we go again, you bet. There is no casino on board and no drunks that I could see. I like to gamble in Vegas and for that reason I would go there just for that but I don't like to gamble on a cruise because I am with my family for quality fun time. There is family bingo with prizes up to $10,000 - not likely to win that but maybe 800.00 or so. They have these electronic wireless units that you can buy up to 72 bingo cards on. The machine marks the cards for you and you do nothing but look at it and if there is a bingo it lets you know. I really enjoy getting close to Bingo on 4 or 5 cards whether I win or lose we all have fun. The standard cards are also available and they are fun for the real feel of bingo, I am older and lazier, but my kids loved the individual sheets more.
I have not mentioned Castaway Cay in this post. Bruno says that the restaurant staff get to work on the island sometimes when they are docked. Did I mention how hard the staff work on board and on the island. We recognized a lot of the servers and staff on the island and it is like saying hi to a friend. I understand that there is an area where the staff get to go and relax on their time off on the island. Good on you Disney, treat these guys well, they are a treasure. We think that Castaway Cay is one of the best parts of the trip. We go there with the expectation of being in paradise for a day and we are never disappointed. What a spot. The water will be cold in the winter so get ready for it to hurt but the sand and the umbrellas and the lounge chairs and the food make up for it. In the summer the water is perfect. Perfect Disney Experience again. Clean, Clean, Clean!!!
Rooms for Family of Five - 2009-12-14 - I recently learned of something really great for families of 5 or 6. There are very few affordable spots in Disney World for a family of 5 to stay. The most affordable rooms that I have found for 5 are Fort Wilderness Cabins and the Family Suites at the All Star Music Resort. (2015 - And great Family Suites at Art of Animation) The cabins are a little further out and would take a little while getting anywhere but they also have full kitchens and outdoor grill. The Music Resort offers a separate room with a double bed, a pull out couch for two and twin chairs that pull out into beds. They are not recommended for children over 9 I believe. This room is not as themed as the Cabins but they are in prime locations (read - near the pool) and have kitchenettes, two bathrooms. They are really two rooms put into one. The cost was about 190.00 per night which is way more affordable than other rooms that allow 5 or 6 such as the two bedroom suite in a Disney Villa which will cost you 325.00 to 800.00 a night. Another great one for up to 8 in a party is the Disney Treehouse Villas which is part of Saratoga Springs Resort. They have been all reworked with new beds, furniture and a flat screen tv in every room. They have there own ferry to downtown disney and Disney West Side which leaves every 20 minutes. Disney Vacation Club Villas can combine rooms to create One, Two or Three bedroom villas by just opening doors. Two bedroom Villas can sleep up to 9 people. They offer a Grand Villa that is a two story Villa that can sleep many more people.
Disney Vacation Club Villas Can be Rented - 2009-09-13 - We usually stay at the Disney Vacation Club resorts because we are time share members. We own a time share for 55 years. We will pass it down to our kids. They will only have to pay the maintenance fee annually. We have stayed at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Beach Club, Disney Cruise, Saratoga Tree House Villas, Polynesian, All Star Sports, Contemporary, Animal Kingdom Villas, Old Key West, Carribean Beach Resort and most often Saratoga Springs. We like Saratoga Springs because it is close to Downtown Disney and it is our home resort and it is not as popular as the others so we don't have any trouble making reservations late. The Disney Vacation Club Villas are really nice. If you are not a member it is between $325 for a single room to thousands a night for the 3 bedroom villas. The Beach Club Resort has a sandy bottom pool, a fast deep short lazy river and a large little guys and girls pool. The Boardwalk Resort has a neat pool with a large slide. You look out on a lake with a large boardwalk for you to walk on. You can walk over to a special entrance to the back of Epcot called the International Gate. There is almost nobody there so you enter really quickly. You enter in between England and France. It is such a wonderful entrance. You can also reach the entrance from Yachtsman Resort, Swan and Dolphin and the Beach Club by ferry. How wonderful is that? You can spend a lot of money for a bigger room but you have to decide if it is really worth it. You are only going to be in your room to sleep and change to go out for the evening. Nobody stays in their rooms for long. Out to the pool if you are bored and out to Disney Springs for shopping at night. Don't hang around the room for any reason, get out and do something, go somewhere. So why spend the money for the room. The pools are not very exciting at the Value resorts but geez the price is really great for a place to put your head on a pillow. If you are willing to put out a little extra money I recommend the moderate resorts just for the pool features like a slide. But, if you want to be really in the wow factor the first time you walk into the Deluxe Animal Kingdom Lodge you will look up and say wow with your jaw dropped. It is just that beautiful. And when you get up in the morning, throw back the curtain and look out the window into the Savanah (and only in Savanah class rooms!) you will share your coffee on your balcony with the most beautiful site of giraffe and other animals up close having their breakfast. It is the most wonderful learning experience for the little ones. It is just plain wondrous for the adults. Don't stay at the Contemporary Resort unless you want the convenience of being able to take the monorail to the parks. The idea behind the resort is that it was the most modern resort of its day and it is a lot of concrete but not really a lot of ambience. All balconies look out to the main concourse and you see the monorail coming in and out of the hotel. Each end of the concourse is a glass window. It is neat but the other resorts have so much more themeing and I recommend them more.
Carribean Beach Club. 2009-09-13 - The moderate resorts are really great too. We stayed at the Carribean Beach Club. The rooms are great because they all open up to the outside rather than a hallway. It was a really nice quiet resort and we would stay there again. The feature pool has a really nice slide and is nicely shaped. The counter service area has good food but is limited and you have to line up for the particular type of food that you wanted. The burgers were good. The salads were quite large and tasty. There is a lot of walking to get to the main pool and dining area but it is so peaceful and quiet that you really do relax while walking to the pool. I hear that they have upgraded all of the rooms and the beds are pirate ships and the furniture has been changed as well. It will be fun to try the resort again. The walking is quite calming. There are bus stops all over the resort to allow you to get to the parks. You dont have to go back to the main house to get a bus. The rooms open out to the sidewalk and they are really nice looking buildings. The main pool was so much fun and the kids love it. It has bikes that 2 or 4 can rent to ride around the lake. The little boats can be rented by kids to drive around the lake. They are not fast but the kids love them. It is worth a stay to get away from the craziness of the parks and stay the night in a relaxing room.
Old Key West - 2017-05 - We are heading out to Disneys first timeshare Old Key West for a little well deserved holiday. We are DVC members so we get the pick of the resorts and May can be booked with fairly short notice. It is not one of the most popular properties and I don't understand that. The rooms are gorgeous and have been recently refurbished. The rooms are off square shape. One wall juts out so that it is not just 4 straight walls that make up the room. Less like a hotel. The area is divided up by being near the hospitality center with a restaurant and the main feature pool or the rest of the complex spread way out. It is strikingly beautiful anyway. We stayed here on our honeymoon 23 years ago and they offered to apply our stay against the purchase of a time share and like an idiot I said no cause I was afraid of getting ripped off. I should have done it. This resort is so convenient to Disney Springs. You catch a ferry at the Hospitality center (where you check in) and it drops you right off at the docks. Then it is a hop skip and a jump to the shopping and restaurants. It has a really nice pool. Irregular shape with a slide and hot tub and a wet sauna. If you get a chance stay here.
Boardwalk Villas - we are then moving to the Boardwalk Villas for 3 nights. This resort is also one of peoples number one resort. I really like it but I prefer the Beach Club across the lake for the pool. Boardwalk only has two banks of elevators near the main desk and to get to your room you have to follow these really long hallways that can be confusing. Better to go outside and walk along the boardwalk. You can walk to the International entrance to get into Epcot by France and England. You can walk to Disney Studios as well or you can take the ferry to both. I am having trouble with some new medication and cannot breathe as well as usual so I am renting a scooter to get around. Getting it onto the ferry should not be a problem but I have to take it on two buses and I am concerned. The driver will load me first and close the doors to unload me so it will be an experience. I will let you know how it all went.