Should You Do A Split Stay?

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Read Time:5 Minute, 17 Second

Well first of all, what is a split stay? A split stay is staying at two (or more) different hotels in one vacation. It is quite popular at Walt Disney World, but is it right for you? There are a lot of different reasons for doing a split stay. I’m here to explain the pros and cons for you!

Why would I do a Split Stay?

Like I said, there are a lot of reasons for doing a split stay.

  1. Can’t decide on one resort so you decide to try two (or more!)
  2. Have “Poly” taste on a “Pop” budget
  3. The resort you want is only available for part of your trip
  4. Some people like to move to be closer to the park they want to go to, so they will stay on Bay Lake/Seven Seas Lagoon to go to Magic Kingdom, then move over to the Boardwalk area for EPCOT and Hollywood, and maybe even move to Animal Kingdom Lodge to enjoy Animal Kingdom.
  5. The Conference/Dance Competition/Field Trip etc. is over and your family is staying longer, but you want a new resort

I Like ALL the Resorts! But I can’t afford a whole week at a Deluxe!

So you don’t know which resort you want to try. Why not try two? Or three? What if you want to stay at the Polynesian but you can’t afford a whole week? Why not stay 2-3 days there and then move to a Moderate or Value? Deluxe resorts are typically cheaper Sunday through Thursday, and the rates jump up on the weekend. A smart play would be to book the Polynesian for Sunday through Tuesday, then book, say, Coronado Springs Tuesday through Saturday.

I Want To Stay at Wilderness Lodge but I Can’t Get my Whole Week!

Sometimes, the resort you really want is only available for part of your trip. Let’s say you want to stay Sunday-Sunday and you want the Wilderness Lodge. But Wilderness Lodge is only available Tuesday-Sunday. Why not stay somewhere else Sunday-Tuesday and then move to Wilderness on Tuesday? You get what you want and you get to try somewhere else, too!

I Want to Walk to the Park I’ll Be Going to Each Day

Sometimes, people would like to walk to the parks instead of depending on Disney Transportation. If you have a 6-day trip, with 5-days at the parks, why not try 3 days at a Magic Kingdom resort and 3 days at a Boardwalk Resort? There is no resort within walking distance of Animal Kingdom, so it really wouldn’t matter which resort you’re at to go to that park, but you can walk to the Magic Kingdom from the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, or Contemporary (not to mention the monorail and boat transportation, and boat transportation to and from Wilderness Lodge). You can also walk to both EPCOT and Hollywood Studios from the Boardwalk hotels (Boardwalk, Beach and Yacht Clubs).

What do I do with my luggage?

As long as you are staying at two on-site hotels, Disney Bell Services will transfer your bags for you for free. You should remember to tip, though. Don’t be that guy. So once you have everything packed up from your first resort, take your bags to Bell Services and tell them you are moving resorts. They will mark your luggage with your name and your new resort, and it will be moved that day for you. If you are staying off-site and moving on-site, you’ll need either a car or call an Uber or Lyft.

How Will Disney Handle my Reservation and Payment?

First of all, you should use an Authorized Disney travel consultant (which is, of course, me), to make the entire process easy peasy. No matter what way you decide to book, you will have multiple reservations. There is just no way around that because Disney’s booking system is not that sophisticated.

1. 2 (or more) Room-Only reservations, then purchase tickets separately and link them to your My Disney Experience account. This is the easiest way to do things, but you will not get the perks and Magical Extras that come with the packages.

2. Your first reservation is a package with room and tickets (and, hopefully soon, Dining). As long as your trip does not end before 14 days after the first day you use your tickets, you can purchase a 7-10-day ticket with your first reservation, and your second reservation can be Room-Only. This gets a little more tricky with Dining but, again, using a travel consultant will make all of this easier to set up, as I will do all the leg work for you. You COULD do multiple packages, but, unless you are staying for 2 weeks or more, you will end up paying more money than you should. Remember, the longer your ticket, the cheaper it is. So if you will have 10 park days, a 10-day ticket is cheaper than 2 5-day tickets. A good travel consultant would never let you waste your money!

The entrances to two of the popular eating venues are seen here. on the left is Chef Mickey’s, a character buffet, and on the right is the main quick service facility, Contempo Cafe. Photo by Donald Fink.

So what do you suggest?

My personal opinion is that a split stay can be an excellent way to experience multiple resorts on the same trip. You can visit the South Pacific AND the Caribbean on the same trip to Florida. You can also have that bucket list experience at the Grand Floridian without breaking the bank. If you’re going to do it, some tips:

  • Always go low to high. You’re gonna HATE Pop if you start at the Grand!
  • Never do only one night. You’ll never get to enjoy everything the resort has to offer and you’ll spend most of your time unpacking and packing.
  • Coordinate your hotels with your park days. Start at Magic Kingdom and a Deluxe, then move to a Skyliner resort. Or start at EPCOT and a Boardwalk hotel, then move to a Value.
  • Do what is best for your family and your budget!

Have you ever done a Split Stay? How did you like it?! Need help booking your vacation? Contact me today!!

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Festival of the Holidays is Back for 2021!!

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Read Time:43 Second

Walt Disney World announced that the Festival of the Holidays will return, beginning November 26 and running through December 30, 2021! The Festival of the Holidays takes place in World Showcase, and features the Holiday Traditions of the 11 World Showcase Pavilions.

Though no official announcements for 2021, the Festival traditionally has Holiday Kitchens, offering Holiday food from around the world. These include America, Bavaria, and Mele Kalikimaka!

You can also take a yummy cookie stroll, where you can find delicious cookies around the world!

The Barn Santa, Norway

This Festival, like the others, is included with your admission to EPCOT and a valid park ticket and reservation. No word yet on whether or not the Candlelight Processional will return. Stay tuned for more details as Disney releases them!

La Befana, Italy

Contact me today to book your holiday trip to Walt Disney World!

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Holidays are Coming! Walt Disney World’s Winter Holiday Announcements!

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Read Time:1 Minute, 53 Second

It is halfway to the holidays and Walt Disney World has already released little sneak peaks of what they will be offering for 2021. Let’s check it out!

Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., will reimagine its holiday celebration this year. From Nov. 6 to Dec. 30, when night falls at Magic Kingdom Park, projection effects will transform Cinderella Castle with a kaleidoscope of holiday-themed designs. (David Roark, photographer)

Disney Very Merriest After Hours

November 8-December 21, 2021, Magic Kingdom Park will host Holiday After Hours, instead of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Disney is doing the same thing by hosting Boo Bash After Hours for Halloween. The After Hours will last 4 hours, and kickoff with Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks. You will find characters dressed up for Christmas, holiday music and decor, and treats will be included. Tickets will go on sale in August, so contact me now to get on my waitlist AND to book your trip!!

Sunset Seasons Greetings Returns

Over at Hollywood Studios, Sunset Seasons Greetings will return, featuring Hollywood Holiday Tower Hotel projections. Watch as the Hollywood Tower Hotel turns into Arendelle, Muppets Gingerbread House, Toy Story Toy Hotel, and a Dickensian Village ala Mickey’s Christmas Carol!! You can catch Santa Claus in the Santa Claus Motorcade! Head over to the Frozen Sing-a-long and catch the special holiday Olaf Finale. And don’t forget to head over to Hollywood and Vine for Minnie’s Seasonal Dining, where the Fab 5 will be decked out in their holiday finest, including SANTA GOOFY!!

Hollywood Holiday Tower Hotel via Disney

Disney Springs via Disney

Over at Disney Springs, in addition to holiday shopping, you can once again take a walk along the Christmas Tree Stroll. There will also be magical snowfall. Of course, being from the snowbelt, that sounds terrible to me!

Animal Kingdom will also be decorated for the holidays, with Tree of Life Awakenings being holiday themed!

The GORGEOUS Wilderness Lodge!!

And, of course, do not forget to take in the decor at the resorts around Walt Disney World! It can be as fun as going to the parks!

Would you like to book your trip to Walt Disney World for the holidays? Contact me today!

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Chip ‘n Dale’s Harvest Feast at The Garden Grill

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Read Time:1 Minute, 41 Second

This Tasty Thursday takes us to the Garden Grill in the Land Pavilion at EPCOT. Not only is this my favorite pavilion, this is one of my favorite restaurants! Let’s explore it together, shall we?

Currently, Garden Grill is open for lunch and dinner. I’m hopeful that SOME DAY we will see the return of the delicious breakfast, but apparently not quite yet. The restaurant is open 11:30am-8:30pm. So yes, if EPCOT is closing at 9:00pm and you get the last dining reservation, you will exit to an empty park, so if you want those incredible pictures, I highly recommend a late dinner!

So the Garden Grill is a rotating restaurant, and during your meal, you will likely rotate one whole revolution around the Living with the Land ride. You’ll go through the Rainforest, farmhouse, thunderstorm, sandstorm, and prairie, and dine on some of the fruit and vegetables grown in the Land. The restaurant is all-you-care-to-enjoy Family Style, and you will be socially distanced visited by Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto.

For all my food-loving friends, this place serves up some good ol all-American comfort food. You’ll start out with dinner rolls and salad (with allergy-friendly rolls available for my fellow food allergy diners), then the main dishes. You will get all-you-care-to-enjoy chimichurri steak, turkey and gravy, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and seasonal vegetables. For diners with food allergies, you will get your own platter, just slightly different, with steak, turkey, rice pilaf, and seasonal vegetables. And everyone will get berry shortcake for dessert. That’s right, EVERYONE. This location actually allergy-friendly shortcake, so you won’t have to watch everyone else eat dessert while you stare into your sad, tiny dish of sorbet.

You can get soft drinks, coffee, tea, water, beer, wine, and a specialty cocktail which is quite tasty. I highly recommend the Garden Grill! Have you ever dined here? Need help planning your vacation? Contact me today!

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Why You Should Get the Park Hopper Pass

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Read Time:4 Minute, 13 Second

Should you park hop or not? That is the question. My opinion is that you absolutely SHOULD Park Hop, and I’m going to tell you why.

Weather

Florida weather is ridiculously unpredictable. It can be perfectly clear and sunny one minute, and pouring down rain the next. So let’s say you only have a 4-day ticket, and you reserve a day in each park. You’re in the Magic Kingdom, and you’re super excited to watch Happily Ever After, but a thunderstorm rolls in and sits over the Magic Kingdom, causing them to have to cancel the fireworks. The next day, though, ends up being absolutely beautiful, only you’re at Animal Kingdom, which not only has no fireworks, but it closes at 6:00 pm. With a park hopper, you can just hop from Animal Kingdom to Magic Kingdom, where you can easily enjoy the fireworks you missed the night before!

Dining

There are plenty of dining options available in each park, so you’re certainly not going to starve, but park hopper not only opens up options, it gives you more chances to grab that elusive, hard-to-get reservation. If you only have one day in Magic Kingdom, but the only reservation you can get for Cinderella’s Royal Table is on your Animal Kingdom day, the park hopper makes it a nonissue. You can hop to any other park after 2:00 pm currently, provided you check in to the park you originally had a reservation for, and you could even hop back after your meal if you wanted to do so.

Ride Closures and Breakdowns

Say you really wanted to ride Avatar Flight of Passage, and you even waited until the end of the day to get in line, so that time wasn’t an issue. Only, the ride goes down and they close and tell everyone the ride is closed for the day. You don’t have a park hopper, so now you can’t ride Flight of Passage, and you have no idea if or when you’ll return to Walt Disney World. BUT….if you have a park hopper, you can return another day just to ride Flight of Passage. Unfortunately, this sort of thing happens, and there’s no way for Disney to prevent it, but they did create the park hopper pass, and it’s worth every penny!

Catch Something You Missed or Ride a Favorite Again

This seems self-explanatory, but here we go. Missed Splash Mountain? Head back to Magic Kingdom! Want to see Festival of the Lion King again? Hop over to Animal Kingdom. Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Train was down when you went to ride it? You get my point. Park Hoppers offer you more flexibility to get in everyone’s must-do rides first and then go back and start to ride the next round of must-do rides!

Last Minute Shopping

Sometimes you see something you REALLY want but you think you’ll find it at least one more time at another store in another park. And then you realize “oh no, it was ONLY there!” The park hopper allows you to go back into that park and get that pair of ears you REALLY wanted!

Pricing Breakdowns vs Amenities

A 4-day base ticket can run from $400-$500 for an adult ticket, depending on the day your ticket will begin. All that you get is access to one park per day for 4 days. That’s it.

So if you wanted to go to, say, a water park, a one-day water park ticket is $69. If you have a 4-day Water Park and Sports Ticket, for $74 more, or $18.50 per day, you can go to one park per day PLUS one water park or miniature golf or golf at Oak Trail or Foot Golf or NBA Experience (when open) or Wide World of Sports (when open) per day. I know I suck at math, but $18.50 per day for all of that versus $69 for one day at the water park is a pretty good deal.

Now to add the Park Hopper, you get as many parks per day as your little heart desires (currently hopping is allowed after 2:00 pm after checking in to the park you had reserved for the day) for an additional $22.50 per day per person. BUT if you add the Park Hopper PLUS ticket, for a mere $28 per person per day, you get ALL the parks, PLUS the water parks, golf, foot golf, and mini golf. $28 per day per person. That’s it. For all of those added options. Versus $69 per person for ONE VISIT to ONE water park. Now obviously, if you’re not at all interested in sports or water parks, the best option for you is the park hopper. But if you would truly like the all-inclusive aspects of the Walt Disney World Resort, the park hopper plus option cannot be beat. That is truly a GREAT value.

Do you need help planning your next vacation? Contact me today!!!

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What the Heck is PhotoPass?

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Read Time:2 Minute, 19 Second

One of the most confusing things for my clients seems to be understanding PhotoPass and Memory Maker. So let’s break all of this down!

  1. What is PhotoPass?
    PhotoPass is the name of the system of photography at Walt Disney World. It includes the photographers located all over the park, ride shots, magic shots, etc. You can access all the photos taken of you on your My Disney Experience, but in order to download them and save them to your device or computer, you will need to pay for them.
  2. So then what is Memory Maker and why are there multiple names?
    Memory Maker is the photo package available for you to purchase, as opposed to paying per download, which is around $14 per download. Memory Maker is $69 for one day, or you can pay for your entire trip. If you purchase in advance of your trip, it will cost you $169, but if you are in the middle of your vacation and you decide you do, in fact, want to have Memory Maker, you can still add it for $199. Once you pay for and activate your Memory Maker package, ALL photos taken are available for you to download for up to 45 days following your trip. In my opinion, it is completely worth it! And we have two rules on our trips: 1. never pass a bathroom, and 2. never pass a photographer!
  3. Wait so what are Magic Shots?
    Magic Shots are photos with some magic edited into them. Sometimes Tinkerbell, sometimes Mickey balloons. Just ask your photographer if they have magic shots and they will take care of the rest. There are also magic shots that zoom in and way out on your location and tiny world photos. This information is all available on your My Disney Experience app.
  4. Why is this something I should care about?
    For starters, this is a way that everybody can be in the vacation photos. Remember all those old family vacation pictures that your mom isn’t in because she took all the photos? This eliminates that problem! This means less work for you! Yes, there will be many moments you will want to take your own photos, but the BIG moments will already be taken care of by the wonderful cast members paid to take photos! Second, YOU GET RIDE SHOTS!! We LOVE our ride photos and actually discuss what we’re all going to do and try to coordinate them. You get ride photos at 7 Dwarfs, Space and Splash Mountains, Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin, Haunted Mansion, Tower of Terror, Rock n Roller Coaster, Slinky Dog Dash, Expedition Everest, Test Track, and Frozen Ever After.

Need help planning your family vacation to a Disney Destination? Contact me today for your free, no-obligation quote!

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EPCOT For Kids

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Read Time:7 Minute, 11 Second

One of the biggest myths of Disney Lore is that EPCOT is just for adults. That couldn’t be further from the truth! When I was a kid, EPCOT was my favorite. Of course, almost all of my favorite rides from my childhood are long gone or drastically different (miss you, Dreamfinder), but EPCOT is STILL for kids, too!

Let’s start with dining. EPCOT has some of the best food on property. There are two character dining experiences: Garden Grill and Akershus. As of this writing, Akershus is still closed, but, located in Norway, it usually serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and features PRINCESSES. It is usually a more affordable option to Cinderella’s Royal Table. Hopefully it comes back soon!! Garden Grill is located in the Land Pavilion, and features Chip N Dale’s Harvest Feast. You will find Chip, Dale, Mickey, and Pluto here for lunch and dinner (fingers crossed breakfast returns soon because it is SO GOOOOOOOD!). The food here is served family style and it is traditional American cuisine, featuring produce grown in the Land Pavilion in the greenhouses. The restaurant revolves and is actually directly above Living with the Land.

Via Napoli, located in the Italy Pavilion, is another great option for dining with kids. They have HUGE ovens, and serve pasta and pizza. DELICIOUS! The American Pavilion features some great quick service dining that kids love, including hot dogs, popcorn, turkey legs, Mickey pretzels, ice cream, and BBQ!! Do your kids love tacos? HEAD TO MEXICO! Seriously, there are so many great food stops in EPCOT for everyone to enjoy!

FUTURE WORLD

Future World has changed the most since EPCOT’s opening day, but it truly was designed to spark a child’s imagination. Speaking of Imagination, let’s start at the Imagination Pavilion.

The Imagination Pavilion is home to Journey Into Imagination with Figment and the ImageWorks What It…? Lab. Figment is a magical purple dragon that has become the unofficial mascot of EPCOT, and has an incredible following (I LOVE FIGMENT!!!) and his ride will take you into what imagination is. You also get this great earworm that will never ever leave your brain:

Imagination is a BLAST

In the ImageWorks What It…? Lab, kids can play in the sensory lab. Is it the coolest thing in the world? No, but it’s air conditioned and keeps kids busy!

Next you can pop into the Land Pavilion. The Land Pavilion has 3 attractions and 2 restaurants and is a great pavilion to be “stuck” in when there is a Florida storm. There will be plenty to do to pass the time. First up, Living with the Land. This ride is a bit on the educational side, as it talks about food and the environment, but it’s entertaining enough to keep kids occupied. DO NOT GET OFF THE BOAT TO GRAB A CUCUMBER.

Next up, one of the BEST rides at Walt Disney World, Soarin’ Around the World. There is a height requirement, but there is nothing “thrill” about this ride for those that are tall enough. A word of caution, though, this is not good for people that experience motion sickness. You sit in a seat with a seatbelt on a “glider” that will fly you around the world. The seats raise up and you “fly” around the world (a BEAUTIFUL film on a massive IMAX screen). We LOVE this ride and with the addition of the third theater, the wait times are rarely as long as what is listed. Still, if you have antsy guests, you’ll want to get there early in the morning, before the lines get too long.

If you want to sit down and maybe grab a little nap (I’m not judging, I love Disney naps), head up to see the film Awesome Planet. It’s a 10-minute film about, well, the planet. The second restaurant (not named Garden Grill) is Sunshine Seasons, and has something literally for everyone. They are known for slightly healthier choices and a great food allergy selection.

The Seas with Nemo and Friends is the next Pavilion on this side of Future World. Here, you can ride the clamshell ride “down” to the bottom of the sea with Nemo and Dory and friends. At the end of the ride, visit the MASSIVE aquarium. We once spent over two hours in here during a storm and we never got bored! There is also a self-guided scavenger hunt available near the exit where you can “Find Dory” and her friends in the aquarium.

Finding Dory and Friends Game

Next stop: Spaceship Earth. Spaceship Earth is the very first ride you see as you enter EPCOT (unless you enter via International Gateway), so you would THINK maybe just ride it first. But because of it’s location, the lines are usually longest in the morning. So wait until the afternoon, and you can usually walk right on the ride. You will journey through the history of man and into the future. It’s one of the original EPCOT rides and should not be missed. It is set to go through a two-year long refurbishment very soon so ride it while you can!

Continuing through Future World, Mission: Space is next. There is a height requirement and a less intense side of the ride, but this one is not for everyone. Still, if you have a daredevil that meets the height requirements, the Green side is worth it! (The Orange Side is INTENSE and I would suggest researching it for yourself to see if it’s right for your family! It is as close to a real NASA simulator as a civilian can get!)

The final stop in Future World is Test Track. There is a height requirement, so be prepared. If your child is not tall enough, they can still play in the post-ride area and “drive” the cars! Should you have a kid too small for Test Track AND a kid (or other adult) that wants to ride Test Track, there is a Splash Pad just outside the entrance to the ride, perfect to pass the time!

Now to head in to World Showcase!!! Fair warning, this area will likely lose your kids. There are things for kids but honestly, World Showcase is more for the grown up kids. There are only two (soon-to-be three when Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure opens October 1) rides, so kids can easily get tired of World Showcase after those are done. And there is a LOT of walking.

You should head to Mexico first, and head into the pyramid. Inside, you will find the Art of Coco and some great “street shops.” In the back corner of the Pavilion on the left hand side, you will find Gran Fiesta Tour featuring the Three Caballeros. It is a small world-type boat ride featuring everyone’s favorite birds of a feather, Jose Carioca, Panchito, and, of course, Donald Duck. You will ride through Mexico searching for Donald on your way to the concert the Three Caballeros are having. It’s great. It is completely my favorite!!! But I’m biased, because Donald is my FAVORITE character!

Where’s Donald?

Somehow, the next stop on the world tour is Norway, home of Frozen Ever After. It’s Frozen. Just let it go. At this point, the kids will start to revolt. There are no more rides in World Showcase, and kids don’t care about a Circlevision film about Canada or the hand-painted tile in Morocco or the English Pub in the United Kingdom. But not all is lost.

Every country has a Kidcot Fun Stop.

Where to Find Kidcot Fun Stops
  • Mexico Pavilion (near Mexico Folk Art Gallery) 
  • Norway Pavilion (at The Puffin’s Roost) 
  • China Pavilion (near the exit of Reflections of China) 
  • Germany Pavilion (at Volkunst) 
  • Italy Pavilion (outside, near La Bottega Italiana) 
  • American Adventure Pavilion (outside, near Art of Disney) 
  • Japan Pavilion (in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery) 
  • Morocco Pavilion (at the Marketplace in the Medina) 
  • France Pavilion (at Souvenirs de France) 
  • United Kingdom Pavilion (at The Toy Soldier) 
  • Canada Pavilion (at the exit of Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360)

Each Kidcot Fun Stop has a FREE (YES FREE) activity or craft for your kid to make and take with them. They can also get their passport stamped! So perhaps a compromise can be reached where for every grown up kid activity you get to do (or drink) they get to do a fun activity!

Do you skip EPCOT with kids or do your kids love it? Contact me today to book your vacation!!

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Date Night Dinners – Walt Disney World

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Read Time:3 Minute, 15 Second

So you’re at Disney World, either with your kids or without your kids or you don’t have kids, whatever the situation, it’s just you and your special someone. And you want to have a date night. Here are some of the best restaurants for date night at Walt Disney World!

1. California Grill

Located on the 15th floor of the Contemporary, accessed via private elevator, this is by far the most popular date night dinner. It’s probably the view of the Magic Kingdom and the fireworks. The cuisine is California-themed and they also feature over 300 wines, most from California.

This is a hard-to-get reservation, so be prepared. There is also a dress code. Read more about California Grill here.

2. Narcoosee’s

Located on the “coast” of the Grand Floridian Hotel, this surf-and-turf specialty restaurant offers spectacular views of Happily Ever After, but with a romantic seaside setting. They feature fresh seafood from local sources and around the world and land fare, like filet mignon.

This is another hard-to-get reservation and another location with a dress code. Read more about Narcoosee’s here.

3. Le Cellier

Located in the Canada Pavilion in EPCOT, this is for SURE one of my personal favorites, if only for the maple creme brulee. They specialize in regional Canadian cuisine, including steaks, fresh seafood, cheesy poutine, and Canadian beer.

This is, again, a hard-to-get reservation. It is totally worth it.

4. Sanaa

Sanaa is located at Animal Kingdom Lodge and offers African and Indian cooking with a view of the animals on the Savannah. People FLOCK here (get it?) just for the bread service.

Sanaa is great for all diets, but they are also a favorite stop for vegans and vegetarians. It is a family-friendly restaurant but there is a personal, romantic feeling to the dining area, especially at night.

5. Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen

Head over to Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom and give a great big KUNGALOOSH to the Skippers dining on their breaks! This restaurant, themed after S.E.A. and the Jungle Cruise, is kind of a hidden gem (so don’t tell anybody). It is one of the few places you can drink in the Magic Kingdom, too!

6. Chefs De France

We head back to World Showcase to dine in the France Pavilion at Chefs De France. Dine on seasonal French Cuisine and sip on the Imported French Wines and Champagne! Don’t forget to finish off with the creme brulee or the tarte au chocolat!

7. Hollywood Brown Derby

If your date night includes a trip to Batuu, make sure to first dine at the Hollywood Brown Derby. Inspired by the original Brown Derby, they offer California cuisine! Try the famous Cobb Salad, named after the original owner of the Brown Derby, Bob Cobb, and finish up with the grapefruit sponge cake!

8. Tiffins

Does your date night involve visiting Pandora? Tiffins is the place for you! Inspired by Africa and Asia, this dining location offers a delicious stop with great food and great views.

9. Boathouse

A night at Disney Springs deserves a stop at the Boathouse. The great food and drinks are tough to beat. This is an incredibly popular restaurant so reservations are a must! Want to cap the date night with an unforgettable event? Take a ride in an Amphicar or take flight in the Aerophile!

10. La Hacienda de San Angel

Want to cap a night at EPCOT with a front-row seat for the fireworks? Try to get a reservation about an hour and a half before the scheduled fireworks show at La Hacienda and ask to sit at the windows! Located in the Mexico Pavilion on the waterfront, this delicious Mexican restaurant is PERFECT for date night!

Have you ever had a date night? Ready to book your trip? Contact me today!!

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Resort Rundown: Coronado Springs Resort

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Let’s talk the Moderate resort with the Deluxe feel: Coronado Springs! This beautiful resort, themed American Southwest/Northern Mexico, is located between Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Coronado Springs opened on August 1, 1997, and is massive. There are nearly 2,000 rooms and suites in 3 villages surrounding the 15-acre lake called Lago Dorado. With the addition of Gran Destino Tower, which is based on the work of Salvadore Dali, there are an additional almost 600 rooms in the 15-floor tower. It is also important to note that this is a Convention Hotel, so there is also a 95,000 square foot Convention Center with a ballroom and business center. The ballroom can accommodate up to 5,000 people.

Casitas

Casitas

Casitas is themed after Urban centers, like Santa Fe. This is where the convention guests are centered. Casitas, meaning little houses in Spanish, is surrounded by courtyards, fountains, and palm trees. The buildings are three or four stories.

Casitas is GORGEOUS and full of beautiful decoration, including topiaries featuring The Three Caballeros!! There is also one of the 3 leisure pools, 1 each for each village.

Where else could you find the Three Caballeros but in the gardens of Coronado Springs Resort. These topiaries represent the Three Caballeros featured at the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. Photo by Donald Fink.

Ranchos

The Ranchos section features 2- and 3-story pueblo-style villas that reflect more arid rural regions in a rustic ranch setting, complete with small streams tumbling over a rocky stream bed.

Cabanas

The two-story Cabanas are themed to Northern Mexico’s serene shoreline, and nearly half the rooms have a view of Lago Dorado.

Gran Destino Tower

Is Spanish-style and Moorish-tile style in the fashion of Salvidore Dali. The front desk now serves the entire resort. You can also find the fitness center and several restaurants here.

The Lost City of Cibola Pool

The Dig Site is SO COOL

This is by FAR the coolest pool/recreation area at Walt Disney World. First we have the pool, themed to Mayan Ruins, with a 50-foot pyramid and a 123-foot waterslide. There is also a HUGE hot tub, a playground, arcade, Siestas restaurant, and a children’s pool. It is massive, it is fun, it is perfectly themed: the Disney Trifecta!!

Dining

Maya Grill – Mexican steakhouse, table service

Three Bridges Bar and Grill

Rix Sports Bar and Grill

Dahlia Lounge

Barcelona Lounge

Siestas Cantina

Cafe Rix

El Mercado de Coronado

Coronado Springs offers standard rooms that sleep 4, 99 rooms with King sized beds, disability access rooms, and, located in Gran Destino Tower, Deluxe Suites and One-Bedroom Suites with Club Access, and Presidential Suite with Club Access. The Tower offers a Deluxe Resort feel at a Moderate Resort price. There are several recreation options available to guests, including 3 leisure pools, one large pool with arcade, playground, hot tub, and children’s pool and quick service restaurant, volleyball, jogging trail, movies under the stars, fitness classes, campfire activities, and Sunday fun runs.

As for location:

Casitas 1 is directly over the convention center and closest to Pepper Market, Maya Grill, the Main Bus Stop (now relocated closer to Gran Destino Tower) and the Front Desk (now also located at Gran Destino Tower). The Health Club and Beauty Salon are located between Casitas 2/3 and Casitas 4. A second Fitness Center is located in Gran Destino Tower as well. Casitas 3 and 4 are closest to the Casitas Quiet Pool (and Guest Laundry). Casitas 4 is nearest the Casitas Bus Stop (Bus Stop 2). Casitas 5 is the furthest of the Casitas from the Main Building but closest to the Dig Site. Ranchos 7A and 7B are the closest to the Dig Site. The Ranchos share a bus stop with the Cabanas (7A being the closest Ranchos building to Bus Stop 3). Ranchos 6A and B are the furthest buildings out and probably the quietest. The Cabanas Building 8A is close to both the Cabanas Bus Stop (Bus Stop 4) and the Dig Site. Cabanas 9B is closest to Main Building (El Centro, which is where you will find Cafe Rix, Maya Grill, etc.), the Marina, and is just a short walk from Bus Stop 1. Cabanas 9A is closest to the Quiet Pool (and Guest Laundry). Gran Destino Tower is closest to the Quiet Pool near Cabanas 9A, but the Dig Site pool is just a slightly longer walk. Gran Destino Tower has several dining and drinking options, but the nearest quick service is El Mercado de Coronado in El Centro. An enclosed hallway connects Gran Destino the El Centro.

Is Coronado Springs massive? YES. It is ginormous. You WILL walk a lot. Is it a great place to stay? YES. Coronado Springs is gorgeous and, due to it’s location, it’s like an Oasis in the middle of your best fantasy. If you’re going for a fully immersive “Disney” themed vacation, this resort isn’t going to be for you. But if you want to feel like you’re on a vacation in a Southwestern Desert Oasis, like a vacation for your vacation, and you want to plan 1 or 2 resort only days, this is the PERFECT place for you. You will never be bored here!

Contact me today to book your visit to Coronado Springs (or ANY Disney Resort, I love them all!)

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BATTER UP! Return to Casey’s Corner!

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Casey’s Corner has been on Main St USA since day one of operations at Walt Disney World, but back in 1971, it was called the “Coca-Cola Refreshment Corner” (yes, just like Disneyland). It was refurbished in 1995, and reopened as Casey’s Corner, themed after the famous poem “Casey At The Bat.” If you’re a baseball fan, this is the place for you. If you’re a hot dog fan, this is the place for you!

Casey’s is a Quick Service restaurant located right at the end of Main St USA, where the Hub starts to spoke off into the lands. This makes it the perfect location for wherever you want to go next! Every land is within reach! Casey’s is available via Mobile Ordering, too, so order while you’re in line for the Tea Cups, then grab your food after you take a spin! (Yes, I have literally done this!!)

HOT DOGS! GET YOUR HOT DOGS HERE! So if you think you’re going to get anything OTHER than a hot dog here, I’m not sure what to tell you! Hot dogs are the star here, with the BIGGEST star being the all-beef foot-long.

Vegans and Vegetarians alike can enjoy delicious plant-based offerings, and celiacs can get gluten-free buns when ordering with a chef or manager. They can accommodate other food allergies as well, but definitely speak with a chef or a manager and order in person!

Personally, I enjoy dining on chili cheese fries! My daughter loves the corn dog nuggets! My husband loves the entire place.

There is some indoor seating, but it is incredibly difficult to get these seats, especially during the busiest dining times. I highly suggest eating incredibly early (like 10:45-11:00) or between 3-4 if you want to sit inside. You can also sit outside and have a fantastic view of Cinderella Castle. This is a great place to sit and have a hot dog while watching fireworks but, again, it is incredibly difficult to secure these seats. HAPPY HUNTING!

The inside of the space is full of baseball memorabilia, photos of baseball heroes, both real and imagined, team pennants, and more. If you’re a baseball fan and actually catch the space relatively empty, take a look around. It really is themed to the max. The poem “Casey at the Bat” was published in 1888, and if you look at the C on the outside of the building, you’ll see the homage to that date there. The Cast Members are dressed in vintage “baseball uniforms,” too, just keeping up with that wonderful theming that Disney does SO well.

There is also a piano player outside that you simply must pay attention to because he is wonderful. This is a yummy, quick, and fairly affordable place to grab a bite to eat.

Have you ever dined at Casey’s Corner?!

Ready to book your trip? Contact me today!!

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