Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Castaway your Cares in the Renovated Castaway Cay, Disney's Private Island

Jennifer Claybourne

We all love Disney vacations. The theme parks with the rides, shows, and of course the characters are great fun. For my family though, nothing beats a Disney Cruise. Disney cruises feature great shows, great food, and the Disney characters, while traveling to wonderful locations. The true gem of the Disney Cruise Line, however, is Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.Castaway Cay is an island paradise. Clear blue water, white sandy beaches, and all the amenities you expect from Disney. With the Disney Dream soon to set sail, with its much higher passenger capacity, Disney has had to make some changes to the island to accommodate the additional people. For the young ones, Scuttle’s Cove has been expanded, with a two-hundred square foot wet deck. The wet deck will feature geysers, pop jets, and bubblers. This kids’ area provides great, supervised fun for the kids while parents go check out the enhancements to the Adult’s only area, Serenity Bay.Serenity Bay is the place to go for adults who want to enjoy the island in peace. Not to be forgotten in the upgrades, Disney has added three private massage cabanas to the area. This should add a whole new level of relaxation to the day.By far, the biggest additions will take place at the family beach. The area itself has been expanded by 700 feet to make room for the hundreds of additional lounge chairs. A 2400 square foot floating platform called Pelican Plunge will feature two corkscrew water slides suitable for all ages. Private cabanas will be available on the family beach with various levels of service, including those with a personal host.
Almost all areas have been enhanced, from the stingray pool to the boat rentals. Castaway Cay is still the island paradise we all know and love. Of course, the only way to be sure is to see for yourself!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action! It's Disney's All Star Movies Resort!

If during your stay at Walt Disney World, you want to be surrounded by Disney movie magic 24/7, then look no further than Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort! Do not let the fact that it’s categorized as a “Value Resort" mislead you into thinking your stay will be a “value experience!"
My family and I had the pleasure of staying here during our stay in 2008, for our daughters’ birthdays. From checking in at the Main Lobby, to dining in the World Premiere food court, the cast members were always friendly and helpful. They went out of their way to tell our girls “Happy Birthday,” and delivered autographed pictures of their favorite Disney characters with balloons to our room. They were also chosen to be the “Chefs of the Day,” where they made their own ice cream sundaes at a decorated table in the food court. We found the food court always had plenty of different items to choose during our stay. At one end of the food court, there is a movie screen continuously playing Disney films.
There are 2 swimming pools; the main Fantasia pool, and the smaller Duck Pond pool. There is also a children’s pool located next to the Fantasia pool. The buildings draw their themes from Disney movies. The Toy Story buildings have a massive 30-ft tall Woody, a 27-ft tall bucket of Green Army Men, and a 47-ft tall Buzz Lightyear icon in front of them. Larger than life icons from Fantasia, 101 Dalmatians, The Love Bug, and the Mighty Ducks are also found throughout the resort. Seeing these icons up close is an experience within itself! There are tons of photo opportunities everywhere you look!
My family and I stayed in a room located in the Toy Story themed buildings. The comforters were decorated with characters from Disney movies and there were lighted stars above the headboards. Toy Story posters, borders and popcorn bucket lamps also added to the movie theme in our room.
There’s shopping at Donald’s Double Feature, video games at the Reel Fun Arcade, and the kids will love climbing and sliding at the resort’s playground. Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort is located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Transportation to all theme parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney is available by bus.
We had a magical stay at Disney’s All-Star Movies. So if you’re looking for a resort that’s small in price but BIG in magic, look no further than Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort!

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's New! Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Nancy Bressler

In 2003, Disney’s Pop Century Resort opened the Classic Years section. In the original plans for the resort, this was only the first stage of the resort, and the rest was scheduled to open at a later date. Ever since, Disney fans have wondered when the second half of the resort would be designed and opened. Well, wait no more! A distinct value resort is now being created, called Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Separate from Disney’s Pop Century resort, this is the first new Disney hotel in seven years. Based on the success of Disney’s other family suites, Disney imagineers have started work on completing this new resort, which is expected to open sometime in 2012.
There will be four themes throughout Disney’s Art of Animation. For the traditional value rooms, The Little Mermaid will be featured. The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Cars will all star in the new family suites. Each section will feature larger-than-life icons and room decors to match their respective movies. This new atmosphere will allow these classic stories to come to life even more for families experiencing the newest resort. In addition, each suite is being designed as a family destination resort. Each will have a bedroom and separate living / family area. The rooms will sleep up to six people, which is a unique aspect for Disney value resorts. With approximately 2,000 rooms being built, the majority of the rooms will be family suites. Soon, the growing family will have an affordable on-site property where they can stay. Since The Art of Animation will be included in the Value Resort category, room rates will likely be more reasonably priced.
As the 26th Disney World resort, Disney’s Art of Animation will only enhance this family destination.
When you consider all of these benefits of staying in a Disney resort : 24 hours of Disney magic; free transportation to/from the airport, Disney theme parks, water parks, and Downtown Disney; guaranteed admission even on the busiest days; Extra Magic Hours in the theme parks; wake-up calls from the characters; the list goes on and on – and this cost-efficient option can maximize your next Disney World vacation!

Contact me at WDWTravels for more information on this exciting new resort.

Why Disney World is Near to My Heart

Tonya Cox

There are many things that I love about our family vacations at Walt Disney World in Florida. There are so many that I could ramble on and on about it forever, but I promise I won’t!
As a family, we have traveled to Disney three times. We have stayed both on and off site. We have seen lots of fireworks, street parades and ridden lots of rides. We have met characters, and had our pictures taken with several as well. What really gets me excited is the feeling I get when we pass through the entry way of Disney property, the look on my daughter’s face the first time she saw a Disney Princess in person, the way my son explains his first ride on Space Mountain and how my husband grins when he gets up to dance and sing “I’m a Little Teapot” at a restaurant in front of 100 people. We do things together as a family, just the four of us! These memories and experiences are ones my children want to share days, weeks, months after we’ve unpacked all the suitcase and returned back to our normal routine. People sometimes look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them we are planning our next trip to Disney, many times because it's immediately after we got back from a trip! There is something truly magical about a trip to Disney. Yes, it takes a certain degree of planning, if you want to maximize your time there. What restaurants do I want to visit? Which parks do I want to see, on which days? Do I want to be at the park when it opens or when it closes? The list of questions can go on and on. But no matter how hot the day is, or how crowded the bus is on that day, the kids wake up the next morning talking about yesterday and what we are going to do tomorrow. They enjoy Disney, and in turn we all enjoy Disney!
I’ll tell you something else that makes me love Disney: when someone who has gone before asks me a question, and then I can offer them information that will make their trip even more magical. The look on their face is worth it! “OOOOHHH that makes sense now!” they will say. The sights, the sounds, the joy in someone’s face when Mickey Mouse waves at them during the parade, those things all make a vacation to Disney magical. This year, I had the opportunity to watch the closing flag ceremony held at the entrance of Main Street. A group of three young boys said The Pledge of Allegiance, the Main Street Band played patriotic music, and a WWII Veteran was the “Veteran for a Day.” At the end, the veteran was presented with the flag that flew at Magic Kingdom that day! That was something to enjoy. Something that I personally enjoyed our last trip was some of the new restaurants we tried, especially Captain’s Grille, located at Yacht Club Resort. The atmosphere was laid back. We were not rushed during any part of our experience; the food was excellent and our service superb! The final thing that makes me love Disney is the fact that it caters to all generations. Young, old and everywhere in between, there is something to enjoy at a Disney Park or Disney Resort. In fact, "something for everyone" is my new motto for Disney!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Planning the Most Magical Disney Vacation

We all constantly run all around with our jobs, our kids and our daily responsibilities. Sometimes, it seems that we never get a break. Then the day comes when somebody in the family mentions a family vacation. The choices are limitless as to where to go….to the mountains, to the Grand Canyon, or something else? Then somebody mentions the ultimate family vacation –a Disney vacation! When we think about Disney vacations, we tend to get overwhelmed and maybe even start to panic. Then you realize that there are Disney travel agents who specialize in helping plan the perfect dream vacation for your family. Each family is different, so each vacation has to be treated individually and with care for the family involved. The difference between planning a Disney vacation and any other type of vacation is that there is “magic” involved at every turn. A Disney vacation is truly a dream vacation like no other, and that is true for any type of Disney vacation. The planning process can be quite daunting, but when you have a WDWTravels agent by your side, it is all about planning your fun and letting your agent do all of the work. Not a bad deal! A Disney vacation is all about making your dreams come true, and it can happen if you know how to plan it correctly. Your dream vacation has to fit your family perfectly. A dream vacation for one family is not necessarily the same dream vacation for another family. Your dream vacation can consist of everything from a meal with your favorite character, seeing Cinderella in her own castle, the most magical fireworks displays, parades that will warm your heart, or riding your favorite attraction for the 6th time in a day. Also, it could be a fun excursion on an island in the Caribbean, or a one-of-a-kind Adventure by Disney. Disney vacations are all about exceeding expectations and letting people live the reality of the dream vacation. It is the job of the WDWTravels agent to set that bar very high, and reach it every time. The planning process is our job and we do it with pride and enthusiasm. Our job is to find those special dreams that our clients have and make them a reality while they are enjoying their Disney vacation. Any dream is possible with a Disney vacation, and a qualified WDWTravels agent. We make sure to find out what those dreams are and make sure they are achieved. It is not too hard when there is magic all around with any Disney vacation. If you can dream it, we can make sure it happens! There are people that go back to a Disney vacation over and over again. One might wonder why that is….it is because there is no other vacation like a Disney vacation. It is a vacation full of dreams and an escape from reality. It is a true pleasure to be one of those people who get to have a part in making those dreams come true! I hope everyone can find some time in their busy life to call us and let us plan a truly magical, Dream Vacation! Never stop dreaming….plan a Disney vacation and live your dreams – we’ll plan it for you!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Why You Should Choose Port Orleans French Quarter

Since 2000, I have had the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World on several occasions. On all of those trips, I have stayed at an on-site resort and on all but one, my family has stayed at a moderate resort. As it turns out, we have stayed at all of the moderate resorts, so we have a good idea how each one stacks up.

Our Favorite? Port Orleans French Quarter.

Why? Size, Location, Transportation Options & Atmosphere!

It is such a delight to stay at the French Quarter. It has approximately 1,000 rooms. I know that sounds like a lot, but is less than half the size of Disney’s other moderate resorts. The less congestion is a great thing when it comes to the bus stop and
Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory , the resort’s food court. The layout of French Quarter is also different from the other moderate resorts. While I have a fondness for all the moderate resorts, the ease of getting around French Quarter is such a joy. Even if you are staying at one of the farthest buildings away from the food court or bus stop, the walk is relatively easy.

Location & Transportation

If you love Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you will really enjoy the location of French Quarter. A ride to either park is relatively short and usually less than 15 minutes. Magic Kingdom is only slightly farther away, with Animal Kingdom the farthest.
Here is another great tidbit to remember. Port Orleans French Quarter has a sister resort next-door called Port Orleans Riverside. Riverside is a much larger resort and has several bus stops, while French Quarter only has one. The two resorts share busses, but usually not during peak hours like opening and closing. Why is that important? During mornings and evenings, a bus will often only go directly between French Quarter’s one bus stop and a Disney Park. That makes the trip a lot shorter since you do not have to stop at all the bus stops at Port Orleans Riverside. If you want to make a trip to Downtown Disney, you have two options with Disney Transportation. You can travel via bus or boat. While the boat ride may take a little longer on the Sassagoula River, it is a great way to sit back and relax.

The size and atmosphere are truly unique. It offers a feel of Mardi Grad and New Orleans. It has larger than life carnival masks and trombone playing alligators…and the charm of the French Quarter.

Port Orleans French Quarter has a heated pool and poolside Jacuzzi for your enjoyment. When you walk down the miniature roads between buildings, it is like taking a step in the real French Quarter in New Orleans.
I truly believe you will enjoy your stay.
As they say in New Orleans, "Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez" Let the Good Times Roll!

Friday, September 3, 2010

A Grand Gathering at Walt DIsney World

Amy Blades

Grand Gatherings usually happen one of two ways: you’re planning a trip to Disney and friends or family decide they want to tag along, or your dream to take a trip with friends and family is finally coming true. Either way, Disney knows how to make it magical. In order for your trip to qualify as a Grand Gathering, you must be staying at a Disney Resort, and there must be at least 8 or more in your gathering. If there are, then Disney has extras for only you!
When you plan, make sure to do it far enough in advance so you can get all of your dining reservations together. I would recommend 180 days prior to your trip. If you have less than that, make dining reservations your first priority. If you choose to stay together, you can count on the Deluxe Villas to meet your needs. If you’re looking to spend a little less, you can book rooms next to each other at any of our other resorts. This way, you can still be close together without spending the extra money for a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort. When booking the reservation, mention that you want adjoining rooms or nearby rooms, whichever your preference may be.
The extras that are for Grand Gatherings only include an incredible Safari Celebration Dinner. This special event begins with an end-of-day trip on the Kilimanjaro Safari attraction. Following your Safari is dinner in the Tusker House Restaurant. Your all-you-care-to-eat dinner is served family style, and features African inspired cuisine.
The International Dinner and Illuminations Dessert Reception is another fantastic opportunity to enjoy something special, which is not offered to the general public. While eating your meal, there is storytelling and live musical entertainment. This event features some of your favorite Disney Characters who join the guests on the dance floor. Once you've enjoyed your evening of food and fun, you're escorted to a reserved viewing area for the nightly "Illuminations: Reflections of Earth" light, laser, and fireworks show, where a delicious dessert buffet is served. My personal favorite is the Good Morning Character Breakfast, where you are welcomed by “Tony” at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. Here, Tony invites you to enjoy a delicious all-you-care-to-eat breakfast. Mickey and Friends are there for treasured photos and fun interaction. Each event has different days of availability. Make sure to plan ahead so you can fit everything into your magical gathering.
In addition to the Grand Gathering events, groups can order Magical Gathering T-Shirts (90 to 10 days in advance of arrival), and schedule spa treatments, childcare, tours, etc.
A Disney Vacation is a magical time of memory making, in a place where dreams come true. What could be better than your own family enjoying the magic, as well has having the incredible memories of close friends or extended family, that will last forever!