Disney World Blog

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Disney Hotel

Alright, I breifly discussed which disney hotels we've stayed at...and we're looking at staying at a different one in December!

Next on our list:

Animal Kingdom Lodge

My wife's sister is getting married in December, and they decided on Disney World as their Honeymoon of choice. So, my wife, being the busy bee she is, decided to handle everything.

She's been dying to stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, and I have a feeling that this will be her Disney hotel of choice (I could be wrong, but it doesn't happen often).

I've read many great things about the Lodge, so if anyone out there has any pointers or input, I'd love to hear them!

Thus far, my personal favorite Disney hotel has been the Caribbean Beach. But hey, I'm open minded enough not to get stuck in a comfort zone.

Oh, we're also going in October...lots of important days in the month, so we're going to go and have a few days of fun. It's my wife and I's anniversary, my daughter's birthday and my cousin's birthday. Seems like enough to warrant a little vacation!

Sadly, during that one, we won't be staying in an official Disney hotel...however, we'll be plenty close to the action. We're going to stay at the Doubletree Suites. I'll post an update when I find out how they are.

More great WDW info coming soon!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Disney World Vacation 2003 Continued

So now we've covered the Caribbean Beach Resort, as well as the restaurants and dining. Shall we continue on?

Highlights of the theme parks:

Magic Kingdom

- Splash Mountain, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Haunted Mansion, Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin...those were my favorites from the Magic Kingdom.

I wasn't particularly fond of the Enchanted Tiki show. It definately needed a new show, but it seems like it's a bit over-the-top now.

Stitch's Great Escape...sadly, I liked it's predecessor much better. In their effort to bring in a Disney character, and relate the attraction better to the Disney brand, it lost alot of it's appeal.

If we ever go to Disney World with just the two of us again, we'll likely avoid Fantasyland for the most part. Great for my daughter, but nothing worth the wait for adults like I claim to be.

Mickey's Philharmagic was amazingly wonderful. While I'm not much for stuff like that, I did enjoy myself (as well as the break it provided for my feet and knees).

Some of the attractions definately felt a bit dated (Jungle Cruise for example), but provided enough entertainment that they were worth seeing again.


- Mission: Space and Test Track were of course our favorites.

Honey I Shrunk the Audience was entertaining, albeit quite loud.

Strangely enough, we barely spent any time in the World Showcase. It wasn't that we didn't want to do any of it, so much as we didn't understand that there were things to actually do aside from walking endlessly.

Spaceship Earth needs some lovin...it's high time they put forth some effort into updating it's technology to meet with the times. It broke down several times while we were on it...and as nice as the rest was, we were glad when the ride ended.

Body Wars provided an interesting approach to the technology that I remembered so fondly from Star Tours. Leonard Nemoy did a nice job overall (but if you hate the jerkiness of Star Tours, don't bother).

Animal Kingdom

- Dinosaur, Kali River Rapids and the Kilimanjaro Safaris are all not to be missed.

My wife loves this park, as she's a huge animal enthusiast (and loves to take pictures).

It's Tough to Be a Bug was fun, as it provided a means to scare the daylights out of my wife (not a scary attraction, but definately has things that can make you jump).

Festival of the Lion King was enjoyable, but crowded as could be. It was rather difficult to see from where we sat (which happened to be behind a guy that seemed to be 7 feet tall), but otherwise, not bad at all.

Tarzan Rocks!, though now gone from the park, was one of my wife's favorites of the trip....something about a muscular man in a loin cloth was what she mumbled in her sleep that night.

The section with Primevil Whirl was...strange...at least to me. It just doesn't feel like it fits in a Disney Theme Park at all. I know it's the look they wanted, but it just seems out of place.

Disney/MGM Studios

- Tower of Terror...30+ times I think. My wife is addicted to this ride (which will become even more evident when I discuss the trip we took last December. I loved the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, but my wife is fairly short, and has issues with her head bouncing in between the head cushions...leaving her with a headache almost every time.

The Indiana Jones Stunt Show always entertains me...even though I've seen it half a dozen times now.

Sounds Dangerous should be renamed to Sounds Tiresome. I am a Drew Carey fan, but I can't help but get sleepy when it's pitch black and nothing really going on.

Star Tours, as usual, was also one I loved. It's definately showing it's age nowadays, but the queue is even entertaining as you wait patiently.

Muppet Vision 3D is fairly entertaining for those of us who grew up watching them.

Voyage of the Little Mermaid provided a nice nap for a bit :)

Studios Backlot Tour was entertaining enough for me not to fall asleep.

The Great Movie Ride...well, the live actor was entertaining enough, but the ride itself is fairly uneventful.

This is a park that could do with one more major attraction on the far side of it (away from tower and rock 'n').

That's it for today...tomorrow I may discuss the Water Park...or Downtown Disney...or the shows...I don't know, but it'll be something!



Disney World Restaurants...worth the price?

Last time, I stuck mainly to talking about only the resort we stayed in. This time, I'll discuss some of the restaurants (that I recall from that trip), and what I thought of them.

The commons at the Caribbean Beach had food that was ok...but not my personal choice. The kids there seemed to love it, but my wife and I both thought that we could do a little better than school cafeteria type food. There were a few hidden gems, but overall, not of the highest fare (why have a "caribbean" resort, and no caribbean food?).

Magic Kingdom places we ate:

Liberty Tree Tavern - Probably my personal favorite. The food was high quality, it was all you could eat, and the atmosphere was pleasant. The servers were all wonderful, and the characters were fun to interact with in between bites.

Crystal Palace - Not bad...it was definately much better than many of the places we ate at, but not my personal favorite. I believe my wife enjoyed it more than I did though.

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe - Fast food for folks like me! I'm a McDonald's junkie, so Ray's was right up my alley. I won't praise it, but just know that it's fast food with a bit extra on the price.

Epcot places (although we didn't eat much as far as sit downs here...strange, since it has some of the best in Walt Disney World):

Tappenyaki - This is in the Japenese area...being that I have a wife with some Japanese heritage, it was a given that we'd eat here. The food was excellent...I'm a big fan of Japanese steakhouses, so this was a great choice. Chefs were entertaining (noisy place though...don't go here for romantic atmosphere!).

Garden Grill - I didn't enjoy the food at all. It was luke warm when we got it, and didn't taste very good anyways. The characters were alright, and the restaurant was unique with the entire dining room rotating...but otherwise, not impressed. I have heard they changed the menu significantly since we went, so I may brave it once more to see.

We also ate at a cafe that sits somewhere near innoventions that I really enjoyed. Can't recall the name right at the moment though :(

Disney/MGM Studios:

50's Prime Time Cafe - While the food was merely adequate, we love the atmosphere. It's a fun place to go and role play...even learn a bit of history so I understand my parents when they talk about "their day".

Animal Kingdom:

Rainforest Cafe - I'm not a huge fan of this place. I've eaten at several different ones, and haven't cared for the food at any of them (though I am pretty picky when it comes to food). It's extremely noisy, and overall not the most relaxing place.

Flame Tree Barbecue - The seating area is horrid on most days...it's either full, or dirty. But the food is amazingly good. In fact, wish I could eat there right now!

We ate at a number of other places, I'm sure, but those are the ones that stand out in my mind. The food at Disney World is definately a bit high, but I didn't mind paying a little extra to keep the ambience and experience going (as opposed to running back to the room, or going off-site).

More to come next time!



Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Disney World Vacation 2003

Alright, so now we've moved past the first vacation. Not much to tell on that one though...extremely hot in mid June, I slept in alot...just wasn't prepared.

The second trip, in 2003, was one that I did all the prep work on. Since we had already been married a year, and had a 1 year old daughter, we had to employ grandma to handle things while we snuck away for a few days...10 of them, to be exact.

Again, I was being lazy, so we hooked up with an online travel agent specializing in Disney Vacations. I told her what we were looking for, how much we wanted to spend, and she pretty much ran with the ball.

We ended up staying in the Caribbean Beach Resort. Nice place, but extremely large...much larger than you might suspect just from the appearance.

We stayed in the Jamaica portion, if I remember correctly. We absolutely loved it. It was an extremely long walk from our room, to the commons area (where the food is at), but as far as the buses went, it was easily the best. We had a corner room on the bottom floor...our room was as close as you could get to the bus stop...which is extremely important for me, as I hate mornings!

Our bus stop was the first for bus drivers doing pickups...that meant we always had a seat. No waiting for the next bus, standing, or trying to cram in uncomfortably. We let others do all the cramming. On the down side, it was the last stop at the end of the day...which made for a long ride. When the day's over, you just want to get to the room and sleep, but had to wait for around 8 or so stops before you could.

The rooms weren't very big...maybe 400 square feet. But, considering it was just the wife and I, we didn't really need space, as we ended up spending very little time in the room anyhow.

The Caribbean Beach rooms were, however, nice. They were also clean, and kept up quite well. The landscape was always close to perfect (i.e. no trash or cigarette butts). My only gripe was the length of time to get from the room to the commons. Aside from that, it was much better than the All-Star Sports resort that I had previously stayed in. The one time it wasn't was when small children overran the hot tub while we were relaxing in it...but hey, if that's the worst thing about it, it can't be bad at all!

I'll stop there, before moving on to the parks and talking about our adventures (mostly because I have a short memory, and I need to look at the pictures to remember what we did!).

Until next time 80



Tuesday, July 25, 2006

More on Disney World coming shortly

I know, I know...I've been neglecting the blog a bit...but hey, it's hard to plan a trip to Disney World AND find time to blog at the same time :)

More to come very soon...I'll even get into specifics on everything.



Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Closer to Disney World!

Alright, I've been neglecting my blog a bit, as I just went through a major move from Portugal to Florida...yeah, I'm finally back in the states!

A little off topic, but the part of Portugal I was in (actually a group of islands called the Azores) was a bit behind the times. Cobblestone roads, no central heat or air conditioning in the houses (in fact, we had a single window unit to cool our entire 1500 square foot house, and two small portable GAS heaters to heat it)...gas for hot water was delivered in large gas bottles (like an oversized bottle you'd see on your average gas grill), and they had to be swapped out every so often to prevent getting a surprisingly cold shower.

Anyhow, back to the point...we're now in Florida...I guess that means a bit more Disney for us! Good thing we bought those annual passes last time we were there in December ;)

So anyhow, my next post will start in on my trip back in 2003 (which was my honeymoon...only I was married in 2002...wait till you hear this story).

Until then, feel free to post comments if you have em!



P.S. I ran across a neat little place to get a little more exposure for your blog, should you like a little added traffic. It's a little blog directory called blog search. It is edited by humans, but I'm glad I took the time to submit :)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Disney World Won :)

Ok, so we now know for a fact that:

1) Disney World is more appealing to me than college

2) Disney World is more expensive than college

That said, let me talk about some of our experiences.

- We stayed at the Disney All Star Sports Resort. While I definately enjoyed the benefits that Disney World provides their resort guests (such as free transportation everywhere on WDW grounds), I wasn't personally fond of the resort itself. It did it's job, in giving us a place to sleep and relax at the end of the day, but it was extremely overcrowded...most of which were younger kids.

One thing I did enjoy about the resort was that we could find something to do, no matter what time it was. The video game arcade kept us entertained several times (as we were both night owls). The food court also allowed us to get food at pretty much any time as well.

- We met some really great people, and had a fun time. My most memorable experience has to be the Splash Mountain water fight. My friend and I sat behind two women...by the end of the ride, all four were soaked (we used cups towards the end of the water fight, and they did some major drenching!). I'm sure the people waiting to get on were at least second guessing their choice after seeing us coming off :)

- Pleasure Island completely sucks when you aren't old enough to drink! That will be rectified in a future trip, of course.

- The summer is scorching hot, and not entirely comfortable for enjoying Disney World. Again, this will be rectified in a future trip.

- The summer is extremely crowded. Wait times weren't uncommon above the 1 hour mark...usually exceeding 90 minutes for a good ride.

- You can never have enough money when visiting Disney World! I didn't feel like I had enough, and I was only there for a week. That's not to say you can't have a great time on a budget (because we certainly did), but since then, I've found it to be much more enjoyable if I can choose to do whatever I want without worrying about the rest of the trip's budget.

I'll try to remember some more important Disney World tips over the next few days (10+ years since that first trip!).

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Disney World or college?

Disney World or college?

That was the question I was left with in 1995. You see, for as long as I could remember, I had wanted to go to Disney World. Sure, I'd been to Disneyland...tons of times in fact. But not once had I been able to con my parents into the big one.

Well, I wasn't the greatest student in high school, so I figured the college world wouldn't miss me at all :)

And so, at the age of 17, I was handed plenty of money to cover my trip (fresh out of my college savings account), and told to get started on my planning.

What the heck???

I'm 17 years old, and being forced (thanks mom) to do all the things I hated. I had to make phone calls to strangers, go in and see strangers. Was Disney World worth all this?

I took the easy way out. I went to a travel agent, told her to book everything for myself and a guest, and left her to her job. Only seemed like the right thing to do. She MUST know more about it than I do!

If only I knew then, what I know now.

The first thing I learned: brick and mortar travel agents are expensive.

The second lesson? June really isn't the optimal time to go to Disney World...unless you happen to enjoy torture.

But hey, Disney World tickets in hand, Disney World vacation all planned...All Star Sports Resort, here we come!