It's a Great Big Beautiful World! Let's Discover it Together

Showing posts with label Convention Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Convention Center. Show all posts

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Coronado Springs Resort

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on August 1,1997, near Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park.

The resort has a Southwestern flare in its' theming, with landscaping evoking the great Southwestern U.S. and Mexico.  In designing the resort, the Imagineers were inspired by the explorers who had once searched for the fabled "seven cities of gold".  There is a Mayan-theme found at the feature pool, and spanish-style haciendas and courtyards abound throughout the resort.

Disney's Coronado Springs Resort® features a total of 1,921 guest rooms, accommodating up to four guests, plus one child under 3 in a crib.  All of the rooms have two queen beds, or one king-sized bed.  

The resort includes 1 themed feature pool: The Lost City of Cibola Pool, with a jaguar slide, and archaeological-themed Mayan Dig Site play area; plus 3 quiet pools conveniently located throughout the resort.  Other recreation includes a children’s water play area; playgrounds; walking/jogging trail; arcade; and assorted recreational activities including Disney movies in the evenings.

The resort features 1 table service restaurant:  Maya Grill; and includes 2 quick-service restaurants: Pepper Market and Cafe Rix; as well as lounges & poolside snack bars.  Convention Center  and conference facilities are available at the resort as well.

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort® is a moderate level resort located in the Animal Kingdom® area, and convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of the Walt Disney World® Resort.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disneyland Hotel

The Disneyland Hotel® first opened to guests in September 1955, located directly across the street from Disneyland.  All of the Disney company’s resources were needed to complete Walt Disney’s brand new theme park’s construction, and operating a hotel was not something that the folks at Disney knew how to do, so earlier in 1955 Walt Disney and his good friend Jack Wrather came to an agreement.  Jack would build and operate a hotel and have exclusive use of the Disneyland name on that hotel, thus the Disneyland Hotel was born. 
Initially the hotel offered tram service for the guests to cross what was then known as West Street (now Disneyland Drive).  The Monorail, added to the park in 1959, started picking up guests in 1961 when it was extended out through Disneyland’s parking lot and, for the first time ever to cross a public street, extended to a station located at the Disneyland Hotel. 

The hotel continued to grow and expand, and by the mid 1960’s was comprised of three towers (each named for Jack Wrather’s daughters), plus assorted bungalows and outbuildings.  The Sierra Tower was, in 1961, the tallest building in all of Orange County.  The hotel was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 1988, and thus the first Disney hotel, finally, truly became a “Disney” hotel and today is operated under the Parks & Resorts Division of the company.  After the hotel was acquired, it was refurbished and rethemed with more “Disney” touches added throughout.  A complete pool complex rebuild was completed in the mid-1990’s adding a Peter Pan theme.

In the very  late 1990’s, based on the vast success found in Florida with the vacation destination approach that was created with the birth of Walt Disney World, The Walt Disney Company decided it was time to expand Disneyland further into a vacation destination as well.  Additional real estate surround the park and hotel had been purchased during the decade, with a second theme park due to open in 2001. So as Disneyland was undergoing construction and expansion, the Downtown Disney District was also added.  This shopping and nighttime entertainment district connects the theme park with the hotel by way of a walking bridge over Disneyland Drive (which was lowered to accommodate this new area).  Today the Monorail Station is no longer directly located at the Disneyland Hotel, but rather near the hotel, as Downtown Disney’s addition meant the removal of the much beloved bungalows that once provided “villa-like” accommodations at the hotel.  They bungalows were removed, and today the ESPN Zone, Rainforest CafĂ© & AMC Theatres stand in place of what once were the bungalows and the former Olympic sized pool.

In 2010 a massive project was undertaken to refurbish and completely modernize the Disneyland Hotel.  Each tower was gutted, rebuilt, and completely re-themed, paying homage to the theme park that started it all just a short walk away.  The towers today are the FANTASYADVENTURE and FRONTIER, celebrating original lands from the park, and use wall coverings, light fixtures, artwork, concept art and themed furnishings throughout to demonstrate the theming.  The pool complex was once again re-built, and the Monorail Pool & Slides, the D-Ticket and E-Ticket pools all help celebrate the other original land at Disneyland, the land of TOMORROW.

The resort features several unique places to wine and dine.  These include: 
  •  Goofy’s Kitchen, which features brunch and dinner with the Disney Characters.
  • Steakhouse 55 offers fine dining, including steaks, chops, seafood and a large wine list.
  • Tangaroa Terrace, which celebrates Adventureland, features casual island dining. This quick service location is open for breakfast, lunch & dinner.
  • Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar, is a delightful hideway that must be seen and enjoyed! Tropical cocktails, juices and an ambrosial bar menu – plus – interactive fun depending on what you order!
  • The Coffee House – quick, casual coffees, beverages and snacks 
There are 975 hotel rooms, including 65 suites.  Standard rooms will accommodate up to 5 guests, and the suites can accommodate larger groups, and each room features the "nighttime fireworks" headboard, which plays "When You Wish Upon A Star" and lights up at the flip of a switch.  The resort towers surround the pool complex, and the Adventure Tower provides rooms that have a theme park view, which will allow for fireworks viewing.

The hotel features a Convention Center, as well as Fitness Center, Outdoor Fireplace and two gift shops.  As a hotel guest of the Disneyland Resort, parents can utilize child care services offered in Pinocchio’s Workshop, across the way at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, when looking for an afternoon or evening of dining or entertainment that is child-free.  In addition to the pools, the hotel features two hot tubs, and private, poolside cabanas available for rent.  Valet & self-parking is available for a daily fee. 

Of the 3 hotels at the Disneyland® Resort, the Disneyland Hotel® is mid-range in price, but with the completion of the 2010-2012 renovation, provides some of the largest rooms on a square footage basis, of all 3 of the on-site hotels.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa® first opened August 29, 2011 in the Ko Olina resort area on the leeward coast of Oahu, Hawaii.  Inspired by the natural beauty, culture and traditions of Hawai’i, this beautiful resort was designed with families in mind.  Sharing a secluded lagoon with the JW Marriott resort, and another future-resort that is still to be developed, Aulani is situated on 21 acres of oceanfront property, with spectacular views.
The Lobby, with Makahiki & the 'Olelo Room below

The resort is comprised of both traditional hotel accommodations and Disney Vacation Club timeshare villas. There are 359 hotel rooms, including 16 suites, and 460 villas comprised of deluxe studios, one and two bedroom villas, and 21 three bedroom Grand Villas (18 of which directly overlook the ocean).

From the 10th Floor, looking out to the ocean
The resort towers surround the Waikalohe Valley, which comprises the various water and recreational amenities.  These amenities include:
 Waikalohe Stream – an exhilarating yet refreshing waterway meandering throughout the Waikalohe Valley.
  • Menehune Bridge – an interactive water play area which features interactive water elements, 3 slides and a climbing structure
  • Two sparkling pools & four unique hot tubs
  • Two waterslides, Tubestone Curl – an inner tube slide for 1 or 2 guests at a time, and Volcanic Vertical – a single rider body slide
  • Rainbow Reef – a snorkeling experience at the largest inland snorkeling reef on the island (this is a fee-based activity)
  • Makai Preserve – a conservation lagoon where guests can interact with stingrays and other marine life (this is a fee-based  activity)
  • Pau Hana Room – video gaming, foosball, board games, storytelling, TV viewing area and arts & crafts (some but not all activities are fee-based)
  • Aunty’s Beach House – this fun-filled destination for the kids is a place of discovery, magic and exploration where kids can learn about the Hawaiian culture while they play.  Supervised playtime at Aunty’s Beach House allows mom and dad the opportunity to spend some adult time on the beach, at a romantic dinner or any other excursions of their choice.
  • Located directly across the street from the resort, is the Ko Olina Golf Club, and discounted greens fees are available for resort guests.

Riding the Waikalohe Stream

Menehune Bridge

One of four distinctive hot tubs
The resort features several unique places to wine and dine.  These include: 

  • ’Ama ‘Ama, a table-service restaurant offers spectacular ocean-front views for breakfast, lunch & dinner.  Seafood is plentiful on the menu, along with traditional Hawaiian specialities.
  • Makahiki, offers an all-you-care-to enjoy breakfast and dinner buffet, and features a character breakfast, Aunty’s Character Breakfast at the Makahiki, currently offered on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays.  The food selection includes a generous mix of Hawaiian, Japanese and Chinese fare.
  • One Paddle, Two Paddle, is a counter-service location with a variety of delightful Hawaiian dishes, fresh made sandwiches and wraps.
  • Off the Hook is a colorful, pool and beachside lounge designed after a Hawaiian fisherman’s seaside shack, and features libations and appetizers.
  • The ‘Olelo Room is a pub-like gathering place where visitors can learn a variety of Hawaiian words while enjoying favorite cocktails.
  • The Lava Shack is located in the heart of the Waikalohe Valley, and features cold fried chicken, cured meats & cheeses and other grab & go snacks.

The view from 'Ama 'Ama
The parade during Aunty's Breakfast Celebration at the Makahiki

For guests looking for relaxing spa treatments - no worries, the Laniwai Spa offers unique, blissful, customized treatments, and includes the only outdoor hydrotherapy garden in Hawaii. Additionally, for the teens, Aulani offers the only Teen Spa in Hawaii - Painted Sky - which offers special treatments and options just for teens.

For the adventurist looking to augment their beach vacation with some really neat, self-guided Hawaiian “local color” -  Aulani is not far from many fun, exciting, and enjoyable destinations around Oahu. In the mood for a Dole Whip?  The Dole Plantation is just 30 minutes away.  Want to catch some waves or go surfing on some of the best beaches in the world, the North Shore, home of famed surfing competitions is just 45 minutes away.  Looking for the stereotypical Hawaiian tour? The famed beaches and experiences at Waikiki are just about an hour’s drive from the resort.  Hiking to the top of Diamond Head, or through a rainforest?  Both are just about an hour’s drive from the resort.  Of course the island is also home to numerous historic sites, significant in how the world changed so dramatically one December morning in 1941. The World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument at Pearl Harbor is only about 20 minutes from Aulani, and is a must-see for so many different reasons.  This very moving site includes the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin, the USS Missouri, the USS Oklahoma Memorial and the USS Utah Memorial – plus a handful of Exhibit Galleries, Museums, artifacts and a 23-minute film discussing the attacks on Pearl Harbor that December morning.

For those guests looking to enjoy different aspects of Hawaii but choose to do so on guided excursions,  you won’t be disappointed!  Just as cruise ships offer a plethora of land excursions on “port days” – Aulani provides similar opportunities for its’ guests as well.  The range of offerings can change from time to time, but currently there are about 14 different excursions. Each day there are 1 or 2 different guided tours and experiences for guests to select from. Costs range from about $50 per adult up to about $400 per adult. These excursions can be reserved in advance on Aulani’s website, or in person at the Holoholo Desk just to the left of the Lobby.  Excursion possibilities include learning to surf, riding horseback through lush valleys, hiking in the rainforest, setting sail on a catamaran or kayak along protected islets, cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs, island hopping to explore volcanoes and so much more. 

Were Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa® to be located at the Walt Disney World® Resort, it would be considered a Deluxe level.  Transportation to and from the resort is not provided.  Guests can arrange for their choice of rental car, shuttle, taxi or limo service.  Rental Cars are highly recommended for a variety of self-guided excursions, grocery shopping (for villas guests) and other local visits away from the resort.  

Looking at the resort from the ocean side of the Lagoon