Showing posts with label Sunday Spotlight. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sunday Spotlight. Show all posts

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Spotlight - Oasis of the Seas


Royal Caribbean International® boasts 22 majestic ships in its’ fleet, including six different classifications of ships, based on size, amenities and overall design features.  These classes include:  Oasis Class, Freedom Class, Voyager Class, Radiance Class, Vision Class and Sovereign Class – and an entirely new class – the Quantum Class - just introduced to the world with construction beginning on two new ships for the class to set sail some time in 2015 and 2016.  Today we’ll be looking at the signature ship in the Oasis Class, the Oasis of the Seas® which set sail on her maiden voyage in December 2009, and is considered the ship that revolutionized cruising through its groundbreaking design introducing seven distinct neighborhoods built for ultimate enjoyment in family-friendly cruising. The Oasis of the Seas provides wonderful experiences for multi-generational family travel as well, with a wide array of onboard experiences for all ages. 

Onboard guests can delight to a wide array of relaxation, dining and entertainment options, including, hopping on a classic carousel on the Boardwalk®, then watch acrobats splash down in the AquaTheater, the first amphitheater at sea.  Let imaginations soar in the Youth Zone—the largest kids' area at sea—or at the Pool & Sports Zone, where you'll find FlowRider® surf simulators and zip line views.  Unwind with a stroll in Central Park®—a meandering garden lined with shops and fine restaurants—the first time actual trees have been planted onboard a ship!  Melt away stress at VitalitySM Spa.  Jazz up your evening with Broadway hit Hairspray, or hit the Royal Promenade for memorable moments with DreamWorks® Experience characters.  Join us onboard the ship that changed cruising – a world where innovation rules. 

VitalitySM. © Royal Caribbean International®
Rest & Relaxation:  Full-service VitalitySM Spa with thermal suite and an extensive treatment menu. State-of-the-art Fitness Center. Central Park® outdoor garden with galleries, restaurants and a Coach® store. Four pools including the Solarium, an adults-only retreat. Ten whirlpools, two of them cantilevered whirlpools overlooking the ocean. Concierge Club and Diamond Lounge. 



Dining Options:  Main Dining Room, 14 more complimentary options including Park Cafe, Windjammer Cafe, Solarium Bristo and room service, Casual dining and snacks at Johnny Rockets®, Cupcake Cupboard and Seafood Shack and more.   Specialty restaurants are also available for one low cover charge: 150 Central Park, Chops Grille steakhouse, and Giovanni's Table Italian restaurant.  Starbucks, Izumi Asian cuisine, and Vintages wine bar for an array of tempting tapas.  Central Park dining package at $65 per guest, includes Giovanni's Table Italian Trattoria, 150 Central Park fine-dining restaurant and Chops Grille steakhouse.  Chef's Dining Package, at $120 per guest, includes the five-course, gourmet Chef's Table and wine pairing, 150 Central Park.  Chops Grille, Choice of Dining Package, at $50 per guest, includes Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table and a choice of Izumi Asian Cuisine or Solarium Cafe.  

©Royal Caribbean International®, Casino Royale®
Entertainment & Shopping:  Complimentary Broadway hit Hairspray, Complimentary AquaTheater shows, ice shows and other live entertainment.  Casino Royale® with 464 slots and 27 tables, Bars, lounges, and nightclubs that never have a cover, including live jazz club, karaoke bar, and comedy club.  Parties and parades on the Royal Promenade.  Surf's Up Party, a reservation-only themed party in the Seafood Shack with the restaurant’s most popular dishes and 3 non-alcoholic beverages for a cover charge of $15 per guest or 3 alcoholic beverages for a cover charge of $25 per guest.  Variety of name-brand, duty-free shopping in Central Park® and the Royal Promenade.

©Royal Caribbean International® , FlowRider® 
©Royal Caribbean International® DreamWorks® Experience
Kids and Families:  Complimentary DreamWorks® Experience - memorable moments including character dining, parades, and meet & greets with favorite characters from Shrek®, Madagascar®, Kung Fu Panda® and more.  Complimentary Adventure Ocean® Youth Program. Royal Babies® and Royal Tots® programming.  Teen lounge areas and disco.  H2O Zone kids' water park.  3D movie theater.  Two FlowRider® surf simulators.  Two rock-climbing walls, Zip line, full-sized basketball court.  Ice-skating rink, Mini-golf course and Hand-carved carousel. 




Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Spotlight - Disney Wonder

© Disney

Disney Cruise Line® boasts four majestic, family-friendly ships in its’ fleet, which first set sail in July 1998. The Disney Wonder, is the second ship in the fleet, and set sail on her maiden voyage August 15, 1999, just a year and a couple of weeks after her older sister ship, the Disney Magic.  The Disney Wonder is a ship that takes guests of all ages to exotic destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, the Pacific coast and the great Pacific Northwest including Alaska.
 
Designed in very much the same style as the Disney Magic, the Disney Wonder blends the classic beauty and grace of the “golden era of ocean travel” with all the modern luxuries, technology and comforts that make cruising a pleasure, including many splashes of fun, since the fleet was designed with families in mind.  Like the Magic, this ship is 20 feet longer than the infamous Titanic, and can transport 2,400 passengers. 

© Disney
Onboard guests can delight to a wide array of dining and entertainment options.  The Wonder continued the innovative and fun rotational dining system first pioneered onboard the Disney Magic.  The system  allows guests to dine in each of the themed dining rooms on board:  Triton’s, Parrot Cay and Animator's Palate.  Each night, as guests rotate to another restaurant, their table mates and wait staff remain the same which allows for a greater deal of familiarity. The ship includes highly seasoned chefs, and the wait staff is very efficient and quick with their service. By keeping the same wait staff as guests rotate around, they are able to quickly learn guests names and remember beverage choices and whether you like coffee, tea or something else with dessert or not. On longer cruises, such as 5 to 7 night cruises, the wait staff will often also be able to anticipate your desires based on other meals served throughout the voyage.

© Disney
Like almost all of the large cruise ships, onboard entertainment includes shows in the beautifully appointed Walt Disney Theatre, some of which, have been nominated, or have won, multiple awards.  There’s also a movie theater, The Buena Vista Theater, showing both first-run and classic Disney movies.  First-run films are typically the same Disney movies that are currently in theaters on land.  There’s also a large, 24x14 foot Jumbo LED screen on the ship’s forward funnel known as FunnelVision which is used in various ways during deck parties, such as the Sail Away Party.   Deck 10 features the Wide World of Sports deck, offering basketball, foosball, ping-pong and workouts.  And of course there are the pools.  Youth activities, nightclubs and lounges add a lot more fun to the entertainment offered onboard the Disney Wonder.  And, weather permitting, Disney Cruise Line pioneered Fireworks at Sea, as part of a rousing deck party, “Pirates IN The Caribbean”, and so far, is the only cruise line to do so, though truth be known that will be changing in May 2013, when Norwegian Cruise Line introduces their newest ship, Breakaway, to the world.  

Watch for more detailed information about the Disney Wonder in blog entries yet to come, as I’m setting sail this week onboard, and no doubt will be sharing some of my adventures in the weeks to come.  Ahoy mateys!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Military Appreciation Discounts


Happy Veterans’ Day!  

Did you know that as a member of the military, that you are often eligible for special discounts or shipboard credits with the various cruise lines?  It’s true.  Many lines salute our heroes by providing these discounts to active and retired members of the U.S. military.  In some cases, active, reserve, and retired members of the U.S. military and the Canadian Forces may be eligible.  Veterans may also be eligible, with some cruise lines offering special discounts to veterans with an honorable discharge who have served in an active war zone for any length of time or outside a war zone for at least two years. Spouses of actively deployed or deceased military personnel may also be eligible.  In select cases, U.S. Armed Forces Personnel in the following branches may be eligible; Army Corps of Engineers, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency (excluding Homeland Security), Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Secret Service, NASA Kennedy Space Center, NASA Johnson Space Center, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Cadets who are currently enrolled in a military academy with a scheduled entry date into the military.  It never hurts to ask!  If you qualify through your service to your country, don’t be shy to ask about any special discounts that might be available to you.   Military personnel must present proper documentation at the time of booking to qualify for the special rates. 

Thank you for your service to your nation!  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney Magic

© Disney

Disney Cruise Line® boasts four majestic, family-friendly ships in its’ fleet, which first set sail in July 1998. 
The Disney Magic, is the original ship in the fleet, and had its’ maiden voyage July 30, 1998.  It is a ship that takes guests of all ages to exotic destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Northern Europe, as well as Canada and Mexico.

The ship blends the classic beauty and grace of the “golden era of ocean travel” with all the modern luxuries, technology and comforts that make cruising a pleasure.  This ship itself is 20 feet longer than the infamous Titanic, and can transport 2, 400 passengers.  Back in 1998 Disney Cruise Line received special permission from the government to allow it to have bright yellow lifeboats, a la Mickey Mouse’s shoes, instead of the normally required bright orange. 

© Disney
Onboard guests can delight to a wide array of dining and entertainment options.  The Magic incorporated a fun new, rotational dining system when it premiered, that allows guests to dine each of the themed dining rooms on board:  Lumiere's, Parrot Cay and Animator's Palate.  Each night, as guests rotate to another restaurant, their table mates and wait staff remain the same which allows for a greater deal of familiarity. The ship includes highly seasoned chefs, and the wait staff is very efficient and quick with their service. By keeping the same wait staff as guests rotate around, they are able to quickly learn guests names and remember beverage choices and whether you like coffee, tea or something else with dessert or not.

Like almost all of the large cruise ships, onboard entertainment includes shows in the beautifully appointed Walt Disney Theatre,  some of which, have been nominated, or have won, multiple awards.  There’s also a movie theater, The Buena Vista Theater, showing both first-run and classic Disney movies.  First-run films are typically the same Disney movies that are currently in theaters on land.  There’s also a large, 24x14 foot Jumbo LED screen on the ship’s forward funnel known as FunnelVision which is used in various ways during deck parties, such as the Sail Away Party.   Deck 10 features the Wide World of Sports deck, offering basketball, foosball, ping-pong and workouts.  And of course there are the pools.  Youth activities, nightclubs and lounges add a lot more fun to the entertainment offered onboard the Disney Magic.  And, weather permitting, Disney Cruise Line pioneered fireworks at sea, and is the only cruise line to do so, all starting on the Disney Magic.

Watch for more detailed information about the Disney Magic in blog entries yet to come.  Ahoy mateys!





Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa


Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort® & Spa first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on May 17, 2004.  It was built on the site of the former Disney Institute® and is one of several Disney Vacation Club® (DVC) timeshare properties at Walt Disney World® Resort.  The resort is themed to celebrate the legacy of a gentler era, and captures the spirit of the 1880’s resort of Saratoga Springs, New York. This lakeside resort is filled with Victorian architecture, meticulous landscaping and the horse-racing culture of the upstate New York community.
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort® & Spa includes 60 Treehouse Villas, but those are featured separately.  

The original resort has a total of 1,260 villas, comprised of Deluxe Studios, 1-Bedroom, 2-Bedroom and 3-Bedroom Grand Villas.
Deluxe Studios are 365 square feet and can accommodate up to four guests, plus one child under age 3 in a crib.  They include a kitchenette, two queen-size beds and a private porch or balcony.
  • 1-Bedrooms are 714 square feet, and can accommodate up to five guests, plus one child under age 3 in a crib. They include a fully equipped kitchen, washer & dryer, king-size bed in the master bedroom, a queen-size sleeper sofa plus a sleeper chair in the living room, whirlpool tub in the bathroom, and a private porch or balcony.
  • 2-Bedrooms are 1,075 square feet, and can accommodate up to nine guests, plus one child under 3 in a crib. They offer all that a 1-Bedroom has plus a second bedroom with 2 queen-size beds and a second full bathroom.
  • 3-Bedroom Grand Villas are 2,113 square feet, and can accommodate up to 12 guests, plus one child under 3 in a crib. They offer all of the amenities of the 2-Bedroom, plus they include a third bedroom with 2 queen-size beds, a third full bathroom, a full dining room, additional private balcony and are two-story rooms.

As a DVC timeshare property, the villas are owned by members through DVC’s points-based system.  DVC maintains about 3-4% ownership of the total point allocation for each of their timeshare resorts, therefore rooms are available for rent year-round to non-members. 

The resort includes 2 feature pools and 4 leisure or “quiet” pools, a children’s pool, whirlpools, sauna, fitness center, Community Hall family recreation room, tennis courts, extensive jogging trails, arcade and recreational activities including Disney’s Lake Buena Vista Golf Course.  It also features 1 table service restaurant:  The Turf Club Bar and Grill serving lunch and dinner; 2 quick-service counter locations: The Artist’s Palette, and the High Rock Grill. 

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort® & Spa is a Deluxe Villas level resort located across the water from the Downtown Disney® area.  Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all parts of Walt Disney World® Resort, and water taxis transport guests to and from Downtown Disney.  The resort is also a short walk from Downtown Disney®, and there are two different walking paths to it – one to the Marketplace area, and one to the West Side area. 

Sunday, September 2, 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 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).

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.

 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.


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.  

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Old Key West


Disney's Old Key West Resort® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on December 20, 1991.  It was the original Disney Vacation Club® (DVC) timeshare property, and as such was originally named Disney’s Vacation Club Resort.  In January 1996 DVC expanded their timeshare offerings at the Walt Disney World Resort, and so the resort was renamed to Disney’s Old Key West Resort.  The resort is themed to celebrate the Conch Republic of Key West, Florida, and enjoys quite the laid-back feeling that a southern Florida provides.

The resort has a total of 761 villas, comprised of Deluxe Studios, 1-Bedroom, 2-Bedroom and 3-Bedroom Grand Villas.
  • Deluxe Studios are 376 square feet and can accommodate up to four guests, plus one child under age 3 in a crib.  They include a kitchenette, two queen-size beds and a private porch or balcony.
  • 1-Bedrooms are 942 square feet, and can accommodate up to five guests, plus one child under age 3 in a crib. They include a fully equipped kitchen, washer & dryer, king-size bed in the master bedroom, a queen-size sleeper sofa plus a sleeper chair in the living room, whirlpool tub in the bathroom, and a private porch or balcony.
  • 2-Bedrooms are 1,333 square feet, and can accommodate up to nine guests, plus one child under 3 in a crib. They offer all that a 1-Bedroom has plus a second bedroom with 2 queen-size beds and a second full bathroom.
  • 3-Bedroom Grand Villas are 2,375 square feet, and can accommodate up to 12 guests, plus one child under 3 in a crib. They offer all of the amenities of the 2-Bedroom, plus they include a third bedroom with 2 queen-size beds, a third full bathroom, a full dining room, additional private balcony and are two-story rooms.

As a DVC timeshare property, the villas are owned by members through DVC’s points-based system.  DVC maintains about 3-4% ownership of the total point allocation for each of their timeshare resorts, therefore rooms are available for rent year-round to non-members. 

The resort includes 1 feature pool and 3 leisure or “quiet” pools, a children’s pool, whirlpools, sauna, fitness center, Community Hall family recreation room, tennis courts, fishing, marina watercraft rentals, arcade and recreational activities.  It also features 1 table service restaurant:  Olivia’s Café serving breakfast lunch and dinner;  2 quick-service counter locations: Good’s Food to Go, and the Turtle Shack.  A bar is also on-site:  Gurgling Suitcase.

Disney’s Old Key West Resort® is a Deluxe Villas level resort centrally located to the east of Epcot® in the Downtown Disney® area.  Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all parts of Walt Disney World® Resort, and water taxis transport guests to and from Downtown Disney.


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's POP Century Resort


Disney's POP Century Resort® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort, originally planned to open in 2001, finally opened on December 13, 2003 (after delays caused by the tragic events of 9/11 and the following drop in tourism and further construction delays in 2002.  The resort is themed to celebrate the decades of the 20th Century, and is filled with all kinds of popular references, icons and imagery of the century (thus the name POP Century). 

The resort is comprised of 5 sections, representing the 1950’s, ‘60’s, ‘70’s, ‘80’s and ‘90’s. Each section is decorated and themed with its’ own oversized icons – such as a giant jukebox and 45 rpm records for the 1950’s; giant “Baloo & Mowgli” figures from Disney’s ‘60’s classic film, The Jungle Book;  giant Mickey Mouse Phone, giant Big Wheel and 8-track tapes representing the ‘70’s and so many more.  The resort is designed with exterior doors and staircases (which are also themed with coverings such as giant bowling pins or Rubick’s Cubes).

Disney’s POP Century Resort®  features a total of 2,880 guest rooms, each accommodating up to 4 guests, plus one child under 3 in a crib. All rooms have either 2 double beds or 1 king-sized bed.

The resort includes 3 themed pools:  the Bowling Pin pool, the Hippy Dippy feature pool and the Computer pool.  It also features  1 quick-service food court : Everything POP; and lounges, poolside snack bars and in-room pizza delivery service.

Disney’s POP Century Resort® is a value level resort located in the ESPN Wide World of Sports® area.  Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Port Orleans Resort


Disney's Port Orleans Resort® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort as two separate resorts:  Disney’s Port Orleans Resort which opened on May 17, 1991 and Disney’s Dixie Landings Resort which opened on February 2, 1992.  On March 1, 2001 both resorts were merged together into one larger single resort, with the former Dixie Landings resort being rebranded as Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside, and the original Port Orleans Resort being rebranded as Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter.

The resort is themed to invoke the bustling river life of the old South and the “gay paree” of the American Frontier – New Orleans.  The French Quarter portion was designed to resemble the French Quarter’s style and architecture, while the Riverside section was designed to invoke both southern plantations in the Magnolia Bend section, and bayou dwellings further up the river in the Alligator Bayou section.  The Sassagoula River connects both portions of the resort with other waterways of Walt Disney World®, and provides nice boat transportation to the Downtown Disney® Area. 


Disney’s Port Orleans Resort features a total of 3,056 guest rooms, with 1,008 rooms found in the French Quarter; 1,024 rooms found in Riverside and 1,024 found in Magnolia Bend.  About 500 rooms throughout the Magnolia Bend section of Riverside were recently refurbished as “Royal Rooms” with a princess-inspired theme. 

The resort includes 2 themed feature pools:  Ol’ Man Island with a rustic saw-mill theme; and Doubloon Lagoon with a sea-serpent themed slide.  Additionally there are multiple quiet pools located throughout the resort.  Other recreation includes children’s playgrounds; the “Fishin’ Hole” where guests can rent cane poles and bait for some old-time catch & release fishing; a marina for watercraft rentals; bicycles & surrey bike rentals; horse-drawn carriage rides in the evenings; and video game arcades.

The resort features 1 table service restaurant:  Boatwright’s Dining Hall; and includes 2 quick-service restaurants: Riverside Mill Food Court and Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory; as well as 2 lounge/bar locations: River Roost, Muddy Rivers and Scat Cat’s Club.

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort® is a moderate level resort located in the Downtown Disney® area.  Convenient boat transportation will take guests directly to Downtown Disney®, as well as bus transportation to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort.  The resort is classified as a Moderate level resort, and most rooms will accommodate up to 4 guests; however rooms in Alligator Bayou will accommodate up to 5 guests, as they include a trundle bed, which makes Disney’s Port Orleans Resort a great option for many families.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Art of Animation Resort



Disney's Art of Animation Resort®, an all-new resort located at Walt Disney World® Resort, premiered on May 31, 2012 with the first of four phases opening on that date.  It is located on the site once planned for the expansion of Disney’s POP Century Resort®, but plans for that continued construction were abandoned following the attacks of September 11, 2001.  It is the first new value-level resort built since Disney’s POP Century Resort first opened in 2003.


The resort is comprised of 4 sections, representing Disney’s classic animated films “The Little Mermaid”, “The Lion King”, and Disney*PIXAR films, “Finding Nemo” and “Cars”.   Each section is decorated and themed with its’ own oversized icons – such as the various car characters from the Cars films, super-sized coral from Finding Nemo, gigantic clam shells, pride rocks and many more.  In a change from the other value-level resorts, the Art of Animation is designed with rooms having interior doors and sealed hallways rather than exterior doors.  Emergency staircases are done in the same exterior fashion as the other value-level resorts (and are themed with coverings such as giant pride rocks, coral, or super-sized dock pilings).


Disney's Art of Animation Resort® features a total of 1,984 guest rooms, comprised of 1,120 Family Suites and 864 traditional rooms.  The majority of the rooms accommodate up to 6 guests whereas the traditional rooms accommodate up to 4 guests, plus one child under 3 in a crib.  The Family Suites have a queen-size bed, plus two double sleeper / pull-down beds, a small kitchenette, plus a full bathroom and a half-bath.  All of the regular rooms have either 2 double beds or 1 king-sized bed.

The resort includes a themed pool, “The Big Blue”, a quick-service food court:  Landscape of Flavors; and lounges, poolside snack bar, The Drop Off Pool Bar and in-room pizza  delivery service. 



Disney’s Art of Animation Resort® is a value level resort located in the southern portion of Walt Disney World, in the ESPN Wide World of Sports® area.  Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of the Walt Disney World® Resort.   





Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Bay Lake Tower at Disney's Contemporary Resort


Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on August 4, 2009, as a Disney Vacation Club® (DVC) addition to the original resort.  The tower's design both complements and pays homage to the 1971 original just next door, featuring a modernistic design.

Like other DVC resorts located at or next to their Disney Deluxe level counterpart, the resort shares amenities with Disney's Contemporary Resort®.  
Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort® features 295 villas, comprised of Deluxe Studios, 1-Bedroom, 2-Bedroom and 3-Bedroom Grand Villas.

  • Deluxe Studios are 356 square feet and can accommodate up to 4 guests, plus 1 child under age 3 in a crib.  They include a kitchenette, 2 queen-size beds and a private porch or balcony.
  • 1-Bedrooms are 727 square feet, and can accommodate up to 5 guests, plus 1 child under age 3 in a crib. They include a fully equipped kitchen, washer & dryer, king-size bed in the master bedroom, a queen-size sleeper sofa plus a sleeper chair in the living room, whirlpool tub in the master bathroom, a 2nd full bathroom, and a private porch or balcony.
  • 2-Bedrooms are 1,080 square feet, and can accommodate up to 9 guests, plus 1 child under 3 in a crib. They offer all that a 1-Bedroom has plus a 2nd bedroom with 2 queen-size beds and a 3rd full bathroom.
  • 3-Bedroom Grand Villas are 2,044 square feet, and can accommodate up to 12 guests, plus 1 child under 3 in a crib. They offer all of the amenities of the 2-Bedroom, plus they include a 3rd  bedroom with 2 queen-size beds, a 4th full bathroom, a full dining room, additional private balcony and are 2-story rooms.

As a DVC timeshare property, the villas are owned by members through DVC’s points-based system.  DVC maintains about 3-4% ownership of the total point allocation for each of their timeshare resorts, therefore rooms are available for rent year-round to non-members. 

The resort includes 1 feature pool  with waterslide and 1 quiet pool;  a children’s pool and water play area; poolside cabana rentals; white sand beach for sunbathing;  marina for watercraft rentals; fitness center;  an arcade and other assorted recreational activities including Disney movies in the evenings.

The resort features 3 table service restaurants:  California Grill, The Wave and Chef Mickey’s – and Chef Mickey’s features both a breakfast and dinner Character Dining experience daily. It also features 1 quick-service restaurant: Contempo Cafe; as well as 3 lounge/bar locations: Contempo Grounds, Outer Rim and The Sand Bar

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort® is located between the shores of the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, across the water from Magic Kingdom® Park, just a short monorail or boat ride away. The Transportation & Ticket Center is located just next door to the resort, where guests can easily transfer to the Epcot® monorail line as well.  Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort. 


For more information and to reserve your next vacation, contact me at 855.776.1733 or via my websites:  www.neverlandadventurestravel.com or www.neverlandadventurescruises.com.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, and circle me on Google+.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa


Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa® first opened at the Disneyland® Resort on February 8, 2001 along with Disney’s newest domestic theme park, Disney California Adventure Park.  The resort shares a boundary with the theme park, and can actually be considered to be “inside” the theme park It is the only hotel at the Disneyland® Resort with a wing featuring Disney Vacation Club® villas, opened in September 2009; as well as the only hotel at the resort designed and built by the Walt Disney Company. 

This AAA Four Diamond hotel was designed by famed architect Peter Dominick (the same architect who designed Disney’s Wilderness Lodge® and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge® at Walt Disney World®), and was designed in the Craftsman styling of the Arts and Crafts movement in California during the early 20th century.  The design incorporates wide sweeping roofs, projecting beams, exaggerated braces and an earth tone color palette.  The hotel’s sweeping six story lobby is an architectural masterpiece, which features a massive fireplace reminiscent of the oversized fireplaces of the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, located in Northern California.     

Like other grand hotels within the Disney resort family, guests are both awed and impressed upon first entry into the hotel.  A sweeping porte cachere staffed with courteous bellmen greets each arriving vehicle.  The entry door is a grand wooden frame surrounding hand-cut stained glass with images representing the state of California. 

The hotel features 750 traditional guest rooms, and is the only hotel at the Disneyland® Resort with a wing featuring 50 Disney Vacation Club® villas, added to the hotel in September 2009; as well as the only hotel at the resort designed and built by the Walt Disney Company.  Many of the rooms and villas have views looking directly into Disney California Adventure® Park, or overlooking the Downtown Disney District.  A highlight of the hotel is the private entrance in to Disney California Adventure® Park, available only to guests of the three resort hotels of the Disneyland® Resort.

The hotel features 2 table service restaurants:  Storyteller’s Café and Napa Rose; and includes one quick-service restaurant: White Water Snacks; as well as 2 lounge/bar locations:  Hearthstone Lounge near the lobby, and Napa Rose Lounge adjacent to the Napa Rose restaurant.  The Mandara Spa is a full service, 4,000 square foot fully equipped workout facility and spa with massage service and saunas.  Pinocchio’s Workshop is a staffed children’s activity center.  The hotel features 3 pools and 2 hot tubs, as well as a 20,000 square foot Convention Center.

For more information and to reserve your next vacation, contact me at 855.776.1733 or via my websites:  www.neverlandadventurestravel.com or www.neverlandadventurescruises.com.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, and circle me on Google+.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas


Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on May 1, 2009 as a Disney Vacation Club® (DVC) addition to the original resort.  The resort is known alternately as Kidani Village, and both complements and pays homage to the original resort now known alternately Jambo House.  While not physically connected, both Kidani Village and Jambo House are connected and face each other through the shared Sunset Savannah which lies between the two structures.

Like other DVC resorts located at or next to their Disney Deluxe level counterpart, the resort shares amenities with Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge®.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas® features 493 villas comprised of Deluxe Studios, 1-Bedroom, 2-Bedroom and 3-Bedroom Grand Villas.

  • Deluxe Studios are 316 square feet and can accommodate up to 4 guests, plus 1 child under age 3 in a crib.  They include a kitchenette, 2 queen-size beds and a private porch or balcony.
  • 1-Bedrooms are 710 square feet, and can accommodate up to 5 guests, plus 1 child under age 3 in a crib. They include a fully equipped kitchen, washer & dryer, king-size bed in the master bedroom, a queen-size sleeper sofa plus a sleeper chair in the living room, whirlpool tub in the master bathroom, a 2nd full bathroom, and a private porch or balcony.
  • 2-Bedrooms are 1,173 square feet, and can accommodate up to 9 guests, plus 1 child under 3 in a crib. They offer all that a 1-Bedroom has plus a 2nd bedroom with 2 queen-size beds and a 3rd full bathroom.
  • 3-Bedroom Grand Villas are 2,201 square feet, and can accommodate up to 12 guests, plus 1 child under 3 in a crib. They offer all of the amenities of the 2-Bedroom, plus they include a 3rd  bedroom with 2 queen-size beds, a 4th full bathroom, a full dining room, additional private balcony and are 2-story rooms.


The resort includes 1 feature pool:  Uwanga Camp with waterslide, and  a water play area: Samawati Springs; it also includes access to Jambo House’s feature pool:  Uzima Springs with waterslide;  fitness center;  basketball court; tennis;  shuffleboard; charcoal grilles;  a Community Hall family recreation room; an arcade and other assorted recreational activities including Disney movies after dark.  Simba’s Cubhouse provides supervised activities for children during the evenings on a fee basis.

The resort features 2 table service restaurants:  Jiko and Boma: Flavors of Africa.  It also features 1 quick-service restaurant: The Mara; as well as a lounge/bar location: Cape Town Lounge and Victoria Falls Lounge

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas® is a deluxe villas level resort located just to the west of Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Park.  Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort. 


For more information and to reserve your next vacation, contact me at 855.776.1733 or via my websites:  www.neverlandadventurestravel.com or www.neverlandadventurescruises.com.  Be sure to follow me on Twitter, like my page on Facebook, and circle me on Google+.