Showing posts with label Water Parks & Play Areas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Water Parks & Play Areas. Show all posts

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 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 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+.


Friday, July 13, 2012

Featured Foto Friday - Disneyland Hotel's Water Slides

Monorail Slides at the Disneyland Hotel, next to the E-Ticket Pool
2012 saw the completion of the complete renovation at the Disneyland Hotel, begun back in 2009.  Each tower was completely redone from the inside out.  All the rooms were gutted, and modernized.  They were each rethemed to match the lands at the park across the road... the towers are now the Adventure, Frontier and Fantasy.  To celebrate Tomorrow, the pool complex was redone, with the main pool being named the E-Ticket, the secondary pool the D-Ticket, and these new slides - the Monorail Slides being added in.  At nighttime - the sign, which is a nod to the original sign that welcomed park guests to Disneyland's parking lot from 1955 to 1995 (when it was replaced with a newer marquee sign with light-up board underneath for writing messages) - lights up with beautiful reds, blues and purples, and the waterfall takes on a special shimmer.    The towers form a U shape, with the pool complex in the middle.  The back side of the U finds the Hotel's Convention Center, along with shops and restaurants. 

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+.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Contemporary Resort


Disney's Contemporary Resort® opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on October 1, 1971 – it is one of the two original resort hotels on the property.  It’s A-frame stylings make it one of the most recognizable structures in all of Walt Disney World® Resort, and was the first hotel ever to have a sleek, futuristic monorail gliding through its’ central atrium.

The resort features a modernistic design, fitting in very well with nearby Tomorrowland in Magic Kingdom® Park.  The central core of the design is a great, atrium – known as the Grand Canyon Concourse - with glass on two ends, and guest rooms on the other sides gently moving inward, closer to the top.

Disney's Contemporary Resort® features 655 guest rooms, and features some of the largest standard guest rooms on the property.  All rooms can accommodate up to 5 guests plus a child under 3 in a crib, featuring 2 queen-size beds plus a day bed, or a king-size bed plus a day bed – and they all have a large bathroom.

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

Disney’s Contemporary Resort® is a deluxe level resort 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.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Beach Club Villas


Disney's Beach Club Villas® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on July 1, 2002, becoming the 4th Disney Vacation Club® (DVC) resort at Walt Disney World® Resort, as an expansion to the existing Disney’s Beach Club Resort®.   

Like other DVC resorts located at or next to their Disney Deluxe level counterpart, the resort shares amenities with Disney's Beach Club Resort®.

Disney's Beach Club Villas® features 282 villas, in a combination of Deluxe Studios, 1-Bedroom and 2-Bedroom villas. For more specific information about Disney Deluxe Villas, please see page 19.

  • 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 726 square feet, and can accommodate up to 4 guests, plus 1child 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, whirlpool tub in the bathroom, and a private porch or balcony. 
  • 2-Bedrooms are 1,083 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 2nd full bathroom.


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: Stormalong Bay which is one of the largest sand-bottom pools in the United States and 1 quiet pool;  a children’s pool and water play area; white sand beach for sunbathing;  marina for watercraft rentals; fishing; sand volleyball; fitness center;  an arcade and other assorted recreational activities including Disney movies in the evenings. The Sandcastle Club provides supervised activities for children during the evenings on a fee basis.

The resort features 2 table service restaurants:  Cape May Café and Beaches & Cream – and Cape May Café features a breakfast Character Dining experience daily. It also features 1 quick-service restaurant: Beach Club Marketplace; as well as a lounge/bar location: Hurricane Hannah’s

Disney’s Beach Club Villas® is located on the shores of Crescent Lake near the International Gateway entrance to Epcot®, and just a short walk or boat ride away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge


Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on April 16, 2001, designed by noted architect Peter Dominck, the same architect who designed Disney’s Wilderness Lodge® and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel® & Spa at the Disneyland® Resort.  (In 2009 an expansion by Disney Vacation Club® increased the size of the resort with the addition of Disney's Animal Kingdom Villas®.  At that time the original resort became known as Jambo House with the addition being named Kidani Village).
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge  ®Disney   

The resort is designed as an African-style lodge, and includes its’ own wildlife preserve where giraffes, Ankole cattle, gazelles, and other wildlife freely roam within guests view.
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge® features 972 guest rooms.  All rooms can accommodate up to 4 guests plus 1 child under 3 in a crib; featuring either 2 queen-size beds, or 1 queen-size bed plus a set of bunk beds, or a king-size bed plus a day bed.

The resort includes 1 feature pool:  Uzima Springs with waterslide;  plus access to an additional feature pool at Kidani Village:  Uwanja Camp with waterslide, and the water play area: Samawati Springs; fitness center;  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 3 table service restaurants:  Jiko, Boma: Flavors of Africa and Sanaa.  It also features 1 quick-service restaurant: The Mara; as well as two lounge/bar locations: Cape Town Lounge and Victoria Falls Lounge.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge® is a deluxe 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.  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Beach Club Resort


Disney's Beach Club Resort® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on November 19, 1990 and was designed by noted architect A.M. Stern.  It opened just 14 days after its’ sister resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort®.  Amenities are shared with its’ sister resort, including the over 73,000 Convention Center facilities. 
The resort is themed to invoke Newport Beach Cottages of the early 20th century, along the shores of Newport, Rhode Island.

Disney's Beach Club Resort® features 566 guest rooms.  All rooms can accommodate up to 5 guests plus 1 child under 3 in a crib; featuring either 2 queen-size beds plus a day bed, or two double-size beds plus a day bed, or a king-size bed plus a day bed.

The resort includes 1 feature pool: Stormalong Bay which is one of the largest sand-bottom pools in the United States and 1 quiet pool;  a children’s pool and water play area; white sand beach for sunbathing;  marina for watercraft rentals; fishing; sand volleyball; fitness center;  an arcade and other assorted recreational activities including Disney movies in the evenings. The Sandcastle Club provides supervised activities for children during the evenings on a fee basis.
The resort features 2 table service restaurants:  Cape May Café and Beaches & Cream – and Cape May Café features a breakfast Character Dining experience daily. It also features 1 quick-service restaurant: Beach Club Marketplace; as well as a lounge/bar location: Hurricane Hannah’s

Disney’s Beach Club Resort® is a deluxe level resort located on the shores of Crescent Lake near the International Gateway entrance to Epcot®, and just a short walk or boat ride away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort.   

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Yacht Club Resort®


Disney's Yacht Club Resort® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on November 5, 1990 and was designed by noted architect A.M. Stern.  It opened just 14 days prior to its’ sister resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort®.   It was designed to cater more to business clientele rather than families, providing more upscale lodgings and a Convention Center with over 73,000 square feet of space, including 2 large ballrooms and 21 breakout rooms.  Amenities are shared with its’ sister resort.

The resort is themed to invoke a New England nautical feel, with the concept that guests might even feel as if they are onboard a ship, rather than on land.

Disney's Yacht Club Resort® features 630 guest rooms.  All rooms can accommodate up to 5 guests plus 1 child under 3 in a crib; featuring either 2 queen-size beds plus a day bed, or two double-size beds plus a day bed, or a king-size bed plus a day bed.

The resort includes 1 feature pool: Stormalong Bay which is one of the largest sand-bottom pools in the United States and 1 quiet pool;  a children’s pool and water play area; white sand beach for sunbathing;  marina for watercraft rentals; fishing; tennis; fitness center;  an arcade and other assorted recreational activities including Disney movies in the evenings. The Sandcastle Club provides supervised activities for children during the evenings on a fee basis.

The resort features 2 table service restaurants:  Yachtsman Steakhouse, Captain’s Grille. It also features 1 quick-service restaurant: Beach Club Marketplace; as well as a lounge/bar location: Hurricane Hannah’s

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort® is a deluxe level resort located on the shores of Crescent Lake near the International Gateway entrance to Epcot®, and just a short walk or boat ride away from Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Convenient bus transportation will take guests to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort.  

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Polynesian Resort


Disney's Polynesian Resort® opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on October 1, 1971 – it is one of the two original resort hotels on the property.  When it first opened the resort featured 492 guest rooms. Since that opening more than 40 years ago, the resort has been expanded twice – once in 1978, and then again in 1985.

The resort is themed to invoke the tropical feel of the South Seas, guests at this resort immerse themselves in languid tranquility amidst the splendors of Polynesia, complete with koi ponds, lagoons, and a white sand beach for sunbathing.  The Great Ceremonial House is the primary structure around which all else is situated, designed to represent a Tahitian Royal Assembly lodge, and is the home to all guest services, shops and dining. Around it in separate lodges or “longhouses” are all of the guest rooms.

Disney's Polynesian Resort® features 847 guest rooms, and features some of the largest standard guest rooms on the property.  All rooms can accommodate up to 5 guests plus a child under 3 in a crib, featuring 2 queen-size beds plus a day bed, or a king-size bed plus a day bed.

The resort includes 1 feature pool: Nanea Volcano Pool with a volcano-themed water slide and 1 quiet pool;  a children’s 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 Neverland Club provides supervised activities for children during the evenings on a fee basis.

The resort features 3 table service restaurants:  Kona Café, ‘Ohana and Kona Island – and ‘Ohana features a breakfast Character Dining experience daily. It also features 1 quick-service restaurant: Capt. Cook’s; as well as 2 lounge/bar locations: Tambu Lounge and Barefoot Pool Bar.  Additionally one of the very popular Dinner Shows at Walt Disney World® Resort can found at the resort – Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show is presented most nights at the Luau Cove, on the western edge of the resort, and features enchanting music, costumes and authentic dances along with the all-you-care-to-enjoy family -style feast. 



Disney’s Polynesian Resort® is a deluxe level resort located on the shores of the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon, 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.  

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge


The Villas at Disney's Wilderness Lodge® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on November 15, 2000.  This Disney Vacation Club® (DVC) resort was first announced in 1998 as an expansion to the existing Disney’s Wilderness Lodge® resort hotel.  The adjacent building was designed to be reminiscent of the antecedent lodgings built by workers on the transcontinental railroads during the mid-to late-19th century.  The Carolwood Pacific Room adjacent to the Villas’ lobby area contains a number of railroad themed memorabilia celebrating that heritage, as well as the known passion for railroading that Walt Disney himself had.  Two cars from the Carolwood Pacfic Railroad, from Walt Disney’s Holmby Hills backyard, can be found inside the room. 

The Villas portion of the resort features 181 DVC villas comprised of Deluxe Studios, 1-Bedroom and 2-Bedroom Villas:
  • Deluxe Studios are 356 square feet and can accommodate up to 4 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 727 square feet, and can accommodate up to 4 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 1,080 square feet, and can accommodate up to 8 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.

This DVC resort shares amenities with Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, and therefore on-site there are 2 table service restaurants:  Whispering Canyon Café and Artist Point; and includes one quick-service restaurant: Roaring Fork; as well as 2 lounge/bar locations: Territory Lounge and Trout Pass


Outside be sure to look for the bubbling spring flowing from the lobby, and tumbling over a sparkling waterfall towards the swimming pool, and continuing on into Bay Lake.  Nearby you’ll find Fire Rock Geyser, designed with Yellowstone National Park’s “Old Faithful” in mind, sending plumes of water up to 120 feet in the air every hour. 



Recreation at the resort includes: two swimming pools, whirlpools, children's pool, a themed water slide, playground, Sturdy Branches Health Club, a beach for sunbathing, fishing, marina watercraft rentals, bicycle and surrey bike rentals, arcade and recreational activities for all ages including Disney movies after dark.



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 Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge® is a Deluxe Villas level resort located in the Magic Kingdom area.  Convenient boat transportation will take guests directly to Magic Kingdom Park®, as well as bus transportation to all other parts of Walt Disney World® Resort.  

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Spotlight - Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort® first opened at Walt Disney World® Resort on October 1, 1988.  It was the first of a new category of moderately priced hotels on the property, and at the time of its’ construction, one of the largest hotels in Florida.  The new grade of hotel was designed to cater to guests seeking Disney-style themed accommodations, without luxury amenities and prices.



The resort itself is themed to tropical islands of the Caribbean, with building styles echoing that of Barbados, Martinique, Aruba, Jamaica, and Trinidad North & South. The buildings themselves use cool pastels, white wood railings and vividly colored corrugated metal roofs to impart the theme.  The various island neighborhoods of the resort stretch around the central 45-acre lake, with a mile-and-a-half long promenade for pedestrian, bicyclists and joggers.

Caribbean Beach features a total of 2,112 guest rooms, all accommodating up to four guests, plus one child under 3 in a crib.  All of the rooms have two double beds, or one king-sized bed.  A number of the rooms were recently converted into “Pirate Rooms”, which included added adventures.  These specially themed rooms feature  pirate-ship beds, buccaneer accessories, and swashbuckling décor from stem to stern. 

The resort includes 1 themed feature pool:   Fuentes del Morro Fort, a swashbuckling-themed Spanish fortress with two waterslides and whirlpools, as well as 6 quiet pools conveniently located throughout the resort.  Other recreation includes a children’s water play area;  playgrounds; walking/jogging trail, catch & release fishing; a marina for watercraft rentals; bicycles & surrey bike rentals; video game arcade; and assorted recreational activities including Disney movies in the evenings.

The resort features 1 table service restaurant:  Shutters at Old Port Royale; and includes 1 quick-service restaurant:  Old Port Royale Food Court; as well as lounges & poolside snack bars.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort® is a moderate level resort located in the Epcot® 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 Café & 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.  





Friday, January 27, 2012

Aulani – How “Disney” Is It?

Much has been said and written online over the years about Disney’s “off-site” resorts in Vero Beach and Hilton Head Island, and how they aren’t “Disney enough”; especially considering the fact that neither are close to any Disney theme park – at least not close when you compare them to the resorts at Walt Disney World or DisneylandDisney’s Vero Beach Resort is two hours +/- from Walt Disney World, and of course Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort is two states away from Walt Disney World.  Though both resorts do have rooms for rent to anyone who’d like to pay to stay, both were built as Disney Vacation Club (DVC) properties, with the majority of the resorts held for use by DVC members. Given the length of time they took to “sell out” to DVC members, many in the online Disney community (especially on a certain DVC related board that I read and frequent often), consider both Vero Beach and Hilton Head to be virtual failures.  It’s no wonder it took Disney nearly 12 years to first announce another off-site resort.

When Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa was first announced, the blogosphere began lighting up with questions about the viability of such a resort – especially being in Hawaii, a mere ocean away from any Disney theme park.  Would the fact that it would be a combined traditional hotel / DVC resort give it better chances than the original two off-site resorts? What kinds of things would need to be done in order to provide guests with an authentic “Disney” experience, given the nearest Disney theme park is roughly 4,000 miles away – across an ocean, not just mere states this time. 

Among the many questions that I would often read online – questions such as:

  • “Oahu is not our favorite island in Hawaii… is there enough to do to support a week’s stay at Aulani?”
  • “How can Disney NOT repeat past mistakes made at Vero Beach & Hilton Head?”
  • “How ‘Disney’ will it really be?”
  • “Ko Olina is so far from Waikiki – will people really want to stay so far away?”


As the grand opening got closer last summer, the PR machine of Disney got into overdrive in order to make sure people would be aware of answers to each of these questions, or at least give enough of a teaser-type response that would encourage further research for the potential guest to figure it out for themselves, ensuring that they would indeed want to make a trek to the leeward side of the island of Oahu – and stay for a while.

In preparation for my own stay at Aulani this week, I reviewed a lot of information both online, and in the various travel resources that are available to me directly from Disney.  I was both excited and curious to see the “Disney touches” for myself.   And after having been here for a couple of days already, I will happily report that the resort is “Disney” enough.  It is not overbearing to the point of basically hitting you over the head with its’ “Disney-ness”, but it is filled with charming details like you will find at any other Disney resort at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.  Over the next few days / week, I plan to take each of the questions listed above and provide some straight forward, honest replies.  I will of course sprinkle opinions in here as well, but hopefully the information given will provide you the reader, the opportunity to make a better informed decision as to not IF you would like to visit Aulani – but WHEN. 

Just what kind of details, you ask, I’m sure… well, here are but a few that I both a) had previous knowledge to, and b) discovered for myself as a guest. These are in no particular order, and are both a and b responses intermingled together:

  • Character Dining – yes, there is a character Breakfast at Makahiki on the first floor of the resort.  It is currently offered Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday mornings.  Whether or not it is expanded to additional mornings remains to be seen, but so far, this has been a popular offering at Aulani.
  • Character Meet & Greets – they are available here.  I’ve personally seen Mickey, Minnie, & Goofy, and have been told that Chip & Dale, and even Lilo & Stitch are here.  Others may make appearances from time to time as well, according to various Cast Members with whom I spoke during my stay.
  • Disney’s PhotoPass – yep, it’s available here for those guests wishing to capture their favorite memories, and of course they are at the ready during those character interactions.
  • Hidden Mickeys – like any other resort, these abound throughout Aulani, though many of them have a bit of a stylized, Hawaiian flare to them.  There are many of the traditional 3 circle heads to be found, but many others as well that say Mickey in a more subdued manner.
  • Mickey Premium Bars – yep, you can get your Premium Bar fix while here.  These delicious treats are available at Kalepa’s Store on the third floor (Lobby level). My personal favorite - Itzakadoozie - is available at Aulani too!  Yummy! 
  • Refillable Resort Mugs – yep, they have those here as well, with three different refill stations.
  • Pool-side fun – for those of you who love to spend time at the pools at Walt Disney World, and are very accustomed to the games, dance contests and the like that the lifeguards put on – those are here too!
  • Music – like so many Disney attractions, movies, theme parks and yes, resorts – Aulani is filled with distinctive music to help set the tone for the entire experience.  In the lobby, hallways, restaurants, and even outside in the Waikolohe Valley water play complex – music plays an integral part of the story unfolding before the guest throughout the resort.  Whether it is simply background enhancements, or live performances on various stages throughout the resort, music comes alive throughout the day and night at Aulani, helping to fully immerse the guests into the environment of the resort.
  • Night-time Movies – these aren’t shown poolside here at Aulani – but they do have them, at least 3 times per week.
  • Night-time Storytelling & Campfires – just like you might find at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground and other resorts – they have those here as well.
  • Theming – Disney is very well known for its immersive environments and thematic elements in both theme parks and resorts.  Each successive resort designed and built in the past couple of decades have really underscored this reality, as the imagineers continue to surround guests with a near total immersive quality.  Personally I believe that Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge at Walt Disney World, and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel at Disneyland accomplish this feat in remarkable ways.  Aulani takes the lessons learned from those resorts and goes even further.  The imagineers delivered a resort hotel that is rich in thematic elements that not only play tribute to the Hawaiian culture, but rather completely embrace it.  Aulani is not just another sterile, white, box-like hotel lining the beaches of Waikiki – but rather plays tribute to so many aspects of native Hawaiian culture. 
  • Hidden Details – one of the really fun details that I discovered while here, are some of the many hidden details.  I’d heard a lot about all of the hidden Menehune scattered around the resort, which play to the Hawaiian folklore, but I didn’t know that just as there are carved animals all over the “Tree of Life” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park – there are hidden carved animals all throughout the Waikolohe Stream (the lazy river).   Creatures great and small common to the Hawaiian Islands and Pacific Ocean can be found in the rockwork all around the stream.  You’ll definitely want to search them out while enjoying the quiet, relaxing, fun of this lazy river, which in my mind, is nearly as fun and enjoyable as the lazy rivers at both Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon and Disney’s Blizzard Beach water parks.
  • Excellent Children’s Programming – available through Aunty’s Beach House, there is just a plethora of activities for the little ones to the bigger ones, and not just via the paid childcare program either.  From scavenger hunts, to animal husbandry activities to parties with Chip & Dale – Disney has once again placed great emphasis on making sure the younger set has exciting, fun-filled things to do while mom & dad enjoy some couple time – or things to do with mom & dad as a family. 
  • Activities for Tweens & Teens – Disney also provides an abundance of activities, events, and fun for the older kids as well. 
  • Excurisions – since there are no theme parks to hop on a bus and visit – Disney has teamed up with Adventures by Disney to create some very enjoyable, unique and fun-filled day excursions (just as if you were on a cruise vacation stopping in port for the day) to other parts of Oahu, or even to other islands within Hawaii.  Each week there are day-specific excursions, such as horseback riding at Kualoa Ranch, or the Manoa Valley Rainforest Hike, or the Honolulu Academy of Arts/Bishop Museum experience.  These are but a few of the numerous offerings available.   Or you could simply create your own excursions – to places like Diamond Head, or the Dole Plantation (and get a Dole Whip!), the North Shore, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, and so many more – the opportunities abound.

So, in a nutshell, is Aulani “Disney” enough?  My response to that question is a resounding YES.  There are plenty of Disney touches throughout the resort, giving each guest that Disney “fix”.  For a beach vacation that gives guests both the opportunity to simply relax and enjoy the beach – while still providing ample opportunities to get out, explore and play - I would recommend Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in a heartbeat.  It's Disney "enough" for me!