Tag Archives: hotels

Bare Necessities

Deciding on where to stay during your trip to Walt Disney World can be a huge decision.  Even just deciding what type of resort to stay in can be a huge choice to make!

While I have discussed resorts before, I haven’t gone into great detail about the types of resorts and what to expect.  In this next section, I will go into some detail about what to expect from each level, the resorts in each one, and some key features about each tier.

Value Resorts

Let’s jump in with our Value resorts first.  All-Star Movies, All-Star Sports, All-Star Music, Pop Century, and Art of Animation are the five resorts in this category.  Here are some key features about this category of resort:

  • Fun, bright, kid-friendly, whimsical theme with large icons
  • Motel type rooms that open to outside corridors
  • Food courts and pizza delivery available, but no Table Service restaurants
  • Themed pools that do not include water slides
  • Large, spread out layout, which can mean a lot of walking to rooms and dining
  • Bus transportation only to all parks and Disney Springs (and only 1 internal bus stop)
  • 260 sq. ft. rooms with 2 double beds or 1 king bed
  • Most budget friendly of all of the categories
  • Art of Animation has themed suites and rooms can be around 575 sq. ft.

Moderate Resorts

The Moderate resorts are Caribbean BeachCoronado SpringsPort Orleans French Quarter and Port Orleans Riverside are the four resorts in this category.  Here are some key features about this category of resort:

  • Beautifully themed with lush landscaping
  • Rooms that open to outside corridors
  • Table Service restaurants (except at Port Orleans French Quarter), food courts and pizza delivery available
  • A main feature pool with a water slide and other quiet pools
  • Large, spread out layout, can mean more walking to dining but not as far to buses
  • Multiple options for on-site recreation
  • Bus transportation to all parks and Disney Springs (and many internal bus stops, except at French Quarter).
  • Boat transportation to Disney Springs is also available at Riverside and French Quarter.
  • 314 sq. ft. rooms (340 sq. ft. at Caribbean Beach Resort) with 2 queen beds or 1 king bed
  • Riverside and Caribbean Beach can accommodate families of up to 5
  • Themed rooms available at Riverside ((Royal Guest rooms) and Caribbean Beach Resorts (Pirate rooms).
  • Coronado Springs offers Junior, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom suites.
  • Middle of the road as far as expense for a room budget

Deluxe Resorts

The Deluxe resorts are Animal Kingdom LodgeBeach ClubBoardWalk InnContemporaryGrand FloridianPolynesianWilderness Lodge and Yacht Club are the eight resorts in this category.  Here are some key features about this category of resort:

  • Beautiful, unique, impeccable theming with elaborate lobbies and gift shops
  • Rooms that open to inside corridors
  • Table Service restaurants (including 1 upscale option) and Quick Service, but no food courts
  • A main feature pool with a water slide and other quiet pools.  Some even Adults Only
  • Non-bus access to at least 1 park (except Animal Kingdom Lodge which always uses buses)
  • On-site gyms, salons, and valet parking available
  • Amenities are similar to a nicer chain of hotels
  • Each resort offers a full slate of hotel services
  • Direct monorail access from the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, and Contemporary
  • Direct boat access from Wilderness Lodge

Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts/ Disney Vacation Club Resorts

The Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts, sometimes referred to as the Disney Vacation Club Resorts, are:  Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower, Beach Club Villas, BoardWalk Villas, Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge, Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Wilderness Lodge, Villas at Grand Floridian, Old Key West, Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Saratoga Springs. All ten resorts are sold as timeshares through Disney Vacation Club (DVC), but you can also rent the units directly through Disney’s reservation system, just like you would a hotel room

Theming is on par with the Deluxe resorts.  These resorts will also be located in the same area, just in different buildings.  So, if you are staying in the DVC at the Polynesian, you will still check in like you normally would for a vacation at the Poynesian.  Your building assignment will just be in a different area.

Rooms for DVC are as follows:

  • Studios:  sleep up to five and include a mini fridge and a microwave, along with some disposable plates/utensils.
  • 1 and 2 Bedroom Villa: 1 (sleep 4-5) and 2 (sleep 8-9) Bedroom Villas have full kitchens with pots and pans, including a living room.  Most have a whirlpool tub in the master bathroom
  • Treehouses:  at Saratoga Springs, have 3 bedrooms and sleep 9
  • Bungalows: at the Polynesian, have 2 bedrooms and sleep 8
  • Cabins: at Wilderness Lodge, have 2 bedrooms and sleep 8
  • 3 Bedroom Grand Villas: at Animal Kingdom Villas, Bay Lake Tower, BoardWalk Villas, Villas at Grand Floridian, Copper Creek Villas, Old Key West and Saratoga Springs can sleep up to 12.

Fort Wilderness Cabins/Campsites

The last of our categories are the cabins and campsites.  Here is a brief overview of how they work:

Campsites are divided into three categories:  Partial, Full, or Preferred.

  • Partial Hookup (electricity and water provided),
  • Full Hookup (electricity, water and sewer provided)
  • Preferred (electricity, water, sewer and cable TV hookups, plus a more prime location). Each site has a picnic table and charcoal grill. Most sites feel secluded because there are trees and bushes between sites.

Cabins provide their own type of theming and offer boat transportation to Magic Kingdom.

  • One bedroom with a double bed and bunk beds
  • Murphy Bed in the living room
  • Full Kitchen with all basic cooking utensils, pots, pans, and dishes

 

There you have it!  Here is your complete list of resort categories.  Let’s create some magic together for 2018!  Contact me today to plan your dream getaway!  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

 

 

 

 

For the First Time in Forever….(Part 1)

There are so many questions for those that have never been to either Disney World or Disneyland before.  While it can be an overwhelming process, I am hoping to ease that for you with a blog series meant to help those who have never been, and have alot of questions!  For today, let’s discuss two big items:  First…….

Walt Disney World vs. Disneyland (California)

Walt Disney World, located in Orlando, Florida, spreads across over 30,000 acres.   Disneyland, located in Anaheim, California,  covers around 100 acres with the expansion of Star Wars Land.   The difference between the two in itself is mind-blowing to me!

Walt Disney World is home to four parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom) and currently twenty five on site resorts, ranging from value resorts to luxurious deluxe accomodations.

Disneyland is home to two parks (Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park) and three on site hotels.

One of my MV travel specialist friends best summed up how to decide between which park to vacation at:  Time.  What do you have time for during your vacation to Disney and what do you hope to get out of it?  You can easily squeeze in a great Disneyland vacation in 3-4 days, covering both parks, and have an amazing time.  It would allow you to spend around two days at each park.   Or, if you  have more time to spend, you could adventure to Disney World, and spend  8-10 days there, soaking in the Florida sun, while taking in all Disney World has to offer.

Next, moving on where to stay:

Resort and Hotel Options

As mentioned earlier, there are a variety of resorts available, depending on your budget.  To say that Disney vacations are only for those who have money to blow, is not necessarily true.  I, myself, have always felt that I have budgeted well for our trips, no matter where we stayed, and we have stayed everywhere from the value resorts to deluxe accomodations.    If you are flexible with your dates,  I can help you find that dream vacation in the resort of your choice!  Here is a short breakdown of resorts.  Keep in mind, there are many levels to each resort.   There are standard rooms, rooms for more than 5 guests, preferred rooms, rooms with a garden, pool, or standard view, villas (even treehouse villas!), and other options that will deviate the cost.

Disney World Resorts

Deluxe resorts are priced the way they are for a variety of reasons, but I’m going to give you my own personal story and why we chose a deluxe resort to purchase through Disney Vacation Club.  Deluxe resorts typically have better location and accessibility to the parks.  Remember my son, and his walking condition?  We needed to use a wheelchair and having a resort that was on the monorail loop of pickup and dropoff was a necessity for us, even if it meant paying a little more upfront.  It saved us time, which saved HIM time and fatigue from being on his feet.  So, on the monorail loop, we are just two very short stops away from Magic Kingdom.  On the other end, we are a three minute walk to the TTC (Ticket and Transportation Center) and could once again, take the monorail to Epcot from this location.   On top of that, deluxe resorts are all beautifully themed with fantastic decor and you truly feel you are swept off into another time, another place just by spending time at your resort.  Each resort has amazing food and gift shops, some offer beach access, and most offer truly unique character dining opportunities.  We have always agreed to spend a “day” of our trips just at our resort, relaxing, and taking in all it has to offer.  A day to reset our batteries, and to spend a day in the sun, letting the kids swim while we relaxed as well.  We felt it was our own private getaway, just being there.

Moderate resorts are typically priced middle of the road, although, certain times of year, there are only a few hundred dollars separating them between either the deluxe or the value, depending on when you travel.   Their amenities and proximities are nice and I have always been pleased with what I had when staying at the moderate resorts we have chosen.  Again, Disney never disappoints.  Depending on which resort you choose, while you will not be as close to the action as you are on the monorail loop, the moderate resorts offer some unique themed rooms (pirates, princesses, etc), amazing food, and family friendly pools for down time.  It may take a little longer by bus to get to your park destination of choice than what you would experience riding on the monorail, but again, being “middle of the road”, the experiences I have had, were always handled promptly and never alot of waiting.  These resorts are spread out, and can allow for some great outdoor and indoor activities, as each resort also has their own theme, as did the deluxe resorts.

Value resorts are the least expensive of the resorts at Disney World.  They offer over the top, larger than life, statues and replicas of favorite Disney characters.  When our children arrived for the first time at a value resort, the first thing they noticed where all of the enormous statues and replicas.  It felt very real and personal to them and reminded them of why they wanted to be on this trip.  We encountered great food, great swimming and, as with every resort we have stayed, fantastic service from Disney cast members.  Value resorts are the furthest away by bus from most locations, so while you are definitely saving money by staying here, you will spend just a bit more time each day geting to and from the parks.

The biggest and most important question you have to ask yourself when choosing a resort would be this:  What is more important to me/my family:  My time in the parks/proximity to my resort, or the value of the dollar I will spend?  Once you know that, choosing a resort is a much simpler task.

Disneyland Hotels

The Grand Californian is the “grand” daddy of the hotels at Disneyland.  It is the closest to the parks and has immediate access to California Adventure park.  It has more of a craftsmen theme, with lush woods and stone.  It has character dining, restaurants, an arcade, several pools, as well as a spa.  It has over 700 rooms and suites, including rooms that are handicapped accessible.  When it comes to cost, it is typically the most expensive of the three hotels.

The Disneyland Hotel is the original hotel of Disneyland California.  It houses more of a classic feel,  and has over 900 rooms and suites, including handicapped accessible rooms.  This hotel offers many types of themed rooms including:  Pirates of the Caribbean, Adventureland, Big Thunder, Mickey Mouse, and Fairy Tale.  Character dining is also available here, as well as many other restaurants and lounges.  There are several pools for the family, and the proximity to Disneyland is just a monorail ride away.  The Disneyland Hotel is the middle of the road in cost of the Disneyland California hotels.

Paradise Pier is also just a monorail ride away from Disneyland.  With over 400 rooms and suites, including handicapped accessible rooms, Paradise Pier is the most budget friendly of the three hotels at Disneyland.  With a unique roof top pool, character dining, and panoramic views of California Adventure, Paradise Pier is an amazing option with its beach themed rooms.

What I always found so magically intriguing was that Walt Disney himself walked on the grounds of Disneyland.  There is so much of him there.  The history alone makes the trip worth while.  While Disney World encompasses so many of his visions and what he also had plans for,  there is something quite magical about knowing that he was there, once upon a time, in Disneyland.

Please let me help you in making your dreams coming true and adding some magic to your world.  I would be happy to give you a custom quote to see what options would suit you best for your dream getaway adventure!

Email me at:  debbie.lands@magical-vacations.com

In my next blog, we will discuss Disney Dining Options!