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The best possible thing to get for the holidays is a Disney vacation! This we all know, but I can sweeten the deal!!!
Book a Disney Vacation with me, including Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line Between 12/1-12/25/2013 and you will receive the following bonuses!
Trips $2500-3500 will get a $75 Gift Card
Trips $3501-4500 will get a $125 Gift Card
Trips $4501-5500 will get a $150 Gift Card
Trips 5501-6500 will get a $200 Gift Card
Any trip over $6500 will get a $250 Gift Card!!!
As Always, I scout the best deals possible and ensure your family has a magical vacation in every way!
There is perhaps no other resort as iconic as Disney’s Polynesian Resort. With the waterfalls adorning the lobby, palm trees swaying in the evening breeze, tiki torches lighting the paths, and cast members greeting guests with a simple “Aloha” you truly step into a different world when you enter the Poly.
One of Walt Disney Worlds original resorts, The Polynesian has carved out a place in hotel history. On a recent trip I was lucky enough to spend 6 nights within the pacific themed walls of this resort. I am here to tell you all about this resort; the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I have been truly blessed in that I get to plan peoples Disney vacations for a living. Because of this I make several trips to Walt Disney World each year (It is actually between 8-10 trips a year!) so that I can keep up with current trends, test out different resorts, and observe new shows and experiences. Prior to this trip I had not stayed at the Poly, opting instead for the less expensive Wilderness Lodge or staying closer to Epcot at The Beach Club. I had visited the Poly many times; watched the fireworks on the beach, eaten dinner at ‘Ohana, and just walked the grounds to take a break from the theme parks. I had also been lucky enough to see several rooms there as part of an Agent Education Program. Since the Polynesian is slated to become the newest DVC property, I really wanted to stay there before the face of this resort legend was forever changed.
To say I was excited about this stay was an understatement, that is why I am sure you will be shocked to find out that at 11am on the first morning of our trip (we checked in at 9pm the previous night) I was asking about switching to the Grand Floridian!
We were assigned to Rarotonga, which is a pretty great building to be in. It is next to The Great Ceremonial Hall and only a few short steps to both the Volcano pool and the quiet pool. The room was HUGE. We had king bed and the couch converts into a very comfy twin sized bed as well. The views from the balcony included peeks of wishes as it played over the Magic Kingdom. How could I possibly be disappointed, right? Well, let me explain. Everything just looked tired. The room was just worn with some evidence of past water damage, broken light fixtures, and even dirty linens. The hallways were grungy and over all I just was not feeling the love.
Beyond that I really did not like the pools! First of all that Volcano pool is small. When it got warm and hit mid day break time people were shoulder to shoulder in there. The quiet pool was just that, quiet and I actually really liked this pool a lot. I did miss having a hot tub though. I thought it was something I could do without, but really I am paying for a deluxe resort on the monorail and I want my hot tub. I think the new DVC section of The Polynesian will bring along a hot tub; at least that is my hope!
I talked my concerns over with the concierge staff, who were amazing, and they offered me a switch to either The Grand Floridian or the Contemporary. I was ready to pack my bags when my husband said that he was actually enjoying the resort and wanted to stay. So stay we did. The end result, I actually really liked the resort! Its charm grew on me and I began to forgive its age spots. Lets face it; being on the monorail is the bomb. Another plus for the Poly is that you can walk to the TTC which means you basically have direct monorail service to Epcot as well. This was a wonderful perk.
The landscaping is gorgeous and they really do a great job of keeping you inside the story. I also really loved being so close to some of my favorite restaurants. We ate breakfast at Ohana and dinner at Kona Cafe. I highly recommend both of these dining options. I got into both with only 24 hours notice. I also absolutely adore the Wyland Gallery. I could look at those paintings for hours. Another cool thing was the constant entertainment in the lobby; from kids games to hula dancing there was always something going on.
Captain Cook’s is the quick service location at the Poly and was also the only place I encountered cast members who didn’t seem to be in the spirit of the resort. Captain Cooks is functional and has offerings that will certainly curb your appetite, but it is not my favorite resort quick service. Sure, you can get self serve dole whip, but beyond that there really is not a ton of variety. It is a small area and gets quite busy and crowded at peak times.
So here is the bottom line: If you want a real resort feel to your stay and you are with a larger family this is a great choice. If you really want to get your money’s worth stay on a room discount or a free dining discount. If I had to choose a monorail resort Grand Floridian still gets my vote. It was a lovely time and I am glad I got to experience this resort. Have you stayed here? What were your impressions?
Combine a great theme, perfect story telling, a hint of luxury, lots of recreation, and a dash of Disney Magic and you will get the southern inspired Port Orleans Riverside.
This resort is a wonderful choice for families, couples, friends, or solo travelers who want to experience a real resort feel to their trip without blowing their budget on a deluxe resort.
Port Orleans Riverside is divided into to distinct areas; Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou.
In the Magnolia Bend area you will feel as though you are among the stately riverside mansions of years gone by. Beautiful landscapes evoke the feeling that an entire staff may be hard at work for the mansion dwellers. Fountains glow at night and the sassogoula river flows gently in the foreground. The rooms are beautifully appointed and it is in the Magnolia Bend area that you will find the Royal Rooms. These rooms are stunning. With fireworks going off in the head boards and gifts left from each of the visiting princesses, it is clear that Princess Tiana put a lot of thought into these quarters!
In the Alligator Bayou area you will notice the landscaping gets a bit more lush as you head into the back woods. The buildings look like wood lodges and have a very rural feel to them. Some rooms in this area sleep five guests, which is more than the standard 4 that most moderate level resorts sleep. This makes these rooms a very sought after commodity. Though five people may feel a bit crammed in the room, it is still a great option for budget minded families that are a bit larger than average.
At Port Orleans Riverside you will find 6 pools; 5 quiet pools and one big themed pool known as ‘Ol Man Island. ‘Ol Man is where you will find the slide, hot tub, and pool side bar. The playground is also right near by making this a fabulous area for the family to take a mid day break!
Port Orleans Riverside is also home to Boatwrights, a southern style sit down restaurant, The Riverside Mill Food Court, and the River Roost Lounge. The River Roost Lounge is a great place to enjoy a cocktail or catch one of Ye-Haw Bob’s fabulous live shows!
When your not at the parks, Port Orleans Riverside is host to many activities such as catch and release fishing, carriage rides, surry bike and boat rentals, and a wonderful arcade. You can even enjoy a cruise down the river to Down Town Disney to do some shopping for dining!
Port Orleans Riverside is a great choice for any traveler and you will find it a superb value. Check it out for your next trip! Don’t forget if you book that trip with me, Jess@Pixievacations.com you will not only get concierge level service, but spending money as well!
One thing that I have found to be really important when visiting Disney World is taking little breaks throughout the day to stay cool, energized, and to just plain get off your feet. In this new series I am going to share with you different places on property that work nicely for a half hour break!
The fist location I am going to share with you is the Tune in Lounge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This little gem is just off to the side of the 50′s Prime Time Cafe. Here you can grab a seat at the bar without any reservation. You can order off the menu from the restaurant and enjoy the same TV clips that you would see if you were seated at a table.
The 50′s Prime Time Cafe is one of the most entertaining restaurants on property. By visiting the tune in lounge you get to witness some of the fun the cast members provide, take in the elaborate themeing that makes this restaurant so popular, and enjoy the food all while resting your feet, enjoying the cool air, and relaxing!
When I visit the tune in lounge, I do one of two things. I either order a PB&J Milkshake or I have an appetizer and a beer. On my last visit I got the fried herb and garlic cheese. For $7.99, this app is a winner. It is basically a boursin cheese covered in a delicious light batter and fried. It is served with a raspberry sauce and some toasted bread. It is so delicious and filling too!
If you are ever in Hollywood Studios I highly suggest a half hour break at The Tune in Lounge!
If there is one thing in this world I loathe doing it is laundry. It is just such an annoying task. For some unknown reason however, I always end up doing a load or two while I am at Disney World. I think there are a few reasons for this. One is that Florida is hot. When it’s hot you sweat and because of this I always end up changing my clothes mid day. We take an afternoon hotel and pool break each day of our trip and after I swim and shower there is no way I am putting back on the same clothes I wore in the morning. The next reason I do laundry during our trip is I try with all I can to avoid checking bags. I have learned to pack really well into carry on bags for this reason! And the biggest reason for my need to do laundry is the fact that I have a two year old son. In case you need me to elaborate on this reason please refer to the photo below.
Since I now know that I will be doing laundry during my trips to the world, I come prepared. Here is what I do.
First of all I pack like a crazy person. I use a method of packing that entails rolling my clothes by lying them on top of a pillowcase and turning it into a clothing burrito. This enables me to pack 10 days worth of clothes into a carry on. I will elaborate on this method later. until then refer to the photo below.
I then use the pillowcases as laundry bags while I am on vacation. This eliminates clutter in the room and also makes transporting laundry easy.
Unless you are staying in a one bedroom or larger villa, you do not have laundry machines in your room. Also, unless you are staying at art of animation the washers and dryers in the laundry rooms will be coin operated. Because of this I like to come equipped with plenty of quarters. I pack in an m&m’s plastic tube and throw them in a zip lock bag that also contains my laundry detergent and dryer sheets.
Speaking of detergent and sheets; I use purex 3 in one sheets. These things are great. You throw them in with your wash and the detergent goes to work. When its time for the dryer just transfer the sheets with your clothes and they do their next job making your clothes soft and static free! Score!
Disney makes things pretty simple laundry wise. Most laundry facilities can be found near the pools. This way you can lounge by the pool in between loads. This makes doing this chore a bit more tolerable.
Another time I enjoy doing laundry is in the early hours of the morning especially if I am at Wilderness Lodge. I go down and put my load in the washer and go and read by the fireplace for a little bit. There is never anyone else around to compete for the machines with. I rarely get to read in peace at home and for me this is just another great element of being on vacation!
-Book now through September 15, 2013
-Travel September 29-October 2, October 18-November 2, November 11-23 and December 12-22 2013 for this offer
-Resorts that are NOT included are Art of Animation, All Star Movies, Port Orleans French Quarter, Villas at Grand Floridian, 3 bedroom villas, and Fort Wilderness Campsites.
-If you want Free Dining and a FREE GIFT CARD email me to book today Jess@Pixievacations.com
There is also a room only discount that will take a percentage of the cost of your room! These offers also qualify for a free gift card!
Email me for details on booking either of these great offers!
Epcot is possibly the best place in all of
Disney World the entire world to score a snack! I am going to share with you a few of my favorites.
Lets start in Sunshine Seasons where you can score the Phineas and Ferb Rice Krispy Treat. This is a HUGE block of chewy, sticky, marshmalloy goodness and I highly suggest trying it!
Once you are done with this snack, you should head over to World Showcase where you can literally snack yourself silly. I like to start in Mexico and work my way around the lagoon tasting and sampling to my hearts delight. Here are a few highlights!
-Cantaloupe Paletas from La Cantina de San Angel. These are Mexican Popsicles and they are sooooooo good. There are also lemon, coconut, and mango chili flavors, but the cantaloupe is my favorite. An awesome choice on a hot day.
-School Bread in Norway at Kringla Bakeri og Cafe. These things are really yummy. A sweet bread filled with custard that I highly suggest eating with a cup of coffee!
-Funnel Cake! You can get this outside the America Pavilion in a little kiosk. I like mine plain with sugar but you can get it topped with chocolate, ice cream or apples as well.
-Milk Chocolate Covered Caramel with Sea Salt- Karamell Kuche in Germany puts out an amazing array of caramel covered treats. They are all really really good. The Milk Chocolate Covered Caramel topped with Sea Salt is my favorite, however. I am totally on the salted caramel bandwagon and do not plan on getting off any time soon. The sea salt cuts the sweetness perfectly and the caramel is just the right amount of ooey and gooey!
Crepes- Stop at the Crepes des Chefs de France kiosk and grab crepe covered in chocolate. They are a wonderful handmade snack option. I personally like to pair them with a grand marnier slush from the kiosk next door!
These are just a few of my favorites…what are yours??
If you are heading to Disney World chances are you want to see Mickey Mouse at some point. Now, from the second you get the the Magical Express and then onto Disney property you are going to see hints of the mouse everywhere. You will see him on street signs, in art work, and hidden throughout your resort, but when push comes to shove nothing is a substitute for the real thing. I have compiled a list of the best places to see Mickey so you do not miss out on an opportunity to meet a very famous mouse!
Mickey makes the rounds at several dining locations. If you want some great pictures and some one on one time with the big cheese, I suggest making a reservation at one of the following restaurants; Chef Mickey’s, Tusker House, Garden Grill, ‘Ohana, and Mickey’s Back Yard BBQ (though this is not as personal of an interaction.)
At the Magic Kingdom if you arrive a bit before park opening you can catch Mickey opening the park from the Main Street Rail Road. This is a great way to see something fun and different! You can also catch him in the Celebrate a Dream Come True and Move it shake it, Celebrate it parades and in the dream along with Mickey stage show set in front of Cinderella Castle. If you want to meet him in person here, head to Town hall where he will be signing autographs throughout the day!
If you are at Epcot the best place to see Mickey is at the Character Spot. This is where you can get autographs and take photos!
In Hollywood Studios you can meet Sorcerer Mickey at the Magic of Animation and you can see him use his powers in Fantasmic! Another great place to see him here if you have kids is at Disney Junior, Live on Stage!
If you are at Animal Kingdom look for Mickey signing autographs at the Adventurers outpost. You can also see him in the Jammin’ Jungle Parade.
Have fun meeting the mouse!
I am a Disney Vacation Planner, but what does that mean to you? People often wonder why they should book their trip with me instead of booking directly through Disney. Let me help explain a little be about what I do.
I am a Disney expert. My husband likes to substitute the word nerd for expert, but which ever way you choose to read it, I know Disney. I know the best places to eat, the best resorts to stay in, the easiest ways to navigate the parks, and I promise you if you call from the middle of Liberty Square to ask where the closest bathroom is, I will not only be able to tell you where it is and how to get there, but I will also regal with the answer to why there does not seem to by anywhere to head when nature calls in this area of The Magic Kingdom.
When I work with you to plan your trip my goals are simple; to plan a perfect trip for you and your family, save you the most money that I can, save you time and often frustration by guiding you through the entire planning process, and to be available for you to call upon at any time.
When you book with me you will not pay a penny more than booking directly with Disney, in fact, often you will end up paying less since I constantly monitor for discounts and apply them to your booking if they become available! I do this without you having to call or prompt me to do so. One of the greatest rewards of my job is writing an email to a client to inform them of how much money I was able to save them, often times when they are still asleep!!! I also offer booking incentives. My clients never travel empty handed. People booking packages over $1500 will get a gift card ranging in value from $25-100 dollars! You can use these gift cards anywhere on Disney property for food, fun, souvenirs, or to pay off your hotel bill!
However, I think the best reason of all to book with me is because I am a real live person. Every time you call, I will be the one to answer the phone. Every time you email I will be the one to write back. I will understand your need for me to be on the phone at the 180 day mark to make sure your daughter gets to eat breakfast with Cinderella. I will understand that your son, above anything else, wants to be a pirate for his birthday. I will go out of my way to see that these things happen!
If I can be of help planning your next trip email me Jess@Pixievacations.com or request a quote here!
The Carousel of Progress is great attraction that you may or may not have gotten a chance to experience. It was originally designed by Walt Disney for the 1964 Worlds Fair and was one of the most popular attractions there.
You will find The Carousel of Progress tucked into the back corner of Tomorrowland. In fact, the first few times I was in Disney I barely noticed it was there! However, I am so exceedingly glad I found it.
The Carousel of Progress is named because the audience actually rotates around a central stage where an audio animatronics family talks about the state of the world in the time they are living in.
We follow John and his family from the turn of the century on Valentines Day, to the 1920′s on T’he 4th of July, to the 1940′s at Halloween, and finally to current times at Christmas.
This is a fantastic little journey where you stay seated for about 20 minutes. The theater is indoors and air conditioned making this a perfect attraction to fit in while waiting for a fastpass time on Space Mountain. I especially like to visit here after lunch to give my body a chance to recharge while enjoying a wonderful show.