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Resort Name: Wilderness Lodge
Resort Category: Deluxe
Resort Area: Magic Kingdom
Transportation: Boat to Magic Kingdom, Bus to all other parks and Downtown Disney
Table Service Restaurants: Whispering Canyon, Artist Point
Quick Service Restaurant: Roaring Forks
Bar/Lounge: Trout Pass Pool Bar, Territory Lounge
Recreation: Walking paths, 2 pools, bike and boat rentals, arcade, children’s activities
Notes: This is an affordable Deluxe Level option. A very easy walk to Fort Wilderness for additional entertainment and recreation. Make sure to check out the wonderful geyser!
The best thing about being a Disney Travel Planner is helping families plan magical getaways at no charge to them while also earning a living. The second best thing is that I can pass on some of that pixie dust to you! If you refer your friends, family, people at your zumba class, or even your second cousins best friends grandmother to use my service it could mean $25 gift card to you! Here is how my referral program works.
1. Send me an email with the subject ”referral” to Jess@Pixievacations.com
2. Include your name and mailing address
3. I will send you a referral kit that includes business cards with your referral information on them!
4. When your friends book a trip worth $2500 or more you will get $25 in gift cards upon their travel completion! You can choose a Disney Gift Card or a Visa Gift Card!
What an easy way to earn some extra spending money for your next trip!
Save up to 30% on your Disney World Resort room at select Disney Resort hotels, valid for stays most nights March 14 to April 12 and April 20 to June 15, 2014. Check availability for other great rates on stays most nights February 24 to March 5, 2014.
Plus, you’ll get one more ticket day for FREE when you upgrade to a Magic Your Way package with minimum 4-day theme park tickets! You’ll still enjoy the same great savings on your room, so you can experience even more magic for less.
You must book your travel by March 31, 2014 to take advantage of this offer.
These Walt Disney World Resort room discounts have limited availability and are tiered.
Disney Resort hotels offer alternative savings:
Save 20% at these Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Save 20% at these Disney Deluxe Resorts: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Savanna View/Club Level Rooms, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – Courtyard View/Club Level Rooms
Save 15% at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites (Disney Value Resort)
Keep in mind that I always offer gift card bonuses to clients who book travel with me so request your quote today!
2013 was a fabulous year. I made numerous trips to Walt Disney world including 4 stays at Pop Century, 1 stay at All Star Sports, 1 Stay at Port Orleans Riverside, 1 stay at The Polynesian, 2 stays at the Grand Floridian, and One stay at Wilderness Lodge. So, let me recap my thoughts and ideas on what is new and what is tried and true!
2013 marked the first time I ate at Be Our Guest Restaurant. Though I love the restaurant, I am less enthused with the food. Dinner for me is NOT a must do, but lunch is pretty reliable. I especially enjoy the Croque Monsieur as my staple! You really cannot go wrong with melted gruyere!
I also took my 2 year old son to Disney World by myself for the first time. I thought it would be a great way to have fun together. He decided to throw up for the first 24 hours of our trip and then give me the same sickness. So the first 72 hours of our trip was spent in the hotel and a centra care. I now know a few things: Always travel with your health insurance info. I always have this on me but saw several people who did not and they paid a lot for the medical attention they received. Both my son and I got better and enjoyed the rest of our trip, but it was actually exciting to come back home! Also, if you feel you need medical attention simply call the front desk and you will be picked up and dropped off at the medical center free of charge!
I attended a 5 day Agent Education Program at The Grand Floridian. This was a major highlight of my year! It was amazing to learn more about Disney from the inside to better prepare my clients for their trips. I toured almost every resort on property, rode almost every attraction and met agents from all over the country; all in the name of better serving my clients!
As part of the Agent Education Program I was also able to tour the Disney Dream! This is an amazing ship and I encourage everyone to consider cruising with Disney.
I attended an illuminations dessert party in Epcot and LOVED it! The desserts were pretty good but the view and the company made this a phenomenal night. If you have the opportunity I highly recommend booking a dessert party. It is a unique experience that you will not regret!
I saw Festival of the Lion King and fell in love! We all have that one attraction we never got around to doing for one reason or another and for me it was Festival of the Lion King. No matter how hard I tried or wanted to see it, I could just never get it done. But finally, on a solo trip none the less, I went in and watched this fabulous show and have since seen it every single trip!
I ate more cupcakes than any one person should; s’mores cupcakes, very berry cup cakes, the masters cup cake, lemon cup cakes, butter finger cupcakes, cup cakes with Mickey ears and Minnie Bows and even a peanut butter banana cup cake at pop century! What I learned is this: you can never ever eat too many cupcakes!
I attended the Flower and Garden Festival, the Food and Wine Festival, 2 Halloween Parties and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! We completed our passport at Food and Wine and had a blast doing that! If I had to choose one time of year to go to Disney it would be the end of September or beginning of October where you will have great rates, great weather and be able to participate in both the food and wine festival and the Halloween party!
In mid November I stayed at the new Grand Floridian Villas and it was amazing! The resort is so incredibly well designed and not one detail is missed! If you have the opportunity to stay here you should take it!!
All in all it was a fabulous year! 2014 is going to bring a new array of adventures for me and my clients! For me it involves a few things: 1. I will be entering one running event and every Disney event this year! I am starting with the 10k during marathon weekend!
2. I will be traveling to Disneyland!!!
So, what was your Disney year like???
Something a lot of my clients love to do is eat with the Characters for breakfast. I mean, Mickey Waffles and Mickey in real life, there is not much that tops this! So with that in mind I have come up with a quick reference for you folks to pick the right breakfast for your gang! Keep in mind that characters are subject to change.
“Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort- Dine family style with Lilo, Stitch, Mickey and Pluto and the Best Friends Breakfast!
1900 Park Fare and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa- Join The Mad Hatter, Alice, Mary Poppins, Tigger, and Winnie the Pooh for a delicious buffet breakfast.
Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort-Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto make the rounds during this buffet meal.
Cape May Cafe at Disney’s Beach Club Resort-Minnie, Goofy, and Donald will be in their beach attire greeting guests!
Crystal Palace: Dine in elegance with Tigger, Pooh, Eeyore, and Piglet at this wonderful buffet! A great way to start any day at the park!
Cinderellas Royal Table- Perhaps the crown jewel of all character dining experiences, you will join Cinderella in her castle for a princess dining experience. You will meet Cinderella and other princesses such as Snow White, Aurora, Ariel, and perhaps even the Fairy Godmother! This dining experience will cost 2 dining credits on the Disney Dining Plan.
Akershus-Located in the Norway Pavilion within the World Showcase, Akershus offers Princess dining 3 meals a day. Breakfast is served as a fixed menu and you will see Belle, Jasmine,Snow White, Aurora and possibly Mary Poppins.
Hollywood and Vine- Join Disney Jr. Characters for this fun filled buffet! Characters may include Handy Manny, Jake, and Princess Sofia and Doc McStuffins.
Tusker House- Join Donald, Daisy, Mickey and Goofy for Donald’s Safari Breakfast! This buffet is wonderful and wins the award of my favorite character breakfast buffet. The food, availability, character interactions, and location make this place a winner!
If you are reading this blog it is because you are a fan of Walt Disney World, but what do you know about the other resort destinations in the area? Many Disney fans do not like to leave “the bubble” that is Walt Disney World while they are on vacation and believe me, I was one of them! However, as a travel agent I have clients who want new and exciting experiences and for that reason I knew it was time to leave my safe haven and go exploring!
I was really lucky to attend a recent agent familiarization trip to Universal Orlando and brought back with me a wealth of knowledge and understanding of this fantastic destination. To say that if you don’t give this park a shot you are missing out is a staggering understatement! Let me take this opportunity to tell you a bit about my experience and what you can expect from a trip to USO!
First of all if you are a fan of Disney parks then you are a fan of theme parks on some level. My first piece of advice is to hone in on that love of theme parks and bring that with you. Try to understand that Universal is not Disney and Disney is not Universal. They are both unique destinations. It took me only a few quick minutes to realize that by comparing Universal to Disney I was doing it a great disservice.
So lets look at some of the great things Universal has to offer!
The Resorts- Currently Universal has 3 on site hotels all of which are considered “deluxe properties.” These include The Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Portofino Bay, and Loews Royal Pacific Hotel. They are all beautiful and are all within WALKING distance to the parks. This means you are always about 15 minutes away being in your room for a nap! There are also free water taxis that can transport you. Each resort has many room options and most rooms can sleep 5 with the addition of a rollway bed. They also all have family suites that will have a king bed in the main room and two twin beds in the kids room! The kids rooms are themed with Despicable Me being the newest addition at Portofino Bay!
Each resort has a pool, child care center, dining options, and beautifully done themeing. By staying on site you will also have some perks. The biggest one is called “Universal Express Unlimited”. This pass grants you front of the line access to most rides throughout the property! This is not fast pass. This is a right now pass. You simply walk up to the ride you wish to experience, flash your pass, and you go into a special line and are on the ride within minutes. There is no return time, no schedule to uphold, nothing. You just get to the head of the line, period, end of story!
The Parks-Universal is made up to two theme parks; Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, and one entertainment district known as City Walk.
At Universal Studios you will find rides themed around popular movies and shows. There is Minion Mayhem, where you will become a little yellow minion and go on an intense 3D adventure, Transformers which is hands down the best ride I have experienced anywhere ever, and even an entire area dedicate to “The Simpsons” where you can have a duff beer or a flaming moe to wash down your gigantic donut before riding the Simpsons attraction! This park is all about bringing the movies we love to life.
At Islands of Adventure you will be put into the pages of the books we know and love; Jurassic Park, The Sunday Comics, Marvel Comic Books, Dr. Suess, and of course, the crown jewel; Harry Potter.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was designed to put you into the story and I would have to say the mission was a success. From breakfast at The Three Broomsticks to walking through Hogwarts you are a wizard. It is an amazing area and I will dedicate and entire post to this later. I simply cannot do the place justice in just a few sentences!
City Walk is comprised of bars, restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. You can hit up Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville or check out live Karaoke at Rising Stars, and by live I mean there is a band and back up singers to help you really feel like a rock star!
The Food- Universal has some wonderful options for both quick service and table service dining. The really cool thing though, is the dining plan. They offer two options; A quick service plan and a full service plan. I know, you are thinking that it sounds an awful lot like Disney’s plan. In someways it is, but there are some HUGE differences.
First of all the quick service plan can be purchased by day guests. Meaning you do not have to stay on property to use this plan. You will be allotted one quick service meal, 2 snacks, and a beverage per adult. Children under 10 will only get 1 snack. Your quick meal will include and entree and beverage.
The table service plan allows each guest 1 table service meal, 1 quick service meal, 1 snack, and one beverage per guest. This plan is for on site guests only, but is VERY flexible. You do not have to purchase it for length of stay. If you are staying 4 nights and think you only want the meal plan for two that is fine!
Every guest in your party does not need the plan either! If you are traveling with friends for example, and you want the plan and your friend does not that is totally cool! You can buy it and your friend can decline! This makes Universal a great choice for spring breakers who may all be on different budgets or even two families traveling together!
THE ABOVE DONUT IS A SNACK OPTION!!! IT WILL FEED YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY!
Pricing-Now this is where I do have to compare to Disney a little bit. Lets say you have a family of 4; 2 adults, 1 child over 10 and 1 child under 10. Lets say they are staying for 4 nights in January.
If they stay 4 nights at Walt Disney World at All Star Movies, a value resort, buy the dining plan and 4 day park hoppers they are going to spend $2303.77
If this same family stays 4 nights at Loews Royal Pacific, A deluxe resort, with a 4 day dining plan, and 4 day park to park tickets including Universal Express Unlimited they are going to spend $2159.10
So, for a little less money a family can stay at a Deluxe resort at Universal over a Value Resort at Walt Disney World! By the way, that family would pay over $3500 to stay at a The Polynesian, a Walt Disney World deluxe property, so you can see a good savings at Universal.
If you are not 100 percent sure you want to take the plunge into an entire Universal trip, I would highly recommend the take two transfer option and do a night pre or post Walt Disney World. With this option you can stay at a Universal Resort before or after you go to WDW and Universal will handle two of your transfers! If you are staying at Universal prior to Walt Disney World you will be picked up at the Airport and brought to Universal and then upon check out you will be delivered to your Disney Resort. If you are staying at Universal after your Disney vacation, you will be picked up at your WDW resort and brought to your Universal resort. Then upon checkout you will be delivered to Orlando International Airport. There is a small cost associated with this but it is very reasonable and really worth it!
So who is a trip to Universal Orlando for? Families with children over the age of 7 who want to do some wonderful attractions and see some great shows, spring break travelers, honeymooners, friends who want to experience great theme parks and awesome nightlife, and of course theme park enthusiasts of all ages. If your family has done Disney for years, it may be worth checking out Universal for a day or two next time around!
If you would like more info on how to book your Universal Vacation email me Jess@PixieVacations.com. If you book a trip now through February 1st I am offering a $25-75 gift card bonus based on total package cost! Don’t forget, as always I am also here to help you plan your magical Walt Disney World vacation as well!
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!