Animal Kingdom Lodge

With over 20 resorts to choose from, Disney has something for everyone.  One of the most unique experiences can be found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

 Michelleb1

 This resort falls into the deluxe category and is separated into two separate areas, Jambo House, and the Villas at Kidani Village.  Most rooms in Jambo House sleep 4, plus one child under the age of 3 in a crib.  There are club level accommodations in Jambo House where guest will receive concierge service, including a lounge with continental breakfast, snacks midday and hors d’oeuvers in the evenings.  In Kidani Village you will find studios sleeping 4, one bedroom villas for up to 5 guests, and 2 bedroom villas that will accommodate up to 9.

Michelleb2

 While the accommodations are great, the best part about this resort is the animals.  If you have a savanna view room, you can watch them from your private balcony.  But, if you don’t, there are still plenty of viewing areas around the resort.  There are times when you can also get night vision goggles and watch the animals after dark, how cool is that?!

 Michelleb3

 In addition to animal viewing, there are many activites to enjoy at Animal Kingdom Lodge.  If you are staying here be sure and check the Daily Activities Board that is located at the bottom of the stairs next to the restaurants.

Michelleb4

 This board will alert you to all that is going on around the resort.  Activites can include fireside chats and storytelling with castmembers who are actually from Africa

Michelleb5

 There are arts and crafts, animal tracking games, face painting, and so much more! And, if you are a club level guest you can purchase the Sunrise Safari Breakfast, a private, guided safari followed by breakfast.  In addition to all of that, you will find two great pools on property.  The Uzima Springs pool at Jambo House is one of the largest pools on property, it features ‘zero entry’, meaning you can walk straight into the pool, no steps to walk up or down, and a 67 foot long slide that my kids just love!

Michelleb6

 There is a second great pool that you can enjoy at Kidani Village.  Samawati Springs also features zero entry, has a 128 foot water slide, and a children’s splash area!  Both pools have bars nearby for refreshments and small meals.

 If all of this isn’t enough to convince you to give Animal Kingdom Lodge a try, there are some really great dining options available.  At Boma you can  dine on a buffet  of African dishes as well as many American favorites, one of the best breakfasts on site, in my opinion!  Jiko is their signature restaurant, their menu is full of great dishes and they also boast an award winning wine list.  If you are looking for quick fare, look no further than Mara, open from morning until late at night you’ll find great options for everyone in your family here!

 Michelleb7

 Animal Kingdom Lodge is definitely a destination in and of itself!  If you’d like more information about this or any other Disney resort, just drop me an email at michelle@travelwiththemagic.com.  You can also find me on facebook.  It doesn’t cost you any extra to book your Disney vacation through me, so contact me today and let’s get started!

Disney’s Art of Animation Cars themed family suites

Disney’s new Art of Animation Resort has 4 areas each with their own unique theme – Little Mermaid standard rooms and Cars, Finding Nemo and Lion King themed family suites.  As you enter the grounds of Art of Animation and then enter the lobby, you’ll find plenty of animated references to the 4 films.  There is even a Lightning McQueen sketch signed by John Lasseter (the Disney and Pixar animation legend).

amys10

The Cars area features 480 themed family suites.  As you exit Animation Hall, you’ll look directly at the Nemo suites area and pool.  Take a right and you will be instantly transported to Carburetor County where some of your favorite Cars characters welcome you to your new home.

Welcome to Radiator Springs, the cutest little town in Carburetor County!

Welcome to Radiator Springs, the cutest little town in Carburetor County!

 The Cars area also has it’s own pool, inspired by Sally’s Cozy Cone Motel from the Cars movies.  The cones are first-come, first-served cabanas that cannot be reserved.  The pool itself is shaped like a wheel well.  There are restrooms/changing facilities in the pool area as well.

Cars area pool

Cars area pool

 The suites at Art of Animation are slightly different than the suites at All-Star Music.  One noticeable difference is the inside hallways to get to your room.  There are SO many details that you won’t want to miss – make sure to check out the light fixtures in the hallways!

Another difference in the Art of Animation suites and the All-Star suites is the set-up of the room.  While the All-Star suites have a master bedroom, a pull out sofa bed and a pull out chair/ottoman, the Art of Animation suites have a master bedroom, a pull out sofa and a table that converts to a bed.  You’ll be sleeping under the stars with Mater in no time!

New Innovabed in a Cars themed suite

New Innovabed in a Cars themed suite

 I LOVE all the little details in these suites.  The kitchenette, nightstands and tv stand/storage look like something you’d find in a mechanic’s garage.  The sofa bed looks like the back seat of a classic car.  Cones are used everywhere.  Both bathrooms (that’s right, 2 bathrooms!) are themed as if you were in a car wash.  Even the coffee table and art on the wall make you feel as if you are staying in Radiator Springs.

Details, details, details in the Cars suites

Details, details, details in the Cars suites

Want to cruise into your spot in Radiator Springs?  I cannot wait to help you plan your MAGICAL vacation to Disney World!  Contact me via email, or call me at 1-800-670-4312, x129.  You can also find me on Facebook!

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort

Allison takes us on her journey around Disney’s Port Orleans Resort.

Old Key West Resort

On my most recent Disney vacation, we stayed at Old Key West Resort. The whimsical beauty of this large resort was amazing. Full of pastel colors and gingerbread accents, the theme makes you feel as though you are nestled right in the Florida Keys!

SONY DSC

This was a special trip for my family, as our best friends were traveling with us for their first Disney visit. There were four of us adults, as well as four children ages 4, 3, 2 and 1. Needless to say we were hoping for a smooth stay with all the kids.

As we arrived for check in, all four kids were greeted and were able to pick out their own balloon swords to keep. We had just finished doing a little grocery shopping down the street at a local grocery store, and they were able to keep all of our groceries in their refrigerator until our room was ready. We headed toward the bus stop and headed straight for Magic Kingdom! We received a text a couple of hours later letting us know our room was ready.

That night when we returned we walked down to the Hospitality House area, where most of the main activity centers are. Here is where Olivia’s Café table service and Goods to Go quick service restaurants are located. They are situated facing the water where the ferry dock is located, which can take you straight to Downtown Disney.

SONY DSC

We stayed in a two bedroom villa, which gave us plenty of room for all of our kids. We were able to get up and fix breakfast for everyone in the full kitchen  every morning before heading into the parks.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Old Key West has the following types of rooms available:

Deluxe Studio: will sleep up to 4 guests

  • 2 queen-size beds with 2 pillows each
  • TV and DVD player with remote, AM/FM clock radio
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Wet bar sink, small refrigerator, microwave, toaster and 4 cup coffee maker
  • Private porch or balcony

1 Bedroom Villa: will sleep up to 5 guests

  • 1 king-size bed in the master suite
  • 1 master bathroom with whirlpool tub
  • Queen-size sleeper sofa and 1 twin sleep chair in living room
  • TV and DVD player in living room and 19″ TV with remote and AM/FM clock radio in master bedroom
  • Full kitchen
  • Dining room table with chairs and a bar area
  • Laundry area with stacked washer and dryer, vacuum, broom and dustpan, starter box of detergent
  • Private porch or balcony with parsons table and 2 chairs

2 Bedroom Villa: will sleep up to 9 guests

  • 1 king-size bed the master suite
  • 2 queen-size beds in the 2nd bedroom
  • Queen-size sleeper sofa and 1 twin sleep chair in living room
  • TV plus DVD player in living room and 19″ TV with remote and AM/FM clock radio in each bedroom
  • 2 bathrooms (one is a master bathroom with whirlpool tub)
  • Full kitchen
  • Dining room table with chairs and a bar area
  • Laundry area with stacked washer and dryer, vacuum, broom and dustpan, starter box of detergent
  • Private porch or balcony with parsons table and chairs

3 Bedroom Villa: will sleep up to 12 guests

  • 1 king-size bed in the master suite
  • 2 queen-size beds in the 2nd bedroom
  • 2 full-size beds in the 3rd bedroom
  • 1 queen-size sofa bed in the living room
  • TV plus DVD player in living room and 19″ TV with remote and AM/FM clock radio in each bedroom
  • 3 bathrooms (one is a master bathroom with whirlpool tub)
  • Full kitchen
  • Dining room table with chairs and a bar area
  • Laundry area with stacked washer and dryer, vacuum, broom and dustpan, starter box of detergent
  • Private porch or balcony with parsons table and chairs

There is a wide variety of recreation and activities to choose from. Rent a watercraft or bikes for the family, enjoy a game of volleyball, tennis, basketball or bingo, or take a relaxing swim in one of the four heated pools. You can work out in the state of the art exercise room, or unwind in the sauna. Take the kids to the playground or one of the two game rooms. All of these options you can find right on the resort property.

Your options do not stop with recreational activities, there are also a few places to eat on property as well:

Olivia’s Café – table service (dining plan accepted)

Enjoy your meal inside, or outside on the covered terrace with beautiful views of the water! On the menu you will find comforting foods such as omelets or pancakes for breakfast, to pork chops, prime rib or seafood for lunch and dinner and so much more!

Good’s Food to Go – quick service and snacks (dining plan accepted)

Stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Menu items include bagels, muffins and danishes for breakfast, and soup cheeseburgers and hot dogs for the rest of the day. Refills for your refillable drink mugs are here!

Gurgling Suitcase – dining plan not accepted

This Key West style bar offers mixed drinks, wine, and both domestic and imported beer.

Turtle Shack Snack Bar – quick service and snack (dining plan accepted) open seasonally

This snack bar is located in the Turtle Pond pool area. Menu items include nachos and cheese, personal size pizza and salads. This is another location to refill your dining plan mugs.

For more info about Old Key West or any other Disney property email Casey@travelwiththemagic.com

 

Disney’s Quick service dining plan

 

On our recent trip to Disney World in Early December, My husband and I were able to take advantage of the free dining promotion that Disney offered during that time.  Since we were staying in the brand new Art of Animation resort, the promotion offered a free quick service dining plan. Usually when Disney does free dining promotions you get the quick service plan if you are staying at a value resort or the Disney Dining plan if you are staying at a moderate or deluxe resort.  We had the option to upgrade to the Disney Dining Plan for the difference in price and we toiled back and forth with what to decide. Since we were going on a budget (we are big believers in budgets!) we decided in the end to stick with the Quick Service plan (free is good!)

Big Collage

Quick Service meals are a part of every Disney Dining Plan.  A common myth regarding quick service is that it is just fast food with no real dining experience. I beg to differ.

I was able to eat around the world in Epcot taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and cultures of countries such as Japan, Morocco, and France. I ate breakfast at Main Street Bakery on Main Street USA. I ate on the waterfront with a perfect view of Mt. Everest and local wildlife at Flametree BBQ in Animal Kingdom. I dined in the grand ballroom of the Beast’s castle while watching the snow magically fall at Be our Guest.

Dining Experiences

Snacks are a really fun part of the dining plan. Below are a few of my favorites. Since I don’t usually eat dessert with every meal I ended up saving a lot of my desserts for later as more snacks. You also have healthier options like fresh cut fruit at many locations for your dessert or snack. I figure if I’m walking 5+ miles per day at Disney I can eat whatever I want while I am there. SO I had lots of cupcakes, cookies, and dole whips for my desserts and snacks!  A Cinnamon Roll at Main St. Bakery is a snack so even some of my breakfasts only “cost” one snack credit.

Snacks

All in all I was very happy with the quick service plan. It allowed us to have some really amazing dining experiences, great food (and more than enough), wonderful variety. We also enjoyed the flexibility to eat whenever we wanted since we didn’t need reservations and the ability to split meals (which you cannot do at table service meals) allowing us to try a lot more foods and locations.

If you need dining recommendations of any kind, need help choosing a dining plan, or have any other questions or needs concerning a Disney vacation please contact me!  I would love to help you plan a magical (and delicious) vacation!

–Aleshia Sokoloski  Aleshia@travelwiththemagic.com 1-800-670-4312 ext, 139

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

Here are some photos from my recent stay at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort. It is a lovely area and the ability to walk back and forth to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios is awesome. I posted photos of the room and you can view them at blog.travelwiththemagic.com  The room was very clean but several of the lights were out and I had no duvet on my bed.  I was in other rooms during my stay when I would meet up with friends and they all had them and I did call and ask that they bring me one and they never did but they did bring a thin peach colored blanket.  The blanket was pretty thin and I just got in the habit of turning off the AC when I went to bed.  The resort was all decked out for the Holidays and it look wonderful.  I walked over to the Beach Club Resort one morning and took some photos of the lobby. There are plenty of sit down options for dining at the Yacht CLub Resort and the attached Beach Club Resort. If you are looking for a quick service eatery to use the dining plan then there are not as many options. If you have a chance to stay at or visit these resorts and walk around you will not regret it especially during the Holidays. If you have any questions about a Disney vacation contact me at KellyR@travelwiththemagic.com or call me toll free at 1-800-670-4312 ext 123.

 

 

 

 

 

Disney’s Deluxe Villa Resort- Bay Lake Towers

In October, my family and I were able to stay in a 2 bedroom deluxe villa with a Magic Kingdom view. This room was amazing. The room offers sleeping arrangements for up to 9 people. The room includes 1 king, 2 queens, 1 queen-size sleeper sofa & one sleeper chair. Also in the deluxe villas there is a full size kitchen fully equipped and ready for use. These villas have 3 full bathrooms and a Jacuzzi tub. By having 4 females and one male the 3 were perfect. This room is also large enough that you can drive a scooter right in & plug it up for charging if you have one.

You will not be disappointed in this room the magical view it provides is breath taking. Waking up to the sight of Cinderella’s Castle and the monorail right outside your window. At night the TV offers the sounds of Wishes the Magic Kingdoms firework display. You are able to watch the fireworks right from one of the 2 balconies in the room.

Bay Lake offers a Mickey shaped pool with a waterslide and Cove Bar only for Bay Lake Tower guests. There are many activities such as Bocce Ball, shuffle board, & Tennis courts. There is also beach access to Seven Seas Lagoon.

Bay Lake does not offer counter service or table service dining; however there is a breezeway located between Bay Lake Towers and The Contemporary where you can enjoy three sit down dining locations and a counter service location. The Contemporary offers plenty of shopping and a bar for when you return from a long day at the parks. This is also where you will board the monorail.

You are just a short walk to the Magic Kingdom Park. From there you have monorail service to Epcot and bus transportation to Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studio’s. It is nothing like waking up early in the morning and being one of the first guests at the Magic Kingdom. If you arrive before park opening you will be able to see the opening ceremonies performed every morning that includes multiple characters.

 

If you & your family are interested in booking a villa or any room at Bay Lake

Towers send me an email Allison@Travelwiththemagic.com and I will get you a “Free Quote” today!

I am Allison King a Disney Destinations Specialist affiliated with

Travel with the Magic. Contact me today!

1-800-670-4312 ext. 134

Making more Magical Memories at Disney’s Beach and Yacht Club Resort!

Last Spring, I had the opportunity to stay at Disney’s Yacht Club resort.  It was a wonderful experience.  The Yacht Club resort is right next door to the Disney’s Beach Club resort.  Both resorts offer wonderful accommodations, gorgeous pools, yummy snack bars and fun family activities while overlooking one of Walt Disney World’s many lakes.  We were able to take a short water taxi ride over to Hollywood Studios.  In the evening, your family can enjoy a beach campfire with sing-a-long songs and a movie.

Another great aspect of staying at Disney’s Beach and Yacht Clubs is the access to Disney’s Boardwalk area.  The Boardwalk is a fun, family area that offers several great signature restaurants, a candy store and ice cream parlor, ESPN Zone, dueling pianos, street performers and more.

One more great convenience of staying at either the Yacht Club or Beach Club is the back door entrance you will have to Epcot.  When staying here, you are a short 10 minute walk right into the countries of Epcot.  You can also take the water taxi over to Epcot if you choose.

If you have any questions and would like to use a planner for free – contact me at Robyn@travelwiththemagic.com or call me directly at 1-800-670-4312 ext 125.  I have an unexplained passion for Disney and making sure that everyone is getting the most that they can out of every visit!

 

 

 

Christmas Spirit at Fort Wilderness

 

I love to visit Disney World during the Christmas season.  All of the parks fill you with Christmas cheer as they are decked out for the holidays.  The Christmas spirit does not stop there.  My family enjoys going over to Fort Wilderness and taking a stroll through the campgrounds to see the wonderful display of Christmas decorations there.  What makes this so awesome is that the decorations are set up by RV guests who also want to be a part of the magic.  Many of these guests come to Fort Wilderness every year to make their display more extravagant than the year before.  You will find an impressive variety of high quality displays.  We have seen a miniature model of Cinderella’s castle with twinkling lights synchronized to music, beautiful displays of the Disney parks, inflatable characters, lights galore, and much more.

If you have the opportunity to check this out, it is a lot of fun.  You can visit Fort Wilderness by bus or take the boat from Magic Kingdom.  Better yet, you could stay at the campground.  They have many campsites and cabins to choose from.  They also offer a holiday horse drawn “sleigh” ride that can take you on a tour of the Christmas displays at an additional cost.

 

I would love to help you plan your next magical vacation to Disney World.  Contact me today for a no obligation quote.

 

Michelle Terry

MichelleT@travelwiththemagic.com

1-866-Hi-Miki-2

 

Rustic Beauty ~ Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort

On the edge of Bay Lake sits a grand tribute to the turn of the century lodges of the Pacific Northwest.  Think Yellowstone National Park ~ Disneyfied.

 

The Wilderness Lodge offers the feeling of seclusion while still being close enough to the Magic Kingdom to hear the train whistle through the trees.  The drive to the Lodge is down a heavily wooded lane with towering pine trees.  Look closely and you might spot some deer and rabbits tucked in the brush.

Inside the Wilderness Lodge is a huge 7 story atrium complete with an 80 foot rock fireplace (including good old fashioned rocking chairs), totem poles and rustic chandeliers.  While the space is massive, the colors, wood carvings and warmth provides a sense of intimacy.

 

This resort is in the “deluxe” category and offers several room views including standard, woods and courtyard as well as some rooms with bunk beds.  Junior suites and concierge service are also offered.

Dining options include two table service restaurants and a quick service location.  Whispering Canyon Café is fun for all ages. The food is home cooking and the cast member interaction is crazy ~ make sure you ask for a straw.  Artist Point is the resort’s signature restaurant and serves wild game and seafood in an upscale setting.  Roaring Forks quick service restaurant serves up grab and go food along with burgers and sandwiches.

Boat transportation is provided to the Magic Kingdom while bus service is provided to other theme parks, water parks and Downtown Disney.

For recreation there is a large, themed pool with a slide as well as two hot tubs.  There is a beach area for sunbathing and a marina which offers boat rentals.  Additionally there is a lovely walking path around the resort as well as bike rentals and fishing.  This truly is a resort within a resort!

 

The Electric Water Pageant can be viewed nightly from the boat.  In true Yellowstone form, there is a 120’ geyser that erupts every hour on the hour from 7am to 10pm.  You’ll find the Fire Rock Geyser down by the back of the pool area.  There is also a hidden mickey hunt unique to the Wilderness Lodge – ask for a clue sheet at the front desk.  If you’d like to learn more about the Lodge be sure to sign up for the “Wonders of the Lodge” tour offered on select days (check with guest services at the resort for current days and times).

The beauty and the grandness of the Wilderness Lodge makes for a relaxing retreat while its proximity to the Magic Kingdom and other theme parks provides a vacation within a vacation.  If you’d like more information about the Wilderness Lodge or any of the other Disney resorts or are ready to start planning that Disney vacation contact me at SusanH@travelwiththemagic.com.  You can also follow me on facebook at SusanHeidenrichTravelwiththeMagic for information, specials and tips and tricks on all things Disney!