A June 2007 trip
to Orlando by C.Kowalczik
Quote: Today more and more business travelers have the opportunity to visit Disney while on business; with this trip my business was Disney!
The days were long and packed with tons of information, there was barely enough time to fit in the must-see attractions in between. We did, however, have the opportunity to visit eleven of the resorts located on the Walt Disney World Property. Some of those resorts include:
I went to this training with an open mind and a willingness to learn more about my passion of Disney. However, this was my first trip to Disney without my family or friends, so one thing that made this trip more memorable for me was the new friends that I made along the way.
Did you know that the Walt Disney World Resort area is twice the size of Manhattan? With so much to see and do while visiting the Walt Disney World Resort, even the most seasoned park guest will only be able to accomplish about 85% of the things they planned to do while on their vacation; and believe it or not by reading this journal you have already begun planning your trip.
Although the IGoUGo community is a great place to read first hand journals of other vacation destinations, it is not your only option when planning a great trip; there are also some great books available to assist you while planning your Walt Disney World vacation. My top three suggestions are:
Something that a lot of guests overlook when picking a Disney resort is the convenience of utilizing EPCOT as a transportation hub.(Of course this only works if you took advantage of the Magic Your Way ticket with the park hopper option.). From the EPCOT resorts area, guests with the park hopper option have direct access to Disney’s MGM Studios as well as EPCOT by walking. From the EPCOT area you can also cross through the "International Gateway" and then through Future World in order to catch the monorail which offers a connection to the Magic Kingdom. If you are heading to Disney’s MGM Studios for the day you can hop on a water taxi at either Disney’s Boardwalk Inn or at the lighthouse in front of Disney Yacht and Beach Clubs. The water taxi is a nice and relaxing way to travel to MGM, however with the time it takes to make the additional stop along the way; you could almost walk the distance along the paved walkway in the same time.
Each of the Disney resorts has a different theme, each one unique and detailed to its place of origin. There is a place where the serenity of Mexico meets the riches of the American Southwest. That place is Lake Buena Vista Florida, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
At Disney’s Coronado Springs there was a surreal feeling that overcame us the minute we stepped off the Disney’s Magical Express bus and entered the lobby area. In the distance you can hear the subtle sound of mariachi music playing as you pass by the Panchito’s Gifts & Sundries shop and the fountain of the El Centro building.
Holding true to its theme, Coronado Springs resort is modeled after different regions throughout Mexico and are showcased in the three sections of the resort area surrounding beautiful Lake Dorado. The Ranchos not only brings you into the Mexican countryside, but they are also the closest accommodations to the Dig Site, the featured pool where the Lost City of Cibola is located. The only downside to these ranch-style accommodations is that they are the farthest away from the Pepper Market food court and the Maya Grill restaurant. The Cabanas bring the Mexican coastline to life while offering guests a quiet pool and a short walk to the dining options or the main pool.
One thing to keep in mind when booking the Coronado Springs is that the resort is home to one of the largest convention spaces in North America. Although the convention center is located on the western edge of the property and well away from resort guests, the people attending those conventions will require accommodations. The Casitas offers guests soothing fountains inside a peaceful courtyard and usually are the most requested rooms for people attending the conventions. However don’t let the convention center scare you away from my favorite moderate resort. Our room was in the Casitas and offered the usual standard room setup. The decor of the room offers the soft earthy colors one would expect to find in the desert. Cactus green headboards with hand painted Native American symbols are accentuated with natural wood nightstands and a warm diamond pattered bedspread.
One of my favorite things about this resort is the Pepper Market food court. This food court is, in my opinion, the best food court on Disney property, and for those guests on the Disney Dining Plan this is a must do. This food court is more like a table service location as you will have a server assigned to your table and you pay at the end of your meal rather than after you order, not to mention the excellent food selections.
With a great themed pool, an arcade, a marina and 220,000 square feet of convention space, Disney’s Coronado Springs resort is certainly the gold crown of moderate resorts.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on August 2, 2007
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
1001 West Buena Vista Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
This recently renovated resort was opened for guests in 1971 during the grand opening of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. One of the two original resorts, the Polynesian, gives guests the feeling of being in a South Pacific resort with lavish, deluxe accommodations, beautiful floral botanicals and the romance of the South Seas.
With all the Disney vacations I have taken in the past thirty years, I have only experienced this resort a handful of times. However, this time, our South Seas adventure began the moment we stepped off the Disney Magical Express motor coach and became immersed within 75 species of dense tropical vegetation located along the walkway to the Great Ceremonial House. (Look closely during your walk and you may find a waterfall or two). The customs of the islands are carried out as you walk through the front door by receiving a lei greeting and an affectionate aloha. Our timing must have been just right because after we received our lei, we were taught a quick hula.
After we said goodbye to our hula instructors, we made our way over to the Nanae Volcano pool, the Polynesians main themed pool. What sets this pool aside from other pools is the gigantic volcano that not only offers an excellent view of the Magic Kingdom Theme Park and a lava waterslide, but it also has a zero depth entry and underwater speakers featuring Polynesian music.
Our room was located in the Aotearoa building, just one of twelve different buildings that house the 847 guest rooms of the Polynesian resort. We had a standard garden view room that was approximately 440 square feet on the ground level. The flat screen television and the configuration of the bathroom told me that the room was recently renovated. The room’s decor was subtle and earthy with an island touch. The bedspreads were actually imported from the South Pacific to add to the attention to detail that Disney prides itself in, and portrays sea turtles in a Polynesian pattern. The headboards looked as though someone had weaved them out of palm fronds, and the room was painted two tone khaki and camel colors with dark wood trim. One of the advantages of staying in a deluxe resort is that the room will have two queen size beds rather than double beds. Plus, our room had a pull out sleeper bed for an extra guest.
Combined with an authentic Polynesian luau and two other great Disney Dining Plan restaurants, Disney’s oldest resort is still one of their best resorts. Aloha!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 2, 2007
Disney's Polynesian Resort
1600 Seven Seas Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
So many factors go into this decision: accommodations, amenities, pools, restaurants, and location. For me the choice was simple. The first thing that that draws me (and thousands of other guests) to this resort is the location. When most guests think of convenience and location the first thoughts are of being on the monorail line. Granted, those are great DELUXE RESORTS, however, your convenience is limited to the Magic Kingdom area. Disney’s Beach Club Resort, located in the EPCOT area will not only put guests within reach of the BoardWalk entertainment area, but also within walking distance to EPCOT and Disney’s MGM Studios.
The resort sets the mood of a New England seaside resort built in the 1880s. The 583 guest rooms are divided into ten different categories that come standard at 381 square feet. Each room is tastefully decorated with soft yellows and blues. The woodwork in the room fits perfectly with eggshell and cherry stain. The room amenities include queen-size beds, refrigerators, an in-room safe, high speed Internet access and a private balcony.
*Writers Note:I recently found out that due to the construction layout of the resort, there are a few lucky guests that will book a standard room and receive a room with much greater square footage. The room number? 4606.
Aside of staying in a great resort with excellent accommodations, Disney’s Beach Club offers resort guests the biggest pool area on Walt Disney World property. Stormalong Bay covers more than an acre of land between the Beach and Yacht Club Resorts and features a shipwreck with a waterslide from the mast. The pool area offers a zero depth sand bottom entry, whirlpools and a children’s play area. By far the best pool on central Florida.
Have I mentioned location? Disney’s Beach Club Resort is right in the middle of everything there is to do. I already mentioned that the resort is within walking distance to two theme parks, but what I have not shared was that out of the more than one hundred dining locations in the Disney Dining Plan , by staying at the Beach Club you are within walking distance to more than half of those dining spots: restaurants like Cape May Cafe and Beaches and Cream Soda Shop are even in the hotel.
In my opinion you couldn’t ask for a better resort location with access to theme parks, a great pool, and fabulous restaurants, the Beach Club Resort is my favorite candy bar.
Disney's Beach Club Resort
1800 Epcot Resorts Blvd
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
Hotel | "Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter"
The magic of Disney is surely evident at this resort, as we were swept away to the splendor of New Orleans’ French Quarter. Knowing that this is the smallest of the four moderate resorts I was not expecting to be awed when we arrived. However, I got exactly the opposite reaction as we stepped off the motor coach. The presence of the Big Easy was already prevalent, starting with the check in building, which was modeled after a U.S. mint from the 1900s. With lots of windows and wrought iron, the atmosphere inside gave us the feeling we weren’t in Central Florida anymore. (I even hear that at night you will find a jazz player in the lobby).
Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter does a fabulous job of showcasing the class and intimacy that the Delta City has to offer. Thin, small streets lined with wrought iron and a beautiful overgrown floral landscape lead the way to the block-style buildings that contain the 1008 guest rooms along the Sassagoula River.
Our 314 square foot room appeared to be the same exact layout as all of the other standard rooms in the moderate resorts, right down to the location of the beds in comparison to the television and the refrigerator. The theme of the rooms at the French Quarter differs from the other resorts with a hold to the Mardi Gras theme. The bright yellow bedspreads featured a carnival-like Mardi Gras theme that matched the artistic Disney Mardi Gras rendition painting on the wall. The rooms come standard with two double beds, and in the vanity area there were two pedestal sinks with separated mirrors.
Along with the main themed pool Doubloon Lagoon, which features a slide that looks as though your coming out of the serpents mouth, this resort offers a diverse selection of activities. There are six tennis courts, an arcade, a jogging trail, boat rentals, fishing, and carriage rides. You will also find a food court and Boatwright’s Dining Hall, a full service restaurant at the French Quarters sister resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort. The only negative thing I can think of about this resort is the fact that the only transportation available is by motor coach; unless you are going to Downtown Disney, then you can take a water taxi.
Although the French Quarter doesn’t offer the same amenities as the deluxe resorts, it is by far a great value for the comfortable, intimate, and relaxing accommodations and the numerous on-site activities it offers. I can honestly say that I would recommend this resort as it is one of my favorites in the moderate resort category.
Please review our other Disney journals:A Disney Education: Disney Dining On A Business TripWalt Disney World Grand Floridian Weekend
Disney's Port Orleans Resort French Quarter
2201 ORLEANS DRIVE
Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830
East Haven, Connecticut