Podcast Episode 157: Art of Animation Resort In Depth

Join us this week as we continue our in depth look at all the Walt Disney World resort hotels with Art of Animation resort!  This is one of our favorite Value level hotels and we tell you all about it!

Be sure to check out our other episodes in the In Depth series:

Animal Kingdom Lodge

Caribbean Beach

Contemporary

Coronado Springs

Pop Century

Port Orleans French Quarter

Port Orleans Riverside

Happy listening!

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Podcast Episode 155: Our Disney Dreams

Have you ever wished you could take your favorite parts of Disney and make them into one big Disney dream? Join us this week as we play a little Dr. Frankenstein and pull our favorite parts of the Walt Disney World resort and mash them together to make new restaurants, resorts, and menus in our own little Disney world!

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Best Use of Dining Plan Quick Service Credits

When you get the Dining plan or Quick Service dining plan you want to make sure you are getting a good value for your money.  But cost can’t be the only factor.  You will want to make sure you are checking out the menus to verify that you are choosing a restaurant menu that will appeal to your party.  This isn’t a comprehensive list but some suggestions for great eats!

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Be Our Guest for lunch is a fantastic choice based on the location, amazing atmosphere and the food.  The food is similar to the dinner offerings but all at one quick service dining credit. Located in Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland you will be immersed in the Beast’s castle and can choose from three different rooms to sit in.  This restaurant is like no other.  First of all it does require reservations for the quick service.  Next you order solely from a kiosk and then get your “rose” and find a spot to sit.  Your food will be delivered to your table.  You can check out my lunch review here.

Wolfgang Puck Express located in Disney Springs is another amazing choice for a quick service meal, lunch or dinner. Similar to Be Our Guest, you will have your food delivered to your table.  This food is pretty amazing, we recommend the mac and cheese and the bacon wrapped meatloaf.  Check out this review for more information!

Sunshine Seasons food court with high ceiling and a massive glass roof

Photo via Disney

Sunshine Season in the Land pavilion in Epcot is a delicious option with seasonal foods grown right there in the Land Pavilion! Plus the amazing strawberry shortcake is always worth getting.  This location is also ideal if you need to fuel up before waiting in line for Soarin’ Around the World.  They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner so any time the mood strikes you can check out this quick service restaurant.  This restaurant has some amazing choices like Oak grilled salmon, slow roasted pork chops and Mongolian beef.

Columbia Harbour House located in Liberty Square in the Magic Kingdom is a fantastic option for a healthier lunch or dinner with many options.  Some of the most popular options are the Lobster Roll, chicken pot pie, Lighthouse sandwich, clam chowder, and broccoli peppercorn salad.  You cannot beat the location and people watching if you head up to the second floor seating.

 

Flame Tree Barbecue in the Discovery Island area of Animal Kingdom is probably one of the best quick services values.  You can get more than just barbeque here though, some choices are ½ a chicken, ribs & chicken combo, smoked turkey sandwich, full slab of ribs, and roasted chicken salad.

Dining area of Landscape of Flavors restaurant at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

photo via Disney

Landscape of Flavors is located at the Art of Animation resort is an awesome choice with unique and adventurous flavors.  You can get things like curry chicken, beef stirfry, create your own pasta or pizza, burgers, soup, and salad. Yep, that is a lot of choices in one restaurant!

Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café in Frontierland in Magic Kingdom is another fantastic choice.  If you love tex-mex food this is the place for you.  It is similar to Qdoba or Chipotle where you can get a rice bowl, fajitas, or burritos and then step up to the fixins bar to doctor up your dinner.

Capt. Cook’s in the Polynesian Village Resort is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  You can get the famous Tonga Toast for breakfast or the pulled pork nachos for lunch and dinner.  This location is great whether you are staying at the Polynesian or just visiting from the other monorail resorts or want a break for the parks.  The menu has variety and is a pretty good value.

Tangerine Café located in the Morocco pavilion in Epcot is a cool choice for lunch or dinner.  They have many unique offerings such as Mediterranean chicken wrap, shawarma chicken or lamb platter, lamb wrap, and kefta sandwich.  Plenty to choose from for the adventurous palate.

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If you have a suggestion to add let us know!  We are always looking for great values and interesting menus!

Podcast Episode 100: Our 100 Favorite Disney Things

Can you believe it’s already our 100th episode?!  We love podcasting and we’ve had so much fun along the way.  For this special episode we made a list of 100 Disney things we love.  We hope you love them too!  Stick around to see what we have in store for the next 100 episodes!

Happy listening!

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Hint:  If you’d like an additional entry into our giveaway, you’re going to want to join us for this episode. 🙂

Podcast Episode 99: Top Disney Pools

We talk about resorts a lot but there’s more to a resort than just the rooms.  We’re talking about our favorite Disney resort pools!  We tell you which ones we love and where you can find them!

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Unique Dining Outside of the Parks – Part II

Tired of the same old restaurants in the parks at Walt Disney World, or just looking for something new?  Check out the first installment check it out here to learn about unique dining options in the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Resort areas. **LINK** 

Animal Kingdom Resort Area:
La
ndscape of Flavors located in the Art of Animation is one of the few quick service restaurants on my list of unique dining.  It makes the list due to its lunch and dinner menus where you can custom make any different types of meals such as pasta, omelet, burgers, and salads.  It is fun to custom make your own pasta with sauce and meat choices.  It is sure to win over even the pickiest of eaters.

 Dine with Animal Specialist with in the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a 4 course lunch at Sanaa where you can learn all about the animals that are just outside the windows of the restaurant!  This is a truly intimate lunch that is limited to 12 guests.  Once you are finished eating you will head into a secure area for and up close and personal encounter with radiated tortoises. 

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Photo via Disney.com

Wanyama Safari is available only to guests of Animal Kingdom Lodge and features a 90 minute tour with unique vantage points for observing the animals.  It is limited to 12 guests so you will have a very personalized tour.  Prior to the safari you will have a reception with the chefs and cultural representative from Jiko and then conclude your safari with a fabulous dinner at Jiko.  This is a one of a kind dining experience.

Disney Springs:
If you are in the mood for some fantastic food by a famous chef you will want to see Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs.  There is a large sushi menu and plenty of Pan-Asian food for every palate. The menu is extensive with lots of seafood but plenty of steak, noodle and chicken dishes.  Don’t miss this fantastic restaurant.

Wolfgang Puck Express is an easy choice for a single table service credit with amazing food.  People always rave about the macaroni and cheese as well as the bacon wrapped meatloaf.  Not to be mistaken with Wolfgang Puck Grand Café, the express is just a smaller version of the main restaurant by the celebrity chef. Here is a great review we have!

Boathouse

Photo via Disney.com

The Boathouse is another recent addition to Disney Springs, right on the water front.  You cannot beat the location and ambience at Disney Springs and the food is pretty darn amazing too.  They feature American, seafood and steaks and have gotten a reputation for the gigantic Gibsons S’mores Baked Alaska that serves four!

What other restaurants would you add to the lineup of unique offerings outside of a Walt Disney World park?  Let us know!

Is the Quick Service Dining Plan “Worth it”?

If you’ve ever planned a Disney vacation for your family, I’m sure this question has come up.  In fact, our own Jamie brought this question up with the standard Disney Dining Plan standard Disney Dining Plan last month.  When I was planning my family’s Disney vacation last year I decided to do a little research and see if the Quick Service plan was a good deal or not.  Here’s what I found out:

Breakfast

Location: Landscape of Flavors (Art of Animation resort food court)

Apple Danish  – (one snack credit or $3.59)

 

Coffee ($2.49 out of pocket) in resort refillable mug

Lunch

Location: Be Our Guest (Quick Service, Magic Kingdom)

Braised Pork entrée with sides of potatoes and green beans (one Quick Service credit or $14.99), fountain soda (included with dining credit or $2.99) , The Master’s Cupcake (included with dining credit or $4.59)

Dinner

Location: Pinocchio Village Haus (Quick Service, Magic Kingdom)

Caprese Flatbread (one Quick Service cred it or $9.99), fountain soda (included with dining credit or $2.99), no sugar added mango gelato (included with dining credit or $3.99)

Total cash price: $45.62

Price of the adult Quick Service Dining Plan (per night): $41.99

As you can see, the Quick Service Dining Plan did save a little money for us, but mostly allowed us to break even on food costs.  We ended up with more food on the dining plan than we would probably normally eat, but that’s ok.  We felt it was a good value and we enjoyed the convenience of not having to pull out a credit card when we were ready to pay.  Overall, it worked out well for us!

Art of Animation Cars Suite Review

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photo: Disney

On our last family Disney vacation, we did a split stay with the first two nights at Polynesian resort and the last three nights at Art of Animation in a Cars suite.

We had stayed at Art of Animation previously in a Lion King suite and were extremely happy with both the room and the location, but wanted to try one of the other themed suites this time.  Since the Finding Nemo suites were booked up, we took the Cars option.

At first, I was less than thrilled with the idea because I had toured the resort before and I felt the Cars suites were far too remote for my liking.  When I did the online check in before our arrival, I made sure to click the options for close to lobby and transportation.  I requested building 1 as I felt that would be the most convenient location.  We were assigned room 1625, located on the second floor of Building 1, closest to the stairwell on the parking lot end of the building.

art-of-animation-map

Location

I thought the location was great.  It was not nearly as far as I had remembered, and was about the same distance from the pool and lobby as our Lion King suite had been.  Of course, the Cars area has their own Cozy Cone pool, but my kids were more interested in the Big Blue Pool with the splash pad and music.  It was actually very convenient because the poolside bar has a soda fountain and it was easy for us to walk over there to refill our resort refillable mugs than having to walk all the way into the lobby to Landscape of Flavors.

Room Quality

Moving from the luxury of Club Level Polynesian to Value level Art of Animation would be a shock to anyone’s system, but the fun and lively theme of the resort makes up for what is lacking in luxury.  The room itself was clean and spacious.  We are a family of five, so having the extra space and extra bathroom is wonderful for us.  It’s nice to have a separate bedroom for the adults for some extra peace.  And of course, the kids are enthralled by the fold down table bed and wanted to take turns setting it up each day.

Bus Transportation

At this resort, the bus stop location is located centrally outside the lobby, Animation Hall.  It was a quick 3-4 minute walk from our room to the bus location.  We did have a few times where the buses were quite full and we either chose to wait, or to drive ourselves to our ultimate destination.  Overall, our bus experience was not bad, but we did have to be patient and deal with full buses occasionally.  It did not detract from our fun and wasn’t a huge deal for us.

Food

Art of Animation has one of the best quick service restaurants on property, in my opinion.  We ate at Landscape of Flavors several times during our stay and I didn’t eat the same thing twice.  They have the standard burger and fries combo, but they also have things like make your own pasta dish, pizza, barbecue pork sandwiches, and even tandoori chicken.  There really is something for everyone.

Resort Amenities

Art of Animation has one of the best pools on property.  Their Big Blue Pool is very big and even has speakers you can only hear under the water.  There is also a really cute splash pad and a small climbing apparatus and slide.  There is also the Cozy Cone pool over in the Cars area and a Little Mermaid pool over in the Little Mermaid section of the resort.  There is also a self-serve laundry area, gift shop, and baggage services area on site.  The lobby is clean, spacious, and very attractive.

Overall, we enjoyed our stay at Art of Animation, as usual.  We look forward to staying here again on future Disney vacations.

Podcast Episode 71: Our Fall Vacation Trip Reports – Jillian and Shannon

Join us as we talk about our recent Disney vacations!  We talk about the new things we tried, new shows and attractions, and special events like Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

We cover Jillian’s and Shannon’s vacations in this part 1 episode, so check back next week for Jamie’s and Tara’s reports in part 2!

Happy listening!

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Podcast Episode 67: Disney For Large Families

Do you have a large family like I do?  With a family of 5 or more, there are things you can do to make touring Disney parks easier.  We list all the important details regarding resorts, dining, and even Fast Pass+!  Don’t miss it!

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