Podcast Episode 139: Jillian’s Spring Break Trip Report

Join us this week as Jillian fills is in on all the amazing things she did, saw, and ate on her most recent vacation to Walt Disney World!  With her group of 14, they ran into some challenges, but ultimately had a magical time!  Find out where they ate, what new experiences they had (there was a tour!), and how they ended up with an adults’ night out!

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Podcast Episode 138: Goofus and Gallant Go To Disney

For just a bit of fun, we take characters, Goofus and Gallant from Highlights magazine and use them to demonstration how to plan a Disney vacation.  Goofus does things his way and Gallant plans how he likes.  See which one plans the more magical vacation!

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Podcast Episode 136: Character Dining Overview

One of the most popular activities you can do at Disney is to have a character meal!  This is a great way to see your favorite characters without standing in line and while having a delicious meal.  Join us as we talk all about the character meals you can find at Walt Disney World!

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Podcast Episode 135: In Depth – All Star Resorts

Join us this week as we continue our In Depth series with the three All Star resorts.  We give you the low down on the rooms, what you can do, see, and eat at each of these Value level resorts!

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Cabins at Fort Wilderness Review

img_0125Back in November, the ladies of Dole Whipped stayed at the Cabins for a girls weekend. None of us had stayed there since the refurbishment in early 2016 so we thought we’d try them out.

First of all, the cabins measure at approximately 504 sq ft and sleep up to 6.  Each cabin has a main living area with a sleeper sofa, an arm chair, a dining table, plus a fully stocked kitchen with a full size side by side refrigerator.  There is a large bathroom and then a bedroom with a queen size bed plus a set of bunk beds.  Each cabin comes with a deck and a picnic table.

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The cabins are very attractively furnished and outfitted.  They’re just really cute!  We loved the kind of rustic feel of them, but they were still comfortable.  The kitchen was outfitted with almost everything you’d need to make a simple meal, provided you don’t need a full size oven…because there is no oven!  They do have a combination microwave/convection oven, but if you thought you were going to be able to cook up some frozen pizzas or bake a cake, think again!

Because the cabins are in the Moderate resort category, you get the basic soaps and shampoos.  There is housekeeping service every day and they’ll even do the dishes for you!

Fort Wilderness is a lovely resort.  We saw lots of wildlife just hanging around which was very cool, however, you do feel a bit isolated and out of the “Disney bubble”, in my opinion.  There are very limited food options within the resort.  They do have Trail’s End and PJ’s Southern Takeout, but if you’re looking for a good quick service option, there is none.  There are a couple of outposts that sell things like fresh fruits and vegetables, deli meats, canned goods, boxes of prepared pastries, sodas, and the like.  It’s a good option if you need ingredients, but not so much if you’re looking for a ready to go meal.

Transportation to the parks is via water taxi to Magic Kingdom, and buses to everywhere else.  You could opt to take the boat to Magic Kingdom, then hop on the monorail to the TTC, then change to the Epcot monorail.  The boat to Magic Kingdom was great, but we opted to drive (we had Tara’s car) to the other parks.  It’s not the most conveniently located resort for parks that aren’t Magic Kingdom.  The buses for the other parks are located up in the front of the resort so if your cabin or campsite is in the back, you’ll have to take the internal bus to get to the front.  There are a couple of other options to get around the resort, which we’ll talk about in a minute.

The other issue that we ran into during our stay internal resort transportation.  The resort is huge.  Our cabin was near the front of the resort where the check in desk is but the boat launch to Magic Kingdom was near the back of the resort.  We’re talking a good mile or more from our front door to the boat launch.  That’s not always going to be doable.  There is an internal bus system that you can use, but we weren’t sure how regular it passed through.  We also wanted to note that there are no car parking lots at the resort other than the front lot at check in and the parking spaces available at the cabins or the campsites.  You’re not able to drive your car from your cabin to the boat launch as there wouldn’t be anywhere to park the car!

How we opted to solve this problem was by renting a golf cart for our stay.  They are available for rent up by the check in desk.  The prices start at around $59 plus tax for a four seat cart.  We found the cart pretty much necessary for convenience plus it was just a lot of fun to drive!

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We found the cabin very nice and a good way to get a lot of beds in a small space, but logistically, it was a bit of a pain.  The resort itself was so large that getting around was inconvenient.  The price may be right for larger groups or families, but we’d prefer to be a bit more centrally located.

Disney’s Contemporary Resort Review

On our last vacation we booked as part of our split stay a night at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  We had booked a standard room in the Atrium (the main building).  Our room was 4722 located on the tenth floor with a gorgeous view of Bay Lake!

The room is 394 square feet, and we felt we had plenty of room to move around and contain all of our items.  Upon entering, to the right there is a small bar with the coffee maker, cups and ice bucket.  There are two closets in this area as well.  The closets contain a luggage rack, ironing board, iron, safe, and two drawers and of course plenty of space to hang up your clothing.

To the left is the bathroom. This features a separate room with a toilet and hamper, as well as double sinks, and a full shower/tub.  The best features in here are the awesome shower head, double sinks and clean lines.  The bathroom has really great lighting too if you need to see to get ready.  Included are towels that are a bit nicer and some really nice and decent sized toiletries, including lotion and body wash.


Walking further into the room to the left is a long desk with a chair and a small rolling table.  There are two queen sized beds that are very comfortable.  You can really tell the difference from the Moderates and Values in the beds at the Deluxe resorts.  The mattresses are more comfortable, the sheets, pillows and blankets are much nicer here as well.  To round out the sleeping area on the opposite wall there is a couch that folds down into a bed.  It did take us some time to figure out how to turn the couch into the bed (you pull top part down towards you) but we managed!  On the same wall as the couch was a large screen television.

The icing on the cake is the amazing balcony with two chairs and a small table.  This view was just beautiful and I could have sat all day overlooking the pool, grounds and Bay Lake.  Going back to the entrance you could look out your “front door” and get an amazing view of the Magic Kingdom!

Jillian: I was so excited to stay here!  This is the one resort that I had always wanted to stay at growing up.  It did not disappoint.  I thought the room was spacious and clean and I love a modern look, so this was perfect for me.  I also think this is a great option for someone who isn’t into Disney because this resort does feel grown up.  I thought the beds and furniture were comfortable, the views were spectacular.  We had a great experience with bell services so no complaints there.

The not so good: I did find check in to be slow but maybe because we were so excited to see our room. We also found that there were issues with food trays being left in the halls for hours, over 12 hours to be exact!  That is pretty bad for a Deluxe resort.  Next was our issue with the monorail.  This did not run for more than 30 minutes after park closing and the only other option is to walk.  I can handle the walk, but I can see families with little ones or those with disabilities having issues with this.  Literally the only option to get to the Contemporary is the monorail or to walk.  The walk is probably 12 minutes when you are going at a decent clip.

I really enjoyed using the monorail services (when they were running) and even the walk to the Magic Kingdom.  I think this resort offers great dining options from quick snacks to extra fancy meals!  I loved exploring the shops and amazing views from the decks.  The layout of the resort can be a little tricky, just trying to figure out which floor you have to go to get on the monorail or different restaurants took a little work, but mostly we had Tara as our guide since she is most familiar with the resort.

Tara: I had not stayed at Contemporary since I was a wee lass and really have no memory of it. I was thrilled to check it off the list since had recently stayed in Bay Lake Tower it was nice to compare. I love how convenient staying in the Tower is to everything. It is such a quick trip to stores, restaurants, and the monorail. You can not beat the convenience of everything. The room was nice but not Disney enough for many people. It is not “special” but more like an upscale Hilton or Marriott. I LOVED the bathroom though and found it more than special and comfortable. One thing that was nice is at night when you walk into the bathroom it has a sensor and a dim light comes on to help you maneuver. This was a great perk since I did not want to wake up the other girls! The beds were very comfortable and the view was great. I enjoyed it and would stay again, but it is at the bottom of the three monorail resorts for me with Polynesian and Grand Floridian taking the top spots.

Jamie: Walking into the Contemporary for our stay felt so much different from the previous visits I’d made to the resort. We took the elevator up to our room and when we stepped out there was a huge glass wall… and Space Mountain. How cool, to open the door to your hotel room every morning and there is Space Mountain! It’s an experience I’m glad I was able to have. The room was very nice. I especially loved the balcony and our view of Bay Lake. My main “cons” are the ones that Jillian has already mentioned, from the food in the hallway to the lack of transportation at the end of the night. Overall I think the resort is pretty great, but it still wasn’t able to knock the Polynesian off of my top monorail resort spot!

If you haven’t yet given the Contemporary Resort a try you may want to add it to your list of resorts.  You can’t beat the location, views, and dining at the Contemporary!

Vintage Disney Tickets

I did a little closet cleaning last week and came across my old scrapbook from when I was a kid  teenager.  Inside I found a few vintage Disney treasures, and I thought it would be fun to share what Disney tickets used to look like.

First up we have a 4 day ticket from 1992.  This was my ticket and that was my 13 year old signature on the front.  Check out the library check out style stamping!  This ticket cost about $118.  About a week after this ticket was issued, Disney switched from this Passport ticket to a Super Pass.

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This is a parking lot ticket from 1989.  Parking was only $3 back then!

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Another 4 day ticket, this time from 1989!  This ticket cost $92 plus tax.  Can you imagine paying that price today?  That’s just slightly less than a one day Magic Kingdom ticket!

Fun facts:  MGM Studios Park opened on May 1, 1989, as well as Pleasure Island.  One month later, Typhoon Lagoon opened its gates.

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Lastly, we have some miscellaneous Disney things I’ve kept over the years.  In June 1992, we stayed at the Polynesian Resort.  I kept the decaf coffee tag (I have no idea why, kids are weird), as well as the transportation card we were issued.  That year was the tail end of the 20 year WDW anniversary, and I have here a shopping bag that reflects that.  Hard to believe we’re now coming up on the 45th anniversary!

We’d love to see your vintage Disney items!  Put them in the comments if you have them!

Podcast Episode 118: November Girls Trip Report

Join us as we talk about all the fun things we did during our recent girls trip to Walt Disney World!  We tried new food (hello, Food & Wine Festival!), new attractions, and new shows!

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Fun Walt Disney World Splurges

There are plenty of ways to spend your hard earned dollars at Walt Disney World, but you don’t have to spend them all on your park tickets or resort room.   Here are some ways to try out something a little different on your Walt Disney World vacation.

Club Level rooms- This splurge come with great views, continental breakfast, snacks, beverages (including alcoholic beverages), desserts and cordials.  Plus if you need itinerary, dining, childcare, transportation services, or golf time set up concierge services can do that. See our series here.

Theme Park View rooms- If you really want to make your family feel special choose a theme park view at select resorts. You cannot beat waking up this type of view or watching fireworks from your bed! 

VIP Tour Services-This is an amazing experience but comes with a big price tag.  So this is a good splurge to share with friends.  Groups are limited to 10 people and must me a minimum of 7 continuous hours.

A VIP Tour Guide smiles as he delivers an excited family to a Walt Disney World Resort destination

Photo via disney.com

Spa Services- There are a few spas to choose from at the Grand Floridian, Dolphin, and Saratoga Springs. Some services offered are massages, facials, nails and hair.

Epcot Seas Adventures- There are a few choices such as Dolphins in Depth, a 3 hour encounter for those 13 and up. There is also the Aqua Tour which is snorkeling in the 5.7 million gallon tank for a 2.5 hour experience for those 8 and up.  If you are SCUBA certified and 10 years and older you can do the DiveQuest experience. During this 3 hour experience you can swim with over 6,000 sea creatures.

Guests clad in SCUBA diving equipment swim beneath a rock arch in a tropical underwater environment

Photo via disney.com

Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian- high tea is served every day in the afternoon features specially blended teas, sandwiches and desserts.  What a fun and fancy way to add a little splurge to your vacation.

Victoria & Albert’s- This AAA five diamond restaurant experience located in the Grand Floridian is the ultimate splurge, particularly the Chef’s Table with is a 13 course dinner created  just for your party.

A Chef greets a table of Guests dining at Victoria and Albert's restaurant

Photo via disney.com

 

 

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue is a zany vaudeville comedy show and served with all you care to eat fired chicken, BBQ ribs, salad, and strawberry shortcake.  Drinks include unlimited draft beer, wine and sangria for those over 21.  This two hour event takes place in Pioneer Hall at Fort Wilderness.  Check out Tara’s review here.

Have you ever splurged for something really unique at Walt Disney World?  If so what has been your favorite splurge, we’d love to hear!

Podcast Episode 114: Fall 2016 Disney News

Here at Dole Whipped, we like to keep you informed of all the Disney information available so this week we bring you Fall 2016 Disney news!  We hope this helps you better plan your upcoming Disney vacations!

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