How the Grand Floridian Captured our Heart

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Orange Loop. Today we are reviewing Walt Disney World deluxe resorts.


Grand Floridian from Boat

In July of 2013, my family was able to take advantage of a special rate and stay at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  I was a new Pixie Vacations travel agent, and they were having an agent get together, so we were able to get a good rate to stay at the resort.  We had been here once before, but just for a dinner, and had never imagined that we would be able to actually stay here.  My wife and I, after that first visit for dinner, had made a resolution that we would stay here to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  We were actually able to stay here just before our 13th wedding anniversary, cutting that time in half!

The Grand Floridian is the flagship resort of Walt Disney World, but oddly enough, it isn’t an original Walt Disney World resort!  It didn’t actually open for business until June 28, 1988, nearly 17 years after the Magic Kingdom opened!  When I learned that, it astonished me.  This resort isn’t even 30 years old yet.

However, this isn’t about the facts and figures of the resort.  This story is the story of how the resort reached out, grabbed Cindy and I by the heart, and pulled us in.  As I said, we were able to stay here much more quickly than we thought we would, and we were instantly impressed with the Victorian charm of this classic resort.  It’s the flagship resort for Walt Disney World for a reason, and we quickly found out why when we walked into the opulent lobby of the resort.

Grand Floridian Grand Piano

As we entered, I kept thinking to myself, we wouldn’t be able to stay here if we didn’t have that special rate.  It’s almost like the Disney Magic had been cranked up on high for us, not just for our trip, but so we could stay at this resort.  The room fit Sophie, Cindy and myself perfectly — we had no issue with space or anything like that.  We had a small balcony that we could go out on, but we spent most of our time away from the room to enjoy that feature.

The amenities are incredible at the resort, from signature restaurants to incredible views, great perks such as taking the boat or the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom.

This trip, though, and the appeal of this resort, wasn’t in the room, or the lobby, or the amenities, or even so much the location.  The beauty of this resort is that it captured my imagination, it offered me a taste of what it would be like to stay here, and it did so in such a way that it welcomed us with open arms, and invited us to stay there again.  Next month is our 15th wedding anniversary, and ten years after that — we’ll be back at the Grand Floridian, staying there for our anniversary, unless we get back there before then.

For more information on Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!


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Magic Kingdom Attraction Guide – “it’s a small world”

"it's a small world"

Today in our Magic Kingdom Attraction Guide series, we are taking a look at one of my favorite attractions in Fantasyland: “it’s a small world”.  This attraction is a favorite of mine for several reasons, but first, here are the details:

Attraction Name: “it’s a small world”
Attraction Type: Slow Rides
Height Requirements: Any Height
Location: Fantasyland
Hours of OperationAll Day.
FastPass+: Available

As I was saying, there are several reasons why I like this attraction.  For starters, I love the song!  I know that many people can only take the song for just so long, but for me, the song is perfect.  It is catchy, it is something that can stick with you for quite a while, it was written by the Sherman Brothers, and the whole purpose of the attraction is to show us just how much we have in common with one another, despite our geographic, ethnic, and language differences.  In addition, every time I think of “it’s a small world” I remember the times I would visit with my Grandparents and we would have a snack in Pinocchio Village Haus and watch the boats take off below.

Do you have any memories or a special affinity for “it’s a small world”?  Please let me know in the comments, and thanks for stopping by!

Magic Kingdom Attraction Guide – Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Dumbo

Dumbo the Flying Elephant is next up in our Magic Kingdom Attraction Guides series.  This opening day attraction has gone through some transformations lately.  The most important aspect is that it moved from near Prince Charming Regal Carrousel over towards the Storybook Circus part of Fantasyland, and in addition, a second Dumbo attraction was added, creating what is commonly known as the “Dueling Dumbos”.  Here are the specifics of this attraction:

Attraction Name: Dumbo the Flying Elephant
Attraction Type: Slow Ride/Spinning
Height Requirements: Any Height
Location: Fantasyland
Hours of OperationAll Day.
FastPass+: Available

In addition to the actual ride, one of the great improvements they made was to add the big top area of the attraction.  This is a great place to take a load off, let the kids work off some energy, sit in nice air conditioning, and wait leisurely for your time to ride.  This is one of those cases where you need to decide which is better — to make a FastPass+ selection and bypass the big top, or to get a stand by pager (which notifies you when it is your time to ride) and go into the big top to relax.  Which do you think is the better way to go?  Let me know in the comments.  In the meantime, here is a picture from my friend Denny for you to enjoy!

Image Courtesy and ©Denny

Image Courtesy and ©Denny

 

Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia – Walt Disney World Resorts!

Contemporary Resort

 

Hello everyone, and welcome to another edition of Tiggerific Tuesday Trivia!  Along with my wonderful co-hosts Jenn from Disney Babies Blog, Heidi from Heidi’s Head, and our fearless leader Jodi from Magical Mouse Schoolhouse, I’m Mike from My Dreams of Disney, here to give you a little tidbit of Disney Trivia!

My daughter Sophie has been really great about looking up the trivia questions for me, so I have given her the opportunity to look up the trivia throughout the month of February also!  Here is what she found out for today:

Katielu from Knoxville, TN writes: “Which Walt Disney World hotel was the first to be built? How many rooms are there? And is Walt Disney World considered the biggest resort in the world?”

Dave Smith answered: “The Contemporary Resort and the Polynesian Resort opened first, in 1971.  Today, there are almost 25,000 rooms in Walt Disney World hotels, making it by far the largest resort in the world.

Today’s trivia, of course, comes to us from Mr. Dave Smith’s excellent book, Disney Trivia from the Vault.  If you are interested in purchasing the book, click on the link to go to his book site on Amazon.com!  Thanks for stopping by, make sure you visit the rest of the sites by clicking on the links below!  Thanks, and make it a Disney Day (or night!)



My list of 10 places I want to eat at Walt Disney World!

Dining-Reviews

Plenty of pixels have been devoted to my love of Walt Disney World dining, so much so that yesterday on the Magical Blogorail we talked about our favorite Disney breakfast spots!

So today, for this post, I thought I would talk with you about the 10 places at Walt Disney World that I would love to eat at, and haven’t been able to do so yet!  This could easily be a list of 50 places because there are so many great places to eat at Walt Disney World, but I’ll start with just 10.  These aren’t in any particular order, but I’d love feedback to determine which of these should be left off my list in your opinion, and which ones are your favorites.  Thanks!

  1. Artist Point – This is a 2 dining credit Signature restaurant at the Wilderness Lodge.  It sounds like a really great place to go for a nice romantic dinner with my wife!
  2. California Grill — Located on the top of the Contemporary Resort, this restaurant offers incredible views of Wishes — and even if you eat at the restaurant during the day, you can come back at night to watch the fireworks from there by showing your receipt!
  3. Citrico’s — This restaurant, located at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, looks absolutely incredible!  I would love to take Cindy here for a special dinner!
  4. Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show — Located at the Polynesian Resort, the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show is a mix of great family-style food and a Luau with dancing, fire shows, and more!
  5. San Angel Inn Restaurante — Located inside the Mexican Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase, this restaurant overlooks the start of the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros.  I know that some people have said that the food is iffy, but I want to try it for myself, and I picked this because the atmosphere appears a little better then La Hacienda de San Angel, which overlooks World Showcase Lagoon.
  6. Narcoossee’s — This restaurant, located near the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, has a great reputation for incredible food!
  7. Victoria & Albert’s — Eating here with Cindy for my 25th Anniversary would be absolutely incredible!  Only 12 1/2 years to go on that! :)
  8. Whispering Canyon Cafe — Located at the Wilderness Lodge, my buddy Chip said that this is an incredible place to eat!  I’ll take his word for it and make a reservation there in the future.
  9. Le Cellier Steakhouse — I’ve heard people say that this is an absolutely incredible steakhouse, but I’ve also heard people say that i t isn’t as good since it was made a signature restaurant.  What do you all think?
  10. Kouzzina by Cat Cora® — I’ve always liked the look of this restaurant, which is located in the Boardwalk region of Walt Disney World.  What do you think of it, worth it, or is it overrated and only a “name recognition” type restaurant?

So there you have it, my top 10 places I’d like to eat at but haven’t yet.  How did I do?  Do you recommend some that I don’t have on my list?  Please let me know in the comments below, and thanks!