Quiet Places to Relax at Walt Disney World

At some point during your Disney vacation, or even if you are just a local needing a break, it is nice to take some down time to find places to relax at Walt Disney World resorts. Most of the resorts offer little nooks and crannies for guests to relax in while staying there. Some of my favorite places are hidden between the deluxe resorts and villas. I love to enjoy a nice afternoon at resorts like Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Beach Club Villas, Old Key West, Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village, and the Villas and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

One of my absolute favorite spots to catch up with a good book or just relax in front of the fireplace is the Carolwood Pacific Room in the Villas at Wilderness Lodge. The leather rocking chairs would be in my house if I thought I could sneak off with them. This room is so peaceful! I love the touches from pictures of Walt riding the Carolwood Pacific miniature train in his backyard, to some of the actual cars from that train, and even the game tables families can gather around.

Me in the Carolwood Pacific Room
Carolwood Pacific rocking chair
Carolwood Pacific fireplace
Carolwood Pacific model

Another great location to get away from it all is at Disney’s Beach Club in the Solarium. It is tucked away just off the lobby near the Marketplace. The room is light and airy and has great couches and chairs in seating areas spread out around the room. This is a great room for meeting family and friends to chat outside of your resort room.

Solarium sign
Solarium
Solarium 2
Solarium 3

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village, I adore the Library. It is comfy and welcoming, and rarely has any other guests around. In addition to being beautiful inside, the Library boasts a phenomenal view from it’s balcony overlooking the savanna. Also found here are some of the butterfly quotes that can be found around the resort. You can read more about them in my previous post here.

Library at Kidani
Fireplace in Library at Kidani
Sitting area in Library at Kidani
Porch outside Library at Kidani

Papa’s Den, the library in the Hospitality House of Disney’s Old Key West Resort, is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy one of the many great books housed there. The decor is light and airy, similar to the Beach Club, but with Florida style. The books are all from authors who are from or wrote in Key West, like Ernest Hemingway, who the library is named in referenced to.

Papa’s Den
Papa’s Den 2
Papa’s Den 3

Just a couple of days ago I found a new spot at a resort where I’ve stayed at least five times already, Disney”s Wilderness Lodge. Since this is my favorite place to visit during Christmas time, I decided to take the elevator up to the sixth floor to get some pictures of the ginormous tree in the lobby. I looked across the lobby and saw what appeared to be a seating area I hadn’t noticed before just above the entrance doors. I went to the front side of the resort and found two areas on the sixth and fifth floors with leather chairs, sofas and fireplaces. These little nooks may be one of my new favorite places to relax and steal away to.

Wilderness Lodge lobby
Club chair
Fireplace on 6th floor of Wilderness Lodge
View from 6th floor at Wilderness Lodge
Sitting area on the 5th floor
Sofa on 5th floor

The next time you are at Walt Disney World and find yourself needing a place to relax, check out some of these resorts. Do you have any spots that I missed? Please let me know.

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Thanksgiving Dining at Walt Disney World

Mickey and the gang celebrating Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving image copyright Disney

If you are like me, and you are finding yourself at Walt Disney World over Thanksgiving and don’t have set plans yet, don’t fret. There are great dining options across property in both the parks and resorts. Some are even still available for dinner reservations at this point in time (11pm Wednesday, 11/14) (subject to change of course). Even if you don’t want to make a reservation for some of the restaurants for a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner, there are counter service locations that can still fill your craving for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

 

Character Thanksgiving Meals

Some of the character meals across the parks and resorts are getting special treatment just for Thanksgiving. They offer holiday menus with many having traditional meals, with others focusing more on their own twist on the holiday fare. At the Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s buffet is offering a Thanksgiving dinner. Across Bay Lake at Fort Wilderness, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ becomes Mickey’s Backyard Thanksgiving feast featuring turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and many of your favorites. In the parks, Tusker House, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is having Donald’s Dining Safari Thanksgiving Lunch and then a non-character Thanksgiving meal for dinner. Walt Disney World Swan’s Garden Grove is having a character buffet dinner as well.

 

Table Service Thanksgiving Meals

Many of the restaurants in the parks are also providing meal options for the holiday. In the Magic Kingdom, Liberty Tree Tavern has both family style lunch and dinners. Also, the Diamond Horseshoe is hosting a table service dinner. At Epcot, the Biergarten in Germany has both Thanksgiving lunch and dinner options. Hollywood Studios has their buffet open for lunch and dinner as well as the Fantasmic dinner package. And, as already mentioned, in the Animal Kingdom, Tusker House is offering their dinner buffet.

At the resorts is where you will find most of the special holiday menus being offered. Artist Point at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge has a special prix fixe menu. Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club has a dinner buffet and the Captain’s Grille at the Yacht Club is serving both lunch and dinner buffets. At the Grand Floridian, Citrico’s has a prix fixe dinner menu. Also with a prix fixe menu is Flying Fish Cafe at the Boardwalk. For some a la carte menu options you could try lunch or dinner at the Grand Floridian Cafe. Still at that resort for dinner you can have a Thanksgiving dinner at Narcoossee’s. Trail’s End at Fort Wilderness is having a lunch and dinner buffet. At the Polynesian you have lunch or dinner at Kona Cafe, Olivia’s at Old Key West is also serving both meals, as are Sanaa at Kidani Village, the Wave at the Contemporary and the Turf Club at Saratoga Springs. For more family style meals, check out either Whispering Canyon Cafe at the Wilderness Lodge for lunch or dinner, or dinner at the Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club.

Are you staying at the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin? If so, don’t worry, they have great options too! Fresh Mediterranean Market at the Dolphin is having a lunch buffet. The Swan’s Il Mulino is serving Thanksgiving dinner a la carte as is the Dolphin’s Todd English’s bluezoo. Downtown Disney even has some options for you at the House of Blues for dinner and Planet Hollywood for both lunch and dinner.

 

Counter Service Thanksgiving Meals

So, what if you, like me, have waited til the last minute and maybe there aren’t reservations available for your party of five? Don’t worry, Disney has that covered too. In Epcot, Sunshine Seasons, one of my favorite counter service options already, is supposed to be offering a special holiday menu too. Don’t want to go to a park, there’s a resort that has your name written all over it. At Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, the End Zone Food Court is even getting into the holiday meal spirit with a Thanksgiving dinner from noon until 10pm with turkey, mashed potatoes, candied yams, vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls and your choice of either apple or pumpkin pie for only $10.99 for guests 10 and up and $5.99 for children 3 to 9 (prices, times and menu items subject to change without notice).

 

All in all, it looks like Walt Disney World has some pretty great options of many varieties of cuisine and location for just about any appetite. Many of these options are on the Disney Dining Plan and as I mentioned, a few are even still available at this time. If you find yourself at WDW over the holiday, have a Happy Thanksgiving and happy eating!

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Disney Vacation Club: Kidani at Animal Kingdom Lodge and Marathons

In 2010, for Marathon cheering we stayed at Wilderness Lodge.  I love the proximity to Magic Kingdom.

Once Todd registered for the Half Marathon, I waitlisted Bay Lake tower and we made a reservation at Kidani as well.

For Disney Vacation Club, members currently get to plan vacations at the 11 months ahead for their Home resort.  My home resorts are Boardwalk Villas and Saratoga Springs.  At 7 months ahead they can use their points at the other disney vacation club resorts.

Since Bay Lake Tower is close to Magic Kingdom, I waitlisted a studio there and also made a reservation at Kidani since Todd’s cousin Lindsay and her partner Jackie were staying there.

What is a waitlist?  If all of the DVC inventory is taken, you can request to be on a list that if someone cancels, you woud get a chance to get a room.  It was about 2 months before the event when I cancelled my request.

Kidani  is the Larger of the DVC choices at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Todd called DVC to verify our request of a room near his cousin. We went to dinner the night before at Sanaa which is located in Kidani and stopped to verify that we would be near them. That morning when we checked in, our assigned room was no where near them! After a few tries with the front desk, we got our room.

For most Disney races you have to be up early, race buses stop at 5am promptly and traffic can occur trying to get there. Most of this is a blur.  For an accurate account go to Todd’s blog at Touringplans.

Since we had a savannah view, which basically means you get to see the animals. It was great to be able to go back to the room and relax and open the curtains so we can see the animals. We got some great shots of the scenery and animals!

We did not get to use the pool during this visit, but we did visit Sanaa 2 nights in a row. Sanaa is excellent, it works well with my dietary needs. I agree with others in that this resort needs a counter service option for convenience!

We enjoyed our stay at Kidani, and look forward to staying there again!

 

 

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Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Landscape of Flavors Menus and More Food Pics

While we briefly gave an overview of the meals we sampled the other day for breakfast and dinner, I thought we should take a closer look at what I’m sure will become one of my favorite counter service locations on property: Landscape of Flavors at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. There are so many amazing things to share about this great food court. It is like no other value resort in its attention to detail and theming that are prevalent throughout the resort common areas and suites.

One of my favorite details I wanted to share was all of the incredible artwork in the different dining areas themed after the resorts areas of The Lion King, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Little Mermaid. I wish I could take some of this artwork home to decorate my house! It feels like you are immersed in a very cool art gallery while enjoying some truly incredible food. I was trying to describe the menu to a friend the other day and think Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Kidani Village is the closest as far as the world flavors influence, but with some Riverside Mill from Port Orleans Riverside thrown in with the create your own pasta and salad options. Having said that, this food court really doesn’t feel like any other. The ambiance is very relaxed and welcoming. I cannot wait to go back and try some of the incredible offerings that this restaurant has!

Also check out our post from the other day with pictures of what we ordered for dinner and breakfast here.

 

Landcape of Flavors general pictures and artwork

 

Breakfast pictures and menus

 

Snacks and drinks

 

Dinner pictures and menus

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