The Disney Parks Blog had a big announcement today about the two new Walt Disney World nighttime spectaculars – “Harmonious” and “Disney Enchantment” that will debut on October 1st to help kick off the resort’s 50th anniversary festivities during “The World’s Most Magical Celebration!”
As a special early 50th surprise, you can catch LIVE streaming performances of both ground-breaking shows on the Disney Parks Blog!
Walt Disney World Nighttime Spectaculars Dates
Wed, 9/29 – LIVE: “Harmonious” at EPCOT at 9:00 p.m. ET.
Thurs, 9/30 – LIVE: “Disney Enchantment” at Magic Kingdom Park at 10:15 p.m. ET.
Beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, see “Harmonious” at EPCOT, one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park.
The show, which is a key milestone in the transformation of EPCOT, pays tribute to the stories and songs that unite us all featuring new technical magic that includes special pyrotechnics, moving fountains, special lighting and media.
Disney Live Entertainment and Walt Disney Imagineering have created a transformative experience with “Harmonious” that invites you to travel the globe through new interpretations of classic Disney songs as you’ve never heard them before. The songs are reimagined in more than a dozen languages by a diverse group of 240 artists from around the world.
“Harmonious” is a unique experience that could only happen at EPCOT, a place dedicated to possibility, wonder, and the global community.
Just about 24 hours after the “Harmonious” event, the DPB is LIVE streaming the new nighttime spectacular, “Disney Enchantment” along with a special celebratory moment, on Thursday at 10:15 p.m. ET from Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort.
In “Disney Enchantment,” you’re inspired to believe in magic, with captivating Disney music, enhanced lighting, and immersive projection effects that extend – for the first time – from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A. The evening extravaganza features stunning fireworks as well as an emotional original song, entitled “You Are the Magic,” by eight-time GRAMMY-winner and former Walt Disney World cast member Philip Lawrence.
Today,you can see a new, magical behind-the-scenes look at how everything is coming together to bring “Disney Enchantment” to life at Magic Kingdom Park.
This one-of-a-kind show features characters, moments, and music from dozens of Disney and Pixar animated films. It takes you beyond the ordinary to a land of magic, where we’re swept up in a world of wonder filled with friendship, love and fun. Through it all, we’ll discover we only have to look within to find the power to believe and make dreams come true, because the magic was inside us all along!
Visitors can now make reservations for the newest addition to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resorts, the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve, a 14-story hotel, offering an upscale and boutique environment in the middle of Walt Disney World Resort. On track to open this summer, at this time reservations can be made online or by phone at 1-888-236-2427 for Sept. 1 and beyond.
The Walt Disney World Swan Reserve is designed to offer an intimate and tranquil oasis like no other for guests to experience the Walt Disney World Resort. Positioned adjacent to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, the hotel will feature 349 guest rooms, 149 spacious suites and two presidential suites, all lavishly appointed and featuring floor-to-ceiling windows.
With Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios within walking distance, or easily accessible via complimentary Disney water taxi, guests of the hotel can flow effortlessly from the excitement of the theme parks to the relaxation of their guest room.
“Guests of the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve will truly have an experience like nothing else, thanks to a location that’s like nowhere else,” said Area General Manager Sean Verney. “With its relaxing atmosphere, 151 well-appointed suites with stunning views, it really is the perfect complement to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, providing even more options to experience a magical getaway.“
The hotel’s suites are ideal for families of 6-8 people or for executive business meetings, featuring residential-style comfort combined with the latest technological capabilities.
New features at the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve will include:
· Vue, an exclusive rooftop space perfect for weddings and social galas – boasting breathtaking views of Walt Disney World Resort
· New signature Mediterranean restaurant
· Grab-n-go cafe
· Scenic pool area with elevated deck and fire pit
· State-of-the-art fitness center
· More than 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, including 2 ballrooms and 12 meeting rooms
· More than 13,000 sq. ft. of outdoor event space
· Business Center
· Unique Walt Disney World Resort benefits, including complimentary transportation to all four theme parks and Disney Springs for entertainment, shopping and dining
Additionally, guests of the Walt Disney World Swan Reserve will have full access to all the amenities at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, including Mandara Spa, five pools, 18 restaurants and lounges, preferred tee times on nearby Disney championship golf courses, four signature restaurants: Shula’s Steak House, Todd English’s bluezoo, Il Mulino and Kimonos and special Disney benefits.
I was really excited to share the Disney Parks Blog’s Fall Treat Guide for the Disney Parks, and now it’s time to look at the yummy treats that are available at the Walt Disney World resort hotels and Disney Springs.
The treats being offered this season look ghoulishly good and are available on various dates throughout the fall.
Enough talking…let’s get to the good stuff!!!
Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Springs Fall Treat Guide
WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT HOTELS
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Mike Wazowski Dome Cake (Available Sept. 20-Oct. 31 at Capt. Cook’s) – Milk chocolate cake dome with white chocolate icing
Halloween Minnie Cupcake (Available Sept. 20-Oct. 31 at Capt. Cook’s) – Chocolate cupcake with milk chocolate “rocky road” filling
Poisoned Apple Cocktail (Available through Nov. 1 at Barefoot Pool Bar) – Vodka, melon liqueur, blue curaçao, and pineapple juice with a novelty glow cube
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Spooky Rum Punch (Available Through Oct. 31 at Banana Cabana) – Caribbean rum, sour apple liquor, and cranberry juice garnished with a Purple Poison Apple Novelty Glow Cube
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Monster Cupcake (Available at Contempo Café Oct. 29-31) – Confetti cupcake filled with candy bar custard and purple buttercream
Pumpkin Pie Tart (Available at Contempo Café Oct. 26-29) – Pumpkin pie tart with cinnamon whipped cream
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (All Items Available at Roaring Fork Sept. 27-Oct. 31)
“Going Batty” Halloween Cupcake – Chocolate cupcake with cookies and cream filling and ganache icing
Spooky Mickey Brownie – Classic brownie topped with a dark chocolate spider
Disney’s Pop Century Resort
Pop’s Potion Cocktail (Available through Oct. 31 at Petals Pool Bar) – Coconut rum, melon liqueur, pineapple and orange juice, Sprite, and blue curaçao floater with gummy worm garnish and purple Poison Apple Novelty Glow Cube
Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa (All Items Available Oct. 1-Nov. 1)
Monster Cookie Bag (Available at The Artist’s Palette, Good’s Food To Go, and Conch Flats General Store) – Sweet and salty chocolate chip, pretzel, and candy-filled cookie bites
Pumpkin Spiced Whoopie Pie (Available at The Artist’s Palette) – Chocolate whoopie pie filled with a pumpkin-spiced marshmallow and garnished with a spider web chocolate decor
Caramel Cauldron Cupcake (Available at The Artist’s Palette, Good’s Food To Go, and Conch Flats General Store) – Chocolate cupcake filled with a salted caramel buttercream and sauce garnished with chocolate flames and a witch’s broom
Disney’s Riviera Resort – Le Petit Café
Pumpkin Mousse (Available Sept. 17-Nov. 28 starting at 12pm daily) – Pumpkin mousse with pumpkin cheesecake and autumn-spiced sable
Jack O Lantern Mousse (Available Oct. 30-31 starting at 12pm daily) – Pumpkin mousse with pumpkin cheesecake and Autumn spiced sable
Pumpkin Glacé Coffee (Available through Nov. 28) – Frozen blend of coffee, pumpkin purée, and fall spices topped with cinnamon whipped cream and salted caramel crispy pearls
Candy Corny Cupcake – Vanilla cupcake filled with white chocolate candy corn mousse and decorated with orange and yellow buttercream swirls, yellow crispy pearls, and a white buttercream ghost
Ghostly Mickey Brownie – Mickey-shaped brownie topped with chocolate ganache and garnished with meringue ghosts
Witch’s Mallow-Hat – Breton cookie topped with a marshmallow witch’s hat, coated in dark chocolate, and garnished with Halloween sprinkles
Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club (All Items Available Sept. 22-Oct. 31)
Tiramisù (Available at The Market at Ale & Compass and Beach Club Marketplace) – Classic tiramisù with coffee flavor, a chocolate pretzel skeleton, and marshmallow skull
Candy Corn Cupcake (Available at The Market at Ale & Compass and Beach Club Marketplace) – Vanilla cupcake with chocolate Mickey ears
Pumpkin Whoopie Pie (Available at The Market at Ale & Compass and Beach Club Marketplace) – Pumpkin cake with brown butter cream cheese filling and sprinkles
Pumpkin Spiced Butter Pecan Shake (Available at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop) – Pumpkin-spiced butter pecan shake with chocolate sauce and orange icing topped with a pumpkin cupcake and decorated with assorted chocolate crispy pearls
Candle Petit Cake (Available through Nov. 2) – Layers of chocolate biscuit, vanilla chiffon and cookies and cream mousse with a layer of cookie cream
Halloween Minnie Mousse (Available through Nov. 2) – Carrot cake with pumpkin mousse and marshmallow mousse
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée (Available through Nov. 27) – Pumpkin custard, leaf cookie, and candied pecans
Novelty Pumpkin Tire Straw (Available through Nov. 2)
Minnie Frankenstein Piñata (Available through Oct. 31) – Dark 65% chocolate sphere decorated with modeling chocolate and edible “bolts” filled with milk chocolate-covered vanilla bean marshmallows and crispy pearls
Caramel Ganache Skulls (Available through Oct. 31) – Dark 65% chocolate skulls filled with creamy caramel ganache
Hot Sipping Chocolate (Available through Nov. 2)
Pumpkin Spice Latte Ganache Squares (Available through Nov. 2)
Oogie Boogie Worms in Dirt (Available through Nov. 2) – Mint ice cream, chocolate cookie crumbs, and gummy worms
Bug Juice (Available through Nov. 2) – Vodka, raspberry liqueur, melon liqueur, and blue curaçao with house-made sweet-and-sour and topped with cranberry juice and gummy worms
Oogie Boogie Premium Popcorn Bucket
Pumpkin Milk Shake (Available Through October) – Vanilla gelato, caramel, pumpkin purée, pumpkin pie baking spices, whipped cream, and pumpkin pie baking spices on top
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
Poison Apple Glow Cube (Available Through Nov. 2)
The Daily Poutine(All Items Available Through Nov. 1)
Oktoberfest Poutine– French Fries with stout gravy, bratwurst sausage, sauerkraut, and cheese curds
Canadian Apple Slushy – Apple whisky with Odwalla Lemonade, caramel, and apple topped with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle
Dockside Margaritas (All Items Available through Nov. 2)
Black Magic Margarita – Tequila, orange liqueur, house-made sweet-and-sour, and black cherry purée
Poison Apple Glow Cube
Outdoor Bars (All Items Available Through Nov. 2)
Witch Way– Vodka and blue curaçao with pineapple and orange juices
Jack-O-Lantern– Rum, dark rum, orange liqueur, lemonade, and orange juice with a float of grenadine
Shimmery Star Cosmo
Tire Pumpkin Novelty Straw
Select Outdoor Vending Locations (All Items Available Through Nov. 2)
Oogie Boogie Premium Popcorn Bucket
Halloween Novelty Glow Cubes
Halloween Novelty Straws
Mickey Pumpkin Premium Popcorn Bucket
Halloween Base Popcorn Bucket
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this Walt Disney World Resort and Disney Spring Fall Treat Guide!
Universal Orlando is celebrating 25 years of its family-friendly Mardi Gras festivities with new parade floats, globally inspired cuisine, and live concerts on select nights through April 2 at the Universal Studios Florida theme park.
This year’s parade features six new additional floats, and steps-off at different times during the month.
The parade steps off at 6:15 pm: March 1- 6
The parade steps off at 7:30 pm: March 9-12, 16-19, 23-27, March 30 – April 2
The parade steps off at 7:45 pm: March 7, 8, 13-15, 20-22, 28-29
On select nights during the event, guests can enjoy performances by some of the biggest names in music on the Universal Music Plaza Stage.
Here is who will be performing in March:
Saturday, Mar. 7 – REO Speedwagon @ 8:30 pm
Sunday, Mar. 8 – Dustin Lynch @ 8:30 pm
Friday, Mar. 13 – Luis Fonsi @ 8:30 pm
Saturday, Mar. 14 – The All-American Rejects @ 8:30 pm
Sunday, Mar. 15 – Diana Ross @ 8:30 pm
Friday, Mar. 20 – Chris Young @8:30 pm
Saturday, Mar. 21 – Earth, Wind & Fire @ 8:30 pm
Sunday, Mar. 22 – Marshmello @ 8:30 pm
Saturday, Mar. 28 – Why Don’t We @ 8:30 pm
Sunday, Mar. 29 – Gavin DeGraw @ 8:30 pm
Opening daily at 4 pm, the French Quarter Courtyard is where you can find food and spirits available for purchase and performances from Louisiana jazz, blues, and zydeco bands.
In March you can see the New Breed Brass Band March 6 through March 21 and the Naughty Professor Brass Band March 22 through April 2 on the French Quarter Courtyard stage.
All of the excitement of Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras celebration is included with admission to Universal Studios Florida or with a Seasonal or Annual Pass (blockout dates apply).
And until April 2, Florida residents can experience this year’s Mardi Gras celebration and the spring season by saving up to $65 on multi-day tickets and up to $75 on Seasonal and Annual Passes.
Don’t forget that Mardi Gras celebrations at Universal Studios Florida are held rain or shine, so be sure to plan accordingly.
SeaWorld Orlando’s Seven Seas Food Festival is back for another year to give guests the delicious opportunity to taste their way around the world of international street food traditions. The Seven Seas Food Festival will run through May 5, including Fridays, to give park-goers plenty more chances to sample more than 180 mouthwatering options!
A complete menu of the Seven Seas Food Festival dishes and drinks can be found online here.
In addition to delicious eats, guests visiting SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival can enjoy world-class entertainment every Saturday and Sunday at Bayside Stadium, all included with theme park admission.
Here is who will be taking the stage in March:
March 7 – AJR
March 8 – Dylan Scott
March 14 – Hunter Hayes
March 15 – Joe Nichols
March 21 – YES and Alan Parsons Live Project
March 22 – Edwin McCain
March 28 – Gin Blossoms
March 29 – Village People
Concerts are held at Bayside Stadium each Saturday and Sunday at 6:00 p.m. To ensure you get the best seats in the house, guests can purchase reserved seating for select performances. Reserved seating opportunities are available online here.
The 27th Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival will bloom at the Walt Disney World Resort filling the park with the sights, sounds, and flavors of Spring daily from March 4 until June 1, 2020.
The popular Garden Rocks Concert Series will rock every evening of the Festival with three performances by chart-topping artists on the America Gardens Theatre stage.
Here is who you can see perform this month:
March 4 and 5: Peabo Bryson – NEW!
March 6 through 9: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO
March 10 through 12: The Guess Who
March 13 through 16: Simple Plan
March 17 through 19: STARSHIP featuring Mickey Thomas
March 20 through 23: Mark Wills – NEW!
March 24 through 26: The Spinners
March 27 and 28: Sister Hazel
March 29 and 30: The Pointer Sisters
March 31 through April 2: Steve Augeri – Former Lead Vocalist of Journey
Today Jennifer Fickley-Baker shared the following details about the Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the Disney Parks Blog.
Who’s ready to celebrate? In just a few weeks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be hosting its annual Earth Day celebration, Party for the Planet, April 20-22. During this special three-day event, guests are invited to explore, engage and connect with the magic of nature through family-friendly experiences and specialty offerings.
Party for the Planet kicks off the moment you enter the park, as no Guest will be able to miss a larger-than-life marine debris sculpture celebrating Disneynature Penguins on display in the Oasis.
The fun continues throughout the park with unique character appearances, special entertainment, and commemorative photo opportunities available with Disney PhotoPass photographers.
Throughout this special weekend event you can meet some of our amazing animal care experts, animal educators and conservation experts to see first-hand how Disney cares for animals and works to save endangered species worldwide.
Watch animal feedings and training experiences, specially planned for Party for the Planet, to learn how our keepers care for some of your favorite animals.
Looking for a unique experience during Party for the Planet? Take a journey through tales of adventure and cuisine during Tiffins Talks, a special dining experience April 20-22 from 1-3 p.m., featuring the beloved creative force behind the concept, design and buildout of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney Imagineer and Portfolio Executive Joe Rohde. Join Joe for a unique conversation as he regales you with stories from his travels through a delectable 4-course lunch featuring global dishes, desserts and specialty beverages. Space is limited. Pricing for this dining package is $199 plus tax and gratuity and requires separate park admission. Reservations can be made beginning today by calling 407 WDW-DINE (407 939-3463).
Guests are also invited to meet Joe Rohde at Mombasa Marketplace, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. April 20 and 22, where he will be on hand to sign his own unique artwork, a commemorative lion print that will be on sale throughout the event while supplies last. A wristband is required to meet Joe Rohde. For further details visit the Party for the Planet webpage.
As if all the fun activities happening for Party for the Planet weren’t enough, on Earth Day, April 22, there will be a full assortment of “The Lion King” merchandise available at Mombasa Marketplace! You can feel the love and take home so many fun souvenirs like this adorable Simba mug, Hakuna Matata Spirit Jersey, this “roaringly” cute Simba youth baseball hat or one of the many new items recently added to this collection. #LionKingCelebration
There are so many incredible ways to celebrate nature and the place we all call home at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We hope to see you there!
With the start of a new year and with so much going on after the holidays, I thought it would be a great time to restart our Week in Review and play a little catch up on this week’s highlights and news from the Orlando and Central Florida Attractions and Venues!
Week in Review – December 30, 2013 to January 3, 2014
Walt Disney World Resort
The Disney Parks Blog announced a new contest where you can win a 5-day/4-night vacation for four to either the Walt Disney World Resort or Disneyland Resort.
We’ve just launched disney.com/resolutions where Disney celebrities are sharing how they plan to resolve to spend more time with family in 2014. A new video will be uploaded everyday in January.
On disney.com/resolutions, we are also awarding a vacation-a-day from December 31, 2013 through January 31, 2014! So enter every day for your chance to win because this is the year to spend more quality time with the people you love most. Good luck!
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open only to individuals, who are, as of Entry, legal residents of, and physically located within, the 50 U.S., D.C., Puerto Rico or Canada (excluding Quebec) and who are not Minors. Sweepstakes starts 12:01 AM (EST) on 12/31/13 and ends 11:59:59 PM (EST) on 1/31/14. Click here for Official Rules.
With Walt Disney World Marathon weekend right around the corner, runDisney was everywhere when they released details about the Limited Edition runDisney 2014 New Balance shoes!
I don’t know about you, but I am so excited for everything that is coming to the Universal Orlando Resort!!!
January is Passholder appreciation month at SeaWorld Orlando, and they are offering some great deals!
Bring a friend for FREE! SeaWorld® Orlando Pass Members receive a friend for free ticket*. Online registration is required. Valid for one single-day admission by January 31, 2014. Register Now.
Double Your Discount**
Save 20% on dining in all of our cafeteria-style restaurants
Save 20% on merchandise in our gift shops
*Pass Member must be present for guest to gain admittance. Free ticket offer valid for active SeaWorld Orlando 1-Year, 2-Year and FL Platinum Pass Members. Not valid for Fun Cards, Teacher’s Study Passes or Friends & Family Passes. Free ticket is non-transferable, not for resale and may be revoked for misuse.
**Offer only valid between Jan. 1-31, 2014. Must present active SeaWorld Orlando 1-Year, 2-Year, or FL Platinum Pass to receive savings. Not valid with any other discounts or offers. Not valid on All-Day Dining offers. Merchandise offer valid for in-park purchases only.
The Circus is coming to town!
Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus LEGENDS is coming to the Amway Center January 9-12, but Monday the circus train rolls into Orlando. Fantastic photo opportunities will be available as the Ringling Bros. pachyderm performers parade to the Amway Center.
The Ringling Bros.animal performers will unload at 8:00 p.m. and walk beginning at 8:30 p.m. Animals will unload at railroad tracks near 1035 W. Amelia, then travel east on Amelia, south on North Hughey Ave., then west on West South St. and enter the GEICO Garage behind Amway Center. (Note: route and time are subject to change without notice.)
Tickets are still available and start at $16. Ticketmaster service charges and facility fees not included. All seats are reserved. Tickets are available atwww.ringling.com or www.ticketmaster.com, at any Ticketmaster outlet, by calling 800-745-3000, or at the Amway Center box office (phone:407-440-7900). For group ticket sales and information, call 866-248-8740.
If your house is anything like mine, you have watched the trailer for ‘The LEGO Movie’ four times daily and I was excited to see that they are going to be having a weekend of activities in February!
February 8 & 9, 2014 Enjoy fun for all with activities to celebrate “The LEGO Movie”, the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO adventure featuring an all-star cast and set to open in theaters February 7. Guests will enjoy a special movie-themed building activity, movie-themed scavenger hunt in Miniland USA and meet and greet sessions with costume characters Emmet and Wyldstyle, who play leading roles in this epic movie.
Busch Gardens Tampa
January is also Passholder appreciation month at Busch Gardens Tampa!
Double the Fun – Bring a Friend for FREE
During January, Pass Members can bring a friend for free! Online registration required. Limit one free ticket per active Pass Member. Offer valid between January 1-31, 2014. Other Restrictions Apply. Log in now to register your friend’s ticket and learn more about this limited time offer.
Triple the Savings – 30% off merchandise, food, and beverages
All month long, Pass Members get 30% off merchandise, food and beverages when you visit the park! Offer valid between January 1-31, 2014. Other Restrictions Apply.
Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex
A Falcon 9 rocket is targeted to lift-off during a dramatic SpaceX launch scheduled for January 3, launch time is subject to change but the launch window of 5:05 p.m. to 7:17 p.m. EST. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex guests may view the launch from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, the closest possible public viewing area, or special areas at the Visitor Complex.
Launch viewing from the Apollo/Saturn V Center, located in Kennedy Space Center, includes live mission control commentary and is available for Visitor Complex guests for $20 plus the cost of admission. Admission to the Visitor Complex is $50 plus tax for adults and $40 plus tax for children 3-11. Bus boarding for the Apollo/Saturn V Center begins at 3:15 p.m.
Launch viewing, featuring live mission control commentary, also is available from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and is included in regular admission.
When someone asks me what I love most about Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, I almost always answer with the way it transports me to a different time and place. Part of what vacation is to me is that escapism.
I live here in Florida and to me, the Wilderness Lodge is the Walt Disney World resort that most makes me feel like I am in a completely different place. Maybe it is partially because I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest and this may just be a respectable facsimile of the real thing, but I’d never know any better. To me, this resort epitomizes that portion of the country. It speaks of adventure in its cavernous lobby, dramatic background music, and lush non-tropical surroundings.
I heard someone say a while back that the resorts around the Magic Kingdom were loosely themed around lands of the park. The Grand Floridian correlates to the Victorian stylings of Main Street USA, the Polynesian is modeled after the tropical themes of Adventureland, the Contemporary reflects the clean modern lines of Tomorrowland, and Fort Wilderness and the Wilderness Lodge exude the rustic spirit of Frontierland. One can absolutely see the parallels between the western feel of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (the wildest ride in the WILDERNESS!!!) and the Wilderness Lodge. From the rockwork, to the animals carved into the lodge pole pine beams in the lobby to the elements of railroad in the decor, it isn’t hard to see that the Wilderness Lodge was designed with Frontierland in mind.
Part of what makes this resort so fantastic, is the feeling of being surrounded by nature and wilderness. There is a babbling brook, the Silver Spring, that starts in the lobby and trips over rocks and even small waterfalls until it empties onto the shores of Bay Lake. A geyser spouts off hot water and steam several times throughout the day, lending the resort the feel of a National Park. Pine trees are prevalent throughout the resort, and animals, or at least representations of them, can be seen from before you even enter the lobby. Topiaries of birds and buffalo greet guests before they pull up to the magnificent entrance to the resort of the Wilderness Lodge. Wildflowers bloom and grasses grow in a way that feels very natural to the landscape and not overly manicured by the fabulous horticultural team at Disney.
There are so many great spots to just relax and enjoy the scenery at this resort. It always makes me way to just pull up a rocking chair and read a book, whether by the pool, out on the upper level balcony off the lobby, or in one of the hidden nooks hidden above the entrance to the lobby. I find myself slowing down to enjoy this resort more than others. The resort lends itself to a pace where you can amble along the shore of the lake to discover the path to Fort Wilderness. If you want, of course, you have many recreation activities at your disposal from boating to biking, spa services, fitness center, and the Magic Kingdom is just a short 5-10 minute boat ride away.
I can remember the first time I stayed at the Wilderness Lodge the week before Christmas in 2008. It was the first time I ever stayed club level and it was amazing. Although this is not my favorite overall resort, at Christmas it wins for me, hands down. I don’t know if it is the fireplace, or the absolutely perfect background music, or the incredible 7 story tall Christmas tree in the atrium lobby, but it all adds up to what Christmas looks, smells, sounds and feels like in my book. This is the resort I must visit at some point during the Christmas season above all others at Walt Disney World. Maybe this is partially why I have such a great connection to this resort, due to the first stay being so magical. I almost always stay in a Courtyard view room and have lucked out with views of Bay Lake each time. I’ve even before fortunate enough to be able to lay in bed to watch the Electrical Water Pageant cruise by at night and open the doors to my balcony to enjoy the show.
The accommodations are some of the most affordable in the Deluxe resort category at Walt Disney World, and that may have something to do with why I have stayed here more than any other resort, other than Pop Century. I have stayed at least once a year since 2008, and don’t see that changing any time soon. I adore the peacefulness I feel when I set foot in the lobby. I look up at the totems and remember hearing their stories from Ranger Joe several times. If you haven’t met the Rangers at the resort, make sure to take time out to take the Wilderness Lodge tour, which is given at least once a week typically around 10am. The animals carved into the poles representing the different levels of elevation they would be found at in the mountains are beautiful. Similarly, the effort that went into creating the amazing fireplace cannot go unnoticed. The rockwork (some real and some faux) is stunning! Layers of rock are stacked on top of each other representing different strata of the Grand Canyon.
If you get an opportunity to stay here, I highly recommend the Wilderness Lodge. If not, please at least take the time to explore the resort. Take a few hours and come early or stay late after a reservation for a lively meal at Whispering Canyon Cafe, or a nice quiet dinner at Artist Point, the resort’s signature dining restaurant. Or even just come to enjoy a night cap at the Territory Lounge, but please come. Examine the Native American artifacts like the recreated headdress in the lobby, the display cases on the upper level by hopping on the elevator to the 3 – 6th floors, or find those hidden seating areas above the entrance. There are so many places to explore, including one of my all time favorites, the Carolwood Pacific Room in the Villas. You can read more about some of my favorite Quiet Places to Relax here. I just stayed at the Wilderness Lodge again for the sixth time last week, and I have another reservation coming up in November when friends are in town to visit. I cannot stress enough what a fantastic resort this is and that everyone should stay here at some point. Have you stayed at the Wilderness Lodge? What did you think?Follow us for more updates:
Over the past month we’ve taken many laps biking around Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Resort.
If you’re staying at or visiting either Wilderness Lodge or Ft. Wilderness, you are able to rent bikes on property ($18/day). Since we live so close and now have our own bikes (yay!), we load them up on the car and go explore for a hour or so.
We’ve started each ride from the Wilderness Lodge parking lot (but you can start from either) and we take one of two trails that connect between the lodge and the campground.
If you leave the parking lot and go toward the right (near the bus loop), you can take the paved trail all the way to the campground.
But, if you’re up for even more adventure, head toward the left of the parking lot (by the lake) and you will find the bike rental area and an unpaved trail.
This unpaved trail leads to one of my favorite spots on Disney property.
What a view!
The unpaved trail comes to a fork. Head towards the right where you will meet up with the paved trail.
If you see this sign…you’re going the wrong way…
Both of these paths are great and I forget I’m even on Disney property.
Well, that is until I see the Contemporary or Disney busses passing us 🙂
You enter the campground area going by Tri-Circle-D Farm and you can visit with the ponies, head towards the hall where Hoop Dee Doo Review is held, grab lunch at a quick service restaurant, view the lake or not stop at all and make a couple of laps around the campground.
Don’t worry about getting lost. It’s quite a big area, but we’ve always found our way back to Tri-Circle-D Farm area. While the campground can be kind of busy depending what time of year you visit, there is always plenty of room to bike.
If you have kids with you, there are a couple of playgrounds along the route that they can play on while you catch your breath!
Once you feel like you’ve had enough, you can take one of the two trails back to the lodge.
Oh and you never know what you’re gonna see! We’ve seen so many bunnies along the path and even a deer once!
Please be sure to stay hydrated when you’re biking around the resort. I’ve seen a water fountain at the trading post, but I’d almost bet that there would be some around the comfort stations as well.
The last souvenirs you’re going to want to take away from Disney World are bug bites, take some big spray with you!
MagicBand accessories have arrived just as Walt Disney World has started a largest test of the new MagicBands!
Available at Fantasia gifts at the Contemporary Resort and Zawadi Marketplace at Animal Kingdom Lodge, these accessories allow you to customize your MagicBand in an affordable way!
I was really excited to see that they had a good variety of characters and designs available!
The pricing is what really surprised me! With bands and MagicBandits are priced by item. The MagicBandits with three itema at $6.95 , four items at $8.95 , and three items+ at $12.95. CoverBands are $6.95 for one and $15.95 for 3. MagicSliders for the bands are available in Mickey $12.95 and Minnie $14.95.
I can’t wait to customize my own MagicBand! Look for pictures of mine coming soon!!!
UPDATE!!! Here is a video of the accessories and how they really work and feel!
For even better pictures of the accessories, swing by our Facebook Page to check out this album!
Many of us see the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and think of it as the place where we pick up our RunDisney Race Packets or where the Atlanta Braves hold their Spring Training each year, but this often overlooked part of the Walt Disney World Resort plays home to much, much more!
Walking past the globe and up to the gates, you find yourself immersed into a world of sports…no pun intended. But it is really amazing to see so many talented kids and adults in one place playing the games they love!
When you first walk up to the complex, you will notice that there is a large Box Office where you can purchase your tickets for events at the complex. It is important to note that guests, who are not athletes or coaches participating in an event, require paid admission for entrance. General admission prices for Adults (Ages 10+) $16.00 and Children (Ages 3-9) $11.00, and for many events length-of-event admission tickets are available. Also Premium and Special Events may require additional charges. If you are planning on visiting the complex for a specific event, you can go to the ESPN Wide World of Sports site, and search by event for ticket options.
The one thing that totally blew my mind when I visited the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is just how many venues they have for almost any sport imaginable!
The first thing I think of when I think of ESPN Wide World of Sports, is their fields, all 28 of them, that feature surfaces for signature sports. For baseball, there is the Baseball Quadraplex which is home to four professional sized fields and one practice field. Fields 7 and 9 are more versatile grass playing surfaces for soccer. In Diamondplex 10-15 you will find baseball and fastpitch softball fields. While the Hess® Fields 16-30 feature versatile grass playing surfaces for sports including soccer, baseball, field hockey, and lacrosse.
Champion® Stadium is Disney’s Big League Stadium, and is home to the Atlanta Braves Spring Training. This stadium is also used for baseball and fastpitch softball. It is a great stadium! It’s just the right size to make you feel like you are at a big-time game, while still having the fun and intimate feeling that is so unique to MLB Spring Training!
The HP Field House is a multi-sport facility; they have even laid down ice for ice skating competitions and ice hockey games! But mostly you will find the HP Field House playing host to cheer, basketball, and volleyball competitions.
The Jostens® Center is another multi-sport facility, and where the RunDisney Expo and Race Packet Pick-Up are usually held. The day I visited ESPN Wide World of Sports, it was host to 6 basketball courts for the AAU Basketball Tournament. It is a HUGE facility that is also home to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill and Custom Tee Center by Champion®.
The New Balance Track and Field Complex is a Premier competition and training facility for state, national, and international events. If you ran in the Run Disney Tower of Terror 10-miler, this is where the Haunted Mansion Grave Diggers were waiting for us.
And finally, at the Tennis Complex you will find ten clay courts, including a stadium court! These courts can accommodate anything from a youth clinic to a professional tournament.
If you think that getting around the ESPN Wide World of Sports would be confusing and overwhelming you would be wrong!
With the Welcome Center conveniently located in the heart of the complex, you are never far from help! In the Welcome Center, you will find Cast Members who are extremely knowledgeable about not only the Complex but all of the Walt Disney World Resort. You can do anything from finding event information to purchasing tickets (even for La Nouba) to help scheduling large group reservations and activities. And if you happen to be far away from the Welcome Center, there are several mobile units and Cast Members deployed to fields around the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
ESPN Wide World of Sports also makes use of video displays throughout the complex. There are also four screen hubs, where four large LED monitors show you event highlights, information, weather, and general information about the complex. These hubs are soooo useful, and if you are lucky you might even catch your team featured in the highlights!
Also, for events you will find maps where you least expect to find them…on the ground giving you an easy way to find your field or venue!
If you want to grab a bite to eat, you have a ton of options!
The most fun option is that you can have pizza delivered to your field. Seriously…how cool is that???
You will also find a mobile ESPN Food Truck where you can buy anything from a snack to a beer, and when the Complex is really busy you will even find local food trucks!
Also, inside of the HP® Field House there is an almost mini-food court with several options available.
But if you are looking to get away from the hustle and bustle, you may want to visit the ESPN Wide World of Sports Grill. You’ll find Burgers, Salads, sandwiches, and even a full service bar to relax in after a fun event. They have coke freestyle machines inside the Grill, which is always a fun bonus!
There are also three really unique offerings at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The first is the Custom Tee Center by Champion® where you can customize an event T-shirt with more than 50 designs available to commemorate your accomplishment or you can design your own shirt, like I did! This is a really cool area of ESPN Wide World of Sports, and one that you definitely don’t just want to pass by! I opted to make a shirt that was perfect for training for my upcoming RunDisney races, but there were tons of other shirt styles and designs I could have chosen from. For me, the best part is that the shirts are ready in a snap (mine was ready in about 30 minutes) and if you can’t pick up your shirt until the next day they make sure it stays safe until you can come and get it from the Tee Center.
The second really amazing service offered at ESPN Wide World of Sports is the Gameday Photo Experience. Here you can view your Gameday Photos, create custom photo keepsakes, and take amazing green screen pictures. You can even make posters and fully personalized ESPN The Magazine covers. The quality of these photo products are incredibly high and they are produced with little to no turnaround. It really is perfect for the hectic schedule of sporting events.
Also, you will find the PlayStation Pavilion where athletes between and after games can wind down by playing the ultimate PS3® gaming experience. There is an additional charge to use this area, but it is a great way to bring a team together or celebrate a big win!
As you can see, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is much more than what meets the eye and I can’t wait to share more about teams can make the most of their time at the Complex and how to make sure you don’t miss any great opportunities to visit.
You’ve told us how much you love your DVC Membership — now’s your chance to tell the world!
We are looking for dynamic, enthusiastic Members who might be interested in sharing their favorite Disney Vacation Club DVC stories on camera for use in upcoming marketing tactics. If this sounds like fun and you’re planning to be at Walt Disney World® Resort in May, we’d love to hear from you! Just click here to provide us with your contact information, details on your travel party and a picture, and a Disney Cast Member will be in touch in the next few weeks.
We look forward to hearing from you soon!
Your Disney Vacation Club family
The second annual decorative Easter Eggs at Disney’s Grand Floridian hotel are up! But only for a few more days – through Sunday, March 31.
If you walk in the front door of the lobby, you will immediately see these gorgeous eggs. I didn’t get a chance to see them last year, so this was a huge treat for me to stumble upon.
The amount of work and detail put into each of these eggs is amazing. The fact that the Wall-E egg has lights kind of blew my mind. If you’re able to stop by the Grand Floridian before the eggs are egg-stict (sorry, I had to), be sure to do so!