Saturday, February 11, 2012

Disney's Magical Express (Walt Disney World - Feb. 2012)

This complimentary shuttle service is your first and last interaction with the Disney experience of any trip.

The buses are huge, with plenty of leg and storage room.  They show a fun, and somewhat informational, video on the various resorts and parks that Disney has to offer, along with some tips on how to ease your check-in process.  When it wrapped up they showed a Classic Donald Duck animated short... not gonna lie, it brought me back to me childhood when these would regularly air on the Disney Channel.

As the Donald short was ending we were pulling into our resort (same thing pulling back into Orlando International Airport on the way home), I have to give them a lot of credit on their timing of the video syncing up with the drive.

The buses arrived, for pick up & delivery, on time.  The drivers and attendants were more then pleasant, with that added Disney charm we come to expect.

A great service that completely relieves you of the mental pressures of getting to & from the resorts & airports.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Eating Around the World: World Premiere Food Court at Disney's All-Star Movies Resort

We grabbed some food, during & after the Super Bowl from this Food Court.  Also it was were we had breakfast before heading out to the Parks each morning.

It was 100% pre-made cafeteria food, but at Disney prices.

We didn't completely mind the quick (clearly frozen) pizza, chicken fingers and fries while we were watching the Super Bowl at the bar Sunday night.  We were sitting at a bar, bar food was all we were really looking for.  No big deal.

But the first morning we got breakfast, I was thoroughly disappointed.  I got the "Western Omelet" and it was definitely off the assembly line.  The potatoes weren't very good either.  Lesson learned.

The rest of the week we kept it simple... Bagel (with cream cheese), OJ and coffee.  No frills, just some grub and go-go juice to get the morning started.  But like I said you still have to get them at Disney prices.  The two of us got the same thing and it would run us just under $30.  It's a bit much, but I think everyone kind of expect a little sticker shock when they get to a Disney cash register.

Disney's All-Star Movies Resort (Walt Disney World - Feb. 2012)

There are three "All-Star" resorts at Disney... the Music, Sports, and the one I stayed at, Movies.

I selected the All-Star Movies Resort based mostly on price.  I've always been more of a value traveler when it comes to hotels.  I primarily use them to sleep, shower, and change clothes in.  So as long as the bed, bathroom, and walls all work properly I'm usually good with it.

When we arrived the woman at the front desk was very pleasant.  They had us listed as a 2 Double Bed room, but I had booked a King Bed room.  I mentioned this to her, she made a phone call and about two minutes of back-n-forth later we were all set with the king bed.  She explained all the amenities, directions to navigate the resort to our room, and all the info we would need to make our trip as easy as possible.

We were then shown down to the Concierge to deal with out Park Tickets.  She explained that, since I purchased through Expedia, I would need to go to a will call window at any of the theme parks to retrieve our passes.

So we made our way to our room... We we in the Mighty Ducks section of the resort.  It's separated into movie themed hotels... Mighty Ducks, Fantasia, Toy Story, Herbie The Love Bug, and 101 Dalmatians.

Being a lifelong hockey fan it was a small bonus being in the hockey themed section of the resort.

The room itself was completely adequate in size and functionality.  The bed and pillows were comfortable at night, it did have the stereotypical "heavy comforter."  I don't know why but a lot of hotels I've stayed in have had very heavy comforters.  I'm not really a fan of them.  The toilet worked, the shower and sink had consistent hot water when needed.  All good.

But I really have to commend them on having thick walls!  There was easily a few hundred, VERY LOUD, 15-year-old girls from Brazil and Argentina staying at our resort... along with a few competitive teen dance troops.  But when I was in the room, you'd think the place was empty.

The pools were all themed to their corresponding section of the hotel.  For instance, ours was painted like a hockey rink with Goofy playing goalie.  The Fantasia one had Sorcerer Mickey on top of a rock hanging over the pool, shooting water fountains into the pool (much like the movie).

We watched the Super Bowl on Sunday night and got night caps all the other nights at the Silver Screen Spirits Bar, across from the Fantasia pool.  Our bartender, Nicola, is an extremely friendly English woman (don't be surprised if you think you're seeing her waiting tables at the Rose & Crown in the UK section of EPCOT, it's her twin sister).  The drinks were very well poured, just strong enough, and for Disney standards pretty cheap too.

Our intention was to  head over to the Magic Kingdom, after the Super Bowl, to take advantage of their "Magic Hours" (stays open late, til 1am).  But we were informed that the will call windows would be closed and we wouldn't be able to get our tickets until morning.

So we grabbed a few more drink at the bar, chatted up some people there, played a few games at the arcade inside the resort, and called it a night around midnight.

The rest of our trip went by just as easy as the first day.  The automatic check out meant we didn't have to deal with that on our last day.  The Disney Magical Express passes were dropped off at our room on the last morning and they even checked us in to our flight, printed the boarding passes, and dropped them off as well.  Completely painless process.

Now are there perks or luxuries in some of the higher end Disney resorts? Absolutely... but I wasn't looking for them.  This one had exactly what I was looking for, so I'd be more then happy to stay here again in the future.