A World Full of Prettiness

Friday, 21 April 2017

Disney Day 8: 1900 Park Fare, Crazy Golf & The Mall!

Today we pencilled in a 'slow day' today because I knew by now all the action of both NYC and our time in the parks would have started to take its toll.
We ventured over to The Grand Floridian and dined with classic English Disney characters. We met the likes of Marry Poppins, Winnie the Pooh, The Mad Hatter etc.. The buffet here was great, so much choice and a cute little section for kids (only in Disney can you eat jelly sweets on top of your pancakes for breakfast! Also in Disney can adults get away with drinking chocolate milk for breakfast).
Ignore my creepy awful face! Totally for Winnie the Pooh...
We mooched around The Grand Floridian afterwards, admiring the architecture and general grandness of the place (they didn't just get given that name for fun!). We then headed over to The Boardwalk around lunchtime. I feel this place is always overlooked on Disney holiday's. I love the atmosphere here and its a great place for some downtime after a few hectic days in the parks.
Subtle Mary Poppins theming around the GF.

Giant Gingerbread Houses in the GF

We then headed to a few outlets, I spent way too long in Forever 21 and bought a few winter items (which felt strange when it was so hot outside!). Definitely bracing myself for my return to the UK! The hotel pool was calling us for a quick dip before the sun went down..

In the evening we headed to Winter Summerland, which is a crazy golf course. We did Fantasia Gardens last year and loved it, so thought we'd mix it up and try the other course this time and I will admit, I got a little over-enthusiastic about the theming.. the extent Disney go to is just beyond belief.

A house set up ready for Christmas morning...



Stay tuned for day 9!
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Monday, 10 April 2017

Disney's Coronado Springs Hotel Review

We had the pleasure of staying at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort for 12 nights in December 2016. I've visited Disney a lot of times before, but never stayed onsite until now. This is one of the less subtle Disney hotels, being themed around Spanish Colonial Mexico, which was evident throughout. Pastel greens and peach tones adorned this site, and references to The Three Caballeros were dotted around. It's classed as a moderate hotel in terms of the 3 (main) levels of Disney hotels.

 


Coronado Springs is split up over 3 buildings across the resort; The Cabanas, Ranchos and Casitas. When doing extensive research into this hotel, it appears that people prefer to stay in The Cabanas building, mainly due to convenience/walking time to the main building, which locates the dining, onsite shop etc. However, if you prefer to make a lot of use from the hotel pool (dig site), the other 2 buildings may go in your favour. Everyone wants different things from Disney holidays so this really is down to personal preference.

Cabanas Accommodation

Hotel Room

Luckily we were allocated a corner room, which meant our room had 2 windows as opposed to just one. This was great as it let more light into these usually dark rooms.
There were 2 double beds which were so comfy and always inviting after a long day at the parks. There was ample storage (for 2 people anyway, however I'm not sure how a family of 4 would have coped...) and the standard appliances that comes with most hotels nowadays (i.e. hairdryer, ironing board, iron, etc). A desk and the TV unit, which included drawers, fridge, coffee making facilities and a very generous sized flat screen TV.





The bathroom/dressing area set-up I find to be identical in most American hotels I've stayed in. The vanity area is separate from the bathroom, and this area is always fairly large, allowing you to slide across the wooden doors that separate the bedroom from the dressing area, and allows enough privacy for changing. The bath/shower and toilet are then closed off in another room. This set up frees the sink/mirror area up if you want to continue getting ready but the other person wants to shower! The bathroom was small, as is most Disney hotel's, and there's not a lot of room for manoeuvre, therefore the separate vanity area was useful to shimmy into once showered.

Admittedly, small areas of this room were looking a little tired. The carpet looked fairly old and there was small areas in the bathroom that could have done with some plaster/paint, but it definitely didn't affect our stay. I'm sad to say that I didn't think the cleaning service was up to scratch. I'm not sure what exactly their job role consists of but one day we came back to our hotel after a long day at the parks and only one bed was made. Surfaces were often left unwiped and products weren't always replenished. I'm not entirely sure of their responsibilities so I'll leave it there!

Our view wasn't great - it was of the car park, and usually I'd ask to be moved, however this time I knew we wouldn't be in our room a lot, and being a 30 second walk away from the car park was actually really convenient for us because of our hire car. Noise was definitely not an issue for those that were wondering.

Hotel Grounds

The resort was immaculate. There was a huge lake in the middle of our hotel (which was also treated as a running trail). There were manmade 'beaches' with swinging hammocks dotted around, and you could hire huge bikes at an extra cost. There were pretty bridges and luscious flowers that really brought this resort to life. At night, the flower beds lit up and Spanish Mexican music played from them as you took an evening stroll.


Lake by day

Lake by night


The reception area was impressive and had such a grand feeling to it, I think the fact that it was Christmas and there were lights twinkling everywhere helped!


Another aspect that I really enjoyed about this resort was on top of the main pool at the Dig Site, there were 3 smaller pools dotted around the resort, near to each lot of accommodation. This is perfect for couples without children who want to avoid noisy and chaotic swimming pools, and instead enjoying a relaxing quiet swim. We used our smaller pool on several occasions and the majority of the time we had the whole area to ourselves, with not even a sunbather in sight - perfect.

The Dig site (main pool)
 Our pool was located right near a laundrette, which came in perfect for our stay. We had spent 5 nights in NYC prior to arriving at Disney, so half way through our holiday we were in need of some washing! The washing machines and driers were cheap enough to use. There was an onsite vending machine for washing powder etc, however we opted to buy some cheap powder and conditioner from Walmart as we weren't sure how much washing we would be doing.



Catering

We used 2 of the onsite shops/restaurants during our stay. We visited The Pepper Market on 3 occasions on days where we weren't going to a Disney Park, but still required food. I did extensive research into the quick service restaurants at all hotels, and The Pepper Market came out with good reviews. One day we tried Caribbean Beach Resort, just for a change of scenery, and I preferred the feel of The Pepper Market more. The food tends to be the same throughout all Disney hotels, very standard quality. There are lots of different food booths to pick from, each offer a different variety of food, from a fried breakfast, to Mickey Waffles, to baked goods, and then more healthier options. You definitely wouldn't be stuck for choice. Obviously these do get very busy, especially at breakfast time, however it's a good way to save time if you are going offsite and want an early start. We also took several trips to CafĂ© Rix, which provided refills for your Disney mugs, and also snacks/ice cream etc.

Location

Coronado Springs is located in between Epcot & Hollywood Studios, and very close to Blizzard Beach, but if you have a car, a few more minutes and you're at all of the other parks. We personally didn't need to use the Disney bus as we hired our own car. All Disney parks were no more than a 15 minute drive away, including Disney Springs.
Although this was our first stay at an onsite Disney property, we ventured into almost every other moderate hotel, and apart from Port Orleans Riverside, I preferred the feel and atmosphere of Coronado Springs and I definitely wouldn't hesitate in returning.
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Monday, 20 March 2017

Disney Day 7: King Kong & Disney Springs

On day 7 of our Disney holiday, we scooted across to the Universal Parks & spent the day in Islands of Adventure. I love this park for its rides - it has the perfect combination of thrill, water and the more 'gentle' rides, and definitely is a park that suits all ages.

We went on my favourite 3D simulator ride; Spiderman, and also rode the brand new King Kong ride. The special effects in the queuing system were fab, but I won't spoil it for anyone who is yet to ride it!


Unfortunately this day was a little overcast and cooler, so although I wanted to go on Jurassic Park and the rapids, I had my sensible head on, and chose to be dry over a few minutes of excitement! Next time, next time!



Taking a break, with junk food, obvs.

A gloomy looking Hogwarts


Fake that smile!
In the evening we took our first trip to Disney Springs of this trip. We witnessed a drone light show (how clever!), and saw some entertainers. We ate at Wolfgang Puck (overrated) and saw more live performers. I loved checking out the new area of DS, so many fancy shops!


Drone light show


I loved Disney Springs' Christmas Tree!

Stay tuned to see where Day 8 takes us!
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Saturday, 18 March 2017

Disney Day 6: Star Wars, Beauty & The Beast & Jingle Bell Jingle Bam

Hollywood Studios day! This theme park is unfortunately going down in my estimations as the years pass by. I feel like there is less and less to keep us occupied, and queue times aside, I think I could easily be in and out of this park within 4 hours. We watched the Storm Troopers Parade, something we haven't seen before, and Mike dragged me round the Star Wars Launch Pad. We had dinner at ABC Commisionary, and had the cutest Mickey themed festive cupcake for dessert on our Dining plan.


We did lots of things that we have previously not had time for (i.e. all the shows!) We saw all of the Star Wars characters on stage, as well as watched the live Beauty & The Beast show, along with Frozen's sing-along show (admittedly I felt a little young in this one... but the fake snow was good!).




Of course we didn't leave HS without riding Rock n Roller coaster (A definite priority at HS!) and also Toy Story Mania. We finished the night off by watching Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam - a light projection & firework show on The Chinese Theatre. This was good, but didn't blow me away.



We then ate offsite at Bahama Breeze restaurant on International Drive (FYI - there are quite a few locations to choose from) - I enjoyed a cocktail in a pineapple (so good!) alongside tacos... perfect way to end the day!


 

 
 Stay tuned for day 7 of Disney!
 
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Monday, 20 February 2017

Disney Day 5 - 'The Grey Stuff', Towel Art & Fine Dining

Day 5 started off really dark and dismal but nevertheless, we continued with our plans and headed to Magic Kingdom. We watched the morning 'Move it, Shake it' parade (which i'd never seen before, and admittedly, a little too 'young' for me, although I will admit, I did do a little jig!).
Move it Shake it Parade
We rode the obligatory rides (space mountain, thunder mountain etc) then went for a quick service at 'Be Our Guest'. The food and experience was definitely worth just a quick service, however I unfortunately felt like this restaurant had been over-hyped (but maybe it was because I didn't experience a table-service in the evening? Who knows...). Either way, I'm sure it would be any Beauty and the Beast fan's dream, and I'm glad I did it and ticked 'The Grey stuff' off my menu bucket list! (Yum!). Oh, and yes it was delicious! (Don't believe me? Ask the dishes..)


The Grey Stuff
Entrance to 'Be Our Guest' restaurant
By the afternoon the sun decided to show its face a little, so we rode the smaller rides that we have bypassed in previous years (i.e. Aladdins magic carpet, Ariel, etc). It was nice experiencing new things. We then left mid-afternoon and headed back to the hotel, and got presented with some towel art (I love a good hotel surprise from the cleaners!). We used our hotel's laundrette (the joys of travelling for longer than usual!) and chilled round the pool.

Aladdin's Magic Carpet
 
 
Towel art in our hotel
That evening we experienced our first signature restaurant at Yachtsmans Steakhouse at The Beach and Yacht Club - Fine dining at its best. The food was on point, but I didn't expect any less.

Luxurious dessert at The Yachtsman
After dinner, we admired The Beach Clubs hotel grounds, and oo'ed and arr'ed over the luxurious attention to detail. This cute little festive train track was a great focal point, as was this huge globe! I'd love to stay in this hotel someday, it really is beautiful.

 

Yet another busy day, full of action and yummy food. Stay tuned for day 6 of our Disney trip!
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Thursday, 16 February 2017

Disney Day 4: Animal Kingdom, Yak & Yeti & Teppan Edo!

We headed to Animal Kingdom today. I'll be honest, Animal Kingdom is probably my least favourite park out of all 4 Disney parks, but that's only because we're not huge animal people, so we don't appreciate it as much as others would! We made our way through the itinerary and it flowed perfectly. We managed to ride Expedition Everest, watch The Lion King and gaze at Monkeys as they swung from the trees. We then checked into our early dining reservation at Yak & Yeti. I'd eaten here before but only as a quick service, so I was excited to see what the restaurant had to offer! The food was gorgeous, I completely recommend!

Festival of The Lion King
 
Expedition Everest
 
Expedition Everest from afar
We bypassed the safari this year (I know, I know!), as well as the river rapids (although the weather was warm for December, I knew as soon as I got wet I'd be freezing, and it wasn't warm enough for our clothes to dry quickly, so we took the practical route). We took a slow walk around the park, going in nooks and crannies that we hadn't previously explored.

Dessert at Yak & Yeti
We had an early finish here and went back to the hotel. We both went swimming then got ready for our meal reservation at Teppan Edo in Epcot. This restaurant was definitely up there with some of my favourites from the whole trip. The experience as well as the food was on point. You had your food cooked in front of you from scratch in really quirky ways. The girl made a 'volcano' from onions, and turned it into a snowman, and began singing 'do you wanna build a snowmaaan?' The 'volcano' then began smoking, exactly like a real volcano would, so clever!

Cooking at Teppan Edo
After this we watched IllumiNations firework display. We had a bit of a poor view, with the fire stands in front of us, but nevertheless, it was still good. We managed to ride a few more rides then headed home after another busy day!

IllumiNations - Epcot
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