Lake Buena Vista Travel Guide
Happy Holidays! We're leaving you with one last story to
admire read before we head out for the next few days. We'll be off tomorrow and Christmas but we'll back with a full slate of stories on Thursday. Remember, if you're waking up in a hotel on Christmas, we wanna hear about it!
Heading to Disney World for the holidays is a dream for many folks--young and old. But if you're staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resorts, your vacation just got a whole lot sweeter.
Laurent Branlard, the hotel's executive pastry chef, constructed a 7-foot tall, 400-pound nutcracker made entirely from chocolate along with an entire Christmas scene made up of another 2,000 pounds of chocolate that includes a life-sized Santa Claus (something the resort is well-known for.)
The scene and nutcracker took 80 hours to complete and both will be on display through December. Best of all, it's entirely edible. However, if you were to consume it all you would be taking in about 4 million calories. On second thought….
The hotel is still open on for Christmas Eve and Day. In fact, they have an entire website up and running for the holidays: www.santasfavoriteresort.com . Rates at the hotel, which is part of Starwood Hotels start at $209 a night.
Disney Hotels / Disney World Hotels / Hotel Openings / Orlando Hotels / Family-Friendly Hotels / → All Tags
While adults will be partying the Memorial Weekend away at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City, families with children will be waiting until May 31st to take their vacation at the new Disney Art of Animation Resort, full of family suites and standard rooms done up in Finding Nemo, Little Mermaid, Cars and Lion King themes.
The resort is still on track for the May 31st opening and rates are going for $395 which is also the going rate for the 2012 Summer Season from June 1-August 4 for a weekend stay. (Disney Resorts have about 11 different "seasonal" rates.) Later in the summer, aka when it's too hot in Orlando, the price drops to $249 a night.
Holiday Hotel Decorations / Orlando Hotels / Sheraton Hotels / Walt Disney World Hotels / → All Tags
So we've been profiling the wonderful, wild and wacky holiday hotel decorations and we think that this holiday display at the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Hotel is all three. That's because they've just unveiled a 1,200-pound life-sized CHOCOLATE Santa Claus accompanied by an armchair, fireplace and Christmas tree, all made out of chocolate!
The sculpture is the creation of the hotel's executive pastry chef and only two-time world champion pastry chef, Laurent Branlard. Here are some stats on the work that went into this:
· Man Hours: 300 hours
· Dark Chocolate: 880 lbs.
· Milk Chocolate: 132 lbs.
· White Chocolate: 154 lbs.
· Cocoa Butter: 120 lbs.
While we haven't stayed here ourselves, it seems from TripAdvisor reviews that there's few better places to stay in Orlando than at Pop Century Resort, which is sort of like I Love The 80's (and in the case of some rooms, 90's) in hotel form.
Seems like last year's $60 million upgrade of the Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort wasn't enough to impress all of their guests: now they've taken service to new extremes and you can get your own personal, certified sommelier to take care of your wine drinking while you're staying at the resort, because, of course, that's the kind of thing you have in mind when you book into a Disney hotel.
The resort itself describes the personal sommelier program as an experience "designed to subtly educate guests and elevate the wine and culinary experience" by giving you somebody to advise you on every single wine you drink. "Subtly educate" sounds like it belongs back in communist Russia or somewhere, but for wine-lovers it might be interesting to get advice on the best wine for each meal. The idea is that your personal sommelier keeps track of what wines you've already tried, and what might suit your tastes, while at the same time offering you more diverse varieties that might match your meal.
There are 60 certified sommeliers on the staff so it shouldn't be a problem to match up with one--but you do need to make a reservation for one at the time of booking. And if you're a regular guest at the Swan and Dolphin Resort, they encourage you to request the same sommelier to build your relationship and your wine knowledge more effectively--there are 1600 varieties to try, after all. The jury's still out for us on combining Disney theme parks by day with sophisticated wine tasting by night, but we accept that there are niche markets everywhere.
· Walt Disney Swan and Dolphin Resort Gets a $60 Million Upgrade [HotelChatter]
· Disney Hotels [HotelChatter]
High gas prices must be dampening summer travel, because this $79 deal from Royal Plaza Disney Hotel is a rare bargain.
Conventional wisdom says that finding a weekend hotel deal in the summer in Orlando is akin to looking for a 50 cent hot dog at Disney World (despite the muggy heat that often plagues Central Florida this time of the year.)So we were surprised to see this $79 promotional rate from the hotel.
Fresh off a renovation, this official Disney hotel offers complimentary transportation to the parks, a pool and fitness center, and plenty of room for the kiddies to spread around their mouse ears and overpriced stuffed toys.
More on how to get this rate after the jump
Hotels / Bad Rate / Good Rate / → All Tags
[Ed. Note: For this Good Rate/Bad Rate feature, the screenshot shown was taken on March 14, 2006 from Travelocity and rates are subject to change. Enjoy.]
We don't like ripping on Walt Disney resorts and we don't like making fun of the Mouse House. After all, a good chunk of our childhood was spent wishing on a star, watching Disney movies over and over and over, and forcing our parents to buy us anything with Mickey and Minnie plastered on it. (Although, we drew the line at the mouse ears with our names scripted on the front. We're not that geeky!)
But the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is begging for it.
The hotel is currently charging $360 for a garden view room and $421 for a lagoon view room during a few random days in the middle of July that we selected.
Do you know how hot it is in July in Florida? Not to mention humid and buggy. So if people are willing to come to Florida during such gross weather, shouldn't they be offered a price cut?
We also tried to see if some special event was going on at the hotel because none of the other Disney resorts had this high of a price but we couldn't find anything.
Not to say that you won't get what you paid for as guests rave about the hotel, its facilities, amenities and cheerful staff who are always wishing you a "Grand Day."
If you are to travel there, any time of the year, one guest had a helpful hint:
Just remember - if you plan to stay here and you are on any sort of budget, just add at least the price of another night's stay for the ammenities, tips and restuarants you will enjoy.
Looking for a holiday getaway? Disney's Swan and Dolphin Hotel, normally about $350 a night, is offering special holiday rates. At $129 per room, per night, this is a good deal if you've been planning a trip to the Magic Kingdom.
The low rate is available November 17-25 and December 17-26, 2004, so it looks like those celebrating Chanukah (December 7th-16th) are out of luck. But guests of all religious persuasions will probably enjoy the novelty and sparkliness of Disney's all-out X-Mas display, featuring giant trees, nutcrackers, presents and such, lots of lights, a chance of fake snow, and the optional and intriguing Elf Tuck-In -- "complete with milk and cookies, a holiday gift, and a bedtime story from one of Santa's elves." (That's for kids only, we believe, so keep it clean, folks.)
To book a visit, call 800-227-1500 and ask for the "Happy Holidays" rate.
On December 14, Disney will open its newest resort, Pop Century, located near Disney World in Florida.
The resort will open with 2,880 rooms that will be housed in building clusters that pay homage to childhood experiences of the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. A phase two build out, due to open sometime next year, will add another ~2,880 rooms to the mix. The second phase will focus on pop culture from the 10's, 20's, 30's, and 40's.