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Well it looks like all our hotel WiFi bellyaching the other week paid off. In addition to getting tons of awesome feedback from you all here on the site and over on our Twitter page, another major resort brand is now in the process of switching to free wireless internet for all guests.
We're talking about Disney.
Having polled over 10,000 hotel guests over the past year on the amenities they would most like to see added to all Disney hotels, free WiFi (not surprisingly) came out at the top of the list. And while the company alleges that they had planned to install it all along (yeah, yeah), they've now committed to rewiring all the resorts stat.
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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.
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Yes, it's a Leap Year! An entire day added to the month, an entire extra day for some hotel-lovin'. And the hotels are pretty excited about it too! We've hunted around for the best Leap Year deals from San Antonio to New York to London. Unsurprisingly, several of them overlap with Valentine's Day festivities—but as they say, bargains make the heart grow fonder...
Grand Hyatt New York, fresh from its recent $130 million renovation, is feeling generous. So they're singling out people who are either turning 29 this year or who were born on a leap year. While the 29-year-olds actually make out with something cool (free appetizer or dessert at New York Central, pictured above), leap year babies (anyone born in 2008, 2004, 2000, 1996, etc), as usual, get the short end of the stick. That would be a "free" Dylan's Candy Bar cupcake...-shaped tin (not even an actual cupcake!) from the hotel's 24-hour convenience store, Market.
With a purchase of $9 or more. Seriously. These guys only celebrate their birthday once every four years. Can't we just give them a free cupcake and call it a day? Rates from $309.
Sorry kiddies, we hate to put a damper on the holiday spirit but there will be no more Disney Hotels for a while. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Disney's vision for standalone resorts, like their recently open Aulani Resort in Hawaii (above), has been put on hold due to some money woes, namely because the House of Mouse has been so busy spending money on its theme parks and cruise lines.
The company recently scrapped plans for a 500-room stand-alone D.C. hotel even though they already bought the property in 2009 for about $11 million. Disney said the timing wasn't right but given that the Aulani has had some missteps in its opening (the time-share hotel is not expected to reach goal occupancy levels until 2015), it's clear that Disney was just looking for an out. And besides, who's gonna wanna see Mickey randomly in D.C. without a theme park to visit?
Expect some Nemo sheets!
It seems that there can never be too many hotels at Disney World and the more thematic these hotels can get, the better.
Which is why Walt Disney World is planning its first family-suites hotel that will be centered around the animated Disney movies everyone knows and loves. It will be called Disney's Art of Animation Resort and yes, expect to find Nemo here, as well as Ariel and Simba.
The 2,000-room hotel will open in May 2012 with 866 standard rooms but also 1,120 of these family suites which can fit up to six people.
The Disney Blog has the detes on what sort of "buried" treasure the 11th floor suite holds:
The Pirates experience begins as you ring the doorbell, which plays, “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me,” and enter the living room. There you will find Old World rugs covering dark-stained hardwood floors, with wooden beams overhead. The Spanish colonial-style furnishings could be part of a pirate’s plunder, yet the room also provides landlubbers’ comforts including a wet bar, 42-inch plasma TV and surround sound stereo system.
If you're staying at the Disneyland Hotel, you expect to see some Disney figurines here and there. But the penthouse suite is all tricked out with Mickey, with those famous mouse ears found on everything from the ceiling lighting fixture to the carpeting.
The mouse pad is done up in the colors Mickey usually sport—black, white, red and yellow—and you'll find rare photos and sketches from the Disney library adorning the walls. On display in the master bedroom are maquettes—collectible 3-D models used by animators to create a 2-D character—from Mickey's most notable roles.
Even though it won't open until August 29, 2011, Disney's newest resort in Hawaii, The Aulani will start taking reservations on August 2. Yup, that's more than a year away. And: this is the first Disney hotel that's not positioned next to one of its theme parks.
Which got us thinking: would you book a hotel room 12 months in advance? Do you like careful forward planning, or do you prefer to travel spontaneously? Of course, Disney is all about families, and it can take military precision to plan a kid-friendly vacation. So perhaps advance planning makes sense here.
But then: do you know when you can take your vacation days next August? Will you even have a job?
The themed resorts at Disney World in Orlando are a little bit cheesey, but they do offer a close stay to the park for a good value. However, we think their plans for a new hotel near the Pop Century Resort is brilliant. Orlando Biz Journal reports:
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort — expected to open in 2012 — will feature more than 1,100 suites with room for up to six people, plus 900 regular hotel rooms. The resort will include wings based on the popular Disney films “Cars,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Lion King” and “The Little Mermaid.”
Do you know how crazy little kids go over "Cars"? Can you imagine if you tell them they will be sleeping in an entire hotel wing full of Lighting McQueen, Doc Hudson, Mater, Sally and more? They might get so excited they will forget about seeing Mickey! Ok, maybe not but this new hotel sounds very smart. And the "Little Mermaid" rooms will totally appeal to 32-year-olds as well...um...we mean, little girls as well.
Groundbreaking is set to begin this summer so we suggest not telling the kids until the hotel is closer to opening. We don't think they can handle the wait. We barely can!
About a decade ago, Disney was in talks to build a history-themed park called Disney's America near D.C. It never happened. But Disney is coming to the D.C. area, except this time they're not planning a goofy theme park for history nerds: they're planning a big hotel that will "put a recognizable Disney footprint in the Washington area," according to a spokesman who talked to the Washington Post.
Disney has just purchased a 15-acre piece of land at Prince George's County's National Harbor development near D.C. to build a 500-room hotel resort. But as we entertained visions of what we imagined Disney's America's dorky history-themed Disney-ness to be, our fantasies were squashed by this:
"The National Harbor resort is a completely different kind of project," [a rep] said. "It's specifically zoned for hotel, residential and other commercial development. This project is a hotel resort. It is not by any stretch of the imagination a theme-park project and never will be. We have no intention of building a large-scale theme park in the Washington area."
Oh. Boring. However, the Post article does mention that it's going to be "a fun-filled new destination for local visitors," which means hello silly theme hotel a la Pop Century! (Please say yes!)
Unfortunately, there is no timeline on this project yet, so we'll see what happens.
[Photo: Washington Post]
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.
Hotel News Briefs / Bucket List Hotels / Hotel Construction / Hard Rock Hotels / Disney Hotels / → All Tags
There's tons of hotel news flying around this week and we don't have time to give each and every story the love and attention it may deserve, so you will have to settle for some news briefs.
· This is How We Want to Go Out: A dying woman from Vermont spent the last 10 weeks of her life in a suite at the Carlyle Hotel. It cost her family about $30,000 to support this bucket list wish but honestly, it sounds amazing. [Newsday]
· Hard Rock SD Gets AAA 4-Diamond Award: The hotel has barely been open a year, but already it snagged this award. Guess that Vibe Manager has really helped get things going. Or should we say, vibin'? [Press Release]
· Disney Still Going Ahead with Crazy Hawaiian Resort: This is kind of ambitious project to be launching in these times in Hawaii and one that doesn't even include a Disney World! But we begrudgingly wish them best of luck. [Google News]