As I told you before, my husband asked me to book a room at Disney for our family. Whenever I make a Disney reservation of any kind, I call. Yes, you can book online... But I MUCH prefer to call and speak with someone. The cast members on the phone are incredibly helpful. They will search multiple dates, resorts and all sorts of combinations of Disney fun for you. When you call, make sure you ask for a Florida Resident or Annual Passholder discount (if you fall into either category).
So I called. It was between 2 nights at one of the All Stars (which are meh in my honest opinion) and 1 night at Port Orleans Riverside. I ran it by the hubs and he opted for Port Orleans. I was happy with his choice.
Port Orleans is an excellent Resort. It's near Epcot and Disney's Old Key West Resort. The Resort offers bus transportation to all the Parks and boat service to Disney Springs.
There are two "sides" to the Resort - the Riverside and the French Quarter. They each have their own lobbies, gift shops, sets of eateries and pools. And the themes are different. The French Quarter is brightly colored, the outside of buildings resembles architecture from Bourbon Street. Basically, it's Mardi Gras every day at the French Quarter.
We stayed on the Riverside. I prefer this one. It is a nod to the beautiful southern, grand plantations you find in the South. The cafeteria has a large mill on the outside, I suppose to resemble an old sugar mill. My kiddos love this one. And here, if you ask for it, you can book a room with some Tiana magic (complete with a light-up headboard).
I've stayed at Port Orleans several times. It is one of my mom's preferred Resorts. And we have eaten here on numerous occasions - the first night we all arrived in Orlando for my sister's Disney wedding, when I brought the kids up last summer for a spontaneous day trip, and much more). But this was Stu's first time sleeping here, so it was a nice treat. I highly recommend this Disney Resort.
Coronado Springs Resort
The kids and I have stayed at Coronado Springs before. You can read about it here. The Resort is nice. It is located in the Animal Kingdom Resort section of Walt Disney World's Orlando property. At the time of writing this (May 2018), the Resort is still undergoing a major renovation. The rooms have been overhauled and they are beautiful. Currently, they are constructing a massive tower which will hold more hotel rooms and convention center space. The project is expected to be completed in early-mid 2019. Don't let the construction deter you... this is a great time to get excellent rates at this Resort.
Last weekend the kids, my mom and I went to Disney. It was an early birthday celebration for Reagan. She really wanted to go to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party. Walt Disney World is quite busy during December. But, with the help of a great cast member on the phone, we were able to book a two-night stay at the Coronado Springs Resort. This was our first time at this Resort, so the kids were pretty excited to check it out.
Disney is magical any day of the year. But there is something extra exciting about it when you combine the Happiest Place on Earth with a holiday. September always kicks off the start to my holiday season, at least that's how I feel when I walk into a store and get overloaded with Halloween stuff. And Walt Disney World transforms in late August/early September into a fall paradise (it's still 90+, but it's pretty).
If my memory serves me correctly, we have spent every single holiday at Disney at least once. The only exception to that is Easter. I can't recall ever searching for eggs at Disney.
Let me give you the low-down on a few of our past experiences. For the sake of your time, I'll post one at a time.
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
As you know, we LOVE staying in the cabins at Fort Wilderness. This Disney Resort has so many incredible things to offer families.
Don't fret if you forget to pack something. There is an Outpost store on the Resort Property. You can ride your golf cart or a bus to pick up any essentials. Or, you can get in your vehicle and drive off Disney property... there are several Publixes within a few miles.
You're on vacation, and you do not want to cook? No problem. There is no shortage of eateries at this Resort.
Mickey's Backyard BBQ is the BEST character dining experience at Disney. Yes, you can quote me on that. Yes, there are other great places to go and get up close and personal with the characters, but nothing like this.
This BBQ is held outside, under a large pavilion. The dinner is served buffet-style (same food as the above spots). The food is so yummy. The tables are incredibly long picnic tables, and families are seated by Disney staff upon arrival. There is a stage and a few "dance spots." Once everyone has had a bit of time, the characters come out. You'll find Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale. They don't make the rounds as they do elsewhere. Here, they dance. And kids are encouraged to go dance with the characters. The characters are out for long periods of time and, trust me, you will have plenty of interaction with them. It's awesome.
The Backyard BBQ is not available every night. They only run Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from now (Sept) through December. Then they drop down to Thursdays and Saturdays. This is a seasonal restaurant, the weather effects its dates of availability. Remember, I told you this was outside. You can always call Disney to ask questions, or to book (up to 180 in advance).
You will NOT be disappointed.
For dining reservations and questions, call (407)WDW-DINE.
In one of our previous posts, I shared my opinions about bringing little ones to Walt Disney World.
I was not quite finished, but I felt like that entry was getting a bit long-winded. So, let me continue it here. And this post has been updated to reflect a few technology updates Disney now has available.
I have to say, this is my FAVORITE place to stay on Disney property. We stay at the cabins for all sorts of reasons.
1. They are adorable!
I mean seriously, look at how cute these things are!
Sure, they are just your basic trailer with a fun, log-wood facade. But still. They look adorably rustic from the outside! Each has its own little "driveway" - essentially, it is a parking spot. You can park one (we usually squeeze two) car here. AND there's an outlet to plug in your golf cart.
This weekend Rea's Girl Scout troop went on their camping trip. But, in true Palm Beach fashion, the girls didn't rough it. They opted to go to Disney and stay in the cabins at Ft Wilderness.
I like Rea's group. And her Group Leaders are AMAZING women. And the other parents are wonderful too. So I wasn't worried about her being there.
But let's be real, I have a tendency to helicopter parent.
Our Disney Sides
We are fortunate enough to live a short drive away from the Happiest Place on Earth! And we take full advantage of it!