Feeling Fancy at WDW – the Waldorf Astoria

Feeling Fancy at WDW – the Waldorf Astoria

Joe and I have a goal to stay in all the resorts in Walt Disney World. We have stayed at All Star Music and Movies, POP Century, Art of Animation, Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter, Coronado Springs, Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Yacht Club. We have also stayed Good Neighbor resorts – Hilton Buena Vista Palace, Hilton Bonnet Creek and now the Waldorf Astoria. There are aspects of each resort that we love!

The Waldorf Astoria is Amazing! The name alone evokes vintage charm and decadence. Though the original opened in New York in 1893, this version was completed in 2010 and has a Florida flare. There are just under 500 rooms and it’s sister resort, Hilton Bonnet Creek, has about 1000. They are connected by convention space. The pools are reciprocal and incredible. The Hilton’s has a lazy river and the Waldorf’s is super elegant and serene.

There are several different options for dining. We kept it simple with evening drinks and a light breakfast at Peacock Alley. We also enjoyed the food and service at Oscar’s.

Joe and I stayed in a Deluxe King Room. The bathroom was huge and so well set up with a deep tub and separate shower. There was a comfortable sitting area with a sofa (pull out bed), chair with ottoman and great glass coffee table.

The touches like the crown molding, super lux bedding and great artwork made us feel like we had really moved up in the world. There is nothing I would change about the room. Even the view, facing Orlando, was perfect!

The guests were very varied with young families, business travels and all aged couples. There is a spa, fitness center and golf course onsite so there seems to be a lot of activity going on all the time.

It was great! It was a nice treat that I would love to repeat. It’s nice to see how the 1% vacation!

Gina PD

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I Hate That I Love You – Part 4

I hate that I love you, again.

1. Crocs. I have always sworn that I would never wear a pair of Crocs. However, after heading over for a night in Walt Disney World still wearing my shoes from work, I took the plunge. I have bone spurs in my heel and walking too much in dress shoes is pretty uncomfortable. So I gave Croc sandals a go. I have to say, these are amazing!

2. Luxury. The Grand Floridian has always been the pinnacle of luxury, excess and excellence to me. Then I walked into the Waldorf Astoria at Bonnet Creek. This feels like old money. It’s grand but not gaudy, perfect. It’s elegant and timeless.

3. Jeans. I used to make fun of Floridians in their jackets and long pants at any temperature below 70. Well, it’s taken a while but now I totally get it. It’s because anything below 70 degrees is freezing. I freeze in my office, I freeze in the movie theater, I freeze everywhere.

Bonus – still not giving in to a fanny pack!

Gina

Living the #WaltLife

Living the #WaltLife or #DisneyLife means different things to different people. To some, it’s just puzzling.

To so many, it means that you grew up watching Disney movies, the Disney Channel and maybe even the Mickey Mouse Club. Add in some visits to Walt Disney World or Disneyland and some ears and it’s magic.

You may get the people that will bring you down. They will question why you are going to the same place year after year. They don’t see the magic. They may not know that this is your happy place. You can go there and have the best day ever – every single day! You can go to a Disney cartoon movie even if you don’t have small (or big) children.

To me, it’s knowing that I will spend each weekend with Dumbo or Olaf. I’m lucky enough that I can stop and see fireworks on my way home from work on any given night. I decorate in Disney, I have over 10 pairs of Minnie Mouse ears, I have the Dooney & Bourke purses and even wear Laila perfume from Norway. Date night is always at the Parks or Resorts.

Joe, my husband once said that Disney World was just a theme park, but it’s so much more. FYI he no longer feels that way. He works at the reservation center and can spout off more facts than anyone I know.

Enjoy the Magic!

Gina

My 2018 Disney World Resolutions

I’m normally not one to make New Year’s Resolutions. However,  I think change is good, so here we go…

My 2018 Disney Resolutions

1. Walk on the wild side. I don’t spend a lot of time at Animal Kingdom. I’m not sure why because I truly enjoy it. I never leave without a smile on my face. I’m  going to branch out and explore more and maybe even finish my Wilderness Explorers book.

2. Fireworks. I literally drive through WDW to get home 5 nights a week. I will occasionally stop off for dinner (Coronado Springs/Caribbean Beach) or at Epcot for the concerts. I need to stop more often and enjoy the view.

3. Go on a tour. I’m not sure if I want to go on a Safari or get the Keys to the Kingdom? We did Behind the Seeds at Epcot and really enjoyed it.

Hopefully I’ll keep my resolutions and continue to see the Magic in my World!

Happy New Year!

Gina PD 

The Year in Disney 

Another year is drawing to a close. I’ve enjoyed festivals and anniversaries at Walt Disney World. I’ve also celebrated holidays and with first timers. 

Walt Disney World hit it’s 45th Anniversary on October 1, 2016 but the discounts for passholders will continue until the end of this year. Gotta love the savings! 

In January, Epcot played host to it’s first Festival of the Arts. This was understated and showcased fancy PopTarts. I’m looking forward to see how this festival evolves.

May marked the opening of Animal Kingdom’s Pandora. It’s a whole new world! This is definitely the most saught after Fast Pass. The imagineers went above and beyond for this land.

In August, Grand Avenue opened in Hollywood Studios. This opened up the area from the Sci-fi Dine In to Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano. BaseLine Tap House serves up specialty beers and light fare. PizzeRizzo is a quick service restaurant with Muppet movie theming. This area has food for everyone. 

You can’t  beat the Magic Kingdom for Halloween! The parties are full of candy, shorter lines and special meet and greats. If you are a fan of the Haunted Mansion, make a point to go because the parade is to die for (giggle).

Now we’re in the holiday season and each park is incredible! Don’t miss Jinge Bells Jingle BAM at Hollywood Studios. The show has been updated. Flurry of Fun is a projection show on the Tower of Terror choreographed with music, lights and SNOW! The park is retro at it’s best.

Now we’re starting to make plans for New Year’s Eve. We’ve been to different parks so maybe we could try a resort like the Boardwalk or the Grand Floridian. 

RIP: Great Movie Ride and Ellen

Hope your new year is filled with hope, not and Disney!

Gina PD 

Disney Springs: Blaze Pizza

Disney Springs has it all! From shops to dance parties any person of any age can find something to do. They also have plenty of options for food. No matter what you are in the mood for, Disney Springs probably has it. Recently, I was in the mood for pizza. So instead of just getting a regular pizza pie from my local pizza shop I decided to take the drive down to Disney Springs to try out Blaze Pizza for the first time.

Blaze Pizza is a modern pizza place. It’s set up like a cafeteria but incredibly clean and inviting. I would describe its service as Chipotle but for pizza. They do offer their own stylings of pizza such as pepperoni or meat lovers but the popular choice seemed to be the “Build you own” pizza

“Build you own” pizza is very easy and you are given so many options. The best part is you have no limits on how many toppings you put on. It’s a good option for the picky eater or someone who wants to be very adventurous with their pizza. Your food will also be done pretty quick. They advertise that your pizza will take 180 seconds and honestly, I waited a little less than that.

Regular crust, white sauce, mozzarella and gorgonzola cheeses, chicken and applewood bacon, sautéed onions and spinach

Overall, Blaze Pizza was a very good experience. The staff was friendly, even coming to your table and making sure everything was okay. The place was very clean and the food was excellent. On top of the great experience, I was able to enjoy a large lunch for $13 and even had leftovers!

Courtney

Art of Animation: Cars Suite

This week we had a lot of family in town to celebrate Thanksgiving and of course to go to Disney World. With 6 of us staying on property, we thought it would be a good idea to stay in a family suite. I have stayed in the All-Star Music suites before. I love them but we wanted to try something different so we booked an Art of Animation family suite. We were put in the Cars suites.

The rooms are bigger than the All-Star suites. The layout makes them roomier at least. With a large master bedroom and bathroom and living space that has two full/queen sized beds that tuck away during the day, the room seemed huge. Though the second(main) bathroom is a little small it’s still perfectly fine for a vacation. It was also very nice to have a microwave, small fridge and kitchenette sink in the room for leftovers and washing out mugs.

Like with the other “value resorts” Art of Animation is very immersive and bright. Just walking to the Cars buildings we felt like we were walking down Route 66 just as Lightening McQueen was in the Cars movies.

I would recommend these suites, also Nemo and Lion King themed to any bigger family. It’s worth it just for the extra bathroom and extra space.

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Review 

The Epcot International Food And Wine Festival is coming to a close and as someone who tried something at every food post, I thought I would go through my small plates and desserts that should come back and others that may need to be retired. 

My favorites list is a little long but I suppose that’s a good thing for this event! 

The Fried Chicken with Cornbread was the first dish I tried. It’s really hard to mess up fried chicken so it was a safe first test of the festival. It was excellent! The cornbread was nice and warm and the chicken was perfectly crispy. For those that are less adventurous with their foods this is a dish that would make this event worth going to.

This is the carrot cake from the America food post. The glaze on top is a cream cheese glaze that if they were to bottle it up and sell I would buy an embarrassing amount of. It was so good. The cake was moist and had some ingrediants in it, like raisins and nuts that modern recipes tend to take out, which made the cake feel original.

This dish was the most surprisingly good to me. It is the Pork Belly from Brazil. The meat was tender and perfect but the best part of the plate was the bean mixture. It was just a good tasting plate and one of the few plates that I felt could be a meal. 

The macaroni and cheese was a crowd favorite but I am picky about Mac and cheese so I was apprehensive about trying. I am glad I did though. It was super cheesy so it made me forget about the fact that I don’t usually like breadcrumbs in my Mac and cheese and the bacon bits were the perfect addition to the dish. 

The Nitro Chocolate Almond dessert gets the award for coolest option at Food and Wine. It’s starts out as a smoky egg shaped hard chocolate and with a small whack of a hammer a smooth chocolate mousse is revealed. With some caramel drizzle and almond dust added next, this little dessert is deliscious and unique.

The pork slider with pineapple chutney seems to be a staple each year and deservingly so. It’s alway so fresh and has so much flavor, I really enjoy this one and hope it stays for years!

Canada has one of the best food posts this year. The bacon cheddar soup is rich and the pretzel rolls that comes with is the perfect “spoon” 

Also located in Canada, The filet mignon needs Barry any sides. It’s tender and themushrooms add a good tang without taking away from the flavor of the steak

Last on my list of favorite thing was the white chocolate peanut butter mousse. Though I wish it were bigger it was affordable enough to get two at the time. 

There’s honestly. It a lot of things this year I did not enjoy. The items hear seem to all have the problem with them for me. Texture. 

This one is the perfect example texture for me. This is the tenderloin from Africa. Though the beef tasted okay, the abundant amount of sauce and gritty potato that was with it just didn’t go well together. 

The beef stroganoff was meh for me. Though it had an okay taste, the stroganoff felt like little pieces of styrofoam. I could not even finish it. On a positive note, the pickles on top were excellent. 

The most surprising thing in this list of dislikes. I love Mac and cheese but the combination of pasta in, essentially, a bread bowl was just too much! Holy carbload!

I got this in Italy. I don’t remember what is was and the picture doesn’t jog my memory either. All I remember is struggling to swallow my first bite. The saucy stuff was borderline flavorless and the white stuff was gritty and somehow less flavorful than the sauce. 

So this year was fun. My first year of trying something from every food post. Though it was sort of expensive, about $200 all together, and I didn’t have alcoholic beverages. But it was nice to push my taste buds and enjoy the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. 

PD Courtney