Category: Disney Parks
|December 16, 2014||Posted by Running at Disney under Walt Disney World|
Christmas is a little over a week away…can you believe it?!? I’ve never really been a HUGE fan of Christmas, but I’ve always wanted to attend Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party because I love the look of the lights on Cinderella’s Castle and the idea of it snowing on Main Street. Well this year I got the chance and since the Christmas season is now in full swing, I thought I would share some Disney holiday cheer!
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a hard ticket event held at the Magic Kingdom on select night in November and December. While many of the decorations and events like the castle lighting show happens every night during the holiday season, there are many events and photo opportunities that are unique to the party. Check out some of the fun decorations up and down Main Street.
Cinderella’s Castle is lit up with thousands of beautiful icicle lights and get turned on just after dusk by the characters of Frozen. You can catch a glimpse of Olaf here!
There are special character photo ops all around the park including a brand new appearance by Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws!! The wait for a photo was over 2 hours long so I didn’t wait, but people were THRILLED! I personally found him to look like a creepy alien, so I’m kind of glad I didn’t get on line.
Unique shows like the Jingle Jungle Cruise and holiday versions of typical shows take place. Check out all the pirates in Christmas garb.
There is a unique Holiday Wishes fireworks show and Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade!
FREE cookies and hot chocolate all around the park!! You can find the stations by these huge inflated candy canes…I was clearly thrilled by this 🙂
And finally…it snows on Main Street!! Yup, in Florida, it’s snowing. This is the kind of snow I can get behind! No shoveling and moderate temperatures…woohoo!
So even this non-Christmas lover can’t help but get in the season when at the Magic Kingdom. I just wish I could spend the entire season there and not deal with the crowds, shopping, etc… Oh well, at least I have these great photos to look at to get me in the holiday mood 🙂 Hope you have enjoyed them too!
|December 12, 2014||Posted by Running at Disney under Resorts|
One of the hidden gems at the Walt Disney World Resort is the Bonnet Creek Resort located near Downtown Disney. This resort is made up of the Hilton Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando hotels and provides unparalleled accommodations and luxury….and that is coming from this DVC member, Disney resort loving gal!
This resort is also a great place to stay during runDisney race weekends! They have started offering a special experience for runners called Marathon Weekends which includes a special rate on accommodations, complimentary transportation to and from the race, snacks and beverages at the pre-race celebration, a runners welcome package and much more!
I recently had the opportunity to stay at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando during Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend and had an amazing time. Let’s take a look at the resort and some of what you get during Marathon Weekends.
Waldorf Astoria hotels are known for their luxury, elegance and sophistication. This one is no exception and really makes you feel like you are far away from Walt Disney World. As you walk in the circular lobby you are greeted by this elegant seating area. Just look at the detail on the ceiling!
Off of the lobby is a complimentary water station with different flavored waters and the beautiful Peacock Alley. This lounge is full of comfy, plush furnishings and features a live pianist in the evenings. I must admit I was a bit jealous of everyone in there on the night of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon.
Out back is a gorgeous, simple pool area with numerous cabanas available. This pool is definitly geared more towards adults, but good news is that resort guests with children can head next door to the Hilton’s (the hotels are connected) large pool and lazy river!
The grand feeling in the lobby carries through to the guest room floors. Just walking down the hallway to your room, you know that there is something special in store.
Our Deluxe Room featured two queen beds, flat screen TV, work station, double closets, coffee maker and an incredibly spacious bathroom featuring a large jacuzzi tub and wonderful glass shower.
The rooms all come with two super comfy robes (that are available for purchase) and let me just tell you, these were PERFECT when I came back cold and wet from the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. I bundled right up in one of these.
And the beds…oh the beds! The fluffy pillows and warm comforter are the perfect way to rest up before and after a race. This was honestly one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever slept in!
One of the perks of the Waldorf Astoria is their turndown service. Not only is your bed turned down, but slippers are left out for you and chocolates are waiting to be indulged in.
Marathon Weekend Amenities
Upon checking in during Marathon Weekends, you will be given a gift bag that includes instructions for the weekend and some accessories like bandaids! In your room you will find extra bottles of water and a few runner friendly snack to help fuel you for the big race.
Before the race, a pre-race celebration is held over at the Hilton, which is also where the complimentary race transportation leaves from. This is just a quick walk from the resort or there is a a shuttle to bring you over. Here you will find a TON of enthusiastic cheerleaders, food and beverage to fuel up and some really fun photo ops.
Since Wine & Dine is a night race, they had a lot of glowing items available too. I love these bracelets!
If you are looking for a pampering, relaxing and luxurious retreat during your runDisney race weekend, look no further than the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. The service and amenities are first-class and definitely help put you at ease during those hectic race weekends. Rooms are still available for the upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend at very reasonable rates…check it out!
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane
Orlando, FL 32821
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and was provided with complementary accommodations for two nights. I was not required to write this post and no monetary compensation has been received. All opinions are 100% my own.
|December 5, 2014||Posted by Running at Disney under Health & Fitness, Resorts|
During my recent stay at the B Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista, I had the opportunity to experience the B Indulged Spa while there. Of course I jumped on the opportunity!
B Indulged is a full-service AVEDA lifestyle spa that pampers guests with a wide array of all-natural treatments. Services include massages, skin care and body treatments, nail and hair care, waxing and makeup services. I’m a big fan of AVEDA product because they are derived from natural botanically, are environmentally friendly, and most importantly smell fantastic!
The spa is in a stand alone building across the back courtyard of the hotel and is connected with the B Active fitness center. So really you could spent an entire afternoon there, first exercising then relaxing.
I had originally scheduled a Strees-Fix Body massage for the day after the Wine & Dine Half Marathon to work out the kinks from my tired race legs, but after a full day of park touring, a few hours of standing at the Health & Fitness Expo and an upcoming night at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, I thought a pre-race massage might work in my favor. I went and spoke with the helpful staff on Friday afternoon and they recommended a Fusion Stone Massage to relax my aching legs and feet. I scheduled it for Saturday morning before the race.
I headed down to the spa that morning and was taken to the locker room where I was given a quick tour of the space. I really love the simplistic and modern decor which is carried over from the hotel itself.
The locker room was quite small, but was furnished with numerous amenities and lockers to store your belongings. I was shown how to use the lockers, but clearly didn’t follow directions well because I kept struggling to get it open. Reminder for next time…pay attention! 🙂
Inside each locker was a robe and slippers to change into. There is only one private changing area that is part of the only shower in the locker room. Thankfully I was the only guest there when I arrived, but I can imagine this would get tight if there were multiple people in there.
After changing, I headed back out into the spa where my masseuse was waiting for me. We went into one of the treatment rooms where she explained the treatment and how the stones work. I’ve never had a hot stone massage before and was really looking forward to this experience. However I was a bit apprehensive about how hot they actually got.
The massage lasted for 50 minutes and was absolutely sublime! I don’t think I will ever be able to have a regular massage again. Hot stones are totally the way to go!
Afterwards, I returned to the locker room and decided to take a quick shower there so I didn’t get the massage oil on my clothes. I also LOVE a good rain shower and this shower head was calling my name. This was a good idea in theory, but I was completely overmatched by the “European” shower functions. Or at least that’s what one of the people at the front desk described it to me as when I left.
First I couldn’t figure out how to turn it on and once I did, the temperature was either ice cold or scalding hot. There was no in between. I’m sure I was doing something wrong, but I was just so frustrated that I just jumped in and out of the various water temps and got out of there. I told the front desk about it and suggested that they explain the shower to guests and look into the temperature issue. Hopefully, that will get resolved. They has only been open for a few weeks prior to my visit so I think some of the kinks were still being worked out.
Besides the shower debacle, everything else at B Indulged was wonderful! From check-in to the the treatment, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience there. And the best part was that my legs felt refreshed and ready to take on the race that evening. Mission Accomplished!!
B Indulged is not limited to resort guests and is open to everyone. You will find that the services are very well done and on par with other spas on Walt Disney World property. But the best part is that the treatments are a bit more affordable than what you will find at one of the Senses Spas or Mandara at the Dolphin. High-quality, natural products and reasonable pricing…that’s a win in my book!
Click here for a full list of the B Indulged spa services and pricing.
B Indulged AVEDA Spa
1905 Hotel Plaza Boulevard
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Disclosure: I was a guest of the B Indulged Spa and was provided with a complementary spa treatment. I was not required to write this post and no monetary compensation has been received. All opinions are 100% my own.
|October 8, 2014||Posted by Running at Disney under Epcot Food & Wine Festival, Kill, Refurb, Marry|
The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is by far the BEST event at Walt Disney World. This was my 5th year attending the event and I must say that it just keeps getting better every year. The chefs are always looking for new ways to bring innovative dishes to the kiosks and explore more of the world through food.
So when I saw that this month’s topic for Kill, Refurb, Marry was Epcot Food & Wine Booths I got very excited, but then immediately was filled with dread. How could I pick a favorite?! That’s like a parent picking a favorite child! After much agonizing and review of my DFB Guide to the Festival, I have narrowed down my choices….with a few honorable mentions for good measure 🙂
Kill – Singapore
I have to be honest, this is a booth I always avoid. While the Seared Mahi Mahi looks good, everything else at the booth looks completely unappetizing. My first reaction when I saw the Lemongrass Chicken Curry this year was that it looks like vomit, seriously. This photo actually makes it look ok, but in person…nope.
Then there is the Singapore Sling. This just sounds like a tropical version of a Long Island Iced Tea where you mix together a bunch of things and call it a cocktail. Plus anything with gin immediately heightens my gag reflex.
It is rare that you will find someone that actually enjoys the food at this booth and most people have strong opinions against it. Take it from my friend Rick who had an interesting review from last year’s festival. So let’s move on from Singapore and add something a bit more appealing like Thailand!
Refurb – Terra
This was a tough one sine I find something redeeming at most booths. I decided to go with Terra because I feel like there are so many interesting Vegan dishes out there that don’t have to include “fake meat.” I was a vegetarian for over 8 years and I never enjoyed any of those products. The texture was always very strange to me and I always wondered what kind of additives were being used to mimic those flavors. Doesn’t the texture of this year’s CraB’less CraB Cake look odd??
While I haven’t tried anything from Terra yet this year, I did try the Chick’n dish last year and my predictions were correct. However I really enjoyed the sauces and sides that were served with the Chick’n. My hope is that the chefs get a little more creative with natural vegan ingredients in the future.
Marry – Scotland
Scotland made it’s Food & Wine Festival debut last year and I loved everything they had to offer. You can actually see me gushing over everything in this video…even the Vegetarian Haggis which I thought I was going to hate. Well this year Scotland has outdone themselves. It’s hard to believe, but they have actually gotten BETTER!
Along with the Vegetarian Haggis, they have added a Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin with Crispy Bacon AND a Fresh Potato Pancake with Smoked Scottish Salmon and Herb Sour Cream. OH. MY. Both of these dishes are absolutely amazing. When I visited they actually ran out of bacon for the scallop (a punishable offense!) and the dish was still outstanding. I can’t wait to try it again with the bacon…I might actually pass out. On top of that, all the drinks at the booth are wonderful.
Scotland, you are everything a Food & Wine Booth should be. I Love You!
So those are my choices…what about you?? What Epcot Food & Wine Booths would you Kill, Refurb & Marry?? Make sure to visit This Happy Place Blog, Mouse on the Mind and all of the other great blogs participating in Kill, Refurb, Marry today!
Also, make sure to check out the DFB Guide to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to help plan your visit. It’s a lifesaver in helping you get the most out of your time at the festival!