Posts Tagged by Bay Lake

Kill, Refurb, Marry: Disney Parks Transportation

Kill-Marry-RefurbEven though I am a firm believer that you MUST have a car when visiting Walt Disney World, I still love Disney transportation.  There is something wonderful about seeing the monorail whizz by and to here the boat horns in the distance.  The busses always remind me of that time from my childhood when were were returning from a long day in the parks and a glow necklace I was playing with from the evening show broke and the liquid went in my eye.  Ahhhh the memories.  They are uniquely Disney and always bring a smile to my face.

So here we go with my choices to kill, refurb and marry the Disney Parks Transportation systems.

Kill – Friendship Boats

I actually love the Friendship Boats…they hold a sense of nostalgia in me.  Actually the entire Crescent Lake area is very nostalgic for me because that area was built around the time that I begin having strong memories of The World.  And really, it’s so gorgeous there, isn’t it?

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So how could I want to kill the Friendship Boats that are a staple here?  Because the are SO DAMN SLOW!!!  Oh man that thing just moves at a snails pace.  And have you ever been on one on a hot day and it sounds like the air conditioning is blasting, but it just feels like hot air blowing on you?  I mean, if I’m going to sweat I might as well walk to my destination because I will probably get there faster and burn some calories along the way.

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I love the Friendship Boats but I think at this point they are beyond repair…they just need to be replaced.

Refurb – Monorail

There is nothing more iconically Disney than the Monorail.  It is a staple in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.  However both could use and upgrade.

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Let’s start with the original Monorail in Disneyland.  I love this thing!  The windows open and it winds through the trees and attractions in Tomorrowland…so fun!  However, it lacks air conditioning.  I happened to visit Disneyland once during a particularly hot streak and that monorail was like a sauna.  Simply having the windows open did not provide enough breeze to make it bearable.  An upgrade here is needed.

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Now my favorite Monorail is in Walt Disney World.  I could say “Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas” by the age of 5.  That is still the only Spanish I know, but that is another story.

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I love flying high above the Seven Seas Lagoon and whizzing through the Contemporary Resort, but have you taken a whiff inside one of those things lately??  Whoa.  They smell musty and moldy.  Plus the air conditioning units drip on the seats!  Another upgrade please!

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 Marry – Motor Launches

These are those smaller, classic looking boats that provide transportation between the Magic Kingdom and the Grand Floridian, Polynesian and Wilderness Lodge Resorts.  There is also a line that circles Bay Lake and stops at the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Resorts.

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There is something so charming about these boats that get me very excited each time I get to ride one.  They seem like a through back to simpler times.  Plus, unlike their friend the Friendship Boat, these things are speedy.  It is definitely the fastest way to get around the Seven Seas Lagoon if you are going to the Poly or Grand Flo.  An added bonus is that because they are small, you typically will have a very friendly skipper to chat with on your journey.

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So those are my choices…what about you??  What Disney Parks Transportation would you Kill, Refurb & Marry??  Make sure to visit This Happy Place BlogMouse on the Mind and all of the other great blogs participating in Kill, Refurb, Marry today!

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Bay Lake Tower Grand Villa Tour

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The Contemporary Resort is a classic fixture at Walt Disney World.  Even after 40+ years, it’s 70’s era charm still seems, well contemporary, in a nostalgic sort of way.  And who doesn’t love gliding through the lobby on the monorail or looking down on the Magic Kingdom from California Grill?  The perks of this resort just go on and on.  So in 2008 when the announcement that a new Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property was being built as part of the resort, Disney fans were thrilled!  This was the perfect addition to the Contemporary and the DVC resort group!

The Grand Villas at Bay Lake Tower are all two stories and located on the top 2 floors of the building.  These are perfect for a big family getaway or a runDisney race weekend with friends, which is when I stayed there.  Let’s go inside!!

Living Room & Kitchen

The first thing you’ll notice when you enter the villa are the GIANT windows!  The windows are two stories and look out over Bay Lake or the Magic Kingdom.  While the furniture isn’t the most comfortable (most contemporary designs really aren’t in my opinion), the views make you forget about that.  Well that and the large flat screen TV :)

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I just LOVE LOVE LOVE the kitchens at Bay Lake Tower.  Look at this thing!  Stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, tons of cabinets…how do I bring this home??

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The Views

Our villa had a Lake View, so we were able to watch the Contemporary Resort marina and see Epcot and even all they way out to Downtown Disney!

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Master Bedroom

The Master Bedroom is located on the first floor with a king-sized bed and a bathroom the size of my first apartment in NYC.

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Look at this shower…I was dying to check out the rain feature!  Sadly it wasn’t my room…

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Second Floor Lounge

Heading upstairs there is another seating area to relax in.  This was B’s favorite area :)

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You can kind of see why…the couch is a little more welcoming than the one downstairs.

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Also looking downstairs is pretty cool from up there!

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 Upstairs Bedrooms

The two bedrooms upstairs are virtually identical.  They each have 2 queen beds, an over-sized closet, spa like bathrooms and their own balconies.

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Added Bonuses!

There are a lot of added bonuses to staying at one of these Grand Villas.  First (and one of my favs!) is the laundry room.  It’s not just a stackable washer and dryer in a closet like other resorts, but a full on laundry room.  This is so perfect to wash all your nasty running clothes after a race before heading home!

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Next is the additional bathroom on the first floor.  When staying with multiple people it’s nice to have a bathroom off of the living room to quickly use if your bedroom is upstairs.  Oh and by the way, that make 4 full bathrooms.  That’s 3 more than I have in my home!!!

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If you have a lake view villa (which I actually prefer!), you get your own “private” show of the Electrical Water Pageant.  You just can’t been that music :)

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And last but certainly not least, because the 2nd floor of the villa is on the 16th  floor there is easy access to my favorite lounge on property…Top of the World!  It really is the best place to end a magical day at Walt Disney World :)

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I can’t say enough good things about the Grand Villa at Bay Lake Tower.  Basically, I’d just like to move into one.  Or at the very least stay there for every runDisney race weekend.  Now how to win that DVC lottery???

Which DVC Grand Villa would you most like to stay in?

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Wilderness Lodge & Fort Wilderness Exercise Trail

Last week during our stay at the Villas at the Wilderness Lodge, I got up early one morning and went for a run on the exercise trail.  It starts at the Wilderness Lodge and goes over to the Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground.  This was definitely one of the major perks of staying at the Wilderness Lodge and I had been looking forward to this run in the weeks leading up to the trip.  When we checked into the hotel, I asked for a map of the exercise trail so I could get familiar with where I was going.  I haven’t spent much time in Fort Wilderness, so I didn’t want to be running in circles.

Fort Wilderness Exercise Trail

Fort Wilderness Recreation Map

It was a cool, foggy morning and I went out just after sunrise.  Guests were coming back to the Villas with fresh cups of coffee and breakfast from Roaring Fork, and the buses were just beginning to roll in.  I had been on this trail once before when hubs and I did the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure Segway Tour on our honeymoon, but being out this early in the morning was just breathtaking.  The sun was just peeking through the trees and trying to burn off the morning fog.  It was a little eerie, yet beautiful at the same time. 

On my way over to Fort Wilderness, I saw some pretty amazing things.  Near the beginning of the trail, I saw a grouping of pinecones out of the corner of my eye.  On closer inspection, I realized they were in the shape of Mickey Mouse!  What a cool hidden mickey find.  I sent the picture to Steve Barrett, the Hidden Mickey Guy, and even he hadn’t seen that one.  Another great thing about this trail is all of the wildlife.  I saw more squirrels and birds than I could count, and I even saw a woodpecker.  But the best wildlife sighting was a mother and a baby deer out for breakfast.  It was like Disney planted them there.

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Mama & Baby Deer in the Distance

When I entered Fort Wilderness, I stayed to the right and headed down Fort Wilderness Trail.  The first thing I saw was a huge trailer that I think was larger than my house, all decked out for Valentine’s Day.  It’s so great how the residents in the Campground get very festive for all of the holidays.  I loved this part of my run.  There was so much to look at and the sidewalk wound in and out of the trees.  The only difficult part were all of the delicious breakfast smells that were coming from the trailers!  It was really making me hungry.

Valentine's Trailer

Even after looking at the map before my run, I still was unsure of where I was going.  I didn’t know the name of the road I had to turn down to head back to the main exercise trail.  Luckily there were a few bus stops along the way that had maps of the resort so I could figure out where I was.  I found Big Pine Drive and headed back up towards the Settlement Trading Post, all the while watching for chipmunks along the way. 

When I got back up to the Settlement Trading Post, I noticed a sandy nature trail off to the right.  I remembered taking this trail on our Segway tour and that is offers a great view of Bay Lake, so I took off down the trail.  As I got closer to the lake, the sand got a bit deeper so I took it easy because I didn’t want to twist my ankle since I had a lot of park touring to do that day!  When I got to the end of the trail, I was greeted by a phenomenal view of Bay Lake with Space Mountain and the Contemporary Resort in the distance.  This was also a great place to enjoy the peace and quiet for a few minutes and stretch a little bit.

Nature Trail to Bay Lake

Before I headed back to the Lodge, I took a detour past Pioneer Hall and over to the Tri-Circle D Ranch to say hi to the horses.

According to my Garmin, round trip my total run was 3.5 miles.  At that time of day, there weren’t many other people out on the trail.  I think I saw about 8 other runners.  Later in the day, I’m sure it gets a bit more crowded with bikes, Segways and even horses.  I just can’t say enough good things about this trail.  The whole run was incredibly peaceful and there was so much to see along the way.  If I had a trail like this at home to run on, I think I would train more frequently!  You definitely need to check out this trail next time you’re in Walt Disney World.  Even if you aren’t staying at either resort, it is worth taking a trip over just to take in the scenery.