Saturday, March 31, 2012

More Disneyland Resort accommodations available to DVC Members

Great News From the DVC Member Website:

"Disney Vacation Club is pleased to announce the return of traditional hotel rooms at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa to the Disney Collection effective April 1, 2012.

While removing these hotel rooms from the Disney Collection at the opening of Disney Vacation Club villas at the property was consistent with other Disney Vacation Club mixed-use resorts, the high demand for, and limited supply of, Disneyland Resort accommodations has prompted this rare exception to the rule.

An updated 2012 Disneyland Resort in California reservation point chart is available now here on DVCMember.com.

This addition to the Disney Collection comes as the Happiest Place on Earth gets even happier this summer with the highly anticipated opening of Buena Vista Street and Cars Land at Disney California Adventure Park. Disney's Grand Californian Hotel & Spa features its own convenient entrance to the dramatically expanded Theme Park."

Friday, March 23, 2012

Quiet Gardens in Epcot's Japan Pavilion

The Japan Pavilion in Epcot can be a hustling and bustling place, with Taiko Drums, Mega Shopping, Art and Culture from the Far East. However just a few feet away from the hustle and bustle of it's center courtyard, you can find a quiet retreat to rest and take in the beauty of manicured Japanese Gardens. Next time you're looking for a spot to relax, find this vantage point, and then simply turn around and wander up the hill.

Traditional Japanese Gardens create miniature landscapes idealized by the skill hand of their creators. They most always incorporate both rocks and water, to symbolize the ying-yang and stylize the way they they complete each other. Many Japanese Gardens will incorporate some sort of bridge, and the Epcot garden is no exception. The bridge is often said to represent the path to paradise an immortality. In the pavilion's garden you will also find a stone lantern, which offers the lessons of the five elements in Buddhist cosmology. On our last trip to Epcot the Princess Party Crew took a few moments respite in the shade and tranquility; while I slipped away so that I could share this quiet moment with you.

Do you have a favorite place inn Epcot to stop and rest for awhile? I would love to hear about your secret spot, so leave me a comment and let me know where you find tranquility in the middle of the theme park hustle and bustle!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Springtime Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

New Merchandise for DVC Members

Just a quick look at some of the fun new DVC merchandise available at Kidani Village! I bought a Key Chain... exciting, I know.

DVC Kidani Village Merch

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Kissimmee Vacation Home by Global Resorts

Our Princess Party Crew arrived at our Kissimmee Vacation Home and was struck by the beauty of our accommodations for the week. A magnificent 5-bedroom 3.5 bath Global Resort Home in the gated resort community of Windsor Palms.

This isn’t just any house though, it’s part of an amazing resort community with amenities including a 7,500 sq. feet clubhouse with a resort pool, sun deck and the all-important hot tub. For families there’s a playground for the kids to enjoy as well as A 58 seat Movie Theater, video arcade and Billiard table. The gated community provided us peace of mind protection, and a friendly atmosphere for our stay.


For those who like to stay fit no matter if they’re on vacation or not, Windsor Palms offers a State-of-the-art fitness center, Sand volleyball, Basketball courts, Tennis courts and more than enough road to run. The house it’s self is ultra luxurious with comfortable beds to sleep up to twelve people. Who knew that all this came with renting a vacation home!

Another fantastic perk is that Global Resort Home guests get special pricing at several rental car companies. I was shocked at first at the prices when we decided to rent a car as Florida has several fees and taxes that it adds on to the rental. With the discount from Global Resorts I was able to upgrade our car from a small economy car to a mini van for just another $50, which was a huge advantage to our crew. Be careful though, the guys at MCO’s Dollar Rental Car desk will try to give you a really aggressive hard sell on upgrading insurance coverage.

This spectacular home came equipped with just about everything we needed to enjoy our week away. If you chose to stay at a resort home though expect to make a run to the store for some basics like dish soap and toilet paper.  3 am is NOT the best time to discover that there's no extra toilet paper.  Also, be prepared to encounter a few of Florida's natural inhabitants.  Disney Resorts take extraordinary measure to make sure you meet as little of Florida's Wildlife as possible.  That's just not the case when you're in a house.  Global keeps it's homes spotless, and diligently has their properties treated for pests once a month.  This is Florida though, and you're bound to be welcomed from time to time by Palmetto Bugs (we named ours Roachzilla), Mud Daubbers, and Armadillo.


The luxurious bedrooms more than accommodated my traveling party, with everyone fighting over who would get he Mickey Mouse themed room! Well appointed furnishings grace every room and there are plenty of linens for all. I don’t know if I could ever stay someplace again without a pool and hot tub spa right out the patio door on the screened lanai. A full washer and dryer mean that we don’t ever have to worry about trying to tug on cold wet swimsuits the next day. We just tossed them in the dry after we were done with our nightly wrap up. I've been traveling a lot lately and the bed I slept in at Global is one of the more comfortable I've slept in.


Of greatest importance for three bloggers on a trip is that our house, as well as most Global Resort Homes have Wireless Internet. For those of us that were working through the trip, it could make getting the task accomplished a breeze. There was a problem with the wireless at first, but Global sent someone to our house right away to get the problem taken care of. Great customer service! We did experience some continuing technical issues with our internet service, that was not a problem coming from in the house, but more on the internet providers side.

Near I-94 and just 3 miles away from the Animal Kingdom "back door" to Walt Disney World, this luxury vacation home put us pretty close to close to all the Disney action action.  I personally missed having housekeeping, and breakfast just down the hall, but I tend to be a pretty spoiled traveler.   You can take the girl out of Disney, but you just can't take the Disney out of the girl.  I’m so glad that we choose Global Resort Homes for this vacation, it was a great experience and I can see how a vacation home would work out for many families. I'm hoping that this gives my best friend's family a fantastic option for when they head to her Disney Wedding Next Year!

NOTE: This piece has been cross posted by the author. Additions have been made for a more personal point of view. Original post can be found on iSeeKissimmee.com Disclaimer: Global Resort Homes sponsored our accommodations for the 5 night trip to Kissimmee. No other compensation was provided by Global Resorts, and opinions of the experience are entirely my own.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Disney's Animal Kingdom Jammin' Jungle Parade

On my most recent trip to Walt Disney World, my party was briefly separated. Tori and Jackie wanted badly to see the Jammin' Jungle Parade at Disney's Animal Kingdom. As Bekah went to park the car, the rest of us girls into Disney’s Animal Kingdom to find a spot to watch the parade. It shouldn’t have been a big deal, but the Becks forgot her cell phone in the car and then had to catch up with us in the park “blind”.

While many guests would have just stopped at the closest spot the entrance, I had to find the “perfect” spot for us to watch the Jammin’ Jungle Parade. I lead our group through the heavily landscaped Animal Kingdom, back through the parade route and into Africa until I found what I thought would be our “best spot.”

My perfect spot had to be on the parade route, have shade, seating, and ideally be close to refreshments. Oh Yea... Being my Best Friend, Becks found us without a problem.

Q: "Where would Kristen Watch the Parade?
Sitting in the shade with a cocktail!

I'm so predictable... It's the Dawa Bar!

So, where’s your favorite spot to watch the Jammin’ Jungle Parade? Are you a creature of habit? Would your family be able to find you someplace deep in the park if separated? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Enjoy the Parade!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Roatan, Bay Islands, Honduras

My father in law, Ray, just forwarded us some pictures from our recent vacation. We had such a great time! He really enjoys the water based shore excursions, snorkeling, sting ray and shark swims, scuba, etc. I enjoy the water too, chlorinated, with padded lounge chairs and cabana boys bringing me fruity drink. We dropped anchor and tendered over in the life boats because the Celebrity Cruise Ship was hogging the pier. That was an interesting experience!

This is what Ray did while we dropped anchor in Honduras...

This is what I did while in Honduras...
Pool Toes
P1000462 P1000473

That was a fantastic day! Even though our group split up (Geordon, Madge and I at the pool) we all had a fantastic time doing things that we enjoyed. I loved relaxing at this little seaside resort. We had the pool area all to ourselves until noon, it was super clean, and the water was the perfect temperature to cool down from the tropical sun. It was so secluded and beautiful, the perfect little private retreat. The folks at the bar kept bringing us drinks, we relaxed and chatted the day away while we waited for Ray to finish his adventure.

Which Island adventure would you have chosen?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Springtime Wordless Wednesday

Focused on the Magic

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Stop in the French Quarter

We stayed at the Clarion Inn and Suites last night in New Orleans.  It wasn't the luxury boutique hotel that I wanted, but the room was clean, comfortable and ours.  That was awesome because it was super cold last night (in the 50s with a high wind chill).  We didn't go out to "dba" to see John Boutte, by the time we got to the hotel around 7:30PM we were so exhausted we just ordered pizza and went to bed. It had been a looong day, and the combination of waking up at 1am and the walk around  the French Quarter was exhausting.  I figure that the Jazz isn't going anyplace and we can come back.

I really love it here.  Music, art and culture seethes from the very ground you walk on in the French Quarter it's a little like Disney only dirtier, grittier, and with drunk college kids everywhere.  I ate Beignets and had coffee at the original Cafe du Monde'.  The line we stood in was sort of like waiting in queue for Soarin' at Epcot.  LoL!  The walking tour we took was a jaunt through Jazz History.  We saw Preservation Hall, Congo Square, and New Orleans Cemetery #1.  We made a brief stop at the oldest continuing serving bar in America once owned by Pirate Jean Lafitte.  We covered so much ground and there's so much I still want to see (and eat!) that we'll have to go back.  The building are so old, and so beautiful in the Quarter.  The Ironwork balconies drip with flowers and it's simply magical.   My one regret is that we didn't get back out for dinner at Emeril's.  That's so on the list for next time!  Just like in Disney you just can't see everything here all  in one trip.

I had a 1/4 of a hurricane at Pat O'Briens and it kicked me on my butt!!  Seriously 1/4 of a drink and I wasn't seeing straight.  I can put away some Italian Margaritas, but I didn't even finish half of my "orignal" Hurricane.  I had expected Pat's to be sort of gross, because it's one of those places that all the tourists go, but it was really beautiful and the pianos are covered in copper. The themeing was fantatic.

If anyone is interested I uploaded our Nola Photos to Flickr last night.  I haven't had time to tag or title anything yet though.

2012 New Orleans Photo Set

We board the cruise ship in a couple of hours so I'll be offline.  See you next week!!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Leaving for New Orleans in 15 minutes... just discovered Maison DuPuy booked us in for the WRONG NIGHT.  They'd charged my credit card, don't have a room for me, and i'm royally screwed.  I guess I'll be having the New Orleans Homeless experience for my 24 hours in NOLA.

Worst two weeks travel experience EVER!  I'm never leaving Disney again.