Jul 12

2012 Walt Disney World Closures and Refurbishments Schedule

Pardon Our Pixie DustNarcoossee’s (Grand Floridian Resort) closed through 7/22/12 for refurbishment.

Cape May Cafe (Beach Club Resort) closed through 8/4/12 for refurbishment.

Beach Pool Bar (Grand Floridian Resort) closed through 8/24/12.

Bistro de Paris (Epcot) closed through 9/30/12 for refurbishment.

Test Track (Epcot) closed through 11/30/12 for transformation to the Chevrolet Design Center.

Grand Floridian Spa (Grand Floridian Resort) closed through mid-2013 for DVC construction.

Characters in Flight Balloon Rides (Downtown Disney) suspended indefinitely.

Osprey Ridge Golf Course closed 7/16/12-7/17/12 and 8/27/12-9/2/12 for refurbishment.

Lake Buena Vista Golf Course closed 7/18/12-7/19/12 and 8/20/12-8/26/12 for refurbishment.

Citricos (Grand Floridian) closed 7/23/12-8/3/12 for refurbishment.

Liberty Square Riverboat (Magic Kingdom) closed 8/4/12-8/10/12 for refurbishment.

Magnolia Golf Course closed 8/6/12-8/12/12 for refurbishment.

Surf Pool (All-Star Sports Resort) closed 8/6/12-9/7/12 for refurbishment.

Palm Golf Course closed 8/13/12-8/19/12 for refurbishment.

Country Bear Jamboree (Magic Kingdom) closed 8/22/12-10/17/12 for refurbishment.

Courtyard Pool (Grand Floridian Resort) closed 8/24/12-early December 2012 for refurbishment.

Gasparilla Grill and Games (Grand Floridian Resort) closed 8/24/12-12/16/12.

Mouseketeer Club (Grand Floridian Resort) closed 8/24/12-November 2012.

Yachtsman Steakhouse (Yacht & Beach Club Resorts) closed 8/27/12-9/15/12 for refurbishment.

Oak Trail Golf Course closed 9/5/12-9/9/12 for refurbishment.

California Grill (Contemporary Resort) closed 1/6/13-late summer 2013 for refurbishment.

Mar 12

Photo Tour of the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Recently I had the chance to check out the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Downtown Disney.  The resort has been on Disney property for years and I had no idea what to expect in terms of how updated the rooms would be. Let’s just say that I was pleasantly surprised!

Check out this amazing view from our hotel room!  Downtown Disney is just a short walk away!

Downtown Disney viewed from the Hilton Lake Buena Vista

We were in a King Room. The resort also has Two Double Bed Rooms available.

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

The room furnishings were very modern and updated and the beds were comfortable.

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Here’s the separate sink and vanity area directly outside of the bathroom.  Very convenient if another member of your party is taking a shower.

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Luxurious Peter Thomas Roth Spa Products come standard.

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

Special packages are also available that include goodies in your room!

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista at Downtown Disney

I also have to point out that staying at this resort will allow you to take advantage of Disney’s Extra Magic Hours!!! Major bonus!  Another bonus is the complimentary and continuous transportation to all Walt Disney World Theme Parks as wellas the close proximity to all of the restaurants, shopping and entertainment that the Downtown Disney area has to offer.  The resort is located at 1751 Hotel Plaza Boulevard, Lake Buena Vista, Florida, 32830. Rooms can be booked by calling 1-407-827-4000 or online at Hilton.com Be sure and Like The Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista on Facebook and Twitter so that you can stay abreast of any specials they offer.

A big “THANK YOU” to the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Resort for providing me and my family with a discounted rate to experience the resort. All opinions are my own.

Oct 11

Adult Trick or Treat Bar Crawl at the Walt Disney World Resort

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is in full swing and one of my favorite resorts at Walt Disney World has something perfect to complement this fabulous event!

Have you ever made it around World Showcase sampling food and wine with your friends, enjoyed Illuminations and then thought to yourself “Dang! Only 9:15 and we have to stop the fun?”  Well now you can head on over to the Bonnet Creek Hilton and Waldorf Astoria and continue the party with “Adult Trick or Treat” throughout the month of October. Well, its mostly treat!

Trick or Treating for Adults – An event destined for your Facebook photo gallery! Purchase a passport to enjoy a featured drink at each of six lounge venues: Bull & Bear lounge, Aquamarine pool bar, Peacock Alley lounge, Sir Harry’s lounge, La Luce lounge, and Sena lounge. Talk about a treat – and no costume is required! ($25 per person… gratuity included!)

La Rosette at Peacock Alley

Waldorf Sour at Sir Harry’s Lounge

Waldorf Special at Bull & Bear

Watermelon Mojito at Aquamarine

Tramonto or Autumn Leaves at La Luce

And the Saki-Driver at Sena

This is an AMAZING Deal!  If you were to hit up any of the Disney lounges for drinks you would pay around $8 per drink plus gratuity right?  That would end up costing you around $54 for libations for the evening.  Here you are only spending $25! I have seen these lounges first hand. They are all STUNNING!

AND…..you don’t have to stay at the hotel to participate!  (even though you’d be crazy not to! It’s divine! Check out my review here)  Also… if you’re a lightweight you don’t have to do them all in one evening. You can split up your beverage sampling over the course of a few days.  You can purchase your beverage passport at the Waldorf Astoria Front Desk and most of the lounges sell it as well.

Also…just to clarify, this is NOT the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista which is at Downtown Disney.  This is the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, also at Walt Disney World.  This resort is much newer and is located adjacent to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and POP Century.  If you would like to book a room here please visit http://www.hiltonbonnetcreek.com/ or phone 407-597-3600.

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Ariel Map

Aug 11

Arnold Palmer Takes Over Disney Golf Courses

disney golf courseWalt Disney World Resort and Arnold Palmer Golf Management have signed a 20-year strategic alliance to create even more magic for Disney golfers. Beginning Sept. 25, Arnold Palmer Golf Management will operate, manage, maintain and help promote all five Disney courses including Disney’s Palm and Magnolia, Lake Buena Vista, Osprey Ridge and Oak Trail golf courses.

As part of this long-term alliance agreement, golf legend Arnold Palmer and his golf course design team will be actively engaged in implementing strategic and innovative design features to several of the golf courses. Future enhancements include plans for a full renovation of Disney’s Palm under his direction to become an Arnold Palmer designed course.

“After 40 years as a golf course architect, I’m looking forward to this opportunity to contribute to Disney’s rich and storied golf legacy,” said Arnold Palmer. “I’ve enjoyed a lifetime of memories playing golf and it will be a great reward to pass that on to those who share a passion both for Disney and the game of golf.”

With an extensive following of serious golf enthusiasts, Arnold Palmer Golf Management is known for its excellent course conditions, pace of play, service standards and player development. In addition to course operation, the company also manages  “Palmer Advantage,” a reciprocal club and concierge service program, that provides members with unique travel benefits and access to more than 250 private clubs, resorts and golf courses around the world.

“Drawing on Arnold Palmer Golf Management’s expertise and experience enables us to build on our mutual strengths and extend our appeal both among leisure players and avid golfers,” said Ken Potrock, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. “We’re excited about this new collaboration, which will benefit Disney guests and Palmer Advantage club members wanting a destination golf experience.”

The agreement gives Arnold Palmer Golf Management an opportunity to add a uniquely Disney, family-friendly golf destination to its portfolio of more than 70 private clubs and championship golf courses. Disney Golf will be promoted within the Palmer Advantage network of golf devotees, through a dedicated website and featured within the exclusive publication, “Kingdom Magazine,” which celebrates Mr. Palmer’s contributions to the game of golf and extensive philanthropic ambassadorship.

“With a reputation for service excellence and exceptional family entertainment, Walt Disney World is an ideal complement to our member offerings,” said Jim Hinckley, president of Arnold Palmer Golf Management. “This collaboration will give our members both a superior golf experience and a one-of-a-kind family golf vacation.”

Since Walt Disney World opened with two 18-hole courses in 1971, golf has been a key component of the resort. Over the past four decades, Disney World has hosted professional and amateur golf tournaments, including one of the longest-running events in PGA Tour history – the PGA Tour’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic. Disney has also hosted the LPGA Tour, NCAA golf championships and dozens of celebrity golf tournaments.

About Disney Golf

Walt Disney World Resort is one of the largest golf resorts in the country with a total of 81 holes on four 18-hole championship courses and a 9-hole family-play course. All five courses are certified by Audubon International as cooperative wildlife sanctuaries. The resort includes:

  • Disney’s Magnolia course – Named for its 1500 magnolia trees, this course is one of the two original golf courses that opened with Walt Disney World Resort forty years ago. Designed by Joe Lee, the course has hosted final round play for PGA Tour events since 1971.
  • Disney’s Palm course –Designed to accentuate the natural beauty of the land, the course opened in 1971 near Magic Kingdom. Recognized as one of America’s premier resort courses, Disney’s Palm will be renovated to earn the designation of an Arnold Palmer designed course.
  • Lake Buena Vista course – Built in 1972, the course adjacent to Downtown Disney and Saratoga Springs Resort stretches to 6,829 yards from the championship tees. As a past host for PGA, LPGA and USGA tour stops, the beautifully conditioned course is a challenge for pros and amateurs alike.
  • Osprey Ridge course – Designed by Tom Fazio in 1992, the course will transition to Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort as part of their new luxury resort anticipated to open in 2013-14.
  • Oak Trail course one of Disney’s most popular courses, this nine hole walking course is ideal for golfers of all ages and skill levels.

Aug 11

Disney Passholders Enter for a Chance to Stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite

Amanda Tinney Cinderella Castle Suite BathtubI’ve fantasized about it on more than one occasion!!!  If Only!!!  Spending the night INSIDE the Magic Kingdom in the Cinderella Castle Suite!  I did get a peek inside of it once…only made the desire burn brighter to actually rest my head upon that royal pillow!

Disney Passholders, the dream is now alive!  Thanks to the 40th Anniversary promotion, you can enter to win a night inside the castle.  If chosen, you and three guests will be given the opportunity of a lifetime!  Accommodations in the crème de la crème of Disney suites, breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table, a $250 Disney gift card, one-day Magic Your Way tickets for the entire party and transportation to Walt Disney World ( if more than 250 miles away).

The contest will run from September 1st – October 1st, 2011 and winners will be notified by U.S. Mail on or about October 19, 2011.  You must be a Walt Disney World Passholder in good standing at the start of the entry period and at least 21 years of age.

Each passholder may enter the contest once per day by the following means:
(a) BY DEPOSIT ENTRY: You can access the  entry form HERE or at Uptown Jewelers Merchandise location in the Magic Kingdom Park. Complete and deposit a Form at the Uptown Jewelers Merchandise location location in the Magic Kingdom Park in one of the entry boxes available in the lobby area.
(b) BY MAIL ENTRY: Complete a Form or hand print your full name, address, telephone number, birth date and Passholder ID Number on an 8½” x 11″ plain sheet of paper and mail the completed Form or the sheet of paper inside a postage prepaid business size (#10) envelope, to: Disney Destinations, LLC, 2011 Passholder 40th Anniversary Sweepstakes, P.O. Box 10000, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830.

Official rules can be found HERE.

Good luck to all! If you win…remember how you found out about the contest! (nudge nudge wink wink)