Oct 14

Walt Disney World Resort Hotel to Get a $125 Million Face Lift

swan and dolphin resort at walt disney world

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel is getting the largest makeover in its 25 year history. The hotel has launched a multi-phase, multi-year, $125 million redesign project that will transform every guest room in the 758-room Swan Hotel and the 1,509-room Dolphin Hotel.

The transformation will occur without disruption to the guest experience as the majority of guest rooms will be available throughout the process. The hotel’s public spaces, restaurants, meeting rooms, shops, pools and recreational areas will not be impacted and remain fully operational throughout the renovation.

The new room design is inspired by the resort’s water-themed architecture. The goal was to create a serene and sophisticated atmosphere.

The guest room features upgraded furniture and all of the latest technology including large HD TVs. Additional power outlets provide corporate executives and family travelers more options for use of multiple personal electronics.

Blending an artistic combination of whites, blues and grays, the design creates a tasteful ambiance that appeals to adults while abstract artwork playfully delights children as well.

The centerpiece of the room is the famous Westin Heavenly Bed with its all-white custom-designed pillow-top mattress set, cozy down blanket, a trio of crisp sheets, goose down comforter and four over-stuffed pillows.

The design continues into a completely new bathroom, featuring a back-lit mirror mounted on iridescent glass tiles.

The project started at the Swan Hotel, with approximately 500 of the 756 rooms redesigned by the end of 2014. The first phase of the Dolphin Hotel rooms will begin in 2015 with the entire rooms project currently scheduled for completion by the end of 2016.

Oct 14

Looking for New Years Eve Dining Options at the Walt Disney World Resort?

New Years Eve at Walt Disney World

Guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort can ring in the new year with special holiday meals at more than a dozen spots within the theme parks and resorts.

At Epcot World Showcase, Biergarten Restaurant in Germany is offering both lunch and dinner celebrations; La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico is offering a New Year’s Eve dinner; Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada has three seatings, and Monsieur Paul in France starts celebrating at 11:45 a.m. with seatings throughout the day and evening.  The World ShowPlace pavilion also will host a custom dinner package.

In the Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland Terrace will feature a New Year’s Eve fireworks dessert party twice nightly on December 30-31. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Hollywood & Vine will host a special holiday dinner buffet.

In the resorts, special dining for ringing in the New Year is planned at Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk; Victoria & Albert’s and Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; The Wave…of American Flavors and California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort; and Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground (lunch and dinner).

For information and reservations, 407-WDW-DINE.

Oct 14

A Look Inside the Inaugural 2014 Disney Fit Challenge at Walt Disney World

Disney CrossFit Competition 2014

My girlfriend Sarah from Running at Disney and RAD Living is always posting recaps of her CrossFit workouts using jargon I don’t understand. I told her she needs to do a “CrossFit for Dummies” post on her site laying out what each one of the terms she uses means so I have a way to translate all the acronyms she throws around. Hopefully that post will come one day so I have a reference to go to.

When she signed up for the Disney Fit Challenge at the ESPN Wide World of Sports and invited me along I was stoked to be a spectator so I could learn what this CrossFit stuff was all about.

Here are some photos and video from the event. You CrossFit’ers out there will probably know exactly what all this equipment is used for.

Disney Fit Challenge 2014 Walt Disney World

Disney Fit Challenge 2014 Walt Disney World CrossFit



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Disney Fit Challenge 2014 Walt Disney World CrossFit Snack

I was only able to stay for two of the three heats that my friends were participating in that day because I had a hot date with a chef. #JustKidding

Chef Robert Irvine and Amanda Tinney at Epcot

Here is where I tell you to go visit Sarah’s post for a real detailed run down on the Disney Fit Challenge – RAD Living’s {Disney Fit Challenge – The Competition}

Oct 14

Family Photo: Second Baby in Month Born to Endangered Gorilla Family at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom Baby Gorilla

It’s another boy! Disney Cast Members, guests and animal lovers are celebrating the birth of the second gorilla in one month for the family of critically endangered western lowland gorillas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Born September 3rd to mother Kashata and father Gino, the healthy infant joins another male gorilla who was born August 7th to Azizi and Gino. The family group also includes another adult female, Benga, and a four-year-old female named Lilly.


  • After a pregnancy of nearly nine months, female gorillas give birth to one infant that typically weighs just four pounds. After birth, infant gorillas cling to their mothers’ fur for the first several months, then ride on their mothers’ backs through the first two or three years of life.
  • Gorillas are typically weaned between the ages of four and five years, but begin to eat solids between two to six months.
  • Troops are led by one dominant, older adult male, often called a silverback because of the swath of silver hair that adorns otherwise dark fur. Troops also include several other young males, some females and their offspring.
  • In the wild, western lowland gorillas are found in lowland tropical rainforests throughout western Africa.
  • Gorillas are the largest of all primates, standing up to six feet tall and weighing up to 450 lbs.
  • The gorilla habitat in Africa is quickly disappearing due to the mining of coltan, a mineral used to make batteries for electronics. Recycling cell phones or laptops may contribute to gorilla conservation.

Oct 14

Michael J. Fox and George Stephanopoulos Take a Family Photo In Front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom

Michael J. Fox and George Stephanopoulos Take a Family Photo In Front of Cinderella Castle at the Magic Kingdom

Acting legend Michael J. Fox (3rd from left) and ABC News’ chief anchor/”Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos (3rd from right) posed this Saturday with their families and Mickey Mouse at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.  Fox is married to actress Tracy Pollan (2nd from left), and Stephanopoulos, is married to actress Alexandra Wentworth (2nd from right).  Also pictured are Pollan’s and Fox’s children, Aquinnah (far left) and Esmé (4th from left); and Stephanopoulos’ and Wentworth’s children, Harper (front right) and Elliott (far right).