What's on YOUR Disney Bucket List?

Archive for the ‘Resorts’ Category

95: Check out Disney’s Art of Animation Resort upon completion

“Look at this trove, treasures untold
How many wonders can one cavern hold?
Looking around here you’d think,
‘Sure, she’s got everything…’

I’ve got gadgits and gizmos a’plenty

I’ve got whoozits and whatzits galore

You want Thingamabobs? I got 20!
But who cares? No big deal, I want more…”

In May, the Finding Nemo wing opened, and in June, we welcomed Cars. August brought us The Lion King. And now, with the opening of The Little Mermaid wing, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort is officially complete!

While the previously opened wings offer Value family suites, The Little Mermaid wing offers standard rooms for those who wish to enjoy this brand new, fun-filled resort but have a smaller group (standard rooms can house up to 4 guests, whereas the family suites can house up to 6). You can learn more about some of the amenities and unique features of this amazing Resort by checking out my previous posts here and here.

So at last, welcome to the Disney Resort Family, Art of Animation–we’re glad you’re here! Thanks for the magical memories you’ve already provided… Here’s to many more :)!

13: Eat an entire “Kitchen Sink” with friends at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

Once you pass through this door

…there’s no turning back from THE KITCHEN SINK!!!

Ah… the legendary Kitchen Sink! What do you need for it?

  • 8 scoops of ice cream (the vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, coffee, and mint chocolate chip, OR you can substitute with any you may prefer)
  • Angel Food Cake
  • Brownies (yes, plural :) )
  • Bundt Cake
  • Oreos
  • Milky Way Candy bars

…AND “every topping in the house!”

  • Peanut Butter, Hot Fudge, Strawberry, Butterscotch, Pineapple, and Caramel sauces
  • Bananas
  • Cherries
  • Gummy candies
  • Sprinkles (of course!)
  • An entire can of whipped cream (yes, please!)

… pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. Oh, wait—that’s there, too!

It also doesn’t hurt to have a few friends or family members to help you finish it :)!

My Disney Bucket List requirement was to finish an entire Kitchen Sink. The menu says a Kitchen Sink “serves four” (for $26.99). Let me tell you, even with seven adults, it was STILL a challenge and required more than one group pep talk ;). But, at long last… WE DID IT!!!

Are YOU ready to take on the Kitchen Sink? Head on over to Beaches & Cream Soda Shop at Disney’s beautiful Yacht & Beach Club Resorts (these resorts are connected, and Beaches & Cream is nestled right in between them, behind the amazing Stormalong Bay pool)!

If you prefer your sundaes on the smaller side ;), or if you just want to grab a burger (with fresh buns baked by the Yacht & Beach Club chefs), there are still plenty of yummy options for you. And everyone will enjoy the fun, 50s ice-cream parlor vibe.

P.S. While waiting for your order, be sure to pick out a song on this jukebox—it’s free to pick a song, it really works, and you can watch the 45 records spin… be sure to play “Earth Angel” for me :)!

95: (In Progress) Check out the Art of Animation Resort upon completion

Well, I can’t cross this item entirely off my Disney Bucket List, since Disney’s brand new Art of Animation Resort is not yet complete. But what I’ve seen so far has been so through-the-roof-AWESOME that I couldn’t resist sharing… I think you’ll want to GET ANIMATED, too :)!

The Art of Animation Resort is Walt Disney World’s newest offering in the Value Resorts category, joining the All Stars (Sports, Music, and Movies) and Pop Century. Value Resorts are the lowest price category of Disney Resort hotels, but lack nothing in the way of Disney magic :). Art of Animation celebrates the magic of Disney animation, featuring some of Disney’s most popular films: Cars, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and The Little Mermaid. Aside from theming, the primary difference is in the space for families: Art of Animation is the first Value Resort to offer more Family Suites than standard rooms. In fact, three of the four wings (Cars, The Lion King, and Finding Nemo) feature Family Suites with a master bedroom, two bathrooms, and three separate sleeping areas within the living space. The Little Mermaid wing will feature standard rooms… just enough space for all your whoozits-and-whatzits, naturally :).

Two wings have opened so far: the resort opened on May 31st, debuting the Finding Nemo section, and Cars followed on June 18th. (The Lion King will open on August 10th, and The Little Mermaid on September 15th.) But I couldn’t wait until September to share a few of my favorite things about the Art of Animation Resort!

  • The colorful, fun-filled lobby reflects the full animation process, from original character sketches, through development and story, to final film:

  • If you look at the lobby floor, you’ll notice bright, bold blocks of color, as well as teeny, tiny squares. The bold blocks represent traditional animation, like the stroke of a painter’s brush, in honor of the animation process that helped create The Little Mermaid and The Lion King. The teeny squares represent computer pixels–a nod to the process used to create Cars and Finding Nemo.

  • The pools are A!MAY!ZING!

  • The Cozy Cone Pool in the Cars section has Cone Cabanas! LOVE :)!

  • The Cars section makes you feel like you have walked into the movie itself:

  • The Landscape of Flavors food court is a stunner—not only is it somehow both lovely and fun, but it serves gelato–HELLO!!!

  • The food court also holds my new favorite Hidden Mickey. When you look up through Ariel’s skylight in The Little Mermaid section, you can spot a framed picture of Mickey among all her treasures:

There is so much more to see and explore here–these photos are just a small glimpse. Be sure to stop by or book at stay to enjoy all the colors at Disney’s Art of Animation!

52: Catch a Yeeha Bob show at Port Orleans – Riverside

Who has the energy of about twenty 5-year-olds?

Is lovable to the core?

And is a bona fide Walt Disney World treasure?

Why, it’s YEEHA BOB!!

Bob Jackson has been performing his unique blend of music and comedy at Disney’s Port Orleans-Riverside Resort for over fourteen years. And he’ll have YOU joining the show… It’s time to sing-along with Yeeha Bob! Here are just a few of the night’s offerings that we enjoyed:

  • “Hey Jude”
  • “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”
  • “Sweet Caroline”
  • “Greased Lightning”
  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”
  • “American Pie”
  • “When the Saints Go Marching In”
  • “Whoomp! There It Is” (Yes, you read that correctly :) )

And, my personal favorite… “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”! He even threw in some “Phineas and Ferb” and “Spongebob Squarepants” for the kiddos, and they loved every minute of it… all the big kids loved it, too—Bob makes sure that there is something for everyone here!

Oh… did I say “sing-along”? Bob’s sure to have you dancing, marching, clapping, hokie-pokeying and Tarzan-screaming along, too! But don’t let the non-stop fun and downright silliness fool you… Bob Jackson is a classically trained pianist who will knock your socks off with his talent. Just when you think it’s all for giggles, his “Flight of the Bumblebee” makes you realize how truly amazing he is.

Typically, you can find Yeeha Bob at Riverside Resort’s River Roost Lounge starting at 8:30 pm every Wednesday through Saturday, but be sure to either check his schedule or ask a cast member at Riverside Resort, as things are subject to change.

I saw Yeeha Bob on Friday night with friends, and brought my husband back immediately on Saturday night so he could see him, too (hence, his different-colored outfits in these photos :)). Seeing Yeeha Bob may become your next great Disney vacation tradition, too!

15: Camp at Fort Wilderness

“I went to the Walt Disney World woods to live deliberately…”
Adapted ;)

Okay, so maybe that’s not exactly what Thoreau said… but that’s what we did :). Welcome to our Fort Wilderness camping adventure!

Fort Wilderness is Walt Disney World’s campground. Guests can reserve campsites for anything from a small pop-up tent (like we have) to full-sized RVs. For guests who prefer to fly rather than drive (and who prefer a bit more privacy), there is an additional option (falling under the “Moderate Resort” range): The Cabins at Fort Wilderness.

Check-in begins at 3:00 pm, but my husband and I arrived at 11:30 am. We figured that we would just ask if we could stroll the grounds until 3:00 pm, but we were fortunate enough to be able to check-in early—right when we arrived! Check-out is 11:00 am, and since we were just putting up our tent, there really was no room turnover needed at our site. So, it’s worth a shot here to see if you can get in early!

First thing’s first: we had to get the lay of the land. The grounds have a perfect blend of beauty and fun…

Then we were ready for some serious pool time:

At last, we (and by “we,” I mean my husband :)) got around to pitching our tent. Each basic tent site comes with a charcoal grill and picnic table, and electricity outlets. Many thanks to the Disney Cast Members for the adorable pine-cone Mickey which was waiting there to greet us!

After dinner, it was time for the nightly gathering at Fort Wilderness: The Campfire and Sing-a-long with Chip and Dale! We roasted marshmallows and ate S’mores (we brought our own makings, but you can buy them there as well) while waiting for the Big Show.

The Sing-a-long leader arrived, and led us in some of the fun camp songs you might be familiar with (like “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean,” and some fun Disney touches like “The Mickey Mouse Club March”). Those were great, but he really won over all of the adults when he led “The Gambler” as a sing-a-long :).

Then Chip and Dale came along to join in the fun! Chip and Dale split up to greet every single guest at the Campfire, so there is plenty of opportunity for kids (and adults :)!) to have their picture taken and/or their autographs books signed. It’s very well organized—not to mention super-cute! They wrap things up by inviting everyone to gather in a good old-fashioned dance circle…

After Chip and Dale leave, it’s time for a Movie Under the Stars, if you wish. Fort Wilderness boasts the biggest and best outdoor movie screen on Disney property, and you don’t need to be staying at Fort Wilderness to enjoy the movie or the Campfire Show. Guests from all over property can come and enjoy. As for us, we chose to end our evening by catching the Electric Water Pageant and the “Wishes” Firework Spectacular from Bay Lake Beach.

When it came time to get ready for bed, it was off to the Comfort Station. Let’s face it: everyone wants to know about shared bathrooms, but no one likes to ask :). So, I’ll share! The Comfort Stations at Fort Wilderness are so pristine I actually snapped a picture:

Showers are VERY nice and roomy—dry dressing areas just inside the shower stalls are also nice and they do the trick for privacy, but they are tiny. The thing to note is that it helps to be strategic about your shower time, if you are able. Since bathrooms are shared, they can be busy right when everyone is getting ready to go to the Parks. If you’re able to plan your shower for an uncommon time, you may not have to wait at all. I showered after the afternoon in the pool, just before dinner, and had the place to myself.

One of the most stunning things about Fort Wilderness is that you are in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire world… yet you are surrounded by peace and quiet. After a great night’s sleep under the stars (it was a beautiful night, so we left the rain fly off of our tent… until about 3:00 AM when it started raining ;) ), I woke up to take a dip in the pool for an hour prior to breakfast—I had the entire thing to myself… BLISS!  Then we set off for a wonderful breakfast buffet at Trail’s End.

Trail’s End has a reputation for being the best buffet value on Disney property, and now I know why. All-you-care-to-eat featuring all of the traditional Disney breakfast favorites (Mickey Waffles!) as well as some Trail’s End signatures (“Country Eggs Benedict”) for around $17 per adult.

By the time we left Trail’s End (taking a few trips each to the buffet ;) ), we had a little more time to explore Tri-Circle-D Ranch… but not enough! This place is amazing… Tri-Circle-D Ranch is home to the Walt Disney World horses, from the Shetland ponies that carry Disney brides in Cinderella’s Carriage to the horses that carry guests down Main Street U.S.A. in trolleys. Look for a future post on these amazing animals, because I’ll be taking more time to explore Tri-Circle-D Ranch.

Alas, we had to be back at our campsite to take down our tent in time for check-out at 11:00 am. As part of Walt Disney’s original vision for “The Florida Project,” Fort Wilderness is a truly special place, full of more surprises and fun than I had imagined, offering a truly special way to experience Walt Disney World without losing one iota of Disney magic. This place definitely makes for Happy Campers :).


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