What's on YOUR Disney Bucket List?

Posts tagged ‘Deluxe Villas’

90: See all the Walt Disney World Resorts decorated for the Holidays

The halls have been seriously decked at Walt Disney World!

Port Orleans -- Riverside

Port Orleans — Riverside

All Star Sports

All-Star Sports

Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Resort

And it’s allowed me to complete this item on my Disney Bucket List: seeing all of the Disney World Resorts dressed up in their holiday finery!  To see the holiday decorations at the rest of the Disney World Resorts, click here :).

Please click on any of the images below to enlarge…

You’ll notice that each Resort’s decorations reflect the theme of the Resort itself. Nowhere is that more true than at the All-Star ResortsAll-Star Sports, All Star-Music, and All-Star Movies! The bright and vibrant trees reflect the way each Value Resort does everything on a grand scale!

All Star Movies Resort

All-Star Movies Resort

All Star Movies Resort

All-Star Movies Resort

All Star Music Resort

All-Star Music Resort

All Star Music Resort

All-Star Music Resort

All Star Music Resort

All-Star Music Resort

All Star Sports Resort

All-Star Sports Resort

All Star Sports Christmas Holiday (5)

All-Star Sports Resort

All Star Sports Resort

All-Star Sports Resort

Pop Century Resort takes guests on a trip through the decades, so it’s fitting that its tree showcases images of Santa Claus as he’s been portrayed in American pop culture through the years.

Pop Century Resort

Pop Century Resort

Pop Century Resort

Pop Century Resort

Pop Century Resort

Pop Century Resort

Pop Century Resort

Pop Century Resort

Oh, and you’ll find this little guy in a few places, too ;).

Pop Century Resort

Pop Century Resort

Moving to the Moderate Resorts, Port Orleans – French Quarter greets guests with four trees in the courtyard decorated primarily in the signature colors of Mardi Gras: purple, green, and gold.

Port Orleans -- French Quarter

Port Orleans — French Quarter

Port Orleans -- French Quarter

Port Orleans — French Quarter

Port Orleans -- French Quarter

Port Orleans — French Quarter

It’s sister Resort, Port Orleans – Riverside has one grand tree in its beautiful lobby, and the magnolias are a reminder of this Resort’s southern charm.

Port Orleans -- Riverside

Port Orleans — Riverside

Port Orleans -- Riverside

Port Orleans — Riverside

Upon entering Coronado Springs Resort, two trees glisten behind the fountain centerpiece.

Coronado Springs Resort

Coronado Springs Resort

But as you enter the Check-In area, there is much more to see…

Coronado Springs Resort

Coronado Springs Resort

Coronado Springs Resort Disney Holiday Christmas (13)

Coronado Springs Resort

Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, a Deluxe Villa, is themed after Saratoga Springs, New York — known for Saratoga Race Track. You’ll see equestrian-themed decorations all over the tree!

Saratoga Springs Resort

Saratoga Springs Resort

Saratoga Springs Resort

Saratoga Springs Resort

Saratoga Springs Resort Disney Holiday Christmas (5)

Hidden Mickey :)!

I’ve saved my favorite for last… Disney’s newest Resort, Art of Animation, celebrates the process and stories of Disney animation. Color certainly plays a huge part in… well, the art of animation ;). I think it’s so cool how this white tree explodes with color through it’s ornaments, while also honoring the beginnings of the black-and-white pencil sketch.

Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Resort Christmas Holiday (5)

Art of Animation Resort

The wall behind the Front Desk area blends from one color to the next… and so do the season’s wreaths!

Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Resort

Art of Animation Resort Christmas Holiday (1)

Art of Animation Resort

There is one more place that we haven’t yet explored… but its holiday celebration is so unique that it has it’s own spot on my Disney Bucket List! #47: Visit Fort Wilderness at Christmas to see the decorated RVs. Stay tuned… and, until then, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

39: Curl up with a Book at a Wilderness Lodge Fireplace

When I mention reading by a fireplace at Wilderness Lodge, guests who have previously visited this Resort may have this image spring to mind:

Lobby Wilderness Lodge Fireplace Disney (107)
I wouldn’t blame anyone for that, because the main fireplace in the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge is a site to behold!  Not only is the fireplace ENORMOUS (with amazing artwork in the screen), but the stones surrounding it extend up to the top floor. These stones tell a story…

Lobby Wilderness Lodge Fireplace Disney (113)
As you move up each floor, the rocks change, representing the various layers of rock that make up the strata of the Grand Canyon. Guests “jump millions of years ahead in time with each ascending floor.” By the time you’ve reached the 7th floor, you’ve moved ahead 1.6 billion years.

Lobby Wilderness Lodge Fireplace Disney (109)
But there are a few lesser-known spots that are also great places to sit for a spell and relax, read, nap… whatever strikes your fancy. I’ve mentioned it in several posts already, so I may as well mention it again… the Carolwood Pacific Room in the Villas of Wilderness Lodge (also called the “Iron Spike Room”) not only has a terrific fireplace, but also boasts the comfiest chairs in all of Walt Disney World!

Wilderness Lodge Carolwood Pacific Iron Spike Room (5)
Right behind you are Walt Disney’s own train cars from his backyard set. And, yes, I have curled up with a book here  :).

Wilderness Lodge Carolwood Pacific Iron Spike Room (2)
Just opposite the fireplace wall in the Carolwood Pacific Room, you’ll find Inglenook. This perfect little corner has just enough room for two rocking chairs (and I’ve found this fireplace to be the warmest of all :) ).

Wilderness Lodge Villas Inglenook Fireplace (2)
Wilderness Lodge Villas Inglenook Fireplace (1)
But wait… there is yet another fireplace where you can cozy up! From the front entrance, head back towards Whispering Canyon Café. Instead of grabbing a bite there (though you’ll probably want to once you smell the barbequed ribs :) ), turn left and head up the sets of stairs, then turn right… Voila!

Wilderness Lodge overlook Fireplace Disney (115)
Wilderness Lodge overlook Fireplace Disney (117)
Snagging the couch here is like winning “King of the Hill!” Okay, not really, since they’re aren’t all that many people fighting for the spot. But still, when you get to take some time to relax and savor the views of this unique Resort, you certainly haven’t lost anything, either.

Wilderness Lodge Lobby (1)
Disney Wilderness Lodge Lobby
Wilderness Lodge overlook Fireplace Disney (114)
Wilderness Lodge Lobby (2)
I’ve now read books in front of each of these fireplaces :), though the only one I have read in its entirety at Wilderness Lodge is Walt Disney: An American Original by Bob Thomas. My original goal was just one book by one fireplace, but reading at Wilderness Lodge has become one of my absolute favorite ways to spend time in Walt Disney World.

When I made my Disney Bucket List, I didn’t realize that I had three items dedicated to this Resort alone (#89, #22, and this one)! But it really is that special. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, I hope someday you get to explore all the open and hidden corners that make it what it is.

And I hope you bring a good book :).

67: Go to the Top of the World

If you’re ever lucky enough to be able to get into Top of the World Lounge, I suggest that you grab the opportunity!

Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (38)
Top of the World
is accessible to Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Members staying at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (29)
Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (24)
Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (25)
I was fortunate to have a dear friend staying at Bay Lake Tower and was able to visit this truly unique spot a handful of times. (Heck, I’m just fortunate to have this particular friend, no matter what :)!).

Design is sleek and modern, but it also gives nods to the retro-style of Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland.

Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (11)
Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (9)
As a Monorail fan, I adored the décor behind the bar, dedicated to the Monorail! The Monorail is special to Disney’s Contemporary Resort, as it is the only Resort on the Monorail loop that the trains actually run through.

Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (26)
Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (28)
In fact, the Monorail is so revered at Top of the World, they have a beverage named after this unique mode of Disney transportation: The Monorail Yellow!

Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (44)
Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (4)
Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (54)
Views are unparalleled. The balcony (also available exclusively to DVC Members staying at Bay Lake Tower) offers an amazing view of Magic Kingdom’s “Wishes” Fireworks Spectacular, with the music and story piped in.

Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (2)
Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (1)
When you’re here, you truly are at the Top of the World. Cheers!

Top of the World Bay Lake Tower (48)

91: Spend an evening at Animal Kingdom Lodge listening to African Folktales

There is no denying that the main attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Kidani Village are the savannas that are home to a range of beautiful animals, from giraffes and zebras, to wildebeests and antelope.

Animal Kingdom Lodge (2)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (1)
Animal Kingdom Lodge (3)
But they also offer some wonderful guest experiences that are outside the norm of what you might expect. You may choose to decorate cookies at Boma

Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (2)

Stylin' Rhino!

Stylin’ Rhino!

Take a guided tour to better understand the significance of the decor and design of the Resorts:

Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (9)
Kidani Village Tour (2)
Kidani Village Tour (4)
Kidani Village Tour (1)
Maybe join a drum circle!

Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (8)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (19)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (17)
And this doesn’t even scratch the surface! Just check out the Daily Adventures Board in the lobbies of either Jambo House or Kidani Village (one can be found near the entrance to Boma as well). This is where you can find activities, times, and meeting locations.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (3)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (6)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (1)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (4)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (7)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (10)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (14)
If you spot the words “Bead Activity” on certain events, these are activities that are especially focused on children (though adults are certainly welcome!). Kids can collect a bead for each of these activities which can be added to a bracelet that they can build on during their stay.

While the experiences vary greatly, they all have one thing in common: each activity is hosted by Cast Members hailing from all over Africa, who love to share stories and friendship, and are always happy to teach you a bit about their home.

more june again 156
You can cap off your day, as I did, with African Folktales. It’s a beautiful way to start your evening… gathered around a fire, listening to old stories told by a new friend.

Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (5)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (20)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (21)
Animal Kingdom Lodge Activities (22)

89: Take a tour of Wilderness Lodge

Disney Wilderness Lodge (7)
Curious to learn more about the story behind Disney’s Wilderness Lodge? Then you’re in luck, because free tours of this Resort are offered every Wednesday through Saturday morning at 9:00 am!

The current schedule can be found at the bottom of the Information board in the lobby

The current schedule can be found at the bottom of the Information board in the lobby

My extremely knowledgeable and friendly tour guide, Jack, has been a Walt Disney World Cast Member for 21 years. He shared such a wealth of information with me that I simply can’t record it all here. But I would like to highlight a few of my favorite bits of new knowledge!

The Villas at Wilderness Lodge

Wilderness Lodge Villas (3)
In the early 1850s, the country was united across the Mississippi for the first time by railroads. The Villas represent old railroad hotel lodging and early settlers in those areas. As you walk the path from the Villas to the main Lodge, you are “traveling” across the Mississippi to the North West, all thanks to the railroad system!

Disney Wilderness Lodge Villas (15)
Disney Wilderness Lodge Villas (16)
The mismatched furniture around the Villas ground floor represents people from different areas bringing their own furniture with them, then leaving it behind as they met and hired local artisans to create new pieces for them. (I have no idea why exactly, but I LOVE this!!)

Disney Wilderness Lodge Villas (17)
The Carolwood Pacific Room (also referred to as the “Iron Spike Room”) is truly one of my favorite places in all of Walt Disney World. The room is dedicated to Walt Disney’s love of trains. Jack shared with me that, as a child, Walt used to dress as a conductor and wave to the trains going by in his childhood home of Marceline, Missouri — the place responsible for what would become a lifelong passion for Walt.

The Carolwood Pacific Room

The Carolwood Pacific Room

Walt Disney's own train cars

Walt Disney’s own train cars

Wilderness Lodge

President Theodore Roosevelt, the “Conservation President,” is remembered for his love of and great impact upon our National Parks system. Because of his dedication, lodging started to be added to some of the National Parks to draw in more visitors. Jack told me that the Wilderness Lodge is based on many National Park hotels, but primarily Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park. After finding some images of Old Faithful Inn, it certainly appears so!

Disney Wilderness Lodge (5)

The funny thing about the fireplace in the lobby is that it can make you want to curl up with a cup of hot cocoa even when you’re smack in the middle of a boiling Florida summer ;)! What Jack referred to as “Disney Rock” built around the fireplace represents the geological strata of the Grand Canyon.

Disney Wilderness Lodge (24)
Disney Wilderness Lodge (26)

You can learn more about the representation even without a tour guide!

You can learn more about the representation even without a tour guide!

Of the 23 Resorts at Walt Disney World (not including the various Disney Vacation Club Villas), Walt Disney envisioned four of them: The Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Resort, Fort Wilderness Campgrounds, and Wilderness Lodge. Walt’s vision for Wilderness Lodge was quite a bit different than what we see today. His was more of a “Rough Rider” approach, and is said to involve Cast Members leaping from the balconies! When the Lodge was built (it opened in 1994), Imagineers wanted to stay true to Walt’s vision, but be more appropriate to the times.

Walt Disney asked that 10,000 acres of the property he purchased for his “Florida Project” to remain untouched to preserve some of its natural beauty and ecological diversity. You can see the dedicated land from Wilderness Lodge, on the opposite side of Bay Lake. It’s especially stunning because, though Wilderness Lodge is so close in proximity to the Magic Kingdom and the Monorail Resorts, this allows nature to play a huge role in the beauty of this Resort, as well as lend to its signature feel of a North West retreat.

Disney Wilderness Lodge (97)

Disney Wilderness Lodge (52)
Disney Wilderness Lodge (20)
What I’ve shared here barely scratches the surface of all that I learned and saw during my tour. Jack was kind enough to give me a full hour of his time even though I was the only person who showed up. It never ceases to amaze me how much story exists behind every building, attraction, and restaurant in Walt Disney World, and taking time to learn a little about them always seems to enhance any Disney experience that much more.

I LOVE THIS PLACE!!

I LOVE THIS PLACE!!

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