Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New Experience, New Hotel...

When people tell me they are going to Walt Disney World, my first question to them is usually: "What hotel are you staying at?" Now, I realize that when you go to Walt Disney World you spend most of your time at the parks, but let's face it, Disney has some of the best themed hotels in the world, and they have so many (23 at last count) to chose from.

My past trips have included stays at:

All the above resorts have great attributes. The All Star resorts (basically the Value resorts) are great if you are on a budget or have a family with little ones that need lots of interaction. But, be forewarned, there are a lot of families at these resorts, which means it can be hectic.

I stayed at the Disney Institute back in 2001 with my 3 buddies. It was a great location and room, as we needed the extra space.

We stayed at Port Orleans Riverside for the first time in 2007. This is a really great resort. The grounds aren't big and everything is within a decent walking distance. One part we really enjoyed was the boat trip to Downtown Disney. The downside to this resort, is it is quite a long bus ride to most of the parks.

By far my favorite from the list above is Coronado Springs. This is just a wonderful hotel. The theming is great. The rooms are really nice. The main building is fantastic. The main restaurant is really good and offers a great selection. I can't say enough about it. I should say, that I am a big fan of Mexico, since it is where Janice and I spent our honeymoon, so I may be a little biased.

I have heard many people say that Coronado is too big. But I guess that is one of the many reasons why I love this hotel, as you don't feel like you are tripping over others. Disney makes up for the size by offering golf cart rides to and from your hotel room (when you can find one). There are also lots of bus stops, so you aren't really far from one.

The other attractive feature of the Coronado is the fact that is has some of Disney's largest convention facilities. Why does that matter? The resort is quiet!! It doesn't really seem like there are a lot of families at this hotel, as most of the guests are convention goers. And let me tell you, after a day at the parks, sometimes peace and quiet is a good thing!!

This time around, we are staying at the Boardwalk Inn. The Boardwalk is considered a "Deluxe" Disney resort, which basically means it is more expensive. Before Disney offered the "Buy 4, get 3 free" (another post...), we talked about saving a little more money and going for a different hotel. The discount gave us that extra push.

I'm really excited about staying at the Boardwalk Inn as it is located virtually next door to EPCOT (a 5-10 min. walk). You can also take a boat to Disney Hollywood Studios and walk through EPCOT to take the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom. Basically, the only time we would have to take a bus is to Animal Kingdom or Downtown Disney. After seeing people fumble with strollers on the busses, this is a huge bonus.

There is also a lot to do around the hotel (shops and such), which will be great to try and get Graydon to sleep, while taking a casual stroll.

Hopefully the next time we go, we can stay at the Contemporary.... Just need a bigger bonus for that!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Only 135 more days till Graydon's 1st Trip

This is my son, Graydon:


He's only 5 months old, so for obvious reasons, he has never been to Disney World.

I, on the other hand have been a total of 11 times. My last trip was October of 2007, with my wonderful wife Janice.


We decided that come May, we would be ready for a vacation and it was the best time to take Graydon on his first trip to the most magical place on earth. Our plans are this:
  • Drive for 3 days
  • Spend 2 nights at Disney's Vero Beach resort (which I have never been to, but that's another blog entry...)
  • Spend 8 nights at Walt Disney World Resort
  • Take 3 days to drive home.

Now I know what you are all thinking: why the heck would you drive for 3 days with a 10 month old, and go on a trip such as this, that he will never remember??? Here are my reasons:

  • We both love Disney World. Since we were married, we have been 3 times in 4 years.
  • We could not turn up the most recent offer of buy 4 nights and get 3 nights free
  • The timing was perfect, as Janice will not have to use any vacation days, as she is still on Maternity leave.
  • We are taking 3 days to drive (we have done it in 2 days before) because we figured we could stop more often to stretch our legs and Graydon would handle the drive better
  • Graydon will be free at Disney World.
  • I have seen children only a few months old at Disney World before.
  • This blog will allow him to look back and see what his first trip to Disney World was like.

In my opinion, the above are good enough reasons. And if the above reasons are not good enough, well.... IT IS WALT DISNEY WORLD! WHO WOULDN'T WANT TO GO!!!

So, please join me on my journey as I write about the planning involved with Graydon's first trip and the days spent at my most favorite place in the world!