Today, I’m introducing a new game to the blog. It’s a twist on the game of Fast Pass, Just Pass, or Stand-by that I played with the Enchanted TikiTalk Podcast last week. I’m calling my version: Re-imagine, Refurb, or Leave Alone. Re-imagine is where you completely change the attraction. Refurb is where you keep the attraction basically the same but find a way to bring the ride more up to date. Leave Alone is self-explanatory. You just leave the attraction as it is. I will give you three choices per park and you choose one attraction to re-imagine, one to refurb, and one to leave alone. Let’s play the feu…..Re-imagine, Refurb on Leave Alone.
The last step in the journey through accommodations at Walt Disney World is with the Deluxe Villa Accommodations. All of the resorts that I discussed, yesterday, have Deluxe Villa accommodations as part of their resorts with the exception of Yacht Club. The Polynesian Resort is in the process of constructing its Deluxe Villa accommodations which should be open late 2015-early 2016. There are also two resorts which only have villa accommodations: Old Key West Resort and Saratoga Springs Resort.
A large majority of people will refer to these accommodations as the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) since, also, a large majority of the people staying here are members of DVC. DVC is Disney’s time-share program where people buy points for their “home resort” which they receive every year until their contract expires. Guests, then, use those points to make their room reservations. The nice thing about the program is guests aren’t locked into certain weeks of the year, every year, until their contract expires. Villas come in four sizes: studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three bedroom grand villas.
For non-members, however, they can make reservations at this resorts as well. There is a small percentage of villas which are available for “cash only” reservations. Now, the cost per night isn’t cheap especially when you get into the two and three bedroom villas. So, if a guest wants to stay in this villas, they should be prepared to open their wallet to stay there.
All of the studio villas come with a kitchenette. All of the one, two, and grand villa come with a full kitchen (plates, glasses, and cooking utensils provided) and a stacked washer and dryer combo.
Animal Kingdom has two locations for its villa accommodations. There are some in the Jambo House with the standard rooms. The large majority of the villas are Kidani Village.
A large portion of the rooms will have a view of the savanna though some will a view of a pool or of a parking lot. Look kids….OUR CAR!!!!! 🙂
The studio rooms are Jambo House vary from 316 to 365 square feet while the Kidani Village studios are a standard 366 square feet. These studios sleep for and have a queen-sized bed with a full-sized sofa sleeper.
Jambo House has some value villas which will only sleep four guests and vary from 629 to 710 square feet. The Kidani Village one-bedroom villas are 819 square feet.
The master bedroom has a king-sized bed. The living area has a dining table, a queen-sized sofa bed and a twin-sized sleeper chair. The kitchen has a full-sized fridge, stove, microwave, dishwasher, and settings for 8 or 9 people.
The next two days, I’m going to cover the Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts. All of these resorts are on the smaller side compared to the Moderate and Value resorts, however, the standard rooms are larger and all the resorts have Villa accommodations as well, or in the process of building them, except for Yacht Club. These Villa accommodations come in four different sizes: studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom grand villas. But those are for tomorrow, today, we’ll just focus on the standard rooms at these resorts.
Animal Kingdom Lodge
Yes, there are rooms where guests can see the safari animals from the balcony of their room. These safaris/savannas are separate from the Kilmanjaro Safari experience in the Animal Kingdom Park.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is the largest, in terms of rooms, of the deluxe resorts with 1,307 rooms. All of the Animal Kingdom Lodge rooms are located in the Jambo House.
The front desk and check-in is located in the central main hall with four trails splitting off from this hall. There are four trails where the rooms are located: Ostrich Trail, Giraffe Trail, Kudu Trail, and Zebra Trail. Each of these trails, except for Giraffe Trail, has a view of, at least, one savanna. The Giraffe Trail has a view of the pool.
What if my room doesn’t have a view of a savanna?
There are only 135 rooms (10.3%) which do not have a view of a savanna or pool. For these guests, there are still plenty of opportunities to see the animals.
- Sunset Savanna and Sunset Savanna Viewing Room/Balcony: this area is designed for sunset viewing of the animals
- Each savanna has a variety of viewing location and Cast Members will leave around the savanna so the animals move around.
- Sunrise Breakfast Adventure: available on Sundays and Thursdays. The adventure departs at 7:30 am and involves a 45-minute ride through the Kilimanjaro Safari Experience where the guides will stop and guests are allowed to stand and take picture. This ride is about three times as long as the standard experience on the Safari. After the tour, guests go to Pizzafari for a breakfast buffet.
Disney has a variety of attractions to cater to the variety of guest interests. This post is going to focus on attractions that will help keep guests cool during the hot and humid summer weather. Or as my wife called them, this morning, “Attractions my wife enthusiastically drags me to that I secretly love.”
When my family has gone to Walt Disney World in the summer, we try to avoid the parks in the middle of the day. Our plans, usually, getting the parks first thing in the morning and going a lot of attractions, then returning to the hotel for a mid-afternoon swim until the mid-afternoon thunderstorm comes to chase us out of the pool, finally returning the parks in the evening when it has cooled down. However, guests can’t always do that. Where can they go “cool for a bit” and get out of the heat when they are in the park? Thankfully, every park has place or two or three that they can get out of the heat. Here’s the breakdown:
It’s Tough To Be a Bug: Located at the base of the Tree of Life in the Discovery Island section of Animal Kingdom, this 3D show takes guests through what it is like to be a bug. There are some scenes which can be intense and frightening for smaller children.
Festival of the Lion King: This stage production is currently on hiatus until Summer 2014 while completes its move from the Camp Minnie-Mickey area of the park to its new location behind Tusker House Restaurant. This 28-minute production takes guests through a production based on the The Lion King. The show, in its new location, will be the same as before with guests divided into four sections elephant, giraffe, warthog, or lion.
Finding Nemo: The Musical: This 30-minute show turns the movie Finding Nemo into a musical. The show takes place in the 1500-seat Theater in the Wild located by Dinoland U.S.A. Guests get to see a show featuring puppets, dancers, acrobats, and animated backdrops during the retelling of the Finding Nemo story. Guests will also new songs created just for the show.
Finding Nemo: The Musical and It’s Tough To Be a Bug are available for Fastplus+ reservations.
EPCOT has the most opportunities to “cool” off and watch a show or in some cases go on an attraction.
Circle of Life: Located in The Land pavilion, this 20-minute movie takes guest through the environmental concerns involving the construction of the fictional Hakuna Matata Vacation Resort. The environment looks to take a major hit until Simba comes and reminds Pumbaa and Timon to care for our rivers and trees.
Living with the Land: This is one of my favorite attractions in EPCOT. Also located in The Land Pavilion, the 14-minute boat ride takes guests through biospheres of Earth before humans. After this introductions, guests are taken into Disney’s four greenhouses and aquaculture facility. A very interesting and educational attraction.
Turtle Talk with Crush: One of the shorter shows but one of the most entertaining. At only 10 minutes, guests get to interact with Crush, from Finding Nemo. Crush will ask guests especially children questions and answer them, in sometimes, humorous manner. This attraction can be found in The Seas pavilion.
Ellen’s Energy Adventure: One of the longer shows at 45 minutes. The show starts with Ellen DeGeneres dreaming that she is on Jeopardy! competing against her former college rival, played by Jamie Lee Curtis, and Albert Einstein. All of the categories are in her weakness subject….energy. Thankfully, her neighbor, Bill Nye the Science Guy, comes to help Ellen and teach her about all things energy to win the game of Jeopardy!
Spaceship Earth: The iconic EPCOT landmark houses a 16-minute journey through recorded history narrated by Judy Dench. This exhibit is perfect for a mid-day break as most people visit it when they first enter the park leading to longer wait times. In the middle of the day, the wait times are much shorter.
American Adventure: A 30-minute show located in the American pavilion takes guests through American history. The audio-animatronic show is narrated by Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. The end of the film was last updated in 2007.
Impressions de France: This rather dated, in my opinion, movie takes guests through France from the countryside to the city of Paris. The theater screen is 200 degrees around so it can very difficult to see everything taking place during the movie. Located in the France pavilion.
Malestrom: A journey back to midevil Norway on a dragon-headed boat. This attraction has some dips and very dark which could turn off some less adventurous guests or small children. There is a short film at the end which combined with the ride makes of a 16-minute attraction. RUMOR: Due to the popularity of the movie Frozen, this attraction could be getting a much-needed face lift to incorporate some of the characters and scenes from the movie into the attraction.
O Canada: A 360-degree theater takes guests into a 14-minute movie narrated by Martin Short. The movie, which at some moments makes fun of itself and Canada, is about Canada and its landscapes and culture. It includes a brief moment of my favorite winter pasttime….curling! One of the better attractions. The only negative is guests stand throughout the movie.
Wonders of China: Another 360-degree theater shows guests a 19-minute movie about China. The movie debuted in the spring of 2003.
Hollywood Studios has a lot of stage shows but they also take place in outdoor theaters so while you are sitting, you are also still outside in the heat and humidity. However, there are still places to go and beat the heat.
Beauty and The Beast Live on Stage: A 20-minute version of the movie Beauty and The Beast in a Broadway-level production. The theater is located in the Sunset Boulevard section of Hollywood Studios. The show repeats throughout the day so there are plenty of chances to see it during the middle of the day.
Disney Junior Live on Stage: A stage show geared toward the littler guests. This show, which my family has seen every time we have gone to Disney World, has the same basic story line: Minnie’s Birthday. However, the cast of “helpers” has changed. Currently, Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Jake from Jake and the Neverland Pirates help Mickey and gang put together a surprise birthday party for Minnie. Guests will sit on the floor for this production. There are benches on the sides and in the rear of the theater for those guests who don’t want or can’t sit on the floor but space is limited. The attraction is located in the Animation Courtyard.
Great Movie Ride: 22-minute ride through movie history. If you take small children, there are some moments of peril and simulated gun fire. My family took our daughter on this ride when she was five or six and it took many snacks of popcorn to calm her down after the ride. Located on Hollywood Boulevard.
MuppetVision 3D: The Muppets take guests to the MuppetLabs where they are developing MuppetVision 3D. The labs suffer a failure and a 3D character named Waldo escapes the lab. The show involves the Muppets trying, through 3D tricks and gags, to capture Waldo and return him to the lab. The pre-show and show is 25-minutes long and the attraction is located on New York Street.
The Voyage of the Little Mermaid: Also located in the Animation Courtyard, The Voyage of the Little Mermaid is a 17-minute stage production of the movie. The theater is dark and can be scary for small children. The show is excellent and very popular and can have long lines to get into the theater which holds a lot of people. Fastpass+ reservations are available for this attraction.
Carousel of Progress: Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress that debuted at the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City returned the Magic Kingdom with an updated show. The show takes guests through the 20th century and a peak into the future. The show is located in Tomorrowland and is 20-minutes long. The attraction is rarely crowded so wait time is usually based on how much time is remaining in the show.
Country Bear Jamboree: An original from when the park opened in 1971. The 16-minute show in Frontierland has guests watch the animatronic Country Bear sing a collection of country songs.
Enchanted Tiki Room: Located in Adventureland, Tiki Birds sing their way through this 10-minute show while guests relax on benches in the Enchanted Tiki Room. There are over 300 birds which sing and dance during this show.
Hall of Presidents: The 20-25 minute show is located in Liberty Square. The show is based on other World’s Fair attraction designed by Walt Disney: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln. This show takes guests through American history as told by the US Presidents and includes a full reading of the Gettysburg Address. An attraction much like the Carousel of Progress where the wait time will be dictated by how long is it until the next show.
Mickey’s PhilharMagic: A 12-minute show where guests are taken on a journey through some Disney’s iconic moments and songs. It is a 3D show and the theater can be dark.
Monsters LaughFloor: A 15-minute comedy show featuring the characters from Monsters Inc. and Monsters University. It is an interactive show where guests participate in the show by texting jokes into the show. The pre-show includes spotlights on guests which funny captions underneath and one person is selected at random to be one of the running gags throughout the show. Located in Tomorrowland
Tomorrowland Peoplemover: The 10-minute ride throughout Tomorrowland gives guests a chance to see over Tomorrowland and parts of Fantasyland. This is great opportunity to get off your feet. The ride is usually not crowded and Cast Members will allow to take a second or even third journey if you ask and there are not people waiting. Some people use this attraction to see what rides have short or long wait time and do some “on the fly” park planning. The ride, though outside, is completely covered so guests can at least escape the sun but not the humidity.
I hope this post gives readers a chance to discover some attractions which can be used to beat the heat during the upcoming summer months.
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