Most travellers to Walt Disney World typically assign a couple of days to spend time in the Orlando area without going to a theme park. Here are a few suggestions for ways to spend a day near Walt Disney World while keeping a lock on your wallet (sort of!):
Disney Springs is Walt Disney World's outside mall. Unlike normal malls back home, this mall has Disney magic sprinkled throughout. Not only are the stores well designed, diverse and fun to walk through, but throughout the day (especially after 4:00) there are many entertainers. Enjoy an evening watching singers, magicians, irish bands, dancers and string quartets. Many of these entertainers are located at the numerous excellent restaurant and patios located around Disney Springs, but some are on Disney designated stages. I would highly recommend spending an evening at Disney Springs and enjoy dinner or a drink at a pub.
Animal Kingdom Lodge:
All of the Walt Disney World resort hotels are open to the public to shop and dine and I would recommend touring all of them as the architecture is fantastic. With regard to enjoying a day off from the theme parks in Orlando, I would suggest a visit the Jambo House at Animal Kingdom Lodge. At the gatehouse, let the guard know that you are going to shop at the resort stores or have a drink or meal at the restaurants. They will check your ID and let you through. Self parking is across the road from the hotel lobby and I challenge you not to be impressed once you enter the building. The shopping and restaurants at Animal Kingdom are incredible, but If you walk through the lobby and exit the building at the back, you will be rewarded with a park like savannah setting where you can walk around the African safari. Expect to see animals close up animals including giraffes, flamingos, zebras, gazelles, impalas, cranes, pelicans, waterbucks and wildebeest. Also enjoy s'mores by the campfire, available between 4:00pm and 6:00pm. Another great viewing area is behind the pool area of Jambo House.
In 1996, Walt Disney World began building a planned community called Celebration. It was designed to be the magical American town with Disney flare. Walking around the main street town square, you feel like you have entered the set of The Trueman Show. There are coffee shops, quant art shops, an ice cream shoppe and outdoor cafes. There's even a dog bakery. The streets are lite with old world lanterns and residents travel around in electric beefed up golf carts. Highlighting the downtown is a 1/2 mile walking trail that circles the lake at the foot of main street. I recommend taking a walking tour of the town and enjoying a meal at Columbia, our favourite restaurant in Celebration. If you aren't up for Cuban food, try any of the other restaurants around town or just stop into Celebration Town Tavern and have a drink and a chat with the locals and tourists.
Encore Resort at Reunion Water Park:
If you are a guest at our Encore Resort at Reunion vacation home near Walt Disney World, you have unlimited access to The Encore Club water park. Spend the day at the 3 acre water park and relax by the resort style pool. The kids will love the Surfing Safari water structure with it's slides and water dumping bucket, while the teens and brave youngster enjoy the larger water race mats, tube ride or 50 foot trap door Aqua Drop. When your ready for a break, enjoy poolside bar and food service at very affordable prices.
Many people are travelling to our Encore Resort at Reunion water park vacation home community in Orlando Kissimmee, they are primarily planning to go to Walt Disney World as the highlight of their vacation. For those travelling with toddlers and young preschool aged children (kids under 5), I have compiled my list of attractions that I think you should consider. These attractions are not only great for the younger kids, but also great for grandparents, as many of them are slow rides or shows.
While this is not by any means an exhaustive list, here is my list of attractions suitable for those younger kids. Double check on the height restrictions for some of the rides, but I believe those listed here are for kids 40 inches or shorter. All of these attractions are great, but those with a * next to them are attractions I would certainly try to fit into your schedule if you can. Those marked with + are the ones that we almost always do when we are at Disney - the are always magical for us!! Enjoy!
*It's a Small World
*Winnie the Pooh
*Peter Pan's Flight
Journey of the Little Mermaid
Enchanted Tales with Belle
*The Barnstormer (my daughter's first roller coaster at age 3)
+*Mickey's PhilharMagic 3D Movie
The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
+*Pirates of the Caribbean
*Seven Dwarf Mine Train
Enchanted Tiki Room
Swiss Family Treehouse
+*Monsters Inc Laugh Floor
Country Bear Jamboree
*Parades (don't get there an hour before for good spot - watch from behind people - the floats are high. You will find lighter crowds at the beginning of the parade in Frontierland)
*Fireworks (they are in the sky - no need to squeeze right next to the castle. If you are half way down Mainstreet USA you can still see the images on the castle and it's a quicker escape too)
*Journey into Imagination
+*Living with the Land
*The Seas with Nemo + Aquarium
*Turtle Talk with Crush
+*Frozen Ever After
+*Disney Pixar Shorts
*Grand Fiesta Tour
+*Kidcot Fun Stops (At each International Pavilion)
+*O Canada 360° Movie (Canada Pavilion)
*Reflections of China 360° Movie (China Pavilion)
*Illuminations Fireworks (anywhere around the world showcase is a good spot. We usually find it a bit less crowded between France and Morocco where Belle does her meet and greet)
+*Toy Story Mania
Alien Swirling Saucers
+*Slinky Dog Dash
+*Beauty and the Beast Live
*Disney Junior Dance Party
Voyage of the Little Mermaid
*Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular
*Fantasmic (night show)
+*For the First Time in Forever - A Frozen Sing Along
*Star Wars Fireworks
*March of the First Order
+*Festival of the Lion King
+*Finding Nemo - The Musical
River of Lights (night show)
*Up - A Great Bird Adventure
*It's Tough To Be A Bug - 3D movie (a bit dark and scary)
Na'vi River Journey
The new Nicklaus course clubhouse opened in December 2018 and houses Reunion Resort in Orlando Florida's newest restaurant - Traditions at the Nicklaus Clubhouse. The new restaurant offers American regional cuisine served in an upscale sports bar setting. The menu is seasonal and local with farm to table elements and a public house feel including craft cocktails and signature barrel aged bourbon program. The open-air kitchen (with chef's table option)and service style is designed to be friendly and welcoming and appeal to members and locals alike. They are promising weekend entertainment and signature drink menu make it a gathering place for celebrations large or small. I will be travelling to our Encore Resort at Reunion vacation home in Kissimmee in early February and plan to check out this new dining option. It is a short drive or a 20 minute walk from our Encore Disney World vacation villa, so it is a great new option for an evening out. Check out the other Reunion Resort dining options, available to our Encore Club vacation guests, on our website. I'm sure you will find that this will restaurant will quickly become one of the best restaurants near Reunion Resort.
Just announced on Disney Parks Blog, starting January 18, 2019, you can now reserve a seat at, arguably, the best viewing spot to watch Epcot's fireworks "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" - the patio behind the United Kingdom Pavilion's Rose and Crown restaurant. Better yet, your reserved seat comes with a 3 course meal which includes unlimited alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages.
Reservations are available starting January 17 for reservations starting on January 18. Pricing is $85 per adult (ages 10 and up) and $35 per child (ages 3 to 9), with tax and gratuity included. The experience, showtimes, and menu items are all subject to change without notice, and alcoholic beverages will only be served to guests 21 and up with valid ID. For more info or to make a reservation, call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463)
Based on the announcement, here's the menu for the event:
Appetizer: Scotch egg ($12) or United Kingdom Cheese Platter ($14)
Entree: Fish & Chips ($23) , Corned Beef & Cabbage ($24), Scottish Salmon ($27), or Bangers & Mash ($21)
Dessert: Trio of deserts (sampling of Sticky Toffee Pudding, Nouget Bar, and English trifle on one plate)
This is an off menu dessert, but since desserts at the Rose & Crown generally run around $7, and assuming you go with the most expensive items, you would end up paying $48 if you purchased the items separately. After tax and gratuity (assuming a 20% gratuity), the bill would total of $60.72. Add in a pint of the UK's fines (with tax and tip) and you'd end up at around $75.00. So if you get more than one drink, you're making money.
If you are interested in this event, I would highly recommend taking an Uber from our Encore Resort at Reunion vacation home. The cost is generally under $20.00 each way, which is not only socially responsible, but also saves you the price of the Walt Disney World parking cost.
You may recall in February I posted this awesome transportation map of Walt Disney World, with an omage to traditional municipal subway or bus route maps. The map is the creation of artist Arthur De Wolf (www.wdwfocus.com/map) and has been updated to include the new Skyliner - a gondola system linking Epcot and Hollywood Studios with a few of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. If you are relying on Walt Disney World transportation to get you from park to park or even within a park, this handy map will be your best friend. The map does show, however, how complicated Disney's transportation system can be. I often hear the argument made by travellers to Orlando that the bus transportation between the Disney hotels and the theme parks is a perk to staying on Disney property. My response to this is - "Your community has an amazing bus system too - do you ever take it to the mall?" The answer by most is no - because they enjoy convenience and non crowded nature of driving. The answer is the same for a Walt Disney World vacation. We prefer to drive our rental car from our Orlando Encore Resort at Reunion vacation home to the parks. We can come and go as we please and we don't have to wait in line to board a crowded bus full of strollers. Yes, you do have to rent a car, but Orlando car rentals are among the cheapest in the country and it gives you the options of visiting Universal Orlando, Sea World or spending a day at the Outlet Malls. Yes - you have to pay parking fees at the park, but guess what - Walt Disney World charges hotel guests daily parking at their hotels too. And the rental rate savings, extra living space and private pool you get from renting our vacation villa rental far outweigh any advantages to staying "on property". If you traditionally have stayed at a Walt Disney World resort and you want to try staying off site, contact us for more information and details.
So you have your Orlando vacation home at Encore Resort at Reunion booked for the holidays and now you are looking for a little fun before embarking on your Walt Disney World vacation during Christmas? Try calling 407-939-6779 and get a few fun holiday messages from Mickey Mouse and the gang. The hotline is set up primarily as a way to purchase tickets for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party (press 1 for tickets); however, if you are up for a holiday joke or a little message from Mickey Mouse, press 2 and pick your options. Enjoy!
Attention DIY crafters!! Are you looking for the perfect gift for a Walt Disney World fan? Here's a great craft that can be enjoyed by people of all ages (especially kids). To make these Walt Disney World coasters, all you need are some ceramic tiles, cut out paper of your favorite Disney images (printouts of characters, Disney Park maps, ride concept art, etc), Mod Podge glue and felt. If you want to see how easy it is to create these fun coasters, check out this video. Surprise that special Disney fan in your family and have these coasters available for Christmas morning eggnog. If making this craft gets you thinking that a trip to Walt Disney World is in your future, please contact us to find out if our Encore Resort at Reunion vacation home, located just minutes from Walt Disney World and Universal Resort Orlando, is right for you.
We are only 3 weeks until Christmas. For those of you who are heading to Walt Disney World, the time can't tick by fast enough. To help you count down the days to the magic, check out our earlier Encore Resort at Reunion Vacation Home Blog post where you will find a DIY Disney Vacation Countdown Calendar. You can also create a Disney World Days Until Christmas Calendar as well. Enjoy!
We are only a few days from the transformation at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom from Halloween spooktacular to Winter Wonderland Christmas Holiday decorations. If that isn't enough to get you into the holiday spirit, there are some exciting developments happening at Encore Resort at Reunion over the holiday season that are sure to be fun for the whole family. Starting on the morning of Sunday December 23, 2018, Encore Resort will host the Jingle Bell 5K Walk/Run around the resort. Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 competitors. The cost is only $10.00 per person and children under 5 are free. Later that day, join Mrs Claus at the clubhouse where you can enjoy a cup of hot cocoa and cookies while she entertains your family with Christmas stories, carols, and more. On Monday, December 24, 2018, enjoy Brunch with Santa. For $42.00 per adult and $15 for kids 12 and under, you can get photos with Santa, decorate cookies and enjoy a spectacular brunch, which includes prime rib beef, salmon, eggs benedict, omelette station, french toast, and much more. As bedtime approaches on Christmas eve, excite the kids with an amazing "Elf Tuck-In". Have one of Santa's elves visit your Encore Resort vacation rental home. The elf will read a Christmas story, deliver a present and give you the opportunity for some photos. The experience only costs $55.00 for the first child and $25.00 for each additional child. Then on Christmas Day, after you wake up and all the gifts are opened, retire to our beautiful vacation villa's private backyard spa and pool to enjoy a private swim, or head to the amazing 3 acre water park to enjoy the water slides. Then, when the gang is ready to eat, head to the clubhouse restaurant to pick up your pre-ordered Christmas lunch or dinner for 12. Enjoy a delicious oven roasted ham with all the trimmings and dessert. After all, who wants to cook on Christmas day! Check out the flyers for details.
If you haven't already booked your Orlando vacation home near Disney World for the Christmas holiday, check out our home at 360vacationhome.com. Feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions or to request a quote.
The latest trend in travel is multigenerational vacations. Why? - because it makes a lot of sense. In our busy dog eat dog lifestyles, we often have to decide if we have time to to take a vacation or visit with extended family members. Why not combine both? A multigenerational family is a fantastic way for family members to visit with each other, enjoy exciting travel destinations and share the cost of the vacation. The advent of sites such as Airbnb, TripAdvisor and HomeAway have made people feel more comfortable with the idea of renting entire vacation homes. Add to that the fact that the vacation industry has adapted to this idea and many resort communities have popped up offering whole homes for the entire family to stay, while still providing all the resort style amenities people expect on vacation such as water parks, water slides, pools, restaurants, bars and fitness centres.
The Orlando Florida area has become the leader in this style of vacationing. In fact, Kissimmee Florida considers itself the vacation home capital of the world thanks to the number of people who own vacation homes in close proximity to Walt Disney World and rent their holiday villas to guests when they aren't using them. Our vacation home rental is located in a community that offers all of the amenities you would want and expect at a 5 star hotel with the convenience of enjoying your own private pool, theatre room and games room. The best part is that it is located just 5 minutes from Walt Disney World. If you are considering a multigenerational vacation to Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida and would like to hear more about our home and our community, please check out our website and the videos, and then contact us for more information.
Our whole family will be contributing to this Blog. We write about our experiences and news related to Walt Disney World as well as post our Encore Resort Blog and Reunion Resort Blog