Friday, December 23, 2016

Our First Trip to Walt Disney World!

Entrance to the Beast's Castle---Stunning!

Well, our long-awaited mother/daughter trip to Walt Disney World has come and gone, and I'm brimming with responses to share from our experience! We both agreed that it was even better than we imagined!

We stayed at the Caribbean Beach Resort, about half way around the lake from it's Town Center (right), where guests go to shop, eat, fill (unlimited refill) Dining Plan cups, or get assistance from the concierge...
Rooms were pleasantly decorated and the bed was very comfortable. We brought food to eat for breakfast--There is a refrigerator but no microwave, so we stuck to things like bagels and cream cheese, juice, yogurt, fruit, etc. I enjoyed an early morning stretch and walk to the Town Center each day and brought back coffee* and hot chocolate in our refillable cups. 
*(While the coffee at the Town Center, though weak, at least tasted like coffee, the coffee supplied in the rooms with the pod-type brewer was completely undrinkable in my coffee snob opinion---Think weak, burnt, and plastic! One of my ONLY criticisms of Disney's service! If you're at all serious about your morning java, BRING YOUR OWN COFFEE & BREWER!!)

The beaches were immaculately maintained, and there were hammocks and chairs for lounging...The water was blocked off , however, by a neatly done stone berm and stout fencing. Swimming could be enjoyed at the several lovely pools around the complex, so the blocked beach water didn't seem like any kind of imposition.

We arrived a day ahead of our resort reservations however, and stayed overnight at Staybridge Suites, Buena Vista. We hoped to do a little exploring the surrounding area, and resting up for the big week in the parks!
I can recommend Staybridge Suites in Buena Vista. The front desk staff was very helpful to us "Disney Greenhorns", and the Wolfgang Puck coffee provided with the drip coffee maker was actually good! (I did make it a bit stronger than directed ; )

Lovely outdoor seating area to eat or relax in the center courtyard...An arcade and laundry were also convenient. There was a full kitchen, including a dishwasher, and one could bring along groceries to make easy meals to stretch the budget or just not have to go out.

While waiting for a room, we ran on over to Disney Springs to have a look-see!...Parking and getting around was easy, and after walking around the shops to the end, we caught the free boat ride back to where we began!
Dragon made of blocks!

At the first Disney gift store, a cast member (as all Disney employees are referred to as " ), gave us a map, some very helpful navigating information, and a Happy Birthday pin for a friend accompanying us! The shops and landscaping were lovely. 

This Mickey pepper mill was my souvenir of choice!

I made these signs to decorate our car windows
for the trip down ; )
Goofy, one of my personal faves, now adorns the dash of my car!

There were plenty of shady places to sit and rest along our way at Disney Springs---One thing that I had been concerned about before the trip, as sometimes my back can get achy with too much standing. I did begin a mild stretch and strengthening routine several weeks before our Disney trip, and boy!, am I glad I did! And yes, there seemed to be plenty of restrooms too. 

An evening view across the lake at Epcot. We happened to be there during the Food and Wine Festival--I'm not so sure I prefer to be there during that though as the international food stands are set up all along the lakeside walk. 

We were very happy with the food choices and serving sizes for the most part. We were able to take advantage of a Free Dining Plan offer secured by our travel agent, Jan Sleeper, with 3D Travel Company. This took much of the food anxiety and planning right out of the equation! [I can highly recommend Jan as your travel concierge. Being very familiar with the destinations and cruise lines, whether you're desiring a Disney, Universal, Orlando destination-or cruise vaca-Jan offers friendly, knowledgeable assistance. She specializes in first-time travelers and those with special needs as well and her quotes are free!]

A view from the sky on Dumbo! You can see the beautiful weather we experienced the week before the hurricane!
While waiting for our table at the Beast's Castle, we enjoyed the gorgeous views...Disney has done a fantastic job with the created landscaping. You feel transported to another place and time!

Had to try some "gray stuff" at the Castle! We loved the atmosphere created by all of the decor and special effects! See a video glimpse here, thanks to BigFatPanda!

We were blown away by the Fall decorations during our trip in September...a surprise to me as I hadn't thought about any special decorations! It's going to be great to be there for the Christmas decorations on our next trip, as we booked what is called a "Bounce Back" stay for next year before we left our resort and secured the Free Dining offer again! (Which I understand is not being offered as often, so we're so excited as it makes your stay much more carefree ; ) The night time shows really were special. Each park has one after dark...They use a lot of projection technology and completely change the view and mood with some extra-special effects thrown in just for fun!

Well that's it for this little visit. Hope you and yours have a wonderful Holiday season! Until next time, remember...

There's BEAUTY FOR LIVING!---Share it!
Lisa " )