By Mark Donaldson
Continuing with yesterday's love for Moderate Resorts we are talking about my second favorite hotel on property, Coronado Springs! This sprawling resort has so much to offer including its brand new addition, the Gran Destino Tower. This new extension includes multiple bars, a rooftop restaurant, and a gorgeous lobby evocative of Spain's Gaudi architecture.
In the center of the resort is a beautiful lake with Three Bridges Bar and Grill floating in the middle. This is a wonderful al fresco venue to enjoy a relaxed bite and a drink right on the water. A short walk across the lake is the massive pool and recreation complex, The Dig Site. Located here is one of the largest pools on Disney property, lavishly themed to Mayan ruins with a spectacular pyramid as the centerpiece. There are hot tubs, a beach volleyball court, a kiddie pool and an excellent water slide.
Surrounding the lake are the rest of the rooms divided into three uniquely themed sections with each having their own quiet pool. There are the beach vibes of the Cabanas, the more urban Casitas, and my personal favorite, the Ranchos. The Ranchos evoke a more rural and arid desert setting with red rock formations and cacti. I love strolling this resort and enjoying all of the beautiful scenery. You really feel transported somewhere else at this resort!
Coronado Springs really feels like a complete resort to me and I've enjoyed spending full days just exploring and enjoying everything there is to offer. There are so many dining and recreation options it makes me not want to leave!
Thanks for following along with my love for my favorite moderate resorts, Port Oleans-French Quarter and Coronado Springs. These resorts are perfect for relaxation as they don't get as many day visitors from other resorts like the Deluxe Resorts do. But they also offer so many activities and gorgeously themed settings that will take you away. Have you ever tried out a Moderate Resort before?
By Mark Donaldson
Hi travel friends! I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season. To start off the week I want to show a little love to some of my favorite resorts on Walt Disney World property. While the Deluxe Resorts usually get all the love, what I honestly prefer is a Disney Moderate Resort. And my favorite of all just happens to be Port Orleans-French Quarter!
Port Orleans-French Quarter is excellently themed after its namesake neighborhood in the Big Easy, New Orleans. The resort is decorated with wrought iron railings, gorgeous southern trees, cobblestone walkways, and nods to Mardis Gras. I absolutely love a lazy stroll around the property with a drink in hand, taking in the sights.
French Quarter is one of the smaller resorts on property which comes with many perks due to its size. It is quiet, relaxing, and easy to get around. It is a short walk to the bus stops, quick service dining, and the pool no matter what room you are in. Speaking of the pool, this is Doubloon Lagoon.
This charming pool area offers a fun Mardis Gras theme with a great beginner water slide that is perfect for the kids. Also in the area are the Mardi Grogs pool bar, a splash pad, and a whirlpool spa. The pool is located right on the Sassagoula River. And a huge bonus to staying here is taking a stroll down the river to the adjacent Port Orleans- Riverside Resort! You are free to swim and enjoy their swimming hole Ol' Man Island. This complex offers an even bigger water slide, water falls, and even a fishin' hole!
I could go on and on! I haven't even mentioned the fresh beignets, the boat rides along the river to Disney Springs, or the recently refurbished rooms! There is so much to love about Port Orleans-French Quarter and I cannot wait for my next stay at this fantastic Moderate Resort. This resort is currently awaiting its reopening but I know I will be first through the door as soon as it's magic returns. Will you?!
By Lindsay Mauck
When I show up for a week or longer trip with just a backpack, my travel companions are always shocked. So I'm here to show you how I do it, what I think about when packing, and my favorite items to purchase for this style of travel.
I will start by saying that I typically don't pack this way for vacations where I only have to unpack one time (cruises especially!) - I like to have many more outfit options and since I'm not hauling my luggage all over the place the whole trip, I can indulge in that! This style of packing is perfect, however, for multi-destination trips especially when you have to fly several times - you end up saving on luggage costs as well as saving yourself from dragging luggage through streets, airports, train stations, into and out of taxis, on and off subways.... you get the idea. It may seem minimalist, but I promise you will have all you need AND feel so much lighter while walking through, say, London!
Finally, this is where an experienced travel advisor comes in. I can - for example- tell you first hand about how much I took to Hawaii and didn't wear. (it was a lot...) Every destination has it's own quirks, and having an advisor who's been there can be worth so much to you outside of just the booking!
eBags Mother Lode Travel Backpack
Eagle Creek Pack-It Original Cube Set
Eagle Creek Pack-It Original Garment Folder
By Ashley Pierce
Both days, we were able to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure since we had park-to-park tickets. That's the way to go, so you get the most out of your time. Also, by having the park-to-park tickets, you will be able to ride Hogwarts Express between the parks...and if you are fans of Harry Potter, it's something that you simply do not want to miss.
The characters in the parks are abundant, even during these times. Some even interact with you besides the normal photo op.
If you are missing entertainment/shows/singing, you won't miss it here! You can experience outdoor options with songs and water shows and even the brand new, indoor show The Bourne Stuntacular-which is Spectacular! The technology used there is simply breathtaking and the actors have such talent!
If you want a break from the sun or in our case (rain), check out the Tribute Store which is themed to the holiday you are closest too. It's also a large 1-stop souvenir spot so you will be sure to find something there for someone back home. We also enjoyed seeing the Macy's balloons that they typically have at their holiday parade (currently canceled due to the pandemic). True, authentic balloons used in past New York parades!! Such a neat experience to see something that we usually watch on tv each Thanksgiving.
My favorite snack is the ever popular Butterbeer-but I prefer it frozen. You can find it in both parks throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
And while there are so many amazing rides throughout both parks, my favorite is still Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. Riding in the daylight is much different than the nighttime simply because you can see the tracks as it is an outdoor ride. We were able to grab a virtual queue spot for this on Sunday am, so we had a return time.
Food is everywhere with many restaurants available, but we choose lunch at The Leaky Cauldron for fish and chips and cottage pie.
To end our stay, we enjoyed some time at CityWalk, with dinner at Cowfish and dessert courtesy of Voodoo Doughnut. Pictured are Oh Captain, My Captain and Triple Chocolate...but anything there is sure to be delicious!
What a trip! We had a great time, and felt safe the entire time. Seeing employees cleaning the railings and trash cad lids almost constantly, as well as being handed hand sanitizer before each ride, confirmed that Universal is doing the best they can in these times. Hand sanitizer stations are located throughout the exits as well (but we also carried our own just in case). My kids are already trying to plan their next visit, as there were a few things we didn't get to do. Number one on the list - Volcano Bay since it won't be open most likely until March.
Thanks for following along on our adventure!
By Ashley Pierce
My family traveled to Universal Orlando on Sunday for 2 days, to experience their first visit! We stayed at Loews Royal Pacific Resort and had a standard room with 2 beds. We were on the main floor so it was a very easy walk to the lobby for snacks at Tuk Tuk Market. Starbucks for the win, and there are tables socially distant with signs on those you will not be able to sit at. Right now, they are aiming for contactless experiences which is a great safety offering. We needed more toiletries, so we texted the number provided at check-in and had a bag hanging on our door within 5 minutes. When you walk in the main entrance, there is a security guard taking temperatures of all visitors/guests and if all is okay, you will receive a colored band to wear. There is plexiglass at all of the counters. Loews Royal Pacific is a great option if you like island theming and access to CityWalk, Universal Orlando and Islands of Adventure by water taxi (or if you want to add even more steps to your daily count in addition to what you will have walking through the parks, there is a walking path to CityWalk). The restaurant options are wonderful and there are several late night locations if you are hungry after returning from the parks. They typically have a Despicable Me Character Breakfast but it is temporarily closed. And if you need a rental, but don't want to pick it up at the airport or don't need it for the entire duration, Avis Car Rental has a desk right there in the lobby!!
Since Royal Pacific is 1 of 3 resorts that offer free, unlimited express passes for most attractions at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, this resort is a great option if you want to be sure to experience as much as you can! Here to answer any questions that you may have.
By Ashley Pierce
Today was the day my family was waiting for. None of them have experience Galaxy's Edge until now and I couldn't wait to finally share in their excitement! We were up and ready to hopefully grab a virtual boarding group for Rise of the Resistance at 7am....and we did! Group 97 but we will take it! Because of the popularity that Hollywood Studios has brought to Disney guests, they now offer bus transportation as well to the resorts that have Skyliner access...so we decided to take the bus. It picked up at 7:50am (park opening at 9am) and we were through the temperature screening tent, security and magic band scanning by 8:15. We were off Mickey and Minnie's Runaway Railway by 8:30, Slinky Dog Dash at 8:52, Alien Swirling Saucers at 9:01 and Toy Story Mania at 9:15. If you are worried about getting it all done in one day, it's certainly doable! Muppet Vision 3d is a great spot to rest if you want to take some time off your feet--socially distant rows and space between families to assure safety.
The rest of the park (with the exception of Galaxy's Edge) was finished for us at 12. We had reservations at Oga's Cantina at 12:20 for a drink and snack, able to get in early for my son's Droid Depot reservation and then it was time for our boarding group for Rise of the Resistance. We were able to even enjoy some blue milk and take some time to let the newest family member move freely and talk to some fellow Droids before Smuggler's Run. If you ask my 10 year old, she will say seeing Chewie, Rey and a few Stormtroopers were the highlights for her.
It was a great day with all of the new experiences and memories that will last a lifetime!
The vintage decorations are simply breathtaking - they are at the top of my list.
The snacks at Starbucks are adorable and if you can, grab yourself a holiday Alien popcorn bucket-you won't be disappointed!
Santa makes an appearance. And if you ask me, he has a pretty cool ride!
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