Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Spending Time With the Mouse: Our Disney Vacation

 gingerbread house
We are just back from vacation in Disney World, and I thought it would be fun to share a few highlights.

This is the well-known gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian resort.  (We did not stay there; we just stopped by.)  You can get an idea of its size by comparing it to the person walking on the left side of the picture.  On the other side of the gingerbread house is a window through which gingerbread is sold.  It's a strong tradition at Disney, and people were lined up to overpay for gingerbread cookies.

We also went to see this gingerbread carousel at the Yacht & Beach Club resorts. (I forget which resort has it, but these two are almost fused together anyway.)

gingerbread carousel
The carousel also contains plenty of chocolate in its design, so you know I'd be there!  We spent a while looking at the carousel, finding hidden Mickeys and just admiring the attention to detail.

My son loved the Cars movie when it came out, so we wanted to see the new Art of Animation resort.  We didn't go into any of the buildings, but the outdoor theming is bold and colorful.  Along the walkways are "life-size" models of the Cars characters like Lightning McQueen, Doc Hudson, and Fillmore.  I can just imagine how excited my son would have been to stay here when he was younger.  The resort also has sections for other movies--Finding Nemo, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid--but I thought the Cars section best characterized its film.

One of the places we stayed was Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort.  It was our first and last time staying there.  Seriously, the person who designed this place should be demoted.  The layout is sprawling and confusing.  We've stayed in other sprawling resorts and never had this problem.  The hallways in the buildings are like mazes.  (We were given a room at the far-flung end of a far-flung building.  Just try finding your room after a long day in the park.)  The furniture in the rooms is cheap and falling apart.  One side of the queen-size bed was so close to the wall that no one could walk there.  I was surprised because Disney seems to excel in every aspect of hospitality, yet I never felt so unwelcome at a hotel.

But on to something positive!  We splurged to spend a few days in a 1-bedroom villa at the Animal Kingdom Villas (in the Kidani Village section).  These rooms are gorgeous, amazing down to the smallest detail.  I love the tiles in the shower:


The only thing is, the neighbors are animals. :)



  1. How cool. I told marc that i want to go to disney during the holidays one year..... hate to hear that you had a bad experience though.... hope you said something to who ever was in charge. Love the tile

  2. Ahh what a fab time and I love the photos.

  3. We stayed in Pop Century this year and All Star Movies last year. I agree that the budget (or whatever they call the cheap hotels ;-) ) are just that--cheaply made. After staying in Marriott properties in our way there and back thanks to dh's rewards through work, we felt like WE had been demoted. Still--it was a nice vacation. Friends of ours are staying in Animal Kingdom lodge thus week. It sounds and looks wonderful!


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