Friday, December 11, 2015

Bucket List Fridays - Disney Resort Edition

If anyone cares to join me, please feel free and, if the mood strikes you, make the topic your own...just stick to the same general theme and remember to paste a link to your post in my comments below so I don't miss your post!

Although I haven't stayed in every single Disney World resort, I have visited almost all of them for one reason or another, so my wishlist varies accordingly. Disney rehabs their resorts every few years, so while you may have stayed at a resort before, in 5 or so years the room may have changed a couple of times and it feels like an entirely new experience. And, like I need another reason, but most of the resorts have various sections which all typically have different themes (usually only on the outside though), so you could stay at the same resort numerous times and never stay in the same section. Because of this, I'm not going to limit my list to never-before-stayed-in resorts but include previously visited ones as well. Oh, and I do believe that this post should warrant pictures, especially since I have a TON of them!

Considering I have talked about some of these resorts ad nauseam, I'm going to try not to do reviews. Besides, there are plenty of those on my Disney Reviews Page. And, these bucket list items are probably more likely to happen than any bucket list item I've done so far (barring death, dismemberment, or incarceration for a homicidal rampage). I'd better get started since I'm not sure how long this is going to end up...good thing it's only a top 5 list!


2013 (10)-0206
Bet you guys thought that my number 1 would be Wilderness Lodge, but I have stayed at WL numerous times and I have a really strong hankerin' to stay at Beach Club for some reason. Wilderness Lodge will always be my favorite Disney resort, but it's not always the one I feel the strongest pull towards at the moment. Beach Club, on the other hand, has had my attention for quite some time and the longer I put it off, the more I want to stay there.

I've always wanted to stay at one of the Epcot resorts and in 2013 I tried for Beach Club, but ended up at The Yacht Club instead because the Beach Club usually stays booked up (it's the closest to Epcot). The Yacht and Beach are connected...they share a pool and certain amenities, but they have a completely different vibe on the inside probably because both are themed very differently (the Yacht Club is the white half on the left side and the Beach is the blue to the right).

I had also started leaning toward The Boardwalk Resort (which is across the pond from the Yacht and Beach), but my sister stayed there the following year and it was one of her worst trips ever because of the noise level. I've never had the desire to stay at the Swalphin (the Swan or the Dolphin as they are affectionately called...sister resorts not technically owned by Disney, but with all the same amenities as a Disney-owned resort). Guess I'll just stick with my gut and crave The Beach Club for my Epcot resort choice!

My Yacht Club experience ranks as one of my top five worst trips ever because of the overall snotty atmosphere of the resort (CM's and guests both) and, as I would walk from the Yacht to the Beach on the way to Epcot, you could literally feel the atmosphere change as you rounded a corner, this particular corner, in fact:
2013 (10)-0260
Here are close ups of the backsides - the World Showcase Lagoon sides...Beach Club:
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and Yacht:
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Closer up, you start to see the differences.

But, even with all the negativity of the Yacht Club, it's still one of my favorite interior designs:
2013 (10)-0160
and I don't think that the Beach Club design is too much different.

Now that time has passed, part of me now thinks that maybe I walked into the Yacht Club with certain prejudices anyway since I wanted the Beach and couldn't get it, and maybe that's why I had such a bad time. But then I always remember the husband and wife on the bus that kept whispering about me the entire ride back from one of the parks. I tried to just convince myself I was being paranoid, but when we reached the bus stop for Yacht Club and I started to prepare to get up, she turns to me and says, "you do realize this is the Yacht Club, don't you?", like I didn't belong there. I just answered in my best Southern voice, "yes ma'am, this is where I'm staying", to which she responds by turning to her husband, whispering something else in his ear, and then they both bust-out laughing and she just sneered at me. I'll never forget that as long as I live. I've stayed in a Tower Room at the Contemporary before and never gotten that level of hatefulness before.

I'm not sure where we are going to stay next October yet, but I'm going to push for either Beach Club or my #4 choice. Since I'm not paying for that trip either, it's really not up to me in the long run, but a girl can hope!


(I'm not much into posting pictures of myself...but seriously, can you tell I love this place? Besides, it's in my header anyway, so it's nothing new.)

As I mentioned above, Wilderness Lodge is my absolute, all-time, most favoritest Disney resort EVAH. The rooms have changed numerous times over the years from here in 2005:
To here in 2006:
To here since 2008 (this particular picture is from 2012):
2013 (12)-0044
(say hi to my sissy)

And now they are building cabins on the edge of Bay Lake, and that's my ultimate Wilderness Lodge goal, to stay in one of the cabins, but I'm happy with the main building now. WL is the best place to stay when you take a solo trip because it's one of the few Disney resorts that is, no matter the ranking (deluxe, moderate, or value) self-contained in one single building...most of the other resorts are spread out over various buildings (all with various themes like I mentioned earlier) and why they are all "resorts" instead of just hotels or motels...there is very heavy and varied theming (or that's the explanation I'm going with anyway).

It is often easier to go from park to park or from park to Downtown Disney (now Disney Springs) via a resort you may not be staying at, hence my visitation of so many different Disney resorts throughout the years (well that and to see the various Christmas decorations, some resorts really go all out). This is one of the bus stops at Coronado Springs and the only picture of any part of that resort I far.

I mentioned (or say potato...) that we're going to Disney World in March, and since it's a short trip, we try to stay cheaper on those, hence the circumstances call for a moderate (I absolutely HATE the values for various reasons, none of which matter for the purposes of this post). I also mentioned the various tiers of resort and, although I'm poor and should be staying at the values, I do prefer staying at a deluxe. They are closer to the parks, are hotels instead of motels (like the moderates and values), have more adult themes (and often less kid populations), and just feel safer to me. Besides, if there is one thing to ever be learned from Disney World, you do get what you pay for, so if you want more, then be prepared to pay for it and I ALWAYS want more even if my bank account is constantly bleeding. But we have stayed at all levels of resort from top to bottom, and I have stayed at every moderate but Coronado Springs.

There are technically only three moderates anyway, Caribbean Beach (which has six villages, two of which we've stayed in) and Port Orleans (which is divided into Riverside, again subdivided into two categories, mansions and lodges, and the French Quarter, all of which I've stayed in). French Quarter has always been my favorite mod because it's smaller and easier to navigate and despite hating the actual city of New Orleans, I do love the idea of it.

Since Coronado is technically a convention resort (as is Yacht Club, Contemporary, Grand Floridian and a couple of others), it never really has appealed to me. Their food court is also set up much different that what I'm comfortable with, and since we do utilize the food courts, especially late at night, I needed to feel comfortable enough to go alone and I never was before. I just decided that we'd probably never stay there...that is until we took the detour to the bus stop in 2012. Granted, we saw very little of it, but what I did see really appealed to me. It has been on my mind ever since as a potential good candidate to try and this upcoming trip provides the perfect opportunity to do just that, so that's what Amber booked for us.

It has three different sections, Cabanas (where we'll be staying), Rancheros, and Casitas as well as a main building called El Centro. Of course, as per usual, there will be plenty of pictures once we get back (as well as a review).

It has a rather non-descript front, so why not a view from Seven Seas Lagoon (where the new water-side huts are located now) back when it was just simply "Disney's Polynesian Resort"

Yes, I have stayed here before too, but it just got completely revamped and got new water-side huts and I'm really excited to go there again. It's one of the few resorts that remodeled their main lobby building and pool as well as their rooms, while the others just usually do the rooms. When we stayed, it was dated and old, but I still liked the vibe and I LOVED the location since it's a Magic Kingdom resort. It's probably tied as my second favorite resort with The Contemporary Resort (which is THE absolute best for location).

We stayed in:
Which was halfway between the Ceremonial House (the main building) and the monorail station. It was an easy walk to either. The rooms used to look like this:
But they are way prettier now.


I just finished editing my pictures, but I haven't been able to upload them yet, so forgive these unedited pics:
and the entry:
(I have more, but it would take me way too much time to locate them until I get them uploaded...just remember these are unedited and therefore kind of blaa)

When and/or if I ever go back to California, I want to stay in the Disneyland Resort next time. I thoroughly enjoyed The Grand Californian and it served it's purpose effectively...I needed familiarity in a strange place (it's similarity to Wilderness Lodge) as well as something closest to the parks to make it easier for my traveling companion. But, throughout my planning, I kept switching my mind back and forth from the Grand Cali to The Disneyland Resort. The DL Resort was more steeped in Disneyland history and just recently underwent a massive remodel, but it was further away and was spread out over three separate buildings, so I took the safer route. But, now that I'm a Disneyland veteran as well, I would be comfortable enough to branch out to a different hotel and the next time I go my traveling companion will probably be my Sister, so distance isn't an issue for us and The Disneyland Hotel it is!

Oh, and I think one trip to Disneyland makes you a veteran whereas it takes multiple Disney World trips to become one. I'm still not sure if I should even consider myself a Disney World vet just yet.

As a side note, I am considering this choice (and my bonus choice) as "hotels" instead of the Disney World-variety "resorts". Sure The Disneyland Hotel in California is three separately-themed buildings, but I still can't consider it a resort and I don't know enough about my bonus choice to make any assumptions on its at least for now, these are "hotels".


If, by some great miracle I manage to complete my bucket list item of going to Disneyland Paris, this would be the only resort of theirs I'd want to stay in (well, other than maybe Sequoia Lodge, which is Wilderness Lodge-esque). All the other ones have an American theme, which completely turns me off...I can't imagine going all the way to Paris just to stay in a hotel that reminds me of home! It's one of the main reasons why I don't care for Disney World's Port Orleans Riverside...I live in the South and am completely surrounded by it, why on earth would I want to go on vacation to a Southern-themed resort? At least Port Orleans French Quarter is enough of a stretch to make it worthwhile. If I lived in the Pacific Northwest, I probably wouldn't like Wilderness Lodge either. I know that sounds a bit contradictory, especially since I tend to gravitate toward the WL-themed resorts at various parks but, to me, there is a difference between similarity (Wilderness Lodge-esque) and repetition (copies of home). Does that make sense?

I did debate making the Castle Dream Suite my bonus item, but the odds of me ever accomplishing that before death are probably next to nil and I'm not sure I could handle the attention that brings because Disney makes such a huge deal out of the family that wins...which brings up another issue, usually only families win, so that knocks my odds down even farther. But, if I do get that huge lottery win and they open it up to paying guests, then you can be sure I'll be there!

And that's it! Despite the massive length of this post and pictures, it was much faster to write than any of the others I've done, so yea! If anyone else joined me, hope you had as much fun as I did!


Tiffstitch said...

Great list! I didn't make one, but I pointed people in your direction. My aunt and uncle and cousins used to save up for 1-2 nights at Fort Wilderness when they could and always, always, always raved about it. So that would be my one and only on the list for now.

Bea said...

Goodness, I didn't realise this was all available. Thanks!

Heather said...

I don't think you can win them anymore. I'm pretty sure they're only for celebrities currently unfortunately. Good list. Riverside is my favorite but only because they added the Royal rooms