Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Home Sweet Home

We've officially returned from our trip to Walt Disney World. I'm exhausted but happy and don't plan to tackle my suitcase for at least another two or three days. I'll get around to posting recaps and reviews (promise!) but I just wanted to share a couple of my favorite photos from our trip.

Day One - Magic Kingdom

Mmm...dole whip, and when its 55 degrees no line!
Best Day Ever!

Day Two - The Big Question & California Grill!
My brother and his now fiancee :)
The view from our dinner table at California Grill
Day Three - Dad's 60th Birthday
Dad opening his "1990's" era gift, one for each decade!

We got to meet Baymax. We fist bumped, because we're awesome.
Day Four - Hoggy Hoggy Hogwarts
Loved the Hogwarts Express "ride"

My amazing hubby who won all of the points after pushing me in a wheelchair the whole day
Day Five - Animal Kingdom
Absolutely fantastic ASL interpreters during the Finding Nemo musical

How my family spent most of its day: staring at the Tree of Life
Day Six - Star Wars Day (aka Hollywood Studios)
Tiny Jedi, one of whom had Rey hair. Squee!

AMAZING new fireworks, "Symphony in the Stars"
Day Seven - Back Home :(
Early morning in Epcot, one of my favorite times of day

Got actual kitty cat cuddles upon our return. A Disney miracle!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

What I'm Wearing to Disney: January 2016 Edition

We're heading back to Walt Disney World on Tuesday (eek!) and once again I did my best to put together fun outfits based off of some of my favorite characters for each of our days in the park. The weather, as is usual in Florida in January, is going to range quite a bit. With the exception of Tuesday we're looking at anywhere from low 60's to mid 70's for the high, and at night, it is getting down into the 40's.

Here's what I'm packing:
Tuesday: Travel & Magic Kingdom
My whole family all together in Walt Disney World? Talk about BEST DAY EVER! I absolutely adore this t-shirt, which I got from the Etsy shop Happily Ever Tees. The shirt itself is super comfortable, plus I think it is the perfect fit for our first day in the park. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Walt Disney World Boardwalk Inn & Resort Review

During our Walt Disney World trip in August 2015, we had the pleasure of staying at the Boardwalk Inn & Villas Resort. This was my first time staying there, and it was a big upgrade from Caribbean Beach. Not to knock the latter, it always served my family well, but you really can't beat the convenience of the Boardwalk.

The Boardwalk at large, which includes the resort as well as a number of restaurants, shops, kiosks, and  portrays the elegance and grandeur that combined with the carnival atmosphere to create the Atlantic City Boardwalk in the early 1900s. One thing that can be said about the Disney Boardwalk? It is absolutely beautiful. The main lobby is really stunning and is full of tons of intricate details. Some of my favorites were the working miniature carousel (ya'll know I love a good carousel), the hippocampus electrolier light fixture, and, of course, the creepy nanny chairs. As always with Disney, make sure you look up.

My husband and I took the Magic Express from the airport and got to the resort a little earlier than my in-laws (who were driving in). We went up and let them know we had arrived, and were told that our room wasn't quite ready yet. This was no problem, as our bags would be placed in our room once it was ready.

Since we were there and had some time to kill, I asked about linking our credit cards to our separate Magic Bands. There was a young gentleman on his second day at the job, and with some guidance from his mentor, we got everything all set up. We wandered around, browsed a bit in some of the shops, and nabbed my first Mickey Mouse Premium Bar of the trip.

We wandered down by the swimming pool, where I was very impressed to find a sign for the "New Balance Running Trail," an eighth-of-a-mile loop that takes you along the Boardwalk, past the Yacht & Beach Clubs. You could also increase the distance by crossing over to the Swan & Dolphin and head over towards Hollywood Studios. How cool is that?

For four people (two couples), we rented two rooms. My mother-in-law asked when she booked if we could get adjoining suites. They told her they would try but couldn't make any promises, but we ended up having adjacent rooms with the little door between. Also, check out the cute Ferris wheel themed carpet in the hallways. Super adorable, right?

The only blip in service that we had was with our luggage. My husband and I came in from the airport via Magic Express, and our bags were delivered to our room no problem. My in-laws drove in themselves, and my mother-in-law left her bags with the bellhop. It took a VERY long time for them to come up to the room, to the point where we were waiting around for them instead of going to the park. Eventually, she called down and they were brought right up, but it does knock the service rating down a bit. To correct it back a little, my husband was having some minor allergies to something in the air, and when the hotel's little gift shop didn't carry anything other than very expensive large quantities of otc allergy meds, the woman called down to one of the gift shops along the boardwalk and found out exactly who had something less expensive so I didn't have to run around a bunch.

To be honest, the rooms themselves are never a big factor when I stay in a hotel, especially in Disney. Is it clean and does it have a bed? Then I am good to go hang out in the parks and really only sleep and get dressed in the room. We had two double beds, plus a little fridge, and were just down the hall from the ice dispenser which is handy when you have a malfunctioning ankle. That said, our rooms had a beautiful view looking out towards Hollywood Studios and the Swan & Dolphin, and the beds were very comfortable.

The biggest upside of the Boardwalk is its convenience to Epcot. We were an adult only group and completed our goal of having one drink in every country spread out over the course of our trip. That meant that, even after a day in another park, we'd take the bus back to our resort, relax for a few minutes, then head into the World Showcase. It worked out perfectly, and I think in the future I will definitely look hard at all of the Epcot resorts because of this. Plus, you can either walk back along the Boardwalk or, as we often did with my ankle getting grumpy by the end of the trip, take the Friendships back and forth from the hotel to Epcot. Plus, it is pretty hard to beat that view.

TLDR Breakdown
Room Rating: B+
Atmosphere Rating: A
Service Rating: A
Convenience Rating: A+
Service Rating: A-
Overall Rating: A
Bottom Line: I would 100% stay here again, and on future trips will likely do so unless given a really good reason not to or outvoted.