March Madness — both coasts! (Part 2)

Late March and spring break meant packing up our van and heading south.  For each trip to Walt Disney World, I try to do several new things that I’ve never experienced before.  For this trip, that meant:

  • Going to Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba” show
  • Staying in a royal guest room at Port Orleans Riverside resort
  • Trying new restaurants:  Raglan Road, Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming, The Wave, and Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar
  • Watching a “Perfectly Prepared Princess Makeover” at the Grand Floridian’s Ivy Trellis Salon come to life
  • Enjoying the new family raft slide at Typhoon Lagoon “Miss Adventure Falls”

None of my new experiences disappointed!  The food, as always, was fantastic.  We really enjoyed the new restaurants that we tried and I have to say, Jock Lindsay’s has some SPECTACULAR drink offerings and a fantastic theme.  I’d visit all four of the new locations we tried again and again.

My daughter, who is almost a teenager, has gotten out of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique makeover age but I wanted her to experience a ‘real’ makeover at the Grand during our visit.  Ivy Trellis is an actual salon and spa so we both felt that this particular offering was super for pre-teens and teens to add a little more magic to their vacations.  The makeup and hairstyles were more grown up and the service was impeccable.  Since Ivy Trellis is a full-service salon, the guest is able to choose how they would like their hair styled; there are no preset styles to choose from.  This flexibility is great for older girls and is the first step to see them as they start to blossom into their prom years. **tissues**

We’ve seen numerous Cirque shows closer to home but had never taken the time to watch the “La Nouba” performance while in Florida.  The show ends 12/31 after about twenty years in Orlando, which is an incredible feat.  We quite enjoyed this show and definitely hope that a new show takes its place so we can go back again next year.

How was the lodging?  Well, we stayed for the first part of the trip at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and then moved to Port Orleans Riverside to try out a royal guest room.  Both resorts were super and I wouldn’t hesitate to return to either.

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Room with a view at the Grand Floridian.  Across Seven Seas Lagoon, you can see the Wedding Pavilion and the Polynesian Resort.

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A room fit for royalty!  The headboards light up with fireworks!

The parks were full of spring cheer with the Flower and Garden Festival in full bloom at Epcot.  I love visiting during the festival and enjoying all of the beautiful topiaries and food stands throughout World Showcase.

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Beautiful gardens at Epcot between Future World and World Showcase

Ah!  Another new thing — we visited the Disney Vacation Club Member Lounge inside of the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot.  What a great place to hang out!  Comfy chairs, free drinks and snacks, outlets galore to charge up your electronics, and a great view!

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View from the DVC lounge in Epcot

Typhoon Lagoon is always a great day (or two) of fun for my family and this trip meant hopping in line to ride the new family raft ride called “Miss Adventure Falls.”  The ride just opened in mid-March after Typhoon Lagoon’s annual refurbishment.  Talk about a ride you just can’t get enough of!  The entire experience from loading to unloading is a blast (of water!)  Speed, curves, and thrills were found throughout and I can’t wait to ride again!

Each time we visit, I’m astonished at how much Disney Springs continues to change.  We enjoyed new stores and restaurants there this time around including the ones on my to-do list plus Amorette’s Patisserie.  You want to know where to get the best dessert?  That’s it, Amorette’s beside the World of Disney store.  They’re not cheap but they are scrumptious.  Worth every last penny.  This place will be on my to-do list from now on.

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Goodies from Amorette’s Patisserie

While at Disney Springs, we had to take time out to see the newly released live-action version of Beauty and the Beast at the AMC Theater.  It had been awhile since we had visited this theater but it too never disappoints.  There’s no place better than seeing a new Disney movie than at Disney (or on a Disney Cruise!)

Of course, all good things must come to an end.  For this trip, it meant a brief stopover at Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina to enjoy a little sand and surf.  While the ocean was way too cold to take a dive, my feet took a dip, and I found a few shells to bring home to remember the visit.

I’ll leave you with this parting thought…

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March Madness — both coasts! (Part 1)

It’s been awhile since my last post… you certainly didn’t think I have been sitting at home on the sofa, did you?  No way!  It’s the end of April and I’m seriously slacking on posting updates to my blog this year.  Such is the life of a busy travel planner though!  I was on both coasts last month with a business trip to Disneyland in early March followed by a family trip to Disney World at the end of the month.  Let’s recap, shall we?

Disneyland in California, Walt’s original.  Love it there.  Can never say that enough.  If it wasn’t such a long flight and a three-hour time difference, I’d be there much more often.  This was my third trip out, first alone, and it did not disappoint.  I stayed at the Disneyland Hotel during my visit for the first time, previous trips were at the Grand Californian resort.  I’ll tell you, I really enjoyed the Disneyland Hotel and will definitely stay there again.  The authentic Disney feel there was unmistakable.  Zero complaints.  Perfect weather, gorgeous resort, impeccable theme parks, and I even got to experience the California Adventure Food & Wine Festival before it officially opened.

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My room at the Disneyland Hotel.  That headboard lights up with fireworks and plays music!

While this was a business trip and I spent a good bit of time touring resorts and learning more about the West Coast House of Mouse, I had a phenomenal stay and am so glad I was able to participate.  Touring two of the five signature suites at the Disneyland Resort, The Big Thunder Suite and the Adventureland Suite, was amazing.  If I had the cash, I’d be in those for the night in a heartbeat.  Unfortunately, I think one night would be pushing the fiscal limits of a typical week-long visit.

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The living room area in the Big Thunder Suite.

The parks?  Yes, they were as delightful as always.  My only regret was that Pirates of the Caribbean was down for refurbishment during my visit.  That is my fave!  And sorry Disney World, Disneyland’s Pirates ride is SO much better!

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The Main Street Electrical Parade returned to Disneyland earlier this year after being at WDW for over 20 years.

After a few days of hard work (and some time change confusion), I was back on a plane to the East Coast.  Two weeks later, I was packing the van for a trip to Walt Disney World…