As I start typing this, I'm on my way for a short trip to Disney's Vero Beach Resort with friends (thanks to one of them who used his DVC points to treat our group to a special tripl!)
Disney's Vero Beach Resort is among the few Disney resorts I've not stayed at. Since 1976 I've stayed well over 200 room nights on Disney properties, including two nights at the Hilton Head Island DVC resort back in the 1990's. I'm excited to try something new!
Just hours ago, we spent the afternoon touring the Bonnet Creek Hilton and Waldorf Astoria resorts. These are two very impressive hotels! The Bonnet Creek Hilton's pool is the nicest I've seen within Walt Disney World property (technically Bonnet Creek is not on Disney property, but surrounded by it). The expansive lazy river looked so refreshing, don't be surprised if we spring for a night to review the resort later this year. We felt like we'd been transported to a different era when we walked over to the Waldorf, which is connected to the Hilton through the convention center. The two resorts are truly a deluxe experience, but with a price tag that is closer to a moderate Disney resort. Check out the Trip Advisor reviews and you'll see that they are among the best of the best of what Orlando has to offer. We'll have photos from our tour next week!
Hilton Bonnet Creek's Lazy River (just a portion of it!)
Hilton Bonnet Creek
This week we also paid a visit to the Gaylord Palms Resort as they announced the new Dreamworks Experience that will begin in November, as well as "Shrek the Halls", the theme for this year's ICE display. And on Sunday, we celebrated Disneyland's birthday by riding the corresponding original 1955 rides. We also checked back at the Disney's All Star Sports Resort to see the refillable mug tes. It hadn't started as of Wednesday, though the monitors are in place. The refillable mug article I wrote last week has more comments than I think any other article I've done in nearly five years (including my stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite!)
Posing with Shrek and Puss in Boots
Penguins from Madagascar
One question I received on Twitter this week asked what restaurants I recommend at Walt Disney World. While I've dined over the years at most restaurants on property, there are some that I do gravitate back to. Here are a few:
Boma at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
The Biergarten at Epcot
Plaza Inn at the Magic Kingdom
Narcoossee's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort
Tusker House at Animal Kingdom
Trails End at Disney's Fort Wilderness
Mickey Swirled into my Butternut Squash Tomato Bisque, Narcoossee's.
Philly Cheesesteak at the Plaza Restaurant.
And despite the absolutely terrible service – the worst I've had anywhere in years – at our last 'Ohana dining experience, we have a reservation with friends this fall because I still love the food and atmosphere.
Those are just a few of my favorites, though it's easier to answer the question when I know what type of food a guest likes; the atmosphere they are wanting; which park or resort they will be at; and how much they want to spend. My favorites now aren't the same as 10 years ago, though Boma has been on the list since it opened. For counter service, most of my favorites are at Downtown Disney (including the Earl of Sandwich and Wolfgang Puck Express at the Marketplace).
Our Cottage at Disney's Vero Beach Resort
Disney's Vero Beach Resort Pool
As I finish this, I am a few days late with my article – we arrived back from Disney's Vero Beach Resort on Saturday night (we stayed in a Grand Villa beach cottage!) enjoyed Sunday with my family in Tampa, and are heading to the Magic Kingdom today. I am looking forward to sharing photos and video of Vero Beach and Bonnet Creek with you this week!