Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Quick Recap Of Our Crescent Lake Barcrawl Meet Up...

   I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the awesome Disney Hipster podcast meet up that we had back in October.  Scrolling through the many thousands of photos we took during our trip I came upon the (painfully...) few photos that I took during the bar crawl.  You see, when you're having fun meeting amazing listeners/readers its hard to remember to memorialize the event in photos.
    Here is the gist of the evening.  We started the event at Bellevue Lounge at Disney's Boardwalk Resort, where a surprising number of our guests were already waiting.  I'm not a huge fan of Bellevue, though I know a lot of people love it. So I wanted to get out of there pretty quickly.

Moving on...

   We visited Hurricane Hannahs at The Beach Club, followed by Ale and Compass at The Yacht Club.  Ale and Compass was actually a surprise gem...it is very small and in a weird location, but sometimes the awkwardness of it makes the situation super charming. Plus, the thing about our bar crawl meet ups...we tend to pick up people along the way.  In this case 76 people...that we can remember anyway.  So imagine our huge group taking over the lobby of Yacht Club, and completely overwhelming the sweet bartender. Amazing...

Adam is surprisingly good at working the crowd...this is @TammyYIP and family. 
She's the greatest. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Lets Look At The Grand Floridian Pool Area...

   Recently we spent three nights at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa...which was a first for us. We were generally very impressed with our short time there, and the resort quickly became old hat in a way that only the comfiest of resorts can.  Unlike monorail cousin The Contemporary, The Grand Floridian is warm and inviting even to guests just casually visiting the grounds.
   Obviously I took PLENTY of time to relax by the pool, as I am prone to do on vacation, both alone and with my sister and her kids. There are two pools at The Grand Floridian, one in which I will refer to as the "main pool" located directly behind the main lobby, and another with I will refer to as the "feature pool" located closer to the DVC wing.  Lets look at some pros and cons to the pool areas...

   Pro: Proximity to the main building...and basically every other building.


   The centralized location of the main pool is basically the best.  Not only is it ridiculously close to the main lobby, but because of the layout of the surrounding buildings you're guaranteed to be nearby.  The location of this pool doesn't disturb the landscaping either, as the area is fenced and offset...so you don't have to walk around it to get anywhere.

   Con: Lack of chairs/tables/umbrellas/shade. 


   I don't think I need to justify myself...BUT at a deluxe resort (but really any Disney resort...) I don't think I should have to hover around awkwardly trying to find a lounge chair.  This was the case a few times around both the main pool and feature pool, so clearly this is a problem often.  Same situation with tables...there is food served at the feature pool but very few tables to be found.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not above sitting on the ground at all, but there is also very little shade to be found.  I understand that Victorian landscaping doesn't call for lush vegetation...so theres that I guess.  But Florida gets awfully hot. :/

   Pro: Two NICE Pool Bars...



      You guys! The Grand Floridan has TWO POOL BARS! This is a wonderful perk, especially if your kids want to play in the feature pool...you don't have to schlep all the way toward the main building to whet your whistle.   Minor con to these pool bars, which recently abandoned their extensive beer list in favor of the standard pool bar menu. This itself has actually improved somewhat in the last year...Sierra Nevada Torpedo? Yes please...

   Con: Lack Of Nooks and Crannies (see pics above...)
   
   One of my favorite parts of the Animal Kingdom Lodge pools are the totally secluded areas, where you can relax uninterrupted.  Be in by the jacuzzis or just off in a corner, the areas are separated by rock work or landscaping and creates a terrific intimate feel.  The Grand Floridian has none of that...like at all.  Both pools are sprawling and open, with few (zero?) more secluded areas.  And let me just mention for a moment, how I could never EVER use the jacuzzi here, because it is ridiculously over crowded, and basically on display for the entire world.

   Pro: The Alice In Wonderland Play Area...


   This awesome kids play area was added to the resort a few years ago, during construction of the new DVC wing.  Though its kind of noisy the area is pretty far away from guest buildings.  I like that Disney is moving more toward these areas (Kidani Village, Castaway Cay...) because they're seriously addictive to kids...and allows them to blow off some steam. 

   There you go.  A few pros and cons on the Grand Floridian pool area.  I really did enjoy my time here, and I know that we will be back again.  The pool is generally very nice, but is nowhere near the level set by Animal Kingdom Lodge.  A few of these flaws could be easily fixed, but I doubt that will ever happen. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Disney BGM Of The Week: Buena Vista Street

   Welcome to another Disney Background Music of the Week! This week we're heading to back to the west coast, in anticipation of our trip to the Disneyland resort in May.  Since we last visited Disney California Adventure in 2012 both Buena Vista Street (DCA's answer to Main Street USA...) and Cars Land have both opened to much applause.  Though I'm pretty excited to visit the land of Cars, my real interest is in Buena Vista Street.  Not only does the area look gorgeous, but it will be nice to visit the park using a proper entrance. You see, we visited during construction of the whole park and were corralled AROUND this street entirely.
   This charming street comes with an equally charming background music loop!  Think Main Street USA, if you were to fast forward a few decades.  This loop comes from our favorite source of Disney BGM, MrThemeParkAudios... who we're so grateful for all the hard work.


   Now doesn't that loop make you happy!?!?  Its hard not to feel productive listening to this music, it just makes me want to clean my house, or dance, or...anything really.  Even with the construction walls during our trip to DCA a few years ago we still absolutely fell in love...here is our thoughts on that from 2012. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Signs Of New Harambe

   My appreciation of New Haramabe has been exhaustive, on the verge of annoying.  Anyone who asked Andy, How was your trip? Was told about the new area of Animal Kingdom whether they truly cared or not.  The theming at Animal Kingdom is what sets this park apart from the other Florida parks. When any expansion is announced its hard to imagine Disney meeting the fine level of perfection that the previous areas already have.
   Little did I know that New Harambe would meet the high standard, and take the level of detail a little bit further.  We've explored the terrific signs and fliers posted in Harambe, and the equally lovely posters found in Anandapur.   I was super happy that this tradition was kept and enhanced for the new addition...here are a few that I captured on our trip.


  Some of the signage is more obvious in their purpose.  There are Festival Of The Lion King and Tusker House posters found throughout, but in a charmingly crude style.  Always with the Harambe insignia in the corner.  These signs not only help subtly enhance the backstory of their given area, but are for the most part really well designed.  Some are pretty gorgeous.