Tuesday, 30 April 2013

walt disney world orlando 2013

Finally getting around to doing a post about our trip over Easter break to Disney World in Orlando.  We all had such a great time even though we were completely exhausted at the end of each day and I seriously think I'm still recovering!  But it was definitely worth it seeing the looks on those two little faces.

Because the little monster is a complete train fanatic we promised him that we would stay at the Contemporary Resort where the monorail runs right through the middle of the hotel all day long.  I'm still not sure why we paid for park passes because the kid seriously could not get enough of the monorails.  After a short but stressful flight from NJ to Orlando it was such a breath of fresh air to walk into to Contemporary Resort.  This is not the Disney World experience I remember from when I was a kid.  The hotel has had an incredible face lift and is now stylish, sophisticated and modern while being 110% kid friendly.  The hotel room are all done with dark wood furniture with lovely neutral colors and definitely not what you would expect when one hears Disney.  Our room was not in the main building but in one of the side buildings but we still had a great view of the monorail driving in and out of the hotel.  The sofa in the room cleverly turns into a comfy twin bed (not one of those standard springy pull out beds) which is great for multiple children.  The bathroom is nice and spacious with a spa feel to it.  There is an enormous pool, waterslide, and sandy beach area outside that is great for cooling down and just relaxing.  The only negative from the hotel experience is that the rooms could be cleaner.  It was quite dusty and some of the corners clearly had not been cleaned for a long time.  I did say something to the concierge but it was not sorted out after the complaint.

The main building of the hotel is definitely the main attraction and so entertaining for the kids.  There is plenty of shopping up there from toys, clothing, souvenirs, and even a shop that sells practical things like milk, bread, toiletries, snacks and loads more.  There is a quick cafeteria style restaurant where it's easy to grab a quick bite without waiting on a huge line and tons of table to sit down at.  And of course the character dining at Chef Mickeys where there is a buffet for breakfast, lunch and dinner is a major attraction.  My children absolutely love interacting with the characters and the dining experience is great because Mickey and his friends come to your table and eliminates waiting on even more lines.  I recommend making reservations early for the character dining because they fill up quite quickly at the hotel and in the parks.  The best part of all of this is that the monorail literally runs just above your head every couple of minutes and you can only imagine how exciting this is for a 3 year old boy!

It was super easy to travel to the theme parks using the monorail.  Buggies/strollers can be rolled on board without being folded down which works really will with sleeping children not having to be disturbed.  This also makes it convenient to pop back to the hotel room at any point during the day.  Of course we hit Magic Kingdom on the first day.  If you go all the way to Disney World you can't miss out on the castle, Dumbo, teacups, parade, and all of the classic Disney rides.  We spoke to the concierge and they told us that we should go to Animal Kingdom because it was really great for young children.  When I saw Dinoland on the map I knew it would be a hit.  I actually think the Little Monster preferred Animal Kingdom to Magic Kingdom.  Getting to Animal Kingdom involved a bus ride and the buggies to be folded up which isn't ideal.  Animal Kingdom has a really nice feel to it and there are amazing trees and greenery everywhere.  It's insane the amount of time that is spent on the little details all over the park.  We spent most of the day in Dinoland on the dinosaur rides and playarea.  The biggest hit of the trip was for sure the safari ride.  The kids absolutely loved seeing all the animals up close.

We drove the next day to Downtown Disney which was a lot of fun and the best part is that you don't need park passes to go there!  The Disney bus also goes there from the hotel but we felt that it was easier to just drive.  There are loads of restaurants and Disney shops and more than enough to entertain the kids for hours and hours and hours.  It's great if you want the Disney experience but don't want to spend the whole day in one of the parks.  Perfect for grabbing souvenirs and I don't think I've ever seen so much Disney merchandise before.

If we do go back to Disney World I would definitely stay at the Contemporary again.  I love the modern feel of the hotel and everything that it has to offer.  The convenience factor is major for us traveling with two young children with different sleep schedules.  It's amazing that just the hotel itself has so much to offer that the kids can have loads of fun just hanging out at the hotel!

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