Sunday, June 22, 2014

Coco Key Hotel and Water Park in Orlando, Florida!

Coco Key Hotel and Water Park!

My family and I enjoyed a quick one-night stay at the Coco Key Hotel and Water Park June 6th 2014.   I highly recommend this hotel. 

This resort is located on International Drive.  Its only a 2 mile drive from Universal Studios and 9 miles to Disney. 

This hotel was built in 1971 and doesn’t have the best curb appeal but don’t worry the inside is much nicer.  The rooms were very clean and recently renovated.   We stayed in a standard room, with two double beds, although there are several types of rooms to choose from.  The desk had extra outlets built in that made it easy to charge phones and iPads. Free Wi-Fi is available and not as slow as I expected it to be.   A small fridge is included in each room and there were ice machines on each floor.  From the photos I’ve seen, some of the bathrooms have slightly different layouts. 

Our bathroom was spacious and had 2 doors.  The first door leads to the sink area.  We had a long counter top with storage underneath. This gave us a little extra privacy and was a great place to get dressed.   Behind the second door was a smaller area for the toilet and tub/shower.  The shower curtain bar was curved out, which is a simple thing, but one I appreciate. 

There was not an elevator anywhere near our room, so we hauled our luggage up the stairs to the second floor.  Guest rooms are located in 9 different buildings and there are elevators located ONLY in building 6.


Hi, my name is Trena and I have a Diet Coke addiction.  I could host an addiction support group at this hotel because it is a Pepsi property!  There were plenty of places to get a soda, vending machines, gift shop, quick service food court, and tiki bars…but they only had Pepsi products.  So, bring your own Diet Coke.  If you love Pepsi…and I’m ok with that…they do offer refillable souvenir cup for $9.99 for your hotel stay.  It was a simple plastic cup….small, maybe 16 oz, no lid or  handle, not insulated.  

The Breakfast buffet cost $10 per adult and $5 per child and is served 7:00 am to 11:00 am.   The scrambled eggs were from some sort of mix and would have been better if there were hot grits to put over them!  The French toast was a little soggy and limp.  They did have a waffle station to make your own fresh waffles.  I don’t know what type of batter they use, but it was WONDERFUL!  The bacon was nicely cooked and bacon is the most important meat of the day!  My son assured me the Froot Loops were top quality.  There were several types of juice, white and chocolate milk, and coffee to drink.  The dining room was smaller than I expected but it was not completely full.  The staff was very friendly and pulled two tables together for my family of 5.  The staff was pleasant while busy keeping the tables and dining room clean.  I did like the convenience of eating at the hotel.    

We had lunch in their food court.  I had a personal size Pizza Hutt Pizza.  My son had a cheeseburger and fries.  The food was fine, and was brought to our table for us.   

The water park is really perfect for young children.  There are 14 slides of various heights and 4 heated pools.  There is a large shaded area for toddlers.  Near that is an area called Parrots Perch where kids ages 12 and under would enjoy, although it is large enough for parents to play too.  Yes, I tried the slides there!  It was fun. 

There are 3 large slides big enough for teens and adults to enjoy.  I was brave enough to ride 2 of the 3.  Surfers Splash Tube Slide (yellow slide) has a 42” height requirement.  It is mild and you can get tubes for 2 riders—so you can ride with your child if YOU are scared.  It was my favorite.  The Boomerango Tube slide (red) has a 48” height requirement and has a steep drop that really surprised me. It gives quite a thrill! The tubes are for 2 people.  Over the Falls Body slide (orange & blue) has a 40” height requirement.  My 8-year-old son loved all 3 slides. 

You can purchase a day pass to the water park even if you aren’t staying at the hotel.  There are large locker rooms at the water park for changing your clothes. There are lockers to rent if you need to secure your valuables.  It was hard to find a chair in the shade so get there when the park opens and claim your spot.  You are not allowed to bring in coolers.  

By Travel Time Agent Trena

Monday, June 2, 2014

Disability Pass for Rides at Walt Disney World

Disney World is very disability friendly.  If you have a disability, including a non apparent one, go to Guest Services at the first park you go to and request a disability pass.  They will not require any proof.  They'll ask your name, how many people are in your party, take a photograph of you with an ipad, and have you sign the pass.  
Go to the standby or the fast pass line (choose whichever isn't clogged at the time) at the start of each ride, and hand them your pass.  They'll fill out a return time based on the current line wait, and stamp it.  You can then return to ride walking through the fast pass line at the return time. Unlike fast pass, the time doesn't expire in an hour, you can use it the rest of the day, but you cannot get another ride scheduled until you have the first ride crossed off.  The person with the pass must be a rider, so the rest of the party cannot use this pass without the person that is was meant for.

Just to be clear, you can only have one ride scheduled at a time.  Once you've completed that ride, you are free to get another.

Disneyland is similar, but seems to have more discrepancies, and more CMs willing to be nosy about disabilities.

Recipe for the infamous Disney's Polynesian Lapu Lapu cocktail

My favorite drink of all time is located at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and can be purchased at its Tambu Lounge, Kona Cafe, or Ohana.  It is called the Lapu Lapu and it is yummy.  It is also available out at the pool bar but they leave out the pineapple so it isn't as fun out there!  If you are just heading out to watch fireworks at the Polynesian be sure and order your Lapu Lapu inside before you head to the beach.

Here is the recipe, although everything tastes better when you are actually IN Disney!

*2 parts Myer's Dark Rum
*2 parts pineapple juice
*3 parts orange juice
*1 part sweet & sour mix
topped with one part Bacardi 151 Rum floated on top


By Lucy

How to Charge Your Phone at Disney World and Preserve Cell Battery Life

Where can you charge your phone at Disney World?

And why would you want to? Well, that is a great question!  The answer is complicated.
The why is obvious to anyone that has spent more than half a day at the parks and used their phones for anything of significance (photos, videos, random updates to Facebook, whatever)

You might find these phone charging stations in a couple of places:

They are free, and theoretically a great idea.  There are, however, a couple of problems.

1. They are scarce2. When you do find one, it will probably be full 3. After 40 minutes my phone went from 10% power to 15%.  Impressive, yes?

Other Charging options

  • Try to get seated at a table at any of the restaurants near an outlet, so you can plug in while you dine
  • Go to any of the resorts and plug into one of the outlets in the lobby and camp out for a while
  • Sit on the floor of any after ride store and plug in.  Be aware, however, that if it is anything resembling a walkway, even if it isn't a walkway, you may eventually be chased out by an overzealous Cast Member intent on preserving the safety of all of the guests that will not be walking there
  • If you get a blister or have a headache, head to a First Aid station in the parks; get your boo-boos tended, sit in air conditioning, and plug in
  • Go to Guest Services at the parks (not as successful at Magic Kingdom).  They have chairs near outlets, and most people don't think of utilizing them
  • There are a few "charging stations" in the parks. The problem is they may have enough outlets for 30 people, but there will be three chairs
Ways to preserve the battery life on your phone

  • Keep it on airplane mode except while you are online or texting or calling. You can still take photos and record while in this mode.  Also, the phone will likely charge faster if in airplane mode
  • Make sure your screen resolution is on Auto, or set to a low resolution
  • Log out of Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media, don't just close out.  When logged in, even when inactive, your phone is constantly updating
  • Turn off wifi search unless you are online. I noticed while in the parks and resorts I was constantly getting kicked off of the Disney wifi and picking it back up.  That is a battery sucker, because your phone is constantly searching for wifi.
  • Change the network mode when possible (for example, from LTE/WCDMA/GSM to just GSM or just that if you want to understand it better)
  • Turn on your power saving mode
  • Turn off GPS, Multi Window, SBeam, Screen Mirroring, ect.
  • Call your cell provider before you go and get more tips
Now, I have a Note 2, which has a huge screen, and it loses about 5% battery each time I just hit the button to LOOK at the home screen.  Here are some of the creative places I found to charge my phone during the 24 Hour Rock Your Disney side event, and over the course of a fun filled, no breaks allowed packed Disney weekend:
  • The free cell phone charging station, sort of (5% in 40 minutes)
  • Standing at the charging station in the Space Mountain gift shop and arcade since there are literally three chairs for about 30 chargers
  • Sitting on the floor in various corners in that very same shop and arcade
  • Sitting on the floor in the corner at the shop after Test Track in Epcot
  • At Guest Services
  • At the First Aid Stations (blister, bad ankle, eye problems...I needed sleep)
  • In the lobby of the Yacht Club in a floor plug
  • Around the corner from my table at Captain's Grille, necessitating craning my neck to make sure my phone baby was safe every few seconds during my meal
  • Triumphantly, I had an outlet under one airplane seat during one of my five flights
By Lucy