Thursday, January 21, 2016

Hogwart's Express at Universal Orlando...do you want to experience Platform 9 3/4?

I'm not going to give the ride away, I promise.  But here is a cool look at the queue for the amazing Hogwart's Express!

The Hogwart's Express departs from both Diagon Alley (Universal Studios) and Hogsmeade Village (Islands of Adventure).  These pictures are from the queue at Diagon Alley.






First you enter through Kings Cross







The queue is interesting to look at, and really looks like a train station.



You can have a photo opp with the infamous 9 3/4 Platform!






The train arrives!



   



Things to remember:

  • Each way is different, so I recommend you trying the experience both from Diagon Alley to Hogsmeade Village and back, doesn't matter which one you start with.
  • You must have a park to park ticket to experience this.  They will scan your park ticket before you enter, so park to park is a must!
  • It is best bright and early...I like to stay onsite at one of the fabulous onsite Universal Resorts, you'll have early entry to either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade Village (depends on the schedule, you will be able to find out at your resort which one opens early).  Go early, and then try to get on the very first Hogwart's Express train of the day!
Don't forget to disappear!  



And for extra fun, have breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron or dine at Three Broomsticks!

Lucy

Let us make your vacation even easier!  We'll help you plan from the start and can advise you and handle your arrangements, including dining, fast passes, room requests, discount application, and celebrations.  We are the same price or less than if you book on your own, and you get us for FREE!  Have an expert on your side at zero cost to you and contact one of our agents today!




Monday, January 18, 2016

Mythos...arguably the coolest restaurant at Islands of Adventure, Universal Orlando


While most restaurants at Universal don't need reservations ahead of time, this is an exception.  Mythos is located at Islands of Adventure, and you'll feel like you descended into the world of the Gods with the awesome ambiance, delicious drinks and great food!

  

  

  

For more pictures from Mythos and other information for Universal Dining, click HERE

Lucy

Let us make your vacation even easier!  We'll help you plan from the start and can advise you and handle your arrangements, including dining, fast passes, room requests, discount application, and celebrations.  We are the same price or less than if you book on your own, and you get us for FREE!  Have an expert on your side at zero cost to you and contact one of our agents today!

The Leaky Cauldron Restaurant at Diagon Alley, Universal Studios Orlando, Breakfast!

Here's a quick peak at the Leaky Cauldron Restaurant!  It serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, no reservations taken.  It is located in the amazing Diagon Alley!  You place your order, are then escorted to a table, and your meal is delivered right to you!


  









  

Lucy
www.traveltimetravel.com

Let us make your vacation even easier!  We'll help you plan from the start and can advise you and handle your arrangements, including dining, fast passes, room requests, discount application, and celebrations.  We are the same price or less than if you book on your own, and you get us for FREE!  Have an expert on your side at zero cost to you and contact one of our agents today!

Port Orleans French Quarter...a review of the Disney World Moderate Resort





I love French Quarter.  I always have.  It might have something to do with the New Orleans atmosphere, because I have always thought New Orleans has the most intriguing ambience. 

There are technically four moderates, with the fifth moderate being Fort Wilderness (the cabins).  The traditional moderate resorts are Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, Caribbean Beach, and Coronado Springs.

A quick little glance at the other three:

Port Orleans Riverside

Caribbean Beach

Coronado Springs

I've stayed at French Quarter several times, but this is the first time in four years, so I was pretty excited to go back to my favorite Moderate resort. 

Before leaving Orlando International Airport we knew our room number, since we had checked in online and received our room number via text and email (see BLOG for more details)




Upon arriving on Disney's Magical Express to the resort, we could proceed immediately to our room, bypassing the lobby.

The entrance is very cool, you walk through a large Atrium with the lobby on your right. 



When we arrived no one was in the lobby waiting.




There is a cute little kid area for children to enjoy cartoons as their families use lobby services



Walking around the resort, it feels very laid back and charming. It is clean and well manicured, with cute little public areas and places to relax and enjoy the scenery. 





We were in the furthest building (and I think in the furthest room) but at French Quarter that isn't too bad of a stretch, it is pretty compact.  It is the only moderate where the furthest rooms are still only a five minute walk. 

The rooms have been updated

New rooms




Old Rooms



The rooms are laid out very well. I really like the corner rooms as you get two windows, but obviously those are limited in number. 




The beds are comfortable and offer a good sleep!  They are significantly more spacious than the standard Value resort rooms.  The shower pressure was acceptable, and the Disney toiletries are of course adorable.  We all have very long hair so we had to request more be brought to us, which was promptly done. 




We had plenty of towels, coffee (which we don't drink but it was there) and resort information including how to order pizza to your room.  There are lots of storage options too, great for people with extended stays.  There is fridge of decent size, and double sinks.

A word about paying for a view...any good Disney travel agent will be more concerned with what is right for your family as opposed to selling the largest priced package.  Personally, I think a view at French Quarter is overrated, as you may see people walking past the window you are gazing out of at your river view.  Sometimes views are worth the money at Disney, sometimes they aren't, and at French Quarter, I never spend the money to reserve a view.

There is no full service restaurant at French Quarter.  If you want a resort restaurant, you can go upriver to Port Orleans Riverside and dine at Boatwrights, but be warned the river transportation to and from the two sister resorts stop early evening.  Your other option for dining would be taking the boat to Disney Springs to enjoy one of the dozens of restaurants there.  A real benefit to either of those resorts is the boat transportation to Disney Springs



We took the boat to dine at T-Rex and do a little shopping on our first night...be warned that during peak dinner hours you may have to wait for a couple of different boats as there might be a line.  As we waited I got some great pictures!  Also pay attention to the captain when you are being dropped off about where to go to catch it back to the resort later. 





The food court is sufficient for the resort, and it is infamous for its New Orleans beignets, the only place you can get them at Disney World.



The shop is cute, and has fun items as well as practical ones.  Tip...if you buy something at Disney and then decide later to ship it home, you can do so at the gift shop, just bring your items and receipts and they'll take care of it for you.





There is a nightclub of sorts with music where you can sit and enjoy cocktails in the evenings.



The one pool's main feature is a Dragon slide, which is cute.



You can take carriage rides through both resorts, and Riverside also has other resort amenities that French Quarter guests can utilize (the pools there, hair braiding, fishing). 



My recent visit just reaffirmed how much I really enjoy French Quarter, and I will stay there many more times in the future.

Lucy
www.traveltimetravel.com

Let us make your vacation even easier!  We'll help you plan from the start and can advise you and handle your arrangements, including dining, fast passes, room requests, discount application, and celebrations.  We are the same price or less than if you book on your own, and you get us for FREE!  Have an expert on your side at zero cost to you and contact one of our agents today!








Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, Spa & Convention Center, Tips and Information!





From the moment you step on to the property of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort & Convention Center, you will be filled with the enchantment and romance of Spanish Colonial Mexico. This southwestern-themed resort circles a 22-acre lake, Lago Dorado; a beautiful and welcoming site as you depart your room each morning and return each night. This resort has a reputation of being the “adult” resort or the resort that’s not “kid-friendly.” Well, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. While it definitely doesn’t just scream Disney like many of the other resorts that are geared more towards a younger age group, there’s plenty magical Disney offerings here for every member of the family, no matter the age.


Coronado Springs Resort is divided into three sections: Casitas, Cabanas, & Ranchos. Casitas, the closest section to El Centro (lobby, food, bus stop, and lounge area) is themed after a higher class of Spanish architecture. Clean, sharp buildings are adorned with a variety of lush landscaping and many beautiful water features and fountains.  

           

Cabanas gives more of the beach vibe, themed like a Spanish beach getaway, very rustic , fun and full of life. While Ranchos is very reminiscent of a dry, Mexican desert with rocks and minimal southwestern landscape, you feel as though you have been put in the middle of a southwestern Mexican city that hasn’t seen rain in quite some time. 

However, in the middle of Ranchos, sits an archaeological “Dig Site” and in the middle stands a 50 foot Mayan pyramid! At its base…a giant pool with a slide that drops you right into the Lost City of Cibola, the City of Gold! Adjacent to the “Dig Site Pool” is the home to the largest outdoor hot tub on Walt Disney World property, it’s big enough to hold 22 people at one time! This resort is also home to La Vida Health Club with exercise machines and weights to keep in shape after such great meals! As well as a massive 220,000 square foot convention center for meetings and gatherings of all types. 


After you dry off from the pool or finish with your meetings at the convention center, head back to one of your spacious, Spanish themed rooms so you can get ready and head down to El Centro! This is where everything is happening! At El Centro you’ll find the lobby for check-in, the concierge, & gift shop. 



Plus, The Rix Lounge for drinks and appetizers, The Pepper Market quick service food court for lots of yummy meals, snacks and refillable mug stations, and the delicious Maya Grill for unique Nuevo Latino fusion cuisine that is sure to please! After you’ve grabbed a drink or a bite to eat, walk outside to one of the four bus stops on the property and catch a bus to any of the Walt Disney World resort theme park, water parks or Disney Springs for a great day or night filled with magic and fun!

Coronado Springs Resort is considered a “moderate” resort price wise and is located near Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. All standard resort rooms have either 2 queen sized beds or 1 king bed which is specified when booking.  









This resort also features room types that not all moderate resorts have. Due to the high volume of business related guests, Coronado offers Business Class rooms and 1 & 2 bedroom Executive Suites. Business class rooms come with complimentary access to the “Coconino Lounge”   where a free continental breakfast and evening snacks, sodas, beer and wine are served daily.









A few tips for staying at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort:

  • ·         If you don’t want to walk very far to food and drinks, then secure a preferred room for your stay. You will be guaranteed a room in Casitas buildings 1, 2, or 3 and these are the three closest buildings to El Centro.  Coronado Springs is a very large, spread out resort as it sits on 125 acres and has 1,921 rooms, so if you don't mind a longer walk or a short bus ride to El Centro, then standard rooms will be just fine for you.


  • ·         If you are at El Centro when you catch the bus to any of the theme parks, know that this bus stop is the last to pick up and can mean a higher likelihood of standing for the duration of your ride. If you walk to bus stop number 2 behind Casitas building 3, and catch the bus there, it’s the first pick up and you have a much higher chance of snagging a seat. (This is reversed for the Disney Springs bus, it takes the route in reverse order)


  • ·         Lastly, no matter where your room is, have a magical trip! Swim in the pool, take a walk around the lake, and visit the 3 Caballeros topiaries for and epic photo op! There is so much to see and do at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, you will never lack for adventure and fun! It’s a fabulous resort that I would stay in again if presented the chance, I had a blast and I know you will too!



Let us make your vacation even easier!  We'll help you plan from the start and can advise you and handle your arrangements, including dining, fast passes, room requests, discount application, and celebrations.  We are the same price or less than if you book on your own, and you get us for FREE!  Have an expert on your side at zero cost to you and contact one of our agents today!