Thursday, June 16, 2016

Jock Lindsey's Hanger Bar Review

In the early evening of May 21, 2016 my husband and I made our way to The Landing section of Disney Springs in order to make our first visit to Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar.  One thing I quickly noticed was that Disney Springs has a split personality.  During the day it takes on the feel of a family friendly, upscale shopping district.  At night it takes on the feel of a more adult friendly, vibrant, exciting, entertainment district.  Having visited Jock Lindsey’s in the evening I immediately felt as if I was underdressed and found me regretting that I chosen to wear such casual attire.  I did not feel as if I needed a dress and heels, but I would have felt more comfortable had I presented myself in a dress casual sort of way, think dress shorts, nice top and jewelry.

 As soon as we arrived we were impressed with the theming of the exterior of the bar.  It truly looks as if you have arrived at an airplane hanger.  We entered inside to find it to be fairly small, highly themed, and quite noisy.  There were no indoor tables available, so we decided to sit at the bar.  There was very little room as there were only two empty chairs.  After finagling our chairs around so that both my husband and I had a section of the bar in front of us, we waited to be greeted.  I was surprised that it took as long as it did for the bartender to acknowledge us.  The greeting was very cold and hurried, not what one expects when dining at Walt Disney World.

 Eventually we were given a Pilot’s Log Book, aka the menu.  I opened the book to find an extensive beverage index, photos of many of the drinks and a nice selection of appetizers.  I really enjoyed how the themeing of the bar was carried over into the menu book.  We decided upon the Tanis Tacos, Brody’s Brats, Cool-Headed Monkey, Air Pirate’s Mule and a Bud Light.  As we waited for our order and drinks to arrive we began to take in the atmosphere. In a corner of the bar is a completely awesome, diving bell seating area.  I was very envious of the guests who managed to land the table inside.   How much fun would it be to dine inside a diving bell?  Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to find out! 

It has been years since I have watched any of the Indiana Jones’ films which made relating to the décor difficult.  Nonetheless, I still enjoyed looking at the signs, artifacts, posters, etc., but the non-connection I felt made me wishing I had brushed up on my Indy knowledge before dining there.  Our food and drinks arrived in a timely manner along with a new bartender who was very pleasant, friendly and full of energy.  She engaged us in conversation and information.  She explained that the bartenders have call signs, hers being Chaser.  I had not heard of a call sign so I asked her to explain the meaning.  When pilots and air traffic controllers communicate on the radio, the airline’s call sign is always used along with the flight number.  This helps assure the communications are clear. Learning that just proves my theory that a trip to WDW can be fun and educational!

  Now onto the yummies!  The Air Pirate’s Mule was served in a tin cup which was quite novel.  My husband appreciated the camping feel of drinking out of a tin cup.  The drink was very strong and was better off nursed, not gulped.  The Cool-Headed Monkey was my drink of choice.  Fruity drinks are the type I gravitate toward.  It was good, but there was too much of a fruit punch taste for my palette.  The brats were delicious as were the tacos.  The tacos were spicy but not overly spicy.  The only thing I would have changed was the amount of sauce that was used.  In my opinion there was not enough which left the tacos a bit dry.   The cost of our meal without tip was $50.59.

Jock Lindsey’s does not participate in the Disney Dining Plan nor are there discounts for Annual Passholders or Tables in Wonderland holders.

Overall, our experience was a pleasant one and worth repeating.  It is not a place I will go to during each of my visits to Disney Springs, but I do plan on returning in the future.  There is quite a bit of additional covered, waterfront seating outside with some being inside a steamboat named “Reggie” which looks like a fun place to sit and relax.  Be mindful that next to the bar is an area that hosts music venues in the evening which would make a quiet dining experience impossible.

Jock Lindsey’s Hanger Bar is a wonderful place for friends to gather.  I can only imagine how many laughs could be had with a group of 4 or more friends enjoying the food, drinks, atmosphere and each other’s company.  Children are allowed inside the bar, but I would feel more comfortable taking my children someplace else such as D-Luxe Burgers, Sprinkles, T-Rex or Rainforest Café.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is open from 11:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Reservations are not accepted. 

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!

What to Expect While You Are Expecting at Walt Disney World!

What to expect while you’re expecting at Walt Disney World

            Vacationing in Walt Disney World has become second nature to me, since I have been going at least once a year since I was a toddler. But I felt completely out of my element when I recently visited while being 7 months pregnant and having my 4 year old son in tow as well.

I’m a planner, so I like to map out my days during each trip so we have the most fun throughout our time at Mickey’s house. However, when you have a big belly and need to make frequent stops to the bathroom, plans change quite a bit. Going to Walt Disney World pregnant is very different than going not pregnant. You can definitely still enjoy numerous rides and attractions, but you must include many rest stops and visiting each park at a slower pace. I found that having to reduce our normal accelerated vacation speed allowed me and everyone else in my family to really stop and enjoy the magic all around us, even though we’ve been there many times before.

My number one tip for getting the most out of your trip while pregnant is to start early! When you open a park in the morning, the weather is cooler and the crowds are smaller which means less time waiting in line. During my recent trip, not only was I 7 months pregnant, but my 4 year old son was visiting with me. We opened a park, ate lunch, then went back to the room to nap, and concluded our day back at the park around the late afternoon. This helped SO MUCH, for both of us. You do not want to wear yourself out. Which brings me to my next tip: Set your own pace. Take your time and enjoy that you’re in Disney World! When everyone in my family was taking a ride on the Mine Train, I stayed back with the bags and stroller and just relished in the fact that I was at the Happiest Place on Earth. You see Disney World in a whole new light when you’re not waiting in long lines all day. And eating many Mickey Ice Cream bars helps too. 

You also want to make sure you’re always hydrating. You can walk up to any Quick-Service counter and ask for a cup of ice water, and a Cast Member will happily hand you one for free! I brought my own reusable water bottle and filled it up every chance I got! Being pregnant in the hot Florida sun can get very uncomfortable, so keeping cool and comfy is a must. While I was waiting for my family in Animal Kingdom, I must have looked miserable because a fellow Mom came up to me and said “I’ve been there! Would you like a mist?”, and she sprayed water on me with a cooling/misting fan and it felt heavenly! Getting one of those fans is definitely a good investment for any trip! Comfortable walking shoes are also something you want in invest in, since you will be doing a lot of walking! You also want to make sure you are heavily protected from the sun. Not only did I continuously apply sunblock, I actually used an umbrella to keep the hot rays off of me & it helped tremendously! 

My final tip may come as a surprise because I was very hesitant about it at first when my Mom suggested it to me, but now I could not have imagined enjoying any part of my trip without it. INVEST IN RENTING A SCOOTER! You may feel silly at first, but being able to sit and stay off your tired feet all day is absolutely worth the money you pay to rent one. During our stay, we rented one directly from Disney. It is $50, with a $20 refundable deposit when you turn it back in after you’re done at the park. They’re very easy to maneuver and they have a USB port in them so you can charge your phone as well! If you’re a Park Hopper, all you have to do is keep your receipt, bring it to the next park, pay the $20 deposit and scoot scoot away!

Enjoying a trip to Walt Disney World with a baby bump is definitely doable with these tips and maybe adding a Dole Whip or two. Take your time to enjoy the hidden magic and maybe start planning your little one’s first visit! 

By Agent Katherine

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Discovering Discovery Cove, an exclusive gem among the many options in Orlando!

Discovering Discovery Cove

Located just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the Orlando theme parks is the tranquil oasis known as Discovery Cove.  I stumbled upon information on Discovery Cove while researching Sea World, which owns Discovery Cove, and couldn’t believe I’d never heard about it before.  After having the pleasure of visiting recently, now I know why no one wants the secret of Discovery Cove to get out!

Discovery Cove is an exclusive, island retreat; an absolutely amazing departure from the crowds and “go-go-go” mentality we often have when visiting Orlando theme parks.  It truly felt like we were on a secluded island while we were there, and it was hard to believe at times that we were still in Florida!  But before I get into our experience, let me first give you the basics….

Cost: Pricing varies by date and by package.  You can purchase the resort package or the dolphin swim package (which has all the benefits of a resort package but also includes a 30 minute interactive dolphin encounter).  Pricing for the date we attended (May 29, 2016) was $199 for the resort package and $289 for the dolphin swim (pre-tax).  The SeaVenture experience (a 20 minute underwater walking tour) is an additional charge, starting at $49 per person.  Note that there is no separate child pricing available, as all guests can participate in all park activities, though children 2 and under are admitted free. As Discovery Cove limits attendance to approximately 1,300 guests per day, advance reservations are highly recommended.  You are also permitted one complimentary “date change” should your travel plans change, or in the case of inclement weather - and as all activities are outside, you’ll want to watch the weather report closely as your date arrives!  Private cabanas are also available for the day, at an additional charge.

What’s Included: Your reservation price includes breakfast and lunch, as well as unlimited snacks and beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic) throughout the day.  You are also provided with a free wet suit or vest (which must be worn during all water activities), free snorkeling gear, and free towels and locker rental.  Animal-friendly sunscreen is also available at no charge.  Finally, your Discovery Cove ticket also grants you free admission to both Sea World and Aquatica at any time during the 14 days surrounding your reservation.  Current pricing for Sea World is $79/ages 3+ and current pricing for Aquatica is $48/ages 3+ (a 2-day ticket is also available for $99/ages 3+, which allows admission to both parks).

Hours and Location: Discovery Cove is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., daily.  Check in and breakfast begins at 7:15 a.m.  The park is located at 6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, FL.


My entire family agreed that our day at Discovery Cove was the best day of our 8-day trip.  Though pricey (total cost of tickets purchased was $946.28), we would have spent at least $100 on food and beverages during the day at a theme park (probably closer to $200!).  Plus, factor in the free admission to Sea World (where we had already planned to go, so saved us $316), and now the “cost” of Discovery Cove was under $500.  Given the low crowds and amazing experiences, this is something we would definitely do again.  Read on to hear all about our day!

Our traveling party for the day was myself, my husband, our 7-year-old daughter and our five-year-old son.  We arrived at Discovery Cove around 7:30 and were the 3rd or 4th family in the check in line.  There were perhaps a half-dozen employees working the check in counter, so the line went quickly.  At check in, all members of your party are photographed and the photo is placed on an identification card connected to a lanyard.  The lanyard provides admission to all areas of the park, and also included a map for ease of navigation.  My daughter and I had purchased the dolphin swim package, and were assigned our encounter time at check in.  Ours was 8:40.  We were fine with that, and had actually hoped to do it early, so I don’t know if you could request a different time than what you were assigned.  Our dolphin encounter time got printed on our card for reference, and my husband’s and my card also indicated that we were over 21 (after an ID check, of course!).

After check in, an employee takes a complimentary photo of your family at the park entrance (this photo gets placed in a keepsake folder that you can pick up when you leave).  Then you are left to explore on your own.  Since it was nearly 8:00 at this point, we headed directly to Laguna Grill for breakfast.  The meals are served cafeteria-style, with two serving lines available (though I’m not sure everyone realized that, as the right line was always shorter!).  Breakfast offerings consisted of fruit, pastries, bacon, sausage, eggs, potatoes, French toast, yogurt and cold cereal.  There was also a selection of juices, milk, pop, water, tea and coffee at self-service stations outside.  Plenty of outdoor seating was provided, some under cover and most with umbrellas for shade.  All of the food was hot and fresh, and had my dolphin swim not been in a half-hour, I could have easily eaten more!

We were asked to arrive to our dolphin swim ten minutes early, dressed and ready to go, so my daughter and I headed immediately to the locker rooms after breakfast.  We got fitted for our vests and made our way to the check in point.  We were divided into four small groups (less than a dozen participants each) and after signing our waivers and watching a short video, made our way to the beach.  Each group had its own dolphin (ours was named Hutch) and separate area of the cove for their encounter, so there was plenty of room for everyone.  We never felt crowded, and the small group size ensured that we all got plenty of one-on-one time with our dolphin.  My husband and son (who were not participating due to my son not being of age) were permitted to stand behind a glass wall to watch our encounter and take pictures.  While Discovery Cove did have their own professional photographers in the water with us for the “posed photos,” my husband was able to capture so many candid shots of our experience!  The staff was extremely accommodating, and made sure my “paparazzi” had a good view of my daughter and me at all times.

After getting acquainted with Hutch, watching him do a few tricks and learning a few signals to get him to perform, we were each offered the opportunity to do a dorsal fin tow ride.  The ride starts from water that is approximately 14’ deep, so you will be required to tread water until the dolphin arrives for your ride.  However, there is the option of a shallow water experience for any non-swimmers or younger members of your party.  (My daughter was determined to do have the full experience, but did struggle a bit to stay afloat waiting for her turn.)  After the dorsal fin tow ride we gave Hutch hugs and a rub down, and finished the experience off with a kiss.  It was one of the most amazing things I had ever experienced!  The entire process (from watching the training video to viewing your pictures afterward) lasted approximately an hour and a half.  At the conclusion of the experience you are offered the opportunity to purchase a video of the entire encounter, copies of individual pictures, or a thumb-drive containing all pictures taken during the day (additional photo opportunities are available throughout the park).  As this was an experience I wanted to remember forever, I opted for the thumb-drive.  Cost was $159.75 (including tax).

After the dolphin encounter, my entire family took a trip down Wind-Away River, a slow-moving current that surrounds the park.  The water depth goes up to 8’ at points, but life vests and pool noodles are available (at no cost) to keep you afloat.  Wind-Away River is everything you’d expect from a “lazy river” with waterfalls and beautiful scenery.  We were one of few families enjoying it at the time (and after spending a day at Blizzard Beach earlier in the week, where 90% of my time in the lazy river was spent with a stranger’s foot in my face!), the lack of crowd was a welcome change of pace!

Next we stopped into the Aviary, where the birds literally eat out of your hands! You are given a small bowl of food, filled with fruits and berries, then asked to stand still.  The birds perched on our hands, our arms, our shoulders, even our heads!  It was truly amazing and my daughter may have enjoyed it more than the dolphin encounter!  We probably spent an hour feeding the birds in the aviary.

Upon exiting the Aviary, we made our way back to Laguna Grill to refuel.  Lunch consisted of burgers and pulled pork sandwiches, pasta, fish, salads, cold sandwiches and a selection of desserts.  For the kids they had hot dogs, chicken tenders, fries and macaroni & cheese.  The same outdoor seating was available and remained plentiful.  Also available at several booths throughout the day were multiple snack options – chips, soft pretzels, chocolate chip cookies, pop, beer, wine and frozen beverages (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic).  My kids may have drank their weight in lemonade icees!

After lunch we decided to explore the salt water Grand Reef.  We grabbed snorkeling gear on the way (your get to keep the snorkel!) and made our way to the far end of the park.  Water depth in the Grand Reef ranges from 1-12’, so it was great for all ages.  My son couldn’t quite master use of the snorkel, so he and I stayed in the knee-deep water of the reef, watching the fish swim around our ankles.  There were many varieties of tropical fish and sting rays, which my son loved “petting” as they swam by!  My husband and daughter ventured into the deeper waters, where they were able to view the fish up close, and were also able to watch the reef sharks (from behind glass, of course!).

Around 4 o’clock a storm started rolling in, so my son and I collected our belongings while my husband and daughter did a final loop on Wind-Away River.  The kids filled up one last frozen drink for the road, and we stopped to pick up our complimentary photo and thumb-drive on the way out.  Walking out of Discovery Cove I felt more relaxed than I had in MONTHS, and definitely more relaxed than I have EVER been during a vacation in Orlando!  If you are in the area, this hidden gem is not to be missed…..just don’t tell too many people about my new favorite tropical getaway!!

By Agent Alyssa

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All Star Resorts Blog, history and details on the popular Walt Disney World Value Resorts!

When a commercial for Disney Parks comes on t.v. you might sit there thinking to yourself…wow! I want to vacation there! Or you could have a toddler or young child hanging on your leg begging and screaming to go as well! Either way, you start to do a little research into a magical Disney vacation and your mind jumps immediately to the iconic Magic Kingdom resorts: The Contemporary, the Polynesian Village and of course the Grand Floridian.

Now, on to your next thought…those places are so…..grand! I’m just not sure I can afford a Disney vacation for my family! Well guess what? Did you know, Disney has a resort to fit every family and every budget!? There is a great option for families who want a more cost effective option. Maybe you have a large family, maybe you have a limited budget, or maybe you want to make multiple trips a year and want to stretch your dollar as far as possible. This is when Disney’s “Value Resorts” category comes into play! There are five resorts that make up Disney’s Value resorts category, but the three original value resorts are some of the long time favorites by kids and adults alike.

Built in the early 1990’s, Disney’s All Star Resorts are three separate resorts that are grouped close together near Animal Kingdom on Buena Vista Drive. All-Star Sports, All-Star Music & All-Star Movies are resorts that have become highly favored by families of all ages and size. These resorts offer families a fun, playful & highly themed atmosphere that kids love and at a cost that will make the parents happy too!

During slower seasons, room rates at the All-Star resorts can be as low as $90 a night! Plus, they are still Walt Disney World Resort hotels so you still get every benefit of being an onsite guest! That means you can take advantage of perks like Extra Magic Hours, where you can enjoy at least one park per day opened earlier or later than scheduled park hours, just for onsite resort guests! Plus, all of the great complimentary Disney Transportation, Free Parking and the ability to purchase the Disney Dining Plan!

The All-Star Resorts offer three different room types. The majority of the rooms are set up to sleep four people with two full sized beds, a mini fridge, bathroom, in-wall safe, television and table/chairs sitting area. The exception to this is the handful of handicap accessible rooms with a king bed. Then family suites, found only at All-Star Music, offer a larger space for larger families! With an extra 260 sq. ft. compared to a standard room, a family suite can sleep up to 5 and offers 2 full sized bathrooms, a master bedroom with queen sized bed, and a family area with a tv, full sized sofa bed and a twin sized sleeper chair.  

The All-Star Resorts have great theming and everything at each respective resort ties into the name of the resort!

At Disney’s All- Star Sports Resort, you’re immersed in sports culture from the moment you walk through the lobby doors! From the “End Zone Food Court” to the surfboard shaped pool, to the themed sections like Surfs Up, Hoops Hotel, & Homerun, you’re definitely going to be digging the sports vibe!
For updated photos of Sports, click HERE

Next door at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort, you’ll find a music lover’s paradise! Shop for souvenirs at Maestro Mickey’s after a day of swimming in the guitar shaped pool with the Three Caballeros! Then grab a snack at Intermission Food Court before heading up to your room in one of the themed sections like Broadway, Jazz, or Calypso!

Last but not least, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, makes you feel like you’re starring in your favorite movie! Stop by the “World Premier Food Court” for a snack after swimming in the Fantasia pool with Sorcerer Mickey! Get ready for your starring role in your resort room in one of the themed sections like 101 Dalmations or Herbie the Love Bug. Maybe even become one the toys in the life-sized Andy’s room in the Toy Story section!

There is something for every member of the family to love at each of these unique hotels! Whether it’s your first or fiftieth time to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Disney’s All-Star Resorts are sure to give you that welcome home feeling of comfort and fun that keeps people coming back to Disney World for generations! 

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!