Posted at 9:29 am by taryngirl, on December 14, 2021
10/2/21 We took a Lyft from Saratoga Springs to Art of Animation first thing in the morning. Our plan was to check in or drop off our bags, and head to Epcot via the Skyliner. Luckily our room was ready, so we went directly there!
We chose to stay at Art of Animation because neither of us had ever stayed there in a Little Mermaid room. The theming is completely on point here as you can see in my photos! All of the little details were perfect for Disney or Little Mermaid fans.
Directly inside the door, is a table and two chairs with a mirror on the wall above.
The table has some amazing details!
There are 2 queen beds with the cutest bubble lights on the headboard.
There’s a curtain to partition off the sink area from the bedroom area.
The shower area literally makes you feel like you are under the sea!
Overall, the room was clean and a good size for a value level resort. This is the perfect room for a super Disney fan or Little Mermaid lover! The walk to the food court and bus area is a little bit long from the Little Mermaid rooms. The family suites are much closer.
Posted at 2:35 pm by taryngirl, on October 20, 2021
As I stated in an earlier post, I was lucky to score a DVC reservation here on short notice! I kept checking back since things were completely booked immediately for the start of the anniversary celebration. I had stayed here one time before, when Magic Kingdom had the 24 hour party. The rooms had recently been refurbished, and the sofa bed was replaced with a murphy bed, so I was excited to check it out!
After I got back from Disney Springs, I changed (had my swimsuit in my backpack), and headed to the pool to relax and have lunch until my room was ready. I got the text around 12:30 p.m. that my room was ready, and it was super close in The Springs section. Here you can see the pool, where the bus stop is in this section, and the main lobby. My building was where the 4101-4436 rooms are marked. Super convenient! I did reserve a “Preferred’ room. I went to Bell Services first and got my luggage, then headed to the room.
This resort is inspired by a historic New York retreat famous for its horse racing. It’s 65 acres and a short boat ride or walk to Disney Springs. There are 2 feature pools and 3 leisure pools, whirlpool spas and aqua-play areas.
The Deluxe Studios can accommodate 4 people with a queen bed and a double size pull down bed.
Here’s the view when entering the room:
Here you can see the small sofa with the double pull down bed above it.
The coffee table also can be raised up if you want to use it as a table while sitting on the sofa.
I love the Deluxe Studios because they have a microwave, toaster, mini fridge, coffee pot and sink. This is great for quick breakfasts or snacks in the room.
I loved our view! We did enjoy sitting out there in the evenings once we were back from the parks.
Overall, I loved the room and the resort, and would definitely stay here again in the preferred section. I love that they are adding the pull down bed. It’s so much more comfortable than the regular sofa bed.
Up next…Dinner at Mama Melrose and Around Hollywood Studios!
Posted at 10:07 am by taryngirl, on October 7, 2021
I was so excited to be able to get away during the middle of my daughter’s soccer season, and visit the most magical place on Earth for the 50th anniversary celebration that was set to officially begin on October 1st! My friend and fellow travel agent Jamie, booked a room the second they were released for our dates. We knew it would book up quickly. I was unlucky with trying to make a reservation with my DVC points. She booked us at Art of Animation in a Little Mermaid room. Just a few weeks ago, I was browsing the DVC website to see if there was any availability, and Saratoga Springs Resort popped up! I snagged a Deluxe Studio in the Preferred section. I was excited to stay here because the rooms have recently been refurbished!
My flight was SUPER early…5:40 a.m. from Philadelphia. I was hoping to avoid a crowded airport with this early time, and make the most of my arrival day.
Upon landing at MCO, I was greeted with these cute wraps on the monorail shuttle to the main terminal.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as wait times for the Magical Express, but I decided to get my luggage from baggage claim and head that direction before making a decision to Lyft to the resort.
To my surprise, I was the ONLY person there! One person came after me, so there were only 2 people total on my bus besides the driver.
It was a quick trip to our resort, as we were the only stop. Upon arrival at the resort, there was some construction/refurbishment going on at the main lobby area and around bell services. This caused a little bit of crowding and confusion, but the bell services cast members were working hard trying to get everyone handled! There were little kiosks set up outside for those checking in.
I was starving, so after checking my luggage with bell services (since my room wasn’t ready), I went directly to The Artist’s Palette to check their breakfast options. You no longer HAVE to mobile order, although it is still an option with signage all over the place telling you how to do it. You can walk in here and order your food. I chose to do this so I could take some pictures.
There is a grab and go section, which I did not get to experience on my last trips in May and June! So things are slowly getting back to “normal.”
Here is the breakfast menu:
I always order the kid’s meal. It comes with two sides and a drink! (Mickey waffles are my must do breakfast…)
When I was finished eating, my plan was to walk to Disney Springs and check out Gideon’s Bakehouse! That’s up next.
Welcome to my latest Disney World trip report! This one was a girls only trip that included my mom, my two daughters, my sister-in-law, and my niece. We originally were supposed to take this vacation in May 2020, but we know what happened there…
We were arriving on Friday, and sis-in-law on Saturday.
Our drive to the Philadelphia Airport was quite eventful. Usually I take 76 to the Blue Route and for some reason Waze had other ideas. We went over the river and through the woods, and made it to our parking reservation right on time. We would have been late for sure if we would have gone our usual route! All I could see on those routes was red, red, red. We used Park N Jet on this trip. It was a Groupon and a great value. This is who we typically use so I wasn’t worried. The parking lot was PACKED! They were turning people away if they didn’t have a reservation.
We arrived at the airport around 3:30 p.m. and our flight was to leave at 5:12 p.m. Thankfully, security was a breeze with not too long of a wait. We had not even boarded our flight from Philadelphia, when I received this text. Our room was ready! (Be sure you do online check in in My Disney Experience and you can completely skip the front desk!)
Our flight was on Frontier, and it was packed full! It took forever to board and we actually got off the ground about a half hour late. However, we somehow arrived on time in Orlando, but then had to sit on the runway for 15 minutes. Just a reminder that Disney’s Magical Express no longer handles your luggage. You are responsible for getting it from Baggage Claim, then toting it with you to the Magical Express line. Sometimes this requires you to go from Terminal A to Terminal B.
This is a tradition pic! Every year, we have a picture of Devon trying to touch the sign, or running and jumping trying to touch the sign (down by the Magical Express). This year she didn’t have to jump!
I had been hearing and reading about realllllllly long wait times for Magical Express. This is due in part to less buses running, seating every other row, etc. I was super pleasantly surprised when we arrived and this was the line! THERE WAS NO LINE! This was about 9:00 p.m. on Friday night. I was fully prepared to call for an Uber/Lyft.
Look how empty!
I do want to say, my sis-in-law arrived on Saturday morning and the line was very long. They got a Lyft!
We boarded at 9:10 p.m.
As stated in my previous post from my trip in November, they are assigning seats. They are seating only every other row (at the time of this trip). We did tip the driver once we got off.
We arrived at Old Key West at 9:45 p.m. We were the first stop! They were going to 4 other resorts after our stop. The Bell Services desk is located right at the drop off outside of the lobby. We never even stepped foot inside the lobby!
We had placed an order with Dizzy Dolphin Delivery several weeks ahead of time and it was awaiting us at Bell Services. This resort is huge! Like 5 bus stops huge. So we were extremely thankful that one of the bellman drove us to our room in this golf cart! He also carried everything up to our room for us. We tipped him well!
We were in Room 2420, which was located on the second floor at the Peninsular Road area bus stop. I put in a request for this building because of it’s location. The bus stop at Peninsular Road is the first bus stop. I didn’t want to chance not having a seat by being directly at the Hospitality House. That is the last stop. We did experience passing by a few stops on a few different occasions with the driver letting them know they will have to catch the next bus.
The Deluxe Studios are about 390 square feet, with 2 queen beds. This is the only DVC resort studio that has 2 regular beds. (Not a sofa bed, not a pull down)
It features a table with two chairs and a tiny tv (this is my only complaint!) in the bedroom area.
Between the bedroom area and the bathroom is a little kitchenette area. Here you can find a microwave, toaster, fridge, coffee pot, sink, etc. Some paper products are provided in the room and are individually sealed. There’s also a roll of paper towels under the sink.
The bathroom is on the smaller side, so we just had to stagger our “get ready” times with four females in the room!
There’s a closet with extra bedding, a vacuum, safe, and ironing board.
I had mentioned we ordered from Dizzy Dolphin. I just wanted to mention that they were great! I received a text from them when the goodies were delivered to the resort. It stated very specifically where our items could be located by Bell Services. Everything was packaged with the greatest care and we were extremely pleased.
Besides the muffins pictured above, we also ordered Panera bagels and cream cheese,
these amazing trays from Publix, which come in various sizes, as well as a few other grocery type items.
We had these for breakfast, snacks in the room, and even packed some for snacks in the park. It was perfect for a later evening arrival. We were all starving!
Up next, our first park day…Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
Posted at 8:08 pm by taryngirl, on November 23, 2020
An opportunity arose for me to do a quick trip to Florida to visit both Disney World and Universal Orlando, and I couldn’t resist! Several things fell into place…I had DVC points to use from a canceled trip in May, my Annual Pass was expiring on November 17th, and Universal Orlando offered me an amazing deal that I couldn’t pass up! Throw in the free flight I was able to get with my Southwest points, and that was just the cherry on top. I was excited to check out how things are running post-Covid since I have clients scheduled to travel within the next couple of months.
This post is going to deal with everything specific to Disney World and the protocols in place at the resorts, the parks and the restaurants, as far as my personal trip is concerned. My cousin Alex traveled with me.
We started off with a a 7:00 a.m. flight on Southwest from the Philadelphia Airport. We booked offsite airport parking at Smart Park. Starting there, the attendant at the booth was wearing a mask. The shuttle bus driver was wearing gloves and a mask. There were two other parties on the shuttle with us.
Once at the airport, we did the self-service check in. The workers behind the counters were wearing masks. All security workers were also wearing masks. They still are doing regular security. Shoes off, coats off, and everything goes on the belt through the scanner. Once we got to our gate, people were definitely social distancing and not sitting next to one another. There were constant announcements about mandatory mask wearing, and what types of masks were permitted. They did have some available if needed. Southwest is currently not utilizing the middle seats on their planes, unless there are family members that sit right next to each other. They are seating every row.
As always (pre-Covid I did these things!), I had my Clorox wipes to wipe down my seat, tray, etc., and my hand sanitizer. The only beverage available on the flight was water, and they had prepackaged snacks.
In summary, I felt super safe in the airport and on the flight! Everyone was being respectful, wearing masks and social distancing.
Once in Orlando, we were using Disney’s Magical Express transportation from the airport to our resort. This service has changed! They no longer send you the yellow tags in the mail to attach to your luggage. You are responsible for getting your own luggage from baggage claim and taking it with you to the Magical Express bus!They do not deliver the luggage to your room anymore! Since we flew on Southwest, we arrived on the A side. The Magical Express is located on the B side. This means that we had to go to baggage claim on the A side, then go back up and across the entire airport to the B side and downstairs to the Magical Express location. (They also are not doing airline check in at the resorts. So you also bring your luggage with you when leaving the resort and getting on the Magical Express.)
Here you can see the plexiglass up at the counters, as well as some signage.
The lanes are numbered and the cast member will tell you which lane to enter. There are signs all along the lanes with these social distance markers.
The cast member scanning our bands to enter the bus assigned us specific seat numbers. He had a map of the bus with a dry erase marker, and was marking off the seats he assigned. They are utilizing only every other row and are filling the bus from back to front. We were first in line so got the very last seats! (As a side not, there was a girl next to us who was assigned to another bus. She asked if she could sit near the front, and the cast member told her she could sit on a bench until the bus filled up and then could sit in the front. She didn’t like that answer and proceeded to the bus.)
The Magical Express delivered us to Bay Lake Tower with our luggage. The lobby is small and it was chaotic! This was mostly due to Bell Services and luggage. People who did not have a room ready or were checking out but not yet leaving the resort had to check their luggage with Bell Services. Our room was not ready (as indicated by the text we had received while at the airport). So our plan was to check our luggage with Bell Services and then head to Epcot. A note! The monorail to Epcot was not running at the time so we had to take a bus.
We waited for a bus and once it arrived, the bus driver assigned us seats using a seat number. He was wearing a mask.
There are dividers up between seat numbers.
Standing is not permitted so the handles were zip tied up.
None of our buses were ever even nearly full. I felt very safe on the Disney bus transportation!
Once we arrived at Epcot, signs were everywhere!
Everyone has to pass through a temperature screening.
They used handheld thermometers.
Everyone also has to pass through security which is very different! They no longer go through your bags. You walk through a metal detector with your bag on you.
These signs on the ground are EVERYWHERE! Spaced 6 feet apart! Every ride, every kiosk, every store check out, EVERYWHERE!
Up next are attraction queues. The above signs are all along the ground/floor. Also, they are not using every seat/row! This is Journey Into Imagination with Figment. They did only one row per car. This was the same for Pirates, Mine Train and Small World as well.
You know the fun area once you exit the Figment ride? It’s CLOSED! It was so quiet. Normally it’s chaotic with people everywhere. We found this to be a trend for every interactive attraction. (At the end of Spaceship Earth, all activities closed. Pretty much any interactive piece at any attraction is inaccessible.)
This is the queue for Living with the Land. Barriers are up between the rows of the queue.
On the boats, you can see the dividers up between seats. They also were not seating every row on this ride, but there was no line so they were spacing us out.
Here you can see Soarin’.
These signs are all around the popular photo taking areas. There are also cast members carrying handheld signs that say this same thing. They were approaching people who were removing masks for pictures.
Moving onto dining now…
This is Coral Reef Restaurant, which is a table service location. Everything is one way in, one way out. Every dining location, shopping location, etc. Doors are specifically marked ENTER or EXIT only. They have limited indoor seating and are not using every table. If you want a table service meal, it’s very important that you have a reservation! I saw them turning people away if they didn’t have a reservation.
Another very important note, all quick service locations are MOBILE ORDER ONLY! This includes resorts and parks. Even if you only want a muffin or an orange juice. It’s all on the My Disney Experience app, or you scan a bar code located at the location.
There is no grab and go section that is self-serve at the moment. Drinks are not self-serve either. Once you scan the QR code, it takes you right to the menu for the dining location. Here you choose your pick up time. You do not have to be AT the location to order. You can be in your room, somewhere around the resort, in a ride line, etc.
After that, the menu will pop up and you can scroll through and click on what you would like. You pay right through the app with either you credit card on file or you can add a different card.
Once you arrive at the location you can click that you are here and they will begin preparing your food. Just a note…we found that it took a good 10 minutes or longer for the food to be ready once we clicked we are here. So we began clicking it as we were walking on our way before we got there. Once the food is ready for pick up, the notification changes and it tells you what number table to go to to pick it up. They have multiple stations so people aren’t picking up at the same station at the same time. They are marked with big numbers on the floor.
After you pick up your food, if you ordered a drink, you move to a different station, and someone will get it for you. This is the Contempo Cafe drink station area:
The food is served in bags that are sealed, and packaging that is sealed. I removed my sticker before I remembered to take a picture!
Next up is the resorts. This was in our Villa at Bay Lake Tower.
You will notice that they are back to individual serving sizes of the toiletry items.
The remotes are packaged in plastic stating that they have been sanitized.
One last picture I took was at the monorail located inside the Contemporary Resort.
We did have our temperature screening and security done here on our way to the Magic Kingdom. This allowed us to bypass those things at the Magic Kingdom.
Overall, we felt very safe during our entire stay. There are hand sanitizer stations everywhere for use at your discretion. No one is spraying it on you. I was pleasantly surprised that everyone was complying with the mask mandate and social distancing. The only time you could remove your mask was if you were stationary off to the side eating or drinking. If a cast member saw someone walking and eating or drinking, they did remind them of the rule.
Capacity at the moment is maybe 1/4 of what it is normally. So there were so many less people. Many of the ride queues went way out onto the walkways. Adding to capacity will definitely affect this. What seems like a crowded area really isn’t, because the line is continuously moving. It will be interesting to see what happens once they expand the capacity!
Back during our August trip, my oldest could not go along with us due to her soccer schedule. I felt terrible about it! Sooooo, we had some DVC points left and I scheduled a quick Friday through Monday trip with her best friend for her 13th birthday in November. It was a total surprise! Here is the reveal:
I should have kept taping, they were crying tears of joy!
Our flight was the day after Thanksgiving. We were staying at the Boardwalk Villas in a Studio the first night, and then a 1 Bedroom for the next two nights. A quick trip on the Magical Express…
We arrived around 6:30 p.m. to our resort. We had dinner reservations at Ale & Compass, so the plan was to drop things off in the room and freshen up some.
I have a subscription to Touring Plans, and through that had requested a specific room. I requested 4055 and we got:
All Studio Villas have a small kitchenette area that includes a coffee maker, microwave, small fridge, toaster and sink. This is super convenient for quick breakfasts in the room.
One Queen bed with a pull out sofa.
And a twin size bed pulls down underneath the t.v. The table collapses. This is big enough for a small adult to sleep on!
Here’s a quick video of the view from our balcony!
I love this view! This is considered a Garden/Pool View, but as you can see, we can see the boardwalk and the lake. We also could see the fireworks perfectly from here which you will see in a future post!