Disney World’s Resort Loop Pub Crawl – Mizner’s Lounge

Grand Floridian Society OrchestraWhen we find ourselves with a few minutes to spare before a dinner reservation in the Magic Kingdom resort area, we like to choose a spot along the monorail route to enjoy an adult beverage and relax for a while.  Once in a while we hit more than one lounge in a single day, so we call this habit the Resort Loop Pub Crawl (others call it the Monorail Bar Crawl).  Recently we found ourselves with a good 30 minutes we could use for just such an endeavor and chose Mizner’s Lounge at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.RM-Monorail

We decided on Mizner’s for three reasons:  Our dinner reservation was at Citricos (also at the Grand Floridian), we’d never been to Mizner’s before, and the awesome Grand Floridian Lobby Society Orchestra (long name, amazing sound) plays literally just outside of Mizner’s doorway.  We’d gone back to our room at Bay Lake Tower to clean up after a busy day that started with rope-drop at the Studios and ended with an afternoon in the Magic Kingdom.  By the time we boarded the monorail in the Contemporary, we were more than ready to sit down and be still for a few minutes.   We arrived to find Mizner’s only about half-full and were able to find a table for two by a window.

RM-Mizner's-LoungeLike everything in the Grand Floridian, Mizner’s is open, airy and bright with an upscale, fancy-feeling atmosphere.  Seats are available in well-cushioned chairs at the bar and in big, comfortable club chairs at tables situated throughout the lounge’s interior.  We were starving, but resisted ordering a snack from Mizner’s very tempting menu to save our empty stomachs for the delights at Citricos (review here).  We chose a Cabernet from the impressive (and expensive) beverage menu and settled back to enjoy our glasses of wine and listen to the Orchestra play some of our favorite Disney tunes.

As far as Disney lounges go, Mizner’s was more family friendly than most and had a hushed, subdued crowd.  Like us, the other guests appeared to be there for relaxation and quiet conversation.  Maybe Mizner’s is livelier later in the evening, but for a place to enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail, it was perfect.

What’s your favorite lounge on the resort loop?


DVC – Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian

RM-Grand-Floridian-EntranceWe couldn’t be happier with our home a way from home at Bay Lake Tower.  For us, being able to walk to the Magic Kingdom makes BLT the perfect location for our family’s Disney Vacation Club membership.  There are so many (and more on the way) Disney Vacation Club locations to choose from, there’s a perfect place for just about any Walt Disney World fan’s style and location preference.  So, whether you want to be close to the action (like us) or relaxing in what seems like a slice of paradise completely removed from the parks’ hustle and bustle – there’s a place for everyone!  You don’t have to be a DVC member to stay in a DVC resort, you can pay cash for available rooms or rent points for your stay through a reputable company that specializes in matching members’ unused points with people who need them.

On our last visit to Walt Disney World, we couldn’t resist taking a tour of the new Villas at the Grand Floridian.  A resort near and dear to my heart, the Grand Floridian was the first place I ever stayed on Disney property nearly 25 years ago.  RM-VGF-LobbyI love the entire resort’s décor, the architecture, the restaurants, the shops and location on the monorail loop.  We’d heard the new DVC accommodations were spectacular and wanted to check them out for ourselves.  The Grand Floridian’s DVC building is packed with details that are both welcoming and fancy.  It’s bright, cheerful and inviting.RM-VGF-Lobby-Decorative-Details

RM-VGF-Lobby-SeatingWe had enough time one afternoon to whoosh on over via monorail (that’s always how it feels to me- love the whoosh!) and satisfy our curiosity.  The lovely woman (I feel bad for forgetting her name!) at the Grand Floridian’s DVC kiosk was more than happy to show us around.  The lobby is both elegant and whimsical – a theme that extended to every room we toured.RM-VGF-Lobby-ElevatorBeautiful décor, high-end finishes, and those magical Disney details were abundant – some people might find it all a bit fussy, but to Raymond and I, it was full of charm, romance, and surprises!

RM-VGF-BedroomThere are 147 villas which consist of studios (sleep up to 5), one and two bedroom villas (sleep 5-10), and Grand Villas (sleep up to 12), all located in one building.  Yes, with only 147 “rooms”, there’s a sense of urgency created for buying points before they sell out.  We just wanted to see what the rooms looked like so we could maybe use our existing points to stay there someday.  With such limited availability though, we know our best chance of staying there will definitely be in the off season!RM-VGF-Living-Room-Sofa

What made the biggest impression on us is the family-friendliness of the accomodations.  The perfect combination of luxury and comfort.

RM-VGF-Kitchenette RM-VGF-Kitchen RM-VGF-Kitchen-SinkNot that I would want to spend much time cooking on vacation, but the kitchenette in the studio and the full-sized kitchen in the two-bedroom are fantastic.

RM-VGF-Vanity RM-VGF-Vanity-SinkRM-VGF-TubThe bathrooms are amazing.  No, really.  They are.  All nine of the people who could stay in a two bedroom villa could all fit into the shower with room to spare!

RM-VGF-Hidden-Bed RM-VGF-Hidden-BedMy absolute favorite part is the fold-down bed hidden in the dresser (under the TV stand).  How fun for a little one to fall asleep with Dumbo!  The artwork is wonderful.  We were completely in love with this DVC area by the time our tour ended.  We have moved this place to the top of our must-stay list for future vacations!

Have you stayed in a DVC resort?  Are you a DVC member?  Which is your favorite place to stay?

5 Reasons to Pamper Yourself at Disney World

RM-Grand-Floridian-SignWe didn’t know what we’d been missing!  Raymond and I, in our bid to make the most of our 25th wedding anniversary celebration trip to Walt Disney World, decided to splurge on a few extras.  When you’re only covering travel expenses for two, it seems easier to justify dropping a few more dollars here and there.  One of the special treats we decided on was a massage for two at the Senses Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian.  Expensive?  Yes, for us $275 for a 50 minute spa treatment caused a moment’s pause while we considered what else we could buy with that money!  Then we thought of all the reasons it was a perfect use for our hard-earned cash – and we were right!  It was worth every penny.

They don’t call it the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa for nothing.  There is an actual spa and it is fabulous!  Now that I’ve personally experienced it, here are my Top 5 Reasons to visit the Senses Spa (or pamper yourself at Walt Disney World in some special way):RM-Grand-Floridian-Walkway

1. Great for Any Time!  Want to kick off your vacation with some relaxation outside the busy parks?  What about mid-trip when you’re feeling tired from all that walking?  Or maybe, wouldn’t it be great to get a relaxing spa treatment right before you have to go back to the real world?  Anytime’s a great time for a little pampering!RM-Grand-Floridian-Senses-Entrance

2. The Robe and Slippers!  And the spiced iced tea, and the aroma therapy, and all the extra little touches.  The spa is one awesome facility. Everything is designed to promote feelings of relaxation.  Because we were getting massages, we were supplied with super fluffy robes and comfortable slippers (in our actual shoe sizes!).  Those robes were really something!  So cozy.  RM-Grand-Floridian-Senses-Robe-and-Slippers

3. The Welcome!  I couldn’t help but notice how warm and welcoming the Cast Members were!  You’re offered a glass of tea upon arrival and then shown around the spa. The locker rooms are roomy and have everything you need to clean up and get ready for whatever else your day may hold.  There’s shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hair gel, hair spray, and even deodorant if you need it!  If I’d known how well-supplied I’d be there, I would have packed a change of clothes and some makeup to save me a trip back to our resort.  The lockers have electronic locks that are easy to use so you can store all your personal items worry-free.  Everything is luxurious and intended to make you feel like the most special guest there – worked for me!RM-Grand-Floridian-Senses-Vanity

4. Screaming Children!  They do seem to be almost everywhere at Walt Disney World…but they are NOT in the Senses Spa!  It’s blissfully peaceful and the tranquility is further enhanced by the use of aroma therapy and soft music.  The fragrance used during our massage was frankincense which I found to be pleasant and soothing.  The complete and total escape from the rest of the World is what I loved most about my visit to Senses.RM-Grand-Floridian-Senses-Counter-Sink-Area

5. You Deserve It!  We were spending an entire week at Walt Disney World alone for the first time in 25 years.  We were footloose and fancy free.  We could have spent the money on tours, or fine dining.  Instead we spent that money and time on a unforgettalbe experience.  We didn’t have to think, move, listen, plan, or hurry.  For 50 minutes, we were quiet and relaxed while two very kind and knowledgable Cast Members worked to free us from stress and muscle tension.  We loved it so much, we’re going back again in February!RM-Grand-Floridian-Senses-Shower-Area-Entrance

When our time at Senses was over, we were hungry!  After catching a delicious breakfast at the Grand Floridian’s Gasparilla Island Grill, we hopped on the monorail for a quick stop back at Bay Lake Tower to change clothes.  Then were ready to head over to Epcot for our French Regional Lunch.  A visit to the Senses Spa was the perfect way to begin the last day of a wonderful vacation.

Here’s a complete list of all the treatments offered at the Senses Spa.  Would you spend the money on a splurge like that?  If not, what would you do instead?