Tag Archives: Disney World

Cabana Bay Beach Resort – an Orlando favorite

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Whether you are visiting Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and the new Volcano Bay water park opening in 2017 or not, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a fantastic place to park yourself when in Orlando. As an official Universal hotel that is connected to the parks via shuttle bus service, it certainly has a lot to offer if those attractions are your destination. Aside from that, the 1950s and 1960s decor is so much fun, you might just find yourself wishing we were still living in that era. When you call guest services for things like extra towels, the person on the phone will tell you to “have a swell day” before you hang up. They are all in when it comes to the theme, and I love it!

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On the day my family and I checked in, everything was decked out for Christmas, which made it even more spectacular. The teals, oranges, blues, and crisp whites in the color scheme had me thinking I had just gotten out of one of those classic cars parked out front and left my gigantic hard suitcases in the back seat.

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This lobby is actually one where you might spot a few Universal characters. We saw Scooby Doo wandering through when we first arrived. A few minutes later, we had the most delightful visit with Lucille Ball, who gave my son an extra “free piece of cake” coupon since it was his birthday. The employees and characters go the extra mile and make the place truly special – even down to the folks at the cash register in the gift shop.

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There are several dining choices at the resort, but we tried Bayliner Diner, which is similar to a food court in that you have many choices, and Galaxy Bowl, because my son had become obsessed with the cosmic bowling on the first night, so we elected to just let him bowl while we ate there on the second night.  There is also a Starbucks, Swizzle Lounge for procuring your adult beverages, and the Hideaway Cafe near the lazy river.

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What a beautiful Florida night this was (see picture above).

We were upgraded to a suite in the Starlight building, which was quite pleasant and welcome, considering I had just booked a standard room with 2 queen beds. We had a small living room, a tall kitchen counter with stools where we could eat, and a small kitchenette with fridge, sink, microwave and Keurig (because let’s face it, some modern conveniences are “the most”). There was a sliding door separating all of that from the bedroom, where we had 2 queen beds and a closet area. The sink and mirror were in the same room, but the toilet had its own room to the left, and the shower plus another sink had their own room to the right. Fantastic set-up with 2 televisions. The rooms do mostly have outer entry, like an old-style motel, but some have interior entry if you prefer that.

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There was more to Cabana Bay Beach Resort that we didn’t even have time to explore, since we were there to enjoy the Universal Parks, too. Speaking of which, there are regular shuttles that run back and forth to the parks and City Walk every 10 to 15 minutes from 7am to 2am. You also get into the parks an hour earlier than the general population, since you are staying at one of Universal’s hotels. This also means you have some dining plan options at your hotel, if you are on the Universal meal plan.

This was such a fun place to stay. I think we would stay there again even if we were not going to the Universal parks, but just visiting Orlando for other reasons.

To book your stay at Cabana Bay, contact Azalea Travel, a proud member of ASTA and CLIA.

News for Disney Enthusiasts 9-30-2015

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SO, I have a few exciting pieces of news for all you Disney-loving folks out there! And I know there are plenty of you.  I’ll start with what’s happening at Walt Disney World in Florida, since most of my readers are on the east coast.

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  1. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN! We know it and love it. I’ve been on that ride about five times since I was eight years old, and January was the most recent trip. It has seen some changes over that time, like the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow. The attraction has been closed over the last few months for refurbishment, but it’s open again now. You can expect to see some more realistic pirates and cannons, smell some new scents (I don’t know the details on that – someone who gets there before I do next will have to fill me in!), and see some new special effects in terms of lights for weather effects. I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to experience it. This has always been one of my favorite rides at the Magic Kingdom, maybe even at all of WDW.
  2. Introducing Disney Springs! Downtown Disney has been undergoing some construction this year (which was even ongoing when I was there in January). The purpose of it all was to add some new stops and transform the whole place into Disney Springs.  As of today, the launch is official! Downtown Disney is now Disney Springs, and a new restaurant opens today, as well – Morimoto Asia.  Already open are new spots The Boathouse and Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar at The Landing. There are new retail shops, as well.  Coming soon are Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO, Pandora, UGG, and more!!  Don’t worry; all of your old faves are still there, such as T. Rex, Cirque du Soleil, Rainforest Café, and the Lego Store. Click here for a glimpse.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu5F50DWmXw#action=share
  3. And moving on to the west coast . . . Awesome Star Wars stuff at Disneyland! So for those of you who live closer to Disneyland in California or plan to go there, you are in for a wonderful treat starting November 16. Disneyland will be opening some new Star Wars attractions, some of which will be similar to what we can already experience at Disney World in Florida. One thing that’s different, though, is a new ride called Hyperspace Mountain. This is a ride comparable to our Space Mountain on the east coast, but you will be part of an X-wing Starfighter battle instead of plummeting through total darkness.  Sounds pretty cool to me…I might have to make a special trip to California for that. Other experiences include the Jedi Academy (which we already have at Hollywood Studios) beginning in December, but it will be based on the popular Disney XD television show, Star Wars Rebels. In the Launch Bay, you can enjoy character experiences, get a peek at some snippets of the upcoming movie, The Force Awakens, and also see some of the props used in the movie.disneyland star warshyperspace mountain

Click here to start planning your next trip!!!

 

Why We Will Get the Disney Hopper Pass Next Time

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If you’re not familiar with Walt Disney World’s Hopper Pass, allow me to explain it. Let’s say you buy passes for your family for three days at the Walt Disney World Parks. Without the Hopper Pass, once you choose a park and enter it, that’s the only park you will see on that day. Now, don’t get me wrong. You can definitely spend a full day inside any of the parks and still not see/do everything!

However, if you want to see Magic Kingdom on the first day, because you went there as a child and your children have never seen it, but you also want to attend the fireworks show at Epcot later that night, you will definitely need the Hopper Pass.

The first time my husband and I took our son, he was only four years old and could not have handled more than one park in one day. We spent a day at Magic Kingdom and a day at Hollywood Studios (because of Lightning McQueen, of course). But the last time we went, we decided we were ready for the Hopper Pass. Here are a few great reasons for you to consider it:

  1. As I mentioned before, you can spend the day at one park, then enjoy fireworks in a different park that night. You don’t have to limit yourself to one park all day.
  2. Similarly, after you know what you like to do in each park, you can, for example, get Fastpasses for Expedition Everest and the Safari Ride at Animal Kingdom and enjoy them early, then hop on a bus to have lunch at Hollywood Studios and catch the stunt show. Surf around and just do your favorite rides in more than one park.
  3. It doesn’t cost much more to add it on to the price you’re already paying for your tickets.

Planning your next Disney trip? Let us help! You can email azaleatravelagency@gmail.com or contact us by clicking here: Azalea Travel.