As Seniors, when we travel to Walt Disney World, we like to enjoy all that it has to offer. But many of us, even though we enjoy the parks, also enjoy more of the other fine things that Walt Disney World has to offer. This article will concentrate on resorts and I will address restaurants, park, and other attractions in the future.
The first thing I need to address are the choices addressed here. Opinions on the “best of” anything are subject to the personal likes, dislikes, and experiences of the person writing about these things whether they be hotels, restaurants, transportation options or anything else. I may not have experienced your favorites and if I express an opinion on anything I have not personally enjoyed I will say so.
The younger members of our Disney family often view a resort hotel as a place to sleep and shower so they can not justify (rightfully so) spending a lot of money on accommodations. After all, they are facing the daunting task of raising their children, future college expenses, and all of the other challenges that will be coming up. In general, Seniors are past that stage and ready to take care of themselves. For that reason, I will just cover my favorite Deluxe and Moderate resorts. Here are my choices as “best of” for us!!
Grand Floridian Resort and Spa – We have enjoyed multiple visits to this wonderful resort over the years and it is absolutely our favorite. Is it expensive? Yes it is. Is it worth the money? For us, once again, yes it is. The grounds are lovely, the rooms are large and very comfortable, and luxury surrounds you. The Cast Members are first class but that is pretty much the rule at Disney owned resorts. There are five excellent table service restaurants on site including the only five star in central Florida, Victoria and Albert’s. There are a number of excellent shops and boutiques in the main building to satisfy the cravings to shop. One of the most important reasons for choosing this or any of the other monorail resorts is the convenience and variety of transportation offerings. This is especially important to those who are not enamored of riding a bus (me!!). Here is a link to a “fan” website so you can get a better feel for the resort: http://wherethemagiclives.com. I like “fan” websites because they don’t just follow the corporate line.
Other good choices –The Wilderness Lodge for those of you who enjoy rustic luxury combined with some very good dining choices. Transportation is by boat or bus. The Boardwalk Inn is for those who enjoy a more down home sit on the back porch type of luxury with available evening activities on the Boardwalk. It is also an excellent choice for Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios fans because of easy transportation options to both (Friendships). The Animal Kingdom Lodge ( never stayed there) for those who enjoy exploring other cultures and also enjoy the animal experience. There are fine dining choices there also. Reportedly they are some of the best at Walt Disney World.
Port Orleans Riverside – We stayed here for twelve days in November of 2009. We frankly, did not know what to expect but were thrilled with our stay. We have already booked here for our stay for 2011. The grounds are magnificent, rivaling any deluxe resort. We stayed in the Magnolia Bend section (also called Mansions) which I would recommend for those Seniors among us with stair issues because each building has elevators. We also booked a king bed (extra cost) room because standard beds are double beds. The king bed rooms in the Magnolia Bend section are also corner rooms and have two windows which make the room seem larger and let in lots of natural light. The resort is very quiet and laid back (another plus for us older folks) and there are lots of recreational things to do. There is a very nice table service restaurant on site, Boatwright’s. There is also an excellent food court with tremendous variety and plenty of seating. There are also quiet pools available so that you can enjoy your relaxation time away from the hustle and bustle of the feature pool. Here is a “fan” website that covers the entire Port Orleans resort: http://www.portorleans.org/. Transportation is primarily bus but there is charming boat transportation to Downtown Disney.
Other good choices – Port Orleans French Quarter (never stayed there but have spent a lot of time exploring) is a real favorite with a lot of Seniors. It is much smaller than Riverside and has a much more intimate feel. The food court, although not as large as the Riverside court, has some excellent food choices and serves wonderful beignets. There is no table service restaurant on site. Transportation is the same as Riverside, primarily bus with boat to Downtown Disney. The website above covers Port Orleans French Quarter also. The Coronado Springs Resort (never stayed there) seems to be an underrated resort. It is a “convention type” resort which may scare away some of us older folks but in my studies have found that fear to be unfounded. Queen beds are standard (a real plus) and there are business style amenities available. The resort has completed a recent remodel. There is a very good table service restaurant on site, the Maya Grill. The Pepper Market is an upscale food court where your items of choice are brought to your table for you (automatic 10% gratuity is added to your bill). Don’t be afraid to check this resort out.
For Seniors, a Walt Disney World resort stay encompasses far more than just visiting the theme parks. The choice of resort hotels can make or break the stay for those of us who like to pamper ourselves just a bit. We need to choose a place where we feel comfortable and can actually spend time without feeling like we are being deprived of theme park time. I think the choices above fill that bill. I encourage you to spend some time researching your entire stay and doing the appropriate planning but be careful of your choice of resorts and make that a priority. That will be the first step to a vacation experience rather than just a plain old vacation.
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