All Star Movies Resort Review

Disneys All Star Movies HerbieAfter all of my visits to Walt Disney World, this was my first time staying at the All Star Movies.  I had toured the resort at length, but it’s a very different experience when you’re staying there.

 

When we arrived at the resort, there was a rather long line for check in.  I don’t know if this is normal (as I said, this was my first visit here) – but the line was long.  I assumed that a Magical Express bus had just arrived (we drove) and that was why there were so many people.  We decided to go grab a quick bite in the food court and let the line subside.  When we returned after dinner, it was a little shorter – but not by much.

Disneys All Star Movies Check In

There were only 2 of us staying in the room, and we were comfortable with the space, the rooms are 260 square feet in size.  There were two double beds so we each had our own.  The All Star Resorts sleep up to 4 people in a room, but I think if it were 4 adults it would have been a little crowded.

Disneys All Star Movies Beds

The bathroom was a bit small, but I had expected that.  The vanity area was a decent size for the two of us.

Disneys All Star Movies Bathroom

Storage space was not in abundance, but was enough for 2 women to unpack everything.  The closet area next to the vanity is big enough to hold your suitcases.  If you have 4 people unpacking, you might not fit it all in the drawer spaces (if you pack like we do!).

Disneys All Star Movies Vanity

When we went for dinner at the World Premier Food Court we were happy with the variety of selections.  The Majestic Shop had pizza, mac and cheese, and flatbreads.  I opted for the Roxy Shop that had burgers, hot dogs and chicken nuggets, although the pot roast at the Lyric Shop looked good too!  I of course finished my meal with a treat from the Rialto Shop where they had some pretty cool desserts.

Disneys All Star Movies Food

While we didn’t have time to enjoy the pools (we were leaving on a Disney Cruise the next day) I did have a chance to take a look around and soak in the atmosphere.  There are two pools for the All Star Movies, the Duck Pond Pool and Fantasia.  The Duck Pond Pool is a Mighty Ducks theme and the Fantasia pool is of course themed after Fantasia with a big Sorcerer Mickey fountain.  The pools are very cute and have life jackets are available for the little ones who aren’t strong swimmers yet.

Disneys All Star Movies Fantasia Pool

I had heard stories that the All Star Resorts were often the place for larger groups of kids to stay on school events or cheerleading competitions due to the affordability of them.  Once I was settled in my room I went to go to get some ice from the machine and I saw them pull up – 3 large buses of teenagers!   It turned out that they were well behaved and were not loud at all that evening, so I can safely say my experience at the resort was not impacted.

All Star Movies Scene

Would I stay at the All Star Movies again?  It depends.  If I’m looking for an economy trip – absolutely.  It had all the amenities of staying on Disney property, it was clean, it was cheerful and the cast members were great.  That being said, I like to relax a little at my resort and this just had a little too much hustle and bustle for me.

How about you?  Have you stayed at an All Star Resort?  Leave us a comment below!

Disneys All Star Movies TV Fridge and dresser

Fridge, Dresser and TV

Disneys All Star Movies Table

Table

Disneys All Star Movies Coat Rack

Coat Hanger

Disneys All Star Movies Pool Bar

Pool Bar

Disneys All Star Movies

One Of The Buildings

Disneys All Star Movies World Premier Food Court

Food Court Seating Area

 

 

California Grill Brunch Review

Charcutterie at California GrillBunch at Disney’s California Grill was on my wish list of new things to do. On a recent trip I had the opportunity to book reservations, so I knew I had to try it.

Dinner at California Grill is one of my favorites. Since I had such a good experience having brunch at Narcoosee’s – I figured this one had to be equally as good.

When we arrived, there was an entire section of the bar with mimosas waiting. Little did we know that these were bottomless and soon found out that our waiter would be bringing us new ones before the first one was done.

Mimosa at California Grill

There was a bloody mary bar available for an additional cost if that was your choice of drink. While they looked delicious, we decided to stick with our mimosas.

Bloody Mary Bar at California Grill Brunch

Bloody Mary Bar

We reviewed the menu to make our entree selections.  My sister Becky selected the Chef’s Frittata and I chose the Grilled Hanger Steak.

Once our entrée order was placed, we were able to visit the self-serve stations. There was real variety of things to choose from.

Becky’s self-serve selections

I’m not a fan of seafood, so I tasted everything that I thought I might like. The food was good, really flavorful and visually appealing.

California Grill Self Serve Plate

My first plate from the self-serve options

When our entrees arrived, I was regretting having the second helping of bread and mimosas, but I powered through. My steak was delicious, cooked exactly as I had asked with no pink in it.

Grilled Hanger Steak at California Grill

Grilled Hanger Steak – Two Eggs-Any Style, Chimichurri, Marble Potato Hash, Charred Red Onion

Becky enjoyed her frittata and said the potatoes were exceptional.

Frittata at California Grill

Frittata – Three Lake Meadow Farms Eggs, Heirloom Tomatoes, Roasted Poblanos, Chorizo, creamy Goat Cheese, and Marble Potato Hash

We took a small break before ordering tea and waited for our dessert plate to come. If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’m a huge fan of dessert – but I have to admit, I was underwhelmed.

Brunch Dessert at California Grill

The plate didn’t look as yummy as the dinner dessert does. While I tasted everything on the plate, there was nothing that made me say “wow, I need to have that again”.

When the bill arrived our total for brunch was $165 USD including our Tables in Wonderland discount.

Since I’m a gal who is all about dessert, Narcoosee’s was my favorite of the two, based solely on the desserts.  I think on my next trip I’ll save California Grill for dinner so that I can enjoy the Chocolate Pudding Cake.

Check out the video below for a walk through of Brunch at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

 

Have you tried brunch at California Grill?  Leave us a comment below and let us know what you thought!

 

Disney’s Beaches and Cream Review

Pixie Dust Fan Kitchen SinkTucked away behind the spectacular pool at Disney’s Beach Club resort is Beaches and Cream Soda Shop.

This very small location is home to the very big dessert – the Kitchen Sink. While many people visit just for the ice cream, my travel companions and I decided to have lunch as well.

Beaches and Cream Milk ShakeWhen we arrived I was shocked at how small it was inside. I had walked past it before, but had never gone in. The tables were quite close together and we were seated at what I thought was a pretty small table for the 4 of us. Since we’re good friends, this wasn’t an issue, but it was a bit snug when our food came.
Ron started things off by ordering a milk shake while the rest had pop and water. The milkshake looked so good that we knew this was the place to be for anything ice cream related. He was pretty happy with it.

A couple of us had burgers while the other two had beef melts.   I have to say that for an Ice Cream/Soda Shop I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed my burger and fries. But let’s be serious, we were there for one mission, to defeat the kitchen sink.

Beaches and Cream Patty Melt Beaches and Cream Burger

Being a Disney ‘foodie’ who loves desserts, I had researched this dessert many times. I had seen the pictures and videos and figured that the 4 of us could handle it.

Maybe it was because we were sitting at a little table, but I could not believe how big this sink was! It was overflowing with ice cream, cake, whipped cream, sprinkles, and chocolate, even Oreo cookies!   The spoon that they gave us to scoop it out to our plates was huge and when you dove in, you weren’t sure what goodness you find in it.

Beaches and Cream Kitchen Sink.

We dug in, and we gave it our best effort, but in the end – the kitchen sink beat us. We just couldn’t do it, we probably all ate more than we should have, but we couldn’t finish it.  It really doesn’t look so appetizing at the end.

Kitchen Sink After

After that we took a leisurely stroll back to our room at the Beach Club to relax and let our tummies settle. I think we all agreed that Beaches and Cream was a new favorite for when we’re in the mood for ice cream.

Would I try it again? Absolutely!  Would I assume that we could finish it? Not a chance! I think next time I go I’ll have more realistic expectations of how much ice cream 4 people can consume!

 

 

Contempo Cafe Review – Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Contempo Cafe Contemporary Resort
The Contemporary Resort is one of my favorites, the atmosphere, the location, the theming, the restaraunts – everything is just perfect.

One of the hidden gems that doesn’t seem to get much credit though is the quick service!  Everyone is so busy trying to get reservations at Chef Mickey or California Grill that they overlook the fact that the Contempo Café is a great quick service option!

Here are my top 3 reasons I love the Contempo Café:

  1. Location

Being in the Contemporary resort you are on the monorail line.  It’s a great place to stop in on your way in or out of the Magic Kingdom.  Sometimes in the afternoon during the hustle and bustle, we jump on the monorail or walk over for a quick snack.

  1. The View

Contemporary Resort Mary Blair MuralWho doesn’t want to sit and watch monorails go by?  I could sit there for hours watching them come and go.  The other benefit is to stare in awe at the 90 foot mural that is a tribute to the Grand Canyon.  The mural was created by Disney legend Mary Blair who was also responsible for many different creative projects including It’s a Small World.   Legend has it that Mary Blair put a 5 legged goat in the mural because nothing is perfect.  See if you can spot it!  It took me years to find it!

  1. The Food!

The ordering system is fairly quick at the Contempo Café.  You select your desserts, bottled drinks and premade salads and take them with you to the counter.  You order your meal and are given a small pager to put on your table (or a big A shaped thing if they run out of the pagers).   When your food is ready, it is brought to your table.  The seating area is always clean with cast members tidying up as people leave.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner, we have always been happy with the food here.  It’s reasonably priced, decent variety and quite yummy!    We have done both dine in and take out and never been disappointed.  They have great desserts and adult beverages (beer and wine) if you fancied.

It’s a terrific spot to cool down and relax a little outside of the parks.  You can check out the menu here for a full list of what’s available.

Have you eaten at the Contempo Cafe?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

Disney’s Polynesian Resort Bungalows – 3 Reasons I Want To Stay In One

Poly Bungalow Living Room
I had the opportunity to tour one of the bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Resort on my last visit.  Being like everyone else, I had drooled over the pictures online and wanted to see them in person.  I wondered if they were as nice as they appeared online and knew that the only way to tell was to walk inside one.

After my tour, I had 3 reasons that I really want to stay in one of the bungalows, and 1 reason why I don’t!

1.  The bungalows are big.

2 bedrooms, a pull down couch and two trundle beds – you can sleep 8 people in one of these.  Would I?  No – I think that might be a little bit crowded.  I think our family would be comfortable with 6 of us in there.

2.  The view is incredible!

Being on the Seven Seas Lagoon facing the Magic Kingdom – you don’t get a better view than that.  There are speakers on the deck so that you can play the music to go with the fireworks you’ll watch from your private plunge pool at night!  Okay – the plunge pool is pretty small, but they couldn’t really have made it any bigger or they would have used up too much of the deck.  How about those chairs?  Yes – I could spend an afternoon relaxing there!

3.  The décor

The decor in the bungalows is a throw back to the original Polynesian Resort décor, especially in the living room.  I love that they incorporated the history of the resort, but still kept them modern with all of the bells and whistles. The kitchen looks like a place I would like to cook in – but of course you probably wouldn’t do much cooking on vacation.  The dining room table though is the perfect place to eat your Ohana’s dinner that you order from room service!

So if these are so great – why don’t I want to stay in one??  The answer is simple – price.  These bungalows are the height of luxury at around $3,000 USD per night.  This is not something I can see myself splurging on anytime in the near future.  It’s always fun to dream though, you never know what will happen.  Maybe one day I’ll be sipping a cocktail on that deck, watching the fireworks and thinking saying “remember when I said I would never stay in one of these?”.

Check out the pictures – would you pay to stay there?

Polynesian Bungalow Deck Chairs Polynesian Bungalow Lounge Chairs Polynesian Bungalow Hanging Chairs Polynesian Bungalow Water Parade Bed Polynesian Bungalow Kitchen Polynesian Bungalow Bathroom TV Polynesian Bungalow Bedroom Polynesian Bungalow Bedroom 2 Polynesian Bungalow At Night

 

 

 

 

 

Disney’s Polynesian Resort Villas Were Not What I Expected

Polynesian Resort Studio Bed
Going to Walt Disney World in the 70’s, my Mum had something against the Polynesian Resort.  She always said there were too many trees and that would attract the bugs – we had to stay at the Contemporary instead.

For years this notion of mosquitos and ants was stuck in my head, and I never had the desire to stay there.  It’s funny how those thoughts stay with you!  I knew it was a deluxe Disney resort, but it was just not appealing to me.

Now that I have a blog dedicated to all things Disney, I knew I had to book a few nights at Disney’s Polynesian Resort.  I couldn’t afford the bungalows, so I opted for a few nights at the villas.

When we arrived, we walked down to Moorea longhouse where our room would be.  It didn’t seem like a long walk, but it did feel a little Polynesian Resort Mooreafar at the end of a long day.  We didn’t take the opportunity to walk over from the Ticket and Transportation Centre – in fact I suspect that would have been a shorter walk for us!

Up to the second floor and in to our room.

The views were spectacular.  I couldn’t believe it, I was looking out over the Seven Seas Lagoon and could see the castle in the distance!  This meant that I could watch the fireworks from my bed – wow!

The part that was so impressive to me was the SIZE of the room!  I would have gladly stayed in this room with 4 adults and not felt crowded.  A full bathroom with a tub and shower plus a separate stand up shower, what a great idea for families when you’re all trying to get ready in the morning.

The sitting area was big enough and the couch was comfy.  I didn’t get a chance to try the pull out couch, but I did sleepOhana Room Service in the murphy bed and was pleasantly surprised.  I’m by no means a ‘light weight’ – but it suited me just fine and I had no issues.

I was really impressed with my stay at the Polynesian Resort villas, but I think the cherry on the cake was room service!  On our last night
we were pretty tired and decided to order room service for dinner.  What do you get when you order room service??  You can order from O’hana!  Yes… Ohana food brought right to your room where you can eat it in your pyjamas and avoid cutting off your ability to breathe when you’ve eaten too much.

It wasn’t long in my stay before I realized that the ‘bugs’ my Mum had worried about were not an issue.  In fact, I can say that I didn’t notice any.  Would I stay here again?  Absolutely!!

Leave a comment and let me know if you’ve stayed here!

 

Polynesian Villa Couch Polynesian Villa Trundle Bed Polynesian Villa TV Polynesian Villa Shower Polynesian Villa Art Polynesian Villa Balcony

Narcoossee’s Brunch Review

Narcoossees Brunch DessertNarcoossee’s is a fantastic dining spot at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort.  We had never eaten there so we decided it was time to check it out!

We opted to try brunch at Narcoossee’s rather than a dinner.  With me being a picky eater, the seafood dinner menu didn’t really appeal to me.  When we arrived, we were seated next to the window for a fantastic view!  Directly across the water was Disney’s Contemporary Resort and we could watch the monorails and boats.  It was a bit overcast that day – but it didn’t take away from the view!

We started with our Mimosas while we reviewed the menu, there was quite a selection!  The pastry basket arrived and we nibbled on the croissants, Danish, muffins and sticky buns.  How would we have room for a meal?

For appetizers I had the salad and my sister had the onion soup, both were tasty.  Becky loves the soup at Be Our Guest, but she said this was almost better!

We enjoyed the view and had another mimosa each while we waited for the main courses.  I had the steak and eggs while Becky had the Narcoossees Eggs BenedictLobster-Egg Benedict (she got her seafood after all!).

My steak was cooked to perfection.  I didn’t think I could eat that much, but it was too good to leave any on the plate.  The fries with Truffle Aioli were delicious – even paired with my scrambled eggs!  Becky thoroughly enjoyed her Lobster-Egg Benedict and said there was plenty of lobster and was so flavorful.  I don’t think either of us left much on the plate.

Of course this is the part of the meal where you think “I can’t believe I ate all that, we’re not eating again until tomorrow!” while you decide if you have a pair of shorts at the resort with an elastic waist … then the waiter comes with dessert!  That’s right – a full dessert plate placed in front of us.  It had a Valencia blood orange bar, triple chocolate cake, lemon blueberry timbale and a white chocolate Minnie Mouse.

We looked at each other, sighed, and then picked up our forks.  This dessert looked WAY too good to pass up, even if it meant we’d have to buy bigger shorts, we had to try them.  They were all good, I loved the chocolate the best.  We didn’t eat the Minnie as we thought that would have been gluttonous!

We paid $69 USD each for the brunch (which I would normally never do), but it was worth it.  There were plenty of choices for me and the food was incredible, I think we may do this again.  Next time though, we’re not eating dinner the night before!

Have you eaten at Narcoossee’s?  Did you enjoy it as much as we did?  Leave us a comment below!

Narcoossees Narcoossees InsideNarcoossees SaladNarcoossees SoupNarcoossees MimosaNarcoossees PastriesNarcoossees Steak and eggs

5 Reasons I love Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Contemporary Resort WalkwayDisney’s Contemporary Resort is one of the two original Walt Disney World resorts opening in 1971.    It was the first place we stayed at in 1974, so I guess it kind of feels like home to me.  Here are 5 things I love about this place.

  1.  Proximity to the Magic Kingdom

Not only can you see the fireworks from the Contemporary resort, but you can WALK to the magic kingdom!  It’s an amazing feeling at the end of the night, the fireworks end and swarms of people are leaving to get on a bus or monorail – you can avoid the crowd and just walk back to the resort.

  1.  Contempo Cafe

I don’t know what it is about the Contempo Cafe, but I love it.  Maybe it’s sitting in there watching the monorails go by, or hearing the kids at Chef Mickey’s having a fabulous time, but this quick service is one of my favorites.  My sister loves it too – especially the lobster sandwich you can get there!

  1.  The Monorail

Being on the monorail line is amazing.  Going to Magic Kingdom (if you don’t want to walk) or a quick ride over to the Polynesian for a Dole Whip is something we do quite frequently!  Where possible I prefer the monorail vs a bus – so getting to EPCOT is convenient too.

  1.  The stores

I love Bayview Gifts store in the Contemporary, it’s where I have bought Alex and Ani bracelets, t-shirts, luggage and bags.  They also sell the H2O products that we love!  The pins available at the Fantasia shop are extensive and there is some great stuff to customize your magic bands.  I must admit that there are multiple visits to these two stores each trip, even when we’re not staying at the Contemporary.

  1.  The rooms

The standard tower rooms at the Contemporary Resort are inviting, modern, and among the largest at Walt Disney World.  If you have a theme park view you can sit in your jammies and watch the fireworks at night right from your balcony!   It doesn’t get any better than that!

Disney's Contemporary Resort at night Fireworks from the ContemporaryContemporary Fantasia Store Contemporary Monorail

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