Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Few of Our Favorites Things at Disney World

We did two days in the Disney World parks.  The first day we went to Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, and the second day we went back to Hollywood Studios and spent the entire day there.
These are a few of our favorite things...

Nolan's absolute favorite thing was the Jedi Training Academy.
Upon arriving at Disney's Hollywood Studios the second day the first thing we did was head directly to the "Jedi Training Academy" to sign my Nolan up for this awesome Star Wars experience.  A friend had told me that classes filled up extremely fast, we got in just under the wire!  Phew!

Nolan said it was the best day of his life!  Here is the video of him fighting the dark side (second kid up)
Nolan's other favorites, Star Tours ride and the Lego store...
We all went on the Star Tours ride, it was very very cool (although I am a wimp and got a really "carsick")
Lego store at Downtown Disney
Buzz made out of Legos
Buzz, Woody and the rocket entirely made out of legos
If you ask my younger little guy, Sean, what was his favorite thing at Disney, he would tell you EVERYTHING!  He is four and was the perfect age to get that magical reaction when he saw Mickey & Minnie for the first time.  When hard pressed for details, he will tell you his favorite things were the pool at the hotel, the Dumbo Ride, Goofy's rollercoaster, Buzz Lightyear ride (at Magic Kingdom) and of course, meeting Buzz!

and meeting Buzz and Woody together...
Buzz & Woody Meet & Greet 
At Disney's Hollywood Studios we all loved the Toy Story Mania and the 3-D Muppet Show!
Mike and my favorite thing was the Tune-in Lounge in the 50's inspired Diner. 
Nana's favorite was the American Idol Experience - She is a big Idol fan!

This was my favorite thing...I love this picture.
Nana, Nolan & Sean
Some very sweet family memories were created on this trip.

I received two complimentary Disney World Park Hopper passes to facilitate this post.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Disney and Food Allergies

One of the reasons I initially wanted to take the kids to Disney World was I had heard they accommodate food allergies.  This is always a huge stress for me when we travel.

Disney has food allergy policies in place that really keep there guests safe and relieve some of the stress.  I made restaurant reservations on Disney's website.  When making the reservation I was asked to check off which allergies are in my party.  Then I was told to contact and they sent me forms to fill out.  Those forms were sent to each restaurant.  They then sent a confirming email and asked that when we got to restaurant to mention the allergies once again and the chef will come out and talk to us.  Here is the lowdown on our experience.

The first full day of our vacation we decompressed at the hotel pool and then headed over to Downtown Disney for a late lunch and a little shopping.  We had a reservation at The Rainforest Cafe
Rainforest Cafe had a really fun atmosphere for the kids.  You were surrounded by lifelike jungle animals and huge fish tanks.  Every 20 minutes or so there was a "thunder and lighting storm."

We informed our server, Shawn, that we had two kids at our table with food allergies.  He send the chef out.
Chef Richard assured us Nolan could have the chicken tenders and that he would make something special for Sean--two plain hamburgers and fries that would cooked in a separate part of the kitchen.

After a long day at the pool, these boys cleaned their plates---so did the adults, the food was good.

One of the main reasons I wanted to check out Downtown Disney was Babycakes NYC.  This wonderful bakery is peanut and tree nut free, egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, sesame seed-free.
Sean could pick whatever he wanted... 
Sean ended up with two cupcakes, some chocolate chip cookies and chocolate frosted donut.  He has never had a donut!
We brought the box of treats back to the hotel and he saved one for each day.  He was so happy.  Mumma was so happy.

The first day in the parks we went to lunch in Magic Kingdom at The Plaza Restaurant.
This time two chefs came right out, armed with a book of everything they served and all the ingredients.  Nolan settled on a grilled cheese and Sean once again had a hamburger.  We were again assured that it would be cooked safely in a separate part of the kitchen.
sliced apples to start
Nolan with one of the chefs
 Sean could even have dessert.  They had Rice Dream ice cream, a dairy-free treat that he loves, with Enjoy Life cookies for ears!
The next day we had lunch in Hollywood Studios at The Backlot.
The Backlot was an express type restaurant, which I was apprehensive about.
When placing my our order with Cody, I informed him of our food allergies.  I have to say it was one of the best experiences.  Cody was so helpful and then Chef Christa came out with that magic book.  This time there were chicken tenders and natural cut french fries that Sean could have.  And more Enjoy Life cookies :)
Every restaurant, express and sit-down, has a food allergy book, as well as every snack stand.  Even the popcorn stand had a book.  Sean and Nolan could have the popcorn too.

All-in-all we had great experiences eating in Disney World.  Sean and Nolan eat like kings!

I received two complimentary Disney World Park Hopper passes to facilitate my reviews.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Oh so grand, Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort!

We just came back from a great trip to Disney!  Before we left my 6 year old (going on 16) said "when we get back from Florida our house is going to seem so lame"  What??  After staying at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort, I have to say I think he had a point.  This hotel is amazing!

Located inside the Walt Disney World gates, The Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort is just a short shuttle ride to all the excitement.  We did two days at Disney parks and two days at the resort, it was the perfect balance.

Even if you are not planning to go to any of the parks, Wyndham Grand has so much to offer you don't even have to leave the resort.  Fabulous restaurants, pools, spa, gym, arcade, bar, lounge, business center and luxuriously comfortable beds!  Here are the details that make this resort such a great escape.

Our room - two deluxe queen beds and an alcove with bunk beds and a TV for the kids.
our room

A view of the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club.  This tortured my golf-loving husband.  Maybe next time he will get out there.
view from our room
I love lovely details and special touches.  This hotel was full of them...
 "Bath & Body Works" toiletries 
Wolfgang Puck in-room coffee
Starbuck's Coffee at The Barista in the main lobby

And the decor, the beautiful, unique decor...I loved it!

Sean a little tired here?  

funky blue chandelier
different sitting areas at every turn...

The Blue Harmony on-site husband had the best massage here.
The gym...never made it...LOL...but it's looked great!

Our room was on the concierge level (floors 12-14) which allowed us access to the concierge lounge-- another beautifully decorated area that included two large flat screens, a computer, fresh fruit and ice cold water...a great place to hide, I mean, relax!

And the pool, the fabulous pool...

a hot tub at every corner of the pool area
Nana escaped to the hot tub
We rented a cabana that was equipped with lounge chairs, fruit, water, a fridge, fan and TV.
My mum peeking out
Mike and the boys taking a break in the cabana
So many activities to entertain the kids!
games at the pool everyday
an arcade!
Kids club
Kids club has babysitting (ages 5-12) with loads of activities, in the evening if you would like a quiet kid-free dinner.  We didn't do this because Sean is only 4.  Next year!

Speaking of dinners...the restaurants were top notch.  We had dinner one night at Tesoro Cove and had breakfast there each morning, which fueled us up for Disney!  The food was delicious and service was great!!

There is also a 5-star restaurant, Deep Blue, that we unfortunately never made it to, but we heard from other guests that it was phenomenal.

Thanks to my Mom, my husband and I did enjoy some kid-free time.  One night after spending the day in Disney, we went to Bar 1521 for a much needed drink and enjoyed a calamari appetizer.
Then the next night after a 12 hour day at Disney's Hollywood Studios (yes, that's right 12 hours...yes we are insane), my mom and kids went to bed and we hit the outdoor Back Bay Pool Bar & Grill.  We had drinks, nachos and chicken quesadillas that really hit the spot!
Poolside bar during the day
Everyone we came in contact with was extremely courteous, friendly and helpful.  From Lisa at the front desk who checked us in, to the girl at concierge desk who was so nice and helpful in trying to track down our lost luggage at the airport (thankfully it arrived very early the next morning).  Sweet Foresia, who cleaned our room everyday and gave us extra towels and a great smile...Ron Presman, the manager who checked in with us to make sure we enjoyed our stay...the very nice Omar who took our picture and packed our luggage in our rental car.

On our last day we checked out and had a few hours before heading to the airport.  We were able to store our luggage and hang out at the pool one last time.  I can't say enough good things about this hotel, I absolutely loved it!!
Bye bye Wyndham Grand, we had a grand time!
Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort - Bonnet Creek
14651 Chelonia Parkway
Orlando, Florida 32830

I received a complimentary stay at Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort to facilitate this review.