A few weeks back the family took (yet) another trip to Disneyworld. This was our 3rd trip in 5 years, and second time staying at the wonderful Coronado Springs Resort, a moderate level resort in price that is more on par with Disney’s premium level resorts in features, amenities, and beauty.
When we decided to return to Disneyworld this year, there was no doubt where we were going to stay. Our last trip was our first where we stayed at Coronado Springs, and everyone loved it. The beautiful resorts hotel rooms surround a small lake and walking path. Amenities include several small pools, and a large pool with a water slide, bar, hot tub, arcade and volleyball. We left a day open just so the kids could hang at and enjoy the pool.
Coronado Springs has 3 dining options – the Rix Market, (which has snacks muffins, pastries, donuts, fruit, breakfast sandwiches, and drinks), Pepper Market, (a quick service option that has the best quick service food I’ve had at Disneyworld), and the Maya Grill, an upscale sit-down Mexican/Spanish food offering. Pepper Market is wonderful, and we ate there several times.
This was our 3rd time on the Disney Dining Plan, and overall, I found it to be a good deal.
Epcot is my favorite park. The last couple of times we’ve been to Disneyworld, we’ve done Epcot on the 2nd day, which means that the kids are exhausted from day one, and don’t make it past dinner before they want to go back to the hotel. This year we did Epcot on the first day, and we ended up staying from open to close. Highlights of Epcot on this trip were the Agent P (Phineus and Pherb) Scavenger Hunt, a very fun interactive game that has you searching through the world for clues to solve a mission. The girls loved it.
As usual, we had our lunch at “The Land” restaurant, which is one of the best quick service restaurants in any of Disney’s parks. One complain though – the chicken I had was salted like it was traveling the ocean in the 1700′s for storage. Overall though, the food was very good.
Dinner was at the Tokyo Dining (table service), and it was very good as well. It’s not your traditional japanese Hibachi, but the options were delicious and the chefs presentation was wonderful.
The rides that stood out at Epcot were Soarin’, Test Track and of course, Spaceship Earth.
This time out, we did 2 days at Magic Kingdom. We felt on our last trip we didn’t get to see as much of the park as we wanted, so this time we spread it out over 2 days. The new additions to Fantasyland were very nice, especially the Barnstormer, which I call “Rollercoaster training wheels”. It’s intended for kids, and lasts all of 30 seconds. But my daughter liked it a lot, and we went on it twice.
We really enjoyed the Laugh Floor, a Monsters Inc. themed interactive comedy club that was a riot. The Buzz Lightyear Space Command ride, which seemed similar to the Toy Story Midway Mania in Hollywood Studios, is a fun ride that needs some minor tweaks to bring it up to Toy Story Mania levels.
Apart from Fantasyland, there wasn’t a whole lot that was new in Magic Kingdom since our 2011 trip.
Hollywood Studios used to be my favorite Disneyworld park, but apart from the new Star Tours, hasn’t seen very many updates over the years. The Indian Jones stunt show seems identical to the first one I saw back in 1994. Same for the MuppetVision attraction. With Disney now owning Marvel, it’s a shame they haven’t brought more of the Marvel universe to Hollywood Studios. I saw that Disneyland is featuring the Iron Man Hall of Suits. Why isn’t this at Hollywood Studios too?
We dined at the SciFi Drive In Theater, which was awesome. You sit at a table that is setup like a car, and watch 50′s era SciFi trailers/attractions while you eat. My only complaint is that it was a little too dark (obviously needs to be to see the movie), and it made eating a bit of a challenge. Plus I don’t like being able to see what my food looks like (!) before I eat it. Add a little lighting to the tables to fix.
The new StarTours update is great, and along with Toy Story Midway Mania, the real attraction at Hollywood Studios.
Disney Dining Plan
Is the dining plan a good deal? I think so. When you are in the park, you are held hostage to the park food options, which are pricey. The key is in maximizing your dining plan dollars. Find the better quick service restaurants to eat at. Ditto for the table service. On our last day at Disneyworld, we ate dinner at the Polynesian Resort’s Ohana restaurant. It was the best dining experience we had while at Disney. The food and experience were awesome. Know when to say “when” though, as it is an all you can eat affair, where the waiters keep bringing meats (steak, chicken, shrimp and pork) that are cooked over their open fire to your table until you tell them to stop. Desert was amazing too – a wonderful bread pudding covered and caramel sauce and topped with vanilla ice cream. Not to be missed!
This will likely be our last trip to Disneyworld for some time. We’ve been so often that we aren’t really experiencing much new between visits. Plus there are other places I’d like the family to experience with our limited vacation time. I’m hoping on our next visit, Disney will have given Hollywood Studios a much needed update, using Marvel & Star Wars properties to further bolster the already great attractions.