Each Disney World resort is unique with its own story and theming. There is just as much fun and magic waiting to be discovered and explored at the resorts as there is at the parks. Here are 10 perks that most people don’t know about Walt Disney resorts.
10. Character Wake-Up Calls
The only thing better than waking up at Disney World, is waking up to a call from a Disney character. When staying on property, you can arrange for a character wake up call by calling the front desk, or using the wake up call button on the phone in your room. You don’t get a choice of character, but they are a fun way to start your day at Disney.
9. Honeymoon Suites
There are six honeymoon rooms in the towers of the main building of the Grand Floridian. Some of the rooms have a balcony and a whirlpool tub. The Octagon honeymoon rooms are larger, but without the whirlpool tub, but they do feature windows all the way around the suit offering the best view possible from this hotel.
8. King Kamehameha Suite
The Polynesian was one of two original resorts (the other being the Contemporary) when Disney World opened in October 1971. The Polynesian has a Presidential Suite called the King Kamehameha Suite, which is a two-floor suite with two bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms and a parlor. This luxurious suite can cost up to $2500 per night!
7. Big Blue
The Art of Animation resort is at the higher end of value resort category and is also one of the newer resorts at Disney. It features a Finding Nemo area, where the largest resort pool on Disney property is. The Big Blue pool is nearly 12,000 square feet, and when underwater guests can hear the voices of Nemo, Dory and Crush.
There are some amazing snacks and food items available at the resorts that aren’t available elsewhere on property. Port Orleans French Quarter has delicious beignets, which are like donuts. They are deep fried, fluffy dough that are doused in powdered sugar. Tonga Toast at Kona Café at the Polynesian is more like dessert than the toast you’re used to having at breakfast. Tonga Toast is fried sourdough with bananas, cinnamon and powdered sugar. Zebra Domes are another amazing treat that are available at Animal Kingdom Lodge at The Mara and Boma. Zebra Domes are a decadent chocolate, truffle-like treat. Don’t forget to scope out the snacks at each resort so you don’t miss out!
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5. Live Entertainment
There is live entertainment at many of the Disney resorts. The Hoop-Dee-Do Musical Revue is over at Fort Wilderness. Guests can dine on American favorites, while the musical revue delivers a full night of signing, dancing and comedy. At the Polynesian there is the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show, which includes music, hula and fire dancing, all while you enjoy a delicious meal. The French Quarter’s lounge The Scat Cat’s Club features live jazz music, and over at Riverside at the River Roost lounge is the cabaret performer Yehaaa Bob. The live music and entertainment is open to all guests, not just guests of that particular resort, but some restaurants and dining experiences do require reservations ahead of time.
4. Fireworks at Port Orleans
The Royal Guest Rooms at Port Orleans have fiber-optic fireworks that glow and ‘explode’ on the headboard above the beds. This little extra bit of pixie dust is a fun surprise in these beautifully themed royal rooms.
3. Animal Kingdom Lodge Restaurant Tours
Each day the restaurants of Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boma, Jika and Saana, offer a free 30-minute tour of the décor, architecture and symbolism behind the theming and items in the restaurants. It’s best to ask at the Front Desk about the tour, but they typically are around 4pm everyday.
2. California Grill
The California Grills boasts a spectacular view of the Seven Seas Lagoon and Magic Kingdom, making it the ideal spot to have dinner and watch Happily Ever After at the end of the night. If you happen to have a dinner reservation before the fireworks, just return with your receipt to gain re-entry into the restaurant to catch Happily Ever After from the 15th floor of the Contemporary resort.
1. Character Dining
Some of the best character meet and greets happen to be character dining experiences at the resorts. Character dining is a wonderful way to meet characters because instead of standing in along crowded line, you’re feasting on delicious food while you wait for the characters to come to your table. Chef Mickey’s is a popular place for families to meet Mickey and his friends over at the Contemporary. 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian hosts a number of fabulous character experiences. Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger are there at the breakfast buffet. There is also a tea party for kids 4-12, and Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner where guests can meet princesses. Over at the Polynesian, Lilo and Stitch host a breakfast dining experience at ‘Ohana. There are so many characters to meet at the resorts, and it’s a great alternative to meeting them at the parks.