Comparing Resorts at WDW

My two recent stays included two very different resorts.  Both were great!  Disney is Disney with any of their resorts.  But, for this post, I wanted to share my thoughts between Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside.  So here we go!

Art of Animation

Disney’s Art of Animation (AOA) is a value level resort that offers three building areas (Nemo, Lion King, and Cars) with rooms set up with Family Suites that can sleep up to 6 people. And, one building (Little Mermaid) that has standard rooms for four people.  Let me start by saying that we were in a Lion King Suite with 3 adults and three kids ages 11,13, and 15.  One adult shared the sleeper and the kids took turns on the convertible dining table Murphy bed.  All-in-all, it worked out great!  No one complained and in fact I was told that the sleeper was a fine option!  The master is a larger room, with a door that closes.  There are two bathrooms complete with showers that make getting ready in the morning a bit easier to pull off if you are headed for rope drop.  There is also a fridge, coffee maker, and microwave in the room.

The grounds at AOA are well kept and each themed area has large figures of some of your favorite Disney and Pixar characters! There are three pools at AOA.  The main pool is in the Nemo area and offers underwater sound.  There are smaller pools at Cars and Little Mermaid areas, also.  And, if you are hungry, The Landscape of Flavors is a great counter service area offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily.

Transportation to anywhere on Disney property is provided by Disney Transport from a single point of departure in front of the main building.  Just get in the line for the destination you are wanting, and there will be a bus shortly.  Our experience was about 10 minutes or less during peak travel.

Main Entrance - Port Orleans - Riverside
Main Entrance – Port Orleans – Riverside

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside (POR) is a moderate level resort with two main areas, Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou.  Magnolia Bend is fashioned after the plantation mansions of the south, while Alligator Bayou has more of a rustic, backwoods feel to it!  Magnolia Bend room are standard rooms, but Alligator Bayou rooms offer the ability to house five guests during your stay with the use of a Murphy Style bed in the room.  There are two sinks outside of the bathroom, making it easy to prepare for a days adventures in the parks.

The theming of POR is not what you might not expect from a Disney resort, but it is a really nice break from the hustle and bustle of running to parks.  And, transportation is convenient!  There are boats that will take you from the dock at POR to Downtown Disney and back!  I love this ride, it’s quiet and you get to see parts of the Disney property that can’t be seen any other way! Buses can be a little more tricky at POR with four stops around the perimeter.  But, most people who are used to riding buses don’t seem to mind.  And, most of the rides are quite short once all of the stops have been covered.

If you are hungry, you can grab a bite at the Riverside Mill food court, sit down for a relaxing time at Boatrwight’s Dining Hall, or grab some appetizers at the River Roost while you are watching and listening to Yeehaa Bob!

Both resorts provide a unique experience and offer the ability to create some fabulous memories!  So, keep them both in mind and consider what you’re goal is when choosing a Disney Resort for your vacation!

Thanks for reading and have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!

MagicBand Revue

After spending a week at Walt Disney World, I have a better understanding of how the MagicBands work. And, there are a few lessons I learned about along the way, as well.

Let me begin by stating that I was really looking forward to this experience, regardless of how it turned out. I feel it is my responsibility to be real in what I see with my own eyes. The lesson I learned at check-in was to verify which MagicBands have charging privileges, what the limits are, and what card you are backing those charges up with. I had set all of this up before arriving, but found out over the next few days that it didn’t get recorded in the system. So, save yourself some extra steps and double-check before you leave the front desk. It only takes a few moments to fix the problem.

From the moment we walked into The Art Of Animation Resort, our MagicBands were put to use. We used one for checking in right at the start. This did seem to hasten the process considerably. The bands also worked well with our room door. I would suggest that everyone in your party take a turn just to verify all MagicBands are working. Also, the doors at the end of the corridors will open with the use of the MagicBands if you want to bypass the elevator.

Entry to all of the parks was smooth with the use of the MagicBands. It is important to remember which finger you used when you first arrived, that can slow you down if you forget. I didn’t find my MagicBand to be in the way, but did have a couple of incidents with it popping off if I accidentally hit a rail or armrest the wrong way. Other than that, I have no real concerns.

FastPass+ worked fairly well, also. One thing I did discover is that it is more difficult to change times or experiences once you arrive in your park for the day. We were there during what was supposed to be a less busy time, but the parks all seemed to be more crowded than expected. And, this made changes much less available. And, with the introduction of tiered attractions, it will be very helpful to make sure you have your choices before you arrive. For some, this may be an issue. For the uberplanners, not so much.

The MagicBands do make charging easier, but I did not find it more tempting to tap and go with more souvenirs. I suggest that if you know what your limits are, you will have no problem remaining within those limits. But, if you have the tendency to spend freely, you may not want to have your band armed for charging. Just a thought!

MagicBand turnstiles
MagicBand turnstiles

Overall, I like the MagicBands, but I think I prefer the old FastPass system a bit more. We were able to make use of a few of those during our stay. We weren’t trying to cheat the system, but it helped to put things in a better time frame for our visit. But, we have just learned that the Legacy FastPass system is slowly being phased out. There are a few resorts that are no longer issuing Key To The World cards, unless requested. And, it was just announced that Disney’s Animal Kingdom will begin testing the new RFID technology by allowing anyone from any resort to make FastPass+ choices. Offsite visitors will be limited to making those choices once they arrive at the park. So, I would guess that the paper FastPass machines will be turned off during this testing.

I hope you find this helpful information. And, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a message at the bottom of this post. I’ll be sure to respond promptly.

Tomorrow, Restaurant Reviews…there may be a surprise on this one!!

Have a Blessed and Magical Day!!