New Experiences in Familiar Places!
As a Lead Vacation Coordinator with David’s Vacation Club Rentals, I recently had the chance to join some of my fellow team members on a research trip to Walt Disney World!
While I visit WDW as often as I can, one of the things I love most about it is how it is ever-changing. There is always something unique to experience during your stay, and this trip was no different! Let me tell you about five exciting new experiences I had during our visit!
Number One – Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Staying somewhere new is something I always find exciting, and for this trip, that somewhere new was Bay Lake Tower! I absolutely love the Magic Kingdom area, and this resort has a location that simply can’t be beat. The walk to the Magic Kingdom is quick and simple, and you’ll find yourself approaching the park turnstiles in just 5-10 minutes!
As Bay Lake Tower shares the property with the Contemporary Resort, it’s almost like you get the benefits of two resorts in one stay. Using the Skyway Bridge on the 5th floor makes it quick and easy to pop over to the Contemporary for dining, shopping, and catching the monorail! Not to mention, you can also use the pools on the Contemporary side of the resort in addition to the Bay Cove Pool, which is exclusive to guests staying at Bay Lake Tower (be sure to try the waterslide!)
The villas themselves are comfortable and modern in style, and I love the blend of neutrals with pops of color in the accent pieces around the room to keep things feeling lively. Mickey himself is featured in the artwork, and the kitchenette is roomy with tons of storage space. With so many great features, I would absolutely stay at this resort again (and again, and again!)
Number Two – City Works Eatery & Pour House
This restaurant at Disney Springs opened in 2020, and after seeing many glowing reviews online, I added it to my “must-try” list! Our party ordered a bunch of dishes and drinks from the extensive menu as we settled in for our first meal of the trip. The Pretzel Bites and Tex Mex Mac N’ Cheese were favorites for our team members, but we all enjoyed everything we tried, from the appetizers to the entrees. The beer flight made up of a variety of the different types of brews on the menu was also a big hit!
In addition to a fantastic and filling meal, the service at this eatery was awesome! Our server was quick to make suggestions, assist with questions, and ensured we were never without a drink in hand. The atmosphere is lively yet casual and close to the AMC and Cirque du Soleil theatres, making it super convenient if you’re going to be seeing a show during your night out. I highly recommend checking out City Works on your next visit to Disney Springs!
Number Three – Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera
Speaking of delicious dinners, I had one of the best Disney dining experiences ever at Disney’s Riviera Resort on this trip! We visited Topolino’s Terrace for a sunset dinner, and it was ah-mazing! The view alone merits a 5-star review, in my opinion, but this restaurant doesn’t stop there! Our server was warm, friendly, efficient, and knowledgeable, and we felt like valued guests. We were never rushed but rather encouraged to take our time and truly enjoy the evening.
I haven’t even mentioned the food yet, have I?! From the first bites of the bread service to the last spoonful of dessert, each of us raved about how delectable our chosen menu items were. From soup to pasta, filet mignon to escargot, it was all scrumptious, but for me personally, dessert was the real winner! After enjoying a viewing of Epcot’s Harmonious from the outdoor rooftop terrace, I dove headfirst into the tastiest dessert I have ever eaten.
Be sure to save room for the Warm Chocolate Cake! Its decadent chocolate combined with a warm and luscious caramel center, accompanied by Chantilly cream and raspberries, and the combination of sweet flavors popped perfectly on my tastebuds after a savory meal. I’ll definitely be dreaming about it until the next time I visit!
Number Four – DVC Resort Room Tours
As DVCR team members, we learn a lot about each of the resorts, but as Disney is ever-changing, new room types and even new resorts pop up from time to time that we haven’t seen before! On this trip, we toured several of the resorts, and some lovely DVC Cast Members showed us around a couple of room types I’d been eager to see – A Grand Villa at Disney’s Riviera Resort and the new Resort Studios at the Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa!
While I’d stayed at the Grand Floridian before, I was very excited to check out the new Resort Studio! As a life-long Mary Poppins fanatic, I immediately fell in love with the whimsical design inspired by the film Mary Poppins Returns, and a stay in one of these rooms has definitely been added to my Disney wish list!
With 2 queen beds, a beverage cooler, and double sinks in the bathroom vanity, the Resort Studios are well-designed for families. The colors and prints used in the décor are gorgeous, and there is also a lot of storage built-in, so it is easy to maximize your use of the space.
Over at Disney’s Riviera Resort, we saw a Grand Villa, and let me tell you; I would live in it full time if I could! It is huge! There are three bedrooms, a full kitchen, a living room, a dining room, and in-suite laundry, and there are tons of Disney touches that are sure to bring a smile to your face (for example, the doorbell plays Be Our Guest)! The artwork in the villa is probably my favorite of the features, but the view from the balcony was pretty amazing as well, and I can’t wait to stay here someday!
Number Five – Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind **Spoiler Alert**
It just so happened that our travel dates lined up with the official opening of the newest attraction at Epcot, and we were very excited to experience the out-of-this-world adventure of Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind!
It all starts with a tour of the Galaxarium, where visitors learn about Xandar’s technological accomplishments, but when your tour doesn’t go as planned, you’ll join Star-Lord, Groot, and the rest of the gang on a chase through space and time. Featuring a reverse-launch, 360-degree rotations, and an upbeat soundtrack reminiscent of the films, this new and thrilling ride became a fast favorite for me! I spent the entire ride grinning from ear to ear as our car speedily swirled through the cosmos with some of our favorite Avengers!
At the moment, there is no regular standby queue for the ride, yet there are two ways that guests can try to experience the attraction. The first is to join the virtual queue using the My Disney Experience app and see if you can get a boarding group that will be called back later in the day to ride. The second option is to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane entry time for the attraction. Both the virtual queue and Individual Lightning Lane spots are limited and subject to availability. Our group chose to purchase an Individual Lightning Lane entry time, and our experience in doing so at 7am the morning of our visit was smooth and seamless. In my opinion, it was also definitely worth it!
As I’m sure you can tell, I had a blast making magical new memories with my teammates, and this list is just a handful of the fun escapades we shared during our recent trip! My “must-try” list continues to grow, and as I dream and prepare for my next Disney adventure, I can’t wait to see what other exciting experiences the future may hold!