A “Palace” right next to the “Kingdom”

I recently went on a quest to learn more about the Disney Springs area hotels. This stemmed from the fact that the Walt Disney World Resorts were getting full, by that, I mean sold out. So where do you stay when that happens? What are your options? I no longer wanted to be “in the dark” when it came to these questions, so off I went to explore. AND I found something unexpected!

I expected to learn about each hotel and be able to recommend a good “alternative” when the Walt Disney Resorts are not available. I did not expect to find resorts that have unbelievable amenities, spacious rooms, and price points that are far lower than Walt Disney World Resorts.

One of the biggest hurdles these resort have is how they are referenced. We should start to call them by their title, “Official Walt Disney World Hotels.” They are not a “Good Neighbor” hotel. This distinction became VERY clear the moment I began looking at their properties. The Official Walt Disney World Hotels have a much higher level of amenities, standards, services, and benefits that other “hotels” don’t. This distinction sets them above the others and it is something the hotels are very proud of, and rightfully so.

I would like to share with you my experience at the Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace Disney Springs Area; to shorten it, I call it the Hilton Palace.

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This complex picture, taken from their website, was the only one to really do the property justice showing the proximity and all the amenities.  

First Impressions: When you drive up to the carport, there are friendly valets to greet you and direct you. The parking fees at this resort are: $10.00 per overnight for self parking and $24.00 per overnight for valet. The lobby is open, airy and very inviting, with Sunnies, the lounge, just steps away.

The main dining venue here is Letterpress, which is decorated with, of course, letters–all sorts. I was here without my kids, but I imagine them having fun trying to find words to spell out and recognize. This overlooks the back nature preserve which makes you forget that you are just steps away from Disney Springs. Sundays have a character breakfast from 8:30 – 11:30 am, and at a cost of only $30.00 per adult, it is one of the better Character Dining values at Disney. Just remember — the Disney Dining Plan is not accepted here, but you won’t miss it!

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At Letterpress, there are letters everywhere! (Notice them on the ceiling!)

There is also room service, and Citrus 28, a little grab and go market, that will meet all your hunger needs.

The hotel rooms are very well appointed and new. Room Types – This is one area to really pay attention to. They have standard rooms with 2 queen beds, but they have Tower Rooms with either a view of Disney Springs, or Epcot. When I say “view” I mean an un obstructed, sweeping view. The hidden gem of room categories here are the Island Suites — you may also see the term used as Family Suites. Depending on the bed configuration in them, they can sleep 4-6 people and are a whopping 800 square feet.

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This is the floor plan of the Island Suite.

Up until now, as impressive as the rooms, restaurants, and lobby are, I have yet to tell you about the item that will put this on your must-do list — the Pool and Float Lagoon. It has a “beach entry” area that is just inviting you to relax and unwind after a day at the theme parks, or a day you just set aside time for relaxation. In addition to the pool area, there are also cabanas for rent, lawn games to play, and Shades (the poolside bar) for the adults to unwind in….

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The Swimming area, an oasis waiting for you.

Some of the benefits I have not yet mentioned are the walkway to Disney Springs, where there is endless dining and entertainment options. (If you have not experienced the benefits of walking verses taking Disney transportation, let me enlighten you, it is wonderful!) Scheduled Disney transportation every 30 minutes to the theme parks, and Extra Magic Hours are included in your resort fee of $28.00 per night .

Here is the best part– the prices. You get “Deluxe” amenities at a “Moderate” hotel price. Standard Rooms in June start at $209.00 per night. Remember that spacious “Island Suite” I mentioned, that starts at $334.00 per night.

The Hilton Palace is truly a place to refresh at the end of the day, so you can get up and do it all again tomorrow!

It is Time to “B” impressed!

Recently I have had to look at different accommodations when considering a trip to Walt Disney World.  That lead me on a quest to explore some “adjacent” resorts and properties  and I thought I would write about one of them that stood out to me.  This may just give you some information to explore something different.

The B Resort and Spa

The B Resort and Spa blew me away.  I did not expect to find such a gem, like I can’t stop thinking about it and all the “extra’s” it offers.  This B Resort is very proud of it’s it’s heritage and  unique brand.  There are only 5 “B Resorts” in the United States and each one has it’s own personality.  Interesting piece of trivia, the word “Be” is the third most used word in the English language.  

You will know you arrived by the welcome mat that awaits you.

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An invitation to let you know you arrived and Disney is just a few steps away.

A very clean, open, and inviting lobby is your first impression that this resort is different than what is typically found at this price point.  The signature chair that is found at all “B Resorts” sits directly across from the water wall, begging for your first of many “selfies” on the property.

The Clean lobby with the B Resort Signature Chair

The rooms here are mainly classified as:

  • Chic Room- Your Standard well appointed room
  • Captivating Room – A Chic room located in the Tower building on a mid level floor.
  • Stunning Room- A Chic room on a top level floor in the tower building
  • B-Enhanced room – A Chic Room that also has an attached parlor, in case you need a little extra room to unwind in.

There are few other room categories that you will find, but these are the main ones.

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A Stunning room with 2 queen beds

Another room type the they have is a Captivating Pool Side.  These rooms have a gate that leads directly out to the pool with it’s private courtyard.  If you are looking for easy access to the pool, this is it!

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Captivating Poolside room with private terrace leading directly to the pool.

The pool itself is not a featured filled pool complex that other resorts have.  It does not have a life guard and I would not recommend it if you have young children as there is no splash zone.  There is a zero entry at one end with a couple of bubblers that would prove entertainment for young children.  But if your children are over the age of 10 and love to burn energy at the end of a long day, this pool will certainly meet that requirement.

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Zero entry pool with bubbles for a fun play time

Another very unique thing that this resort has is their B Signature elements, one specifically is the B Humane.  Each of the B Resorts throughout the United States adopts a native creature to that resorts region to help protect it.  In your room you will find a plush animal waiting for you.  This can be purchased from your room or in the gift shop and a portion of the sale goes back to support organizations that protect the creature.

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“Bensen” the B Humane creature that awaits you in your room

The food at the B Resort and Spa should be a destination all its own.  The American Kitchen Bar and Grill has a huge array of offerings that can easily accommodate any dietary need and choice.  (As someone who needs to eat Gluten Free I found a variety of tasty dishes here that I am anxious to try..)  They also source all their foods from Florida Local Farms.

Here is a link to the menu.   This is current as of January 2018.

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American Kitchen Bar and Grill has a variety of options for you.

The B Resort and Spa in the Disney Springs area of Walt Disney World is amazing.  The benefits and features of this resort surprised me.  The most shocking part is the value, the rates start in “low” season at $119.00 per night, there is also a resort fee of $28.00 per room/per night.  Here are a few of the highlights of the room.

  • Well Appointed rooms with 2 Queen Beds
  • Interior Hallways
  • Resort shuttle to Disney Parks
  • Waiting distance to Disney Springs
  • Aveda bath products
  • On site restaurant, store, and gift shop
  • Extra Magic Hours Participant
  • Fast Pass Selections at 60 days

This hotel is one of the best bargains in Disney Springs.  It is unique, affordable, clean, and best of all, right where you need to “B”.

Feel free as any questions you have.

 

 

 

They Let You Do That?

I recently traveled to California for a quick 2 night cruise onboard the Disney Wonder out of San Diego and 3 nights at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim.  It was a lovely quick get away.  I had a two realizations on this trip.

  1. When traveling in southern California and you wear mouse ears, nobody really gives you a second glance.  They just assume you are either going to / or traveling from Disneyland.
  2. There was many opportunities to show my ID for various things.   I would get out my ID, I would smile and hand it over and wait….wait for the comment “They Let You Do That?”  Everyone said some form of that in disbelief.  Many, after looking at the ID for a few seconds would then begin to talk about the restrictions their state has on their ID photos.  I learned more than anticipated.  The other thing that was interesting was they would always turn around to show someone else.  (Which I smile and chuckle at.)

Funny thing is, with my ID I don’t believe I have anyone ever comment about my weight or height on it.  I just don’t think that even have ever seen that. I do not have to renew it until 2018, and I will be waiting until the very last moment!  It will be hard to give it up for sure.

The Ears That Never Went Anywhere Yet

These ears are ones I have not actually worn yet.  It isn’t that I don’t want to, I just feel I haven’t had the occasion.  Since they are similar in many ways, I thought I would tell you about them at the same time.

These both are very fancy to me.  The first pair remind me of a grieving widow who would have worn the veil over her face.  However on the other hand it is also so elaborate that it could also be used as a formal wedding headgear as well.  If it wasn’t black, that is.

This pair was purchased at Walt Disney World. I did bring this pair home myself, verses having them shipped.  The trick with transporting this style of ears is really not “smashing” the feathers or other adornments, which is another reason they are best worn when in transport.

Another fun fact about these ears, these were the reason of the size of each shadow box I made.  Because there were so large it was hard to get the scale right so make each box the same size but have the ears look good in them.

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The next pair is very similar.  It is hard to tell from the picture but the “ear” part is covered with lace and then it has a small simple vail that is worn in back.  Again, I have never worn this pair.  They may make an appearance for Halloween as it tends to match more gothic outfits, of which I don’t have many of those.

This pair was purchased at Walt Disney World as well, but separately from the first pair I mentioned here.  Much easier to transport as the adornments are limited and it isn’t nearly as frilly.

An interesting thing to note about this particular pair, the bow is on the left side.  Most of the other ears have all the adornments (bows, feathers, and mini hats) on the right side.

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I hope you have found this interesting about these ears.  If you have suggestions where I can appropriately wear them, I would love to hear it.

A Gift from Mary

I thought I would highlight different pairs of ears to let you know how each pair came to live with me.  Obviously some stories are more interesting than others, but they all have stories.  I thought I would start with the pair in a post.  Also note, as I take the close up photos you can see how I attach them in the shadow boxes, it is a 3M hook.  This moves so it is flexible, it allows me to change the display when I want and wear which ever ears I want.

The Pink and Orange Ears

The Pink and Orange Pair

I received this pair as a gift from my friend Mary in the spring of 2017.  She saw them and knew I didn’t have this pair.  Which is really saying something because sometimes I get lost with what I do and don’t have.  She told me how she tried them on and compared all the ears against one another.  These, she proclaimed were “the best ones on the rack”.

I love wearing these ears not only because they are comfy for a long day, or because they match so many of my clothes, but mostly because they were hand picked for me.  Somebody thought of me when I wasn’t with them, and they knew how much I would treasure the ears.  So these earn a place on my wall as a result.

 

The Mundane Daily Routine

I thought I would share with you how mundane my everyday tasks can be.  I needed to go into town for the Post Office to mail a few things.  I decided to wear my Mouse Ears.  The most interesting part about it wasn’t the fact everyone stared at me, nor was it the fact when I crossed the street the cars immediately came to a stop.  It was the fact while I was in line there it seemed to be a non stop conversation with other patrons.  Not about the ears, but just about things in general.  They really do make me more approachable.

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At the Post Office

 

On a different note, my daughter was waiting in the car for me while I ran in and she saw the cars stop for me.  I told her, “If I ever get hit by a car with the mouse ears on, she needs to take pictures and start to document it, then of coarse post it here for everyone to read.”  She looked only slightly horrified, but then laughed and said it would properly be my highest read post.  I am glad she sees the vision.

 

A Room Full

It has been quite a while since I posted.  A LOT has happened but yet a lot still stays the same.  Let me fill you in on a few details…

I had a major surgery about 18 months ago and I stopped wearing my ears everywhere.  I honestly did not want people staring at me because I in pain and just grumpy.  There is a certain expectation about friendliness when you wear the ears.  BUT then the last month I really want to start wearing them again.

On September 1, 2017 I will begin wearing them again.  Everywhere except church and church type functions and anything where it would be obviously disrespectful.

Here is a couple pictures of my living room.  As my collection grew I was finding it difficult to display them nicely.  One day I said to my husband, “I would like to make my ears look like pieces of art.  I think I would like to frame them.” The idea of shadow boxes was born.  I really like the look of them.  I made it so I can just take them off the wall for easy wearing.  I started with 20 ears and made 20 shadow boxes, however my collection is well over 20 ears, that is just the headband kind.

A little bit about my collection.  I don’t just buy any ears with a Disney Parks logo.  I need to like them or they need to have meaning for me.  Some of the newer, “puffy” bow styles, I am not a fan of.  But there are others where I can not collect them fast enough.

In upcoming posts, I thought I would share with you the story behind each pair.  Just like the mouse ears you may have at home in your closet, they tell a story of how they came to be there.

Disney Night at the Ball Park

The other night my daughter Kate and I went to a #stpaulsaints baseball game. Right off the bat (no pun intended) we found great parking for $5 at union depot (2 short blocks away) and payed for 2 $7 standing room tickets (which allowed us to stand anywhere in the concourse area). 
We wandered around for a little bit and when the game started we ended up in front of a handicapped section. The very nice security guard offered seats to us in the padded handicapped chairs, with the knowledge that if those seats were needed by someone handicapped, we would vacate the super cushy chairs. Our feet and our backs thanked her. We were in the section along the third base line and had a great view of the field. 
We attended the game because of the evenings theme (princesses/Disney). We wanted to fit in with all the like minded Disney fans. Only one other person we found was wearing mouse ears, but we saw lots of little girls wearing princess costumes and young women wearing tiaras. 
Some of the between inning entertainment was dressed as “Disney princesses”. They were engaging and entertaining for the fans. 
We got the usual stares, whispers, and inconspicuous points regarding my mouse ears that we’ve grown accustom to. There was one bold gentleman who had a friend who wanted to hear about the ears. After the explanation about the blog and why I do it, he had me sign his friends shirt. So technically that was my first autograph. He does not truly know the value of that shirt. My goal is in 2 years to see the shirt on eBay. 
All in all it was a great night. Shout out to the #stpaulsaints and all the staff we encountered for an exceptional, accommodating, and family friendly experience that could fit any budget. 
Enjoy the pictures! 

I got mail!

Okay, so this is so exciting I can barely contain myself.  I feel like I just broke the rules and didn’t get caught.

I was due for a new drivers license this year.  So, of coarse I wait until I go to my salon to get the photo taken.  (What good woman doesn’t)  As I drive up to the DMV I wonder if I can get my picture taken with my ears on.  So I put them on in the car and confidently walk into the office.  Fill out paper work and then wait.  Once it is my turn I casually walk up to the counter and then proceed to pay and now it’s time for the photo.  The lady looks at me and asks if I wanted the photo with the ears on.  (phesh, she doesn’t know me well)  I said yes.  She takes it after conferring with someone. She them proceeds to tell me that they check everything at the state level so they will reject it there.

Then today, I GOT MAIL!

Have a wonderful day.  By the way, I am committed to this now!

The Worst New Year’s Resolution EVER!

Okay, believe it or not I am still at this.  I DO wear my Ears everywhere still.  However I am horrible about blogging about it.  So I thought to myself, “great, that’s my New Year’s Resolution!”  Well did you look at today’s date…January 8th.  I can’t even keep up with that!  YIKES.  Time to move on and let you know a couple of fun stories.  (That is one advantage of not blogging for a while, I have lots of them)

Since I last blogged I have made my way to Florida and Walt Disney World.  That was fun, I managed to fit right in and it didn’t seem all that abnormal to be wearing the Ears everywhere.  I was really looking forward to getting some new sets however when I went into the store, it was more of seeing all the ones I did have.  I found only one new pair there.  I did have to replace by “go-to” black and red sequined pair.  The stitching was coming off one of the Ears.  Who knew you could wear them out.  I went to grab a pair off the shelf at the store and tried it on and guess what:  They didn’t fit right.  I tried a second and third pair and each was a little off.  So I took all the ears off the display and laid them out to examine them.  I found the Ears to be very different from Ear to Ear.  Some were spaced differently, some were sewn with them tilted too forward, some were just too flimsy.  Who knew it would be so difficult.  After about 45 minutes I selected the best one and left the store.

Trying to find the “perfect Ears”

I need to give a “shout out” to the girl at the Aeropostle store at the MOA. She was excited to be a part of the experience!

I also have something upcoming where there is a gentleman who is so excited to be a part of “My Year in Mouse Ears” that he has written to me already.

Let me explain: My family and I are going on a Caribbean Cruise the first week of February.  We are doing our own independent shore excursions.  On a recommendation from my friend she suggested we contact “King David” for our excursion in Belize.  She had nothing but great things to say.  So I did.  His pre-arrival service and communication has been great.  I asked him if he knew who would be our guide for the day (I realize we are a month away however I am as bad as my worst client when it comes to this stuff) his reply was this;  “Angela, I will be your guide. … I am looking forward to serve you. i am looking forward to  Be part of my year in mickey Mouse Ears. cheers…”  Made me smile.

All in all we have had a great couple of months.  I look forward to sharing about the Christmas Day Parade on ABC because that was truly funny.

For those of you wondering…today is day 471!  WOW

At Walt Disney World watching the coolest parade EVER “Festival of Fantasy”