Florida Guide > Disney General
Inside The Other Disney
Disney is not only about Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and waterparks. There are Disney Resorts and Hotels.
Having sorted things out at our villa after hurricane Jeanne, Kath and I decided to do something different. We set off at midday to Disney. After paying the $8 parking fee we headed for Wilderness Lodge. This gated Resort has a Security guard on duty, who very politely enquired of our business, and we said that we would like a meal at Wilderness Lodge. Photo identification is required to gain access. On arrival at the Resort, there was ample parking and whilst walking to the hotel, animal footprints in the concrete and a bush clipped in the shape of a Buffalo gave a feeling of something different. The sight on entering the soaring lobby is quite breathtaking. Very large with Indian artefacts on view and the four lights, high up in the roof, are in the shape of "half-size" Indian wigwams. A spring rises in the middle of the lobby and runs through the grounds to to a hot geyser which shoots off steam every half hour. On the left side of the lobby are two dining areas. The all-you-can-eat barbeque style Whispering Canyon Cafe and the Roaring Forks for snacks. Both on the slightly expensive side as was the Disney merchandise store. The same items, especially DVD's and CD's, were much cheaper at supermarkets. We assume the same goes for drinks because we noticed two families loaded with various drinks heading from the car park to the hotel! A pleasant short stroll through the grounds, past the pool brings you to the lake.
By the side of the lake is the bike shed. Here you can hire bikes of various sizes and descriptions to cycle along the secluded nature trails to do some wildlife spotting. It was just our bad luck that the trails were closed due to fallen timber caused by Jeanne.
The resort boat leaves the pier approx. at 20 minute intervals to go to the Magic Kingdom and calls at Fort Wilderness. Here you can get off the boat and look around Fort Wilderness. Stroll through the woodland trails or go pony trekking. The TRI-CIRCLE-D Ranch is here and has a petting farm with pony rides for little ones. The Disney horses are also stabled here. The laid back and rustic Trails End Buffeteria is the eatery here.
Back on the boat again, across the lake to Magic Kingdom. On arrival at Magic Kingdom take the next mono-rail on the short journey to the Contemporary Resort. This is the first stop and is in the centre of this huge "A" frame hotel. This is the home of Chef Mickey's where you can have breakfast or dinner and is probably the best character buffet. The Concourse Steakhouse for steak and prime rib and the California Grill are the restaurants here but both are pricey. The spectacular Magic Kingdom fireworks can be seen from the Grill, or you can walk up on the roof from where you get an even better view.
Catch the boat at the end of the pier and back to Wilderness Lodge and your car and hopefully a safe journey home.
We had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon at somewhere different and the best $8 worth in the Orlando area! The hotels and grounds are very clean as well you can imagine being Disney. We may be extremely biased, but we both agreed that, apart from the expensive costs of the hotels, the comfort, space, own pool and freedom of a villa is our definite preference.
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