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As Summer draws to a close, we
reminisce about our travels along the holiday road and days spent at
the sea side. In this edition of the INTERCOT insider, we take a
journey along the holiday road to Walt Disney World and check out
resorts and restaurants that conjure the sea side vacations of old.
We also find out how Disney is saluting our military members and how
families can save big with big accommodations this fall. Hang on to
them hats and glasses, cause this here's the most informative ride
on the internet!
with Magical Journeys Travel
United States Military will be
able to make even more Memories at Walt Disney World Resort and
Disneyland Resort in 2012-2013, with Special Tickets and Room Rates.
The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Minimum
length of stay requirements may apply for Friday or Saturday
arrivals. Valid Military ID will be required upon check-in and
military member (or spouse) must stay in the room. No group rates or
other discounts apply. Advance reservations required. Contact
INTERCOT's Official Travel Agency, Magical Journeys at
1-570-785-3283, or visit their web site for additional details and
Details and Discussion
<<Home Away from
Home with Faline>>
-- Disney's Beach Club Villas
We recently completed our first
stay in a one-bedroom Beach Club Villa. Let me start with the
positives. The space was adequate for the two of us. We had a second
floor room with a view of the Beach Club Villas pool. Despite some
rather lively, and loud, late night swimmers, we were never bothered
by pool noise when we were inside our room with the sliding doors
closed. The location is excellent – within walking distance of both
Epcot and Disney Studios. The vacation club pool is quite nice – a
good size and we never found it overly crowded. Additionally, this
resort allows access to the large water park like pool shared
between the Beach Club and the Yacht Club.
Our room was quite some distance from the main building but was
close in proximity to the villas pool. As mentioned, the suite was
adequate for the two of us but I would have found it tight had it
been shared with a larger family. The common space appeared a bit
stingy with not much floor space between the couch, large trunk like
coffee table and television. Additionally, the u-shaped kitchen
setup seemed to eat into the common space rather than add to it. If
we were trying to use the table to feed a family, that would also
have felt very tight.
One enters the space from an interior hallway. As one steps inside,
there is a good sized entry space but this seemed to be more “wasted
space” that might have been better utilized if there had been a way
to include this space as part of the common living space. From this
foyer, you can make the choice to enter the common space or move
into the master bedroom area.
As you enter the common space, there is a bench like seat with a
table in front of it. The u-shaped kitchen space is across from this
table. The refrigerator was not a full sized refrigerator – I’d call
it ¾ size. It did not include an ice maker. The kitchen does include
a garbage disposal. There is a breakfast bar on the opposite side of
the kitchen counter but rather than being at stool level, it is at
regular dining level which would make it almost impossible to pass
food over the counter to those seated at the breakfast bar. Instead,
one would need to walk around the counter to deliver plates to the
breakfast bar. The living area contained a pullout couch, coffee
table, tv area and a slider to the balcony.
If, instead of moving to the common space as you entered through the
hallway, you instead went to the side, you’d find a bi-fold door
that hides the stacked washer/dryer. It was wonderful to have the
convenience of these appliances. However, the proximity of this
closet to the dining table created a fair amount of noise when the
units were in operation. Additionally, the dryer could be heard if
one is sitting on the balcony while the dryer is being used.
Beyond the washer/dryer unit is a perplexing series of doors. I’d
like to meet the architect that designed this space! I understand
they were trying to make the space usable to both the occupants of
the master bedroom as well as to those who might be sleeping in the
living room but the result are doors that practically run into each
other and/or make some of the spaces unusable if the doors are open.
A door closes off the walk-in shower and adjacent sink from the
common space. Another door closes this space off from the spa tub
and sink area. Another door in the walk-in shower area leads to a
room that contains only the toilet. There is another door that
closes the master bedroom area (including spa tub and sink) off from
the common area. A door off the spa tub and sink area leads to the
only closet. The closet is tucked at the back of the space which
contains a small hallway leading to the closet. The purpose of this
space appears to be to accommodate the width of the door and/or the
electrical utilities also located here. The master bedroom also has
sliders that lead to the balcony.
The balcony is quite long and contained four chairs and two small
patio tables. These were grouped into two groups of two chairs each
sharing one small patio table. One grouping was located by the
master bedroom; the other by the common room. However, the balcony
is very narrow. If the chair is far enough away from the rail to sit
in, it is too close to the wall behind you to get around without
moving the chair to get back into the interior of the room. Moving
these chairs around results in quite a lot of noise.
Back to the doors. If the door to the toilet room is open, no-one
can use the sink by the shower. Likewise, if the door to the shower
room is open, no-one can use the sink by the spa tub. Here is what
we resorted to doing. When retiring for the night, we would close
the two doors that led to the common space. We would leave the door
between the spa tub room and the shower room ajar. We would also
leave the door from the shower room to the toilet room ajar. This
would allow someone to use the facilities during the course of the
evening and still be able to access the chosen sink – albeit with
some stepping around the partially open doors.
The master bedroom is a good size and, in addition to the bed,
contained two night stands, a desk, a comfy chair, a tv cabinet that
doubled as a dresser and a bench which also had a drawer in it for
additional storage. As already noted, one could gain access to the
balcony from this room as well.
Still, I slept on the side of the bed closest to the balcony and
furthest from the toilet facilities. I can tell you it took a full
22 steps to walk from the bed to the toilet which is a considerable
Our room was rather “tired” – certainly some updating would be in
order here. One corner of one lower wall outside the shower may even
have been a bit moldy. The shower, itself, was oddly shaped though
was spacious enough. Our room also contained the smaller sized safe
with a key – wish they would replace these with the larger safes
with the combinations!
Overall, we were able to make the space work for us and I would not
hesitate to stay here again in the future. Be aware, though, the
space is a bit quirky and may be cozy for a family, especially one
with older children.
<<A Taste of the
World with Mickey'sGirl>>
Atmosphere: I really like the “hominess” of Kouzzina, and the open
kitchen. They have removed the large feature dining table from the
middle of the restaurant, but otherwise it looks like a
Mediterranean style restaurant. Some narrow panels have been added
at a couple of points in the main section, which has helped with the
Food: Harry (son 14) LOVES the food at Kouzzina, but was not overly
impressed last year, so we chose to forgo it this year. Plans are
made to change though, and at the last moment, Brian (husband) was
able to obtain a late dinner seating on our last day at the
BoardWalk. Harry had Sauteed Shrimp with Garlic and Herbs served
over Warm Spiced Hummus and Peppadew relish. Although he would not
share the shrimp, we did have some of the Hummus and relish on some
bread, and it was incredible. I could have sat there eating it like
an idiot all night long! But, I had my own appetizer to deal with.
Brian and I both had Goat Cheese Sto Fourno - Baked Goat Cheese,
Pequillo Peppers, Kalamata Olives, Artichoke Hearts, and Greek Olive
Oil. The warm cheese was fabulous (we probably should have split
one, it was very rich, and quite a large serving in my opinion).
Euan (son 8.5) had his old standby, Calamari. He liked the Kouzzina
Calamari best due to its saltiness.
For our mains, Euan had the kids Grilled Chicken Strips - served
with macaroni topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella served with
green beans and fruit salad. He loved the chicken, but
uncharacteristically left the pasta (Euan is a man who LOVES his
carbs). Harry had the Fisherman's Stew - Scallops, seasonal Fish,
Shellfish, Fennel, Grilled Bread, and Ouzo Butter. He loved the
mussels, and the flavour of the broth. He feels he has found his new
Kouzzina favourite. Brian and I both had the Kouzzina Trio - Tasting
size portions of Pastitsio, Char-grilled Lamb Burger, and
Cinnamon-stewed Chicken with Orzo. I think this is a good way of
trying several items without becoming overwhelmed by them. I think
the Pastitsio is very rich, and a full portion would be too much for
me, and the Cinnamon-stewed Chicken is very tasty, but the taste can
get tiresome. I like the small servings, and so did Brian. 4/5
Service: As horrible as it sounds, we pre-judged our server. He was
very young and seemed rather disorganized upon his first visit.
Well, we were wrong. He was a very attentive server, who knew the
menu and recognized that our children were also “dining”. I really
appreciate it when my kids are treated as patrons, and when their
opinions about their meals are sought. He was good. 5/5
Kouzzina’s has redeemed itself, so I am really glad Brian made that
last minute reservation. We were there for well over an hour, and
never felt rushed. Overall rating – 4/5
Big River Grille
Atmosphere: I think eating outside on the Boardwalk would be nice in
the evening, but we ate indoors at the ridiculously small tables.
There was no atmosphere at all. 1/5
Food: We shared an order of standard pub food nachos to start. I
ordered a salmon Caesar salad, because the room we had overlooked
the outdoor seating at the Big River Grille, and people had been
ordering them all week. I’ll just say that they look better than
they tasted. The salad was basically romaine lettuce with far too
much dressing. The salmon portion was good, but it was a bit over
cooked. Perhaps it had been pre-cooked then reheated. Brian had a
house beer and the pulled pork sandwich, which had the opposite
problem from my salad, it was very dry, and lacking in sauce. Harry
had the Hickory Bacon Burger which he enjoyed (A burger is a burger,
Mom!), and Euan had a kid’s cheeseburger. 1/5
Service: In all fairness, our server was fine. She was friendly and
efficient and did a good job. 3/5
I can honestly say I will never harken the doorway of the Big River
Grille again. The food was horrible, and the seating area inside was
cramped and lackluster. Overall rating – 1/5
More the Merrier>>
with All Star Vacation Homes
-- Fall into
All Star Vacation Homes is
pleased to announce the return of its fall specials “Stay 4 Nights,
Receive 5th Night Free” in any private pool home or condo and “Stay
3 Nights, Receive 4th Night Free” at Lighthouse Key Resort & Spa
during select travel dates. All Star Vacation Homes’ two specials
provide even more savings for families trying to stretch their
vacation dollar this fall.
Vacation rentals provide:
-One home or condo instead of several, separate hotel rooms.
-Fully equipped kitchen for savings on meals and snacks
-In-home and resort amenities for endless entertainment options,
such as private pools and resort pools, game rooms, movie theaters
and sport courts.
Guests reserving one of All Star’s private pool homes, condos or
town homes for 5 nights or Lighthouse Key Resort & Spa condos for 4
nights, for select travel dates, will receive one free night valued
at hundreds of dollars in savings.
View available units,
discount details, and select dates
<<The Holiday Road
There are two trains of thought
on driving down to Walt Disney World (WDW), one is to get there as
soon as possible and the other is to take your time and see all the
sights the road to WDW has to offer. To decide what is right for you
will have to do with how well you and your family travel in the car
and how long your stay at the World is. On average it will take two
days to get to WDW and another two days to get back home. For longer
stays it is more justifiable to take longer traveling to WDW.
Shorter stays do require you to spend less time on the road to
maximize your Park time. You will also have to decide on what route
you take based on a number of factors outside of your control, like
the time of year, weather conditions and road construction. Using
AAA or many internet based map tools can help you decide on the way
For the drive, there are several things to consider to help fight
off the boredom that can arise for your passengers, and help you as
a driver to keep your mind on the road. Several required items for
your drive to consider, but not limited to, are as follows:
-DVD system, preferably one that will play through your car’s stereo
system. After all, the driver deserves to enjoy themselves on the
drive as well.
-Books, Games and Game systems.
-Pillows and blankets- for nap times.
-Maps for everyone to follow.
-- The Direct Route --
Before our trip begins, our two boys will choose what movies they
want to take and on the drive they will get to alternate their
choices. As for the drive, we prefer to drive though with only one
overnight stop on the way. We will only stop for fuel/meals and any
necessary pit stops. It is a 20+hour drive for us and we try to
leave early in the morning and drive for most of the day, usually
putting in a 14 hour drive. The second day will be a “short” 6 hour
drive. As driver, I try to let everyone know when we cross the state
boundaries or pass important landmarks. This way everyone will know
where we are and be able to follow our progress on their map. When
we stop for the night we make sure that we stay at a hotel that has
a pool and a good pizza place close by. We will use the pool to
allow our boys to burn off their pent up energy before we have
dinner. After we eat we will go to bed. Early to bed and early to
rise is requirement for our drives.
The hotels we usually stay at include continental breakfast with
your stay. This way we save some money on meals and get everyone
well fed before we start. Before hitting the highway, I will fill up
the gas tank, this way I won’t have to stop again until shortly
before we get to Walt Disney World! As a bonus we will stop at the
Florida Welcome centre to stretch our legs and enjoy a glass of
fresh Florida orange or grapefruit juice. By this time we are only a
few short hours away and everyone starts to get the feeling of
finally arriving. We all enjoy passing through the Walt Disney World
gates once we arrive on property. We tend to arrive at our resort
just after lunch. First we check in, and since our room usually
isn’t ready, we will then head to the parks. Our journey down is
over and our vacation at Walt Disney World begins.
... Stayed tuned for part two
<< Conclusion >>
starts and the sunny days of summer set into our memories, there is
a lot to look forward to in the fall days ahead. Between the
Halloween parties, Food and Wine Festival, and the
Anniversary party; there's lots of great reasons to visit the
Walt Disney World resort. We'll be back in a few weeks with more
reviews, news, and tips to help you plan those great trips. See ya
<< Thank You To Our
The INTERCOT Insider and INTERCOT.com
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