On our last morning, we checked-out of the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, loaded our luggage in the rental, and headed to EPCOT. It was cold and rainy. The only cold, rainy day of our vacation.
We loved staying at the Omni. Our room was lovely, the pool was amazing, and the staff exceeded our expectations. It wasn't more than a fifteen minute drive to WDW. For an adult trip, it couldn't have been more perfect. However, we thought that it would be fun to stay on Disney property with the kids during the summer 2016 trip. In particular, we thought it would be a special experience to stay at a monorail resort, something that neither Dan, nor I, had ever done. Rather than heading inside EPCOT, we caught the monorail to check out the three WDW Resorts located on its route.
First up, The Polynesian Village Resort. The Polynesian is one of my favorite resorts to visit for dining. The Tonga Toast (banana stuffed french toast) at the Kona Cafe is divine, and I really enjoy the family style multi-course character dinner at O'hana. The tropical theming and lush foliage around the pool complex, quickly pushed this to be our top pick. I'm not sure if Disney has changed the policy regarding water sports on the Seven Seas Lagoon in the wake of an alligator killing a toddler in June 2016? This is a possibility. They have added fences and more warning signs. When we were checking out the resort, we were excited by the idea of renting a boat.
We saw the over-water bungalows and decided that this is where we needed to stay with the kids. They are so cute! However, when we tried to book them, they were also sold out.
Our second stop was The Grand Floridian Resort. I knew that this was just too fancy for our family vacation, but isn't this hotel gorgeous? I love the Victorian theme. Look at the Gingerbread House! It's huge and smelled amazing. I don't know when, but one day, I'm staying here. It's on the bucket-list!
The Contemporary Resort was our last stop. This has never been my favorite, primarily due to the modern (1970's modern) theming. It has a cold, sparse feel to me, especially the pool area, which was our primary concern for our summer vacation. We are a family that likes our pool time. Dan got excited, because the monorail actually goes through the building, which is snazzy. The History buff in me, gets a kick out of The Contemporary being the site of Nixon's famous, "I'm not a Crook" speech. After walking around the grounds, I warmed up to The Contemporary, as Dan's enthusiasm started to rub off on me.
So, where did we stay for our summer 2016 trip? None of the above.
We really wanted a two bedroom suite and the options for these hotels were both limited ( including sold-out) and very expensive. Since we had such a great trip staying off-site and didn't feel like we had missed out on any of that Disney Magic, we decided to stay off-site. We found the perfect kid-friendly family resort, close to the parks that met our needs for a fraction of the price of Disney...more on that in a future post!