Why you should stay at an Epcot area resort on Crescent Lake

If you don’t know where Crescent Lake is in Walt Disney World, there is a waterway canal located under the bridge that connect the UK Pavilion and the France Pavilion. If you follow that canal it leaks into a larger body of water called Crescent Lake. You have 5 resorts located on Crescent Lake, the Yacht & Beach Club, the Boardwalk, and the Swan & Dolphin Resorts.

Me personally I have never stayed at the Swan or the Dolphin since they are not owned by Disney, but are still located on Disney property. I have walked through them but haven’t stayed there, but while staying there you can still enjoy all that he Crescent Lake area offers.

I have stayed at the Boardwalk resort a few times. This restart is modeled after early 1900’s Atlantic City, not the current dump Atlantic City is now. The boardwalk has a number of fantastic dining options and entertainment options available. I love going to the ESPN Club for a lunch or casual dinner. I also love going here to watching a sporting event like the NCAA Tournament or Sunday football. I suggest getting there early on sundays during football season, it gets crowded quick. There are 3 other main restaurants there which are all very good, first is a restaurant not talked much about when talking Disneydining, and that’s he Big River Grille and brewery. This is a good stop for regular American style bar and grille food, and you have floor to ceiling glass windows so you can watch the beer brewing in action.

Flying Fish is a signature restaurant located on the Boardwalk which has some great seafood dishes, as well as some land options like rack of lamb and Filet Mignon. This is a signature restaurant so things can get pricey if you are on a tight budget, so be careful.

If you are looking for some good Italian food head over to Trattoria al Forno. Get some classic Italian dishes for dinner. The Lasgana and Ravioli are very good but I have not had a bad dish here. There is a character Bon Voyage breakfast featuring Rapunzel and Ariel also if that is your thing. If you have a young one who loves either one this may be something to try.

The Boardwalk is located right on Crescent Lake and is a short walk to the World Showcase entrance to Epcot, or can be a short boat ride on one of the Friendship fleet boats. For those who tend to lean towards going to Epcot or Hollywood studios more this resort can be the perfect one for you.

On my next post, I’ll go over my personal favorite, the Yacht and Beach Club.

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Cape May Cafe seafood dinner buffet at the Beach Club review

Located in the lobby of the Beach Club hotel you can find the Cape May Cafe. This restaurant holds an all you care to enjoy breakfast buffet with some great Disney characters, and also holds a seafood clam bake style buffet for dinner which is character free.

This buffet is usually a must do for my clan whenever we stay at the Beach Club, which is most of the time we visit Walt Disney World. But on occasion we will stay at a different DVC resort which makes getting to the Beach Club too great of a chore sometimes. But if we can get there we will. Dining reservations aren’t usually too hard to get for Cape May Cafe but reservations can fill up for the prime dinner hours.

One of the best parts about staying at he Beach Club is walking out to the pool in the evening and walking by the Cape May Cafe and taking in all the aromas from the dinner buffet. If you like seafood then this is for you. Don’t like seafood? Then maybe try a different location, but there are still lots of non seafood offerings at Cape Nay Cafe.

The highlight of the buffet, at least for me, are the crab legs available on the buffet. Now these aren’t king crab legs, but the singleness style, but still very good. If you have the patience to break them Open and clean them then you are on for a tasty treat. There is peel and eat boiled shrimp, depending on he night fried shrimp, mussels and other shell fish.  They have pretty good New England Clam Chowder and other seafood offerings. Also on certain nights there are bbq pork ribs. They have always had them on the buffet only on Wednesday and Saturday, but that schedule has changed to Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for them being offered. I just think he ribs are just ok, but other seem to like them and will make reservations for Cape May only on days the ribs are available.

Other offerings on a daily basis Are mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, Mac and cheese, a carving station, an array of salads, fruits, and other seasonal vegetables. For children there is a children’s area with chicken nuggets or tenders, pizza and string beans. They also have an area with a vast assortment of rolls and cornbread which is pretty good.

So there is lots to choose from for those who don’t care for seafood, but this buffet is made for the seafood lovers out there. With the shrimp, crab legs, mussels and other great seafood dishes this buffet is well worth it for you.

 

 

Via Napoli in Epcot, my new must go to Reataurant in DisneyWorld

I am from New Jersey, a short car ride or train ride into the city, and this area has some of the best pizza in all the world outside of Italy. I’ve been all around the country, and no one can beat NY/NJ pizza. So we are pretty serious about our pizza. But I’ll say Via Napoli in Epcot has pizza that can match it, if not surpass it.

A little background of Via Napoli. Almost Everything used in the restaurant is shipped from Naples. The tomatoes, the mozzarella, flour, yeast, everything except the water. Now it’s been a while since I have gotten something other than pizza here, but I assume the pasta, spices are shipped from Naples also. Everything for the pizza is from Italy except for 1 item, the water, and even the water is specially shipped from someplace in Pennsylvania because the ph levels are almost identical and exact to the water used in Napoli. They make sure any small detail is not overlooked(which is a very big thing with Disney).

On our last visit to Via Napoli we had a party of 7, and ordered 2 Large pizza pies, one Margherita and one Pepperoni. First the pepperoni pizza, and this is real pepperoni, not the packaged stuff you see in stores or pizzerias. This was fresh pepperoni, the taste was different and just better than the normal pepperoni you normally get. The crust on the Via Napoli pizza is so light and not heavy like you normally get in the states. The pizza doesn’t feel heavy and sit in your stomach. I really is amazing how light it is and you don’t walk away with a heavy feeling in your stomach, it is quite a good feeling. The sauces on the pizza a very good also, you don’t get a very overbearing flavor from the sauce, they don’t pound the pizza with spices like oregano or and other seasonings. It’s a light flavored sauce that compliments the pizza very well, it doesn’t take over the pizza with flavor.

With the Margherita pizza, it’s your standard Margherita, mozzarella, basil, light on the sauce. Another big diffeeence with normal pizzeria pizza and this pizza is the fact the mozzarella was so much fresher, and was “real” mozzarella. It wasn’t shredded mozzarella your normally see here on the United States. The flavor was quite different and again the mozzarella seemed lighter.

I had maybe four slices of pizza, and walked away not feeling full at all. The crust was thin but not too thin, honestly the thickness was perfect. I didn’t walk around Epcot with a heavy full stomach, it was a great feeling.

There are other entrees to order at Via Napoli, pastas and other Italian enteees and appetizers, but I come mainly for the pizza, and you can feed your family and not spend as much. We had 7 people and paid roughly $70 for everything including tip, $10 a person is pretty good if you ask me.

Next time you go to Walt Disney World make sure you make it a point to get a reservation for Via Napoli, and make sure you do because the restaurant was completely packed for dinner, and from what I can see on the my Disney experience app it is getting harder and harder to find reservations and the popularity of this true Italian pizzaria is growing and it’s not hard to see why

 

How does the new Parking fees effect your Walt Disney World budget

I’m sure you have realized by now that Walt Disney World will be charging their guests to park while staying at their resorts. If you are staying at a value resort you will be paying $13 a night to park at your resort, you will be paying $19 for a moderate Resort and $24 for the deluxe resorts. If staying for a week this could add up and eat up some of the money in your budget. I am going to look at how this can effect something things for the average customer and look at some of the thinking behind having these parking fees.

Now a large majority of the guests staying at Walt Disney World Resort do not bring a car to the resort. A large majority fly into Orlando International Airport, use the very convenient Magical Express to drive them to their resort they are staying at. This is a very good perk of staying on Disney Property. Disney also has an extensive transportation system whether it be by bus, boat or monorail, which makes he need for a car on property minimal if actually no need at all. But I do realize there is also a number of families that drive to DisneyWorld. My family used to drive from New Jersey every year, and this added expense can put a hurt of people. We all know he price of staying on property, it isn’t cheap, and now paying $91 to  $168 dollars to park for a 7 night stay just adds to it.

If you were driving and you have a family of four, would that increase in price be enough to make you look at flying more seriously? Probably not, I’d think the recent increase in the price of gas would be more of an issue. If you are a family who is going for the first time and driving or a family who goes once every now and then, is this additional expense going to stop you from visiting? Probably not, it may annoy you and inconvenience you, but in the grand scheme of it it’s a very small cost compared to the price of the resort accommodations, tickets, dining plan, etc. Lets say you stay at a moderate, $200 for a week plus tickets and Dining, $133 seems minute. But to some it may be a big deal. I’ve seen on message boards and social media the outrage of some on this issue. For me, I own DVC and for the most part most of my stays are booked through that, so paying for parking if I ever have a car won’t be an issue as of now for me since if staying at a DVC resort using points I will not be charged. But if I were charged and found having a car was a necessity I would have to find a way to save the parking fees in other ways. It may be one nights going to a quick service for dinner instead of going to a table service, or making lunch in our room rather than going out for lunch. There are many small ways to save big that you wouldn’t think would save you much. Granted some may say it won’t change what we spend and some may say they won’t change a thing. It’s all up to each individual, people will see things differently and to each their own.

Finally, in all honesty  if you fly into MCO  there really is little to no need for a rental car, and I will assume that any of those who do rent a car will think twice about doing so from now on. I used to rent a car mainly because we have been visiting that area for so long we know many good restaurants off site that we love to eat at. Also my mom, sister and the Wife like to go to some of the outlets around the area and do some shopping. But in recent years I’ve found that it’s more of a burden to have the car, especially with Uber and Lyft becoming so popular. For my trip in August, if I can find a great deal on a rental car I may book one, but I won’t be heartbroken if I don’t find one and end up not renting a car.

My next post will look at the ramifications of the parking fees and psychology on them from a Disney viewpoint.

Is a Disney Cruise worth the cost?

Disney Cruise Line is one of in not THE highest rated cruise lines out there. People seem to rave about any one of the Disney Cruise Line ships that they have been on. I hear great things about their own island, Castaway Cay. I hear great things about the food, hear great things about the entertainment, and I hear how great they are for families. But is a Disney Cruise worth the price tag? My answer is 100% no!

Now I realize people will disagree with me. Disney lovers are a very loyal bunch, and vociferous about their loyalty. But I am talking all about value and you do not get that with a Disney Cruise. Actually the per person rates on a Disney Cruise is astronomical.

I am a huge Disney fan, have been to Disney World more times than I can count. But, I’ve also have been a Disney Vacation Planner and I have searched for Quotes for Disney cruises and the prices are insane. I actually felt bad booking them for clients.

Let’s look at it like this, I searched a Disney cruise out of New York City. Now I will tell you this, cruises out of NYC are just more expensive then those out of Florida, just the way it is. But the price per person  was $1900, and that was with a discount. Putting in for a inside cabin for a family of 4 and I am paying $5000+ for a 7 day cruise. In contrast I have myself booked on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas in October, have a balcony room and I paid $1900 for my family of 4! You see the slight discrepancy there in price? I do not care how much you love Disney or their cruises, but the Disney Wonder nor the Fantasy, or any other ship they come out with will be over $3000 better than a RCL ship, or any other top cruise line for that matter.

Now if you look at prices for Disney Cruises for 3,4,5,7 day cruises you will be shocked. A 3 day cruise is just as expensive as a 7 day cruise on another cruise line, and in some cases more. A 7 day cruise on a DCL ship will be more than twice as expensive than a 7 day cruise on RCL, Princess and Celebrity. So you can go on 1 Disney cruise vacation, or for the same price go on the Celebrity Equinox twice, or the Princess Regal Princess, or the RCL Oasis of the seas 2 times. Cost wise and value wise it is a no brainer, the cost of a Disney Cruise just is not worth it.

One thing no one can touch Disney on is how they cater to families and children. They have it down to an art form and they are the best in the business. But, more and more all the cruise lines are gearing things more and more to families and children. They want to make you more comfortable as a family on board. So, the disparity is not as great as it once was, but no one will match Disney in this area, but this disparity still doesn’t come close to making a Disney Cruise worth the added money.

I always say in regards to cruises, you get what you pay for. If you book a cheap cruise odds are the experience will not be what you are expecting. But with Disney Cruises there is no way you get what you pay for. The cruising experience, the ships and amenities are no better than a RCL, Celebrity or Princess cruise, add in double the price and you really shouldn’t even have to think twice about whether the price tag of a Disney cruise is worth it all.