a peek inside the fishbowl

21 Nov, 2008

Four things I loved about Disney and one I didn’t: part three

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Photography|travel talk

I didn’t realize there are so many different places to stay at Disney. (Apparently Disney World is the size of Ottawa. Such craziness is hard to fathom.) What I love about it, I realized, is the mixy-matchy style of accommodations. There is truly something for everyone, it is just up to you to figure it out.

Our group was shown the value, moderate and deluxe accommodations at different resorts. For the value we went to Pop Century. I actually liked Pop Century quite a bit. It has this cheezy factor that I found kind of funny (remember the giant Mowgli by the pool?) and it’s clear that they’re not taking themselves too seriously. Here is a view of us browsing the artifacts (a collection from each decade) displayed on the walls:

Pop Century

We saw some very new moderate rooms at Caribbean Beach. They were pirate-themed, and went totally beyond pirate wallpaper and pirate bedspreads. There was custom-designed pirate furniture and beds too. Personally, pirate beds would not be my first choice for holiday sleeping, although I’m willing to bet someone out there would really love it. 

I was surprised that the value room we saw was pretty much the same size as the moderate. For me, an upgrade in cost translates to a bigger room, but that didn’t seem to be the case here (at least for the rooms we were shown). The difference is in the amenities. If you want a fridge in your value room you’ll have to spend an extra $10/day to rent one. There are no sit-down restaurants at value resorts, but there are at the moderate ones. If you want a full kitchen you can only get one at a Deluxe. (Here’s a handy comparison of the amenities.) But if all of this doesn’t matter to you, if all you care about is the bed and a toilet and shower, why not do it on the cheap and go for value accommodations?

If you stay on the resort you can hang out at the other resorts too. i.e. if you’re at Pop Culture but want to have a sit-down dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe at Wilderness Lodge (which I totally recommend) you can do so.

Here’s the rub: your choice of accommodations depends on how you define your idea of holiday.

During our tour we made a stop at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds. It costs about $40/night to pitch your tent here. I like camping, I like it a lot. We camp every year so I actually wouldn’t mind doing it this way AND it would be incredibly cheap way to do Disney. But it was the cabins that stole my heart. They were nicer than any other cabin I’d seen. Ever!

cabin at Fort Wilderness

They’re considered deluxe accommodations. They have full kitchens, can sleep six, and the setting was quite secluded and tranquil. It was a pleasant switch from the regular hustle of other Disney resorts.

Fort Wilderness cabins

I spent a lot of time thinking about what it is exactly that makes a perfect holiday. I realized that, for me, a perfect holiday should include:

  • a good balance between active family fun and
  • R & R
  • scenic/enjoyable living space
  • good food (the kitchen is a plus. I can’t be the only one who doesn’t like eating “out” for every single meal)
  • a swimming pool or beach

… and that’s definitely achievable here. Fort Wilderness isn’t situated along the monorail but it’s not difficult to get to any of the parks from there. (This property map gives some good perspective.)

I never really considered staying on the resort before, but if Disney is the focus of the trip it is probably worth it.

As for our own accommodations during out stay, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa was pretty grand indeed. I can’t say enough about how pretty the grounds were. And I had an awesome massage while I was there too.


the Grand Floridian

Beachfront at the Grand Floridian

Beachfront at the Grand Floridian

early morning at the Grand Floridian

one of the pools at the Grand Floridian

It all seems kind of long ago now! 

You know, November is really the perfect time to go to Disney. I might even be persuaded to do it again.

2 Responses to "Four things I loved about Disney and one I didn’t: part three"

1 | Mary Lynn

May 11th, 2009 at 10:45 am


I suddenly thought to myself, “Hey–I totally don’t remember what the one thing Andrea DIDN’T love about Disney was. I should go look that up…”


I’m guessing that lots of other fun and interesting things to post about came up and before you knew it a month or two had passed and it just seemed kind of difficult to get back into the Disney mindset to write the remaining parts. Still, I’d love to know in brief what the fourth thing you loved was, and what the one thing you didn’t so much love was. Oh, the suspense!

2 | andrea

May 11th, 2009 at 11:14 am


Ha. You’re right! I never finished this series. I totally lost my steam and that fourth thing didn’t seem that important in the grand scheme of the overall experience I had there (which was very good!)

What I didn’t like: Disney’s treatment of garbage and lack of recycling. (See, I told you it wasn’t that major.)
Did you know that all of the garbage bins are dumped and sorted? Staff weed out and separate the recyclables from the trash… which is great, but I really think Disney should be a leader and take a more active role in showing people what it means to recycle by providing recycling (heck, even COMPOST) bins around the park.

I don’t think Disney, as a business, really thinks outside the box when it comes to this kind of thing. If people want recycling, they will add it, but not until someone actually demands it!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (24) and Sarah (22). During the day I work as a writer at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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