Category Archives: Tips &Tricks
This question comes from Angie, who asks: “Why did sleepy hollow stop selling kettle corn? The buckets of it that can be bought in Hollywood studios absolutely doesn’t compare. I took mine back. It was disgusting!”
Angie, thanks for reading the blog and for your question. Whenever I can’t find an answer to a question, I call Disney. Usually, I end up with a satisfactory answer that makes me happy. Not this time. The cast members I spoke to were very helpful, but no one seemed to know exactly why the kettle corn is no longer sold at Sleepy Hollow. When an item disappears from a menu, it’s usually due to one (or more) of the following reasons: 1) it’s a supplier issue; 2) it wasn’t popular; 3) it wasn’t cost-effective; or 4) people’s tastes changed. Obviously, that explains what happened to the infamous deep-fried bacon wrapped Twinkies (okay, I made that one up) but not ever-so-popular Figaro Fries, the loss of which as been mourned on this very website.
One cast member did hint that I might find the kettle corn back in the fall, but no one could give me any solid indication that it would be returning or not. I’m sorry I don’t have a better answer for you. If we hear anything, we’ll send you an email and let you know.
Have a Disney question? We have answers! Write us at Chip and Co. We answer every question.
Photo courtesy ofDisneyDena on Flickr.
Was shopping at Barnes & Noble’s today and found these Disney Products around the store. They are really pushing Toy Story 3 HARD! I looked through all the Toy Story products and got the full plot to the new movie…I won’t spoil it for you.
The picture about is Mr & Mr’s Potato Head and some cool Army Men Lego’s. Notice the new logo design with the while background.
Some very cool coloring and sticker books.
My toddler really liked this new Books..lots of buttons to push
Some more books highlighting all the new characters.
Prince of Persia Sands – Sands of Time is starting to show up in the stores too. Going more for teens.
Finally Iron Man for all those Marvel Nerds.
Check us out next time for more Disney in Retail Posts.
Happy Mothers Day to all our Disney Mom’s out there. You are incredible! and none of us would be here without our Mom’s. We just want to take this time to thank you for everything you do for us.
Now on to the best of Disney articles for this week:
- AJ over at the Disney Food Blog and Ryan at Main Street Gazette have teamed up for this interesting series where they compare Food items between Disneyland and Disneyworld. Check it out here.
- That reminds me of something I have been doing here on the Chip and Co site where restaurants from Disneyland and Disneyworld Face-off to determine who is the best. Check out this weeks dining face-off. Disneyland / Disneyworld Dining Faceoff – Blue Ribbon Bakery vs Starring Rolls Cafe. Be sure to vote for your favorite.
- One topic that is near and dear to my heart is saving money. Kristin over at Couponing to Disney always finds the best deals online and shares them with her friends. I am at her site several times a day looking at the deals, printing off coupons and counting down the days till her Disney trip. I am probably as excited as she is cause I know when she gets back were going to see her new site design!
- There have been alot of Disney Deals online the past week and our newest writer Nancy compiled a list for us of all the Disney Deals over on her other site The Affordable Mouse. Also be sure to check out her feature article here on the Chip and Co site.
- Master Chef Jerry at Disney 4 Dads is back and this week he explores Cool Disney World Secrets. Check them out and be sure yours.
- A very intersting article I found this week was Contemporary Resort Theme Park View vs. Bay Lake View from the guys over at Disney Contemporary.
Finally here is the best of Disney News, Food, and Views from our site for this week!
- Resort Showdown: Animal Kingdom Lodge vs. the Contemporary Resort.
- Disneyworld Resort Hopping 101
- Disney Line Companions – Which kind are you?
- Disney Food Confession: The Gigantic Smoked Turkey Leg.
- Marvel merchandise makes debut at Disneyland Resort
- Disney’s Blazing Hot Summer Products are Fun, Fashionable, and oh so Cool!
- Disneyland at Night: Cleaning, Cats, and Pixie Dust.
- eTicket iPhone Disneyland and Disneyworld App Giveaway
Have a great week and thanks for making us apart of your day!
Could there be two more different resorts? The Animal Kingdom Lodge exudes warmth despite a soaring lobby. There are nooks and crannies everywhere that lend itself to quiet conversation. Fire pits beckon you to sit down and relax. And then there’s the savannah, peaceful, beautifully landscaped and staring the guests of honor: Giraffes, zebras, birds ankole cattle, eland and a number of other animals. The Contemporary is modern, some might say cold, but it’s the very vision of what Walt Disney and the Imagineers who carried on his legacy imagined the future to be when it opened in 1971 and for that reason, in many ways it’s the “most” Disney of all the resorts. It also sits on what is without a doubt the very best piece of real estate in all of Disney World: You can easily walk to the Magic Kingdom or take the monorail, which runs right through the hotel.
With two resorts so different, is it possible to compare the two? Which one would win in a showdown? Let’s look at a few key considerations.
Atmosphere: You’ve heard the complaints about the Contemporary: That’s is big sterile hulk of a building that looks like it houses a hospital or a government agency from the outside. That it’s cold and boring. That there’s very little theming. But these comments miss the point that I mentioned above, which is that the Contemporary is themost Disney of all Disney World hotels because it’s the very embodiment of what Disney designers, and Walt himself, imagined the future to be at the time. That belief in progress is everywhere in Walt Disney World and it’s echoed in the Contemporary, from the way it was built (each room in sections, then put in place like giant Lego blocks) right down to the fact that there’s an ideal mode of transportation running right thru it. Recent upgrades to the furnishings bring a more modern look to the rooms as well: Darker furniture, clean lines, sophisticated fixtures, and subtly color-blocked fabrics in earthy hues give the place the feel of an upscale European hotel.
If the Contemporary lacks theming, AKL is themed and then some. You can’t take in the attention to detail in one trip. Even before you enter the lobby you’re greeted with soft lights and music that sets an exotic mood. A few more steps takes you into the grand lobby full of comfy chairs, a fire pit, African artifacts, and expansive windows that offer you a view of the savannah. I’m impressed by how Animal Kingdom Lodge successfully appeals to families, but at the same time is romantic enough for couples, possibly the most romantic resort in all of Disney World. Like the Contemporary, rooms are decorated with muted earth tones and dark wood, but the furniture is ornate, as if carved by African artisans. You’ll catch subtle references to The Lion King, but the key here is that they are subtle: You’ll have to really look, which is half the fun. The bathrooms are roomy and modern. The lights . . . well the lights are way too low. In fact, you’ll be forgiven if you walk into the bathroom and immediately exclaim out loud: I’m gorgeous! The lighting is so flattering that I highly advise those of you who wear make-up in the parks to check out your look on the balcony before you go out in public, lest you risk looking like a clown.
Winner: I love the warmth of AKL. I don’t think there’s a resort on site where the Imagineers have transported the guest to another place so successfully.
The view: The Contemporary has three views: The parking lot, the lake, or the Magic Kingdom. At Animal Kingdom Lodge if you aren’t in a savannah view or a pool view room, you have a very good chance of having a parking lot view. If you’re lucky enough to have a sanvannah view, you may find yourself unable to tear yourself away from it long enough to enjoy the parks. Still, even on a bad day, the lake view from your balcony at the Contemporary is pretty impressive. And being able to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from your room? Well, we think that’s downright incredible.
Winner: It’s a tie. It all depends on what you like and how much time you plan on spending in the room.
Peace and Quiet: AKL is one of the most quiet resorts at Disney World, hands down. To get any quieter, you’d have to stay in one of the cabins at Ft. Wilderness. The great thing about AKL is that it’s cut off from the rest of Disney World. When I leave the parks at night, I prefer to stay in what most Disney fans call “the bubble,” which means I like to stay on site and keep that magic all around me. Still, I don’t necessarily want to be in the thick of things. I like feeling that my resort is quiet and calm. I like feeling like I’m off in my own little world. And that’s how AKL feels.
The Contemporary is a busy hotel. You’ll see it when you come in: There are comfy couches, but people don’t linger like they do at AKL. There’s a certain energy there that I love on shorter trips, but perhaps not for a longer trip, when those long days in the park start to get tiring and I really want to relax at night. I’ve never heard complaints about noise from the monorail, but Chef Mickey’s stays busy from early morning until night; if sleeping in is important, make sure you don’t get a room right above it.
Winner: Animal Kingdom Lodge
Pools and Landscaping: One of the pools at the Contemporary has a beach right next to it. The pools are sleek, simple and lovely, but not that different from what you’d find in any upscale hotel. The pools at AKL are a kid paradise: Zero-entry, slides, and at Kidani Village, a water play area that’s so large it’s registered as a water park.
AKL may be the best example of how talented Disney landscapers are. It’s simply beautiful and the buildings seem to flow naturally from the surrounding vegetation. If there’s one thing I’m disappointed by at the Contemporary, it’s the landscaping. While it’s an attractive resort, the landscaping is completely unremarkable. It feels like an afterthought and the plants, unfortunately, are few and far between.
Winner: If you have kids, Animal Kingdom Lodge pools are without doubt some of the best on property. No one likes the landscaping at the Contemporary, so there’s not much of a contest on this issue.
Food: Both resorts have some of the best food in Disney World. Each has a buffet, a moderately priced sit-down restaurant, and a signature restaurant. Flavors at the Contemporary tend to be more familiar than you’ll find at AKL: Think grilled pork loin with polenta at the former and tandori chicken or a seared maize pudding at the latter. All of these restaurants have something for everyone, but without question, you’ll find more exotic food at AKL.
Winner: The Contemporary, which appeals to the widest variety of palates. Plus, you can’t overlook the fact that all of the Contemporary’s restaurants are close to the rooms. AKL is a fairly spread out resort. Getting to Sanaa, for example, from Jambo House practically requires a bush guide and a passport. If you’re staying in Kidani Village, be prepared for quite a trek to the nearest counter service restaurant.
Location: If you mainly plan on visiting the Magic Kingdom or Epcot during your stay, you can’t get a better location than the Contemporary. This is especially true if you have young children who still need an afternoon nap; your cure for a case of the crankies in the Magic Kingdom is as simple as putting Jr. in his stroller and walking him back to your hotel. I’m a big fan of renting a car when I visit Disney World, but the Contemporary is so perfectly located, even I don’t think it’s necessary. Two of the four parks and the best restaurants in Disney World are just a short monorail ride away.
Animal Kingdom Lodge is located on the far western segement of the property. By car you’re about 10-15 minutes from everything, but by bus, you can probably estimate about 30 minutes (or longer, depending on wait times) from your resort to any one of the parks. That’s still not bad, but it’s not “hop on the monorail” fast either. I don’t mind Disney transportation. In fact, I think it works really well. But my time is important to me, so if I stay at AKL, I rent a car.
Winner: The Contemporary.
Price: Figure 20–40%$ less to stay at AKL, depending on the type of room view. Remember, the rooms are essentially the same size and have the same amenities; you’re paying a premium for location at the Contemporary. If saving money is a priority but you still want a deluxe hotel experience, consider renting a car and staying at AKL.
Verdict: Ultimately, if you disregard price, it comes down to atmosphere vs. location. For me, I want the warmth of AKL, the feeling that I’m cut off from the rest of the world even though I so close to it. For that reason, in a showdown between the two, I pick AKL as the overall winner.
Contemporary photo: Courtesy Walt Disney Company.
AKL Photo: Flickr/Stuck inCustoms. For more great photography of Disney World and other locations, see the Stuck in Customs travel blog.
Ever wanted to see the inside of one of Disney’s beautiful resorts but didn’t go in because you weren’t a guest? Well next time you’re in the World, stop by and look around. Resort hopping, visiting different resorts during your stay, is so popular among Disney guests that some vacationers set an entire day aside to tour the various properties. Resort hopping is particularly popular during the Christmas holidays, when the resorts really shine with their holiday finery. Best of all, it’s free! You don’t have to be a Disney resort guest or even have a park ticket for that day to hop on the monorail or on a Disney bus and take a look around.
Disney resorts aren’t your typical hotel, which is what makes them worthy of visiting. Each resort has a theme and everything you see was carefully chosen to best represent that theme. When you go to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, for example, you might be so drawn in by the breathtaking lobby or the view of the Savannah that you overlook all the artifacts and treasures on display; they represent years of research and work done by Disney Imagineers and African craftsmen, so make sure you check them out. There are also fun Disney touches at the resorts including the ever-popular hidden Mickeys.
The resorts are an excellent place to get a quick bite or a really luxurious meal away from the parks. The monorail hotels in particular are a great place to have lunch when you’re visiting the Magic Kingdom. If you’re looking for a reason to visit the Grand Floridian, think about having lunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe; the prices are good and the food is excellent, making it a hidden gem at Walt Disney World. Keep in mind that not all restaurants are open for lunch and some require advanced dining reservations.
Resort hopping is a great way to spend some downtime while visiting the World. Disney resorts provide beautiful backgrounds for photos, good food, and give guests an understanding of Disney World as more than just a place with four great parks. So go in, look around. A lot of work went into making these resorts a magical place and your interest is welcomed and appreciated.