Reviews & Photos
January 30 2016
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Disney's Coronado Springs Resort
1000 W Buena Vista Drive,
"Beautiful Décor and Awesome Pool"
Choosing a favorite Walt Disney World resort is akin to choosing a favorite child for me--I love them all! But if I were forced to choose one in the moderate category, I think Coronado Springs wins. First, the rooms are lovely--the color scheme, the dark woodwork. The Disney touches are still there, but it's much more understated here, and it strikes a perfect balance between what the fun that kids love and the elegance that adults crave. This resort does have a convention center, so it has a much larger adult clientele than most WDW resorts. But it also has more to offer in the way of food/drink options, compared to other moderate resorts (Pepper Market food court, top-rated Maya Grill, and the Rix Lounge). And--bonus!--this resort has a fitness center and salon (again, catering to the business travelers).
But there's still all the kid-friendly amenities you'll see in other moderate resorts--like the arcade, playground, and outdoor movies. And then there's the pool--a looming ancient Mayan ruin with an amazing feature slide and a poolside bar. What's not to love?
Transportation to the parks is by bus, but it's closer than many of the moderates, so you'll need to plan about 20 minutes travel time (varies from park to park). Request Cabanas building 9 for most central access to dining, transportation, and the feature pool.
January 30 2016
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Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort
900 Cayman Way,
With about 20 visits to Walt Disney World under my belt, I've experienced most of their on-site resorts. While I wouldn't classify Caribbean Beach as a favorite, it is a solid choice. It tends to be priced slightly less than the other moderate resorts and offers similar amenities and one thing the other moderates don't have--a beach! If you love swinging in a hammock on white sand, CB is the resort for you!
Our experiences at CB have been good overall. I've heard that "Mousekeeping" can be hit or miss. Our rooms have always been clean, but we did notice that we didn't often receive the "extra magic" we were accustomed to in other Disney resorts, such as towel art and such.
The resort is quite large, so if you're concerned about being close to the food court and other activities, I recommend requesting the Martinique or Trinidad North sections. And boys especially would enjoy upgrading to the pirate-themed rooms (a bit pricey, but super fun).
Plan on about a 30-minute commute by bus to any of the Disney parks from this resort.
January 15 2016
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Disney's Port Orleans Resort - Riverside
1251 Riverside Dr,
"Peaceful Oasis in the Midst of Disney Mania"
Full disclosure: I am a Disney Superfan. I LOVE the excitement, the thrill, the mania, and sometimes the mayhem that is a Disney vacation! I can go at full-speed for a full week without batting an eye (and then crash on the return home for about as long). My husband, on the other hand, needs a bit of down time. A rest day between park days or an afternoon off-site usually do the trick, and then we can get back to the crazy. Our children are somewhere in the middle, yearning to soak up all the excitement but not always having the stamina to back up their desire.
That's why we love Port Orleans Riverside. It almost feels a world away from the noise and activity of the Disney World parks, yet there's plenty to do and you're only a short bus ride away from Mickey & his friends.
Picture a full-on Antebellum mansion...that's Magnolia Bend (my favorite section!). Or maybe you prefer the more rustic feel of Alligator Bayou. Either way, you'll get a laid-back, Southern feel for a moderate (by Disney standards) price. If you're willing to pay a bit more, you can upgrade to one of the Royal Princess Guest Rooms. We got an unexpected upgrade on our last visit, and it was quite a treat! Princess Tiana (The Princess and the Frog) and her royal friends are featured in the décor in both bold and subtle ways. (Look for the Genie lamp faucet and the "rug" from Aladdin. The "feet" on the upholstered bench give a nod to Beauty and the Beast.) The most amazing feature are the light-up headboards that display "fireworks" as you drift off to sleep!
Even if you're not staying in a Royal Princess room, you can still get the royal treatment here. The lobby concierge can give you the low-down on all the available activities. One of my favorites is taking the boat to Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) for a little shopping or dining. Riverside also offers swimming (in an awesome feature pool!), fishing, outdoor nightly movies, and surrey rentals. The grounds are extensive, with a number of walking/riding trails. You can even go on a carriage ride! (Additional fees apply to some of the "extra" activities.) There is a great food court and also a table service restaurant (reservations recommended).
We love all the Disney moderate resorts, but Riverside definitely fits the bill if you want a relaxing getaway, while still being close to the Disney action.
January 14 2016
The Mall at Green Hills
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"Shop Where the Stars Shop...Sort Of"
If you're a fan of the show "Nashville," chances are you've caught a glimpse of the interior of the Mall at Green Hills. And rightly so, because this is the premiere mall in Nashville for upscale shopping. With a fairly recent remodel and the addition of a LOT more parking (yes!), the mall now boasts such stores as Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany & Co.
On the downside (isn't there always one?), because of its popularity, traffic and parking can be a pain! But if you're willing to use the covered garage, you can usually find a spot...if you can make it into the parking lot! (I'm SO not kidding about traffic along Hillsboro Road!) And there's also a valet option at some entrances.
Overall, I can't say the Mall at Green Hills is the most practical shopping spot, but I do try to make it there a few times a year to get my luxury shopping on...even if it's only for window shopping.
January 14 2016
3 families found this helpful
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
With top notch rotating exhibits, as well as a fully-interactive room where kids can make all sorts of art, Nashville's Frist Center is a sure bet for families. As a homeschool mom, I make it a priority to visit the Frist at least once a school year.
We've had the opportunity to see amazing artwork from Michelangelo, Kandinsky, Rembrandt, and many others. In addition, the Frist showcases the work of local students. It's always fun to find a friend's artwork on the walls there!
And did you know that the Frist Center is free for anyone under 18 years of age? In addition, the Frist frequently runs special free or almost free promotions (such as bring in canned goods for the needy, etc.). And if you can't visit on a free day, you can often find BOGO coupons in books like the Nashville CitySaver or Entertainment book.
The Frist is a perfect field trip or family outing, right in the heart of downtown Nashville.