Saturday, September 29, 2012

It's Not Just For Conferences!

It's astonishing to contemplate how many worlds there are within Walt Disney World.

There are the parks.  There are the resorts.  There are restaurants and rides, shops and shows, lobbies and club levels.  You pass through many of these worlds on any given Disney trip, but there's one world I haven't often entered:

The world of the Conference Center.

Unless you're visiting Disney World on business or attending a conference, you probably wouldn't think to visit the conference center, whether you're staying at a resort that has one or not.

But if you're looking for the world of quiet corners at Disney World, these are definitely spaces that you want to check out!

Today we're going to have a nose around the Contemporary Conference Center! 

It's on the second floor of the resort - you can go right up those steps in the photo to get to it.  And if you've ever taken the escalators from the lobby to the concourse, then you've passed through it!

If, instead of making a beeline for the concourse, you explore the second floor, you'll find plenty of nooks and corners that are a perfect place for a mug of coffee and a book!

All along that orange wall are these plush velvet couches and chairs...

I love the subdued metallics on the pillows and on the couch.  Those couches are seriously PLUSH - super comfy and the fabric is the kind of velvet that you just want to stroke all day long like a kitty cat, lol!


Just imagine sinking into your contemporary chair, soaking in all the details, like the modern paintings, funky wood lamps, and marble slab tables.

I know I've enthused over Disney floor coverings before, but I'm about to do it again -- how cool is that carpet?  The bright aqua and lime are the perfect splash of color against the more neutral walls and furniture.

Side Story: I would love to design Disney carpets.  But I don't think it's always the Imagineers that do them.  At the Boardwalk I once checked in a group of designers from a firm in New York who were redesigning all the curtains and bedspreads at the resort.  Interesting!

Now obviously when a conference is going on, the conference center won't be such a quiet or peaceful place to hang out.  But it seems that most times I have passed through conference centers, I've been the only one there.

At the Contemporary it is slightly more busy, because you have people checking in for dinner at the California Grill and also all the traffic from the escalators, but that just gives you the chance to people watch!  Often I like to get dinner from the Contempo Cafe and come down here to eat in peace.  Definitely a cozy corner to add to the list!

Wishing everyone a magical weekend!

Totally Random Tidbit: I've heard that a HUGE amount of Disney Resort guests, well over half, are not just ordinary vacationers, but are visiting Disney as part of a group or conference!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Autumnal Elegance

Today I was going through old Disney photos, and I came across these two pics of some beautiful fall bouquets at the Grand Floridian Resort...
This photo was a little blurry to start out with, and once I started working on it in photoshop I couldn't!
But, seriously - how pretty is this?  I'm tempted to head out to JoAnn's and get some leaves and pumpkins to try to recreate this!
The flowers at the Grand are always real - real flowers are always so lovely, aren't they?  That's one of the things that makes staying at a luxury resort feel so luxurious!
But I bet that arrangement could be recreated with fake or real flowers - I love how the orchids and the roses and the birds of paradise, the pinks and greens and reds go so well with the more autumnal details.
Most of the time I'm really glad to be back up North to be able to enjoy the fall coming.  But there are some autumnal sights and sounds from Florida that I do miss, like the elegant flowers at the Grand...
...giant pumpkins everywhere...

...and a Main Street hung in orange, with a gorgeous castle at the end of it.  That is sadly not a sight you can just go out to JoAnn's and recreate! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Disney Pavilion

So mad props go out to Sunni for recognizing last week's Where-in-WDW pic.  Also can't resist shouting out some congratulations to Sunni as she recently gave birth to a brand new, beautiful baby girl!

Last week's King Carrots are in fact advertised right outside of the Splash Mountain dump shop.  I think they must be Brer Rabbit's favorite brand!

This Wednesday I think I've got a teaser for you all...

Can you recognize this Disney pavilion??  It's one you might not be able to get into on every trip these days, but you may have seen it in the past...

Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Finest King Carrots

It would seem you blog readers are acquainted with Olaf the Viking from the Stave Church in Epcot's Norway pavilion, because all you commenters recognized him in a jiff from last week's photo!

With today's Where-in-WDW pic we're going to go down home and country...

Do you know where you can find an ad for some fine king carrots?  (They're good for both stews and soups!)   If you've been reading my trip report on the DIS you might find a hint!

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Disney Cake Time

Today, I feel like cake.
I don't know why.
But then, do I really need a reason?
And since I don't have any cake in the house, I figure I'll write about cake.  Disney cake.
'Cause, obviously, that's the best kind.
Today's cake comes from the Boardwalk Bakery!
There are several things I'd like to point out amidst the general deliciousness of the above photo.
First, direct your attention to the two-tiered mini cake at the very bottom.  Did you know you can buy those - like, just over the counter without ordering it in advance?  I know, me neither!
I'm not sure the BB has them in stock every day, but when they do you can purchase one, and they'll even write a message in chocolate along the paper base.
One night when I was working on the concierge desk at the Boardwalk, a sweet little boy and his dad came up looking for advice on an anniversary surprise for the mom - they asked if I knew anything about said mini cakes.  I did not, but it was easy to ring up the bakery and find out!  They had only a few mini cakes left, but they put one aside and wrote "I Love You" on the base - SO cute, I bet the mom liked it!
I wish I could remember how much they were.  I want to say $16.99, but my memory may be a bit optimistic there, and it might be more like $22.99...something like that!
ANYway.  That's one interesting cake tidbit.
The second thing to notice in that earlier photo is the PEANUT BUTTER CAKE.
Yes, the peanut butter cake is indeed returned to the Boardwalk Bakery.  It's $4.29 and it is quite delicious - I could've done with just a smidge more of the lovely icing, but overall really tasty.
Peanut butter chocolate has been a trend on the blog lately.  LOL.
I think we'll make this a trio of Boardwalk Bakery cakes and finish off the post with just one more mouse-inspired delicacy...
How adorable is this little Mickey cake?  It's one of the more expensive bakery items at $5.29, but it does count as a snack credit!
The outside is covered in chocolate ganache which was amazing.  The inside was confetti cake which, to tell the truth, was a little dry.  But it was so cute you didn't mind!

Hope it was a sweet Monday! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

An Afternoon in Magnolia Bend

Time to pull out your best Southern accent, y'all, cause this afternoon we're heading South to have a stroll along the Sassagoula River at Port Orleans!

Port Orleans Riverside, formerly known as Dixie Landings, is one of Disney's moderate resorts.  It is not to be confused with its next-door neighbor Port Orleans French Quarter.  I'd be willing to bet they're going to change the names at some point, I'm sure people get confused all the time; but there is a nice waterside walkway connecting the two.

There are two sections to Riverside: Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend.  As you can probably guess, the Bayou is themed like the backwoods swamps, while Magnolia Bend is themed like stately Southern mansions.

Some rooms in Alligator Bayou have a trundle bed and can sleep five, so my big family has only stayed in the Bayou rooms when at Riverside.  But often I would sigh for the elegant white mansions and princess rooms across the river, and one afternoon I went over just to have a stroll around Magnolia Bend and explore it some more!

The way Disney can pick you up and transport you to a new place through their resorts really is incredible.  The facades of the Magnolia Bend buildings are so impressive that you feel they really must be old Southern mansions, complete with elegant lawns and gardens...


I loved the big lanterns strung across the pillars at the entrance of Parterre Place.

Sadly I have no pictures of the Royal Guest Rooms at POR, although when curtains were open I couldn't resist peeking in.  All the CM doors said "Royal Staff Only!"

With the arches and elegant railings and the little bridge, this definitely feels like it could be a royal courtyard!

...and what self-respecting disney princess wouldn't put some hidden mickeys in her courtyard?? ;)


I've heard Princess Tiana sometimes visits her royal friends at Riverside.  Sadly she wasn't there that day, but it looks like she left her throne behind!

The flowers and gardens were really gorgeous.  Landscaping isn't something you always consciously notice at Disney, but they really do a great job with it!

There were a few pretty fountains tucked in the gardens...
Here is another fun royal touch...the banners on the lightposts had a picture of a rose the name of a rose princess - Briar Rose, Rose Red, Belle, and Tiana.

Here is another lovely lawn...the one from last week's trivia!
This was a really impressive entrance - imagine taking wedding or engagement pics here!
I love big trees, and I had been missing them in Florida, so it was fun to find some at Riverside!  A few of them were quite the characters... ;)
In this same courtyard with the trees and the impressive entrance, there were these adorable princess banners lining the lawn!  There were eight different princesses represented by their crowns and a few princes too...
I love Rapunzel's braid behind the Tangled sword!  Here are all the crowns...
Belle, Snow White, Jasmine, Ariel Cinderella, Rapunzel, Aurora, Tiana!
Have you ever stayed at Riverside?  Share your thoughts in the comments!
Hope it's a magical day! :)