Construction Permits Filed for Possible DVC Area at Caribbean Beach Resort

Disney has made no announcement on this possible rumor yet, but construction permits have been filed to allow for a large expansion project at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. There have been rumors for a few years now about a DVC building or area being built at Caribbean Beach and it now appears as though the idea is at least becoming a little closer to being validated.

The permits say work is going to begin later this year and conclude some time in 2019. The plans include seven new buildings at Caribbean Beach one of which is a large multi story building that resembles the rumors of a DVC wing. Much of the construction appears as though it will take place in what is currently the Barbados section of Caribbean Beach.

Again, none of this has been confirmed by Disney and there is no guarantee this is going to be a DVC expansion. With that said construction plans do tell us that something big is coming to Caribbean Beach Resort in the not to distant future. We’ll keep you updated as we learn more about this project.

Our Top Picks in Each Resort Category

Now that you have looked at all of the less fun parts of planning a Disney vacation you get to do one of the most fun parts…select a resort! Disney has resorts of many different sizes and prices, but we want to list our top resort pick in each of the Disney resort categories. There is not a Disney resort that we wouldn’t recommend, these just happen to be our current favorites here at the MouseDreams Blog.

Top Value Resort – Disney’s Pop Century Resort

pop-signThis resort happens to be our favorite resort in the value category for several factors. Pop Century is a resort that is in that lowest priced value category, but it has a few things that stand out to us when compared to the other value resorts. First, when comparing it to the newest Disney resort, Art of Animation, we know that the newer resort has some added amenities such as the family suites and themed pools, but we feel Pop Century is still a better value because Art of Animation’s standard rooms are almost always excluded from Disney room discount offers. So at a time when you may can get 15-25% off of a room at Pop Century you are not able to get the same at Art of Animation making the value not as good. The main factor we see when comparing Pop Century to the All Star Resorts, the other values on property, is that Pop Century has dedicated bus service that only serves one resort. All of the All Star resorts share bus service at most times of year. This mean Pop Century usually has shorter waits when traveling to and from theme parks. For these reasons we think Pop Century is slightly a better value than the other value resorts on property.

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Top Moderate Resort – Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside

riverside-entranceWe feel the charming theme of the Port Orleans Resort-Riverside makes it the best Disney moderate resort on property. This resort feels like you have stepped into the bayou and are staying in one of the most interesting and relaxing place that exists. From a top notch pool complex, ‘Ol Man Island, to boat service to Disney Springs we feel it is a cut above the other moderate resorts. Port Orleans has a better location than most other moderates with the proximity to Disney Springs and the Magic Kingdom. The only resort that is close in that category is Port Orleans Resort -French Quarter, but that resort is usually not included in Disney room discount offers because of its small size making Riverside resort a better value at most times of year. In addition to these things the Riverside resort also includes the new Royal Room’s to book for the little princesses out there, making it a great choice at the moderate level.

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Top Deluxe Resort – Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort & Bungalows

poly-from-lakeThe top deluxe resort in our opinion is the newly re-named Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort & Bungalows. This resort is going to be one of the most expensive on property, but we feel when looking at the theming and amenities of the resort it is the best deluxe resort on property. The South Pacific theming is all around the resort making you feel like you are on an exotic island and in for a week of relaxation. The next biggest positive for this resort is its location on the monorail loop, which leaves guests just 10 minutes from the Magic Kingdom. Another thing we love about the Polynesian is the beach and the great view of the Magic Kingdom from there, especially when the fireworks are going. Finally, we think the Polynesian has some of the best dining on property. Both ‘Ohana and Kona Cafe are two of the best and most popular table service meals on property, and when you pair that with a Dole Whip bar located by the pool, you have some great food options. This resort has it all, top notch theming, top notch location and top notch dining. For those reasons we think it is the best Disney deluxe resort.

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Do you agree or not? Leave us your comments below.

Jon’s Summer Disney World Trip – Episode 15

cropped-NEW-Icon-Edit-A.jpgIn this week’s episode, for November 20, 2016, we will be discussing Jon’s most recent summer trip to Disney World.

Please send any questions about the show to host@mousedreamsblog.com and visit our website, www.MouseDreamsBlog.com for more information. Also, like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MouseDreamsblog and follow us on Twitter @MouseDreamsBlog.

Finally, thanks to our sponsors and friends at Big Dreams Travel, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. Visit them at www.bigdreamstravelusa.com to help with your next vacation.

You can submit Disney trip planning questions for us to answer on the show by e-mailing us at podcast@MouseDreamsBlog.com, by tweeting your question to @MouseDreamsBlog on Twitter, or by visiting the listener questions page on our website at www.MouseDreamsBlog.com/podcastquestions. We would love to answer your questions on travel including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line. Have a great week everyone and thanks for listening!

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Pepper Market Lunch Review & Other Coronado Springs Tidbits

Today we are going to be reviewing some of the services experienced during a recent stay at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, including a quick service lunch at Pepper Market. As always if you have any questions on this review or any other questions relating to Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort feel free to post below and we’ll be happy to respond or visit us on Facebook.

Pepper Market Lunch Review

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We arrived at Pepper Market for lunch at around 12:45 and it was nice to see there was not much of a crowd.

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In fact, we rarely if ever encountered much of a crowd here throughout our stay, except for the one day we stopped in to grab a quick bite for breakfast. The atmosphere inside Pepper Market, the food court at Coronado Springs, is one that is fun and festive. The tall ceilings and murals make for a very open and inviting space that make your meal very enjoyable.

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The available selections at Pepper Market are pretty standard when compared to most Disney food courts, although there are a few standout exceptions. The restaurant does have a Mexican food station that we found especially good each time we chose something from there and the food at this station was always prepared fresh. The other station that appeared to be a cut above most food courts was the sandwich area. The sandwiches were being made in front of your eyes and were just loaded with fresh and tasty ingredients. It was far and above the typical sandwich you’d get at many quick service locations on property.

We did eat several meals here, but this review is specifically about one lunch we had after a morning of park touring. We usually eat in the park around 11 am, but for some reason on this day we just decided to finish touring and head back and eat in the Pepper Market and with the low crowds and inviting atmosphere my wife and I agreed this was the best choice.

My wife headed straight for the Mexican food area and opted for the Market Nachos – Corn Tortilla chips layered with Cheese Sauce, Salsa, Chicken or Beef, refried beans & crema for $10.59. The sheer size of this dish alone makes it a good value. It is a meal that two people can easily share. My wife very much enjoyed the meal and said the beef was extremely tasty and she liked that it wasn’t just typical cheese sauce. They had actually put some effort into making a queso that had other ingredients and was more tasty than just melted cheese that you’d find on nachos at the ballpark. Overall this dish was a big winner for us and certainly one that we’d order again.

For my entree I ordered something from the menu that I had eyeballed on someone else’s plate. I’m not one to order very many burgers while at Disney World as there are so many better options, but this one appeared to be a cut above.

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It was the Texas Bacon Burger – 1/2-lb burger, candied bacon, chipotle bacon, bacon aioli, BBQ sauce, and cheddar cheese served with garlic parmesan fries for $13.99. Not only was this burger, which is bigger than most at 1/2 lb., a large sandwich, but it was extremely tasty. The strips of chipotle bacon were big and thick, not the little thin microwaveable bacon you get on bacon cheeseburgers elsewhere on property. On top of that the candied bacon on the top was the perfect compliment to the spicy chipotle bacon strips. And, as if there is not enough bacon, the bacon aioli was a delicious sauce on this burger and was balanced nicely by the BBQ sauce. Overall this burger was by far the best one I’ve ever had on Disney property and like the nachos it was so huge it would be an easily shareable meal when combined with the delicious garlic parmesan fries.

So, to wrap things up, these are both menu items we would love to have again at the Pepper Market, although during our one week stay at Coronado Springs they were not the only great things we ate. This menu is full of great options and we think all of these options made Pepper Market our favorite resort food court on Disney property…for now at least!

The Check In Debacle
Another important part of our stay at Coronado Springs was the complete debacle the resort made of check in. Now, I say complete debacle, we’re talking getting into our room a couple of hours late. It seemed like a much bigger deal at the time, especially since we planned on not arriving at the resort until 3:00 PM knowing that was check in time. We had spent the morning and early afternoon at Disney Springs after checking out of our first resort for the trip before heading to Coronado at 3:00 PM, check in time, or so we thought.

The Disney Springs bus was surprisingly fast and we arrived at about 2:45. I hadn’t received a room ready text alert yet from My Disney Experience so I went ahead to the online check in desk. This is where I encountered what the first possible problem was as the cast member was checking my reservation and their entire computer system crashed. He was super nice, but said that had been happening all day. He went through their processes to check me in by hand, which was strange since I had done online check in, but he finally was able to check elsewhere and see our room was indeed not ready yet and he wasn’t sure how long it would be.

We proceeded to wait…and wait…and wait.

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We had plenty of time check out El Centro which was nice, but we wanted to get settled in the room and let the three year old take a nap. Finally, at about 4:00 PM I went to check again and another cast member, again very nice and helpful, said the room was not ready yet and that it would probably be about 5:00 PM. We were trying to take it in stride at this point and decided to wait a little while longer and then we would just go ahead and grab some dinner if it still wasn’t ready. Fortunately, at about 4:30 my phone buzzed and I had a room number so we headed that way, well after check in time.

Now, I will admit this debacle may have been caused in part by me because I had requested a room in building 4, which is in the Casitas section. It was close to a quiet pool and about as close to the main building as you can get without paying for a preferred or business class room. I do understand that when requesting a specific location you may risk your room not being ready early, but I have never experienced it being this late. I would also say there appeared to be a rather large convention ending and another one beginning on this day so it was probably also a factor that they were turning a large number of rooms because of that.

So, all of that to say if you are staying at Coronado keep in mind it is a convention resort which I think may affect check in times slightly, especially if you want a specific location. This is by no means a reason not to stay here, but just something minor to be aware of.

Cafe Rix
Cafe Rix is another nice little venue/restaurant that we enjoyed on property and it is located in the main building, El Centro. The reason I used it the most was to refill our mugs from the beverage machines as it was a little easier to get into and use than the stations in the food court. In addition to drinks this location serves specialty coffees in the morning as well as assorted pastries, sweet treats, and smoothies. They also serve various small dishes for lunch and dinner including salads, sandwiches, and even a few kids meals. One of my favorite reasons to stop by in the evenings was for a sweet treat as the display case if full of cookies, cupcakes, and other great little dishes. This area is just a nice easy place to swing through grab a snack or drink if you don’t want the hassle of the food court.

The Size of the Resort (Bring Your Fitbit!)
The final tidbit I’ll throw into this post about Coronado Springs Resort is bring your Fitbit! You can certainly get your steps in if you are looking to do that. We were in about as good of a location in a standard room as you can get and were still a good 6-8 minute walk from El Centro and probably an 8-10 minute walk from the main pool. The size is very similar to resorts such as Caribbean Beach and Port Orleans-Riverside. Like the check in debacle from earlier, the size of the resort is no reason not to stay here, but just make sure your expectations are in check and you might want to really consider requesting a specific room location. I can easily see how some of the far out buildings in the Ranchos section could be a 12-15 minute walk from El Centro, although they are close to the main pool.

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The resort does use the buses to allow you to ride those to El Centro. For instance, if wanting to go to El Centro you can board any theme park bus and it stops at El Centro last so you can just hop off before it leaves the resort. If going from El Centro back to your room hop on a Disney Springs bus as it goes to El Centro first, before other areas of the resort. One word of caution though, if riding the bus from your room to El Centro you might mention it to your driver. One morning of our trip we were heading to Epcot on a completely full bus. The bus driver thought the bus was so full of people heading to Epcot he skipped El Centro. He did call in another bus to the resort because his was full, but he failed to recognize that about 15 people on the bus were only riding to get to El Centro. Needless to say they weren’t very happy when they had to ride to Epcot before having their morning coffee. So, moral of the story, if using buses at any Disney resort to get somewhere else you should always touch base with the driver to make sure you can get where you want to go.

Overall, Coronado Springs was a great resort and I’ll be along later with a more in depth review of the entire resort. In the meantime I hope you’ve enjoyed these few tidbits!