Shermans Travel » Blog » Disney
Get away from the chaotic crowds at Disney World while still basking in the Florida sun with a stay at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. The upscale resort’s 3-day sale through July 14 offers up to 30 percent savings – with rates starting at $102 a night. The resort boasts that the Disney parks are both “easy to get to and easy to escape,” and they are right. This Mediterranean-style paradise comprises 1,200 acres of natural wetlands, an undoubted reason for its claim as the lure of the ChampionsGate community.
The resort’s numerous amenities and seven on-site meal options (including Asian and Italian cuisine) give visitors no reason to ever want to leave. From two championship golf courses, a lazy river, meditation garden, cozy cabanas surrounding the adult pool, and daily activities around the family pool, guests will never have a dull moment. And if they do – which is doubtful with this kind of an escape – Disney, Universal, and Sea World are all within a sixteen-mile radius of the resort. The featured deluxe room includes a king or two double beds, oversized modern furnishing, a complete workstation including high-speed wireless Internet and voicemail, and a luxurious bathroom complete with plush bathrobes and expansive marble vanity. Some of the deluxe rooms even have balconies with golf views.
This three-day sale is good for travel completed by September 8, 2012. The promotion includes deluxe accommodations and a ready-made S’mores kit. To book or for more information, visit the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate website or call 800-843-6664.
Next March, Adventures By Disney is launching a Scotland tour pegged to the Disney-Pixar movie Brave, which follows the fate-defying, longbow-wielding princess Merida as she Clydesdales her way through medieval Scotland.
As you might expect, the itinerary’s spectacular experiences have spectacular prices to match, upwards of $5,619 per adult and $5,339 per child for an escorted 9-day land package. And while you won’t go wrong on an Adventures tour, you also won’t go wrong taking a lesson from the film: Merida may be a princess, but she prefers galloping unescorted through the Highlands to rolling with a pack.
With that in mind, here are ways an independent traveler like Merida might brave Scotland for less.
When I visited Walt Disney World as a kid with my family – and even during a school trip to the parks in high school – I never noticed anyone drinking alcohol. Maybe the hard stuff is just more pervasive now than back in 1989, but these days you can buy booze pretty much anywhere at Disneyland and Disney World (except the Magic Kingdom – the teetotalers won out there).
Epcot is by far the booziest of the Orlando parks – the annual Food and Wine Festival (September 28-November 12 in 2012) comes highly recommended – while your best bets in Anaheim can be found in Downtown Disney. Here are a few of the top places to tipple at the Happiest Places on Earth.
The Walt Disney Family Museum is perhaps the best kids’ museum you’ve never heard of. With an unbeatable location in San Francisco’s revitalized Presidio, the museum chronicles the life of the animation visionary as well as the achievements that made his company a household name through videos, interactive screens, artwork, and family artifacts. Recently, the museum has been stepping up its game with special exhibits that expand on specific accomplishments and influences in Walt’s life.
Disney‘s new food advertising standards, announced yesterday, aim to ban junk food ads on its television channels, radio stations, and websites that reach children. In addition, the company intends to reduce the amount of sodium and sugar in food sold at its stores and theme parks, with nutritious products receiving a “Mickey Check” seal of approval. While these guidelines won’t take effect until 2015, here are some dining options at Disneyland that Walt would approve.
Disneyland may have Cars Land but only at Walt Disney World can you stay in a Cars-themed room. Or Finding Nemo. Or The Little Mermaid. Or The Lion King.
OK, technically you have to wait until June 18 for the Cars rooms, but the first section of the new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – the Nemo suites – opens today. These family-friendly rooms sleep up to six and include three sleeping areas, two bathrooms, and a kitchenette. And of course the entire room is decked out in characters from the Disney-Pixar film, from sea turtle wall hangings to a shark attack bathroom.
Film tie-ins have surfaced on toys, fast food, and even cologne, but Disney has taken movie marketing to the next level with “Scotland: A Brave Adventure,” a nine-day tour from Adventures by Disney beginning in March 2013 with visits to locations that inspired Disney/Pixar’s latest animated movie, Brave, opening June 22.
For Disney fanatics, the itinerary takes travelers to Dunnottar Castle, a ruined medieval fortress in the Scottish Highlands that forms the home of the film’s heroine, Merida; the Callanish Standing Stones, a ring of stone structures on the Isle of Lewis that alters her fate in the movie; the Black House of Arnol and the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, a traditional home that served as inspiration for the Witch House; and the Rothiemurchus Estate, one of the largest natural forests in Britain, where you can indulge in Merida’s favorite pastime of riding Highland ponies. And to remind you whose pockets you’re lining, a Disney movie night is scheduled on day three.
There’s a reason why Florida is one of the country’s top vacation destinations. From gorgeous beaches to vibrant cities to the world’s most popular theme parks, the state offers plenty of options for a great getaway. The best part? Reasonable airfare from most parts of the U.S. makes it easy to get there, whether you’re looking for a relaxing weekend, or a full-blown family trip. Here are our favorite Florida deals from the past week:
- Beach Package at 4-Star Gulf Coast Resort, from $199
- Captiva Island Resort w/Dining Credit & Extras, from $160
- Family Resort near Disney w/Upgrade and Credit; from $69
- Oceanfront Condo Suite on Ormond Beach, from $77
- Save on Summer Getaways to Daytona Beach
- Panama City: Beach Hotel w/Water Park Tickets & More, from $109
As the kids start counting down the days to summer vacation, America’s theme parks are counting down to the newest, biggest, most scream-worthy rides and attractions (so far, anyway). Here, a handy primer on where you’ll be taking the family this year.
The biggest news, of course, is the opening of Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure. This 12-acre attraction based on the Disney-Pixar Cars movies incorporates three new rides – including the thrilling coaster Radiator Springs Racers (pictured) – a trio of restaurants, and other themed shopping and entertainment venues. Watch out for Lightning McQueen, Mater, and other Cars favorites starting June 15.
Does the trill of a songbird remind you of a diva crescendoing against a dance beat? Is that eruption of color in a bed of tulips conjure images of an unfurled rainbow flag? It’s official: You’ve got Pride fever. And Hilton Hotels has the cure with their new “Stay Hilton. Go Out.” package, now available at 140 properties worldwide (including the Grand Vacations brand). Never too early to start planning for the season.
Booking entitles you to celebration-friendly amenities such as:
- Reduced room rates (more beer money)
- Double Hilton HHonors points (quicker access to the fab life)
- Late check-out (when available, hangover be damned)
- Free high-speed Internet (Facebook won’t know what hit it)
- Free 1-year digital subscription to OUT (the world’s leading magazine for the world’s leading gays)
Also, as a premier partner of events such as London WorldPride 2012, The Advocate 45th Anniversary, and the IGLTA gay travel association, they are offering one lucky winner a free 6-night VIP getaway to Gay Days Orlando – including airfare – from May 29 to June 4. Read more
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals