Spas, Fine Dining and Amenities Add to Perfect Getaway
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Mickey Mouse isn’t the only attraction for Celeste Moore and her 5-year-old daughter, Meredith, when they check into Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for a Walt Disney World vacation.
"We like to play on the beach and sit in the lobby for tea," says Moore, wrapped in a thick terry-cloth robe while enjoying a soothing seaweed hand treatment and manicure at Disney’s Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club.
Hundreds of visitors each week journey to Walt Disney World Resort for more than character autographs and Audio-Animatronics thrills. They come to stay in one of eight luxury hotels, to be pampered at two world-class spas, to browse in specialty boutiques and to dine in first-rate restaurants that have earned raves from critics worldwide.
"People ask me all the time, ‘What’s the most wonderful thing about Disney World?’, and I tell them it’s the resort experience," says Rick Perlmutter of Coconut Grove, Fla. He and his wife, Gayle, spend several weeks each year soaking up the luxury of a Disney resort vacation.
"Here we are at the Yacht Club Resort, looking out over the lake and lighthouse," Perlmutter says. "It’s a picture postcard."
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Disney’s BoardWalk offer not only picture-postcard views and architectural detail, but spacious suites, concierge service and enough amenities to make guests feel like royalty.
Jacuzzi tubs and brass fixtures, hardwood floors and chandeliers are among the frills featured in some club-level rooms and suites at these first-class resort hotels. Private balconies and plush bathrobes, vintage furnishings and personal attention from the concierge staff add to the experience.
Grand Floridian guests are just steps away from Disney’s Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club, where they can be pampered with mustard and marine algae baths, Swedish and Japanese massages, Aromatherapy facials and soothing foot treatments.
"The highlight at the spa was the Couples Room, where we had massages together," says Gayle Perlmutter.
At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, guests can work out in a state-of-the-art sports and fitness center and enjoy a wide selection of spa treatments.
With hundreds of dining facilities at Walt Disney World Resort, there are plenty of selections for an evening of specialty dining, including California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Jiko-The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s BoardWalk and Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.
Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian, with its extensive wine list and prix fixe menu, is a popular spot for special-occasion dining. Throughout dinner, soft harp music fills the air as guests dine on gourmet meals and sumptuous desserts while sipping first-rate wines. Victoria & Albert’s boasts an extensive wine cellar — one that has been recognized by Wine Spectator magazine with an "Award of Excellence." Guests with a real culinary curiosity who book far enough ahead can sit at the coveted Chef’s Table in Victoria & Albert’s kitchen and receive personal attention from the chef himself.
"Our children sent us here for our 40th anniversary," says Joan Squiller, of Pittsburgh, Pa., who dined with her husband, Edward. "It’s very romantic — and we loved the printing of our personal menu."
Each guest receives a personalized copy of that evening’s bill of fare as a memento.
Many Walt Disney World resort shops and boutiques offer specialty items from around the world: hand-crafted art in the Zawadi Marketplace at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge; fine oil paintings by well-known French landscape artists in Plume et Palette in the France pavilion at Epcot World Showcase; Hummel figurines in Glas und Porzellan at the Germany pavilion; and silk kimonos at Mitsukoshi Department Store in the Japan pavilion. At the World of Disney store at Downtown Disney Marketplace, visitors will discover signature Disney merchandise available nowhere else in the world.
For honeymooners Michael and JuliAnn Drennan of Staten Island, N.Y. — both New York State police officers — taking a Disney luxury vacation was the perfect way to begin their marriage. They stayed in club-level rooms at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, enjoyed the championship golf courses, splurged at shops and boutiques, sampled the nightlife at Downtown Disney and dined on venison and other delicacies while sampling Victoria & Albert’s fine wines.
Michael Drennan’s verdict: "It was definitely a pampering experience."
For more information about Walt Disney World Resort, call 407/824-4321 or visit disneyworld.com. For reservations, call 407/W-DISNEY or a travel agent.