LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.– Imagine curling your toes in warm white sand while you nestle in your private cabana next to a sun-drenched shore. Picture your troubles floating away in a tub overflowing with bubbles as your “personal shopper” is busy browsing for that perfect gift. Envision yourself on an African safari for an up-close encounter with more than 200 mammals and exotic birds.
Welcome to . . . Walt Disney World Resort!!!
That’s right. For guests living the lavish life – or those who just feel like splurging – Walt Disney World Resort rolls out a “red carpet” of sophisticated dining, pampering and frolicking to suit a luxurious lifestyle.
Some high-class highlights:
· The Royal “Treatment” – Guests feel ready to conquer the “World” after a pampering session from an expert massage therapist at the Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club. Guests exfoliate and soften their skin with a sea-salt wrap, experience the luxury of a Swedish massage, enjoy a deeply relaxing thermal infusing facial and other spa treats with The Relaxed Yet? spa package. Romantics can also escape into total relaxation with custom aromatherapy massage by intimate candlelight– it’s all part of the Grand Romantic Couple’s Massage. Girls, ages 4-12, can feel like a fairy tale princess with the “My First …”line of spa treatments that includes 25-minute manicures, pedicures and mini facials. To schedule an appointment, call 407/824-2332 or visit relaxedyet.com.
· It’s a Suite Life – The presidential suite at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, also called the Royal Asante Suite, is a lavish, 2,115-square-foot oasis with hand-crafted armoires, a cozy curved couch nestled by a remote-control fireplace, a bubbly Jacuzzi, original African artwork decor, and a wood-carved grand canopy bed so large in design that it was built right there — within the room. Other features such as a domed thatched roof, dining table for eight, sizable full kitchen, writing desk and study, built-in cabinets and dressers, and a treadmill perched on the balcony guarantee a plush visit and a relaxing stay. For more serenity, guests just step outside onto the balcony and are right at the doorstep of a peaceful wildlife sanctuary — home to zebra, wildebeest, greater kudu and 200 other mammals. The presidential suite is subject to availability and season. In addition, concierge services can arrange priority seating dinner arrangements and specialty experiences, such as the 3½-hour Wanyama Safari where guests get an up-close encounter with North African wildlife followed by an eloquent four-course dinner at Jiko-The Cooking Place. Call
· Wedding Wows and Fairy Tale Vows – The sky is the limit for themed weddings — from an enchanting Cinderella-like wedding in Magic Kingdom or a Hollywood extravaganza in Disney’s Hollywood Studios to international-themed nuptials at Epcot and a safari-themed reception at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Some brides and grooms choose non-traditional methods of transportation to arrive at the ceremony such as on horseback, Aladdin’s magic carpet, Cinderella’s glass coach, a horse-drawn carriage or vintage automobile. Disney’s Wedding Pavilion, a glass-enclosed enclave fashioned after a grand Victorian summerhouse with a picturesque backdrop of Cinderella Castle, provides a majestic location for couples tying the knot. For more information about Disney’s premium Escape Wedding Collection packages, contact 321/939-4623 or visit www.disneyweddings.com.
· It’s Wine Time – Wine connoisseurs taste the finer things in life especially inside one of Disney’s upscale resort wine rooms. Savor the ambiance at Jiko’s (Swahili for “a cooking place”) at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge which offers a unique collection of handcrafted wine sculptures in the private Cape Town Wine Room. Seating up to 40 guests, Cape Town Wine Room displays the most exclusive South African wine list in the United States. A large selection of wine — a majority from boutique wineries — is available by the glass. Guests who would like to reach beyond the borders of Africa for their vino might sample the award-winning international wine list at Cítricos at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, where diners lavish in personalized three-course wine pairings. Guests can dine in the private and intimate setting of The Chef’s Domain. Call 407/WDW-DINE.
· Tempting Treasure Troves –World Showcase at Epcot features a variety of high-end shopping venues, including La Signature and Plume et Palette located in the France Pavilion. At these Parisian boutiques, guests can indulge in cosmetics, fragrances and lotions created by some of the most world-famous designers including Guerlain, Christian Dior, Givenchy and more. The Art of Disney, located in Future World, offers collectible character-themed original paintings, reproductions, sketches and cels. It also showcases art pieces crafted by Walt Disney Classics Collection, Lenox, Robert Olszewski, Armani and more.
· Catch a Wave – Private Party surf is always up at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon where guests can have the 2.75-million-gallon pool all to themselves with its promise of perfect swells. Surfboards are normally prohibited at the park when open to the public, so this is a chance to close the park and catch a wave. To surf in style, call 407/939-7873. The wave pool is available for private rentals before or after the park’s regular hours, which vary seasonally.
· Renewing the Spirit – Half-day programs offered through The Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa will rejuvenate mind, body and spirit. The Adirondack Adventure program incorporates a maple sugar body polish, Adirondack stone therapy treatment and an 80-minute hot stone facial. For the ultimate in relaxation and therapeutic benefits, the Rejuvenate Package features a purifying body boost and marine mineral facial. To schedule treatments, call 407/827-4455.
· A Grand Voyage –The luxurious Grand 1 yacht at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa hosts soirees of family and friends for cruises as fireworks burst in the distance . . . or romantic cruises for two while guests sip champagne and indulge in chocolate-dipped strawberries. Butler service, food and beverage are available for an additional charge. Call 407/824-2682 to book a reservation.
· Discover the Magic – Through the VIP Tour Service, Disney offers a private concierge service to suit vacationers’ needs and curiosities. Providing a carefree way to discover the magic of all four theme parks, a VIP Tour guide arranges priority seating for all Walt Disney World restaurants and special viewing areas at parades and live stage shows. For those who don’t want to “lift a finger,” even guests’ shopping needs can be arranged through the VIP Tour Service with guides scouting the shops to retrieve those perfect items. All VIP tours are a minimum of six consecutive hours for up to 10 guests per tour guide. Call Disney VIP Tour Services at 407/560-4033.
· Fun “Fore” All –For aspiring golfers who want to add swank to their swing, private golf instruction at Disney’s premiere Palm and Magnolia golf courses provide the answer. With one-on-one instruction, Disney PGA professionals offer the ultimate learning experience on beautifully manicured courses with wide fairways and undulating greens. And there’s a chance to test skills on five championship-caliber Disney courses. Call 407/WDW-GOLF for pricing and other information.
· Tea Time Treats –After a glorious afternoon outside, guests can take time for traditional English-style teainside the Garden View Tea Room at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Reservations are accepted daily from 2-5 p.m. Guests lounge on plush pillows at wicker tables overlooking the resort grounds while sipping tea from fine white china etched in pink roses and savoring fresh summer strawberries with cream, or homemade scones and sweet jam tarts. Alternate teas and a menu selection for children are available. Call 407/WDW-DINE.
· Crème de la crème – Award-winning Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa offers a luxurious culinary experience that pampers each and every guest. It is an elegant retreat in a romantic Victorian setting that offers gracious, personalized service in exquisite surroundings. Wine pairings to enhance each course are an additional charge. For the ultimate epicurean experience, fine-dining aficionados can reserve a spot at the Chef’s Table, in the heart of the kitchen, where Chef Scott Hunnel customizes his daily menu for parties of two to 10. This exclusive meal is booked well in advance.. Guests ages 10 and above are invited to dine at Victoria & Albert’s. Jackets are required for gentlemen. Advance reservations are recommended and can be made up to 90 days in advance prior to a guest’s visit by calling 407/WDW-DVNA (939-3862).
· On Top of the World –A trendy-upscale experience awaits diners at California Grillatop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, a bold and theatrical mixture of California cuisine and outstanding vintage wines. It’s dining at a table overlooking the castle of a fairy princess while chefs create enticing sushi dishes, pizzas and more for daring taste buds. The restaurant offers a large variety of wines served by the glass. A plus: Patrons enjoy a million-dollar view of the Magic Kingdom “Wishes” fireworks display from the 15th floor. Call 407/WDW-DINE.