The Villas At The Grand Floridian Review

Picture of the VGF DVC Building

Recently we were lucky enough to stay at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa. The Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is one of the Deluxe Monorail Resorts that is located right next to the Magic Kingdom.  The Villas is Disney Vacation Clubs portion of the Grand Floridian. We are not Disney Vacation Club members, but we were able to rent points, allowing us to stay there.

About the The Villas at Grand Floridian

The Villas at The Grand Floridian are housed away from the main lobby. They can be found across from the Senses Spa and Fitness center. The lobby of The Villas is breathtakingly beautiful and can easily rival that of the Grand Floridian. Though on a smaller scale it has a comfortable seating area, a Nespresso coffee machine, (Yes, please. We drank a lot of coffee on this trip.) and a giant water fountain. Now I know you might be going, okay, what’s so great about a water fountain? Well, this one has the dancing penguins from Mary Poppins. That’s pretty over the top and magical to us.

VGF Lobby Fountain

 

While staying at The Villas you have access to the laundry for free.  Movies are available for rent (free) from the help desk located in the lobby.  This is a great way to spend a lazy afternoon in if anyone in your group needs a respite from the parks. Don’t forget to schedule some time to hang out at the pool that is currently being refurbished. It’s going to be a great time when it’s done.

VGF Pool

No restaurants are available in the DVC building, though there is a soda and snack machine.  Room service is available and of course there are many great dining options available at the Grand Floridian.

There are two view categories for the Villas at the Grand Floridian. A lake view and a standard view. The lake view will cost you more per night. The lake view is very nice but there is no guarantee that you will get a fireworks view. Personally we wouldn’t spend the money on a lake view again without the guarantee of seeing fireworks. That being said, if you are someone who enjoys using the balcony I would highly suggest spending the extra money. The sunrises are truly beautiful.

Seven Seas at sunrise
The Lake View is quite nice, even if you don’t get a fireworks view. The building is situated in such a way that the majority of the rooms do not have a fireworks view. A few rooms do but those are just as likely to be a standard view as a water view.

One thing to note is that The Villas at the Grand Floridian building is fairly removed from the Main Lobby. If you are driving it does have its own parking lot, which we really appreciated. It only takes five minutes to get from your room to the car. It’s also, about a five minute walk to the monorail station. A 15 minute walk to the quick service, Gasparilla Grill, and about a 20 minute walk to Captain Cookes.  Captain Cookes is the Polynesian Resort quick service location. Continue reading “The Villas At The Grand Floridian Review”

Epcot: France Pavilion: Les Halles a French Bakery

Les Halles Pastrie Case

Les Halles is a French bakery located in the France Pavilion at Epcot. Recently it has become open for breakfast and it’s still a very well-kept secret. Giving the opportunity to get into the park early and have a  wonderful breakfast without a dining reservation.Les Halles Queue

 

Options are the name of the game here. Sandwiches, pastries, soups, and many delectable desserts are available. Deciding what to get can be a challenge at Les  Halles so we recommend eating family style, allowing you to try as many items as you like. We have yet to try something we didn’t love.

Favorites

Mimosa from Les Halles

Mimosa- nothing says vacation like a mimosa in the morning. Les Halles gets props for not being stingy with the bubbly. This drink is mostly sparkling wine with just a touch of OJ on top. The sparkling was very light and dry. It went really well with our pastries. Continue reading “Epcot: France Pavilion: Les Halles a French Bakery”

Pandora: Satu’li Canteen Dining Review

Blueberry Cheesecake Mousse

Satu’li Canteen is currently one of the most talked about quick service locations at Walt Disney World. Honestly the hype is right, it is above and beyond what you would normally receive at other quick service locations. Its setting in Pandora is great and very immersive. We cannot recommend it highly enough.

About this Location

Satu’li Canteen is a quick service restaurant located in Pandora at Animal Kingdom. The location is huge and offers lots of indoor seating, which is great for Florida summers. Theming is very immersive as you are in an RDA cafeteria that has been re-purposed by Alpha Centaury Expedition, who’ve adorned it with Na’vi art and cultural pieces.

Continue reading “Pandora: Satu’li Canteen Dining Review”

6 Simple Money Saving Tips For Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World is a magical place. You get to meet Mickey Mouse, go on some insanely good rides, and snack on some really yummy food. You also get to watch your bank account slowly dwindle away because things can get really expensive quickly.  Here are a few money saving tips for Walt Disney World. This way you can spend your money where it’s really important AKA you are here Starbucks mugs and mouse ears.

6 Simple Money Saving Tips For Walt Disney World

Prime Now

Prime now is probably the greatest invention ever for people who hate the grocery store! (I’m one of those people.) We use prime now to order water, sodas, formula, diapers. Pretty much everything we need on vacation that we didn’t bring with us. Unfortunately, you are paying slightly more than you would at the grocery store. Blueberries on average will run you $4 and a six pack of La Croix is $5. This is at least 50 cents more per item than you would normally spend. Amazon also recommends you tip drivers $5 per delivery. The real advantage here is you don’t have to spend an hour, or more, of your precious vacation time going to the store. You also skip Disney’s standard package delivery fee, your items are left with the bell desk, and they will deliver your order whenever you have time. I always give a nice tip as a thank you for them holding my delivery.

Grocery Store

 If you don’t have an amazon prime account a good old fashion trip to the grocery store may be in line. It might not be my cup of tea but I definitely will never fault anyone for trying to save a little money on vacation. Not to mention not everyone has Prime through Amazon.  Again, buying your own water, sodas, and a few snacks will help you make your hard earned money go further at Walt Disney World. I hate buying my daughter yogurt and bananas in particular at Walt Disney World. Spending a dollar or two on a Banana that cost twenty six cents at the grocery store kills me and I really try to avoid it. Continue reading “6 Simple Money Saving Tips For Walt Disney World”

How To Get Free Flights To Orlando

Free Flights to Orlando

This January we are taking my daughter, Kaitlyn, on her first trip to Walt Disney World. YAYYYYYY!!!!!!! It’s a really big deal for our family. We live in Arizona, so we will literally be crossing the continent to get to Florida. Luckily, as I mentioned in my last post, we have credit card points that have helped offset some of the cost for this Walt Disney World Trip. Who can argue with a free flights to Orlando?

How do Credit Cards connect with Airline Rewards Programs?

First, I think we should explain a little bit about how credit card rewards programs actually work. Most banks have two types of rewards programs.

The first will earn you the banks rewards points. For example, American Express has the Membership Rewards program. These include cards such as the Amex Every Day Preferred, the Amex Gold and Platinum Charge cards. All points earned become part of the Membership Rewards points program.

The second type of credit card earns you points with a partnered company. Such as the SPG Amex, which gets you Starwood Preferred Guest points, or the Citibank American Airline Executive Credit Card which earns you American Airlines AAdvantage points.

Credit card reward programs, such as the Amex Membership Rewards, allows you to use the points in multiple ways, directly through the rewards program. Purchasing gift cards, small accessories, and even booking travel directly is possible. These redemption’s are normally not the best value per point.

Transfer partners are affiliates that allow you to transfer points to their rewards program. This will normally provide you with the best redemption rate. An example of the transfer partner we work with the most often is British Airways.  Amex Membership rewards are transferable to British Airways Avios. We can in turn use Avios to book American Airlines flights. Continue reading “How To Get Free Flights To Orlando”

The Best Credit Cards To Use For Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World can very easily become a very expensive vacation. There are a few things we do here at Main Street Chat to help save on our Walt Disney World Vacations. Knowing what credit cards to use for Walt Disney World can really help make a vacation more affordable.

 

It’s All About the Credit Card Points. Here’s the best credit cards to use for Walt Disney World.

Below we have provided a list of the best credit cards to use for Walt Disney World. We use the points for everything from hotel rooms to paying for food.

Capital One Venture Card

This credit card earns 2 points per dollar spent. It’s more appropriate to think of it as earning 2% cash back, instead of points.  Card holders can redeem points on hotels and flights. With this credit card there is a small annual fee of $95. Understandably,  a lot of people don’t like credit cards with an annual fee. However, the sign up bonus alone is worth $500 and the first year fee is waived.

Personally, we use this credit card for all of our household expenses. Through the course of a year you can easily save up a couple hundred dollars or more by just paying your monthly bills. Typically we redeem our points by using our Venture card for any room charges.  For example, when we use our magic bands to buy food or souvenirs in any of the Walt Disney World Parks it shows as a hotel charge and we can redeem points that way. Continue reading “The Best Credit Cards To Use For Walt Disney World”

A Walt Disney World Babymoon: Epcot

Spaceship Earth from World Showcase

Going to Epcot while pregnant is an awesome addition to  a Walt Disney World  babymoon.  You can easily go to Walt Disney World for a babymoon and skip the parks. Epcot, we feel is a place that shouldn’t be missed while pregnant as it has has several pregnancy safe rides, lots of food options, tons of shopping, and most importantly a lot of places to take breaks.

Why Epcot Is An Amazing Addition to A Walt Disney World Babymoon

Pregnancy Safe Rides at Epcot

The Seas with Nemo and Friends

Frozen Ever After

Gran Fiesta Tour

Living With The Land

Journey Into Imagination With Figment

Soarin’ (Personally I did not go on Soarin’ while pregnant. I didn’t think the seats would feel the least bit comfortable in late 2nd trimester or at all during the 3rd trimester. Also, if suffering from motion sickness I would not suggest this ride.)

Space Ship Earth

The majority of Epcot is pregnancy friendly. At Epcot only two rides aren’t accessible. Mission Space and Test Track.  We really love that. It makes the day a breeze and you really don’t have to over think it.

Pregnancy and Food at Epcot

Ah yes, the real reason to come to Epcot while pregnant. I know drinking around the world is a thing but while pregnant it’s eat around the world. There are so many festivals going on right now that the odds of specialty food items is pretty high. If I had been pregnant during Food and Wine I would have been so happy.  I probably would have completed all the countries for the first time ever.

Seriously, every country has specialty items I would recommend trying while pregnant.

At the Mexico pavilion ( inside the temple) I would go to La Cava del Tequila. I recommend getting the queso fundido and a virgin margarita. It’s one of my favorite places to take a break. It can get really crowded in there but I’m hoping the new margarita stand, Choza de Margarita, will help.

Japan is probably our favorite pavilion at Main Street Chat. The Katsura Grill is a quick service location we have to stop at every time we are on vacation. The katsu is my favorite and Adolfo loves the beef rice bowl.  The inside of the Katsura Grill is super drab, think late 90s McDonalds, so we always eat outside.  The gardens are breath taking. A lot of people don’t even know this quick service location exists so even on a busier day it’s pretty quiet.

Also, don’t forget all the yummy snacks you can get at World Show Case. The American Pavilion has specialty funnel cakes. Les Halles in France is one of the best bakeries in all of Walt Disney World. I love their almond croissant.

Epcot Babymoon Extras

Splurge a little and do the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party. The two main reasons I say to do this is A. you get some yummy desserts B. you get a seat at a table for Illuminations. One of the few things that bugs me about Epcot is that there is pretty much no seating to view illuminations. A few of the restaurants do have a lagoon view but there is no guarantee you will get a table with preferred viewing. After Illuminations you get to ride Frozen Ever After. A very magical end to the day.

2018 Plans!

Happy New Year!!!!

I hope everyone had an amazing time ringing in the New Year

Main Street Chat has some exciting news. This year we have four Walt Disney World trips planned!  We will be staying at the:

  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Let us know what information  you would like to know about these Resorts and keep checking in for Reviews.

Please comment below about anything else you want to know about the Walt Disney World Resort . We will try our best to bring you all the information you are looking for.

We also have some really exciting giveaways planned. Make sure to subscribe to see when those start.

Everyone at Main Street Chat hopes you have an amazing year!

You may choose more than one.
You may choose more than one.

7 Tips For Flying With A Toddler

Us Airways/American plane sitting at phx

The thought of flying with a toddler is daunting to a lot of parents. And why shouldn’t it be? You’re stuck in an aluminum tube with no way out. Here’s the thing though, do you really want to be stuck in a car with your kid for 30 hours? I love my daughter, but no freaking way am I doing that… I’ll make the best out of a five hour flight, thank you.

Helpful Tips and Tricks for flying with a Baby/Toddler:

 

  1. EarPlanes  these are basically earplugs that help keep the pressure stable in your toddlers or babies ears. They are grooved and “screw” into the ear canal. I cannot recommend them enough.

    3 Month old relaxed with earplanes in ears
    EarPlanes working great!
  2. Bottle, juice box, lollipop- anything that makes your toddler/ baby do a sucking motion is going to help with keeping the ears clear and pain free. If you do opt for a lollipop I would recommend something low sugar. Remember the biggest issue with flying with a toddler or baby is keeping their ears clear.
  3. Children’s Tylenol/ Motrin – If your toddler/ baby is teething I really, really, really, recommend giving them children’s Tylenol or Motrin. Dealing with a teething kid is the pits and on a plane it’s a lot worse so please just keep them comfortable before it becomes an issue. Not even joking on our last flight our flight attendant told us half an hour before descent to give Kaitlyn Tylenol. Even if she doesn’t seem to be in pain from teething at the time I will still give her a half dose if I know she has teeth breaking through.
  4. Flight Attendants- flight attendants can be a complete blessing on a flight. When Kaitlyn started getting fussy and nothing was working, the flight attendant came over and held her for a few minutes. Kaitlyn was happy not to be confined anymore, got walked up the aisle some, and was given some fun cups to bang together. Kaitlyn loved it.  Of course not every flight attendant loves kids, but if they do you might get a short respite from a cranky kid.
  5. Snacks- Try to bring foods that aren’t too messy, I like to carry blue berries, string cheese, and puffs/ cheerios on a flight.
  6. Travel Car Seat or FAA Approved Safety Harness – when flying with a toddler, having them in the car seat or harness with their own space makes feeding them or letting them watch a movie easier it’s also safer in case of turbulence or a collision on the runway.
  7. Tablet and Kids Headphones – I recommend getting a kids tablet from amazon to load movies, books, and some educational apps onto. If there is ever a time to break your own rules about how much TV you’re going to let you kid watch it’s when you’re on a plane.

Flying with a Baby/Toddler Extras

TSA Pre-check

I love TSA precheck and highly recommend getting it if you are going to be flying often. With or without kids. It makes being at the airport way less stressful.  You don’t have to take your shoes or sweater off. No having to deal with taking electronic or food items out of your bag and no standing in super long lines.  Please note that if you are bringing mixed bottles or bottles that already have water with them they will put them into a scanner to make sure that it is only water/formula/breast milk. Depending on how busy this airport is this could take a while. At San Francisco International it took half an hour for them to check our bottles. At Phoenix Sky Harbor they did it immediately. Just depends on how buy the airport is.

Anti-bacterial Wipes.

I always carry a small pack of antibacterial wipes with me. They are great for high chairs at restaurants, shopping carts, and on airplanes. I like to wipe down the trays, armrests, and anything else that’s plastic that Kaitlyn might touch.

Exercise

When flying with a toddler find some space for them to walk around and burn some energy. I always try to tire Kaitlyn as much as I can before the flight by letting her walk as much as she wants too. On the plane I put the earplanes in and then distract her with some favorite snacks and then follow up with her bottle during take off. Hopefully by this point she’ll be fed and tired and will drift off for an hour or two.

Last but not least don’t feel that you have to be apologetic about bringing your baby/toddler on a plane.  In my opinion forcing your kid/s to go on a long road trip is a lot crueler than a short plane ride. Some people are super sweet and will ask if they can help you in any way if your child is fussy. Others will complain about how you need to shut your kid up.  Let it roll off of  you like a wave and focus on how much fun your going to have with your sweet baby/toddler after the plane lands. If you cant do that. Envision the beer or wine your going to have after bed time.

Thanks for reading!!

Anymore tips and tricks you guys would like to mention? Let me know about it in the comments below!

Visiting Pearl Harbor While Staying At The Aulani

View of the USS Arizona From Ferry

Adding a day at Pearl Harbor is a great activity to do if you want to see more of Oahu than just Ko’olina while staying at the Aulani. Pearl Harbor is very easily a full day activity if you have older children and two or three hours if you have younger kids.

If you don’t want to do any planning you can do an excursion through the Aulani and they will handle everything for you. Transportation is not provided, though they will find you transport for an additional fee. Personally, I think this is a pretty easy day trip, especially if you have a car. I would recommend doing it on your own so you can spend as much time as you like.

What is Pearl Harbor about?

Pearl Harbor is the memorial site for the USS Arizona which was sunk by the Japanese on December 7th in 1941. The Arizona and the men who perished on board rest where she was sunk.

There’s a lot more to do besides the USS Arizona memorial. Dont forget about  the wonderful Pacific Aviation Museum that features WWII planes, the USS Missouri, and the USS Bowfin.

View from the Bridge of the USS Missouri

 

View of the USS Missouri from Ferry
View of the USS Missouri from Ferry

Ways to Get Tickets for Pearl Harbor Memorial

Continue reading “Visiting Pearl Harbor While Staying At The Aulani”