January 17, 2020
For those of us with the love of travel running through us, there is always that yearning for more. More knowledge, more adventure, and as Elsa would put it more going, “into the unknown.”
As authorized Disney vacation planners we are expected to keep up to date with the latest travel news and training courses as part of our yearly Disney College of Knowledge assessments. Not only do we gain more expertise to help you, our clients, but also earn the privilege to go on tours and trips to further our Disney knowledge.
Recently, my family went to Walt Disney World and I had an opportunity to partake in a tour of Disney Gateway Resorts. At the time, I didn’t know which resorts I would be visiting, nor did I know any other agents I would be on the tour with, but I felt this opportunity was meant for me. My children and my husband headed to the Lego Store at Disney Springs while I strolled to the bus stop to meet my fellow travelers for the next 5 hours.
So, why a Disney Gateway Resort? Well, sometimes families request a resort that is the calm away from the crowds, doesn’t have Disney theming, possibly their first choice in resorts is not available, or they are looking for a more cost-effective price per night.
A few things I learned from my five-hour tour: Disney Gateway Resorts offer similar amenities as staying on Disney grounds such as 60-day Fastpass+ Reservations and access to Extra Magic Hours in the parks. You will not be able to purchase the dining plan; that, unfortunately is a perk of staying at a Disney owned and operated resort. Most have shuttle service to the parks each day on a rotating schedule, although some hotels will charge a daily fee. Sunday brunch with the characters? Enjoy character dining, walk the Skybridge to Disney Springs, or watch nighttime firework spectaculars all from the comfort of your resort.
We started our tour at the Springhill Suites and Towneplace Suites by Marriott. These are located adjacent to one another in Flamingo Crossings. These resorts are moderately priced, and the rooms are complete with workspace, sleep space, and some rooms are provided with a fully equipped kitchen.
The next stop on our agent tour was the Hilton properties of Disney Springs: Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista and Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace. These two deluxe resorts are connected to Disney Springs via the Skybridge. Did someone say a room with a view of the fireworks, a pool with a lazy river, and character breakfast on Sundays? Well, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista Palace is your one stop shop for all these amenities plus more!
Lastly, we arrived at the crown jewel of all hotels! As we pulled into one of the properties, I was awestruck. This hotel has been on my own personal bucket list for quite some time, and I am so thrilled to have been given the opportunity to tour this amazing resort. Nestled within the Golden Oak community, residing in an Orlando oasis, is the only Five Diamond Awarded property within 150 miles of Orlando. At Four Seasons Orlando enjoy a 5-acre water park, a complimentary kids’ camp, world class dining, the only adult-only pool on Disney property, a Tom Fazio golf course, an incredible spa, and much more!
That was the icing on the cake. When the day was complete, I met my family at the Wilderness Lodge where my children were playing with their new Lego sets. We had dinner at Geyser Point, then my oldest and I headed to the Magic Kingdom to catch Extra Magic Hours and caught the last ferry back to the resort at midnight. I’ll save those details another day. 😉
On your next stay, will you be willing to try a Disney Gateway?
Thank you so much to Meredith for contributing this blog post! Contact her for complimentary Disney vacation planning services at firstname.lastname@example.org !