Today, I opened up my email and saw this
Yep. It’s time to begin the planning of my runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend trip. One cool thing that came with this email was a cool little video with a few personalizations to help get me excited. Check out this link to the video for my trip.
I know that this trip is a long ways away. However, there is so much to do at Disney World that much time is needed to plan this trip. So, in addition to coming up with a training plan on how to actually make it to the finish line of the marathon, I’m also going to need to work out a plan for how to get to Walt Disney World, where I’m going to stay once I’m there, and some framework for how each day will play out once I’m there. Don’t worry; I’m not going to attempt to write out everything in this one blog post. After all, I haven’t got it all planned out yet. For this post, I’ll focus on where my wife and I will be staying.
As part of my consideration to determine if registering for the Walt Disney World Marathon was possible, I had to think about and draw up a rough budget for the trip. There were two parts to this budget that I could find a price range for without getting too specific are the airfare and prices for the various on-property Walt Disney World Resorts. Since I’ve already planned a trip to Walt Disney World before, I knew some of my choices before I began researching cost. When we went on our honeymoon, Brooke and I loved our time at the Port Orleans – Riverside Resort. So, that was a consideration. As I talked it over with Brooke, she said that we should consider some of the resorts we didn’t stay at previously. So, I immediately thought about staying at the Art of Animation Resort, Pop Century Resort, and the All Star Resorts.
One of the best places to find information on anything related to Walt Disney World is the WDWinfo.com. It’s kind of a one stop shop that covers every conceivable topic you’d want to know about when planning a vacation to Walt Disney World. They have everything from great photos of the resorts, videos they shot at the resorts, to descriptions of everything you can think of at each Disney World Resort.
The first resort, I considered was the new Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.
It looked like a fantastic place to stay. Especially, when I saw photos of the Little Mermaid wing. Ariel is my wife’s favorite Disney character. So, to stay in rooms that brought you into that movie would be a dream come true for her. One other thing I like about the resort is that their dining place had a smoothie bar where you can make your own smoothie. As this was a value hotel, I was pretty confident that we could afford to stay here. However, you always need to have a backup plan.
So, next I looked at the All Star Resorts. My favorite was the All Star Movie Resort. As a huge fan of Buzz Lightyear and the Toy Story movies in general, how could I resist?
Here is the general info on the All Star Movie Resort.
I also liked the Fantasia themed pool.
The third choice would be staying at the Port Orleans – Riverside again. The thing that makes the Port Orleans – Riverside great for us is the peaceful grounds. We absolutely loved staying at this resort back in 2009. During our honeymoon, we split up our stay with 4 nights at Port Orleans – Riverside and 3 nights at the Caribbean Beach Resort. The latter was not that impressive for us. A trip back to Port Orleans would be nice if we couldn’t get into either of our first two options.
Now that I had a few options, I went to look at pricing. As a Disney Cast Member, I do get a discounted rate of most of the rooms. So, I went to check out the possible prices online only to find that they don’t have pricing up for January 2014 yet. Determined to get some idea of price points, I called the reservations number for cast members and got all the information I needed. While they didn’t have Cast Member rates yet, they could give me what the prices might be and I would figure out what the discount would look like from there. On that call I was also informed that the resorts tend to fill up quick for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
After registering for the Marathon and 10K races, I called back hopeful of reserving a room at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. However, when I called back, the reservationist informed me that she didn’t think there would be a Cast Member discount for the Little Mermaid wing as she didn’t remember that wing offering such a discount in the past. She checked and found that they aren’t currently offering a discount for that wing. So, it was highly unlikely that one would be offered in the future. I should mention that the Little Mermaid wing is the only wing at that resort that offers regular rooms. All the other wings offer only family suites (which cost a whole lot more money).
After realizing that option number 1 was out, we looked into the All Star Movies Resort. That option was the winning option. So, I put a deposit down for that resort (without any Cast Member discount) to hold the room for me. Later on, I will end up calling back and having the reservation switched to a Cast Member rate (when it becomes available). Oh the joys of booking so far in advance! Anyways, I’m still pretty excited about staying at a resort that I haven’t stayed at previously.
One thing I should also mention in this blog post is that for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, all of the on-property Disney resorts are “host resorts” for the event. If you are to register for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend, the Expedition Everest Challenge, the Tower of Terror 10 Miler, or the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend, you’d need to check with the runDisney site to find out which hotels were “host resorts.” Why is this important? Because, the races start early in the morning. Only the host resorts would have transportation running to the bag drop off point. So, unless you’re planning on driving in, this is something that you will want to have at the resort you’ve chosen.
Which Walt Disney World Resorts have you stayed at? If you’ve participated in a runDisney event at Walt Disney World, which resorts do you think would be best to stay at?