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INTERCOT > Interactive > INTERCOT Insider Archive > December 2012: Edition One

December 2012

Brought to you by INTERCOT's network of sites:
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Sleigh bells ring, are you listening...in the lane snow, is glistening...A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight ... reading the INTERCOT Insider! With the Christmas and Winter Holiday Season upon us, the Insider is brining you an edition filled to the brim with Holiday cheer. In this edition we learn about a new book to curl up with, find out about a jingle-bell-rock'n place to stay in Orlando, unwrap a big box of Magic Kingdom trivia, find out what jolly happenings have been going on from Disney coast-to-coast, and find out how to save big in the New Year. Hang on to them Santa hats and glasses, cause this here's the most informative ride on the internet!

<<Book Nook with Brownie>>

--Disney in Details--

Disney in Details: A Scavenger Hunt Through the Walt Disney World Resort (Disney Editions, 2011, 96 pages) by Jen Darcy and Jennifer Eastwood is primarily a souvenir book that presents an overview of Walt Disney World. Unlike past souvenir books, it includes a couple pictures on every other pages that it asks you to identify the locations for. Other than the scavenger hunt pictures, it is more about broad views and descriptions rather than the details. Although I found the scavenger hunt pictures somewhat challenging, I found the title misleading. If you are really looking for a book about details at Walt Disney World, this book is probably not the one you want. It is a quick read and there are some interesting pictures, but not enough to really make it a worthwhile addition to your Walt Disney theme parks library. This book is available at Walt Disney World, although I only saw it in a couple of different shops on my most recent visit.

<<A Rock'n Place to Stay with MNNHFLTX>>

My son and I ended our recent Disney World trip with a stay at the Hard Rock Hotel on Universal property. Both of us had been anxious to try out the new (well, new to us) Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as well as the other attractions, and we figured the best way to be able to see it all was to stay at one of the Universal resorts, so that we could utilize the Express Pass available to guests.

We traveled to the hotel from the Caribbean Beach Resort by taxi and it cost $28, plus tip. The Hard Rock lobby has a great “wow” factor—a large open area with sweeping views of the grounds outside and memorabilia from various music icons on display. It was apparent that they were setting up the lobby for a concert later in the evening, which turned out to be Starship (or the current version of Starship). Fortunately I had booked a garden-view room and requested to be at the back of the hotel, away from the lobby, because that concert was loud! Very cool to watch when we got back from the parks later in the evening, though. The main area in front of the stage was for ticketed party-goers (all dressed to the nines), but you could see and hear everything from the rest of the lobby.

The rooms at the Hard Rock are definitely a step above most hotels. In our case, we had two queen beds with comfy mattresses and luxury linens, a cushy armchair with ottoman (the pillow adorning it embroidered with “Sweet Dreams are Made of This”), a desk, an alarm clock that was also an iPod charging station, a Keurig coffee brewer with various K-cups on the mini-bar, a 32-inch flat screen TV and a bathroom with a separate vanity/sink area and bath products from the in-house spa. There were also wall-to-wall windows with a gorgeous view of the landscaped grounds and the canal beyond, used by the boats that ferry resort guests to and from the parks. We did have a few bugs to work out—we had to request a key for the mini-bar because we had transported our own suitcases up and apparently bell services usually provides the key. We also had problems connecting to the (paid) wifi later in the evening. When I called guest services they connected me to an outside IT help desk, which was a little strange. It took 25 minutes to get my son and I connected, which was inconvenient.

The two days we were at Universal ended up being very rainy, so we spent one afternoon exploring the resort. The pool area was expansive, with private cabanas and palm trees dotting the lush landscaping. There was a sandy beach around the zero-entry pool access, a giant slide and two smallish hot tubs. There was a stage at one end of the pool too, where reggae-type bands played during the day (when it was not raining) and where they occasionally had bigger names perform at night. This is not a hotel to stay at if you don’t like to hear music playing constantly! The hotel itself is like a mini-museum for the music industry and you could spend hours wandering the hallways to see all the displays. There are also two restaurants (The Palm Restaurant and the less formal The Kitchen), a couple of lounges, a small food-court area with various items and the requisite Hard Rock gift shop with some very cool merchandise.

My son and I both agreed that the best thing about staying at the Hard Rock was being able to take advantage of the Express Pass (assigned to your room key), which gets you to the front of the line at all the attractions, except for Harry Potter’s Forbidden Journey and the Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster. We went on many of the attractions multiple times, it was that easy and convenient to use. For that reason alone I would recommend staying at the Hard Rock Hotel or one of the other Loews Hotels on Universal property—Portofino Bay or The Royal Pacific.

<<Disney Coast to Coast>>

-- Social Media Edition --

Our intrepid INTERCOTee reporters have been on the move. From Christmastime at Disneyland, to the Grand Opening of the New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom, to the media preview of Splitsville at Downtown Disney Walt Disney World, to the Times Square Disney Store, to the Grand Opening of Test Track ay Epcot--there's been a lot to cover and snap great pictures of.

Take a pictorial tour of these exciting events:

>> INTERCOT Twitter Pictures
>> INTERCOT Facebook Album

<< Fun Facts with Imalismom>>

-- Magic Kingdom: Part Three --

- The four eras represented in Liberty Square are: New England, Colonial Williamsburg, Dutch New Amsterdam, and New York’s Hudson River Valley.

- All the doors in Liberty square have 2 digits numbers – if you put an “18” in front of them, you will know the year that style of house was popular.

- Liberty Square Tree has 13 lanterns hanging from its branches; each lantern represents one of the original 13 colonies.

- The three sections in The Christmas Tree Shop are: German Immigrants shops, woodcarver’s shops, and musician shops.

- Every third log on splash mountain creates a splash insuring riders get soaked as they plunge into the briar patch, as well as those watching form the bridge. The splash is created by a water cannon hidden in the landscaping, not the actual log itself. The jewels scattered underfoot of the Magic Carpets of Aladdin are fit for a princess, but as you walk past and admire them – watch out – the camels spit water at you.

- The names on the fast past machines at the Jungles cruise as names of members of the Adventurers club in Pleasure Island.

<<New Year, New Savings>

with Magical Journeys Travel Agency

With great rates at Disney Resort hotels in early 2013, now's the perfect time to plan a magical start to the new year with a fun-filled family vacation! Save up to 35% at select Disney Resort hotels when you book by December 31, 2012 for stays most nights January 2 through January 17, 2013 and January 21 through March 7, 2013.

For example, stay in a standard room at Disney's All-Star Sports Resort starting at just $72 per night, plus tax for stays most Sunday through Thursday nights January 2 through January 9, 2013, January 13 through January 17, 2013, and January 21 through February 13, 2013. That's a savings of 25%!

>> Contact Magical Journeys

<< Conclusion >>

The staff of INTERCOT would like to wish the best to you and yours this Christmas and Holiday Season. From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to thank each and every one of you for the more than 16,500 subscriptions to INTERCOT Insider. We’ll be back in the New Year with more reviews, news, and other vacation planning tips . See ya real soon!

<< Thank You To Our Sponsors! >>

The INTERCOT Insider and INTERCOT.com are supported by the following sponsors who in turn, help us bring the Magic to you!

All Star Vacation Homes
Website: Vacation Home Details Here
Choose from the finest selection of vacation homes and condos in the closest locations to Walt Disney World.

Magical Journeys
Website: http://www.yourmagicaljourneys.com
INTERCOT's Official Travel Agency.  An unconventional Travel Agency for the unconventional client, Magical Journeys is dedicated to finding the best pricing for your next magical journey. We work hard to save you money, and still give you the quality service you deserve.

The Official Ticket Center
Website: Buy & Price Tickets Now!
The Official Ticket Center is Walt Disney World's, Universal Studios and Sea World's #1 guest service provider for the last 3 years. The Official Ticket Center sells tickets only, at a discount price.

Quicksilver Tours & Transportation
Website: http://www.quicksilver-tours.com
Our drivers are the first personal contact you have when you arrive in Orlando.  No other transportation company goes to the lengths we do to ensure that your trip is exactly how you imagined it. At Quicksilver, we truly believe there's no such thing as going "above and beyond" for our clients. Instead, it's all part of doing our jobs correctly.

Strollers And Groceries
Website: http://www.strollersandgroceries.com
Strollers and Groceries is an online stroller rental and grocery delivery service. They provide daily service to all Disney, Universal, and Sea World area resorts/hotels, vacation homes, and neighborhoods in the Orlando area. All groceries are purchased from local businesses and delivered fresh directly to you.

The Timeshare Store
Website: http://www.dvc-resales.com
This Disney Vacation Club resale site offers the largest selection of DVC Resale's anywhere!  They are the number one Disney Vacation Club Reseller in the world. See how easy and affordable it is to purchase your very own piece of the "MAGIC".

Universal Orlando® Resort
Website: Universal Orlando ResortAdvertisement
Universal Orlando® Resort is more than a theme park. It's an entire universe of action and thrills featuring TWO spectacular theme parks unlike anything else in Orlando.

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