Brought to you by INTERCOT's
network of sites:
- Walt Disney World Inside & Out
INTERCOT's WebDisney - Guide
to Disney on the Internet
INTERCOT's MousehutMail - Free Web Based Email
Summer is in full swing and so is
another edition of the INTERCOT Insider! In this edition we take a
look back at this year's Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, find out
why the Old Key West resort is a great place to stay, and get a
glimpse of the Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship. Hang on to them hats and
glasses, cause this here's the most informative ride on the
The Epcot International Flower
and Garden Festival is an annual favorite of many. While this year's
festival came to an end last month, its never to early to get
excited about planning for next year! Standing atop a 12-foot-tall
floral mountain cliff, an eight-foot-tall floral Sorcerer Mickey
topiary held court at the entrance to the 19th Epcot International
Flower & Garden Festival at Walt Disney World Resort. The commanding
Sorcerer Mickey directed a riot of color in the manicured shapes of
dancing broomsticks, buckets, mushrooms, hippos, alligators and
elephants straight from the classic Disney film, “Fantasia.” The
front-entrance floral spectacle welcomed guests to a festival packed
with new displays, featured speakers, and hands-on fun for all ages.
Epcot guests explored topiaries and gardens, learned planting, style
and design techniques and rocked to the tunes of popular Flower
Bambi’s Butterfly House, three times the size of the festival’s
original, was a-flutter with multiple species of brilliant
At Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, fabulous Disney fairy topiaries
greeted young fans who entered this whimsical garden designed with
play structures for children ages 2-5.
The HGTV Designers Stage
presented HGTV celebrities each Friday through Sunday and nationally
recognized garden personalities Monday through Thursday.
The Flower Power concert series
welcomed back 20th century pop favorites this year when favorite
bands rocked the America Gardens Theatre with their timeless tunes.
This is just a sample of the
great event. Stay tuned to INTERCOT for info and dates for the 2013
Check out INTERCOT's Flower & Garden Festival Album!
<<Home Away from
Home with Faline>>
-- Disney's Old Key West
This is one of Disney’s vacation
club resorts. In fact, this was the first Disney Vacation Club
resort. A recent stay in a 2-bedroom villa gave us the opportunity
to examine this resort and its rooms quite closely.
As the old adage goes, location is everything. A few years ago, we
spent a long weekend in an Old Key West Studio and came away from
the experience unimpressed. Our room was fine – quite roomy, in
fact. However, we were located quite a distance from Hospitality
House (the main check in area and the location of all the shops,
dining areas, main pool, and dock) and we were directly across the
street from a bus station. While this was convenient, it was also
quite noisy. And, since we were at the end of the line, every bus
would stop directly across from our studio, idle a bit, rev up to
climb the hill, make a u-turn and then come roaring past our room a
second time. This time, our unit was located directly across the
street from Hospitality House and noisy busses were not an issue
(though our guests who stayed in the second bedroom did report they
could occasionally hear the busses stopping at Hospitality House).
Based on our previous experience, I approached this trip with a bit
of apprehension, particularly since we were hosting my brother and
his family and I wanted them to like the resort where we would be
staying. I shouldn’t have worried.
Since we have a very park-based visit, we did not get to explore the
resort itself as much as I would have liked. For example, we never
got to the pool or to the evening outdoor movies but we did get a
quick sampling of some of the services and conveniences offered. On
our check-in day, we did visit Goods Food To Go for a quick
sandwich. Service was prompt and friendly and the sandwich quite
large. We also had dinner one evening at Olivia’s, the table service
restaurant. The feeling here is of dropping in visit good friends.
Pictures of many of the vacation club owners are featured on the
walls which helps foster a feeling of relaxation and coziness. Our
server was friendly, efficient, and offered a good balance of
chatting and leaving us with the luxury of enjoying our meals (which
were quite good, by the way). Although we visited the lounge on our
last trip, we did not do so on this one. The Gurgling Suitcase is
aptly named as it is about the sized of a suitcase. A large family
reunion would fill it to capacity and, then some. One lovely feature
about this resort is the ability to take a boat to Downtown Disney.
We did this one evening and had two terrific captains. It was a fun
and relaxed way to make the trip to, and from, Downtown Disney.
All rooms at this resort open directly to the outside – there are no
interior hallways. Our unit was located on the third floor which
worked well for us (Well, perhaps, not wonderfully well for my
brother who needed to cart a sleepy 4-year old up three flights of
stairs!) but may not work well for those with difficulty with stairs
or other mobility issues. The resort is very spread out. All theme
park busses make five stops throughout the resort before departing
for any particular theme park. Once again, this is where location
was important. The stop closest to our unit was the North Cove Road
Stop which is actually located at Hospitality House. This was the
last stop before the busses went to the parks which meant that we
went directly to the parks after boarding. While this could
potentially be a problem, we never came across a bus that was so
full that we had to stand on our way to the parks. On the way back
from the parks, the busses drive right past Hospitality House and
makes Peninsular Road the first stop. This bus stop is within sight
of Hospitality House and we found it much more efficient to
disembark here and make the short walk back to our resort across
from Hospitality House. On our first night, we made the entire
circuit of the resort and disembarked at North Cove Road. This
circuit took approximately 20 minutes and we vowed not to do that
Our room was just shy of 1,400 square feet – a generous amount of
space to be shared by four adults and one four year old. The two
bedroom resorts will sleep up to nine plus a baby under the age of
three. Personally, I would find this very crowded and would prefer
to keep the common spaces common rather than turning them into
another bedroom. Once closing the door behind us, it truly felt as
though we were in a private residence. We never experienced noise
from any other units.
Opening the front door, we encountered a pleasing palate of pastel
colors. A short hallway brings one to the common living/dining area.
Just to the left is the guest bedroom quarters. This area contains
two queen beds as well as a table and chairs. There is a tv in this
area as well. More than one closet provides plenty of storage. Two
sinks, toilet and tub/shower complete the facilities in this area.
It truly is private once the bedroom is closed. However, unlike the
Bay Lake Tower 2-bedroom layout where the second bedroom is further
away from the common area, this second bedroom really opens directly
onto the common area and one must pass the bedroom door to exit the
unit – both negatives if those in the guest bedroom are trying to
sleep in a bit.
The living/dining/kitchen area is a very open floor plan. The
television is located at floor height, hiding on the back side of
the kitchen island. It is not viewable from all the dining table
chairs. The full kitchen has all the amenities one would need
including a full sized refrigerator, microwave, cook top, oven,
dishwasher, ice maker, and garbage disposal. There is a counter area
that looks a bit like a wet bar belongs there (without a sink) which
has open storage below (We stored some of our luggage in this area).
Strangely, there is a floor level outlet located here. The sofas are
not soft (even the one that does not contain a pull out sleeping
area is quite hard) – still they are a place where the family can
hang out and catch up on their day and upcoming plans. The dining
table was more than adequate for our family of five. Since we did
not do any cooking, not everyone needed to be seated at the table at
the same time. One plus for this unit is that the patio area has a
full size dining table along with four additional chairs so both
dining tables could be used if the weather is pleasant.
Before you enter the master bedroom, a door to the right leads to a
laundry room. I was surprised to see full sized machines rather than
stackable ones. These facilities were truly very handy throughout
our trip! (Tip: Pack Purell 3-in-1 laundry sheets)
The master bedroom was very comfortable. We had a king sized bed,
television, bench with storage below and a lounge chair. In addition
to the patio access from the common area, the master bedroom also
had direct access onto the balcony. There are shutters that separate
the bathing area from the bedroom (I never do understand this
concept even though I have encountered numerous times – including in
non-Disney accommodations) and in this area is a jetted tub that is
one of the largest I’ve ever seen as well as a sink. Really, this
tub was so large that the four-year-old in our group could have used
it as a swimming pool! I do regret that I did not get the
opportunity to use the tub here! I certainly won’t let that happen
again on my next trip to this resort! Beyond this room is another
room which contains the toilet, a walk-in shower, and another sink.
This one has more storage than the other sink. The hair dryer is
wall mounted and not very powerful so those with thick hair may want
to bring their own.
From our patio, we could see other units but still it maintained a
feeling a privacy, a feeling engendered by the nearness of the
beautiful palm trees and other foliage. Off to the right, we could
see part of the golf course and a water feature. On the night that
we sat out on the patio, we could hear frogs.
Flaws – nothing, of course is perfect and this unit was not either.
When we arrived, we found that the lock from the common area to the
patio was broken. It was promptly repaired the day after we reported
it. On our first evening, we discovered that the remote control
units did not work in the master bedroom and in the common area.
Someone came that very evening to get the tv remotes working
promptly. One of kitchen cabinet hinges were broken and was
promptly, if inexpertly repaired upon our reporting the issue. Some
areas of the unit seemed to lack some housekeeping attention – for
example, the toilet tissue holder in the bathroom looked like it had
not had any cleaning for quite a long time. There was only one, very
small safe located in the master bedroom closet and this was
controlled by a key. Had the safe been on a combination rather than
using a key, it would have been easier to share what little safe
space we had with our guests. When we had different schedules, it
wasn’t possible to offer some part of this space to the others since
it was key controlled. In my opinion, both bedrooms should contain
an adequate sized safe especially given all the electronics that
folks typically travel with in this day and age. Given that Old Key
West was recently renovated, I was surprised to see that the dish
washer was the old style with a slide latch that one needs to move
from right to left to lock the unit. The shades separating the patio
from the indoor rooms just didn’t work well. They were difficult to
raise and lower. Subsequently, we kept them down most of the time we
were there. However, with them down, it wasn’t always easy to open
the doors to the patio without scratching one’s hands on the rough
edges of the shades.
All in all, this is a terrific resort and I will be very happy to
make another visit here!
<<A Fantasy at
-- Ian's Story --
I was fortunate enough, through
my wife, to be invited to attend the christening ceremony of the
Disney Fantasy up in Manhattan.
Thought I'd share a bit of how the evening went with everyone and
give a few thoughts on the ship herself.
We arrived at Pier 88 around 6:15 and got checked in pretty quickly.
They clearly were focused on security, because we had to show our
invitations, present identification, go through metal detectors, and
the whole works.
We checked our coats and then boarded the ship. The atrium area of
the Fantasy is just as impressive (and frankly exactly the same) as
the atrium of the Dream. When Disney says that the Dream and the
Fantasy are sister ships they must mean twin sisters, because they
look exactly the same. It was actually flashback-city for me ... I
felt like I was back on the preview cruise!
It was obvious right out of the gate that this was a gala affair.
There were tons of media walking around, lots of camera crews, and
in general there was a serious buzz in the air. We hung out in the
atrium, browed the ship a bit, sipped on some champagne, and in
short order were directed into the Walt Disney Theater for "the
I assumed they were just going to either give a little welcome
speech to everyone, thank us for coming, and maybe preview the
show(s) that would be run on the ship. I remarked to my wife, "Gee,
I wonder if Bob Iger is here." We were among the first into the
theater, so we just kinda wandered down to the front and actually
ended up in the second row, dead center. I thought they might have
that area roped off for VIPs, but nope ... we just grabbed seats no
So the show starts, they show this cute little film talking about
the long history of Disney and New York and then the curtain opens
and out walks Neil Patrick Harris (NPH), who was the host for the
evening. DW and I were duly impressed ... I never even considered
the fact that there might be celebs in attendance. NPH proceeded to
do this hilarious musical number set to the tune of
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious that kinda poked fun at Disney
and the whole evening (but in a humorous way).
I was impressed ... NPH is actually really talented song and dance
guy. He was hysterical, too. So his number segued into the first
preview of one of the ship shows, which was based on Aladdin (hold
the comments, Mel!). It was cute, but I found the genie costumes a
bit creepy. Very well produced, though, as I expected based on the
shows on the Dream.
So then NPH comes back out on stage and introduces "Mr. New York
Himself" and I'm thinking, "Huh ... wonder who this is?"
Turns out it was Jerry Seinfeld!! I am a huge Seinfeld fan ... HUGE!
So I was freaking out a bit. He did like about a 15 minute stand-up
routine that was just a riot. At one point I turned to DW and was
like, "Man ... I'm glad we got these seats!" because we were like no
more than 6 feet from him during the show. Very cool!
So the show wrapped up with two more previews of the other two stage
shows on the Fantasy (one based on Princess and the Frog and one
called Believe that is a new production). Both looked really great
and were totally up to Disney standards. They also had Heather
Headley perform a medley of songs from Disney films (You'll Be In My
Heart from Tarzan, Can You Feel the Love Tonight from Lion King, and
a song I didn't recognize). I didn't really know who she was, but
apparently she's a big Broadway star who was in Aida and Lion King.
After she wrapped up, NPH walked the crowd and called out some other
celebs in attendance ... I didn't know a lot of them, but Mayor
Bloomberg was in the crowd, Ty Pennington, and yes Bob Iger. I
learned later that some of the others were
Tim Gunn (from Project Runway) and Alan Cumming (who I think is an
actor). I also saw Nancy Grace.
So once the show ended we all adjourned into the ship atrium for the
christening itself. Iger and Tom Staggs (Chairman, Disney Parks &
Resorts) gave a speech and introduced the ship's crew and then the
ship's Fairy Godmother Mariah Carey came down and presided over the
ceremony. There were tons of characters out and lots of confetti and
all kinds of hoopla ... it was really a fun thing to witness.
We then got dinner in one of the dining rooms (Royal Court). It was
really good! Appetizer of salmon/tuna tartar, filet, and a great
dessert sampler. The food was incredibly good, as it was on the
Overall, I have to say the event was just amazing. Disney did a
first class job producing everything and this ship is absolutely as
gorgeous as the Dream is. I'm sure everyone who cruises on her is
going to have a great time and truly enjoy themselves.
-- Nanci's Story --
I will pick up where Ian left off.
After dinner we moved to Europa
Europa is a nighttime entertainment district exclusively for guests
18 and older that features sophisticated bars and trendy lounges
inspired by the very best in European travel.
La Piazza (Carousel Bar) looks like an outdoor area you would find
in Italy. Very relaxing, low key and welcoming. They had a guitar
player and singer here.
Ooh La La is the Fantasy's champagne bar. It felt like you were in a
1920's boudoir with velvet tufted walls, and sofa seating. Dark, not
overly feminine (like PINK on dream is) and very comfortable.
O'Gills pub is the Fantasy's sports bar, but unlike the Dream is
not overly masculine. It was a really charming place and
occasionally a dance fight would break out between Irish dancers. I
did not have any beer in here, but their house drink O'Gills Irish
Cream was very smooth. I can see this becoming a very popular spot.
I know my husband would gravitate here.
Skyline is similar to Skyline on the Dream. A nice Martini Bar with
light up menus and some really different drinks.
Tube is the largest and loudest of the clubs. The bench seats in
this "underground" had material printed to look like subway tickets.
Complete with red English phone booths, a Union Jack flag floor the
DJ had it really hopping last night!
And of course the area had the freaky bathrooms similar to the Dream
(Rounded with mirror ceilings) It was actually quite confusing
walking through that area. A very Tatooine feeling.
Although the event was listed to end at 11:30, it was closer to 1am
by the time we left Ooh La La.
On our way out we rec'd swag bags that had a bottle of Fantasy
champagne, 2 commemorative champagne glasses and 2 scarves. I was
very surprised the scarves were not emblazoned with the DCL or
Fantasy logo though.
Other thoughts on the ship:
New adult area on Deck 13 is very nice. It was cold and rainy so
Kathy and I did not hang out long up there. My only concern is that
even with the wind blocks it may get very windy there when the ship
is at sea. Time will tell, and we will be sailing her on 3/26 to
test it out.
I noticed in the Family Pool area that they moved the drink stations
to a more mid-ship location and changed their direction. When I last
sailed the Dream (March 2010) the beverage stations ran stem to
stern, these now are placed port to starboard and do not seem to
interrupt traffic flow as much. Same thing for the condiments near
Tow Mater's, Filmore's and Luigi's.
I did notice at Nemo's Reef that the Mr Ray slide now has a nice
think landing cushion themed to match the floor. They did not have
that on the Dream last Spring. Good idea!
Main Dining Restaurants are basically the same. There are some small
differences, but nothing major. The Royal Court chandelier was
different (no glass slippers), lighting fixtures different and it
actually seemed laid out a bit better.
Cabins are basically the same.
The Fantasy has a Bippity Boppity Boutique instead of conference
rooms. Prince and Princess (ages 12 and under) transformations take
place here. They have a "full monte" package of about $600 for those
who desire a really really total Princess make-over
On Pirate night Capt. Jack Sparrow plunders the Boutique and takes
over doing Pirate League enrollments. There is no age limit when he
is in charge (he has no rules!).
All in all she is a beautiful ship and Disney throws one heck of a
Check out INTERCOT's Fantasy Album
<< Conclusion >>
edition has sizzled to an end, but we hope it has filled you in on
on the fun happening on land and at sea. We'll be back in a few
weeks with more great tips, news, and deals. See ya real soon
<< Thank You To Our
The INTERCOT Insider and INTERCOT.com
are supported by the following sponsors who in turn, help us bring the Magic
Vacation Home Details Here
Choose from the finest selection of vacation homes and condos in the
closest locations to Walt Disney World.
Official Ticket Center
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.
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.
Quicksilver Tours & Transportation
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.
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
Universal Orlando Resort
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.
Comments or questions may be sent to