Florida Guide > Disney General
I am not a fan of hotels myself, as the space and freedom a villa gives you wins every time for me. However, this Disney hotel needs a special mention for the facilities it offers non residents.
It is one of our favourite Disney places that does not cost you a cent to visit. Simply pull into the parking lot (tell security that you are just visiting), and follow your nose up towards the hotel. You will see an archway. Go through and down the steps and your will be treated to a great view over one of the many Disney Lakes.
Day or night it’s a lovely place to stroll around. You will find Disney shops and several restaurants to visit, including a sports bar. You can also hire boats on the lake. Of an evening you will find sidestalls, and plenty of free entertainment provided by a range of street entertainers.
The walk around the lake is a very pleasant one, taking approximately 45 minutes at a very gentle pace, but this is one place where you never feel in a rush. Just being there is nice.
If you have little people with little legs with you , or teenagers who have forgotten how to walk for pleasure, you can hire a ‘Surrey’ – a bike built for 2, 4 or maybe even more. We had one which allowed 4 people to pedal and a smaller child (up to about 7) to ride in a basket seat on the front, who delighted in ensuring we didn’t run anyone over by ringing the bell very loudly to warn them we were coming. We managed 2 laps of the lake in the time we were allocated.
If you are visiting Epcot, you can escape to the Boardwalk via the International Gateway, or enter via this route too. You can see the Epcot fireworks from the bridge on the opposite side of the lake to the hotel. Not quite the same as being there as you can only see the aerial ones over the trees, but still very nice.
The best time we visited was New Years Eve, when there was a free party/disco outside the hotel, and we stood on the bridge and saw fireworks all around us as each of the parks celebrated the start of the New Year. Interestingly midnight was staggered by a few minutes making for a very long display and a magnificent atmosphere without the crowds elsewhere.
So if you fancy a little Disney magic, but want a day off the parks then this is an ideal location for you.
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