Magical Memories at Olivia’s

For my family, a trip to Walt Disney World isn’t complete without visiting Old Key West resort. Fun fact: Old Key West was the first resort to become a Disney Vacation Club property back in 1991. Modeled after the Florida Keys, this laid-back resort is adorned with glistening waterways, palm trees, and well-kept fairways.

First let’s talk about the transportation. Old Key West is off the beaten path, so to speak. You can enjoy a quick, leisurely boat ride to Disney Springs, or hop on Disney’s complimentary buses to one of Disney’s four theme parks or two water parks. On one of our recent trips, my family and I spent the day at Disney Springs then we headed to Old Key West for our dinner reservation at Olivia’s. Working up an appetite, our best means of transportation was the Conch Flats Nature Walking Trail. Follow this trail from Disney Springs to Saratoga Springs and Old Key West. On this trail you will enjoy views of (you guessed it) nature, and a glimpse of some of Disney’s golf courses! Depending on your pace, it can take anywhere from 15-35 minutes to walk this path, but please note this path is only open from dawn to dusk and you must not go astray.

Everything about the atmosphere at Old Key West is friendly and inviting. If you are arriving primarily to dine at Old Key West, make sure you allow yourself some time to enjoy the resort. If you can, take a moment to chat with a Cast Member in the lobby, they always have a good story to tell. The gift shop has some great odds and ends that you usually cannot find anywhere else on property! Finally, take a walk over to the boat dock around sunset; the view is breathtaking!  

Now, onto the dining experience!

Olivia’s is a true hidden gem of Walt Disney World. If someone were to ask me to list my top three restaurants at Walt Disney World, Olivia’s would be my number one choice! Upon entrance into this quaint restaurant you will find pictures of the Disney Vacation Club members who make Old Key West their home resort. My children love guessing how old each person was in the photo and when the photo was taken.

The dining area is very casual with a Key West flair, and the service and food are fantastic! My oldest child’s middle name is Olivia, so originally, we made a reservation for the sole purpose of dining at a restaurant that had a special meaning to us. After we had an exceptional meal at Olivia’s, we now make a reservation every trip to Walt Disney World.

My family’s favorites: Cayo Hueso shrimp pasta and the Seven Mile Sea Scallops with polenta and edamame-pancetta succotash. For starters we order the Conch Fritters, which the children surprisingly enjoy. The adults indulge on a Captain’s Mai Tai which is made with Amaretto and Dark Rum, and a Lava Colada which is a Raspberry Pina Colada! On trips past we have delighted in Olivia’s specialty, a pitcher of Red Sangria.  The children both really enjoy the child’s mac ‘n cheese, and a build your own sundae with Mickey shaped sprinkles.
Side-note: I’m not a fan of my children always getting chicken nuggets or mac ‘n cheese when we go out to eat, but I must say that the mac ‘n cheese was a very large portion and was rather tasty. As for me, I always get the same thing, mainly because it is always exquisite: the Seven Mile Sea Scallops. I would absolutely recommend the Lava Colada for your cocktail.

The dessert portion made our entire meal more than memorable. Our waitress brought out a Mile Marker Zero as a birthday surprise. For those of you who don’t know, Mile Marker Zero is a Tropical Panna Cotta.  In the middle of singing “Happy Birthday” the little umbrella that was in the dessert leaned against the lit candle and caught on fire, making me gasp and the guests in the restaurant burst into hysterical laughter. Magical memories were made that night, and for many more trips at Olivia’s Café at Old Key West Resort.

For you fellow DVC Members, don’t forget this restaurant does accept a 10% discount, as well as Tables in Wonderland, and Disney Visa discounts.

I absolutely loved everything about this restaurant, from the cast members to the food. The food was elegant while the restaurant was laid back and casual. I am anxiously awaiting my next endeavor at Olivia’s!

For the full menu, click here

Until Next Time,

-M

Walt Disney World’s Gateway Hotels

Walt Disney World’s Gateway Hotels

Blog contribution by Meredith Michler, Travel Advisor – The Mouse Detectives

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! 

Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista and Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace

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! 

Four Seasons Orlando

Fun Video on What to Expect at the Four Seasons Orlando

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 meredith@themousedetectives.com !

Christmas at Animal Kingdom Lodge

PANO_20191120_085754

Blog contribution by Meredith Michler, Travel Advisor – The Mouse Detectives

The children were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of the Millennium Falcon had danced in their heads. Their father went to the car to gather some goodies, and while outside caught Santa’s Little Helpers in Walt Disney World hoodies. 

Imagine this: a trip to Walt Disney World during the Christmas holidays. Continue reading “Christmas at Animal Kingdom Lodge”

Meet Meredith: Our Go-To Travel Agent for Disney Vacations

At Go-To Disney Guide we are all about giving you our personal takes on all things Disney. So with that, we are excited to personally introduce to you Meredith Michler: Our Go-To Travel Agent specializing in Disney vacations! Fun facts: Meredith and I went to high school together and I used to be her Disney Travel Agent for her family! Here is her story. Continue reading “Meet Meredith: Our Go-To Travel Agent for Disney Vacations”