Accommodations

Hi we’re Kyle and Stacey!  We’ve been friends for over 13 years and last fall we won a worldwide search to land the best social media job in the world: experiencing every attraction Orlando, Florida has to offer in 67 Days.  We had the time of our lives going to amusement parks, eating amazing food, shopping and SO much more.  Below you will find a blog we made documenting all of our smile filled adventures.  Enjoy!

From family friendly resorts to rockin hotels where music plays underwater, Orlando offers every type of accommodation imaginable.  We got to experience just the tip of the iceberg in our 67 days, but you can find a host of hotels at www.VisitOrlando.com

_________________________________________________________

All Star Vacation Homes

This weekend we got the privilege of staying at the All Star Vacation Homes with the entire Doornbos family, plus some extras. We fit 8 people very comfortably in this place! It’s the perfect place to stay down here if you have a large family, or maybe even a few families. The entire house is YOURS and it’s decked OUT. Themed rooms, beautifully furnished, a kitchen and your very own pool. Think about it: you could stay here and save money by cooking your own food instead of paying the sometimes hefty restaurant or theme park prices. It really feels like a home away from home (maybe even nicer than the home you’re away from). The best part is that you’re only miles away from all of the parks.

David, Stacey’s sister’s boyfriend made a great Cribs style video showing off the incredible house. We hope you enjoy it!

_____________________________________________________________________

Bay Lake Tower at

Disney’s Contemporary Resort

The only way to top a day at Disney is to walk home to your room at the brand new Bay Lake Tower, connected via sky way bridge to the Contemporary. This place feels more like a home than a hotel. It was probably our favorite resort that we have stayed in for all of the 67 days for a few reasons. The style matched our tastes perfectly, it had a kitchen, whirlpool tub and the best (and closest) view of the Magic Kingdom available at any hotel anywhere.

______________________________________________________________________

EO Inn and Spa

IMG_1148ut

vIMG_1142q

Eo Inn and Spa

________________________________________________________________

Grand Cypress Golf Club

The following blog entry was written by Kyle’s good friend, college roomate and avid golfer, Joe Sternad:

IMG_1121

The first time you are going to play a Jack Nicklaus designed course your expectations are rather high. You also will base a lot of your experience off of your first step into the club house and how you are greeting during the day. As we were introduced by the employees and given our brand new cleats and Taylormade R7 woods and irons, my hopes were still high. I was at first a little worried because the clubs were slightly different than what I am accustomed to using at home, but The Grand Cypress Golf Club allows you to spend as much time at the range prior to your round to get into the golf rhythm for shooting a good round.

IMG_1107As we met the starter, he gave us a background of the course and hazards we should worry about as we play the St. Andrews themed course. Our starter also walked us through how to use our golf gps that not only showed us the layout of the hole, but it also gave the distance of how far each of our shots went. As we played the course, hole after hole we had rolling fairways and open layouts to give several shot types to offer any type of golf swing to hit good shots. The bunkers were well maintained and even had climb down steps to get into some of them. To top off all of the well designed holes, the course gives you the opportunity to play against a golf pro on one of the par threes. You get the option to pay for a closest to the pin challenge and if you win you double your money. If not, no worries, you will receive a gift card to the club house for how much you bet. Basically you can’t lose.

After the round is done and you look back at all of the hills, slanted greens, you really sit back and realize that you just played one of the most pristine courses that Orlando and maybe the country has to offer. If you are a golfer and are in the Orlando area, this course will test your skill but at no point give you a feeling of overpaying or being let down. I would love to go back and play the course and I am sure other golfers will feel the same.

IMG_1125

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Hard Rock Hotel

at Universal Orlando Resort

The View of the Pool

The View of the Pool

Isn’t everything better with a little bit of Rock n’ Roll?

The Hard Rock Hotel Orlando has all the wonderful amenities you’d expect of a great hotel. Great service, clean rooms, beautiful grounds, fantastic restaurants, pretty lobby. But it also has Rock n’ Roll! Staying here is like living at the Hard Rock Restaurant with all the fun memorabilia decorating the lobby and hallways. As I went to bed I kept thinking “I’m sleeping in the same building as one of Elvis Presley’s jump suits!”

Hard Rock Hotel is the hotel of cool. They have free live concerts in theIMG_1590 lobby! And “drive-in” (ahem, poolside) movies! And they even support great causes. Some rooms have PINK SHEETS all month to support breast cancer awareness.

Girl's Weekend was a blast!

Girl's Weekend was a blast!

You should stay at Hard Rock if you want twice the R & R: Rest and Relaxation and Rock and Roll!

_____________________________________________________________________________

Hard Rock Hotel – Palm Restaurant

This whole weekend there will be two very important guest stars on our blog… Kyle’s parents! They flew in from Michigan today and we have some really fun stuff planned ahead of us.

IMG_1161

We started our weekend at The Palm Restaurant in the Hard Rock Hotel. My dad got the filet mignon for his main course and he said it was a great filet and that it was cooked perfectly. Coming from my dad that’s a huge endorsement. This man knows his beef, so if he says it’s good… it’s good! We also really enjoyed a huge slice of key lime pie for dessert. We left The Palm barely able to move we were so stuffed.

_______________________________________________________________________

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

This blog was written by Kyle’s friend (and Joe’s wife) Amy:

IMG_1158This weekend we had the pleasure of staying at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Hotel and Resort in Orlando. The rooms and lobby are beautfiul, but maybe the best part about this hotel is the many amenities it offers that could keep you busy for days. One of the main attractions is possibly the best pool in all of Orlando with a sundeck, waterfalls, two slides, multiple hot tubs, bar and food services that can keep you there all day. Located at the resort you can go for a run on their jogging trail or workout indoors in their fitness center offering weights, treadmills and elliptical. For those golfers there is a short range course to practice your skills with club rentals available. You can also rent bikes, canoes, water bikes, play sand volleyball, table tennis or follow some of the planned daily activities offered by the resort staff all at no additional cost. If that all seems too much for you, just hang out for the day in one of their many hammocks!

IMG_1170

Inside, the resort also offers multiple restaurants, bar services, and a spa. If you need an escape from the Florida heat or just need time to pamper yourself, the spa offers a great getaway and friendly services right from the comfort of the hotel. I got theIMG_1152 opportunity to visit the spa for a relaxing Ginseng and pearl facial, which along with the facial treatments also included a shoulder and hand massage. Afterwards my face felt soft and smooth. The spa/salon offers a variety of massages, facials, hair and nail treatments and skin treatments for everyone to take advantage of.

________________________________________________________________________________

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress –

La Coquina Restaurant

Day 46 began with brunch right in our hotel at La Coquina. Every Sunday the restaurant turns their kitchen into a gigantic brunch buffet. The spread was enormous and the food was beautifully displayed:

IMG_1209IMG_1217IMG_1226IMG_1227To be honest, the atmosphere at La Coquina wasn’t really our style. It’s a bit stuffy. The food however was very good, and if you’re looking for a high brow brunch you will probably be very satisfied. It just wasn’t our cup of tea.

_______________________________________________________________________

Nickelodeon Suites Resort

One of the best parts about 67 Days of Smiles, and about Orlando itself is not only getting to do all kinds of fun stuff that make us smile, but also sharing those smiles with people that we love. Today my (Kyle’s) brother, sister in law and two adorable nieces came down to Orlando to share in the fun! I haven’t seen all of them since this winter, and my brother just got back from serving in Iraq as a Green Beret so just seeing them all was wonderful. What was even more wonderful was having a blast with all of them at Nickelodeon Family Suites!

IMG_0545This hotel has everything for kids, and kids at heart. We played in the enormous pool with tons of slides, got to watch an audience interactive Nick game show, experienced a 4D movie (my youngest niece Saedi was LOVING all the bubbles), ate a great meal complete with both kids meals and filet mignon! Then came the highest honer of the day: GETTING SLIMED!

I mean this hotel is just a kid’s paradise! It was like walking onto the set of “Double Dare”. There are bright colors everywhere, fun music playing, an arcade, a crazy play area… the works. The rooms are really spaciousIMG_0538with Nick characters in the kids rooms, while the adult rooms are contemporary but relaxing. My oldest niece Ellie was DYING that she got her own bunk bed. She tried to convince me to stay on it with her… but I’m a bit big!

Another thing i love about Nick Family Suites is that it offers a military discount of up to 20% off. I always appreciate when a business gives back to the people who give so much for us. We had so much fun today! Of course getting slimed was a riot, but maybe our favorite part was getting to see Ellie and Saedi smiling and having a riot all day.

__________________________________________________________________________

Portofino Bay Resort –

Bice Restaurant

IMG_1903Imagine sitting on a moonlit terrace overlooking a beautiful Italian seaside town, eating a wonderful meal while listening to live opera singers. Well that was our night tonight at Bice Ristorante at the Portofino Bay Resort! Plate after plate of delicious food kept coming out, along with wonderful wine. This was one of those nights that we had to pinch ourselves to make sure it was all really happening. The service was top notch and the food was to die for. The fresh homemade pasta was incredible and probably the highlight of the meal. Even if you just drop by Bice for a glass of wine it’s worth it for the atmosphere. I would definitely suggest sitting outside as we did, and if you can they really do have live opera singers for all of the courtyard to hear every IMG_1897night at 7:30. It just doesn’t get much better than this. It really doesn’t.

_______________________________________________________________

Ritz Carlton – Norman’s Restaurant

Tonight we visited Norman’s at the Ritz Carlton. Here is a quote from Chef Norman Van Aken:

“If the map of the world were a table cloth

and I could chose a place at that table,

I would sit at the southern tip of Florida

at the nexus of North America and the Caribbean

My plate would touch Cuba, the Florida Keys, the Yucatan

The West Indies, The Bahamas and South America”

That pretty much describes the impeccable food at Norman’s. In this case, we think pictures describe the food better than we ever could, so enjoy!

IMG_0387IMG_0391IMG_0399

______________________________________________________________________

Ritz Carlton – Spa

This may have been our favorite day so far. By far the most relaxing. We spent the entire day at the Spa at the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes. This spa is ENORMOUS! It’s 40,000 square feet, 3 stories and has its own private pool area just for spa guests! We loved every treatment that we got. The staff was so wonderful and SO good at what they do (people were telling us they drive all the way up from Miami just for these specific spa therapists). The Ritz has many treatments that only they do and no one else. Stacey got an eco rooftop hammock massage. Basically you are put in a hammock on top of a green sustainable rooftop with fresh herbs surrounding you and given a massage from underneath the hammock. Sound like heaven? It is. I got an ashiatsu massage which means someone stood on my back and massaged me with his feet. It was like getting my muscles gently ironed out. Both of these were our favorite massages we had ever had.

There’s just so much to do here. We had morning yoga and were greeted with fresh fruit and yogurt afterwards. We got facials, manicures, pedicures (ask Kyle about his toenails) and were just treated like royalty all day. If you can’t afford an entire day of treatments, we would suggest getting a “Martini Manicure” and then spending the rest of the day in the pool or steam room. At the Ritz Carlton Spa, you take every care, worry, ache or pain that you have and leave it at the door, because once you step inside you’re in paradise.

_______________________________________________________________________

Rosen Shingle Creek

This entire weekend me (Kyle), my parents and Stacey we were able to stay at Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, which is just minutes from all of the resorts in Orlando. My mom (who loves resorts) described it way better than I ever could, so the following blog is by her:

IMG_1154

When Kyle sent us the link to the Rosen’s Shingle Creek Resort we could see that this was a beautiful resort. But when we drove into the entrance and up the long, winding drive we knew we were going to experience something very special.

IMG_1323

Imagine our delight as we opened the door to our suite, expecting to find a “normal” hotel room but instead walked into luxury and beauty. This was anything but normal. The suite was appointed in a soothing robins egg blue with golden accent tones. The combination of colors, fabrics and light caused me to take a deep breath and relax. Floor to ceiling windows captured the view that overlooked the grounds, the golf course and beyond. Truly stunning.

IMG_1288

Every part of this resort, from the registration to the spa to the food to the pools to the extraordinary service has been more than we could have asked for. You have swept us off our feet Shingle Creek. Bravo!

IMG_1321

Thanks Mom. She’s good huh? I think she’s eyeing my job here! Thanks again so much to everyone at Shingle Creek for giving me, Stacey and especially my parents a weekend that we’ll never forget.

__________________________________________________________________________

Swan and Dolphin Resort –

Shula’s Steak House

We rounded up our sports themed day at Shula’s Steak House in the Dolphin Hotel near Epcot. Shula’s is themed after the 1972 Miami Dolphin’s perfect season, and named after their coach Don Shula. This is by far our favorite steakhouse that we have been to here in Orlando. The atmosphere was great, service was wonderful (we loved that they bring the cuts of steak to your table and tell you everything about them before you order) and the steaks were the best all of us had ever had.

One fun thing about Shula’s is the 48 oz challenge. Basically if you eat an entire 48 ounce porterhouse and live to tell about it you become a member of the 48 ounce club and get your name on a plaque in the restaurant. My friend Joe took on the challenge. Here are his thoughts:

IMG_1191

When you think of the number 48, what do most people think of? Is it the 48 continental states, 6 multiplied by 8, your old sports number, or anything in between? I once was like the rest of you and thought this way, but now it is clear. Through hours of shoving bite after bite of juicy, perfectly cooked 48 ounces of steak from Shula’s Steakhouse into my mouth only one thing comes to mind. I am now an eating champion and no one can take that or my membership into a very select club (alright there is over 25,000 in it) away from me. For those of you who doubt yourselves in life, just think to yourself and remember…Joe Sternad succeeded and so can you.

IMG_1175

_____________________________________________________________________________

Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Day 1

IMG_1494

When you walk into your hotel room, wash your hands and just the towels alone make you feel like you’re being pampered, you know you’re in for a world class experience. With a name like Waldorf Astoria that’s what you expect, and we’re happy to report that the only Waldorf outside of NYC offers just that here in sunny Orlando. This hotel is brand spankin new… as in we were the first people to ever stay in our room new. The hotel has a lot classic touches (the famous clock, crown mouldings in every room, marble floors) but this ain’t your grandma’s Waldorf. This one has splashes of modern art, technology and amenities thrown in.

Let’s talk about some of those amenities… and let’s start where we started our day… theIMG_1414 pool! First of all there are two large pools and one yummy hot tub here. The Waldorf is connected to the brand new Hilton Bonnet Creek which boasts another swimming area complete with a lazy river. Both areas are accessible for both hotel guests. We were lucky enough to get a private cabana. Gotta say probably the best part of this hotel is the service. We literally tried to push the limits to see how much we could get the pool attendants to do for us… but they pretty much beat us to the punch before we could even ask! They were refilling our drinks and bringing them to us in the hot tub before we could even jokingly snap our fingers. I mean come on.

After a dip we got a delicious taste of home with a knockout reuben from the poolside grille Aquamarine. Then it was off to the Geurlain Spa for Waldorf’s signature “Imperiale” massage. This is a lighter pressure massage that’s meant to stimulate the lymph nodes and cleanse toxins. I was on the edge of being IMG_1450awake and dreaming the whole time, but from what I remember… it was awesome! The spa here is 24,000 square feet and in true Waldorf fashion, decked to the nines.

We finished our night by taking a short sunset stroll to the Hilton’s La Luce for dinner. Here we were treated to fresh Italian food cooked to perfection. The service here, again was wonderful and we loved the huge chalk artwork created by local artists surrounding us. They actually plan to change this art monthly… just erase and start over!

Of course we couldn’t leave you hanging without showing you our suite. It was all about the details for us here. The monograms on the towels, the complementary turn down service and the beds that I think were made by angels. We finished our incredible day by watching the fireworks shows from Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios all at once from our balcony. (Oh, did I mention the Waldorf is on Disney property? Yeah, it just keeps getting better.)

Jealous? Don’t be! Just head over to Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s website and book yourself some time in heaven! (the rates are actually pretty reasonable).

___________________________________________________________________________

Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Day 2

Breakfast at Oscars:IMG_1463

I’m not sure if there is a better place to start our second day at Waldorf Astoria than the restaurant that created eggs benedict: Oscars. The restaurant itself is lined with windows bringing a warm sunlight into the restaurant while giving the guests a view of the amazing pool. I savored the french toast with berries (If you like a sweet breakfast…the french toast is the way to go). In the end we were full and ready for the day’s adventures!

Waldorf Astoria Golf Club Tour:

IMG_1483If I could describe Waldorf Astoria’s Golf Club course in one word it would be emaculate. The course was built by Rees Jones who built the golf course around the natural habitat in the area. We received a fun golf cart tour of the grounds which was beautiful! Birds were flying over our heads as we curved in and out of many ponds found along the course. Mentioning ponds reminds me to tell you that this course is not for the faint of heart…but if you are a golfer at heart…I’m sure you’d be up for the challenge!

Lunch at Harvest Bistro:IMG_1533

Harvest Bistro is the place to go for a quick yet fresh lunch. We stopped in and picked up sandwiches on the go, which was the perfect choice for an afternoon by the pool. I have to be honest that all we talked about while we ate our sandwiches was how good they tasted 🙂

IMG_1531

Surprise…It’s a helicoptor tour!

I would just like to say that the Waldorf Astoria out does themselves and that is a fact. Before we checked out today they said to meet them at their island by the pool for a surprise. This was the best surprise EVER…a helicopter flew right in to the grounds and picked us up for a tour of Orlando from the skies. I still can’t believe this! I’m not sure even how to describe what this felt like…I guess I felt like the President (you know being picked up by a helicopter at our hotel and all). The best part? Any guest could set a helicopter tour up!

In the end…

The Waldorf Astoria treated us like a king and a queen. The service is insanely amazing! The restaurants are delicious. The rooms feel like beautiful cottages. The pools are large and heated. And the beds are so comfortable I want to buy one.

We were spoiled…just as every guest who stays in the Waldorf Astoria Orlando is…stay there and spoil yourself!

Keep up with the Waldorf Astoria by their twitter and facebook page!

______________________________________________________

Links:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: