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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

How Our Party of 4 Guests Ate At T-REX for $15! - Disney Springs Dining

Guide4WDW.com
by: guide4wdw - Collin

How Our Party of 4 Guests Ate At T-REX for $15! - Disney Springs Dining 

Today is a rather interesting article in my opinion. As many of you know, I tend to try and save you all as much money as possible on Disney trips whenever I can. This post is certainly no exception to that rule, however, this is one particular tips will likely work out better for locals or repeat visitors to the Disney parks and resorts. With that being said, we didn't have any "magic" offer when we ate at T-REX in Disney Springs for $15 and we weren't asked to try it for media reasons. Also worth mentioning is that we are not affiliated with the Landry's group in any way shape or form (even though that would be awesome). Rather, we found a neat opportunity and made the most of it. 


The whole "science" behind this deeply discounted meal is largely based off a program the Landry's group (the parent company of T-REX, Yak and Yeti, Rainforest Cafe, and many others) have developed called the Landry's Select Club. Truthfully the club is no secret and is typically debuted in a pamphlet on your table at many of their dining locations. The club itself has a $25 enrollment fee but 24 hours after you enroll you automatically receive a $25 welcome reward. So, if you're going to be eating there anyway, sign up and you basically get your money back automatically. As you dine at their vast array of restaurants, you also accumulate points for purchases. After you reach 250 points you get another $25 reward. 

Additionally, when you arrive at any of their restaurants you essentially gain front of the line access. In our specific case, we arrived at T-REX at around 6:30 and while the restaurant had a rather long wait list, we were told simply to walk up to the seating stand/hostess area and were seated within 5 minutes of arriving at the restaurant. We've used this to our advantage time after time at Rainforest Cafe as well. So, in essence you're not paying anything for the card, you get priority seating, you get rewards for your purchases, and on top of all of this you get a $25 reward every year on your birthday. 

At this point you're likely wondering how we ate for $15 when dining with a party of four guests. Well, to be quite honest it's rather simple. When we arrived at the restaurant we had full intentions of just ordering appetizers and then moving on to another Disney Springs area restaurant for dessert in order to try a few different locations all in one night.

In doing so, we ordered a Supersaurus Sampler which includes Chili con Queso Dip, Bruschetta, T-Rexadillas, and onion rings (you can add pork spare ribs for an extra $7.99). That particular item is designed to be an appetizer for four and it did not disappoint. It came to our table as a huge multi-tier display with plenty to eat for all four of us. We also opted to order a Colosso Beef Nacho which was listed as "for two" but could easily feed 3 or more guests without issue. The sampler priced out at $19.99 and the Nacho ended up being $17.99. Per the usual, our group all ordered water to drink because in the Florida summer heat there's really no better option and it's free so why not? The grand total came out to be right around $40 including tax. 

Obviously that's not the $15 your read in the title, however, remember those gift card rewards we told you about earlier? This is where those come in handy. Before we chose to dine here we were emailed a $25 no questions asked reward for the birthday of the card holder. We applied that towards our meal and the total dropped to a shocking $15. Of course, we left a pretty decent tip as a result, but the experience overall was excellent. The food was great, but keep in mind it's not necessarily designed to be a "luxury" experience. We had a ton food and we literally just ordered appetizers. So much food in fact that we decided to hold off on going to another restaurant for dessert and went to the Polynesian hours later for a Dole Whip instead. (please excuse the poor quality food photos, it was rainy this particular day so I left my Nikon DSLR in the room and just happened to have a photo of the entrance from another day of the trip).  


(Flash photos are the worst... lol)

Sure, it may not be a full meal for everyone, but $25 free once a year in your birthday month just for setting up a rewards card is something you don't really want to pass up. Also worth mentioning is that Landry's locations truly span the United States (over 600 locations) and chances are if you live in a relatively populated area you're within driving distance of at least one of their locations. If you live in Orlando, there's at least 4 on Disney property, and two or three more a few minutes away from Disney Springs.   

If you are interested in joining the plan, don't feel obligated to do so because of me. The only reasons I share this is because we joined around 5 or 6 years ago when it was only $10 or $15 dollars to join and it has been worth it's wait in gold. If you do want to join, you can do so at this link: Landry's Select. Again, it makes no difference to me if you join or not, I don't get kickbacks from them and really just wanted to share a neat program that many guests may be unaware of.   

Your Thoughts

As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's here and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! My email is always open, so don't hesitate to send a question or feedback my way! - guide4wdw@gmail.com 


Ready to Plan?

Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.



Monday, June 18, 2018

Whispering Canyon - What's Changed and What Hasn't? - A First Hand Report

Guide4WDW.com
by: guide4wdw - Collin

Whispering Canyon - What's Changed and What Hasn't? - A First Hand Report 

As many of you likely saw on our Facebook page, last week we got the chance to stop by Whispering Canyon and see what's changed at the dining location since changes were somewhat officially announced by Disney in comments on social media a few weeks ago. A week or so ago, I shared a few thoughts in a post I called Whispering Canyon Cafe Changes - A Few Thoughts About the Location's Future. While I do continue to stand behind my predictions for that location in the coming months and years, at this point I can confirm from my experience that very little has changed. 

Now, in all reality, I can only confirm these things for the breakfast meal time as of June 10th of 2018. However, there are a few changes, but albeit minor changes more than anything else. 


First off, I can't say that I noticed any decrease in noise level and what is heard from the lobby area overflowing from the restaurant and the "antics" of the cast. You could still hear the cast interacting with guests, and for the most part it was still (as always in my opinion) a pleasant lobby area experience. Is there a noticeable decrease in noise? Not at all. 

Once we were seated there were a couple things that I noticed right off the bat. The coasters that were on the table off and on for a period of time were gone, straws were still humorously strewn across the table, and there were a lot of familiar faces still in the lineup of waiters and waitresses of the cast. The coasters were originally an idea introduced to allow guests to choose if they wanted to "sit on the fence" and watch the antics, or if they wanted to participate in them. Truthfully, the choice of the guest was usually glanced over and the experienced changes very little despite what you chose in my opinion. 

Another question many guests had were in reference to the giant drinks and off hand funny remarks of the cast. I think I can sum that up pretty easily. The first thing our server did was take our drink order for the table. We all ordered water and as a slight joke, the server brought us each a water but also brought one giant water promptly stating that it came straight from Bay Lake! It wasn't necessarily the classic way they would have brought out the big glass for those who were getting multiple refills with 5 plus straws jammed together making a spectacle of it, but it still remained rather humorous just in a lighter way. 

Now, for the big question and a better answer. Do they still yell for Ketchup?? Yes, they absolutely do. While we were there the table behind us ended up with 32+ bottles of ketchup and it was a pretty humorous spectacle as always! 

Lastly, the stick horse races for kids are still a thing, and while the overall atmosphere may have been a touch less exaggerated with yelling or blatantly drawing attention to guests (which I used to love), very little else had changed. Truthfully, if nobody would have made a big deal about the changes on social media and such, I probably never would have noticed a difference in the experience. 

"What do I make of this?" This was the exact same question I asked myself when I left the restaurant. Truthfully, at this point, I think this could have been a chance for Disney to test the waters and see how the guest response would shake out in a round about way. Sure, changes may be coming, but my best guess is that the social media outcry could have played a slight role in the overall dampening of the changes. I will say though, that in my opinion this still signals upcoming changes of some type. Disney's going to find a way to make this location more profitable and finding ways to fill more reservations is going to be a pinnacle concern going forward. The restaurant has been too stagnant for too long in regards to filling all of their reservations. When these changes will take place, I'm not entirely sure, but don't be surprised if changes are still on their way. For now though, go enjoy the meal because very little has changed! 

If you're looking for a review of our breakfast here, check back in the coming days because it was and continues to be one of our top hidden gem breakfasts on Disney property.


Your Thoughts

As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's here and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! My email is always open, so don't hesitate to send a question or feedback my way! - guide4wdw@gmail.com 

Ready to Plan?

Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Disney's Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge - An Excellent Villa Option

Guide4WDW.com
by: guide4wdw - Collin

Disney's Boulder Ridge Villas at Wilderness Lodge - An Excellent Villa Option 

Wilderness Lodge has been and likely always will be one of our favorite resorts in all of Walt Disney World. So, when a great deal presented itself, as you can read about in our article we called Disney World Discount - How We Saved 27% With One Phone Call, we had to take it and check out these deluxe villas for ourselves. While we have stayed at Wilderness Lodge many times over the years, this was our first time staying in the Boulder Ridge Villas. 

Interestingly, as we checked into the resort, and I shared a few quick photos of the area, questions and requests to review the property started rolling in. So, before we jump a little deeper into the details and events of our trip, I thought I'd start here with one of the more requested articles. 

(Boulder Ridge Cove Pool) 

Quite honestly, this has been a "wish list" resort for me personally for quite some time. The kind of tucked away nature and depth of the theming found at the Boulder Ridge Villas has always captured my interest and truly felt welcoming in a unique way. This stay met any and all expectations I had for a vacation here. I know that may "spoil" the review but at the same time, it only touches the surface of what this resort has to offer. 

For those of you who may not know, the Boulder Ridge Villas are a portion of Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort. These particular villas are not housed in the main building but rather remain tucked away on the right hand side of the resort in a separate building with a slightly different theme. Some guests may dislike not being in the main lodge but to me the proximity is so incredibly close that it was nice to be near the amenities the main lodge offers while enjoying the slightly quieter and more reserved atmosphere of the villa wing. The theming is also slightly different. In the villas, there's a subtle push away from the outdoorsy nature of Wilderness Lodge as a whole and more of an influence on early railroads and the surrounding nature of that earlier era of history. At the same time, there's an even more subtle nod to Walt Disney through the Carolwood Room of the Boulder Ridge lobby that really brings things full circle in the realm of theming. Overall, the combination is incredibly welcoming and hopefully that "feel" manifests itself in the photos of this article. 

The villa lobby really sets the stage for the villa section experience. The high vaulted ceilings, boardgames set up in the surrounding seating areas, large fireplaces add a spectacular warmth to the building and even the smell (which is so incredibly hard to convey) welcomes you into the heart of the resort. It's similar yet different to the larger iconic Wilderness Lodge lobby but no less spectacular in the level of detail maintained. 

Our Boulder Ridge Stay

We arrived at Wilderness Lodge on a Saturday afternoon and were immediately checked in at the main Wilderness Lodge lobby without any form of wait and very few questions asked of us. As always, I opted to avoid online check in because I like to see how the resorts each handle the check-in experience. To me, it is a memorable part of the experience and one aspect that really sets the stage for your stay. In this case, everything went quite flawlessly, but interesting to note is that the new parking fees were not mentioned to us at check in, but rather were added without notice to what we payed at check out. It was a little frustrating even though we fully expected to have to pay the fees. Other guests may not ever consider it if they do not follow Disney news and it could be an unwelcome surprise at the end of the stay. Also worth noting is that we were required to pay taxes on the parking fees for each individual day. 


Our actual stay at the resort lasted 6 nights and on this particular stay we decided to spend more time a the resort and surrounding areas rather than going to the parks every day of our stay. We did go to the parks two days, but spent a good deal of time exploring our resort, hanging out by the pool, doing some resort hopping and dining elsewhere, all while remaining mostly in the "Disney bubble." It was an excellent trip and a style of touring Disney that I highly recommend if you're looking for a less hectic Disney vacation. Plus, the savings of cutting out a couple park days in favor of exploring other aspects of Disney property can save you a lot of money in the long run. For us, it was more about trying new things and enjoying a few of the more overlooked aspects of Disney property this trip and it  played out quite nicely in the end. 


The One Bedroom Villa

Truth be told, we kind of lucked out on our room. On top of securing a discount we didn't expect, upon checking into the resort and finding our room we walked into a spectacular view. Our specific villa was on the 2nd floor of the building facing out towards the Boulder Ridge Cove pool and Bay Lake. The view was a touch surprising because we didn't remember booking a preferred room, but it certainly felt like a room that would have fallen in that category. 

The layout of the villa was quite nice. As with other villas on property, the kitchen is a huge bonus and offers up a greater variety of dining options for many guests. We only really used the kitchen for breakfast and a few snacks throughout the week but it was nice to have a larger refrigerator and freezer along with a full oven and normal size microwave. Glassware, plates, and other necessities were also provided. 

                  
The theming of the room was quite pleasant. It had a subtle woodsy nature but to me felt a bit more upscale than the standard rooms of Wilderness Lodge (which are also quite nice). The living room area featured a roll out couch (a nice one, not the ridiculously thin ones), a very nice television which we hardly even turned on, and a nice little table in addition to a counter area with stools to sit at. Four of us (all adults) stayed in this villa and it was quite comfortable and we all had a little bit of personal space to spread out. As a result, this would be excellent for a family with small children that need that little bit of extra space to spread out and enjoy the added bonuses of the villas accommodations. 


     
The bedroom is also quite nice with plenty of room surrounding the King size bed. Given that we were traveling with four adults in our group, we did decide to bring an additional air mattress so that no-one would have to share a rollout and because a member of our family snores terribly (lol). The bedroom was so large that the twin size inflatable mattress easily fit between the window and the bed and was easily stored away during the day. For many, that wouldn't be necessary but is good to know if you're traveling with a group and want to try something similar. The bedroom was also home to an unexpected detail that many hotels overlook, outlets. I know that sounds ridiculous but when you travel with a computer (or two), three camera batteries to charge, a phone, and still have everyone else in your family to contend with, it makes a huge difference. This villa had tons of power outlets! 

The bathroom was typical of what you would find in most Disney villas. There was one room with a sink and a large tub. A second small room housed a stand up shower, sink, and toilet. All of the above were quite nice and very clean which is what we've grown to expect from Disney resorts. Just outside the bathroom there is a relatively full size washer and dryer stacked in a small closet which is great to have if you plan on doing any laundry during your stay or happen to get soaked in a rain storm and need to dry out a few things.       

The Resort Pools 

Without question, the pool here and in particular the Boulder Ridge Cove pool is one of my favorite resort pools on property. We were lucky enough to experience it many months ago about a week before the resorts updates officially debut and loved it then. This trip was no different. We spent a few hours here most days that we weren't in the parks and the zero entry style design is excellent for both kids and adults. It is a quieter pool and does not have lifeguards on hand, but couple that with the food and drink service from geyser point that will  be brought right to your pool chair and you've got a winning combination. On top of that, we never had to look for a pool chair. Between the two resort pools, there were always a few available without having to look long. The second and main pool called the Copper Creek Springs pool is the better pool for children. That particular area features a slide and activities in the afternoon like bingo and music to entertain guests which is a nice addition. 

  (Copper Creek Springs Pool)

Transportation

As many of you may know from previous articles, transportation tends to be a big deal for me because I tend to get carsick in a variety of situations. Boat transportation is always a bonus for me over bus transportation because of the smooth nature of the ride to the parks. At this particular resort, you can catch a boat directly to Magic Kingdom and if you really dislike bus transport you can even catch a boat to the Contemporary and ride the monorails to Epcot as well. Every other location requires you to catch a bus, but our experience with bus transportation was quite positive on this particular trip. 

Resort Dining 

Dining, in my opinion, is one of the many strong points of this resort. During our stay we tried three of the four restaurants housed on the property and were quite impressed with all of them. Whispering Canyon is what I would consider the "main" family dining option for a table service meal. We caught breakfast there and it was great and has been great nearly every time we've eaten there over the years (more on that in an upcoming article). Additionally, we ate at Roaring Fork (the counter service location) and Geyser Point (a new concept). They were both excellent but we did face a rather long wait for food at Roaring Fork later at night. Roaring Fork is one of the better resort dining counter service locations and offers food that is recognizable like cheeseburgers and chicken but also manages to incorporate more unique offerings such as chicken and waffles. This is also your refillable mug refill location and an excellent place to pick up a cupcake or pastry during your stay. 

Geyser Point is probably the most unexpected favorite of the group for a few reasons. First, it's a mixed concept. You can sit down and dine similar to table service accommodations near the bar area and surrounding seating or you can walk up to a counter and get an excellent meal from the counter service window to take with you. The seating area here is a huge bonus. If you can get there when there isn't a wait, you can sit around in big comfy chairs and enjoy the sunset. It's perfect for those fall or summer nights with the open air environment and the views are simply spectacular. If you're just looking for a good place to hang out, especially in the morning before they officially open, this is your spot. We met up with a friend here and the warm morning air and the shade of the seating area provided a great spot to just sit back and talk for a bit before the hottest temperatures of the day rolled in. The slight breeze off of the water is exceptionally hard to beat!  


Overall Experience

All things considered, I would be beside myself if I didn't recommend this resort to guests traveling to the parks. It is one of my favorite resorts overall and the villas have been and likely always will be near the top of my list of favorite resorts rivaled closely by the Boardwalk Villas for entirely different reasons. It's a spectacular resort without a doubt and perhaps is one of the most welcoming resorts I've ever stayed at. I do not know if it's just a style of resort I like do to my somewhat southern roots in Kentucky, but it's near impossible not to be overwhelmed by the shocking "wow factor" of Wilderness Lodge as a whole. 

Truthfully, this is not necessarily a budget friendly resort, but at the same time isn't entirely in the same league (in regard to price) as the most expensive resorts on property. I see it more as a hidden gem deluxe resort. The villas are rarely talked about and are likely one of the better kept "secrets" of Walt Disney World. The location is excellent, the price is a bit more manageable than other Bay Lake and Seven Seas Lagoon properties, and it has a way of transporting you to a different place in a way that is very difficult to put into words. So, do I recommend this resort and who do I recommend it to? If you can make the finances of it work, I say go for it! If you've never stayed in deluxe accommodations, the property as a whole is a great place to try as your first "step up."                            
  

Your Thoughts



As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's here and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! My email is always open, so don't hesitate to send a question or feedback my way! - guide4wdw@gmail.com 

Ready to Plan?


Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.



Thursday, June 7, 2018

Looking Back - Legendary Cast of The Disney Parks: Richard Gerth and His Lasting Impression On Guests

Guide4WDW.com

by: guide4wdw - Collin

Today, I'm sad to share that legendary cast member Richard Gerth has lost his fight with an illness at an advanced age. Richard was 92 years old, but age was nothing but a number for him and his impact on guests day after day. He was and always will be the face of the Grand Floridian and that welcoming smile that greeted thousands of guests year after year. While this isn't good news in any way, I share this post for a few reasons. First, I want to create a place where you can share your memories through photos. I don't want this to be an article that ruins your day, but rather one that makes you remember the memories he helped so many of you create over the years. If you want to share a photo here, feel free to share it with us on social media and we'll happily add it to the list. Let this be a place to share the moment and create a list that brings a smile to the face of everyone who reads this post.  

Richard truly was an icon of the Grand Floridian and one that has left his mark in so many incredible ways. By helping guests and creating that Disney magic we've all grown to love, Richard was a person who embodied what a cast member should be. He was a man that I know Walt would truly appreciate and one that made a difference for so many guests. Many guests thought of Richard as a part of their family and have created traditions centered around simply meeting the man year after year. He was, for lack of a better word, an "attraction" of the Grand Floridian and one that will be completely and entirely missed. 

The second reason I share this post is to share a personal story. If you read one of our recent articles, you likely saw where I touched briefly on this story. In August of last year I shared the original article (listed in full) below. After a couple of hours of the post being live on the site a reader dropped a comment on Facebook mentioning that they were at the Grand Floridian and he happened to be there that day. Then they took things a step farther in what is still one of the more memorable gestures I can recall that any reader has done throughout the life of the site. They took this article and read it aloud to Richard and they happened to mention that he had a smile from ear to ear as they read. It seems so simple but it's one of the greatest highlights I've had in this writing journey. It wasn't that fact that I happened to get lucky and make a difference to someone, but rather that this community of Disney fans could reach that far and create such a last memory for both me and hopefully the reader along the way. It may have brightened Richard's day in a little way, but it was completely unexpected than he'd ever even get the chance to see the article. Truth be told, the little moment likely put a larger smile on my face than it did Richard's. That's the key to it all though. Richard was a man that created a moment for guests that they would remember and took an incredible pride in doing so day after day. That's the true spirit of Disney and one of the many reasons his daily presence will certainly be missed. 

Here's a few photos from our readers and if you want to add yours, send them our way and we'll get them added to the list. I'm finishing off the article with this because I always want to try and bring a smile to your face when you read these daily (well almost daily) articles. I don't want this to be a sad part of your day but one where you can remember the memories spent at this place and hopefully those memories will bring a simile to your face! Each of these photos are from our readers, and I can't thank you enough for allowing us to use them. Don't forget to check out the original article featuring Richard below the photos!   


                         












Original Article:

Earlier in the week we debuted an entirely new series here on the site we're calling "Legendary Cast of The Disney Parks." After great feedback and a few particular requests, tonight we're back with an entirely new cast member from the growing list. This particular individual just goes to show that no matter what your role is at Walt Disney World, you can create incredible and timeless guest experiences each and every day. 

(Photo: Disney)

As you've likely already figured out from our title, today's cast member spotlight takes us to the Grand Floridian and the iconic Richard Gerth. Richard has been a part of the magic for many many years and greeted thousands upon thousands of guests from around the world. 

Richard has become a true icon of the Grand Floridian that guests of all ages can truly appreciate and share a moment with. Above all else, he's a smiling face welcoming you 'home' in a way that can't be faked. You can tell without a shade of a doubt that he loves his job and while he's 90+ years old, you can honestly tell that each guests experience is important to him.

If you want to meet Richard for yourself, head on over the lobby of the Grand Floridian and you'll likely find him greeting each guest as they enter the building. He's certainly not hard to spot and typically dressed to the nines in classical Grand Floridian style. He's truly spent years in his position, and created a lasting impression on guests each and every day. After working in the position for over 20 years, guests of all ages scramble to see him during their time at Walt Disney World. Personally, I can't say that I've ever met Richard (beyond videos and online write ups) as much as I'd love to do so at some point. Unfortunately the timing has never quite lined up, and according to various sources his days off are typically Wednesdays and Thursdays. 

As an additional role of his position, he does also help with Disney Fairytale Weddings in many cases. He's truly become iconic in this role as well, even going as far as being featured in mass bridal photos. So, if you can't find in him the lobby, don't worry, he may be out working a wedding.  

As a result of his incredible commitment and lasting influence on guests, Richard received the Disney Legacy Award in 2013. As many of you may or may not know, the Disney Legacy Award is one of the highest awards that can be given to cast members. If you're in the parks, a signifying trademark of the accomplishment is a blue Disney name tag. It's a subtle difference, but if you ever see an individual wearing one of these tags, be sure to tell them thanks. Without a doubt, they've put a lot of heart and certainly a lot of time into their role in the parks and beyond. 

So, next time you're over at the Grand Floridian, be sure to keep an eye out for Richard. If you've met him before and have a fun picture of him or with him, be sure to share it with us on your favorite social media platform! If we can get enough guests to share photos, we'll add a few here in the article! 

Thanks for reading, and have a great rest of the day! Also, be sure to share with us what cast member you would like to see featured next. Many of these individuals really never get the credit they deserve.  


Your Thoughts


As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's here and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! My email is always open, so don't hesitate to send a question or feedback my way! - guide4wdw@gmail.com 

Ready to Plan?


Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way.



Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Disney Icon Richard Gerth Facing Health issues - Here's What We Know So Far

Guide4WDW.com
by: guide4wdw - Collin

Disney Icon Richard Gerth Facing Health issues - Here's What We Know So Far 

As many of you may know at this point, one of the legendary cast members of Disney's Grand Floridian is reportedly facing some rather serious health concerns. While I cannot and will not state these as confirmed reports until official word from the family is released or shared by Disney, I wanted to put something out to share what we know so far. As the day progresses, I will do what I can to update this post with any new information.

At this point I really only have heard two details of the situation. First, it appears as if Richard is facing a rather serious illness (many are sharing that he is facing pneumonia). Second, based on social media user reports, Richard has been moved to hospice care and could use any support we can show him in this online Disney community.


Unfortunately, at this point, this is all we know. If you have any more information or have heard any official reports on his current condition, please share them. We'll gladly update the article and share any and all info we can find along the way. 

Richard Gerth has been a huge part of the Grand Floridian cast member family for years on end. Many brides have truly wonderful stories about Richard and his influence in their weddings at the resort. Additionally, his warm and welcoming presence has brought smiles to guests faces year after year as a greeter in the lobby of the Grand Floridian. He's a man that will put a smile on your face and develop a memory in your mind that will truly never fade away. It's rather strange to speak of such influence of one man, but a passion for what you do and the experience you want to create for guests truly stands out in the hearts and minds of guests. In regards to Richard, he is the representation of what I think a cast member should look like and is the ideal image of Walt's original goal with these parks in the very beginning. Richard truly sets things apart, and we wish him well if these early reports remain true. 

A short while ago, we shared a post titled Legendary Cast of The Disney Parks: Richard Gerth and His Lasting Impression On Guests. It wasn't until that post went live that I fully recognized the extent of his "reach" and the memories he has created for guests. The stories shared in the comments and on social media pages were unbelievable and to my surprise a reader happened to share the article with him in person. They said he had a smile on his face the whole time the article was being read and honestly those are the types of moments where all of this website writing/blogging/etc. starts to make sense in my mind. I never thought that post would reach him or that it would even mean anything if it did. It was a rather simple moment but one that put a smile on my face hundreds of miles away from the parks. This community exceeds my wildest expectations and I really can't thank you all enough for that.

If you have a photo of Richard you'd like to share here, feel free to share it with us on social media and we'll get it posted on this page. One last thing worth mentioning is that I will not be attempting to reach out to the family for more information. I do not want to invade their privacy and recommend that we show support in other ways.  

Your Thoughts


As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's here and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! My email is always open, so don't hesitate to send a question or feedback my way! - guide4wdw@gmail.com 

Ready to Plan?


Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way. 



Monday, June 4, 2018

Whispering Canyon Cafe Changes - A Few Thoughts About the Location's Future

Guide4WDW.com

by: guide4wdw - Collin

Whispering Canyon Cafe Changes - A Few Thoughts About the Location's Future 

Before we begin, as with any post I share like this, I will say that this article is mostly my thoughts. This isn't a rumor to be spread or information to bank on for your upcoming vacation. In contrast, these thoughts about Whispering Canyon at Disney's Wilderness Lodge are more of an observation than anything else. So, without putting things off any farther, here are my thoughts for the future of this location that I tend to consider a hidden gem of Walt Disney World. 


For those of you who have dined at Whispering Canyon in the past, chances are you've become a huge fan of the locations environment and the entire theming of the experience. The cast over the years has been incredible and this dining location has honestly become one of my personal favorite locations to dine at in all of Walt Disney World. To me, this place has character and the cast develops a welcoming and humorous dining opportunity for guests of all ages to enjoy. Sure, it's not fine dining by any stretch of the imagination, but the food is great nonetheless. 

Despite the "cult-like" following Whispering Canyon has among repeat visitors, it's hard to deny that it's no where near as popular as it once was. In the past, lunch and dinner were notoriously busy times to catch a meal and I can even remember a time when a reservation was required weeks, if not months, in advance for specific times. Today, that's certainly not the case. A Whispering Canyon reservation could quite possibly be made a week before or even the day of your visit. It's really fallen off in popularity and quite aggressively from my observations. For example, we'll be catching breakfast at Whispering Canyon next week. If I go on the reservations site and pick the same day as our originally scheduled meal, I'm offered a time of 9:10, 9:25, and 9:45 as alternate options. Truth be told, if I picked any time during the day for just about any meal, the same degree of varied options would remain true. To me, this is a great thing! I can catch a reservation anytime I want! However, from Disney's perspective, it's far from ideal. 

That's how and why I foresee some changes in the future for this great location. In some ways, I think those changes recently started with the change to "ketchup" no longer being yelled across the restaurant and multiple bottles brought to your table. It was a long time staple of the experience, but one that could be signaling larger changes in the future. When Disney was point blank asked about the change on social media, they responded saying that they had asked the cast to "turn down the volume" and a second report cited Disney stating that it was in part due to being considerate to the other guests staying at Wilderness Lodge. 

The first part of that response I can appreciate to a certain extent. When you walk in Wilderness Lodge, you will inevitably hear the cast members and the antics of the restaurant, but I've never once been off-put by that. The second response they shared is a little more interesting to me. First, I've never heard even one guest complain of noise at Wilderness Lodge. It may be possible if your room is one of the select few bordering the lobby in the main open atrium, but even then this seems like a stretch. I've stayed at this resort many times and never had even the slightest concern about noise. Of course, I'm not the only one who stays there so it could happen but again, I see how this could be something to look out for in the future. Changes seem inevitable but at the same time, this could be nothing at all. Maybe the cast members got sick of yelling for ketchup every so often and wanted to see a change? Obviously there's no way to know for sure, but considering other factors, such as the lower crowds at meal times, it's hard not to wonder what may be next for this portion of the resort. Right now, the "Ketchup" change is the only classic aspect of the restaurant that has gone away or is being phased out and hopefully it may be the only change going forward.   


Also worth mentioning here is the option they implemented relatively recently (which appears to have possibly been phased back out or is only being used sporadcially) for guests to flip a coaster up to partake in the action and fun times, or to turn it over to signal the waiter that you'd rather sit out from that part of the experience. We've seen this actually implemented 1 or 2 visits out of our multiple visits in the last 3 years or so. Truthfully, even when it was in place, it appeared as if the cast went on with their usual "act" no matter what the coaster was flipped to. This could be a big aspect of change in the future if they keep toning down the jokes and antics over time. It's no secret that a lot of society isn't quite as open to joking and poking fun at each other as it once was. Personally, I see that as essentially one of those things where if you can't laugh at yourself or at your own expense from time to time, you're really going to be missing out on a lot of fun in life. With that being said, a restaurant like this one and even 50's Prime Time Cafe over at Hollywood Studios isn't necessarily the best fit for everyone.      

After seeing a few things and a few speculations start to pop up online, it's hard not to think there's more to this than meets the eye. Obviously they're trying to change something or trying to appeal to a broader range of guests. Inevitably, my guess is that they are trying to draw heavier crowds back to this table service option. How far they'll change things, we'll have to wait and see to find out. One thing I will say is that it appears the changes inside the restaurant have already begun. 

On our last trip, back in March, we had the chance to speak with the chef and in doing so found that it is an entirely new gentlemen "running the show" in the kitchen. He was incredibly clean cut, and incredibly nice, but still stayed true to a respectable level of humor interacting with the other cast/servers when he was on the floor. When I first saw him and he started talking with our table, I couldn't help but think that the menu could be changing. At this point, I can't say that I've seen many of the "staples" of the experience changing, like the classic "Canyon Skillet," but it does appear that some changes are certainly being made over time. We'll be back over there soon, so I'll try to update you on how the food offerings may have changed once again. This chef could have just been "new to us" rather than new to restaurant, but we had never met with this same chef in the past.   

Truthfully, I don't see the Canyon Skillet going anywhere but at the same time, I would not be surprised if we start seeing a move away from the comedy style atmosphere into something that is more subtle and toned down in nature like Ohana at the Polynesian or even Garden Grill (Which we recently named One of the Best Breakfasts on Disney Property) Of course, this is all simply my opinion and may or may not hold true in the future. I legitimately have no "insider" info or anything of the sort on this one, nor do I claim to, but it just makes sense to me that this is likely a change in the works. 

It may not change today, or maybe not even this year, but I can't remember a single location on property that has faced something like this or has been left unchanged when facing decreased crowd levels. If a change does arrive, here's my best guess as to what will happen and one or two that I hope will happen: 

1. Things will get quieter (which they already have to a minor extent).
2. Meal offerings may make a move to "higher end" options. 
3. Characters could be introduced (in my opinion this would be great and could really revitalize this place in a neat way - this may be a long shot though). 
4. Physical dining room theming could change slightly. 
5. There could be some cast changes. 

All of the above are simply my opinion, but at the same time, these are typical ways in which Disney restaurants have been revitalized in the past. Without the slightest doubt, I believe that this location has been and always will remain a hidden gem of Disney dining, but the recent changes certainly raise a certain bit of concern. Best case scenario, I wouldn't mind seeing this place remain the same as it has always been and is currently (even with the recent "Ketchup" change). On the contrary, from a business standpoint, it only makes sense to change in order to draw a greater crowd level to the location. We'll just have to wait and see what happens! What are your thoughts on this? is it just me that feels like a long term change here is inevitable or do you feel the same way? Be sure to let me know in the comments on your favorite social media platform! If you enjoyed this, don't forget to share it with friends. Your shares are genuinely the main thing that helps this site grow and we truly appreciate your support.                                                  

Your Thoughts


As always, if you have thoughts, concerns, questions, or even some tips of your own to share, don't hesitate to reach out to us on Facebook or your favorite social media platform. Give us a follow while you're there, and we'll keep the conversation going in the future. We're not the largest Disney community, but we're one that's here and one that listens. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day wherever you are! My email is always open, so don't hesitate to send a question or feedback my way! - guide4wdw@gmail.com 

Ready to Plan?

Last but certainly not least, if you're starting the planning process, a great place to start are with some of our top planning articles! Looking for dining? Check out Disney World Dining Tips For 2018. Want to start with some more tips? 44 Excellent Disney World Tips for 2018 or Disney World Planning Guide and Tips For 2018 are a great place to begin! Looking to save money on tickets? Check out our friends over at The Official Ticket Center for great deals that even made it into our 2018 Discount Disney World Ticket selections and another great way to help us create more content through your contributions at no additional cost to you! You'll probably even save money along the way. 



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