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In this week's feature, Mark and Mike wrap up their series of Top 3 lists for the U.S. Disney Resorts and Downtown Disney areas.
In Part 1 back in March, we talked about dining, pools and other recreation. In April's Part 2, we covered accommodations, theming and overall atmosphere, and nightlife. Finally, today we discuss our Top 3 resorts in each lodging category: Value, Moderate, Deluxe and Home Away From Home.
We started at the bottom with Value resorts. Mike's third choice is Phase 2 of Disney's Pop Century Resort. He dislikes two of the three All-Star Resorts that he'd rather select a half-built, falling down bunch of buildings that might end up being knocked down and rebuilt before opening than either of the other two.
Mark was nicer and went with the All-Star Movies Resort. It's the newest All-Star, so they've fixed some of the problems with the earlier two resorts, but it tends to be a bit more crowded and noisy. In addition, it's the last resort on the All-Stars bus route, and the buses may tend to get full before reaching the resort at times..
Mike's runner up is All-Star Movies. He thinks that it's the best All-Star because they fixed the problems of the other two.
Mark's second choice is the All-Star Music Resort. While it is one of the older resorts, he likes the fact that it's a bit quieter than the other two All-Stars. He's also stayed there, as opposed to just walking around it. Mike did remind Mark that there was a two-hour check-in line when Mark stayed there.
Mike and Mark agree that the top Value resort is Disney's Pop Century Resort. Mike did work there, so that helped the determination, but he noted that the All-Stars are more Super-Value compared to Pop Century. Mike noted a bunch of things that were improved between the construction of the All-Stars and the construction of Pop. Mark noted that Phase 1 of Pop Century has the capacity of one and a half All-Stars, so that if and when Phase 2 is built, Pop would have the capacity of all three All-Stars put together. But despite the fact that Pop is so much bigger, it flows much more easily and the crowds don't seem as unbearable.
Mike's number three Moderate resort is the Coronado Springs Resort. Mike loves the food court (despite the forced gratuity for "servers"), he likes the atmosphere and the lake, as well.
Mark's number three is also Coronado Springs. He liked walking around Lago Dorado, and the food court's different menu was a plus. He enjoyed the convention facilities that he used when he stayed there. The watercraft rentals and the variety of the types of lodging are also pluses.
Mike's second choice is Port Orleans Riverside. He likes the theming, the laid-back atmosphere, the restaurants and just the overall feel.
Mark's number two is also Dixie Landings ... er ... Port Orleans Riverside. He likes the food court, Ol' Man Island and the overall feel of the resort. Mike and Mark also agree that Alligator Bayou is much better than Magnolia Bend.
Mike's number one is the Caribbean Beach Resort. First of all, it's Pop Century's sister resort, so they share a bunch of cast facilities. He likes the pools, the restaurants, and it's his favorite place to be picked up for the Disney Cruise Line. He also likes that you can send a coconut through the mail from there.
Mark's top choice is Port Orleans French Quarter. He only stayed there one night, but he really likes the feel. The reproduction of New Orleans, the food court, Doubloon Lagoon and everything else add up to a great first impression. He plans to stay there again in the future.
Mike's third pick is the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground. It's woodsy, there are trails and a petting zoo, there are great places to eat, and they have a nightly campfire.
Mark's number three is the Animal Kingdom Villas. At this point, the only villas available for stays are in the main Jambo House building, but the construction on the Kidani Village annex is proceeding quickly. The theming is great, Mark likes that there are two great restaurants there, the Uzima Springs pool, the animals and the campfire circle, and more.
Mike's second choice is the Villas at Wilderness Lodge. Mike likes the resort a lot. He likes the amenities and the overall feel. The Iron Spike Room is one of his favorite places to hang out.
Mark's second pick is the Beach Club Villas, largely on the function of location. You have access to Stormalong Bay, you're steps from Epcot, you've got Beaches & Cream and Cape May Cafe at the resort, plus you're near all of the fun of the Boardwalk.
Mike's number one is the Animal Kingdom Villas. Between the Lion King theming of the rooms, the fact that it's linked to Disney's Animal Kingdom, the fact that his two favorite restaurants are at the resort and all of the animals around, Mike feels that it can't be beat.
Mark's top choice is the Old Key West Resort. Originally, it was just called "The Disney Vacation Club Resort" until they started opening the other resorts, then they had to slap a name on it so they put the Old Key West name on it. Because it was the first one, they went overboard in creating large room sizes with great facilities in each room. It's very laid-back and relaxing, and the fact that it's away from the parks and on the golf course just gives you a chance to take a break and recharge your batteries. Of course, the three-bedroom grand villas are tremendous and a great way to have a large group together without being on top of each other.
Mike's number three is the Wilderness Lodge He loves just about everything about it.
Mark's third pick is the Animal Kingdom Lodge, largely for the same reason as for the Animal Kingdom Villas in the last category..
Mike's second choice is the Disneyland Hotel. He loves the pool, the theming of the rooms, the restaurants, the artwork throughout the hotel, and the artwork around the hotel.
Mark's number two is the Grand Californian Hotel. His decision was largely on the basis of the wonderful room that he and his family had overlooking Grizzly Peak with a side view of the Magic Kingdom. In the early mornings, they would watch the water start filling Grizzy River Run. The restaurants, the lobby with the grand piano, the pool area, it all adds up to a great resort.
Mike's first choice is (surprise!) the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Mike loves the restaurants, the theming, the animals, the art and the lobby.
Mark's top pick is the Polynesian Resort. While he's got a soft spot for it because it was where he and his wife spent part of their honeymoon there, the South Seas tropical feel really takes you away. Throw in 'Ohana, Kona Cafe, the monorail line and that signature Disney smell of the Polynesian's lobby and you've got a fabulous result. Mark also likes the way that the rooms were redone.
So what are your Top 3 choices? Do you agree with us? Let us know by sending an email or calling our toll-free feedback line (1-866-939-2278) and let us know what you think!
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The MouseStation crew (@MouseStation) currently consists of Mark Goldhaber (@MPMark) and Mike Demopoulos (@MPMike).