Vintage Ephemera Friday #006

Ephemera is defined as something that is not meant to last long– often paper goods. I find myself picking up matchbook covers, postcards, and old magazines at estate sales, flea markets, etc. I know that there are plenty others who dig this stuff too so I’ve decided to post a new piece every Friday as a series, “Vintage Ephemera Friday,” or #VEF on IG.

I encourage anyone else who reads this to also post cool old ephemeral goods (old papers, pins, magnets, pretty much all advertisement goods, whatever you like!) and post it with both “#VintageEphemeraFriday” and “#VEF” tags so in the future others can search through the collective finds.

I missed a couple weeks after taking a summer school course, but I’m back and here’s my 6th post. This is a bundle of matchbooks I picked up at an estate sale. There was a giant box of them, but they were $1 a piece, so I had to be a little picky!

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I love finding restaurant theme ones with beautiful graphics. How cute is that chili bowl building?

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I also really like the water nymph matchbook– it was probably a little risqué back in the day. It was printed on beautiful lavender card stock. & barbu-cated? what?! I love when they’re double sided with different graphics on each side. Do you collect matchbooks? I keep saving them for crafts, but I haven’t done anything with them yet!

Please feel free to join in and post your vintage ephemera finds here or on IG on Fridays! #vintageephemerafriday #vef

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

July is Amerikitsch’s WDW month– I visited the parks in December 2014 and I thought it’s time to post about my trip. Check back all month for Disney related posts!

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This is a post about one of my favorite parks, Hollywood Studios. Yes, I said it’s a favorite! I’ve read some other opinions online that differ, but from a visual standpoint I really enjoyed walking around the park. It has an old Hollywood theme and after visiting it I wished that this designed had carried on to the California Adventure park.
I took a TON of photos of the vintage-inspired signage (my favorite!) and will post those separately.

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During Christmas-time, each park had gorgeous mega-trees out front that were designed in theme of the park they represent.

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I visited in December 2014, and the sorcerer hat & ears were still up. I saw online a couple weeks after we visited they were torn down. I know there were mixed feelings on these as well, but I like them. There was a open-air pin shop under the hat that was a great spot to pick up a souvenir.

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As I mentioned, there is an old Hollywood vibe to the park that is a lot of fun for vintage fans. I don’t know if Dapper Day is as big in Florida as it is in California, but this park is the perfect spot for it! The buildings have beautiful deco facades.

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They have the cutest dino, Gertie, that also serves as a ice cream spot. HWS definitely has some epic themed restaurants, too!

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The Prime Time Cafe is a delight and it will get its own post later! Dreamy 50s realness! & by realness, I mean it! They have tons of true vintage decorations that will make you feel like you stepped back in time.

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The Sci-Fi Diner is another great vintage-inspired eatery. It feels like you’ve been transported to a drive-in theatre back in the 50s/60s. I will also make a separate post for this spot.
**TIP: If you’re interested in eating at any restaurant in any of the parks, it is highly recommended that you make a reservation before your trip. You may not be able to get in at all without one!

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Hollywood Studios has attractions that are available in California, like Star Tours and Midway Mania, but I was excited they also still have Muppet Vision! It has been gone from DCA for awhile now with no signs of it returning. It was fun to see it again.

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There were great Christmas decorations, including this giant Santa figure on a street facade.

Another feature that we were lucky enough to visit before its closure was the Osborne Spectacular of Dancing Lights. 2015 was their last year, to many fan’s disappointment. There was a faux street near the Muppet Vision that was reminiscent of something at Universal Studios. You could walk through during the day, but the real excitement was a night to see the light display. I’m guessing they have big plans for that space in the future.

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My favorite part of the display– the baby from Dinosaurs! I remember watching that as a kid and loved seeing the blast from the past.

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In the back of the park is Midway Mania, one of the most entertaining rides. As you can see from the wait time (95 minutes in this photo), it is very popular! We were there off-season and midweek and I did not see the wait time under 1 hour. It is the same ride in California if you’ve been to DCA. To save time you might want to skip it, but the queue is wonderfully designed.

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The queue is designed as if you’ve shrunk down to toy-size. Mr. Potato is telling jokes like the line in DCA, but this one has much more style.

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There are also great Toy Story-inspired decorations outside the ride.

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For the mermaid fans, there is this beautiful fountain from the movie, “Splash.” It adds to the Hollywood vibe.

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Speaking of mermaids, there is a Little Mermaid show. Unfortunately, it leaves a lot to be desired. It doesn’t really follow the story, but it is a show that does musical numbers from the movie. If you have small children that love the music, maybe it would be a good spot to take a break from the walking, but otherwise it’s passable. I will say that the singer who played Ariel when we saw it was spot-on! She sounded just like the film, which was impressive.

The Disney Parks in Florida seem to have many stage shows– there’s an Indiana Jones stunt show, a car racing stunt show, a Beauty and the Beast live show, etc. & these are only just the shows at Hollywood Studios. I personally am not a huge fan of stage shows, so I’d pass on them. I saw a couple on this trip and don’t need to see any of them again. If you’re pressed for time you may want to skip them as well, but if you need a break they can be a welcome stop.

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Maybe I’m a little on the nerdy-side, but I really enjoyed “One Man’s Dream,” and exhibition inside Hollywood Studios with Walt’s history and artifacts. You can walk around the mini-museum and they also play a movie. I loved learning about the history and process Walt cultivated for us all to enjoy these many years later.

**NOTE TO ANY DISNEY EMPLOYEES THAT MIGHT COME ACROSS THIS: I was at HWS and visited the One Man’s Dream building on Walt Disney’s birthday. There was ZERO mention of it anywhere in the park other than it was mentioned at the beginning of the film. Really? Nothing for Walt’s birthday? Why not a button or sticker for guests at the gate? Or a special cupcake or other dessert commemorating the day? It doesn’t have to be anything big, but it seems that Walt’s birthday should be acknowledged in Disney parks.**

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Another great spot for the old Hollywood vibe is the Brown Derby. It is a re-creation of the iconic hot spot from the Golden Age of Cinema.

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We visited the park a second day to enjoy a meal at the Brown Derby. It felt very “grown up” and might not be the best spot for the little ones. The meals were delicious, but also a little on the pricier side. It was a nice treat!

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One of the best details were the copper derby hat lights!

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Hollywood Studios has a beautiful “Main Street,” but they also have a great shopping area on the walk towards the Tower of Terror ride. This shop was villain-themed and was great.

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Along the walls were these epic scary old-Hollywood vignettes. Set decorating for Disney sounds like a dream job to me (Disney do you need help in CA? I’m here!), and this shop really stood out for its design. I took many, many photos of the vintage-style signage and they will get their own post soon!

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This is a shot of the walking/shopping area on the way to Tower of Terror. There are plenty of cool things to stop and check out along the way, including great shops and quick serve meal spots.

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When the sun went down, we went back to see the light display. It was the street I mentioned before with the baby from “Dinosaurs” in the window. It was an incredible display with many fans checking it out.

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The Mickey stocking was one of my favorite touches, along with the Halloween cat. We were told that when the Osborne’s mailed all the lights to Disney, they accidentally included a halloween decoration of a cat. The decorators used it in the design every year and moved it around for people to search for while they enjoyed the lights!

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When we were leaving I snapped a photo of this shop window– the Minnie’s were kicking their legs like they were Rockettes. It was too cute and festive.

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A great touch in the window was this poster for the “Jingle Belles.” I’ve also seen these Minnie’s as ornaments in the park. I hope they bring them back this year because I want to pick one up!

So, I’m definitely a fan of Hollywood Studios. The style, the props, and design really grabbed my attention and made me wish they had made similar choices for the DCA park. If you’re all about rides, this park will probably not keep you all day. You can get there early and hit your fave attractions, and then head out. But if you want a more leisurely time, to walk and enjoy your surroundings, I recommend it.

Disney has also announced that there will be a Star Wars land in this park in the future, so I bet it will only get more popular when that opens!

Have you visited Hollywood Studios? What was your favorite part of the park? Let me know in the comments, thanks!

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Epcot/HWS Area Hotels

July is Amerikitsch’s WDW month– I visited the parks in December 2014 and I thought it’s time to post about my trip. Check back all month for Disney related posts!

This post will cover the Yacht and Beach Club, as well as the Boardwalk hotel.
These hotels are great if you plan on visiting Epcot or Hollywood Studios because they have ferry access.

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The Yacht and Beach Club resorts are ‘sister’ hotels and share the same property and some amenities. I visited by car and had trouble telling the hotels apart. However, inside the Yacht Club felt a little more formal.

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We parked in the backlot and walked through the Vacation Club area. It was fun to see that some of the vacationers decorated their balcony!

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This pretty statue was in the back of the property.

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Since we came in the back way, I think we had come through the VC space. They had this nice library nook. I’m not sure if it was open to all guests or VC members– since we were there off season, there weren’t many people around.

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One of the reason I highly recommend visiting the hotels, especially the deluxe hotels, during the holidays is that they have these incredible gingerbread displays! This carousel was functional and spinning around. The hotels that have these gingerbread displays also have commemorative pins with the yearly design.

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Beaches and Cream is a cute ice cream shop/diner on the Beach Club side. It serves food, but it is a very small space with only a handful of tables. When we were there, it was a hour wait to eat. Instead, we just got a scoop of ice cream, which has a separate counter. There are a couple tables outside if you wish to eat it there.

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This is one of my favorite views from the trip– looking outside the Beach Club and across the water to the Boardwalk Resort.

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Here is the ferry that accesses stops at Epcot World Showcase, Hollywood Studios, the Swan and Dolphin, Beach and Yacht Club, and the Boardwalk. This is not a quick trip, more of a leisurely pace. It’s quite enjoyable if you’re not in a big rush.

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The Boardwalk literally gives the look and feel of an old-timey boardwalk with lots of buildings. They have shops and restaurants along the walk way.

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The Boardwalk hotel has vintage Americana and nautical inspirations. It was my favorite resort of all that I visited!

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I loved this chandelier with the Neptune design.

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The Boardwalk also had a gingerbread project in the lobby– they had an ice cream stand! It was so cute and my favorite gingerbread display. The seals with Mickey and Minnie holding ice creams were also very similar to pins sold at the Soda Fountain in Los Angeles.

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They also had pressed penny machines that were decorated in style of the hotel.

I hope this post gives you an idea as to the style of these hotels. These are all deluxe properties, meaning they are on the higher end of pricing. If you are there during the holidays, go visit and check out the decorations and gingerbread displays!
My dream is to stay at the Boardwalk some day! Where would you like to stay? Let me know in the comments, thanks!

A Trip to Epcot (Part One)

July is Amerikitsch’s WDW month– I visited the parks in December 2014 and I thought it’s time to post about my trip. Check back all month for Disney related posts!

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Disney’s Epcot is easily divided into two sides: Future World (the “science” side) and World Showcase (the countries side). This first post will be about the science side. The main entrance brings guests through the science side with the iconic orb.

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Inside the orb is Spaceship Earth, a ride through the history of communications and technology. It was a little goofy, but fun. After the ride there was a big space with computer games. It wasn’t really my interest, but there were lots of people checking it all out.

The Innoventions buildings were… not as full of Disney magic as I had expected. I went into a few because I was collecting the pressed pennies but they felt like the booths at the county fair. I would really love to see Disney executives offer up space to more major companies and see what they could come up for the travelers. Imagine visiting the Apple section or Tesla section, teaching kids about technology in a fun, interesting way!

There were two popular buildings– The Land and The Sea. We visited The Land which includes the Soarin’ ride, a Lion King film about ecology, and Living with the Land, a boat tour through an area where they grow food for the park.

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They had cute holiday touches to the Land ride. We got to see fruits, veggies, and fish.

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There is a beautiful food court inside the Land building; I loved this hot air balloon decoration on the ceiling.

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We did not have a meal here, but many of the foods had ingredients from the space visited on the Land ride. I did get this red velvet treat!
I cannot speak about The Sea building as we didn’t have time to visit. There are a few other rides, including the Test Track, Mission to Mars, and a Figment ride (“Journey to Imagination”). One of the strangest shows is Ellen’s Energy Adventure. It’s a show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres that was filmed about 20 years ago and also stars Bill Nye and Jamie Lee Curtis. It’s a mix of screen show and then becomes a bit of a ride, and then back to a show. I thought it was interesting in a strange way, but it is quite long (about 45 minutes) so I don’t think it will hold children’s attention.

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The Coca-Cola shop is a fun place to visit and you should definitely try the flavors from other countries. It’s true about the Beverly. I tried it and it wasn’t as bad as I thought at first, but the after-taste was bad!
Visiting during December, there were lovely holiday topiaries in the many planted seating areas.

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My favorite topiaries were these Mickey’s with Santa hats. They were in front of Mousegears, one of the best shops in any of the parks. I definitely recommend visiting it; I purchased a backpack there I never saw in any other parks.

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The orb is absolutely beautiful at night. Look at the colors! **TIP: if you are a pin collector, there is an outdoor pin shop with some tables near by. This is a spot to trade with others and pick up new pins.**

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This is a day-night collage I posted on IG I had made on the ride home from Epcot.

Overall, there were a few fun spots in Future World, but if I go again I’d spend more time on the World Showcase side. If you’re a shopper you should visit Mousegears, and teens would probably love Test Track and Mission to Mars. Future World opens before World Showcase, so you might want to get to the park right when it opens, check out the science side for a couple hours, and then head over to World Showcase.
Have you visited Epcot? What was your favorite attraction?

Vintage Ephemera Friday #005

Ephemera is defined as something that is not meant to last long– often paper goods. I find myself picking up matchbook covers, postcards, and old magazines at estate sales, flea markets, etc. I know that there are plenty others who dig this stuff too so I’ve decided to post a new piece every Friday as a series, “Vintage Ephemera Friday,” or #VEF on IG.

I encourage anyone else who reads this to also post cool old ephemeral goods (old papers, pins, magnets, pretty much all advertisement goods, whatever you like!) and post it with both “#VintageEphemeraFriday” and “#VEF” tags so in the future others can search through the collective finds.

For my fifth post, I’m posting a bit of trash. Well, the sellers at the estate sale thought it was trash. But I (and the previous owner) saw it differently. Mixed in with vintage sewing patterns was this rumpled bag from the shop, Ruggles.

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From what I have seen online, Ruggles was a shop inside the park. Since this bag is marked ‘Disneyland Hotel’ I’m guessing it came later. It was a china and fine goods shop. Searching “Ruggles Disneyland” will bring up some cute knick-knacks in an internet search.
I love the floral print, but I just really love that some crafty lady made an effort to keep the bag. I hope it brought her good memories of a Disney trip when she came across it in her craft supplies.

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Please feel free to join in and post your vintage ephemera finds here or on IG on Fridays! #vintageephemerafriday #vef

Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom

July is Amerikitsch’s WDW month– I visited the parks in December 2014 and I thought it’s time to post about my trip. Check back all month for Disney related posts!

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In my second Magic Kingdom post I talked about ‘Be Our Guest,’ the Beauty and the Beast themed restaurant. It was such a fun time I thought it deserved its own post!

As you can see, the entrance used forced perspective to create the view of the Beast’s castle off in the distance. It looks like it’s far away, but the entrance is underneath.

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There are great touches even outside the restaurant with theming recognizable from the film.

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As I mentioned in the other post, I had tried to get a reservation and they were full. Luckily, they had a test market for lunch and we got in. You place your order on a touch screen and then find your own table in the main room. Using the magic bands, they’d bring out your food when ready.

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The main room looked straight out of the movie! It was very large with many tables. Two other themed rooms were full, too, and I believe those sections were for people who had reservations.

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One of my favorite touches was the soda fountain. It was a walk-up self serve and also looked like it was from the movie.

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It was December when we visited and they had some lovely decorations! There was this beautiful tree up against a faux door. Behind the windows was a screen that made it appear that it was snowing outside! So pretty and festive!

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They had many wreaths and garlands throughout the restaurant, but my favorite detail– they had ornaments shaped like characters in the movie with a stain glass design. Too cute! I was surprised they did not sell these ornaments in the park. Too bad, I bet they would be popular.

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Before leaving, we checked out the other reserved rooms: The first, lighter room had artwork from the movie and a large rotating figure of the Beast and Belle dancing.

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Many people were taking photos of the rooms, so expect a little bit of a wait.

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The darker room was Beast themed. It was very dark, too dark I think if you have older people in your party or those who have vision problems. But it was very popular because this is where the rose is!

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There was a line to see the rose, but not too much space around the tables. Just be mindful of the people eating before shooting flash photography.

Overall this was one of my best meals on the trip, both in food and experience. I loved seeing all the design and decorations and the meals was tasty! I recommend it (try and get a reservation!) for anyone visiting the Magic Kingdom and hope to visit again myself.

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Magic Kingdom Area Hotels

July is Amerikitsch’s WDW month– I visited the parks in December 2014 and I thought it’s time to post about my trip. Check back all month for Disney related posts!

This post will cover some information on four hotels that are located near the Magic Kingdom. My family and I rented a car that allowed us ease of transport between the hotels and parks. **TIP: if it fits in your trip budget, I highly recommend renting a car. There are buses that transfer guests from Disney hotels to the parks, but they can often be crowded. Driving allows you to go on your own schedule and visit other hotels if you wish to see them.**

This is the first batch covering Disney hotel properties. We visited each of them to see the holiday decorations and feel the “vibe.” They are all quite distinctive and Disney had multiple price points for all guests. The hotels in this post are located near the Magic Kingdom. More information can be found on their official site.

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The first hotel we visited was the Polynesian resort. It’s one of the older Disney hotels on the property and has great island theming. Unfortunately, they were going through massive construction when we visited (December 2014), so much of it was closed up. I bet it looks ever better now!

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We visited during the holidays, so there was a lot of great wreaths and garland all over the hotels.

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One of my favorite touches was that they have a dole whip station in the hotel! This is usually only something seen in the parks, so I bet it’s a sweet treat for the guests.

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During this trip I collected many of the press pennies (search online “Disneyworld Pressed Penny” for a printable list), and every hotel had at least one machine. I loved that they decorated the machines to match the hotel. The Polynesian also has a great island-themed shop and when we were there the was a pinboard out (trading pins appeared to be a bigger deal in Florida than California).

After we visited the Polynesian, we hopped on the monorail and rode over to the Grand Floridian.

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The Grand Floridian is definitely a more upscale hotel, I felt a little sloppy in my t-shirt and jeans. If you’ve been to San Diego or are a fan of the film “Some Like it Hot,” you may recognize the style of the hotel is modeled after Hotel Coronado.

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There was a large Christmas tree that was a popular spot for photos; it also appeared that some locals were coming to take photos near the tree for their Christmas cards. It’s very light and old-money beachy in style. They also had beautiful character accents in the marble floor.

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The pink isn’t exactly traditional Christmas style, but it was beautiful and fit the hotel.

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My favorite part of the hotel was the life-size gingerbread house made of REAL gingerbread! They even had people inside selling cookies. It was too cute and had great details!

**TIP (for the pin traders): There are a few stores inside Grand Floridian, but if you’re looking for pins, be sure to check out the menswear shop. They had a book of trading pins behind the counter.**

After a forgettable lunch we hopped back on to the monorail to check out the Contemporary.

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Probably one of the most well-known hotels at Disney, the Contemporary was a lot of fun to walk around. They have a nice shops, but my favorite spot is outside. As you can see from above, we had a beautiful and clear day with chairs to relax outside.

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As you can see, there’s a nice view of Magic Kingdom. We didn’t have time to go back any evening, but I bet it’s a great spot to watch the fireworks!

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They had a cute ‘Frozen’ gingerbread display with a matching pin available.

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There are these huge Mary Blair murals inside the Contemporary which I think are worth a visit on their own. I didn’t crop out the people at the bottom of my picture so you may see the scale of these works of art.

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This wreath was found in the little cafe and I wish we had eaten here instead of GF. Hopefully I’ll visit again and spend more time checking out the murals!

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A few days later we visited the Wilderness Lodge Hotel. While it is not accessible my monorail, the AAA map lists this as a hotel near Magic Kingdom.

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They had cute topiaries outside!

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The interior was incredible! It felt like we were inside a giant log cabin. They also had a massive Christmas tree.

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Their restaurant, Whispering Pines, which we tried to get in, was booked up. I know I mentioned this in a previous post, but I can’t stop recommending getting advanced reservations before your trip!

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They had this giant fireplace with rocking chairs nearby. Since it was the holidays, they also had carolers and bell players. It was very festive and “cozy.”

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Their Mercantile shop was so cute! My mom loves the lodge style, so we found lots of great items there.

These four hotels are geographically close to the Magic Kingdom and on the higher end of the Disney properties. The Polynesian, Wilderness Lodge (and Fort Wilderness), and Grand Floridian also have ferry boats service to the Magic Kingdom without having to get stuck in the larger, more crowded ferry for everyone else.

Check back for coverage of other hotels in the coming weeks! Have you stayed at a Walt Disney World property? How was it? I’d love to hear your opinions, let me know in the comments. Thanks!