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Spotlight: Soarin’

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Future World, Epcot, contains one of Disney’s most innovative and unique rides. Soarin’, the high-flying adventure over California, is one of my personal favorites, and gives riders a distinct feeling of weightlessness. The premise behind the ride is a simple one: you get to view iconic areas of the Sunshine State from a hang gliding-like perspective. The ride itself, if you want to get technical about it, is really just one giant projector screen. But as you’re lifted off the ground in your tiered elevated chairs, your feet dangle in front of you as the projected images surround your view. You soar over places like the Golden Gate Bridge, Napa Valley, Yosemite National Park, Los Angeles, and even the Disneyland California park itself. Several of the scenes infuse a distinct scent, such as the salty ocean as you fly over Malibu, or evergreens as you fly over the mountains. The ride really does feel all-encompassing, and when you “land” it seems as if you’ve actually been to the places on the screen. Soarin’s sense of realism is unparalleled, and its finale (Christmas fireworks over Disneyland) is truly breathtaking. Be sure to check this one out if you’re in The Land—it’s worth the wait.

 

Image courtesy of flickr.com.

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Tip: Hotel Club Levels

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If you have some extra room in your budget, consider upgrading your hotel room to ‘Club Level.’ Formally known as the Club Level Concierge, this special floor option is available in all Disney Deluxe Resorts. Know upfront that it is a fairly expensive option, especially when it’s on top of the price of a room in a Deluxe Resort. However, there are a lot of perks to staying on Club Level, and you should consider it when planning your vacation.

Club Level, to start with, is (in most locations) a select floor of a resort that operates in a “members only” format. When you arrive for check in, you’re escorted directly to the Club Level floor and allowed to bypass the front desk chaos completely. These Club Level check-ins are very personalized and accommodating; hotel staff are available to print your park tickets, make last minute reservations, and even provide you with something to eat and drink while you wait.

That brings me to another perk: the Club Level Lounge. The Lounge is a sitting and dining area with several couches and tables and television sets. There is a food area that lays out small meals and snacks throughout the day, plus coffee in the morning and wine and beer at night. One great thing about this option is the availability of breakfast each morning; if you’re getting up early before you hit the parks and don’t want to pay for an expensive meal every day, the Club Level is a really helpful tool. Don’t expect any of the food options to substitute a three-course meal; most of the offerings are small finger foods (bagels, vegetable plates, chips, various appetizers), but it’s a decent alternative if you don’t have the time for a full meal.

The service on Club Level is also impressive. Wait staff is very accommodating, and if you’re stopping in while the Lounge happens to be closed and setting up for the next meal period, there are always employees available to grab you some extra food. Some hotels offer additional perks, as well. For example, the Club Level of the Yacht Club comes with a private balcony that you can enjoy any time of the day, and happens to be a great viewing location of Magic Kingdom’s Wishes.

I really enjoyed staying on Club Level, and I would highly recommend that you try it out if you’ve got the room in your budget.

 

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