Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Travel Writing & Photography

I've just enrolled in a course titled "Travel Writing & Photography" through the Australian College QED.

I'm hoping that this course will give me better insight into what I'm doing here, and help me create more comprehensive - and interesting - articles. Hopefully when I come out the other end I'll be able to write reviews that people will want to read. If all goes well I will also come out with a diploma of journalism. I think I'll add that to my profile when I get it. Gives me some credibility!

I'm doing the course through correspondence, and my first pack arrived today. I've read through the paperwork and am itching to get started. So far all I've done is complete half of the information on the front page, with information such as my name, address and phone number...

I hope I've passed so far...

Monday, April 11, 2011

Port Orleans Riverside Resort – Walt Disney World.

photo by Misty Miotto

As with all Disney resorts, the attention to detail here is second to none. The themeing at the Port Orleans Riverside is that of old Louisiana – with the back water bayou making up half of the resort, and the stately mansions being the other part. These two sections respectively called the Alligator Bayou and Magnolia Bend.

Disney’s Magical Express, a bus service made available to guests staying at Disney Resorts, picked us up from the airport. The bus first made stops at the Yacht Club and the Boardwalk, which made the trip feel long, however as the excitement for Disney builds I’m sure any trip feels like a lifetime! Check in was quick and efficient. Sonia – from South Australia! – Checked us in, and asked about our wedding, where it was being held and when it was and congratulated us and all that. She gave us clear directions to our room, which was a bit of a walk with all of our suitcases, but the scenery was amazing, so we didn’t mind. We also received a phone call from Sonia on our wedding day wishing us all the best!

Couldn't resist throwing in a wedding photo!

Wedding photos were taken by Misty Miotto

She's an amazing photographer!

Being that I was here for my wedding, naturally I requested a room in the Magnolia Bend area. We received room 8063, which was located in the Arcadian House, and was a corner room with a king bed. I believe it also technically had water and river views, being that it was about as close as you could get to the river from this building, and was also next to one of the quiet pools that are dotted throughout the resort. I grabbed a few quick photos of our particular room, but couldn’t take many as we were heading out to Down Town Disney to meet up with some people.

If you’re interested in seeing more photos check out, which should be your first stop when investigating this resort.

House keeping, also known as Mouse keeping, came early in the morning, and were quick and efficient. If your Do Not Disturb sign was posted on the door, they checked back regularly to see if they could get through, if not they left fresh towels and soaps at your door. They also left little surprises for us to find on our return.

There were several bus stops to the parks throughout the resort, which meant you didn’t have far to go to catch one. However due to the size of Disney World, I would probably recommend hiring a car to get around.
While we didn’t eat at Boatwrights, we had a few family members that did, and all of them were happy with both the food and service. We did however eat a few times at Riverside Mill, which was just a food court layout, but with great food (breakfast did leave a bit to be desired though). We also stopped in at the River Roost lounge a few times (try the nachos). I wasn’t terribly happy with the service here. They took forever to come to our table to take our orders, and wouldn’t let us order from the bar. On one occasion I ordered the same drink 4 times, before eventually taking a friend’s reusable mug into Riverside Mill and filling up for free. The drink miraculously turned up after that… If you haven’t already heard of “Yee Ha” Bob Jackson, then you’re missing out. He performs a piano comedy act, which never fails to get the entire audience participating.
He appears Wednesdays through Saturdays and cannot be missed! Check out for more information.
I loved this resort. From the beautiful landscaping, to the fair sized rooms, and dining options available. I may not have stayed in all of the Disney Resorts, but this tops my list. I will be back!

Crowne Plaza LAX

I didn’t take photos around the Crowne Plaze – I know, bad blogger! – I was just really jet lagged! However I have appropriated some photos from the hotel’s website just to give you a small glimpse into how it looks.

This hotel is perfect for those who are having a stop over at LA, or just prefer to stay close to the airport. According to its description, it is located less then a mile from the main terminals, but we were never once disturbed by the sound of planes.

Getting to the Crowne Plaza from LAX was very simple, you just head out to the Islands and look for the hotel shuttle signs, several buses will stop, but you just need to look for the one with your hotels name on it. Easy!

The staff here are very friendly, and extremely helpful. They booked us into the red trolley tour so we could check out some of the nearby sights and do some shopping on our day off, which we’d happily spend a day doing again. The Red Trolley toured El Segundo Beach, plus some surrounding shopping areas. However I’ll come back to this service in a later post.

The rooms do leave a little to be desired, and could do with a renovation, as I noticed a few things like loose or broken tiles in the bathroom and dated carpet. However this in itself would not turn me off staying here again.

The restaurant in the lobby had good food – mainly buffet – and good service. Also available was a sushi bar, a pizza bar and a donut kiosk. We had the buffet for lunch and found that there was a reasonable variety and the food was fresh. This was followed by pizza from the pizza bar for dinner, which was made to order and just what we were after. The following morning we had the breakfast buffet and found that there seemed to be more variety then the following day, however the pricing here was confusing…

Overall we were quite happy with our stay at the Crowne Plaza LAX and would happily stay here again if we needed a stop over, or had an early morning flight.

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