We started going to Disney World when our now-28 year-old twins were two years old. At the time, we purchased 2 timeshare weeks in Orlando and would go at least once a year. We created so many family memories back then! Those were the days where you could buy a multi-year park hopper pass that never expired (so we would put them in the safe and pull them out for the next time we went). Now you have a wristband and can plan ahead for fast passes!
Fast forward nearly a quarter of a century, and the Disney experience is markedly different. Having been there multiple times and having stayed on Disney property at the Contemporary and Animal Kingdom Lodge, we wanted a bit of a different experience this time. Since it was just the two of us, I thought it would be fun to stay at the Four Seasons, which is not owned by Disney, but they provide transportation to the Disney parks and they have a dedicated Disney concierge desk. Let me tell you, this ain’t your mama’s Disney hotel!
Because of COVID restrictions limiting park capacity, we opted to just enjoy Disney Springs and our resort. Having only 2 days helped in that decision. Orlando is super easy to get to from Nashville, so we arrived shortly after breakfast. I had reserved a private transfer through the Four Seasons concierge through their app (game-changer!), because car rentals are super expensive right now, and having the convenience of a private driver was a great way to start our weekend getaway. Upon our arrival, the Four Seasons sales manager took my husband and me on the grand tour of the resort. I wanted to experience this resort for my VIP Disney clients who want a more elevated (and more relaxing) Disney vacation.
Four Seasons Orlando Resort is the first and only 5 diamond resort in Orlando. The resort caters to multi-generational families and groups. As a matter of fact, there was a beautiful Indian wedding going on when we were there, and they had the perfect setting on the lawn for this occasion. You will see lots of families with kids, and at certain times of the day (around breakfast, especially) you’ll see them playing on the lawn, but for the most part, the resort is fairly quiet. Centrally-located on Disney property – easy to get to Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney Springs. The $42 million in stunning landscaping includes a row of very mature palm trees lining the main sidewalk. There are walking trails everywhere, and we took a long walk after breakfast each day. You won’t feel like you are in the middle of Disney-mania. It’s a really peaceful location. The hotel is at 60% capacity now, but is expected to increase this number as the year progresses and more folks are vaccinated for COVID.
There are a total of 443 HUGE rooms (including 63 suites) on 17 floors and 27 acres. To give you an idea of size, the entry level room starts at 500sf. They are designated by Lake, Park or Golden Oak view. The biggest room is a 9-bedroom royal suite on 16th floor, followed by a 5 bedroom presidential suite. Six grand suites can be configured as Royal Suite. Suites on floors 1-5 are called “Lake View”; suites on the 6th floor and above are called “Park View” Connecting rooms have either 2 Queens or a king w/Queen sofa bed. This ain’t your grandma’s sofa bed – the mattress is thick and comfy – great for families traveling with kids!
They start your mini bar off with only 2 bottles of water, and you can customize what’s in refrigerator using the tablet on the night stand. You can also access your concierge through the same device. Each room is equipped with a N’espresso machine and tea kettle is standard. A Wine dispenser is also in each room, and you are charged by the glass which gets added to your bill. Of course, we had to try both the red and white. The quality of wines are just OK, and the price is a little high for the quality, but it’s really convenient and a nice way to enjoy a glass of wine on the patio!
Attention to Detail
Housekeeping left sunglass wipes when Jeff left his sunglasses sitting out and a computer screen wipe for me when they saw my computer charging on the table. That is attention to detail! The staff was obviously well-trained in noticing things their guests need before we even know we need them! At restaurants, the hostess leaves you a ziplock bag to store your mask while eating and a sanitizing wipe to wash your hands with. Over-the-top service!
There are several dining venues to enjoy on property:
Ravello – An Italian restaurant and serves breakfast/character breakfast. Executive Chef, Fabrizio Schenardi is from Torino, Italy, and the food is very authentic – the wood-fired pizza is out of this world! They also have a private dining room and demo kitchen for cooking classes, although it wasn’t open when we were there due to COVID restrictions. They have a Character breakfast on Saturdays and Thursdays are coming back post-COVID. The great thing about character breakfasts at the Four Seasons is that Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy show up at each one! Breakfast reservations are recommended and priority access is for Four Seasons guests (although guests staying at other resorts are allowed to come).
Capa – Signature rooftop steakhouse on the 17th floor. The Spanish influenced décor. You can get tapas, and sangria and have the perfect view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks, and if you have a special occasion, they have a private dining area they can theme (we saw huge blowup Star Wars stormtroopers in the room during our tour, as they were getting ready for a private child’s birthday party).
Lickety Split – Just off the lobby, great for take away snacks, coffee drinks, and some of the best gelato this side of Rome. I’m glad I didn’t have any until the last day – I would have been there every day! You can also order a custom cake for a special occasion.
Lobby Bar – casual place for cocktails, appetizers and dinner
PB&G – poolside casual restaurant. Servers will get your food and drinks from here when you are at the pool.
Plancha – has a Cuban-inspired menu over at the golf clubhouse and serves Cuban sandwiches and empanadas with a Sunday brunch.
Wellness and Fitness
Family pool area is located near the Kids Club and also features a splash Zone, water slides, and a lazy river. The lazy river near the kids club offers a relaxing way to float your cares away, but beware! There are a couple of fountains and waterfalls, a section of bubbling rapids, and two strategically-located water cannons where others can try to get you wet (so if you’re bringing your phone, make sure it’s in a water-proof bag).
The family pool area has an infinity-edge with a zero-entry feature – great for young swimmers. There is a big screen where they show Disney movies during the day. Eight Pool cabanas can be reserved in advance 1/2 or full day starting at $400/day, includes a stocked refrigerator, private server, a fruit plate and other assorted amenities. There are also underwater tunes!
The Oasis – For adults who would like a more serene environment, the Oasis pool offers a tranquil adults-only, relaxing area with comfortable lounge chairs and 9 cabanas. There is a great wi-fi signal, so guests who want a workcation can easily work in these cabanas.
Early arrival/late departure lounge
If your flight arrives too early and your room isn’t ready, or if your flight home is much later than check-out time, there is a free lounge for you to relax in while you wait. This feature is great for international guests whose flights tend home tend to
No Orlando trip would be complete without a visit to one (or all) of the Disney parks. As your luxury travel advisor, I plan as many of these details in advance, including VIP Disney experiences where you can go behind the scenes tour guide at Magic Kingdom that allow you to skip the lines.
But for last-minute requests, there is a dedicated Disney concierge desk is located in the lobby where you can get park tickets and make other arrangements. Right now, reservations are required for the parks due to limited capacity, but that should ease as the year progresses. Guests of the Four Seasons have access to the same advanced fast passes and magic hours that Disney resort guests are fortunate to have. There is also complimentary transportation to parks every hour. At this resort, the main focus is on the Four Seasons experience, but Disney is an amenity many guests enjoy.
As a virtuoso travel advisor, I can secure you added amenities at the Four Seasons like:
Reach out to Premiere Luxury Travel HERE to start planning your next VIP Disney Experience!
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