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Buena Vista Palace at Downtown Disney

In the cruelest of all situations, Amber (my sister and fellow Disney addict) had to get up early and move hotels the day after we'd finished our 4 Parks/ 1 Day Challenge. We were not happy campers. 

After propping our eyes open with tooth picks and ingesting multiple pastries at the food court, we checked out of Pop Century and headed to our second home away from home on this trip: the Buena Vista Palace (heretofore known as BVP because I have better things to do with my time then figure out the vowel arrangement in "Buena" forty more times). 

Buena Vista Palace


BVP is on Disney property, but it's not one of the actual Disney hotels. Therefore, you don't get to use the Disney bus services or take advantage of the parks' Extra Magic Hours. However, you can buy tickets onsite, and there is a Disney souvenir shop inside the hotel. The hotel is also RIGHT across the street from Downtown Disney Marketplace, so it's very convenient for shopping and dining. 

Walt Disney World Resort, Florida
Just a few feet from our room.

The resort is separated into two sections: the main hotel and the Island Resort. The Island Resort is a quick walk over the pond and past the pool. 

Travel Tip: when staying in the BVP, make sure to walk all the way to the crosswalk when crossing over to Downtown Disney. The street next to the hotel is a main thoroughfare for the Disney buses, and you don't want to end up squashed like a pancake on your vacation. Plus, we heard that people got ticketed often for jaywalking there. So, whether staying un-pancaked or avoiding a ticket is your motivation, use the crosswalk.

Theme
Compared to the actual Disney hotels I've stayed in, this one didn't have much of a theme. The furnishes were modern but casual--and that's as close as it gets to a theme. It reminded me of other semi-upscale hotels I've stayed in before, so it didn't have the unique factor that, say, All-Star Music or the Yacht Club or the Wilderness Lodge has. 

Buena Vista Palace

Service
Everyone that we encountered during our three night stay was extremely helpful. The front desk employees let Amber check in a good four hours early, which allowed us to put our bags in the room and grab lunch before she had to go to her first afternoon of conference stuff. (That arrangement sure beat our first plan: I was going to haul the suitcases around Downtown Disney in the heat until she got out of the keynote address.)

Buena Vista Palace

I also spoke with our housekeeper a few times, and she was very polite and accommodating.

When Amber and I asked the concierge where we could go watch the fireworks, she told us "On the 27th floor if it's open." Of course, we headed straight up there...and the floor wasn't open. All of the lights were out and we had the chance to just wander around this empty, dark hotel bar and lounge that looked like something out of "The Shining." I'm not sure what this has to do with the quality of service we got (other than the concierge trying to help us out) but it was a cool experience!

Rooms
Our room was in the Island Resort section and overlooked a quiet walking path. We liked staying in this area as it was closer to both the pool and Downtown Disney. We had two double beds, a breakfast area, and two sinks (very important when traveling with anyone over the age of five). 

Buena Vista Palace

Buena Vista Palace

Buena Vista Palace



All of the rooms come with balconies, and I really enjoyed reading and writing out on ours.

Buena Vista Palace

Amenities
This place was huge! It had a bar, a restaurant, an arcade, a little market, a Disney souvenirs store, two pools, tennis courts, and walking trails. The little market has plenty of snacks and dry items, so if you've forgotten this product or that one (and who doesn't on vacation?!), there's somewhere nearby to get them. There was also a spa onsite, but I can't talk about that too much as I didn't make use of any of their services. The BVP also has a convention center attached to it, so there were several ballrooms, multiple classrooms, and an exhibit hall there. 

Bottom line: Buena Vista Palace is a convenient option for those who want to stay on Disney property without being in the middle of the Disney-resort craziness. While I prefer to stay on Disney property because of the bus system and Extra Magic Hours, BVP is a great place to call home if you're not that into Disney World or you're looking for more to do near Disney than just go to the parks.