Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Favorite Shopping Experience

Welcome to the first stop aboard Magical Blogorail Black.  Enjoy the ride as we share with you our favorite shopping experiences in Disney parks. 

Just in time for Christmas shopping, I thought I would talk about a unique shopping experience hidden in one of the Walt Disney World resorts.

Located on the second level of the Grand Floridian Resort, just inside the doors that lead to the monorail station, is a bath and body products shop, Basin White.  Basin White is part of the Basin chain with products sold online and at few select locations in the United States.  There is a Basin shop in the Downtown Disney Marketplace. 

Basin White is a premium version of Basin with its product inventory made with higher quality ingredients, as well as unique items that can’t be found in the other locations. 

The store itself is attractive and inviting.  Styled in black and white tile, with the appearance of an upscale Victorian bathroom, the store fits in well with the Grand Floridian theme.  The layout of the store is long and skinny, and filled with an assortment of bath and body products ranging from lotions, salts/scrubs, soaps, and body bombs.  The store is accessorized with sinks, a claw foot tub, white cabinets, and marble counters. 

Basin White offers a large variety of fresh cut soaps, including the popular Mickey ears soap which is sold only at the WDW locations.  Priced at around $6.99 for a slice of approximately 100 grams, these make for inexpensive, unique and functional gifts.  The assortment of fresh cut soaps is amazing, and interesting.  In addition to milk-based and other specialty soaps, Basin White sells fresh cut glycerin soap with a variety of cute designs processed into the soap, most notably being the mickey ears. 

Another product sold only at the Disney locations is the Mickey-ears Bath Bombs.  A Bath Bomb looks like a hardened scoop of ice cream, which when placed in a bath, bubbles and fizzes adding essential oils and aroma to your tub.  The Mickey themed bath bombs include Mickey-ear confetti throughout the product.  Another cute gift at a moderate price for yourself or your favorite cousin, dog watcher, or house-sitter. 

In addition, Basin White sells a variety of spa accessory products, salts/scrubs, lotions, and body perfumes.  Samples are provided throughout the store to “try” the products.  The body salt scrub will make your hands feel so soft and smell delicious!

All Basin White products are made in the US, with no parabens, alcohol, or mineral oils.  Also, their products are not tested on animals.    

If you are a resort guest, you can have your purchases shipped to your room; however, because Basin is not an Disney affiliated store, it will take longer.  Please be sure to ask the cashier.  If you have a concern about what can be returned home with you in your carry-on vs. checked luggage, be sure to ask.  The staff at Basin White are well versed with the TSA rules governing their products. 

I could spend a lot of time and money in Basin white.  The aroma of the store is amazing and relaxing.  If you want an at-home spa experience, Basin White is the place to go while at the WDW resort.  A great place tucked away in the corner of the Grand Floridian, it is definitely worth checking out during a day of resort-hopping on the monorail. 

Thank you for joining me today. Your next stop on the Magical Blogorail Loop is The Disney Chick.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail should you happen to have to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

2nd Stop ~ The Disney Chick
4th Stop ~ Mommy Mouseketeer

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Different Way of Touring

Every time we go to Disney World, it is the most wonderful experience and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but I have to admit it’s not a “vacation” in the true sense of the word.  I plan and plan and plan to tour with the least crowds or the shortest walks, but all that walking, all the crowds, the lines, the waits, the getting up for rope drop and staying through the fireworks really doesn’t make for a restful time.

Most dictionaries define vacation as “a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, usually used for rest, recreation, or travel; recess or holiday”.  How many times have we come home from our Disney trips, absolutely exhausted?  Why do we put ourselves through that?  Because we love Disney so much is really the answer, but I wonder, can you make Disney a real vacation experience?  Taking into account all the restrictions that most people have – vacation time, school schedules, airfare prices, climate, crowd levels, etc., what has to be done to make Disney a “vacation”?  I’ve been thinking and thinking and thinking some more on the subject and here’s what I’ve come up with.  I’d like feedback on if this is how you travel; or any pros/cons. 
Making Disney a vacation rather than a “touring the parks” experience.  Can it be done?   
When I think of vacation, I think of a week on the beach or poolside sipping fruity umbrella drinks, eating to my heart’s content and sleeping in.  Alas, the later is not possible with young children, so I’ll just have to make do with a pool and plenty of kids activities.  Does Disney World have that?  Yup, check one!  However, what I don’t want on my vacation is a day so full of places to go, things to do that I don’t feel rested.  Does Disney World have that?  Nope…well, maybe…here’s what I was thinking.  Is it possible to go to WDW and stay at a resort and only hit a park once or twice during the visit?  I mean, you’ve traveled all the way out there and spent all that money to be located on-property.  How do you resist the temptation to check out the latest attraction at the EPCOT, or have to ride Rock n Roller coaster once?  What if your entire day was spent at the resort poolside, enjoying the many activities offered during the day, and maybe venturing out in the evening for a dinner at another resort?  Sounds heavenly.  Sounds like the makings for a Disney Vacation Club commercial doesn’t it?  No, I’m not advocating or promoting Disney DVC in any way.  We’re not DVC members and, for our family situation, it really doesn’t work; but I like the concept of using Disney World as a “vacation resort” as oppose to a “touring destination”.
The question in my mind has always been: is spending the extra money to stay on property just to enjoy the resort and not focus on the parks really worth it?  Or doesn’t it make better sense to find a vacation destination closer to home for those vacations you just want to use for rest and relaxation?
Coming back year to year just to enjoy certain aspects of the entire WDW complex really appeals to me because, frankly, you just can’t see everything WDW has to offer on one visit.  Combine trying to squeeze everything in day after day, with crowds, heat, sometimes rain, tired kids, and sore feet, I’ve found it’s just not possible.  Focusing on one park each trip would allow a better chance of delving into those Disney details that I just adore.   So, I think taking a step back and looking at Disney in pieces may be a better option.  Just need to convince my husband of that! 
Have you ever done Disney this way?  How did it work?