Stepping into one of the new Royal Guest Rooms at Walt Disney World really does feel like you are entering the private chambers of a princess. The room is decorated in rich colors, gilded accents, ornate furniture and layers of fabric. My daughter said it was as if Disney added rooms to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique so that new princesses could stay after they were transformed.
The room's theme is based on the premise that Princess Tiana has hosted her royal friends in the rooms and each has left behind mementos to mark their visit. My 7-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son loved finding the treasures throughout the décor, including:
-- Tiana's letter welcoming her guests is part of the table design.
-- Jasmine's magic carpet is woven into the carpet design on the floor.
-- The sink faucet is shaped like Genie's magic lamp.
-- The shower curtain shows trinkets Ariel collects, such as the dinglehopper (bent fork).
-- Cinderella's carriage is carved into a plaque on the wall.
-- Crowns of favorite princesses adorn the bedspreads.
-- The wallpaper border features characters from various animated films, including "Beauty and The Beast."
-- Framed artwork shows the Disney Princesses posing at Port Orleans resort and the largest piece is 3D.
See an AllEars.net photo gallery of all the special details at http://allears.net/acc/g_PortOrleans-RoyalRooms.htm
There is even a hidden Mickey, the iconic shape of a Mickey Mouse head, in the scrollwork of the lamp over the table. (Love to search for hidden Mickeys? Be sure to check out tips from the ultimate expert, Steven Barrett, author of "Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Walt Disney World's Best Kept Secrets." He blogs about his latest finds twice a month on AllEars.net.)
But the best special effect, by far, has been placed in the room by Tiana. The headboards over the two queen beds are detailed scenes of a New Orleans bayou that are lit up by fireworks. Press the button on the headboard and your own private fireworks show starts whenever you want. As you can imagine, the fireworks were on a continual loop in our room as the kids reclined with their heads at the foot of the bed to watch.
The Royal Guest Rooms are located in Port Orleans Riverside, Building 90. A second "Southern mansion" -- Building 95 -- will be completed by June. In total, there will be 512 Royal Guest Rooms. Rates start at $189 per night, with increases depending on view and season. The remainder of the more than 2,000 Riverside rooms will be renovated this year and keep a New Orleans theme. (See the AllEars resource page on Port Orleans Riverside at http://allears.net/acc/faq_dxl.htm)
A few tips for those considering a stay in the Royal Guest Rooms:
** Doors and windows face external, public walkways. Consider whether you'll keep the curtains open and your comfort level if you decide to book a water view, which would face a quiet pool or the Sassagoula River.
** As is the case with many Disney World hotel rooms, the number of outlets can't keep up with travelers' growing cache of electronics. If you have a lot of devices to charge, be sure to bring an outlet strip.
** If your child goes to bed between 6 and 10 p.m., tune in to Channel 38 on your room's television. In November, all Disney World resorts began offering a read-along bedtime story, "Duffy the Disney Bear: Mickey's New Friend" on a loop.
When you finally rouse yourself from relaxing like royalty in your room, Disney's Port Orleans resort offers plenty of amenities and activities for the whole family. I'll take you through many of them in my blog on Thursday.
Wish Disney Imagineers had created some special rooms for the boys in your family? Look no further than Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort, where pirate rooms were introduced in 2009. The 384 themed rooms have pirate ship beds, buccaneer accessories and swashbuckling décor. (See Jack Spence's photos from the pirate rooms at http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2009/02/caribbean_beach_resort_pirate_1.html)
The previous post in this blog was Light-up toys at Walt Disney World light up young faces .
The next post in this blog is Never a dull moment for kids at Disney's Port Orleans Resort.