Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Holistic Disney: The Body pt. 3

OK, so far on our holistic journey, we've focused on the Body portion of Body, Mind & Spirit.  We've talked about exercising the body through runDisney events.  We then talked about nourishing the body through great Disney dining experiences.  Now, I think it's time we pamper the body a bit.  It's time to talk about the amazing spas at Walt Disney World!

There are three primary spa options on Walt Disney World property:  the Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, The Grand Floridian Spa & Health Club and The Mandara Spa located in the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort.  Now of course, all of these locations also serve as resort hotels and/or villas, but what we want to focus on in this blog is the spa!

The spa at Saratoga Springs is centrally located at the resort, near the Carriage House and High Rock Springs pool area.  According to the Disney website, this spa is "reminiscent of the healing spas of Saratoga Springs, New York."  They offer such treats as specialized massage therapies, facials, body wraps and polishes, hydro-massage therapies, manicures, and pedicures.  They also do special packages that include varieties of the above listed treatments, including mother & daughter day, my first spa experience for kids 4 - 12, and couple's relaxation.  For those who didn't get enough exercise running a half-marathon or 5K in our first segment, they also have health and fitness facilities with a variety of exercise equipment. 

Disney's Grand Floridian Spa is located in the Grand Floridian Resort south of the main building and adjacent to Franck's Studio at the Disney Fairy Tale Wedding Pavilion.  They offer many similar treatments to the spa at Saratoga Springs.   They have many skin care options, with a variety of facial services, massage therapy, water therapy & soaks, body therapies such as wraps, scrubs, polish & exfoliation, manicures & pedicures, spa packages, and a whole range of services for children as well.  And they too offer health club options for those who are so inclined.  However, use of the health club both here and at Saratoga Springs has some restrictions and can include fees for those not staying at those particular resorts.

The Mandara Spa is located in the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort Hotel, and is accessed through the main lobby area.  It is described as having a  "Balinese tranquility."  Like the two previous spas, the Mandara Spa also offers various massages, wraps, and facials.  They also offer hair and nail services and Mandara Rituals (packages combining several treatments).  Something unique to this spa is their Mandara YSPA, which is essentially spa treatments geared toward teenagers.
Now spa treatments aren't just for women...men can enjoy this kind of pampering as well.  Each of the spas offers couples options as well as some treatments geared solely toward men.  In fact, the Mandara Spa offers a Men's Spa Escape!

For a full list of the treatment options, check out http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/spa/grand-floridian-spa,  http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/saratoga-springs-resort-and-spa, or http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/spa/mandara-spa.  You can also do general searches on these resorts for more information and to read reviews.  I'm personally looking forward to the day when I slow down on my own Walt Disney World vacation long enough to take full advantage of the spa options...and to write a review! 

Anyone tried any of these spa options before?  If so, please leave comments!  I love hearing from you!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Holistic Disney: The Body pt. 2

Well, we started our holistic journey talking about Disney running, so now it’s time to venture on to one of my favorite topics:  food!  You can’t look at how Disney affects the body without talking about some of the amazing food found in Disney parks.  And with many of their recent changes, Disney food is healthier food as well.

A few years ago, Walt Disney World began making changes to their menus and offering more healthy options for park visitors.  These changes really focused on giving kids meals more healthy side options, such as fruit and raw veggies rather than french fries.  However, there are a lot of healthy options for adults as well.  Some examples include:
Quick Service
  • Tangierine CafĂ©, Epcot: Veggie Platter, Mediterranean wraps and salads, Couscous, Tabouleh
  • Sunshine Seasons, Epcot: Soups, Salads, Noodle Bowls with Stir-fried Veggies, Roasted Meats, Oatmeal
  • Cosmic Ray’s, Magic Kingdom: Turkey and Bacon Wrap, Veggie wrap/burger
  • Sleepy Hollow, Magic Kingdom: Chicken and Rice Soup
  • Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station, Magic Kingdom: Steamed Broccoli, Noodle Bowls, Tofu
  • Tamu Tamu, Animal Kingdom: Tuna salad pita, Turkey and swiss on Focaccia
  • Flame Tree BBQ, Animal Kingdom: Turkey sandwich
  • Starring Rolls and Backlot Express, Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Grilled veggie sandwich, Southwest salad with chicken 
Table Service
  • Sanaa, Kidani Village: Mustard Seed Crusted Scallops, Salad Sampler, Tandoori Chicken or Shrimp with rice
  • Teppan Edo, Epcot: Hibachi-style cooking. Consider fish or chicken with veggies.
  • Yak and Yeti, Animal Kingdom: Miso Salmon, Mandarin Chicken Salad
  • bluezoo (Swan/Dolphin), Nacroossee’s (Grand Floridian), Coral Reef (Epcot): All have light fish/seafood dishes.
  • Kouzzina, Disney’s Boardwalk: Kouzzina Sampler (Choice of two skewers with Marinated Olives, Spiced Cashews, Dolmades, Tzatziki, Hummus, and Grilled Pita), Fisherman’s Stew, Spiced Briami
  • The Wave, Contemporary Resort: Seasonal Vegetable Stew or Linguini with Clams and Red Sauce
  • Tusker House, Animal Kingdom: Tofu, Chicken, Salmon, Rice, Veggies
  • Tokyo Dining, Epcot: Sushi, Chicken, Steak, Veggies, Rice
  • Marrakesh, Epcot: Chicken Kebabs, Fish Tangine, Salmon
-The Disney Food Blog:  “Healthy Eating In Walt Disney World”

There are also many snack options that can be found throughout the parks and resorts, including fresh fruit, veggies, yogurt, pretzels, and more.  For those of you who enjoy the “Eat This Not That” approach, the Disney Food Blog article referenced above also includes their own Disney version of “Eat This Not That” which covers many Disney fan favorites.  For more detailed information, visit www.thedisneyfoodblog.com.  They have additional articles on following a low-carb diet while at Disney, healthy snack options, and the best restaurants for vegetarians.

And when it comes to specialized dining, Disney is the gold standard.  Walt Disney World chefs have always been attentive to the dietary needs of their guests.  Whether it be a specific food allergy or a request for diabetic friendly foods, Disney chefs are willing to meet with you to discuss your dining concerns and make dishes just for you.   You can also note special food requests on your dining reservations, whether you call them in or book them online.

Most recently, Disney began an initiative known as Disney Magic of Healthy Living-The Weekend, which is focused on finding ways that ‘healthy’ can also be fun.  This first year targeted kids ages 8-14, who had the opportunity to write essays sharing their own ideas on living a healthier lifestyle.  The winning writers were then given the opportunity to participate in weekend events including active games from around the world, healthy cooking and meal planning with Disney chefs, and planting vegetable gardens.  However, this initiative isn’t just a one weekend opportunity (which actually took place this past weekend, March 18-20, 2011).  Disney has launched a Magic of Healthy Living website which has fun and interactive information for kids and families on ways to live healthier lives, including recipes, activity ideas and more.  Visit disney.go.com/magic-of-healthy-living/ncds/ for more information.

Two new places that I hope to check out on our upcoming vacation are Fresh-A-Peel and Babycakes, both located in the old McDonald's building in Downtown Disney.  These two eateries offer up some new and healthy options such as local produce, all-natural burgers, fresh fruit, vegetarian options, gluten free & vegan baked goods, and more!  Everything I've heard is that they have some fabulous food, so I will be sure to review them for you.  For more information, check out these websites:  www.babycakesnyc.com & www.themouseforless.com/disneynews/?p=2327.  

One thing to keep in mind though is that holistic Disney doesn’t just have to focus on eating healthy, but also on the overall eating experience.  More often than not, dining in Walt Disney World is as much about the experience as it is about the food itself.  The atmosphere of a restaurant, the presentation of the food, the appearance of characters, all appeal to the senses and create the experience.  Having some of the amazing culinary creations that Disney chefs make are many times worth the extra calories.  And besides, it is vacation after all, shouldn’t eating sometimes just be fun?  
So share with me your thoughts.  What are some of your favorite healthy eating options at Disney?  Or just favorite overall dining experiences at Walt Disney World?  I can't wait to hear from you!  And just for fun, below are more of my favorite Disney food pics!  No drooling on the computer screen!

 Desserts from Cinderella's Royal Table

Entrees from Tony's Town Square Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom

Pizza slice from Via Napoli & Breakfast from Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, both in Epcot

Monday, March 14, 2011

Holistic Disney: The Body pt. 1

During my last blog post, I introduced you to the idea of looking at Disney in the holistic terms of body, mind and spirit.  Well now it’s time to begin breaking that down into it’s individual parts!  So today’s blog post will start Part I:  The Body.

Traditional vacations are not typically thought of as being “good” for the body.  I mean, we may get a chance to get away, possibly sleep in and have some well deserved rest and relaxation, but normally, we don’t use vacation time to get exercise, stay on our diets, or really even rest that much!  So how can a Disney vacation possibly be good for the body?

It is estimated that the average person walks anywhere from 5 to 10 miles per day over the course of a Disney vacation.  That’s a lot!  But most of us don’t consider that to be exercise, because we are moving from attraction to attraction and are hopefully caught up in the magic.  But for today’s post on how Disney is good for the body, I don’t want to focus necessarily on walking, but on running.

In 2012, the Walt Disney World Marathon will be celebrating its 15th anniversary.  For me, and many others, Disney running is still a relatively new concept and for many of us, it’s the only reason we are now attempting to live a running lifestyle!  Walt Disney World is now the host to many different running events, from Family 5K walk/runs, to more adventurous undertakings like the Expedition Everest Challenge of a 5K plus obstacle course and scavenger hunt, to half marathons, full marathons, and for those goofy enough to take it on, the Goofy Challenge of a marathon and a half!  Information on all Disney running events can be found on the runDisney website at www.runDisney.com or by visiting the ESPN Wide World of Sports website at https://espnwwos.disney.go.com .  The official runDisney trainer, former Olympian Jeff Galloway, has several training videos on the website that are very helpful to runners at any stage.  He also has training calendars specific to the various Disney running events! 

So why get involved in Disney running?  I mean, you’re there for a vacation, right?  Well, I asked several of my Disney friends to weigh in on this subject and here are some of their thoughts:

“Disney was the reason I started running in the first place!” – Beth aka Mom2crgk

“Disney running is the only reason I’m interested in running at all as well.”  - Michelle

“I started running 4 years ago. I started with a 5k near my home and have been a running-a-holic since then.  I have run 2 marathons, 5 half marathons, and countless 5 and 10ks. Anywho..DH and I ran the disney marathon weekend 5k (that year it was princess and pirate 5k).   At the Marketplace bus stop, while waiting for the bus, we were chatting with a mom and daughter who were sporting their Donald medals. They had trained and walked the half.  I said "I could never run a half marathon". They inspired me to try. I went home, got the book they recommended, signed up for a half marathon (had to make sure I could complete one before taking to the streets of WDW!)  After my test half marathon, I decided to do another in the fall, right before marathon weekend. So we went down and ran the Disney Half. How much fun we had! And I thought, 'I could never run a full marathon'. While in Disney that following July, I mailed in my training group registration for a marathon in my state. And I trained and I ran it. SO! DH got inspired and suggested we run Disney marathon. And we did.

Disney marathon weekend has served as a springboard of inspiration to push my running to the next level. Each time we go down for Marathon weekend, I come home wanting to try another distance. And in true form, NOW I plan on 'Going Goofy' for my next Disney marathon weekend.  Disney in general is therapy for me. It is a culmination of the hardwork and dream of one person. The history and brilliance of Walt Disney materialized. I have always been a Disney enthusiast, even got married there. To put WDW, with running, with my husband, with my new son waiting at the finish line, OMG this past Marathon Weekend was so emotional for me. As I crossed the finish line, I took off my sunglasses and put my hand over my face holding back tears..tears for the accomplishment of something I always thought was so hard and 'not for me', for being a good role model to my son, to be doing it in WDW.  It was too much!” 
- Mrs. Mickey_Man (Be Our Guest Podcast forums)

As for me, a friend of mine convinced me that I could run, and so I tried.  I was half-heartedly attempting it when I found out that there was going to be a 5K through the Magic Kingdom during our upcoming trip.  Now I had heard about the Princess Marathon before, but I had never given running much thought.  A 5K I could do, even if I had to walk!  And so the training began in earnest, including buying $100 running shoes and special running socks!  I remember bursting into tears the first time I ran a mile, then again when I ran two miles.  And all of this was just during training!  When the day came to run the 5K, I was thrilled and nervous.  I had no idea what it would be like.  The energy was amazing and it was so much fun.  I now wish I had slowed down a little and stopped to take pictures with characters, really enjoying the moment.  I had a goal in mind to run the whole time, so I passed so many things by on my quest to keep going.  I did end up walking up the final hill, but I have to say, I was so proud that I finished and had that special Disney medallion!  Now I’ve run another 5K since then, and while it was good, it wasn’t as exciting as a Disney race.  I’ve decided that I’m going to start pushing toward the goal of a half-marathon, and I want it to be the Princess Half in Walt Disney World.  Am I going to run the whole time, absolutely NOT!  But I will run, and I will stop and take pictures, and most of all I will have fun.  And I’ll probably cry when it’s over, knowing that I accomplished something I never thought possible for me.

Do you have a Disney running story?  Have you set a goal to run a Disney race?  If so, please share it with us in the comments section below.

Thanks for reading!  Next time we will continue to explore how Disney is good for the body by looking into one of my favorite subjects…FOOD!!  Stay tuned…