When I tell people I write “The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World Resort” their response is more often than not, “I want your job!”. It is a great occupation, one that I love, but it isn’t always a bed of roses. It’s hard work combined with loads of fun.
Weeks before my arrival at Walt Disney World I spend hours and hours of time putting the pieces together in order to get the most out of my visit. Each trip to Orlando involves a stay at approximately five resorts over about ten days which adds up to a lot packing and unpacking on my part. All hotel reservations need to be pieced together ahead of time along with public relations meeting scheduling at each resort, dinner reservations each night, spa appointments and resort tours added in to the formula, and at least some time for the theme parks.
A typical day begins with a light breakfast in the concierge lounge (I always stay on the concierge level if the resort offers one in order to review it for the book). I usually schedule a hotel tour with the resort’s director of public relations in the morning which consists of an hour or two walking the grounds and public areas followed by a peek at every room type offered. Then I get to see any suites that are available – definitely a fun part of the tour.
If the resort has a spa (something that is becoming par for the course) I schedule a treatment after lunch and then try to find time to enjoy the pool in the afternoon. I sometimes make a day of it with a workout in the fitness room, spa treatment, whirlpool and steam bath, and, at places like the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes Orlando, an afternoon at the exclusive spa pool with lunch served poolside.
I review at least one restaurant at every hotel I write about. I dine at the resort one night with the second night spent at either a restaurant at one of the theme parks, Downtown Disney, CityWalk, or pick a fabulous dining spot on “Restaurant Row” near Universal. That along with snacks and appetizers at the concierge lounge and lunch here and there adds up to plenty of food. Needless to say, I’m stuffed by the time I head home.
In between all the spa appointments, restaurants, and resort tours I add in visits to the theme parks at both Disney and Universal along with an occasional spin through SeaWorld, shopping expeditions, recreation, behind-the-scenes tours, visits to resort lounges, trips to Pleasure Island and CityWalk, and more. It certainly is a whirlwind with many Orlando trips necessary in order to revisit each resort, restaurant, spa, etc. before the next edition of the book is ready. I feel it is very important to sleep in the beds, actually have a spa treatment and not just a tour, eat many times at each restaurant, and experience firsthand everything included in the book before sending each new edition off to my publisher. I sometimes feel as if Orlando is my second home (I live in Texas).
Back at the office, I add all the new photos I’ve taken to my website at http://www.luxurydisneyguide.com/, update any changes to the site, then begin to add changes and new resorts, restaurants, etc. to the book. That way the information for each new edition is written when it is fresh in my mind. Of course, I take tons of notes and photos during the trip to jog my memory upon my return.
So if you are considering writing a travel guidebook plan on plenty of work, plenty of fun, and lots of writing. Take it from me.
by Cara Goldsbury, author of “The Luxury Guide to Walt Disney World Resort”