Daily Archives: 17.03.2014

You will not mind indulging: Disney world resort, Orlando

You will not mind indulging: Disney world resort, Orlando



Where else do you find an annual attendance of 52.5 million visitors? Yes, The Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited tourist attraction in the world right from the day it opened. This entertainment complex is owned by the Walt Disney company and is situated in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The complex is fun filled with four theme parks, two water theme parks, 24 themed resorts and many other entertainment and recreational venues. The property covers around 42,000 acres of land. The Disney World resort at Orlando was actually designed to supplement Disneyland in Anaheim, California which was opened in 1955. Surveys conducted on Disneyland and its visitors states that out of the complete annual visitors only 5 percent of Disneyland’s visitors came from the east of the Mississippi river, where almost 75 percent of the population of the United states lived.




Orlando has a well developed network of roads, an International Airport thus making transportation for the tourists at ease. This was the major driving factor for fixing Orlando as the site for the Disneyland resort by Walt Disney. Walt Disney faced many initial obstacles in setting up his resort and he used various dummy corporations to acquire the entire planned area for the construction of his project. The truth about the ownership and few other details was leaked to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper which in turn resulted in setting up a press conference where Walt Disney explained the plans for the site. But until then almost all of the issues associated with the land was settled by him including the minerals rights to the land which was negotiated with the Tufts University for $15,000.
Walt Disney envisioned the plan of a futuristic planned city also called as progress city in his project EPCOT, The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. He visualised new ideas and concepts for urban living within a working city consisting of commercial and residential areas.
Walt Disney died from lung cancer in 1966 much before his idea was realized. And then it was his brother and business partner Roy O. Disney who continued with this dream project.
At the Park’ opening ceremony Roy O. Disney paid tribute to his brothers dream by declaring that the park would be known as “Walt Disney World” in his brothers honour who started it all.


Contrary to the popular misconceptions The Disney world resort is not situated within Orlando city limits. It is actually about 34 km towards the southwest of downtown Orlando. Lake Buena Vista and Bay Lake which are governed by the Reedy Creek Improvement District are also a part of the Disneyland’s property. The Disneyland property covers a huge mass of land which is about the size of entire San Francisco or more than twice the size of Manhattan to be precise.



Disney world hosts quite a lot of attractions to quench our thirst for entertainment. The Typhoon lagoon, Disney’s river country, Discovery Island, watercraft rentals, firework cruises, Cane-pole fishing, golf courses and lot others take us to a different sublime level.



There are totally thirty four resorts and hotels on the Walt Disney world property out of which twenty four are owned and operated by Walt Disney Parks and resorts. The Disney world has a wide class of resorts ranging from Deluxe, Moderate, Value, and Disney Vacation club resorts. Some of the most famous and preferred resorts are –


floridan resort

This is a four diamond Victorian themed resort containing more than 850 rooms  which are really spacious measuring 400 square feet and accommodates up to five people per room. This resort was opened on June 28, 1988.



This is a deluxe level resort located towards the west of the Grand Floridan resort. The main differentiating feature about this resort when compared to other resorts is that this resort is structured around a central building by name “The Great Ceremonial House”. No rooms are present in this Great Ceremonial house, it features several waterfalls and a hefty tropical rain forest in its foyer with more than 75 plant species.


allstar movies

Disney’s All Star Movie Resort is one of the resorts in the value category and is located in the southern portion of the property. The main attraction of this resort is its theme, The property is decorated with Disney film icons like The Love Bug, Mighty Ducks, Toy Story, Robin Hood etc. All the rooms in this resort are royally furnished and are pooled with accessories such as Irons, cribs, hair dryers, in room safes etc.



The Dolphin and swan have their own distinctive appearance even though they share similar elements and they are the only resorts to carry the Disney tag and receive special Disney benefits despite being completely owned by The Walt Disney Company.




Disney Magical Express is the first standout factor when it comes to the transportation. The complimentary Disney Magical Express service transports the visitors with a Disney reservation from the airport to the resort. A large convoy of cruise line buses equipped with GPS systems, park tips and other general announcements with musical ambience branded as Disney transport is also complimentary for the guests. Watercrafts ranging from the size of mini water taxis to large ferries are also provided for the convenience of the guests.




The Walt Disney complex is well known all over the world for its maintenance. More than 7,000 members are employed for maintenance and engineering aspects. More than $100 million is spent annually for maintenance. There is a tree farm in the complex which is exclusively dedicated for replacing mature trees. The antique items are regularly painted, more than 600 painters are hired for this purpose.

The Disney complex being the largest single-site employer in the United States employs more than 66,000 workers spending more than $1.2 billion on payroll every year. It has more than 3,700 job classifications and also offers internship to college students.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Reflections in the flooded salt desert Salar de Uyuni, BoliviaSalar de Uyuni finds its roots in the region of Potosi and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia which is near the crest of the Andes. It has afflicted the elevation of approx. 3656 meters above the mean sea level. Salar de Uyuni id the largest salt flat area in the world with an endless sheet of hexagonal tiles which are naturally created by the crystalline nature of salt and they are dotted with pyramids of salt. Lago Minchin was a part of a prehistoric salt lake which covers most of the southwestern Bolivia. In the season of summer it dries up and leaves behind several seasonal puddles and enormous salt pans including Salar de Uyuni. The savage and outrageous beauty of this vivid and vast salt lake desert makes it South America’s most spectacular inspirational venue.

dryness Salar de UyuniThe dryness of the deserts in here, the freezing night temperature and the fierce desert sun which is scorching doesn’t not make itself extinct of life survival on to itself. The wildlife in here is yet to be flourished. Till date Pink Flamingos, Ancient Cacti and thee rarest hummingbirds are still alive in Salar de Uyuni. In every month of November Salar de Uyuni is proved to be the breeding ground for three rare species of pink South American Flamingos namely the Chilean, Andean and the rarest of all the three is the James’s Flamingos.

Flamingoes-on-Laguna-Colorada-BoliviaProbably the color pink originates on them due to the consumption of pink algae on the land. Not only these, there are about more than eighty other bird species present in here which includes birds like Horned Coot, Andean Goose and Andean Hillstar. Andean fox is a type of a fox and is also familiar as Culpeo is a representative animal. Even the islands of Salar de Uyuni host colonies of an animal which resembles to rabbit known as Viscachas and this is found particularly in Incahuasi Island.

salt hotel 2When the lakes in the Salar de Uyuni dried up back in over hundreds and thousands of years ago their rich salt was left and this turned to be the unique selling point of this place. Due to so much of salt in abundance available in here it became the thick salt crust that coats the region entirely in current times. The shallow pools of brine which is a solution of salt in water is rich in lithium and contains almost 70 percentage of world’s reserves. The clouds in here often break into clear blue skies with blue and white reflections seen below on the sheets of salt which is as clear as ice. This exclusive salt lake place though being a little extinct attracts a lot of tourists to companies to mine the layers as there is abundance of salt, potassium, lithium and magnesium available from the surface. It is also a great transport route especially in dry seasons.

salt hotelThe salt desert transforms itself into an enormous salt lake in the wet season. During this time, the shallow salt lake not precisely and but perfectly mirrors the sky creating beautiful and bizarre illusions of nature and adding infinity to it. Though the climatic condition of this place being so varied and the landscape is seamlessly infinite there exists a hotel built entirely out of natural salt available there. The hotel names Palacio de Sal which means palace of salt in Spanish was created of salt bricks which are held together with salt mortar. These salt blocks are used for constructing the floor, walls, ceiling, furniture and sculptures. The hotel has each and everything possible inside which includes chairs, tables, dining tables which are made of salt. It consists of 12 double rooms, a combined bathroom and no shower facility. It is just a tourist destination. The hotel has dry sauna room and a steam room too. A saltwater pool and whirlpool bath system as well.

laguna_verdeIn Salar de Uyuni the places also worth traveling are the nearby Laguna Colorado and Laguna Verde which are absolutely beautiful to visit. Laguna Colorado is a red colored lake filled with thousands and thousands of pink Flamingos. The Laguna Verde is a Bluish green color salt lake which is discovered at the foot of the volcano Licancabur and its shifting aqua shades are caused by the presence of copper sediments and microorganisms living within Laguna Verde.

uyuni-salt-flats-boliviaTravelers travelling to Salar de Uyuni should take great precautions while coming and choose appropriate tourist guides as there are situations which end up into fatal accidents due to unsafe vehicles and drivers are not aware of it. The vehicles should have a proper seat belt, emergency radio transmitters and first aid equipment. The point of knowledge of the tour guide should be cleared at the very beginning so as to avoid mishaps later on. While travelling in this region a traveler should always carry some specific stuffs in their bag-packs in order to survive a safe journey.

T89-698757Flashlights should be handy enough so that it can be utilized instantly when the generator runs dry. Coins and small bills should be carried in a small pouch as the facility of bathrooms are not free. Sunglasses are a must because the salt flats tend to be blinding. Camera, extra batteries, loads of memory cards as there would be one of the best pictures one can ever click and even extra bottle of water, sunblock and hat as the surface is above the sea level the atmosphere in here absorbs the sun’s ultraviolet radiations. Sleeping bags, warm clothing material, hot water bottle, flip flops, towels, extra snacks etc. are the basic essentials which should a must while travelling or taking a tour to Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia.


Chole Mjini, Mafia Islands, Tanzania – Paradise yet not Lost !

Chole Mjini, Mafia Islands, Tanzania – Paradise yet not Lost !

An idyll beyond the clutches of the fabricated world of concrete materialism,Chole Mjini is that one place which would compel you to exclaim, “Ah,in the heart of nowhere!” In the midst of the  tropical paradise of Mafia archipelago lies the tiny Island of Chole Mjini, just offshore the Chole Bay,and within its realms resides one of the most unperturbed holiday getaways,the Chole Mjini Lodge,set in the baobab trees unified with the thriving flora and fauna of the island ,its ruins and the mangrove forests .  Although it faces the ounspoilt nature unrestrained by solid walls ,its wooden chalets with panoramic views,mounted on top of the trees provide the natural privacy without blemishing the Tarzan-Jane like living experience!

                            Chole Mjini3

All set for the unmatched and unimaginable experience of a lifetime,of course without having to slave the modern-day amenities.Safari ya salama!

To reach Chole you would have to endure a 20 minute flight from virtually anywhere in Tanzania to the capital, Dar Es Salaam, followed by a 45 minute drive across the enchanting island of Mafia in a Dow to the waiting boat, hitched on a sandy seashore,and sail forth to the bewitching Island afloat over the sapphire sea.

After arriving here,you feel like you could go no more remote in the entire world. A real eco friendly lodge that will rid you of all your dependencies on mod cons that we often take for granted,and teach you to live contently without electricity,ac/fans,televisions and even geysers!Yet,inspite of all this ‘pain’ within the canopied realms of these picaresque tree houses ,the simple life of nature’s kind breathes the sense of such tranquility and contention,like never before.

However,like every great place has a great tale,Chole Mjini’s inspiring story seems  to kick-start with ascend of the two dreamers,Jean and Anne De Villiers,who dreamt and strived to transform the lives of the Swahili tribals here,without having plucked them off their roots and in the process found true ‘life’ for themselves.They are the founders of the Chole Mjini Lodge and successfully run it to this day.However,creating the ultimate eco lodge was not what they aimed to accomplish when they had come here.Setting up a Dispensary and a kindergarten school for the kids is what they started off with.And,as fortune opens the doors and windows to the best intentioned persons,Jean and Anne discovered a new way to change the lives of all inmates of the Island,and also give to the world a remarkable abode of simplistic luxury of the nature,The Chole Mjini Lodge.Intriguing isn’t it? Now,lets venture into knowing the tree houses smoked with the Pure Lost City jungle effect!

While building the lodge Jean and Anne aimed at keeping it au natural .Even Though ,at the very initial stage,when both had settled here with their kids Didier and Maja,they had very limited resources  to build it but  with the help of the locals,they slowly managed to erect the lodge all by hand which has now become legendary. The family still lives there though the lodge, now is managed by a dexterous team.


The major parts of the tree houses are mostly made of natural materials and is aimed at having the least possible impact on its surroundings. This place has no electricity but as the night falls, the kerosene lamps are lighted, and chunks of fireflies flock around the balcony area,infusing the entire ambience with a sense of mystic beauty.So,no need for electricity as you can charge the all kinds of batteries,iPods,etc at the office using solar energy .Moreover,the absence of solid walls do good instead of any bad as it lets the cool Kaskazi wind(‘northern wind’ in Swahili)blow through the  spacious rooms during the sultry months and one can enjoy cool nights for almost the entire year without having a/c or fans.The bathrooms are composting bathrooms possessing very basic long drop loos and no flush ,all directed towards being completely eco-friendly!Here,everything apart from the massive concrete floor and the concrete shaped sofas covered in large cushions, is made of wood,even the the bar, restaurant and top deck.

chole-mjini-lodge bar    422006_1024_676

Now that you have set sail to this mangrove-lined shores of Chole Mjini and have come to live on the treehouses,contently though, leaving out almost all the relics of 21st century-roads,cars,electricity,computers and even mobile phones,under the star-sprinkled skies ,lets get a clearer view of the outstanding tree-rondavels!

There are only seven treehouses here,juxtaposed in a way to assure complete privacy.A trail of sandy path through the natural vegetation leads to the each rondavel adorned with the unbound views of the sea,close enough to hear the music of the waves crashing at the shores, lulling you to slumber.Moreover,there is also a second level for children,in most of the treehouses.Below is the detailed account of all the seven accommodations available.


  • MOJA (one)

Hidden high up within the canopy of a huge and ancient baobab growing unusually at the water’s edge and beside the beach,as if replicating a natural mangrove! is very popular for its views over the mangroves to Kinasi Pass and is claimed to be enchanted by fireflies, all night .Being closest to nature,in this cottage one can indulge in the pleasure of sharing the space with nesting fish eagles or even kites within the spacious deck that wraps around the tree. The only single level tree house,it has only one king-sized bed and the shower,is built in a bamboo thicket, though simple and rustic,but functions well,though the light provided is insufficient.

mbili...   mbili

  • MBILI (two)

Situated in an outstanding location, Mbili one of the biggest, most ambitious construct. Under one roof,on two spacious and separate floors,it possesses two king-size beds and the views  are breathtaking especially from upstairs. Mbili is one the most secluded and private  spaces available in the entire Chole Mjini Lodge.


  • TATU (three)

A trail through a foliage tunnel takes you to Tatu,also known as ‘the house on the rocks’.Built on two levels under two separate roofs, it is almost like two separate houses connected by a single staircase and the main house is on rocks under a Tamarind tree, at the ground level,while the stairs mount upto the second house,over the beach in amongst the mangroves.

Set in the firefly city,it is closest to the sea,so much that during Spring tides the water rolls right up and wets the floor of the lower house,twice a year,in March and February.The shower here is set in a beautiful rock garden but the toilet is another of the three original paradigms of Chole Mjini.


  • NNE (four)

Nne is again one of the favourites for its upstairs ‘tea house’ design,which is an elevated room with its own thatched roof jutting out,above the summit of the main roof that allows for a 360-degree view of the sea especially during sunsets which are spectacular from here.

Moreover, it has also perhaps has the most impressive of all the showers and toilets which are basically designed by Anne and built by Fundi Rashid.

..tano     tano

  • TANO (five)

Set in the midst of the fig-entwined ruins of a huge 19th-century house, tracing back to the period when in Chole Mjini the swarming trading port blossomed by trading between the Shirazi Sultanate of Kilwa, on the Tanzanian coast, and the Omani Sultanate of Zanzibar. It has the second tea house,with overwhelming views of the Chole Bay and sweet breezes. The walls of the ruins are bound by the braided roots of a giant marula fig tree whose fruits when ripe attract the beautiful ‘flying foxes’ with fox-like facial features and russet back fur,that inhabit Chole. Built into a remnant of ruin ,the shower here is huge as if to fit an entire football team,while the toilet is refreshing and breezy.

sita      sita shower

  • SITA (six)

Sita is the ‘ground house’, best for families with small children or for those afraid of a heights of the tree-houses or simply for anyone who cannot live without a flushing toilet! It’s very large, with a throne-like king-size bed at the peak, two Zanzibari beds on the next level which is a few steps down, and a daybed on the porch further down.

It has a concave, mosaic bath that can work as a micro swimming pool for the kids, a shower and the only en-suite toilet on Chole.

The ground house,open to a stretch of gardens on either side, lead to the mangroves and their inmates,the fireflies at night.

Although the closest house to the bar and restaurant,it still assures privacy thanks to the prudently planted hedges and wall-to-roof curtains.


  • SABA (seven)

Saba,the largest of all tree-houses,is constructed on a splendid tree encircled by ruins.It can easily house two adults and two children and possesses a tea house with fantastic sunset views and a large sun deck over the beach. The toilet is fresh,light-filled and airy and with a shower.

However,due to its position too close to the beach,it can sometimes turn out to be a bit noisy in the mornings when the fishermen leave or return,but that again adds character to the entire setting!It is the only house with a stupendous view of Mafia Island across the waters, though now,it has some nasty exuberance of electricity at night causing the fireflies to disappear.

Ready to shed some calories?

7d7cd7-46c0-460c-9558-890038e1593e   scuba

Alls settled in the beautiful chambers mounted upon trees,its time for some action!Chole Mjini adornes a wealth of water activities,which include snorkeling, swimming with whale sharks and jellyfish, watching turtles hatch, and sunset sailing. The Mafia Island Marine Park’s waters known for its extraordinary reefs and dive sites, with more than 400 species of coral exploiting the myriad niches.,is a must watch.Moreover,if you wish to SCUBA dive or learn it,this is a good place to fulfil it.With Jean,as the PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer,with his encyclopedic knowledge,and wife Anne who is a biologist, a PADI Divemaster and an accomplished underwater photographer,you are left with no fear!

75cfb1-a8d8-4e28-bb89-1f95c488c6cf    223_2

However,if you’re not a water or adventure sports lover,then the island provides for you a plethora of other activities to do and see aside from diving, such as a trip to Popo Park, the world’s first sanctuary for fruit bats, or a  friendly and welcoming visit to the Chole Village or just plain and simple sunbathing on the Funguni sandbank, a strip of dazzling white sand, approximately 600-700m long,only accessible by boats

Best epilogue to an extraordinary day!

As you get all perspired after the day’s long adventure ,its time to journey to the abode of heavenly tropical delicacies waiting at the evermore glorious restaurant. and bar that serves the best wine and beer along in company of the outstanding picturesque views of the sea and sky.


The food here is simple,flavourous,fresh and beautifully cooked.This is the paradise of seafood which is freshly caught and delivered daily and the vegetables are grown on the island itself.All the delicacies have a strong Swahili influence and the use of judicious use of coconut milk which provides a intricate yet intense,flavourful spicing!Papa lemon soup and Roasted vegetable salad are the two items that top the list!

 12561-chole-mjini-lodge-dining5 Chole_Mjini_Lodge_-_Dining_jetty_jpg_420x300_crop_upscale_q90

Indulge in the experience of candle-lit dining while watching the sun sink into the sea and moon soar high up into the starry sky ,either within the 19th-century ruins, the crumbling walls embraced by fig tree,with roots like giant fingers or next to the whispering ocean.

Chole Mjini is a true Robinson Crusoe island – step back in time, where a traveller can immerse into the ambience of the singing seas and shining skies,an air of calm and comfort hung around.Popular with both,families and honeymooners it is the best place to elope to;to be lost and found away from of clutches of the depressing rat  race!