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Old 09-06-2008, 08:57 PM   #1
Planecrazy4dis
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Thumbs up Disney’s Resort Massage & Fitness Spa Reviews

Hi-ya folks!
Do you guys want to make this the official Spa review? I thought it would be very helpful for spa junkies like myself and spa newbies who want a magical experience. I am personally a licensed massage therapist who works at the Ritz Carlton in Boston and I’m always on the lookout for skilled spa techs when I receive a treatment. I know exactly what I need done and I unfortunately get disappointed more often than not. So I thought this would be a great place to help each other out with a review of your spa experience.

Niki Bryan Spa is the company that operates the spa and fitness centers at Animal Kingdom Lodge, Boardwalk Village, Coronado Springs Resort, Contemporary Resort, Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Yacht & Beach Club, and Wilderness Lodge. Here’s the website:

http://www.relaxedyet.com/

The Swan & Dolphin works with a different company called Mandara Spa. Click "activities”.

http://www.swandolphin.com/activities/spa.html"


Ok, here it goes…our trip was August 10th - August 16th, 2008 at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for our 15th wedding anniversary. I reserved two 80 - minute massages for my DW and I a month in advance. I scheduled them for the day after we arrive on Monday the 11th. We started the day with room service and then we walked down to Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center for our 10:00 am appointments. I know from my own experience that earlier in the day, means more energy, when you are a MT. Because I need deep tissue work, I hope the MT has enough strength to execute. So I prefer a morning appointment. (a little tip)

AKL has a small gym. We didn’t work out but it seamed to be filled with good up to date equipment and there was about 4 treatment rooms. We checked in around 9:45 am and a personal trainer behind the desk gave us robes and a massage therapist showed us to the men and women’s locker rooms. I always appreciate a good steam room. This one was a eucalyptus steam room, which I love. I highly recommend going into the steam room before a massage. They also have a dry sauna and showers.

My DW (Steamboat Girlie) injured her low back two weeks before our trip. She hurt it while picking up our 18 month old DS. So she was in need of some skilled TLC. DW had a very nice talkative female MT that was petite in stature and was struggling to apply medium pressure. So needless to say, DW did not enjoy her 80 - minute massage. I felt bad about that. It happens a lot to her. She tells me that I spoil her with the work I give her at home. Everybody always comments about how lucky my DW is because she is married to a MT. Yah right! You know the old saying: “The cobbler’s wife has no shoes.” The same goes for Massage Therapists.

But I digress…the good news is that I had a great massage with a female MT named Rachel R. Make sure you request Rachel “R”, because there's another Rachel that works there.

Rachel R. was very nice but she didn’t talk unless I initiated the conversation. Sometimes I mention I’m a MT and sometimes I don’t. I did this time. I’m not a jerk about it or anything. I just explain exactly what I need at the time. I always appreciate it when clients do that for me at the Ritz.

She was a natural…GREAT HANDS. She was very strong. She used her elbows really well. She was intuitive and got the job done.
TWO THUMBS UP FOR ME!

Now what about my poor DW? Well, I called down to the spa the next day and I asked what Rachel R’s schedule for Thursday the 13th. She was scheduled to be at the Boardwalk that day, but she didn’t have any clients yet. I guess she is based at one of them, but I can’t remember which one. She also told me that they rotate her at all the Niki Bryan Spas except GF. GF has a set staff. So they moved her over to AKL that day for me. YES! WE SCORED! DW wanted me to go first so that I could tell Rachel R. what DW needed for her treatment. I guess DW twisted my arm. So I had a 50-minute massage at 10:00 am and DW had a 50-minute massage at 11:00.

DW was thrilled. Rachel R. didn’t go too deep. She gave smooth medium pressure. Just right.
RACHEL R. ROCKS!!!

We hope this will be of some help for those who are planning to go to a WDW spa. I’m interested in the Mandara at the S & D. Please add all your fitness & spa experiences and questions.
Thanks!

Last edited by Planecrazy4dis; 09-07-2008 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 09-06-2008, 11:30 PM   #2
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I love your idea for this thread! I've been looking for reviews and of the spas at Disney World for months and it's always just a little bit of info here and there so having it all together like this is great.

Anyone else have Disney World spa experiences they'd like to share?
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Old 09-07-2008, 08:23 AM   #3
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DH and I had the couples massage at the Dolphin in August.

Began with a 30 minute double tub soak which was fantastic after a crazy park day. The room was fabulous, quiet and smelled great. The MTs knocked on our door to give us a 5 minute warning and we were taken into a double room. DH's MT was male and he says did a fabulous job, worked his shoulders and neck where he holds all of his tension. My MT was female and she was ok. I have had better massages here at home but I believe it is because the masseuse knows me and all my little aches and pains. I am not trashing the MT in any way. It wasn't the best I've had is all.

I must say that both MTs were extremely thorough in their questioning of areas of concentration, amount of pressure etc. I wouldn't go again (at the Dolphin) but it was an experience for certain!
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Old 09-07-2008, 11:54 AM   #4
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Thanks butiflfeet. I've been looking too. I hope this makes it a little easier to get good advice.

pooksma - Thanks for the Mandara review!

We've been wanting to try Saratoga Springs Resort Spa. Any experiences with SSR?
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Old 09-29-2008, 08:59 AM   #5
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Has anyone gone to a spa lately?
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Old 09-29-2008, 12:11 PM   #6
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I'm really wanting to see some reviews on the Mandara, I really like the sound of their treatments.

I have to say that my mother and stepfather are both MTs. My mother is a small woman and she can do better deep tissue work than just about anyone I've ever met. She taught for years and often explains that it has little to do with the size or brute strength of the MT but proper body mechanics and technique. She's worked on some very large men (athletes) who are blown away by her.

B/c of my mom and my being spoiled LOL I always worry about getting work done by someone else. I don't need anything special just basic relaxation. I am more interested in the exfoliation treatments and wraps which include massage.

Also I will be traveling with my teenage SIL and I really would love to do a spa thing with her while we're there and Mandara has treatments targeted to teens.

Can't wait for more reviews!
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:11 PM   #7
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I went to SSR in Janaury. I receive regular massages here at home due to lots of back problems. I was disappointed to hear they did not offer any deep tissue. What I got was labeled "medium"--not sure I would have characterized it as such. The girl was very sweetand the facility was great. It was QUITE pricey and IMHO, not worth the dollars ($100+ with tip) if you want/need something therepeutic. But I'm glad I tried it once!
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Old 09-29-2008, 02:28 PM   #8
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My DH and I went to the GF Spa back in 05. We only got 30 min massages, BUT I have to say they were good.

Just to tell you a neat thing... my feet were KILLLLING me after walking at MK all day, so I told the MT guy about it, and so he focused on my feet and legs mostly. I thought it was pretty cool. And felt MUCH better afterwards... we even went BACK to MK for EMH afterward.
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Old 09-29-2008, 07:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wendy_in_Wonderland View Post
I'm really wanting to see some reviews on the Mandara, I really like the sound of their treatments.
Yeah...I'm with ya on that. Mandara looks amazing too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JennyDrake View Post
I went to SSR in Janaury. I receive regular massages here at home due to lots of back problems. I was disappointed to hear they did not offer any deep tissue. What I got was labeled "medium"--not sure I would have characterized it as such. The girl was very sweetand the facility was great. It was QUITE pricey and IMHO, not worth the dollars ($100+ with tip) if you want/need something therepeutic. But I'm glad I tried it once!
I know what you mean. It’s too much money to be disappointed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by becfehr View Post
My DH and I went to the GF Spa back in 05. We only got 30 min massages, BUT I have to say they were good.

Just to tell you a neat thing... my feet were KILLLLING me after walking at MK all day, so I told the MT guy about it, and so he focused on my feet and legs mostly. I thought it was pretty cool. And felt MUCH better afterwards... we even went BACK to MK for EMH afterward.
That’s what I’m talking about. I like to here that about my profession.

Last edited by Planecrazy4dis; 09-29-2008 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 11-08-2008, 10:42 PM   #10
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bump...bump...bump it up!!!
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:06 AM   #11
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Massage at WL?

Bump!

I've been looking for this thread. Dh told me I can book a treatment for my birthday, whoo hoo! (which is right before we leave..darn it, no free admission or gift cards but oh well).

I was looking at Wilderness Lodge and wondering if anyone has gotten the firm pressure massage there as it sounds like several people have been somewhat dissapointed in the firmness of their massages. Definitely a much more limited menu of services than the spa locations though. I can relate to the firmness problems, it is generally my experience at a spa location as well (with a significant magical exception in Napa but I digress).

WL is much more convenient for me to get to as I'm at the Fort in a cabin and as the Fort's pool is under reno we get to use the WL anyway so we plan to be there one day (assuming the sun cooperates) but I do see that SSR has a hot stone massage...I've had one of those once and really liked it. Has anyone done it at SSR? Wondering if it would be worth the trek not to mention the significant extra $$. At twice as much $$ for only an extra 30 minutes....it would be great to have some feedback!

Getting a pedicure with DSD earlier in the week at the GF so would like to hit more than one spa or massage center while there and I will post my reviews when we get back. A little bit annoyed with the GF age structure. A child's pedi goes until age 11. At 12 they have to pay the adult pedi rate. But they can't use the fitness center until they are 14! Seems like those ages should match. DSD is bummed about the fitness center, she's 12.

So hopefully it's worth it, that's a lot of $$ for a 12 year old! But I think doing it at the GF (she got to pick which location) will be a pretty special "girl" experience. We plan to go early, have breakfast and then hit the steam room etc.

9 days until we leave!
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:10 AM   #12
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My aunt and I had massages at CSR on our first trip. Its not a grand spa like the ones you will find at the deluxe resorts but it's the same people from relaxedyet.com. They were very good and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
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Old 02-03-2009, 09:20 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilolvr View Post
My aunt and I had massages at CSR on our first trip. Its not a grand spa like the ones you will find at the deluxe resorts but it's the same people from relaxedyet.com. They were very good and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
I agree. I get a massage every year at the CSR about midway through our trip. I get the 50 minute aromatherpay massage and it really does the trick for my tired legs, feet, and I'm ready to go for the last couple of days of our trip. I did one at the GF back in 2004. It was no better than what I have at the CSR every year except for the surroundings are a little nicer. However, I didn't care for the fact that they tried to push products on me after the service.
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Old 02-03-2009, 10:06 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Planecrazy4dis View Post
Hi-ya folks!
I am personally a licensed massage therapist who works at the Ritz Carlton in Boston and I’m always on the lookout for skilled spa techs when I receive a treatment.
Thanks for this! My bad neck flared up again (the week before we're set to leave) and I am so used to going to a proper physiotherapy clinic for massage etc. -- soooo spoiled! Was thinking I wouldn't bother trying out the WDW spas.

So, now I think I'll book in during our vacation.
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