It’s running season! And birthday time, and anniversary day and momma’s respite break and simply no occasion at all. It’s the perfect chance to play princess for a day; a treatment, or half day of even full day of bliss and pampering at Senses~ A Disney Spa. Located at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and the more recently opened Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, any one of the full-service spa treatments, signature services or spa packages will leave you wondering if you have been instantly transported on a magic carpet ride to far away places. Whether you are stepping into the turn-of-the-century “serene Floridian garden” or are enveloped in the rustic nature’s “sanctuary”, both settings take you far away the typical hustle and bustle of a Walt Disney World vacation.
I planned my own princess perk post Disney Princess Half Marathon this past February, and true to its name, all five of my senses were given the royal treatment. Though my arrival and check-in were a bit frenetic, once I entered the grand doors I put the rest of the World behind me. (Be forewarned: runDisney event weekends are quite busy, and the spa is often booked solid weeks out. Perhaps now that there are two spas on property the crush will be alleviated. Just in case, call to make your reservations early at (407) WDW-SPAS, and arrive to your appointment with plenty of time to spare.)
Immediately upon entering, I was treated to my choice of “elixir”- relax, renew or imagine- and continued onto the women’s lounge.
I changed into my comfy robe and slippers (not the glass variety), and made my way to the waiting area. My taste buds were once again indulged with fresh mini muffins, fruit, and cucumber-infused spa water. Sense of TASTE, check.
If I had not been checking out that day, I would have certainly taken advantage of the wet relaxation space; complete with a whirlpool and heated lounge chairs.
|That’s custom Italian tilework.|
Each space is beautiful, serene, and perfectly appointed.
Due to my time constraints, I choose an Express Package, which consisted of three mini (not Minnie) services: massage, facial and manicure. Though only 30 minutes in length, I enjoyed one of the best massages I have ever had. I was TOUCHED in the most heavenly way.
I glided to my next oasis, the facial room, and received the “purest Facial on Earth”. All the Senses signature products are natural and SMELL sublime.
Next, I floated to the nail salon. The pedicure chairs looked inviting, but there was unfortunately no time for that! I took a seat at the manicure area, and while I waited, I LISTENED; whirlpools and waterfalls playing to a orchestral soundtrack. I will say that this space was the least inviting and felt a bit rushed, but I will reserve judgement until I return for my “Queen for a Day” experience.
On my relaxing walk back to Disney’s Polynesian Resort, I had time to reflect and relish in my majestic morning. Would I treat my senses to Senses again? Absolutely! Perhaps I will try their new spa next time.Maybe I can convince my prince to join me for a couple’s massage. After all, if you can’t relish the regal routine in the shadows of Cinderella Castle, then where??
Top PT Tip
Generally speaking, aggressive treatments (deep pressure or sports massage) should not be tried for the first time while on an active vacation. There is actually recovery associated with massage (which is why you may feel fatigue and the need to drink extra fluids afterwards) which, when compounded with potential extreme heat and theme park mileage, may leave you at a disadvantage. If you have a pre-existing condition, recovery may take even longer. However, anectodal evidence is often very different. Most Guests will find bliss in nail, facial and/or body treatments and sedative massage. Are you a newbie? Sample the massage you have in mind before you leave home. Note your reactions, and book away! (Think of it as a princess primer!!)
Pre and post race massage is a bit more complicated. Again, if you are one of those runners (and many of the elites follow this program), that swear by your thrice weekly sports massage, then again, don’t do deviate. Yes, each massage therapist is unique, but if you are a veteran you can provide enough feedback to guarantee your outcome. If you think now is the time to “try out” a pre-race treatment, I would advise you to reconsider. One, isolated deep massage may actually leave you at a disadvantage for race day. Post race is another matter as well. Recent research has questioned the conventional claims of “increased blood flow” and “decreased lactic acid”. The muscle micro tears that occur with the extremes of exertion might become exacerbated by manipulation. Again, runners may disagree, depending on their own established routines. Recent research points to the release of oxytocin during massage, which might boost the immune system, (which is most always impacted by a long run). Science be darned, STICK WITH WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. If you are wondering how a post race massage might benefit you, again, do your tryouts at home. Sample a post race treatment after a 5 or 10K. Note how you feel thereafter (without worrying about running off to Space Mountain or standing in long lines at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad). Runners also need to be cautious when scheduling a pedicure after the big event. Blisters and/or open skin will need to be avoided during any treatment. Nails may be extra sensitive, or missing, post race. Be sure to make an informed decision when scheduling your spa treatments runners. Explore your options and do what you know. Maybe you just need a neck massage from carrying all that bling!
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