Saturday, August 31, 2013

Radisson Hotel and Waterpark Of America in Bloomington, MN

For our family's biggest summer vacation, we headed to Bloomington, MN, to stay at the Radisson Waterpark Of America and to visit the Mall Of America. We got all packed up and headed 4 hours south to The Cities. This will be our first time staying at the Radisson Waterpark Of America. We were worried because Jodi called to ask if they had an ADA handicapped room with a roll-in shower. They said they did not. I called the same place not knowing Jodi called there earlier. I asked the same thing that Jodi asked: if they had an ADA handicapped room with a roll-in shower, and they said they did. So, we were not sure what to expect when checking into our room, but we were hopeful that our stay would go smoothly.

Arriving at the hotel, the lobby was packed with people. The line was very long, and they had ropes to the counter, but a kind gentleman that was staying as well helped move the ropes for me. When getting up to the counter to check in, the counter was too high for being in a wheelchair. It would have been nice to see a lower counter for me to sign and not be looked down on. We were not recognized for being Club Carlson members. I showed the hostess my number, and she said, "Oh I have it right here." 

We got the package that got us four passes to Waterpark Of America and four passes to Nickelodeon Universe at the Mall Of America. We needed to get me a dry pass, since I am in a wheelchair and could not access all the areas. When I made the reservation, they said that it would be at a discounted price. 

As we got to our room we saw room service plates in front of our door. It was very unappealing and not a good start to our stay. There was cleaning staff down the hall. As we are getting ready to go to the waterpark, we thought she would take it. But, when we left the room, the plates were still there. Also, while in the room, I had to use the bathroom, and the toilet seat was very loose. I was afraid to fall off or that it was going to break. Others used the toilet and said the seat being that loose was scary. 

We headed down to the waterpark and wanted to talk to a manager. We were not looking forward to being in the long line. We saw a maintenance staff coming by. His name was Roberto. We told him we wanted to speak to a manager. He asked what the issue was. Roberto went and got the manager on duty, William (Willie). While we were waiting to talk to the manager, Roberto went right away to fix the toilet seat. We told William the issues that we had since check-in, and he said, if we had any other problems, to let him know. 

We got to the waterpark counter to get my dry pass, and the same thing as in the main lobby: the counter was too high. We asked for a pass for wheelchair, and the lady was charging us full price. We said that it was for wheelchair, and that I am not going to be able to take full advantage of the park. But, she still rung us up for full price. Then, we mentioned that when we made our reservation, they said I could get a dry pass that would be at a discounted price. She finally gave us the correct pass.

Overall, our family enjoyed Waterpark Of America, there just needs to be more tubes for the amount of people that visit. For wheelchairs, there is plenty to do, with easy access to the wave pool and in Fort Snelling (the water playground with the giant bucket). There was a lift chair to lower you into the water into a tube near the Lazy River. The only challenge was the accessible ramp that goes across to the other side of the park. It had some steep parts, so being by myself would have been difficult. And the visitors that use the ramp would have to turn around so we could get by, luckily people were considerate, but that may not be the case all the time. A standard size 32" wheelchair will work best in the waterpark and in the hotel. Also, inside the waterpark the air was cold, a lot of us were shivering.  

Back in our room to shower, I rolled into the shower, and I couldn't reach the showerhead. If someone was staying by themselves, they wouldn't be able to reach the showerhead. So, I am glad I had my family there. When I was not using the showerhead, there was nowhere to hang it, raise it, or lower it to where I needed it. The bar that I would place the showerhead to where I needed it was there but the hook on the showerhead was missing. 

The king-size bed was a nice size for Jodi and I. But, with having one leg to get up from the bed, the bed was too low. When we were lying in bed, I noticed inside the light above the bed was full of dust. It was gross and didn't seem to reach the Radisson's high standards. Christopher and Jonathan really enjoyed the bunk beds that were in the wall, with little nightlights, and a curtain. KayMarie thought the sofa bed was okay, but the bar in the middle hurt her back. And, there were no blankets for her. I had to call and request them. 

When checking out, we talked to the manager on duty. His name was Willie. He listened to our concerns, was understandable, and made corrections for us that were fair. Even though there were some issues, our family did enjoy our stay and would visit again. We recommend Radisson Hotel and the Waterpark Of America as a STOP IN, but fixing these minor issues will make it a even more enjoyable stay for all who visit. 

Check out all the rides at Radisson Hotel and Waterpark of America!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ledge Rock Grille in Two Harbors, MN

It was my month to take Jodi out on our monthly date night. I searched on the internet for places outside of Duluth, and Ledge Rock Grille came up. The reviews looked outstanding, so I looked at their website and was very impressed. They have their menu online, showed pictures of their dining room, and I saw a link that caught my interest about eating at the Chef's Table. I had to call to get more information.

When I called Ledge Rock Grille, the staff worker was very helpful while explaining the Chef's Table. It's a six-course meal that the chef puts together himself, and it's a personal way to show their skills that is different than what's on the menu. While at the Chef's Table, the chef interacts with you during the courses. The price to sit at the Chef's Table is $75.00 per person. For the experience, I thought it would be worth it. 

He mentioned that, since I'm in a wheelchair, the counter will be too high to sit at the Chef's Table. He said its close to five feet in height, but they would accommodate me with a table close to the Chef's Table. Before we hung up, he asked if there was anything else that they should know about, like food allergies or any other accommodations. That really impressed me a lot. They made me feel that our needs were a priority, and they valued us as a customer. 

Asian Spinach Salad
When we arrived for our reservation, handicapped parking was good. The outside of the Lodge was clean and inviting. We brought my standard size wheelchair. The doorway was wide enough, but my bigger wheelchair may not fit. Inside the Lodge, it was clean and warm. The staff welcomed us with smiles and asked if we needed help. 

When we got to the restaurant area, we were greeted kindly by the hostess, but we weren't asked if we had a reservation. I thought they knew, because I made sure that the reservation had that I was in a wheelchair. But, I had to mention it to the hostess. Going into the dining area, the tables were close together. So, I would have had a problem getting through, but the staff moved the tables without hesitation. It may have been a problem, if the tables were full.

Duck Liver Pate on Herb Crostini
The hostess sat us at a table near the Chef's Table. I did go up to the actual Chef's Table seating, and the counter was too high for a wheelchair. So, I am glad that they accommodated me. To be honest, I think I would rather sit at a table than the high bar stools, they would possibly get uncomfortable during a six-course meal. 

Our chef for our dinner was Chef Alex. He came over to our table, introduced himself, and explained his menu for the night. Then, our waitress came over and explained about having a wine pairing with each meal for an extra $19.00, which I did. 

Raspberry Sorbet & Champagne
Even though Jodi and I enjoyed everything on the menu, we did have some favorites. We both enjoyed the bacon-wrapped scallops the most. They were so good and cooked perfectly. The rack of lamb was very good as well. It was not in a marinade, but seasoned and grilled very well. The raspberry sorbet in champagne was very refreshing, but their famous S'mores cake was a great dessert to end the dinner. It was warm and gooey, just like a real S'more.

Grilled Lamb Rack with Rosemary Pesto
On the way out, the staff moved the tables, so I could get through. And, they were all kind to us during our visit. And, when going past the front desk, they were kind and friendly, saying thanks for visiting. We felt that our needs were taken care of, and we were treated as a priority as a guest. It was very personal.

Ledge Rock Grille also offers a Culinary Club. It's free to sign up. You can sign up online, or ask your server. You get a card in the mail, and, when you visit Ledge Rock Grille, you get 1 point for every dollar you spend. They have different levels of points that you can redeem to get rewards from Ledge Rock Grille to free nights in a cottage.

Smores Cake
If you are looking for a romantic dinner that offers a personal six-course meal from the chef's menu, then Ledge Rock Grille is a must STOP IN! Or, if you are looking for a family outing dinner overlooking Lake Superior, then stop in at Ledge Rock Grille. They do offer a menu with items such as steaks, seafood, lamb, wood-fired flatbreads, soups, salads, chicken, duck, burgers, and pastas. They also have a wine list and beer. They also have a 3-2-1 Happy Hour which is Daily from 3 – 5pm. Save $3.00 on any appetizer. Save $2.00 on any specialty drink. Save $1.00 on your choice of wine or beer.

Also, heated outdoor deck seating is now open for the summer! And, if you are looking for lodging, they have cottages at different rates. You can look online, call, or they have an online chat available on their website: Ledge Rock Grille.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lakes 10 Cinema in Hermantown, MN

This was our first movie theater outing together as a family. We surprised the boys by seeing Monsters University. They were excited!

I used my bigger wheelchair and it fit thru the doors just fine. They were double doors with no bar in the middle. As we got up to the counter, we were greeted in a very friendly manner and with a smile. There was plenty of room to get around the ticket booth and enough room to get inside where our movie was. 

There was a family sitting in the wheelchair row. I wanted to sit with my family, so I went to the ticket counter and asked if they could ask some people to move. Without hesitation, they said they would be happy to help and ask them to move. Even though she told the wrong row, it was nice to be at a place with the willingness to accommodate. 

The family said they were comfortable in the seats, and I was able to see the movie just fine. For me, I am glad I had good brakes on my wheelchair. It seemed like I was at a slant, so I didn't want to move around too much. The sound and video quality was loud and crisp and gave that theater sound.

We have not been to a movie theater in years, but it seemed that they were in the price range of other concession stands. It would have been nice if they could offer free refills on drinks. 

We really enjoyed ourselves at Lake 10 theater. The staff was friendly when we arrived and when we were leaving. Lake 10 offers a free rewards program. When you visit, you gain points for rewards. We will definitely be back and suggest that you STOP IN for your next movie night out.

Research your visit at Lakes 10 Hermantown!