Orlando Blog - Orlando Vacation

Information and news updates on Orlando Florida and Central Florida tourism information. This blog will try and cover all thing Orlando - from the nightlife to the Orlando Magic to the theme parks.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

We all set off for a Disney Vacation

We drove to Disney World from our home (it took some twenty minutes) and we were quickly checked in to the Dolphin Resort and we were soon ready for some fun.

This first evening we decided to go to Downtown Disney. The shuttle from the Dolphin had us there in no time. There were lots of people and the music and lights were beautiful, plenty of shops and things to do for the children. One of their favorite places was Lego Imagination Center; you can see giant Lego sculptures, dinosaurs and many skillful figures. Plus, the children got a chance to try their skills at building with Lego. The Virgin Megastore was a favorite of my daughter's, with all the good music it had.

We were feeling a little peckish so we decided to go and explore the many places to eat. We chose the Rain Forest Café, the food was reasonably priced and quite tasty. There are a number of things you have to pay entrance to, like Disney Quest, Cirque Du Soleil, AMC Theatres 24 screens and House Of Blues, but we had plans for other stuff to do. We spent about three hours walking around downtown Disney and then we were off back to the hotel. We were tired, but enjoyed the evening.

I'll have more on this Vacation later.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

a wide world experience

This is a 220 acre state of the art facility, with nine venues that can accommodate more than 30 sports including basketball, baseball, softball, tennis, soccer, track and field and many more.This is also the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves and has been very successful in filling the seats.

The Sports Experience is an interactive sports playground that will challenge guests in an exhilarating variety of activities. The Sports Experience area will test your skills in soccer, football and basketball as you train to become the best.

At football camp, you will test your speed and agility as you make your way through an obstacle course for a timed score, attempt to kick the game winning field goal over the defensive line, and run an actual pass.This sports facility is second to none and the children will love all the variety of sports and by participating they can reach their limits.

We were surprised to find there was no parking fee at this place, and the facility is right there, with no walking miles, in the Disney tradition. Our first port of call was the All Star Café, the menu was similar to any sports bar with gaming tables, pool, etc.

There are many things to do at Disney's Wide World of Sports the Atlanta Braves hold Spring Training here and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do their pre-season training here. In addition it hosts many athletic competitions including the Amateur Athletic Union Championship Events. We were lucky to watch the top seeded soccer teams compete for trophies (the children found this exciting).

There are many things to see and do at Disney but the Wide World of Sports gives you a different perspective on the sports scene and should be a must for any family with Walt Disney World Tickets.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Discover Discovery Cove

This tropical oasis is located in the heart of Central Florida. There is no place in the world that you can swim with dolphins, snorkel with thousands of tropical fish in there Coral reef, and swim with stingrays. What I love about discovery cove is the interaction with all of the animals. There is so much to discovery here! I go to Discovery Cove about three times a year and every time I went it has been amazing. You really feel like you have been at the beach all day. The warm Florida sun accompanied by a serene tropical setting puts you mind and soul in harmony. Say good bye to stress and worry because at discovery cove, there is no lines, No screaming kids waiting to see Micky mouse. Just exotic tropical relaxation! When you first arrive they will equip you with a I.D. card with your picture on it. This card is very handy because you can attach a credit card to is and it makes your money easier to spend. But, that I.D. card is a great souvenir as well. They also take a photo at that start of the day that is completely complimentary. Discovery Cove is an all inclusive resort. Once your in the park you will have all the food and drinks that you want.
I arrived at Discovery Cove with my lady. After they took our picture and gave us our I.d we were free to do what we wish. They do brief you a bit about the park and they direct you to where need to go. wait... You don't NEED to go anywhere, You can do what ever you want once your in the park. The dolphin swim is the only thing that is scheduled at Discovery Cove. When we first arrive all i could think about was BREAKFAST!! Now i have heard some good things about the food here at Discovery Cove, but tourist don't know what good food is while there on vacation. They think everything tastes great. So I had to see it for myself. I was really impressed. The breakfast was a little above average, but not to impressive. But the lunch, as sir the lunch was fantastic! After breakfast we went on an adventure to find our lockers. To get to the lockers you have to walk across the sand. so Take off your shoes and let your day of relaxation begin! That was my train of thought. I needed a little relaxation. We got our wet suits and hit the water! The tropical river was about 85 degrees so it was a nice way to start out. The water falls are chilled so be aware! We were trying out our snorkel gear and just floating through the caves and around the twists and bends of the river. I have been on a lot of "lazy rivers", but this is much more. You really feel like you are swimming thru a mountain river in the Pacific. The river bottom is rocky and the plants seem to grow right out if the water. As we were floating down the river i picked a beautiful yellow hibiscus for my girlfriend to put in her ear. We flowed down the river and we came to a gigantic water fall. Mind you i love adventure so this is exciting to me. She on the other hand was a bit weary of this challenge. "Ready baby?" I asked as we both held our breath and swam underneath the waterfall. When we rose to the surface to get some air, we were surrounded by the Bird Aviary! There were ergot's, parrots, cranes, and all sorts of creatures. It was as if we entered another world. While you inside of the aviary there are staff members that will assist you with the feeding and handling of these exotic creatures.
Of course how could you forget the Dolphin swim! They sit you and your small group inside of a cabana and they teach some interesting facts about the Atlantic Bottle nose dolphins. As we approached the water I had this little bubble feeling in my stomach. I had been waiting for a long time to do something like this. Diego was our dolphin and he was extremely intelligent. He would scream like a little girl and he would give all of us kisses. He was so friendly and gentle, he seemed as if he could just walk out of the water with you and go dancing! There skin feels similar to a hot dog skin. Then at the end of the experience we all go to ride on the dolphins back. After that we went back to the coral reef and snorkeled until the sun began to go down. There was a few moments when i really felt like i was in the middle of the ocean. Floating on the surface looking down on the thirty foot wide stingrays gracefully swimming by below you, time just seems to stand still. The entire day was something either of us and everybody else in the park will ever forget. I plan to take my children to swim with the dolphins someday. By far this was the best experience in Orlando!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Suspense, Love, Action, and Food

We arrived early at the Arabian Nights Dinner Show, we were advised to get there early by Jerry at TicketMomma. On arrival we were met by a couple of dark Arabic looking guys, they are the ones that take your photograph (you can pick them up after the show if you like them). They also issue you with your seats.

We went inside and discovered many gift shops with trinkets from the show, there is also a fully stocked bar, we would have had to pay for drinks but Jerry gave us some coupons that allowed us to get free drinks, thanks a bundle Jerry!

At the sound of a trumpet blowing all the guests of the King and his family were called to their seats by the Sultans eunuch Mohamed, the local town crier. You see actually we are invited to a Royal Princess' Wedding. I personally have never seen a Arab wedding so I thought it might be interesting. We quickly sat down and were introduced to our server. We ordered the curry chicken and a couple of cold ones, and then the show started without delay.

The lights dimmed and in galloped the horses, they were magnificent Clydesdales owned by the Gypsies. They seemed to be having a ball, whooping and a hollering all over the place. Things came to a boil when one of the guests decided to ride one of the horses, it was very funny and unpredictable.

Next came the desert nomads known as Bedouins. They were a rowdy bunch but knew how to take care of their steeds riding up and down the arena wailing like banshees! After that came the Mythical Unicorn, only this Unicorn didn't look very mythical. It pranced around for ten minutes and then left the scene, my little girl was quite impressed (I think she still believes!).

There is always a baddy in the plot that's when the evil villainous horses with hot red glowing eyes appeared. They were soon put aside by the Kings Arab Stallions and the Sultans Army of Saracens, this was a great scene. One of my favorites was the Indian Mustangs all painted in war paint that glowed in the dark, very spectacular!

All in all the show was well worth the money (although I think I ate too much) and the Wedding Cake at the end of the night finished me off! A good night was had by all my family thanks to Ticket Momma.

Why do they call it Boggy?

Good morning! After a good nights sleep, we were ready to go again and off went to Boggy Creek Airboat rides. This attraction is located at the south end of Lake Tohopekiliga where, we are told, a giant Alligator lives just ½ mile up the creek. He is said to be 23 ft. in length (can't wait to see this baby)!

The pilot of the Airboat gave us ear plugs to wear. We soon realized why -the noise the giant fan made was pretty loud. However, the noise didn't spoil the beautiful scenery with hundreds of alligators and all types of Florida birds and migratory birds. We also saw numerous snapping Turtles, fortunately they were all basking in the sun.

We were surprised when the airboat stopped on a clump of grass and the skipper asked us to stand down on land (we were surrounded by large alligators but they looked as though they were full)! The alligator's nest was quite some size, aprox. 6 ft in diameter and 3 ft high! We didn't disturb the nest but we got some good photos and then headed back to the Marina . We would recommend this trip for anyone.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

To Disney! A family first.

It was our familie's first time to fly all together. We were off on our first holiday for 10 years and we chose to go to Disney World in Orlando.

We landed in glorious sunshine (a change from Manchester where it rains most of the time) and the Disney Magic shuttle bus was waiting to take us to Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, one of Disney's Premier Hotels. This luxurious, Victorian-style resort offers a full service health spa, white sand beach, two outdoor pools, poolside bar, fine dining, fitness center, tennis courts, specialty shops, boat rentals, game room and much more.

My daughter soon decided to make use of the spa and my son was off to the video games room whilst my wife and I decided to check out the pool.

Later that afternoon, after our siesta, we set off for Downtown Disney to buy a couple of gifts for the family back home, and then we decided to go to Disney Quest. This is a five story building with interactive video games, virtual reality, and many ingenious items. We did not want to eat in Disney Quest the food was sub-standard and too expensive so we went to eat at Bongos, it was Latin food and quite delicious. We still had jet lag so off to bed we went.

Next morning, after coffee and pancakes, we all piled on the shuttle bus and off to the Magic Kingdom. It was hot this day so we drank plenty so as not to de-hydrate. We had to take the ferry across the lake to enter the park which took about 30 mins. First stop was Space Mountain, a roller coaster in the dark. We enjoyed this very much but we needed a little time to recover. I thought that the Mad Hatter's Tea Party was a tame ride, again it became a nightmare as these little tea cups started spinning like an out of control Whirling Dervisher. I felt sooooo sick after that ride I had to sit down for half an hour with my head between my legs, not a pretty sight!

Pirates of the Caribbean seemed to be O.K. for the family, just a gentle boat ride thru a scene of rape, pillage and plunder Disney style. Next we came upon Splash Mountain, a bit of a roller coaster with the final drop splashing thru a pool of water very dramatic, a few people got a bit wet, we all escaped. The organization and crowd control impressed me, we didn't wait in long lines, on average the wait was about 10 minutes, which means no wait at all, because by the time you have walked around all the safety barriers it will have taken 10 minutes anyhow.

After eating dinner we watched some fabulous fireworks then back to the Hotel for a good nights sleep!

Update on the Titanic Experience

Since having to close down due to the Mercado being demolished, the exhibition has been looking for a home, and now they have found one at the Orlando Science Center.The Science Center and Titanic's owners plan to include many items from the I-Drive attraction, including re-creations of the Titanics grand staircase, cargo hold and gantry.They plan to charge $23 adult and $18 for children. After a record attendance on I-Drive, they are looking to grab some extra local business now that they are central.This world-famous exhibition is coming to Orlando Science Center, with a public opening planned for Saturday, December 15, 2007. Featuring full-scale recreations of the ship's most famous locales along with historians in period costume portraying the ship's designers, officers, crew and passengers; Titanic, The Experience will offer a rich interactive examination of the history and science behind the "ship of dreams." The exhibition will be on display at Orlando Science Center through 2008.In addition to presenting the historical elements of the exhibition, plans are being developed to further emphasize sections on ocean exploration.The Titanic was a British registered four funneled ocean liner built for the transatlantic passenger and mail service between Southampton and New York.Constructed in Belfast, Northern Ireland she was, at the time of her maiden voyage, the largest vessel afloat.On April 10th 1912 the Titanic set sail from Southampton with 2,200 passengers and Crew. Four days later, the Titanic collided with an iceberg and sank. 1500 people died and 700 survived.The Titanic today is a couple of rusty pieces of metal in a wet bath to stop it from disintegrating.

A Holy Land Adventure

On June 9, 2007 Orlando Trinity Broadcasting Network, the world's largest religious broadcaster and America's most-watched faith channel, hopes to do well with the purchase of the "Holy Land Experience" theme park in Orlando, Fl., to the TBN family. The attraction is an adaptation of ancient Jerusalem with a facility that will be used for television production, dramas, musical concerts, special events and movies. The Holy Land Experience could well be considered Orlando's most inspiring destination as visitors experience a full day of discovery that takes them 2,000 years back in time to the world of the Bible. It brings to life ancient Israel as a unique, thriving world filled with fascinating exhibits and venues.Visitors learn about the Wilderness Tabernacle and the Great Temple, discover the amazing history of the Bible; explore the city of Jerusalem in miniature, see re-enactments of Jesus' ministry, His life, death, and resurrection.We first made our way to "The Scriptorium", here we discovered how we got the Bible and travel from Babylon to Egypt and from a Medieval monastery to an English jail cell, then From Martin Luthers Germany to Plymouth Rock, it was very interesting and all the family enjoyed this.Then on to Shuftar Auditorium where there is a fascinating 55ft. model of Jerusalem, showing the route Christ took on his way to the Cross. Also this theatre is where all the shows and dramas are staged.On to the Great Temple soaring six stories high this shining white and gold Temple was the center of life and a place where Jesus ministered, thirty roman columns surround the Temple Plaza. Inside the Temple see The Seed of Promise, an original film shot on location in Israel.Next we went caving. to the Dead Sea Qumrn Caves, the unique replica of the caves where the dead sea scrolls were discovered by a shepherd boy in 1947, they were discovered just west of the dead sea and south of the city of Jericho. These caves may have been the home to Jewish settlers.The children were a little tired so we followed the "Via Dolorosa" the road on which Christ carried the cross to Calgary and the Garden Tomb. We said a few prayers and then moved on.Jerusalem Street Market travel back in time, quite a site, lots of vendors and exotic smells the locals are willing to barter with you. Good deals are on the Goat sacks, only 198 shekels a pair!Be very careful with the food you might catch "Juda’s Revenge" this is very unpleasant dysentery type of infection that will leave you weak and disorientated. Also leave the stuffed vine leaves alone!