Orlando Shopping

Shopping in Orlando can be considered as popular as visiting theme parks and the beaches of Central Florida. Area malls and factory outlets have become well known internationally and host millions of visitors each week. Guests are just a short drive away from name brand stores and specialty shops with Walt Disney World souvenirs.The biggest shopping venues are the Orlando Premium Outlets, the Mall at Millenia, the Florida Mall, and Downtown Disney in Lake Buena Vista.

The Mall at Millenia offers shoppers over 1 million square feet of upscale, luxury stores across two sprawling levels. Brands that call Millenia home are Louis Vuitton, Armani, Rolex, Godiva, and Neiman Marcus. Grab a bite to eat at The Cheesecake Factory, Brio Tuscan Bistro, or P.F. Chang’s after your shopping experience.

The Florida Mall holds the title of the largest mall in Central Florida, with nearly 2 million square feet of shopping space. Here, you’ll find over 250 retail and specialty shops under one roof. Enjoy the latest fashion trends, fine dining establishments, family fun, and lush landscaping within spectacular indoor and outdoor seating. Buca di Beppo is a popular Italian restaurant that hosts shoppers for lunch and dinner.

Outdoor shopping is extremely popular in Orlando. Visit one of the better venues at the Orlando Premium Outlets. There are two locations to choose from in Orlando. Enjoy over 150 brand name outlet shops while taking advantage of Florida’s warm weather. On many occasions, the Outlets have great discounts to help you save money while on vacation. Kiosks offer refreshments to keep you cool and energized throughout the day. Children can stay entertained at store-side attractions.

Downtown Disney is the perfect place to visit after a long day at Walt Disney World when the sun goes down. Not just for shopping, but there are lots of great restaurants and attractions within this venue. Catch live music at the House of Blues or watch an amazing show at La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil. Disney specialty shops with souvenirs are plentiful here.

It is easy to get lost in a day of shopping while in Orlando. Amusements, excellent dining options, and famous stores will keep the family entertained for many hours. Plan your time wisely to visit both the indoor and outdoor shopping centers in town.

 

The Florida Mall | 8001 S. Orange Blossom Trail- Orlando, Florida 32809

The Mall at Millenia | 4200 Conroy Road- Orlando, Florida 32839

The Orlando Premium Outlets | 8200 Vineland Avenue- Orlando, Florida 32821

Downtown Disney | 1780 E. Buena Vista Drive- Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830

Keep Your Cool at Orlando Theme Parks

We are well into our summer season in Orlando and one thing is for certain; it is HOT! 90 degree temperatures are normal in late July and into August. It is important to stay cool and hydrated while visiting the Walt Disney World parks, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and other outdoor amusements. Keep in mind the following cooling tips so you can enjoy the theme parks and feel more comfortable through the hot Florida summer.

The most important advice to staying cool is to drink plenty of water throughout the day. You can lose a lot of water through perspiration by walking over 10 hours straight in the hot sun. Aim for drinking a gallon or more of water during your theme park excursion. Carry a water bottle with you and refill it with water when empty. Not only will you feel more awake and energized, but you will be properly hydrated and cool.

Snack stands feature delicious treats to suppress hunger, keep you active, and cool you down. There is no shortage of ice cream bars and delicious popsicles at Disney. Children love these fun snacks and they will be satisfied for hours! Buy some extra treats to enjoy while waiting in line at rides and your experience will be much more enjoyable.

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It is important to dress appropriately for the weather and hours of walking in the direct sunshine. Wear light colored clothing and materials that allow your body to “breath” and wicks away moisture. Athletic apparel and bathing suits are perfect for park hopping. Remember a high level of SPF protection if you’re wearing clothes that expose your skin directly to the sun. Sunburn would make your day at the park difficult.

Take frequent breaks under shelters and misting stations located throughout the parks. You will often find that misting stations are popular hangouts. Stop for a few moments inside a restroom, wet a paper towel with cold water, and wipe your head and arms. You will immediately feel revitalized and ready to conquer the next big ride on your list.

The heat and direct exposure of your skin to the sunlight can make you feel exhausted quickly. These cooling tips will greatly improve your theme park experience and will ensure lasting memories. Don’t get caught “under the weather” and ill-prepared.

The Best Venues for Live Entertainment in Orlando

The fun doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. Live entertainment is at its best in Orlando. Popular venues to catch your favorite musicians and bands include the Amway Center in downtown Orlando, House of Blues in downtown Disney, Hard Rock Live at Universal’s CityWalk, and BB King’s Blues Club at the Pointe on International Drive.

The Amway Center hosts many main stream musical acts and serves as host to our NBA Basketball team, the Orlando Magic. Big ticket events are booked here and are planned months ahead of time. Smaller venues such as the House of Blues, Hard Rock Live, and B.B. King’s Blue Club provide an intimate atmosphere where fans can get closer to the stage and their idols.

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Whether it’s Rock, Country, or Blues you can be sure to catch live music every night of the week in Orlando. Visit these venues online before your vacation to view their event calendars. Plan your upcoming vacation around some of today’s hottest stars!

 

The Amway Center | 400 West Church Street- Orlando, Florida  32801

House of Blues Orlando | 1490 East Buena Vista Drive- Lake Buena Vista, Florida  32830

Hard Rock Live at Universal Studios Orlando | 6050 Universal Boulevard- Orlando, Florida  32819

BB Kings Blues Club at The Pointe | 9101 International Drive- Orlando, Florida  32819

New Attractions This Summer

The excitement never gets old in Orlando. Walt Disney World and Universal Studios are constantly adding new attractions to keep the fun alive. Experience these new thrill rides on your next trip to the Orlando area.

Disney has added the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to the ever-growing Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. The family-friendly rollercoaster transports riders through the famous diamond mine from the movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It will seem like you’re part of the movie while twisting, turning, and rocking in unique mine train carts. Indeed, a ride not to miss on your next trip to the Magic Kingdom.

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Universal Studios has built a new land to their Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The much-anticipated Diagon Alley is set to open in early this month. Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts is the new, 3D multi-dimensional ride that anchors this new attraction. Fabulous eateries and shops compliment the ride! Dine on traditional British fare at the Leaky Cauldron and grab desert afterwards at the Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream Parlour. Diagon Alley is a must-do adventure in Orlando.

Orlando is ever-changing. The amazing attractions at Disney World and Universal Studios can easily take up most of your vacation time. Map out your activities and plan wisely to make sure you are able to visit these new rides.

Tips for Traveling to Central Florida

Don’t let the little things complicate your Orlando, Florida vacation. Start off on the right track to avoid family conflicts. Your well-deserved escape begins when you drive out of your driveway or board the planeto Central Florida. To make your trip more enjoyable, follow our tips on how to pack your car or prepare your luggage for a flight.

Road Trips are a great idea when traveling. Most of the time, you’ll spend less money than flying and you get to experience the open road. It is important that everyone in the automobile is comfortable and has enough room to stretch, especially after a two-hour, or in some cases, five-hour nap. Don’t clutter the seats with luggage, that’s what the trunk is for! Keep only in-car entertainment on hand, such as an interesting book or iPod. Avoid packing perishable food, as spoilage may occur if packed improperly, and could provide an unpleasant odor the rest of the trip. Kissimmee and the surrounding Orlando area have plenty of grocery stores. Buy your food locally on vacation.

Make use of all nooks and crannies when packing the car, but don’t stuff trunk space. Pillows, blankets, and linen are great, and they don’t take up much room. These things can easily fit into small spaces between luggage. Leave your windows free and clear and make sure you can see out into traffic.

Use common sense when packing your car. What do you really need to bring on vacation? If you find the back end of your sedan weighed-down and nearly touching the pavement, then you’ve packed too much. Grills, kitchen appliances, coolers, bikes, and other equipment are either provided with your Kissimmee Vacation Rental, or are offered for rent through area vendors. Remember to only pack the necessary clothes, bathroom supplies, and limited entertainment options. Guests always go back home with more than what they brought, due in part to the great local shopping.

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You have to be even more efficient if you’re flying to the Orlando, Florida area. Checking bags can get pretty expensive these days. It’s not unusual to spend over $100 per bag to check. Try your best to pack everything in a suite case that will fit in an overhead compartment. Certain liquids and sharp objects can’t be taken onboard an airplane. Remember to bring entertainment as flights can get boring.

The more efficient you pack, the more money you will save. Lighter cars will save you more gas money, and carry-on bags are free on most flights. Don’t subject yourself to any avoidable conflicts on your trip to Kissimmee.

Old Town Excitement

There is more to Kissimmee than the well-known theme parks. Visitors to the area can add more magic to their vacation with horse rides, helicopter tours, swamp excursions, and even rodeos. Small town charm surrounds Disney and can be found along Highway 192. One of these unique roadside attractions is Old Town.

Old Town provides affordable fun and excitement for the whole family! Rides, restaurants, and shops make up this popular attraction. There are thrill rides for the adults, gentler rides for small children, and classic carnival rides, such as a carousel and bumper cars. Enjoy friendly competition while racing the go-carts. Think of Old Town as a super-charged street fair.

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Classic car enthusiasts love to bring their cars to the nightly car shows that Old Town is known for. Vintage cars line up for show every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night. American muscle cars are shown every Friday night. You won’t want to miss the local bands performing on weekend nights while the cars cruise the streets.

Unlike the larger theme parks, Old Town is an attraction where you can experience everything in one day. The rides and restaurants are open late. After having so much fun, you may want to do it all a second time!

 

Old Town | 5770 West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway (Highway 192) | Kissimmee, Florida

A Vacation Rental for the Summer

Vacations Rentals in Kissimmee have the best amenities for your summer vacation close to Walt Disney World. Magical Memories feature many different rental properties to choose from, whether it be condos, townhomes, or vacation homes. You may choose to be located in an all-inclusive resort or in a peaceful neighborhood with well-manicured lawns and single family homes.

There are several advantages to renting a property in an all-inclusive resort. Most resorts in Kissimmee feature plentiful outdoor activities. Large community swimming pools provide the perfect setting for summertime fun. There is often a jacuzzi close by to relax the muscles from a long day at the Disney parks. Walking and biking nature trails, sports facilities, and comfortable lounges in the clubhouses are also popular amenities in resorts.

Families enjoy the space, privacy, and value that comes from renting a house. Though most of our homes are located in neighborhoods, there are a handful that are located in an all-inclusive resort. Every one of our vacation rental homes feature private swimming pools to cool off from the summer heat. Pools are enclosed in screened patios for added comfort.

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Need help finding the perfect summer accommodations for your family or group? Ask the staff at Magical Memories to help you find the right fit. We will keep you cool during these sizzling Central Florida days. No matter with rental you pick, you will be within a short walking distance to a refreshing swimming pool and fun summertime activities.

Capone's Dinner & Show

Enjoy an evening at Capone’s Dinner and Show in Kissimmee for a deliciously entertaining and hilarious trip back in time to 1930’s Chicago. Actors portraying mobsters and beautiful dames are in full character throughout the evening. Guests are treated to a fresh Italian feast before watching a brilliant stand-up comedy show with audience interaction.

A delicious traditional Italian buffet dinner and unlimited drinks will keep you satisfied throughout the performance. Create your own towering salad, load-up on different selections of pasta and meats at the carving station, and be treated to a seasonal desert from the house. Adult guests can take advantage of an optional cocktail hour before general admission. This is a unique dinner show that can’t be found anywhere else in the Orlando area.

There is never a dull experience during the 2 hour stage show. This is an attraction for the whole family! Contact Capone’s Dinner & Show while planning your vacation to make sure you get the best seats, as this attraction fills up fast.

Beautiful Beaches Just A Short Drive Away

When you vacation in Central Florida, you truly get the best of both worlds. Not only do we have the most popular theme parks, but we are within a short driving distance to beautiful beaches. In the midst of all the Disney excitement and adventure of Universal Studios Orlando, take a break and relax on the wide, sandy shores of our “local” beaches. There is a beach that’s perfect for everybody.

Both Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach on the east coast are reachable in under an hour’s drive from the Orlando area. Cocoa Beach is popular with surfers and those that prefer a more family-friendly beach. Enjoy a wide strand with plenty of room to enjoy traditional beach sports. Watch cruise ships as they come and go out of Cape Canaveral. Rocket launches are also popular events at the Kennedy Space Center.

Daytona Beach provides a thriving scene for active young adults. Located just north of Cocoa Beach, Daytona is home to the Daytona 500 race of NASCAR. It is perfectly accepted for beachgoers to drive their cars onto the beach and park. Drive out onto the beach strand and set up camp for the day! Motorcycle rallies are held during the months of March and October.

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To the west, the Gulf Coast of Florida has much calmer waters and promotes a more laid-back feel. Clearwater Beach can be reached within an hour and a half from the Orlando area. Experience crystal clear ocean water and a wide, white sandy shore that’s perfect for beachside games. Popular ocean sports include paddleboarding and parasailing. While here, make plans to visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for fun family-friendly activities while learning about Florida’s ocean animals.

Which beach sounds right to you? On your next vacation to the Orlando area, don’t forget to make time for our beautiful beaches. The salt air and warm sand between your toes nicely compliments the active days spent inside the theme parks.

The Chocolate Kingdom Chocolate Factory

Chocolate lovers of all ages will enjoy their visit to the Chocolate Kingdom, of Kissimmee. This popular attraction boasts a full-service chocolate factory and candy shop that features delicious treats made fresh daily. It will be hard to resist purchasing some of these fine sweets to indulge in while on vacation. These goodies are locally made with passion only at the Chocolate Kingdom.

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Guests are treated to an interactive factory tour that lasts less than an hour. Learn all about the bean-to-bar process of chocolate production. The tour is very family-friendly, as spectators follow a unique storyline which adds more excitement and adventure during their visit.  There are even chocolate tastings, where you will be able to sample chocolate at the different stages of production.  At the end of the tour, make your own fresh chocolate candy bar with a wide selection of toppings! Not only will you gain a new appreciation about chocolate, but you will take away sweeter vacation memories.

Chocolate Kingdom is located beside Old Town Kissimmee and Fun Spot on Highway 192 in Kissimmee.

Upcoming Events in Orlando - Spring and Summer 2014

Plan your upcoming vacation around these fun spring and summer events at the Orlando area theme parks. All of the listed events are family-friendly. Admission to most events is covered in the cost of your park ticket and will complement the excitement of thrilling rides and amusements. Check our blog often for more great ideas that will add to your Central Florida vacation experience.

The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (now through May 18th) is a wonderful kick off to our spring season in Kissimmee. Visitors enjoy bright flower displays, home improvement seminars, live music from legendary bands, and unique seasonal foods at the World Showcase. After one trip to the Flower & Garden Festival, you'll want to schedule future vacations around this event.

Epcot’s popular summer concert series, Sounds Like Summer, begins on June 8th and runs until July 26th. Listen to your favorite classic rock songs performed by tribute bands. Bands honor the Beach Boys, U2, the Eagles, Bee Gees, and other well-known acts. These concerts take place in the America Gardens Theatre in the World Showcase with a different band performing each week.

Fans of the popular Star Wars films will enjoy Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios, May 16th - June 15th. Disney is the place to be for special thrilling entertainment paying tribute to the Star Wars franchise. Experience specialty rides, celebrity parades, fireworks shows, Jedi Training for younger children, and collect autographs from your favorite Star Wars characters. It's all taking place right here!

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Viva La Musica takes place at SeaWorld every Saturday, from April 26th - May 17th and pays homage to Latin culture. Experience tasty Latin cuisine and exciting concerts featuring internationally renowned Latin musicians. Come hungry, as there are lots of delicious dishes to sample. This event is free with a paid SeaWorld admission.

During SeaWorld’s Summer Nights Celebration, which takes place June 21st – August 10th, the excitement heats up as the day cools down. Thrilling light shows and fireworks displays light up the night skies and add an extra flair to the always popular marine show featuring Shamu. Clyde and Seamore put on a hilarious nighttime show as well, titled “Sea Lions Tonite.” Enjoy a thrilling experience on SeaWorld’s rollercoasters as the day winds down.

Universal Studios hosts its own Grand Celebration of the New Orleans original party, Mardi Gras. This party is ongoing until June 7th. Catch the same level of excitement as you would in New Orleans, only in Orlando and beside great Theme Park rides. Internationally known music superstars and bands from hip hop and rock and roll will be hosting free concerts. Extravagant floats, Cajun food, and Bayou-fused music surround Universal Studios to create a festive environment.

Plan Your SeaWorld Adventure

No family vacation in Kissimmee would be complete without a trip to SeaWorld of Orlando. The popular aquatic adventure park is one Theme Park where you can do everything in a single day. There is plenty to keep you busy here, including grand marine shows, wildlife exhibits, and even thrill rides.

SeaWorld has strategically scheduled their main shows so that it is possible to see each one throughout your visit. Make sure you plan your visit before you get to the park so you can make the most of your day. You’ll get to see breath-taking performances by dolphins, sea lions, cats and dogs, tropical birds, and of course…Shamu, with the One Ocean show. Fun and educational marine life exhibits are positioned around the park so you can easily stop by an exhibit on the way to the next feature show.

The exhibits let you get up close and personal to various marine life, such as sharks, dolphins, sting rays, sea lions, and sea turtles. Take a journey to the depths of the ocean to study sharks in the Shark Encounter. Get up close and personal to stingrays, in the Manta Aquarium and Stingray Lagoon – where you’ll get to safely touch the rays. A newer exhibit to SeaWorld is TurtleTrek, a fabulous 3D experience! Learn about these unique creatures in a 3-part exhibit that puts you face-to-face with sea turtles.

Thrill seekers will love the high-speed coasters at SeaWorld. Both the Kraken and Manta take you on a heart-pounding adventure through twists and turns. The Journey to Atlantis is a flume ride similar to Splash Mountain at Disney World. Explore the mysterious sights and sounds of Atlantis before being flung down a watery slope. A splash of water at the end of the ride refreshes you on a hot Florida day.

Special seasonal shows throughout the year and attractive pricing make SeaWorld a great place to keep coming back to multiple times throughout the year. Ask Magical Memories for help in planning your memorable trip to Orlando and SeaWorld. Our staff enjoys the local attractions as much as our guests!

A Visit With Boggy Creek Airboat Rides in Kissimmee, Florida

On a recent afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit Boggy Creek Airboat Rides, of Kissimmee, Florida. I have never gone on an airboat ride before, so this was a great treat. My half hour adventure was filled with high speed action, education about the natural wonders of Florida’s back country, and views of wildlife around every turn.

It goes without a doubt that you’ll see alligators when you tour with Boggy Creek Airboat Rides. I saw big alligators up close, but also deer, eagles, cattle grazing in the marsh, and some birds that are native to Florida’s marsh lands. There is plenty to see in this wild environment. Remember to bring a pair of binoculars and a small camera to capture those special moments.

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I thought that I would get soaked when riding on an airboat. Naturally, you may get a little spray from water getting kicked up from the fan on the back of the boat, but you won’t get soaking wet. Bring a backpack along to keep your camera and binoculars dry just in case. Passengers are provided with ear protection, as the airboat gets noisy. Remember to wear sunblock and adequate clothing for the season. These necessities will keep you comfortable during your adventure on the lake.

There are various airboat tours available, depending on the adventure you want to experience. Choose from a half hour or full hour scenic nature tour, to something more daring like the hour long nighttime tour or swamp excursion. Whichever tour you pick, you’re sure to have an exciting and memorable time out on the water. Magical Memories has brochures in the office for Boggy Creek Airboat Rides if you need more information on their services.

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Boggy Creek Airboat Rides has two convenient locations in Kissimmee, with the closest spot located just down the road from the Magical Memories’ office (south Poinciana Boulevard), and about 20 minutes from Disney World. There is a large outdoor area, perfect for picnics and family games after your airboat ride. On your next vacation to Orlando, remember to take a day off from the Disney parks to plan an authentic airboat ride for a memorable family-friendly experience.

Dealing With Long Lines at Area Attractions

One thing that all popular rides and attractions in Kissimmee share are long waiting lines. It’s not uncommon for guests to stand in lines for an hour before they get to enjoy the thrill of the ride. Special programs, such as the Fastpass at Disney World, allow visitors to bypass the long lines for a shorter wait time. Still, you may be waiting in line for more than twenty minutes to board a ride with Fastpass.

There are simple ways to make the wait a little more tolerable. By keeping yourself, or your children, occupied while standing in line, you’ll indirectly help the line move quicker. An hour will feel more like twenty minutes. Use these following tips next time you’re at Disney World, Universal Studios, or SeaWorld.

Don’t forget your favorite book or magazine when headed to Kissimmee Theme Parks. It is so easy to get lost in a great book. Your mind will focus on the exciting story in front of your eyes rather than what’s going on around you. It wouldn’t be an impossibility to completely read a book during a day standing in lines! Disney books and informational flyers on area attractions add to the theme of your memorable vacation. My Mom would actually bring a crosswords book and joke book with her every time we’d visit an attraction. A Nook, Tablet, or iPad are popular alternatives to a physical book.

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Music lovers are bound to bring their iPods on vacation. The handheld music and movie players are an extremely popular option for park visitors stuck in line for long waits. Download your favorite music before visiting the Theme Parks. Cell phones also work really well in keeping guests busy. Snap creative pictures,surf the internet and Facebook, and talk to friends while you wait for the most popular rides. People watch while walking through Disney World, and you’ll see hundreds of tourists using their cell phones or iPodsto keep entertained.

Snacks and soft drinks are always a great idea when you visit a Theme Park. Chips and candy are nearly always preferred by children. For the most part, it will keep your kids more satisfied than grumpy. By bringing your snacks into the Park, you’re also cutting back on the pricey cost of foods on-site. Be creative and prepare bite-sized sandwiches the night before your exciting adventure at Universal Studios.

Last, but not least, remember to bring the backpack. You can’t possibly haul all these items without a comfortable bag. Don’t pack too much, as you’re likely to be walking around for over 10 hours on a single day. As seen here, you don’t need a lot to keep you occupied during your visit. Ask the staff at Magical Memories for more ideas on what you can do to make long attraction lines more pleasant on your next Kissimmee vacation.