Spend A Day In Downtown Orlando

Downtown Orlando is the perfect destination to check out while on your next Disney vacation. It compliments days spent at the local theme parks and adds something special for the whole family. The downtown area is a short drive from any of our Kissimmee vacation rentals. Experience local entertainment, specialty shops, and otherwise- hidden dining options.

Fun before the Evening Excitement

Downtown Orlando has plentiful green space. Lake Eola Park provides a beautiful setting for an afternoon picnic within the city. With this spot being the most central and iconic point downtown, festivals and live entertainment can often be found here. The Orlando Farmers Market is hosted at Lake Eola every Sunday afternoon. Shop fresh fruits and vegetables, home-made breads and local cuisine, artwork and crafts, and watch live entertainment.

Many of the restaurants around Lake Eola are frequented by the locals. It’s hard to pick a bad place to eat. Discover a new, unique spot to dine at and stick around Lake Eola, Thornton Park, and Church Street in Downtown Orlando. A few of my favorites include SOCO (Southern Contemporary Cuisine), which offers an unique twist to classic American dishes and an awesome Brunch menu; Anthony’s, an excellent pick for Italian favorites and to-die-for pizza; and the Kres Chophouse for steak and a perfect intimate atmosphere.

To the Show

The new Dr. Phillips Center is the perfect performing arts venue to catch Broadway level musicals and other theatrical productions. Its size encompasses over two city blocks and includes five different venues within. Big name musicians and professional sporting events frequent the Amway Center nearby. Both destinations are easily reached from the main highway slicing through Downtown Orlando, Interstate 4.

You clearly cannot go wrong with a visit to Downtown Orlando. There is so much to do and see. It makes for the perfect day off from all the Disney excitement on vacation. Make sure this is a stop on your next visit to the Orlando area.

 

Lake Eola Park | 512 East Washington Street - Orlando, Florida  32801

SOCO | 629 East Central Boulevard - Orlando, Florida  32801

Anthony's | 100 North Summerlin Avenue - Orlando, Florida  32801

Kres Chophouse | 17 West Church Street - Orlando, Florida  32801

Dr. Phillips Center | 445 South Magnolia Avenue - Orlando, Florida  32801

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

Festival of Fantasy at Magic Kingdom

There is always a celebration at the Magic Kingdom of Walt Disney World. No wonder it’s the happiest place to vacation in the world! The imagination runs wild here. Daily parades throughout the theme park bring this Magic alive every day.

The Festival of Fantasy parade is my favorite and has been a stand out through the past year. This parade features a huge mechanical fire- breathing dragon and a gorgeous float of a hot air balloon carrying Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse. Floats for this parade pay homage to Disney movie history and the colorful characters that starred in those movies. Acrobatic performers who swing and dance to the festive music are an added bonus to the excitement.

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Festival of Fantasy winds through Adventureland, Liberty Square, and Main Street U.S.A. each afternoon. Lasting only about 15 minutes, it provides for a nice break from the high-speed rush of the Magic Kingdom attractions. Plan ahead to grab a spot along the parade route early, before the show begins. Parade times are posted on Disney’s website and mobile apps used on smart phones and other portable electronic devices.

Upcoming Orlando Events- Summer, 2015

Summer is sizzling right now in Orlando! From unique experiences at Walt Disney World, to high energy concerts at the Amway Center in Downtown Orlando, these events provide that extra spark to your summertime vacation. Use this schedule to plan your upcoming vacation celebration at Magical Memories.

Sounds Like Summer Concert Series at Epcot World Showcase (through July 25, 2015). Rock and dance to live tributes of your favorite classic rock bands. The concerts take place at the America Gardens Theatre and feature 3 different performances late into the afternoon after you have ridden most of the rides and experienced several shows. Even better, Epcot has included this special bonus in your paid admission to the park!

Summer Nights at SeaWorld (through August 9, 2015). Visit SeaWorld for an entire day and stay late into the evening. The excitement gets turned up a notch when the sun sets. Experience weekend concerts, a special Shamu celebration with spectacular visual effects, and ride your favorite roller coasters under the night sky! It’s well worth skipping your bed time.

Night of Joy at Magic Kingdom (September 11- September 12, 2015). Popular Christian music bands and musicians converge on the Magic Kingdom for two rockin’ nights of music and fellowship. From soul and inspirational singers to hard-rocking bands, there is live excitement for every taste in music. The entertainment kicks off at 7:30pm and continues until 1:00am. Shift your vacation into overdrive, and be prepared to rock ‘n roll the nights away this September at the Magical Kingdom.

Rock the Universe at Universal Studios Orlando (September 11 - September 12, 2015). An impressive line-up of popular Christian bands rock together during this popular Christian music festival at Universal Studios. Surrounding the excitement are heart-pounding rides and attractions. After partying with new friends, visit both theme parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, for an unforgettable experience.

The Amway Center in downtown Orlando is hosting two huge concerts in September! Ed Sheeran will be performing on September 8, 2015, and Janet Jackson is bringing her high energy show to us on September 23, 2015. Buy tickets now to add that extra spark to your summer vacation. Both of these concerts are happening mid-week, so make your stay last a whole week to take advantage of everything the Orlando area has to offer!

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (September 25 - November 16, 2015). You'll want to be at Epcot this fall to enjoy their food and wine festival. Billed as a "food and wine lover's paradise," this event will feature cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs, mixology classes, and live musical performances! Sample some of the best international food and amazing wines.

Stay Comfortable and Healthy On Your Orlando Vacation

Central Florida and the Orlando area is, with no doubt, an outdoor-focused vacation destination. The warm year-round weather is perfect for a day at the Disney parks, one of the many nearby beaches, or hours spent shopping from store-to-store at the outlets. Extended periods outdoors, however, means that you have to take extra precautions to protect your health and remain comfortable for the remainder of your vacation.

Sunscreen is a necessity when enjoying outdoor activities in Florida. Prolonged exposure to the sun can be damaging to your skin . Remember to apply sunscreen frequently while visiting our popular outdoor attractions. Sunburn can be a painful experience and could make for an unpleasant vacation. Look for a higher number of SPF with a broad range of benefits.

Prepare a backpack with water and light snacks prior to visiting outdoor attractions. These refreshments will serve as a key source of energy while staying active. You will burn plenty of calories walking for over 8 hours in a single day at the Magical Kingdom or splashing in the surf at Cocoa Beach the whole day. Dehydration due to a lack of fluids is common in the hot summer sun.

Seek shade and shelter to take time and rest while visiting the attractions and nearby beaches. A small break makes all the difference! Wear lightly- colored clothing that is also lightweight and loose so your body has room to breathe. Heavy and dark clothing will make you feel sluggish in the Florida heat.

As we quickly approach the summer season, keep “cool” in mind. It is not fun to feel uncomfortable and out-of-place during your visit. These comfort tips will make your next vacation experience much more enjoyable.

The Orlando Eye Set To Debut in May 2015

Excitement is brewing about Orlando’s newest attraction coming to International Drive. The Orlando Eye is scheduled to celebrate its opening day on May 4th. It will become the anchor attraction to I-Drive 360, a new entertainment complex also housing a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando, with delicious restaurants and other road-side amusements just steps away! The International Drive amusement area will be complimented nicely with these wonderful additions.

The Orlando Eye will be the tallest observation wheel of its kind on the east coast of the United States, towering 400 feet over International Drive. Spacious, air-conditioned capsules are enclosed with glass walls which will give guests breathtaking panoramic views of Orlando and beyond! It has been said, that on the clearest of days, you will be able to see all the way to Cape Canaveral. That is pretty impressive! Complimentary Wi-Fi will allow guests to take pictures of their high-flying adventure and share immediately with friends and family.

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Tickets are available right now on the Orlando Eye website. The first offering of tickets is reasonably-priced, with many different package options to choose from. Expect time slots to fill up fast, especially for summer and holiday visits. Make sure you leave room in your vacation schedule for a flight on the Orlando Eye. This experience will surely create a lasting memory to your Orlando vacation.

 

The Orlando Eye at I-Drive 360 | 8401 International Drive, Suite 100 | Orlando, Florida  32819

https://www.officialorlandoeye.com

 

Wonderful Holiday Events in Orlando

Are you spending the Holidays away from home this year? You’ll want to check out the following popular events happening in Orlando. There is a lot of Holiday Cheer to go around for the whole family! All of the area theme parks host their own Christmas celebration- so don’t forget your merry spirit when you come for vacation this month.

Festival of the Seasons at Downtown Disney. This is the best time of the year to shop and dine at Downtown Disney! Experience a festive environment this holiday season with live entertainment, photo opportunities with Disney characters, and Santa Claus. Shop for that perfect Christmas gift in the midst of decorations and cheer.

SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. On select nights through the holidays, guests will enjoy caroling, a seasonal ice show, Santa Claus, and Shamu. Beautiful decorations dress the whole park creating a special holiday experience for the whole family.

Candlelight Processional at Epcot. The Candlelight Processional at Epcot in an incredible experience not to be missed this holiday season! Embrace in the Christmas spirit in front of a 50-piece orchestra and choir. There will be a celebrity narrator telling the always-entertaining story of Christmas.

The Holidays at Universal Studios Orlando. As always, Universal Studios throws a huge party to welcome the changing seasons. The Holidays is nothing short of exceptional! Make sure you're here to catch our version of the Macy's Holiday Parade and another thrilling year of the Grinchmas Wholiday Spectacular at Islands of Adventure. Live music from Manheim Steamroller fills the air on select weekend nights in December.

Santa makes an appearance at each one of these special events. Both adults and children alike are guaranteed to be entertained for hours. Remember to arrive early so you can get the perfect spot to experience all the Magic.

Holiday Magic in Orlando

This year has flown by fast. Christmas is less than 2 months away! Although chances are high that we won’t get snow for the Holidays, we still get very excited for the upcoming Holidays. There is no better destination to spend the season than here in Orlando! Popular area theme parks all have special seasonal events that will compliment your Holiday memories.

Walt Disney World, University Studios Orlando, and SeaWorld decorate in bright colors and lights to gear up for the upcoming Holidays. Santa Claus will be making appearances at each one of the parks, as themed shows and events are also planned. Festive Holiday cheer, great live music from bands and orchestras, and your favorite characters all join in on the celebrations. Caroling is taking place everywhere you go!

Orlando weather adds to the Holiday magic. Daytime temperatures average in the 70s and 80s and cool down nicely through the evenings. Thanksgiving and Christmas take place during our dry season with very little rain and mostly sunny skies. While the rest of your friends are experiencing cold winter temperatures and snow, you can be relaxing by your own private pool or beachside singing Christmas carols with your family.

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Plan your memorable Holiday trip with Magical Memories, a leader in the Central Florida vacation rentals market. Take advantage of our lower off season rental rates and save. It’s now more affordable than ever to enjoy a Disney vacation. Surprise your family with a weekend getaway to visit Mickey Mouse and experience the beaches!

Essentials for Your Orlando Vacation

Plan ahead and be prepared for your next Disney area vacation. Chances are, you will be spending most of your time outdoors and walking the popular theme parks. Remember these five essentials when packing for your trip to Orlando.

You can’t go on vacation in Florida without remembering suntan lotion. The sun tends to have a stronger, more direct effect on the skin in our state. Most of your vacation will be spent outside. Make sure you apply lotion from head to toe to avoid uncomfortable sunburn. Aim for an SPF of 15 or higher.

Dress for the weather. We are grateful for warm summer-like temperatures through most of the year. Summer months can be scorching-hot, while our fall and spring months are pleasantly warm. Visitors will enjoy mild winter months with noticeably cooler nights, November-February. Pay close attention to the weather forecast in anticipation for your trip for the latest weather trends.

Sandals are part of the daily dress code in Florida. However, tennis shoes will make a world of difference in comfort when visiting the Orlando theme parks. Be prepared to spend a whole day on your feet at Walt Disney World. Painful feet will not create a memorable experience.

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Smartphones are extremely useful tools while on vacation. Popular theme parks have created great apps to help you plan daily itineraries. Guests can view ride times, theme shows at the parks, and even make their dinner reservations straight from their phones! The devices are also excellent for weather forecasts and driving directions by GPS. Take pictures or play games for entertainment while waiting in long lines or sunbathing on a beach in Central Florida.

One last piece of advice for your next Orlando vacation is to bring your hunger for thrilling adventure! New amusements are introduced every year in Orlando. There is something for everyone and every age! You will never grow tired of visiting because you will never be able to do it all.

Exciting Fall Events in Orlando

Did you miss your opportunity for a Disney vacation this past summer? It’s not too late to fit in the Magic still this fall. With the exciting seasonal events through November and lower rates this season, the timing couldn’t be any better than NOW to escape for a long weekend! Plan your trip around these popular fall events to make the most out of your visit.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party lasts until October 31st. The whole family can enjoy this celebration at the Magic Kingdom Park. Trick-or-Treat for sweets throughout the park. Many of the famous Disney characters will also be taking part in the seasonal festivities, dressed in unique costumes as well. Catch a special evening “Boo-To-You” Halloween Parade and party alongside famous Villains from your favorite spooky movies.

Halloween Horror Nights, which is going on now through November 1st, is in its 24th horrific season at Universal Studios Orlando. This year brings 8 terrifying haunted houses, ridiculously scary street experiences, live shows, and new rides and attractions to compliment this thrilling mega-event. Experience the most well-done Halloween amusement in the country right here in Central Florida. This guarantees screams and thrills from the bravest person.

So many events and parties go on at Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. It is scheduled to run until November 10th. Travel around the world in the World Showcase and sample popular food, fine wine, and craft beer from many different cultures! Live, well-known bands and cooking demonstrations compliment this fall festival. Stay late on Thursday nights for more indulgences with the “Late Nights LIVE!” celebration of food and fun. It’s a perfect mixture of activity that flows well with a day at Epcot while experiencing your favorite theme park rides.

Don’t miss out on all the excitement this fall. Contact Magical Memories to see how affordable a weekend escape can be. Reservations can be made for a villa in an all-inclusive Kissimmee resort or a larger vacation rental home with private pool. See you soon in Central Florida!

A Fall Vacation in Orlando

If you missed an Orlando vacation this past summer, it’s not too late to enjoy magical memories this year. Take off for a long weekend and take advantage of the changing seasons in Central Florida. Fall is a wonderful season to visit the Disney area, with a pleasant change in the weather and less crowds at the attractions.

We are just coming out of the rainy season in Central Florida. During the summer months, it rains almost every day, with storms and downpours lasting for only a couple hours in the afternoons. Guests usually enjoy mostly sunny skies in the fall, beginning in late September. Along with the lower, more comfortable temperatures, this makes a perfect day spend inside the Disney parks.

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Outside of the holiday weekends, attraction waiting lines at the area theme parks and roadside amusements are shorter. It is more feasible to enjoy every ride at Disney and Universal Studios Orlando. Wait times dramatically decrease at popular restaurants and shopping malls as well, which gives visitors a more enjoyable experience.

Rates for vacation rentals are greatly reduced during the fall months. It is more affordable than ever to escape for a memorable weekend with family and friends. Guests can save over $100 per night from the peak summer rates on many of our popular vacation homes and villas close to the action at Disney! This leaves more fun money in your wallet for Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando, or SeaWorld!

Don’t waste any more time daydreaming about a family vacation to Orlando. Now is the perfect time to escape for the weekend! Plan your visit with Magical Memories as your host and experience the tremendous value that you’ll gain from reserving a vacation rental.

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

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

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

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.

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